True Patriotism

(Letters of John Newton)

Dear friend,
Allow me to say, that it excites both my wonder and concern, that a Christian minister such as yourself, should think it worth his while to attempt political reforms. When I look around upon the present state of the nation, such an attempt appears to me, to be no less vain and foolish, than it would be to paint the cabin–while the ship is sinking! Or to decorate the parlor–while thehouse is on fire!

When our Lord Jesus was upon earth, He refused to get involved in disputes or politics, “Friend, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:14. “My kingdom is not of this world! If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight!” John 18:36. God’s children belong to a kingdom which is not of this world; they are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, and a part of their Scriptural character is, that they are the “quiet in the land.” Psalm 35:19.

Satan has many contrivances to amuse people, and to divert their thoughts from their real danger!

My dear sir, my prayer to God for you is–that He may induce you to employ the talents He has given you, in pointing out sin as the great cause and source of every existing evil; and to engage those who love and fear Him, (instead of wasting time in political speculations, for which very few of them are competent,) to sigh and cry for our abounding abominations, and to stand in the breach, by prayer, that God’s wrath may yet be averted, and our national mercies prolonged! This, I think, is the true patriotism–the best way in which people in private life may serve their country.

I consider the ungodly as saws and hammers in the hand of the Lord. So far as they are His instruments, they will succeed–but not an inch further! Their wrath shall praise Him, and be subservient to His designs!

If our lot is so cast that we can exercise our ministry free from stripes, fines, imprisonments, and death–it is more than the gospel has promised to us! If Christians were quiet when under the cruel governments of Nero and other wicked persecutors, when they were hunted down like wild beasts–then we ought to be not only quiet but very thankful now! It was then accounted anhonor to suffer for Christ and the ‘offence of the cross’!

Those are to be greatly pitied, who boast of their ‘liberty’–and yet they do not consider that they are in the most deplorable bondage–the slaves of sin and Satan, under the curse of God’s law and His eternal wrath! Oh! for a voice to reach their hearts, that they may know their true and dreadful state–and seek deliverance from their horrific thraldom! May you and I labor to direct them to the one thing, which is absolutely needful, and abundantly sufficient.

If I had the wisdom or influence to soothe the angry passions of mankind–I would gladly employ them! But I am a stranger and a pilgrim here in this world. My charter, my rights and my treasures, are all in heaven–and there my heart ought to be. In a very short time, I may be removed (and perhaps suddenly) into the unseen and eternal world–where all that now causes so much bustle upon earth–will be of no more importance to me–than the events which took place among the antediluvians!

In the hour, when death shall open the door into eternity–many things which now assume an ‘air of importance’, will be found as light and unsubstantial as a child’s dream!

How crucial then, is it for me–to be found watching, with my lamp burning, diligently engaged in my proper calling! For the Lord has not called me to set governments right–but to preach the gospel, to proclaim the glory of His name, and to endeavor to win souls! “Let the dead bury their own dead–but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God!” Luke 9:60. Happy is that servant, whom his Master finds so doing, when He returns!

As you have forced me to respond–both duty and love have obliged me to be faithful and free in giving you my thoughts.

I recommend you to the care and blessing of the great Shepherd and Savior; and remain for His sake, your affectionate friend and brother,
John Newton

12 thoughts on “True Patriotism

  1. This is the perspective needed in our country right now, Mike. I fear that we have lost sight of the Great Commission and become embroiled in causes and controversies that are not eternal. Thank you for posting Newton’s letter. God bless you always.

    Heather

  2. Yea you see a lot of energy focused on bringing America back to it’ s Constitutional roots. I am not against being a free country, but I don’t see how bringing America back to its Constitutional foundation will deal with rampant sin in this country. If God has handed this nation over wickedness, we can pray that whatever disaster or calamities God brings to rather reprove this nation and bring men to repentance in the midst of the sorrows (woes). I am greatful that the Constitution has granted some free worship, freedom of speech, and a taste of capitalism. But with great freedom and blessings come great responsibility. That freedom should never be used unlawfully according to the Bible. We as a nation have murdered over 50 million babies, we love violence (Jack Bauer, third person shoot em up games, Hollywood, Ultimate Figthing Championships, Reality Shows) we are given over to pleasure, and we are the Lady of Kingdoms. I would like nothing better than to see our nation repent as a whole, but I just don’t see it. It is getting harder and harder to share the true gospel in this country. We better get ready and hold on. This is going to be bumpy ride.
    Nonetheless we should still share the gospel as God leads us.

  3. “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.” Samuel Adams 1749

  4. America The Beautiful
    by Judge Roy Moore

    America the Beautiful or so you used to be
    Land of the Pilgrims’ pride, I’m glad they’ll never see
    Babies piled in dumpsters, Abortion on demand,
    Oh, sweet land of liberty, your house is on the sand.
    Our children wander aimlessly poisoned by cocaine,
    Choosing to indulge their lusts, when God has said abstain.
    From sea to shining sea, our Nation turns away
    From the teaching of God’s love and a need to always pray.
    So many worldly pastors tell lies about our Rock,
    Saying God is going broke, so they can fleece the flock.
    We’ve kept God in our temples, how callous we have grown,
    When earth is but His footstool and Heaven is His throne.
    We’ve voted in a government that is rotting at the core,
    Appointing Godless Judges who throw reason out the door.
    Too soft to place a killer in a well deserved tomb,
    But brave enough to kill a baby before he leaves the womb.
    You think that God’s not angry that our land’s a moral slum?
    How much longer will He wait before His judgment comes?
    How are we to face a God from Whom we cannot hide?
    What then is left for us to do, but stem this evil tide?
    If we who are His children will humbly turn and pray,
    Seek His holy face and mend our evil way,
    Then God will hear from Heaven and forgive us of our sins,
    He will heal our sickly land and all who live within.
    But America the Beautiful if you don’t, then you will see,
    A sad but Holy God withdraw His hand from thee

  5. Hi Mike!

    I appreciate the post. It certainly represents my own convictions on this subject. lately, I’ve been increasingly convicted to just “let go” of the state of this nation (as hard as that is) and focus more on getting out the Gospel…as imperfectly as I do it.

    Perhaps in the back of my mind I’ve written the future of this country off. If so, I hope I’m wrong. But I do know that publishing the Gospel is of prime importance, not saving our nation. If we focus on the gospel perhaps, just perhaps, it will turn things around. If we don’t, we’ve certainly lost the battle — in the temporal and eternal sense.

    One thousand years from now, this little wisp we call life won’t mean a hill of beans. We may as well readjust our priorities now. If the Lord shows mercy and grace on the country, then I’ll be first in line to be thankful. But till then we need to refocus on the eternal.

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