Amazing Grace: The Story, Part One

A while back, son Joel posted the story behind Amazing Grace, adapted from an article by David Shepard:

Penned by John Newton, “Amazing Grace” is probably the most beloved hymn of the last two centuries. The soaring spiritual is estimated to be performed 10 million times annually and has appeared on over 11,000 albums.

Amazing Grace was referenced in Harriet Beecher Stone’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Stowe penned the final verse.

Amazing Grace had a surge of popularity during two of our nation’s greatest crises: the Civil War and the Vietnam War. Sung to many tunes through its long history, the current tune was adopted during America’s Second Great Awakening that began with the frontier camp meeting movement in 1801.

Joel wrote: If Father Newton could speak to us from heaven, he might say: My name is John Newton. I was born in 1725 in London. My Puritan mother died seven years later, my stern sea-captain father took me to sea at age 11. After many voyages and a reckless youth of drinking, I was conscripted into the British navy. After attempting to desert, I received eight dozen lashes and was reduced to the rank of common seaman.

I went on to serve on the Pegasus, a slave ship. I did not get along with the crew and they left me in West Africa with Amos Clowe, a slave trader. He gave me to his wife, Princess Peye, an African royal who treated me as vilely as she did her other slaves.

My father hired a sea captain to find me and bring me home. By some miracle he found me. During the voyage home, the ship was caught in a horrendous storm off the coast of Ireland and almost sank. I prayed to God, and the cargo miraculously shifted to fill a hole in the ship’s hull and the vessel drifted to safety. I took this as a sign from the Almighty and I now mark it as my conversion to Christianity. I did not radically change my ways at once; my total reformation was more gradual. “I did not consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards.” I did begin reading the Bible and began to question my involvement in the slave trade.

Part Two next Hole News.

Old Grandpa Lloyd