John Newton’s final recorded words: “My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior.” Newton died a few weeks later, on December 21, 1807. The words transcribed by Jay are a simple and profound summary of John Newton’s life.
Newton’s dying words summarize the message he
preached and wrote about throughout his Christian life. Four decades
earlier, in the prime of his health, Newton had written to a friend,
“Our sins are many, but his mercies are
more: our sins are great, but his righteousness is greater.” At another
point he wrote, “We cannot be so evil as he is good.” Newton was
governed by the abiding hope that where sin increases, grace abounds all
the more (Rom. 5:20). In one letter early in his pastorate he wrote,
“Though our sins have been deep-dyed, like scarlet and crimson, enormous
as mountains, and countless as the sands, the sum total is, but, Sin
has abounded; but where sin hath abounded, grace has much more
abounded.” Yes, sin is a monstrous, condemning force—but Christ is
greater. Grace abounds because the Savior superabounds. This biblical
truth worked itself deeply into Newton’s heart very early in his
Christian walk, and it was a conviction that drove him toward pastoral
ministry and to preaching “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph.
"Amazing grace how sweet the sound"