Amazing Grace “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7
It’s hard to shake off a mother’s influence. John Newton’s earliest memories were of his godly mother who, despite fragile health, devoted herself to nurturing his soul. At her knee he memorised Bible passages and hymns. Though she died when he was about seven, he later recalled her tearful prayers for him.
After her death, John alternated between boarding school and the high seas, wanting to live a good life but nonetheless falling deeper and deeper into sin. Pressed into service with the British Navy, he deserted, was captured, and after two days of suspense, was flogged. His subsequent thoughts vacillated between murder and suicide. “I was capable of anything” he recalled.
More voyagers, dangers, toils, and snares followed. I was a life unrivaled in fiction. Then, on the night of 9 March 1748, John, 23, was jolted awake by a brutal storm that descended too suddenly for the crew to foresee. The next day, in great peril, he cried to the Lord. He later wrote, “That tenth of March is a day much remembered by me; and I have never suffered it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748 – the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.”
The next several years saw slow, halting spiritual growth in John, but in the end he became one of the most powerful evangelical preachers in British history, a powerful foe of slavery, and the author of hundreds of hymns. Here are some things you may not know about Newton’s most famous hymn. His title for it wasn’t originally “Amazing Grace” but “Faith’s Review and Expectation.” It is based in Newton’s study of 1 Chronicles 17:16-17: “King David….said “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet…..You have also spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree…”
And here’s a nearly forgotten verse that Newton added near the end of “Amazing Grace”: The Earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine; But God, Who called me here below, shall be forever mine.
Then Sings My Soul, Copyright 2003, Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson, Inc