John Newton (1725-1807) penned one of the most famous hymns of Western Civilization, “Amazing Grace.” As a young man in England, Newton’s life epitomized the dregs of sin. Newton’s mother died when he was six, and his sea-faring father employed him on his slave-trading ships by age eleven. Over the years Newton grew increasingly vile, ill-tempered, and hated by both captain and crew. However, a rough Atlantic storm captured his attention and turned his eyes toward the Lord. In 1772, at the age of 47, John Newton wrote his testimony as text in this hymn.
1 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.
2 ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.
3 The Lord hath promised good to me, His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be As long as life endures.
4 When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we’ve first begun.