"Amazing Grace" ~ Spring Mays (January 7, 2018)
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Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
T'was Grace that taught...
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
The Lord has promised good to me...
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
When we've been there ten thousand years...
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.