(The following is a letter of John Newton to his 14 year old adopted daughter, who was away at school)
"He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm!" Luke 8:24
My dear Betsy,
Sometimes, when I consider what a world you are growing up into, and what snares and dangers young people are exposed to, with little experience to help them--I have some painful feelings for you!
The other day I was at the harbor, and saw a ship launched--she slipped easily into the water; the people on board cheered; the ship looked clean and mirthful, she was freshly painted, and her colors flying. But I looked at her with a sort of pity, "Poor ship!" I thought, "you are now in port and in safety; but before long you must go into the wild sea! Who can tell what storms you may meet with hereafter, and to what hazards you may be exposed! How weather-beaten you may be before you return to port again, or perhaps you may return at all!"
Then my thoughts turned from the ship--to my dear Betsy. The ship seemed to be an emblem of your present state--you are now, as it were, in a safe harbor; but by and by you must launch out into the world, which may well be compared to a tempestuous sea. I could even now almost weep at the resemblance! But I take courage, as my hopes are greater than my fears. I know there is an infallible Pilot, who has the winds and the waves at His command! There is hardly a day passes, in which I do not entreat Him to take charge of you. Under His care--I know you will be safe. He can guide you, unhurt, amidst the storms, and rocks, and dangers--by which you might otherwise suffer--and bring you, at last, safely to the haven of His eternal rest!
"Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water--and they obey Him!" Luke 8:25
I hope you will seek Him while you are young--then you will be happy, and I shall rejoice. Nothing will satisfy me but this! Though I should live to see you settled to the greatest advantage in temporal matters--unless you love Him, and live in His fear and favor--you would be quite miserable! I think it would nearly break my heart; for, next to your dear mamma, there is nothing so dear to me in this world as you! But the Lord gave you to me--and many a time upon my knees, I have given you back to Him. Therefore I hope you must, and will, and shall be His!
I am, with great tenderness, my dear child,
Your very affectionate father