John Newton (1725-1807) was eerst slavenhandelaar en later dominee. Hij was de schrijver van het wereldberoemde 'Amazing Grace'. Hij hield een dagboek bij dagboek bij waarin hij verslag deed van zijn spirituele groei en verlangens.
Thursday 19 July. Sad heartless fruitless times. Some short & precious intervals have now & then occur'd, but for the most part since I wrote last my mind has been a chaos, a scene of darkness & confusion. I have daily experience that He who has begun the work of Grace in my heart is alone able to maintain it, & that in proportion as he withdraws my enemies immediately prevail – Conscie[n]tious compunctions, & resolutions are no more restraint to the power of indwelling sin when I am left to these helps, than the withe with which Sampson was bound were to the exercise of his strength. I have need to put my mouth in the dust & cry Unclean Unclean. Perhaps I have never found [commissions?] more active, & less spirit to resist & deny them since my first entrance upon this warfare, the consequence has been exceeding detrimental to my studies, gifts, comforts & usefulness – all these have been folly – this morning I have found some returning liberty to pray & mourn before the Lord, I hope it is an indication of better times, for whenever he disposes one to seek him, I am sure He is near & ready to be found of me; & I generally find all my other tempers & experiences to be proportionable to the spirit of my prayers, when this prayer is a burthen nothing does me good; but as long as the door of access is kept open & duly attended, I find the joy of the Lord to be my strength, & nothing is suffered to harm me. On the 7 inst I wrote a full account of my situation to Dr. Young, & entreated his good offices, receivd his answer two days since. I am encouragd by his approbation, but he cannot help me. I have only now to appeal to my Lord of [Canten?] & leave the issue with the Lord; for I think upon a refusal there which I am prepard to expect, that I will retract the pursuit, & take up the conclusion Mr. Romaine has already made for me, that it is not the will of God I should appear on that side.