Having laid out the question and the options, Newton next evaluates the positions, first in the light of experience, second in the light of Scriptural examples:
II. Judgment by Experience
He calls this test, “the discernible effects of each.”
A. Those who call repentance
Those preachers who call for repentance are most likely to see conversion:
those ministers whom the Lord has honoured with the greatest success in awakening and converting sinners, have generally been led to adopt the more popular way of exhortation and address;
John Newton, Richard Cecil, The Works of the John Newton, vol. 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 174.
B. Those who do not call for repentance
These preachers may help those already within the fold, but see fewer conversions: “[T]heir labours have been more owned in building up those who have already received the knowledge of the truth, than in adding to their number.” (Ibid.)
C. The inference
From this observation, Newton draws the following inference:
this seems at least a presumptive argument in favour of those, who, besides stating the doctrines of the Gospel, endeavour, by earnest persuasions and expostulations, to impress them upon the hearts of their hearers, and entreat and warn them to consider “how they shall escape, if they neglect so great salvation.” For it is not easy to conceive, that the Lord should most signally bear testimony in favour of that mode of preaching which is least consistent with the truth, and with itself.
John Newton, Richard Cecil, The Works of the John Newton, vol. 1 (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 175.