A Dreamy Breakfast with John Newton & Friends

Jeremiah 23:28
       The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD.

JOSIAH BULL (1713-1813): John Newton was in the habit of receiving ministers and other Christians at his house to breakfast once a week, for prayer and the discussion of religious subjects.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Whenever I could, I went to Mr. Newton’s breakfasts, when his conversation was very delightful and edifying. Nothing dull about him, but a good deal of pleasantry and wit, or rather, humour.

JOHN CLAYTON (1754-1843): I was present at one of Mr. Newton’s Thursday breakfasts, and observing that our host had been for some time silent, I challenged him to give his opinion on something or other. “Well,” said he, “I will tell you my dreams if you like.”

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I dreamed that I was crossing a sea. It was narrow but very rough. After long struggling with winds and waves I entered a still and beautiful harbour. I landed, and meeting a grave and affable person, I said, “Pray, sir, what is the name of this port?”
      He replied, “The Harbour of Comfort.”
      “And what is that stormy sea which I have just crossed?”
      “The Bay of Care.”
      “I suppose this beautiful port can be reached sometimes without such trouble as I have had.”
      “Oh no; it is the will of the Master of the port that it shall be reached in no other way. Through much tribulation you must enter the kingdom.”

JOHN CLAYTON: Surely, Mr. Newton, you were making up this beautiful comparison while you were silent.

JOHN NEWTON: No; it came to me in a dream the night before last, and when you rallied me I was thanking God for it.

RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): I wish that we could do awake what you do asleep.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): There is no more delicious sleep in the world than that sleep which, even in dreams, keeps near to Christ. Some of us know what it is, even in those wanderings of our mind in sleep, not to quit the holy ground of communion with our Lord. It is not always so, but it is sometimes so; and even then, when the mind has lost power to control its thoughts, even the thoughts seem to dance, like Miriam, to the praise of God. Oh, happy men, whose religion is their protection even in their sleep!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I’ve had two experiences which I shall never forget. I have a feeling that I’ve only really preached twice in my life, and on both occasions I was dreaming. I still remember the awful feeling of disappointment on both occasions when I found I was only dreaming—if only I could preach like that in the pulpit when I’m awake, then I think I could claim that I have preached.

C. H. SPURGEON: I know some who think themselves to be God’s children, because they dreamed they were. They had a very remarkable dream one night, and if you were to laugh at them they would be unutterably indignant; they would cut you at once out of the family of God, and call you an “accuser of the brethren.” They do not rely upon what God has said to them in the Bible; but they had some singular vision, when deep sleep had fallen upon them, and because of that vision, they reckon they are children of God…
      “Oh, but,” saith another, “I have confidence that I am saved, for I have had a wonderful dream, and, moreover, I heard a voice, and saw a vision.” Rubbish all! Dreams, visions, voices! Throw them all away. There is not the slightest reliance to be placed upon them. “What, not if I saw Christ?” No, certainly not, for vast multitudes saw Him in the days of His flesh, and died and perished after all. “But surely a dream will save me.” It will give you a dreamy hope, and when you awake in the next world your dream will be gone.

RALPH ERSKINE (1685-1752): People may have strange dreams; they may dream of heaven, and that they have faith, and repentance, and Christ, and salvation, and a crown of glory; when, alas! all is but a dream; and the man awakes, either in time or at the day of judgment, and finds himself deceived: and the sweeter the dream, the sadder the disappointment.

C. H. SPURGEON: Some of you do not know the extent to which this error prevails; I happen to know it. It is received among many persons, that if you dream that you see the Lord in the night you will be saved, and if you can see Him on the cross, or if you think you see some angels, or if you dream that God says to you, “You are forgiven,” all is well…Now, if it be so, the sooner we all begin to eat opium the better; because there is nothing that makes people dream so much as that; and the best advice I could give would be—let every minister distribute opium very largely, and then his people would all dream themselves into heaven. But, out upon that rubbish; there is nothing in it. Dreams, the disordered fabrics of a wild imagination…to trust them is to trust a shadow, to build your hopes on bubbles, scarcely needing a puff of wind to burst them into nothingness. Oh! remember, you want no vision, no marvellous appearance. If you have had a vision or a dream, you need not despise it; it may have benefited you: but do not trust to it.     

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We do not doubt that God can speak to men now by means of a dream or a vision of the night; but we consider that the true and proper way for a child of God to be guided, is by the Word and Spirit of God. It is very unsafe ground indeed to be merely guided by dreams or the impressions of a man’s mind. We vastly prefer the solid imperishable Word of God.

C. H. SPURGEON: The one thing to rest upon is a more sure word of testimony: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and whosoever believeth in Him is not condemned. I believe in Him, and, therefore, I am not condemned. Why do I believe my sin to be forgiven? Because Jesus died to put away the sins of believers, and there is no condemnation to those who are in Him. Why do I believe myself to be justified? Because he that believeth is justified; the Word of God says so. How do I know that I am saved? Because Jesus Christ has declared that whosoever believeth in Him is not condemned. To believe in Him is to trust in Him, He is my foundation, and I am saved, or else His word is not true. I know that His Word is true, and therefore I am at rest. It is written, He that believeth in Him hath everlasting life. I have His promise that I shall never perish, neither shall any pluck me out of His hand; therefore I shall never perish, neither shall any separate me from His love.

 VERNON J. CHARLESWORTH (1839-1915): A man once applied to be admitted to the sacrament at [Rowland Hill’s] Surrey Chapel, and stated that his religious feelings originated in a dream. “Well, that may be,” said Mr. Hill, “but we’ll tell you what we think of your dreams when we have seen how you walk now that you are awake.”


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