A selection from a letter by John Newton to Miss Mary Barham, the daughter of one of his dearest friends, a Moravian, J. Foster Barham. The Barham’s lived in Bedford, Bunyan’s town, not too far from Olney. Mary recently “had entered in the way of salvation” and Mr. Newton wrote this letter of challenge and encouragement to her. This letter was written November 11, 1775.
In a sense, we are often hindering him by our impatience and unbelief; but strictly speaking, when he really begins the good work, and gives us a desire which will be satisfied with nothing short of himself, He will not be hindered from carrying it on; for He has said, I will work, and none shall let it. Ah! had it depended upon myself, upon my wisdom or faithfulness, I should have hindered him to purpose, and ruined myself long ago. How often have I grieved and resisted his Spirit! But hereby I have learned more of his patience and tenderness than I could otherwise have known. He knows our frame, and what effect our evil nature, fomented by the artifices of Satan, will have; He see us from first to last.
Letters of John Newton: with Biographical Sketches and Notes, by Josiah Bull, first published in 1869, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 2007, pp. 217-18.