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Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I was lost, but now am found, was blind, but not I see.

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares. I have already come. Tis’ grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

Yes when this life and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess within the vial, a life of joy and peace.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.

How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.

The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow. The sun forbear to shine: But God who calls me here below, will forever be mine.

One of the greatest Christian hymns ever written. At least I think so. Written in 1779 by John Newton, a former slave trader. History says it was written as a poem to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773. It debuted in print in Newton and Cowper’s Olney Hymns; in the United States it was used extensively during the second great awakening. In 1865 it was joined to a tune named “New Britian” which is mostly used today. With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered through the mercies of God. “Amazing Grace” is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious convection. After leaving service in the Royal Navy he became involved the Atlantic slave trade. In 1748 a terrific storm battered his vessel so severely he called out to God for mercy, a moment that marked his conversion. He continued his slave trading career until 1754, when he left the sea and began studying Christian Theology. His passion was so impressive that friends suggested he become a priest. He was turned down by archbishop John Gilbert. Continued his devotions, writing about his experiences as slave trading and his conversion. George Legge 3rd Earl of Dermot sponsored him for ordination and offered him the curacy of Olney Buckinghamshire in 1764. In 1807 Newton joined forces with a young man named William Wilberforce, a member of the British parliament, to campaign for the abolishment of slave trade in the British Empire.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.

Nona Brewer

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