Book Review
Wise Counsel: John Newton's Letters to John Ryland Jr.

Wise Counsel: John Newton's Letters to John Ryland Jr.

Edited by Grant Gordon
Published 2009
Banner of Truth
404 pages

Of the four new donations to the Cornerstone Library, this is the one to focus on. I bought this book early this year because I was interested in the relatively obscure Baptist John Ryland. The "letters" aspect of the book didn't immediately appeal to me. But I was surprised at how interesting, and then how compelling, the book is. It may be my personal "Book of the Year". Why is it so good?

  • This is counsel, wise and godly, from the famous English pastor Newton (1725-1807), author of "Amazing Grace", t his 28-year younger pastor friend. It is mostly in response to quandaries Ryland brings up, and it can be applicable to our own situations.
  • All the letters are from one person to the other prson, so we get to know them both.
  • The editor fills in the contexts of the letters so that it is easy to see how they fit these men's lives
  • Some of these letters are about especially interesting subjects, for example, how to find a wife, and the politics of the American Revolution - for some of this period a current event.
  • Many other interesting people of the time are brought in. Keep your eyes on the little-known laypeople John Thornton and Hannah More.