Amazing Grace

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A Gospel tract about John Newton.

Amazing GraceIn London, England, a son was born to Elizabeth and John Newton, Sr. This son, John Newton, Jr. has made an impact on the lives of people all over the world. But, you may ask, “Who was he, and what did he do?”
When John Newton, Jr. {we’ll call him JN} was born on July 24, 1725, his father was the commander of a merchant ship and, at age 11, JN went to sea with him. Having made six voyages with his father, the elder Newton retired and, in 1744, JN was impressed into service on a man-of-war.  Finding the living conditions so intolerable, JN deserted but was recaptured, publicly flogged, and demoted from midshipman to common seaman. As a result, JN requested a change of service and was transferred to the service of a slave ship. Here, JN became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused, transferred to another slave ship and ended up being left in West Africa with a slave trader and his wicked wife. After this time in his life JN recounted that he was once “once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in West Africa.”
As fate would have it, JN was rescued by a sea captain who the elder Newton had asked to search for his son. Eventually, JN became captain of his own ship and was involved in the slave trade. JN had some “religious” instruction from his mother early in life; she passed away when he was very young. On a voyage that was homeward bound, the ship encountered a violent storm that threatened the ship to sink as it took in water. Out of desperation and fear, JN cried out “Lord, have mercy on us.” And, the Lord did and they eventually arrived safely to port. The recorded date of this was May 10, 1748 and it was THE turning point in the life of JN. Exactly what took place in the heart of JN, what else he may have prayed, we do not know; however, the change in his life gave evidence that he had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. For a brief period of time JN continued in the slave trade but treated the slaves in a humane manner.
There is much more to the life of JN, of how he began to read and study the Bible, educate himself, teaching himself  Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. In 1750 he married his childhood sweetheart, Mary Catlett and later entered the Gospel ministry. From the pen of this former infidel, libertine, and slave trader came the words of the wonderful song, “Amazing Grace.” JN knew better than anyone else when he wrote these words:
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

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