May 7, 2020
Put together after some research by Brother Don Henderson (information taken from the
book: 101 Hymn Stories, by Kenneth Osbeck
Author - John Newton, 1725 - 1807
Amazing Grace

The story of John Newton is probably not as well-known as the song he wrote: “Amazing
Grace”. It is a hymn we enjoying singing at the Westfield congregation.  The following will
give you a glimpse of how the song came to be written. John’s mother died when he was
about 7 years old. Some of John Newton’s earliest memories were about his mother
helping him memorize Bible verse and hymns. Soon after his mother’s death, his father
remarried and John joined his father’s ship at the age of 11, barely getting any schooling
before he became a seaman. In his early years they were filled with rebellion and
sinfulness. He worked on several ships which were involved with slave trade on the West
Coast of Africa and eventually he became captain of his own slave ship. It was on March
10, 1748; John Newton was awakened by a very bad storm as he was returned with his
ship from West Africa to England. It was during this storm John Newton turned to God in
prayer and felt he had been delivered by God from death. It was during this time he came
to know God. His had been reading a book called “Imitation of Christ” and the experience
with the storm led him to a stronger relation with God.
       During the next few years he continued as a slave ship captain and tried to improve
conditions aboard as much as possible and held worship services for his crew every
Sunday.  Eventually he came to understand the inhuman aspects of his work and became
a staunch advocate against slavery. He later became a preacher in Olney, England and for
15 years he was a minister there. Later he became a minister for a church in London
where he spent the remaining 28 years of his life. He was described as a strong preacher
and an adamant leader in the fight against slavery. During this time he wrote hymns
expressing his spiritual experiences and convictions. His most popular hymn, “Amazing
Grace” is really a testimony of his early life and his turn to God. It is said that until the time
of his death at age 82, Newton never ceased to be “Amazed” at God’s mercy and Grace.

AMAZING GRACE

Author - John Newton, 1725 - 1807
Music - From Carrell and Clayton's Virginia Harmony, 1831
Scripture Reference - I Chronicles 17:16,17
Hymn text written in 1772, published in 1779

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your
selves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should
boast.
Ephesians 2:8, 9
Amazing Grace by Harding University  Harding Choir Link on YouTube, you will need to
skip the ad.

I do not know what John Newton's church affiliation was, but I do believe God used him to be a
spokes-person against slavery, The words of Amazing Grace tell the story. John Newton's life
was somewhat like the Apostle Paul's in that he was a horrendous person, one who carried
captured humans and kept them in the hole of a slave ship, and like Paul he realized his mistake
and dedicated his life to correcting it.
I found this song and I believe the words convey what we as Christians should say and do:
J
OIN US TOGETHER IN EXPRESSION OF ONE. JOIN US TOGETHER IN THE CRUCIFIED
SON. JOIN US TOGETHER IN THE FATHER AND SON. JOIN US TOGETHER AND WE SHALL
BE ONE.

Ephesians 4:26 "Be ye angry and sin not."