John Newton to Thomas Robinson

1. 27 December 1780*
My Dear Friend
Should I apologize now, it must be for troubling you so often, but I will use the privilege of a friend and write when I please, hoping you will write when you can. I shall be glad to hear that it is well with you in heart, house, and congregation. May the Lord bless you abundantly, and all His ministers in Leicestershire, in the occasional and additional services of this season.
The precise and immediate design of this letter is to inform you, that Cardiphonia in two volumes is upon the eve of publication. I do not know the author so well, as might be expected from the long acquaintance I have had with him, but I am sure he loves you. He means to trouble you with a bundle of his books, out of which he begs your acceptance of a set—and that you will present a set to the Mr Ludlams and Dr Ford. The rest, if they meet with purchasers, he would entreat you to dispose of for him. He has other good friends in Leicester to whom he should properly tender a couple of volumes as a mark of his gratitude. But the truth is, the kind friends the Lord has given him in town and country are so numerous, that a whole im­pression would little more than suffice, to make such an acknowledgment to them all. He is therefore obliged to treat them in general all alike, and al­most entirely to confine his presents to his dear friends and brethren in the ministry.
The sun has almost travelled through the Zodiac since I took leave of Olney, and have been resident in London. It has been a year of mercy. The mountains of difficulty and trials, which my imagination started at in the pros­pect of entering upon a sphere of service so very different from what I had been accustomed to, proved but mountains of snow, which the Lord's power melted down before me. Though my message has not been so generally ac­ceptable and interesting to the parishioners as I could wish, I have met with no trouble, nor even with any unkindness among them. I have attempted no needless innovations, such as I deemed necessary were easily carried. Our au­ditories are numerous, respectable, and attentive. My health has been uninter­rupted, my strength (for public services) seems not at all impaired; and, so far as I can judge, the Lord affords me here upon the whole, as much liberty and acceptance as in any former time of my ministry. I have not the same opportunity of knowing in what instances he is pleased to make me useful, as when I lived at Olney, but I have reason to hope I do not labour in vain. Mrs Newton has likewise been favoured with better health, but still she is indisposed. In a word (for sheets would not contain particulars) God has been very gracious to us. Help me to praise Him.
If, after so many delays, the printers, etc have made, I may still place any dependence on what they say, I may suppose the books will set off by the end of next week. When you have received them, and want a letter from your old friend, you may turn to the shelf and read one. Suppose it addressed to yourself mutatis mutandis,[1] and possibly it may be much to the purpose as anything I could write de novo.[2]
I have a pulpit in which I should be glad to see and hear you. Mem: You need not trouble yourself to bring any written sermons. We join in love to Mrs Robinson. I must extend my love and best wishes to all who love the Lord in Leicester. Grace and peace be with you, and with your affec­tionate friend and servant,
Charles Square, Hoxton, London
December 27 1780    
  John Newton
*    The Evangelical Register, 1838; page 274, No. 9  


[1] mutatis mutandis: making the necessary changes
[2] de novo: anew



Marylynn Rouse, 26/06/2015