(Newton)I have been thirty years forming my own views; and, in the course of this time, some of my hills have sunk, and some of my valleys have risen: but, how unreasonable within me to expect all this should take place in another person; and that, in the course of a year or two.
(Newton)I see the unprofitableness of controversy in the case of Job and his friends: for, if God had not interposed, had they lived to this day they would have continued the dispute.
(Newton)I am a friend of peace; and being deeply convinced that no one can profitably understand the great truths and doctrines of the gospel any farther than he is taught of God, I have not a wish to obtrude my own tenets upon others, in a way of controversy; yet I do not think myself bound to conceal them.
(Piper)Newton had a strong, clear Calvinistic theology. He loved the vision of God in true Biblical Calvinism: In the preface to the Olney hymns (of which Amazing Grace is one), he wrote, "The views I have received of the doctrines of grace are essential to my peace; I could not live comfortably a day, or an hour, without them. I likewise believe . . . them to be friendly to holiness, and to have a direct influence in producing and maintaining a gospel conversation; and therefore I must not be ashamed of them."
"...the cause of truth itself may be discredited by an improper management."
"The Scripture, which . . . teaches us what we are to say, is equally explicit as to the temper and Spirit in which we are to speak. Though I had knowledge of all mysteries, and the tongue of an angel to declare them, I could hope for little acceptance or usefulness, unless I was to speak 'in love.'"
(Piper)Newton cared more about influencing people with truth for their good than winning debates. William Jay recounts how Newton described the place of his Calvinism. He was having tea one day with Newton. Newton said, "'I am more of a Calvinist than anything else; but I use my Calvinism in my writings and my preaching as I use this sugar'—taking a lump, and putting it into his tea-cup, and stirring it, adding, 'I do not give it alone, and whole; but mixed and diluted.'" In other words, his Calvinism permeates all that he writes and teaches and serves to sweeten everything. Few people like to eat sugar cubes, but they like the effect of sugar when it permeates it right proportion.
(Piper)Most of us tend to gravitate to abstractions. We say, "Men tend to choose lesser pleasures and reject greater ones." But Newton says, "The men of this world are children. Offer a child and apple and bank note, he will doubtless choose the apple." We say, "Men are foolish to fret so much over material things when they will inherit eternal riches." But Newton says:
Suppose a man was going to New York to take possession of a large estate, and his carriage should break down a mile before he got to the city, which obliged him to walk the rest of the way; what a fool we should think him, if we saw him ringing his hands, and blubbering out all the remaining mile, "My carriage is broken! My carriage is broken!"