John Newton, a converted slave-trader, is most famously known for his hymn “Amazing Grace.” As a pastor he also became well known for his letter writing ministry. His letters covered a wide variety of subjects and showed his deep understanding of Scripture. Banner of Truth publishing has compiled many of these letters into one volume. Here is an excerpt from one of his letters to Mrs. Wilberforce on how our trust in God grows:
Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances; and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees.
Letters of John Newton, pg 74-75