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“Lost but Found - John Newton’s story of Amazing Grace" ~ Mark McCoy (July 28, 2013)

Mark McCoy has been presenting dramatic presentations for over 30 years. He presents numerous men from the Old and New Testaments, people from history who have been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and has spoken at a variety of events sharing God’s mercy and grace. Email: mccoym@zoominternet.net

The drama is set in Newton’s study about a month before his song “Amazing Grace” was first sung on New Years Day 1773. During the presentation “Newton” talks about how God was directing his path from the early days of his life, through the darkness of his involvement with the slave trade, and his coming to understand the amazing grace God has for each of his children.

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Click to see the third part of the presentation and the congregration sing "Amazing Grace".  

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Amazing Grace

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.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

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

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

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.

 Written by John Newton (1725-1807)

The son of a commander of a merchant ship, John Newton in turn took to the sea. He ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.” He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. “Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely.

Years later, he turned away from the slave trade, and in 1755 he became a minister. During his ministry he wrote hymns for his weekly prayer meetings.

It is believed that when he wrote the lyrics to Amazing Grace, he was inspired by the songs/moaning he heard of slaves onboard his ship and that he set his words to the melody of what sounded like a West African sorrow chant.