Post last updated on March 25, 2023
Image credit: The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
John Newton once wrote the following to a young minister who sought his advice.
When the apostle directs us, ‘If it be possible, and as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men,’ he seems to intimate, that though it be difficult, it is not wholly impracticable. We cannot change the rooted prejudice of their hearts against the Gospels; but it is possible, by the Lord’s blessing, to stop their mouths, and make them ashamed of discovering it, when they behold our good conversation in Christ. And it is well worth our while to cultivate this outward peace, provided we do not purchase it at the expense of truth and faithfulness; for ordinarily we cannot hope to be useful to our people, unless we give them reason to believe that we love them, and have their interest at heart. Again, opposition will hurt you, if it should give you an idea of your own importance, and lead you to dwell with a secret self-approbation upon your own faithfulness and courage in such circumstances. If you are able to stand your ground, uninfluenced either by the favor of men or the fear of men, you have reason to give glory to God; but remember, that you cannot stand an hour, unless he upholds you.John Newton in Select Letters of John Newton, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), 48-49.