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. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. Later in life, Newton became a supporter and inspiration to William Wilberforce who lead the fight to pass the British Slave Trade Act in , which abolished the slave trade in that empire.
The Story Behind Amazing Grace
I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. London, England, ; d. London, was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. In he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. One of the best loved and most often sung hymns in North America, this hymn expresses John Newton's personal experience of conversion from sin as an act of God's grace.
Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by others' reactions to what they took as his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed conscripted into service in the Royal Navy. After leaving the service, he became involved in the Atlantic slave trade. In , a violent storm battered his vessel off the coast of County Donegal , Ireland , so severely that he called out to God for mercy. This moment marked his spiritual conversion but he continued slave trading until or , when he ended his seafaring altogether. He began studying Christian theology. Ordained in the Church of England in , Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire , where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! Considering that some estimates claim that the beloved spiritual is performed roughly 10 million times annually, it's no wonder.