Newton's Grace: The True Story of Amazing Grace John Newton...

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    Newton's Grace: The True Story of Amazing Grace

    John Newton experienced aheart-changing event in 1748, while returning on a ship to England.When the vessel nearly sank, he cried out to God for mercy. It was aturning point in his life. But he was still involved in the slavetrade and eventually captained slave ships. During this time, hemarried his childhood sweetheart, Mary Catlett, in 1750. The coupleadopted two orphaned nieces.

    In 1754, John suffered a majorstroke and had to give up his seafaring and slave-trading activities,though he still invested in slaving operations. God continued to workon Newton’s heart and he eventually became a clergyman.

    Eventually, John Newton not only became involved in theCommittee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, but wrote a pamphlettitled Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade. He described thehorrific conditions on slave ships and then apologized forparticipating in the trade. “It will always be a subject ofhumiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument ina business at which my heart now shudders.”

    Peoplestruggling with faith would often seek his advice—including theyoung William Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament. Wilberforce’srecent conversion led him to contemplate leaving politics, but Newtonencouraged him to stay in Parliament and “serve God where he was.”As an ally with Wilberforce, he worked against slavery and lived tosee the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807.

    John Newtonlater made this confession of faith: “It is certain that I am notwhat I ought to be. But, blessed be God, I am not what I once was.God has mercifully brought me up out of the deep miry clay and set myfeet upon the Rock, Christ Jesus.”

    In 1767, the poetWilliam Cowper began attending Newton’s church. Cowper and Newtonworked together to create great hymns for the church, including“Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.” But the greatestcontribution Newton gave to the church was a hymn that captured hisown conversion story. It reads,

    “Amazing grace! How sweetthe sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now amfound, was blind, but now I see.”

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