A selection from a letter by John Newton to John Ryland, Jr. The elder Newton, an Anglican, corresponded with the younger Ryland, a Baptist, for a period of 40 years. Newton addresses the subject of God's sovereign control over all events in this letter, in particular, the crucifixion of Jesus. Though it was "the worst action that the worst men ever committed," it must be considered as God's appointment and "the brightest display of His glory ever afforded to his creatures." The letter was written March 15, 1794.
But I compose my mind by considering all hearts and all things as instruments of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will [Eph. 1:11], and makes all subservient to the fulfilling it. I think the crucifixion of our Lord, was, taken in one view, the worst action that the worst men ever committed. But instead of scolding Caiaphas, Judas, and Pilate (whose part I should have acted had I been in their places and left to myself), I rather choose to admire the wisdom and love of God in this transaction, which considered as his appointment, was the brightest display of His glory ever afforded to his creatures.
Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letter to John Ryland, Jr., edited by Grant Gordon, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009, letter #64, pp. 303-04.