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"Amazing Grace" is a well-known
Christian hymn. The words were written c. 1772 by John Newton.
Newton was born in
London, the son of John Newton, a shipmaster in the
Mediterranean service. His father had planned to send him to
take up a position at a sugar plantation in Jamaica but, on his
way in 1743, he was pressed into naval service, and became a
midshipman aboard the HMS Harwich. Having attempted to
desert, Newton was recaptured, put in irons and reduced to the
rank of a common seaman, and was destined for a long voyage to
the East Indies when, as his ship was getting supplies for the
journey at Madeira, he was exchanged and transferred to a
merchant ship engaged in the African slave trade and bound for
was six months later that he sought to stay on the coast of
Guinea, with the intention of making his fortune as a trader in
the islands close to Sierra Leone but, instead, became a servant
and found himself brutally used by his master, suffering
starvation, illness and exposure.
It was this period that Newton later
remembered as the time he was a "once an infidel and libertine,
a servant of slaves in Africa." Eventually, his fortunes
improved and he was found by a ship’s captain who had been asked
by Newton’s father to look out for him on his next voyage.
Lyrics by John
Amazing grace how sweet
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I'm found;
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to
And grace my fear relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
We have already come.
'Twas grace that brought us safe thus far,
And grace will lead us home
When we've been there ten thousand
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.
The Lord has promised
good to me,
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
when this heart and flesh shall fail
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of health and peace.