Religion, rightly understood, is doubtless sufficient of itself to bear us through all the changes of this world, and guide us to a better.  But our gracious Master has made us capable of tender and social affections, to add to the comfort of this present life.  I know nothing that is required of us as a duty, but what is both consistent with our happiness, and has a tendency to promote it.  Nor is there a single gratification prohibited, that is not, in its natural consequences, productive of pain or disgust.  But you will say, why all this to you?  You are guilty of no excess (except your partial regard to me may be deemed one).  I answer, it was a grateful reflection on the goodness of God, and a sense of what I owe Him, especially for giving you to me, directed my pen; and to whom could I so properly address these thoughts as to your dear self, since to you I am secondarily indebted for my present peace? – Letter: John Newton to his wife, Mary (September 14, 1750)

From: The Works of John Newton: Volume 4 (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015), p. 23.

John Newton (1725-1807) and his wife, Mary (1729-1790) were married from 1750 until her death.


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