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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Inspired by . . . Hymns of Faith: 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.

Most of us are familiar with at least the first lines of this powerful hymn. A few of us know the backstory. John Newton, the debauched seaman, engaged in the despicable practice of capturing natives of West Africa and selling them into slavery. 

Through the reading of Thomas Kempis' Christian classic, The Imitation of Christ, a book that primarily answers the question, "What would Jesus do?" and other influences, such as his godly wife, God lifted Newton out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Newton never looked back and never stopped praising God for His amazing grace. 

In the mid-1750's he joined forces with William Wilberforce, the great abolitionist whose work brought about the end of the slave trade in Britain.  Newton was encouraged and greatly influenced by John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. In 1764 he became an ordained minister in the Anglican church and pastored the little village of Olney near Cambridge. It was there that he wrote Amazing Grace and many other hymns of faith.

Stanza 5 was later added by John P. Rees and in 2011, Chris Tomlin wrote the refrain, My Chains Are Gone.  You can watch and listen to Tomlin's version here, it includes scenes from the movie Amazing Grace, which I highly recommend.

Shortly before his death, John Newton was heard to proclaim the following:
"My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!"

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.


You can find the entire series here.

Listen to the Celtic Women sing here.

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If you read something here that inspired you, I’d love to hear about it. Please know I appreciate every comment! Thanks so much for stopping by! Blessings, June