I took this quote from a letter written by John Newton, former trader of slaves and the author of the hymn Amazing Grace. The more I learn of this man the more I value his heart. LJ
Though He slay me, I will trust in Him; for when He has fully tried me, I shall come forth like gold.
You would have liked to have been with me last Wednesday. I preached at Westminster Bridewell. It is a prison and house of correction. The bulk of my congregation were housebreakers, highwaymen, pickpockets, and poor unhappy women, such as infest the streets of the city, sunk in sin and lost to shame. I had a hundred or more of these before me.
I preached from I Tim. 1:5, and began with telling them my own story: this gained their attention more than I expected. I spoke to them near an hour and a half. I shed many tears myself, and saw some of them shed tears likewise.
Ah! had you seen their present condition, and could you hear the history of some of them, it would make you sing, "O to grace how great a debtor!" By nature they were no worse than the most sober and modest people. And there was doubtless a time when many of them little thought what they should live to do and suffer. I might have been, like them, in chains, and one of them have come to preach to me, had the Lord so pleased.