“You remember the famous story about William Wilberforce and the woman who went to him at the height of his campaign against slavery and said, Mr. Wilberforce, what about the soul?' And Mr. Wilberforce turned to the woman and said, 'Madam, I had almost forgotten that I had a soul'. . . with all due respect to him, the woman was right. Of course, she may have been a busy-body; but there is no evidence that she was. Probably the woman saw that here was a good and fine Christian man, doing a most excellent work. Yes, but she also saw and realized that the danger confronting such a man was that of being so absorbed in the question of anti-slavery that he might forget his own soul. A man can be so busy preaching in pulpits that he forgets and neglects his own soul. After you have attended all your meetings, and denounced Communism until you can scarcely speak, after you have dealt with your apologetics, and displayed your wonderful knowledge of theology and your understanding of the times, and your complete map of the next fifty years, and after you have read all the translations of the Bible, and have shown your proficiency in a knowledge of its mechanics, I still ask you: 'What about your relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ?' You know a great deal more than you did a year ago; but do you know Him better? You denounce many wrong things; but do you love Him more? Your knowledge of the Bible and its translations has become quite astounding, and you are an expert in apologetics; but are you obeying the law of God and of Christ increasingly? Is the fruit of the Spirit more and more manifest and evident in your life? Those are the questions ... to 'know Him', and to 'be like' Him. If anything takes the place of that, we are on the wrong road. All these other things are means to bring us to knowledge of Him, and if we stay with them they are robbing us of Him.” D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii,, pp. 292-3, Eerdmans Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI.
Speaking of Wilberforce, the movie Amazing Grace appears to be an interesting, accurate and wholesome story of his work, and friendship with John Newton, produced by the makers of Narnia. I distrust Hollywood to produce much that a Christian can relate to. This may be an exception. I know, if nothing else, the site has a very important link; the Olney Hymnbook that John Newton put together. It has some great old hymns. Not only Amazing Grace, but also Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken, etc., and most are by John Newton. Note: they are structured different than hymnbooks today, but they are very good hymns that honor God.
Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God!
He, whose word cannot be broken, Formed thee for his own abode:
On the rock of ages founded, What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation’s walls surrounded Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.
See! The streams of living waters Springing from eternal love;
Well supply thy sons and daughters, And all fear of want remove.
The sites are definitely worth a look.
The hymnbook: http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/_pdf/Olney_Hymns.pdf
The web site: http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/
SOME THOUGHTS FROM JOHN NEWTON
“I saw One hanging on a tree, in agonies and blood; who fixed His languid eyes on me as near His cross I stood. Sure, never 'til my latest breath, can I forget that look. It seemed to charge me with His death though not a word He spoke.
My conscience owned and felt the guilt, and plunged me in despair; I saw my sins His blood had shed, and helped to nail Him there. Alas, I knew not what I did, but all my tears were vain; where could my trembling soul be hid, for I the Lord had slain! A second look He gave, that said, I freely all forgive. This blood is for thy ransom paid, I died that thou mayest live.”
“Whoever has been truly humbled will not be easily angry, nor harsh or critical of others. He will be compassionate and tender to the infirmities of his fellow-sinners, knowing that if there is a difference – it is grace alone which has made it! He knows that he has the seeds of every evil in his own heart. And under all trials and afflictions he will look to the hand of the Lord, and lay his mouth in the dust, acknowledging that he suffers much less than his iniquities have deserved.” - John Newton (1725-1807)