Origin of the Song Amazing Grace

August 23rd, 2014 by Seamus Costello

John Newton was a British slave trader who lived in the 18th Century. He was born in 1725 and died in 1807. His mother, who was a devout Christian, died when John was only 7 years old. As a result, he joined his father who was a sea captain. During his time at sea, John managed to learn some essential skills in the fields of navigation, winds and sails. He eventually went on to become the captain of his own slave ship.

During one of his voyages at sea, John had a dramatic awakening in the middle of a violent storm. His ship was badly battered and he asked God to have mercy on him. The Lord was kind and they finally spotted land, which was Northern Ireland. This is what led him to compose the hymn Amazing Grace. In the song, John writes the following lyrics to Amazing Grace, “That saved a wretch like me”. He was actually referring to his miraculous survival at sea.

After his ordeals at sea, John devoted his life to God. He became an ordained pastor and wrote several hymns, including Amazing Grace. He also played a crucial role in the struggle to abolish slave trade.

John Newton’s journey from a slave trader to an ordained pastor is a stirring one. It has some astounding twists and turns that clearly show his unique character. For instance, John only became a slave ship captain after devoting his life to Jesus Christ. In addition, he didn’t abandon the slave trade due to his spiritual convictions, but for various health reasons.

Despite his character flaws, John Newton’s song and story has managed to inspire millions of people. Amazing Grace has been sung at countless memorial services, civil rights events, funerals and gospel singers in churches. It is loved all over the world. It is a song that brings people together in times of hardship and despair. It serves as a symbol of hope.


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