(From Letters of John Newton via Grace Gems email from May 22.)
Dear friend,I truly pity those who rise early and study late--with no higher prize and prospect in view, than the obtaining of academic honors! Such pursuits will before long appear (as they really are) as vain as the foolish games of children! May the Lord impress them with the noble ambition of living to and for Him. If these scholars, who are laboring for pebbles under the semblance of goodly pearls, had a discovery of the Pearl of great price--how quickly and gladly would they lay down their admired attainments, and become fools--that they might be truly wise! Their academic studies, if taken in the aggregate, are little better than splendid trifles!Friend, what a snare have you escaped! You would have been nothing but a scholar--had not God visited your heart and enlightened you by His grace! Now I trust you account your former academic gains, but loss--compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus. What you have attained in the way of learning, will be useful to you--if sanctified, and chiefly so by the knowledge which you have of its insufficiency to any valuable purpose in the great concerns of life--knowing God and walking with Him!