History On Amazing Grace Essay

This essay has a total of 1135 words and 9 pages.

History On Amazing Grace


"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..." So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all
times, a staple in the hymnals of many denominations. The author of the words was John
Newton, the self-proclaimed wretch who once


was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace. Newton was born in London July 24,
1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. In 1744
John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S.


Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and
publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman. Finally at his own request
he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took


him to the coast of Sierra Leone. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was
brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John's
father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one


which plied the slave trade. Although he had had some early religious instruction from his
mother, who had died when he was a child, he had long since given up any religious
convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting


to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as
his "great deliverance." He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship
would surely sink, he exclaimed, "Lord, have mercy upon us." Later


in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed
him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him. For the rest of his life
he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his


conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. "Thro'
many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; 'tis grace has bro't me safe thus
far, and grace will lead me home." He continued in the slave trade for a


time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were
treated humanely. In 1750 he married Mary Catlett, with whom he had been in love for many
years. By 1755, after a serious illness, he had given up seafaring


forever. He decided to become a minister and applied to the Archbishop of York for
ordination. The Archbishop refused his request, but Newton persisted in his goal, and he
was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the


curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton's church became so crowded during services that
it had to be enlarged. He preached not only in Olney but in other parts of the country.


In 1767 the poet William Cowper settled at Olney, and he and Newton became friends. Cowper
helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held not
only a regular weekly church service but


also began a series of weekly prayer meetings, for which their goal was to write a new
hymn for each one. They collaborated on several editions of Olney Hymns, which achieved
lasting popularity. The first edition, published in 1779, contained


68 pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton. Among Newton's contributions which are still loved
and sung today are "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds" and "Glorious Things of Thee Are
Spoken," as well as "Amazing Grace." Composed


probably between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, "Amazing Grace" was possibly one of the hymns
written for a weekly service. Through the years other writers have composed additional
verses to the hymn which came to be known as "Amazing Grace"


(it was not thus entitled in Olney Hymns), and possibly verses from other Newton hymns
have been added. The origin of the melody is unknown. Most hymnals attribute it to an
early American folk melody. The Bill Moyers special on "Amazing


Grace" speculated that it may have originated as the tune of a song the slaves sang.

In 1780 Newton left Olney to become Director of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch, in
London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William
Wilberforce, who would one day become a


Continues for 5 more pages >>




  • Amistad Conflict
    Amistad Conflict The Amistad Conflict In January 1839, fifty-three African natives were kidnapped from eastern Africa and sold into the Spanish slave trade. They were then placed aboard a Spanish slave ship bound for Havana, Cuba. Once in Havana, the Africans were classified as native Cuban slaves and purchased at auction by two Spaniards, Don Jose Ruiz and Don Pedro Montez. The two planned to move the slaves to another part of Cuba. The slaves were shackled and loaded aboard the cargo ship Amis
  • Amistad conflict
    Amistad conflict The Amistad Conflict In January 1839, fifty-three African natives were kidnapped from eastern Africa and sold into the Spanish slave trade. They were then placed aboard a Spanish slave ship bound for Havana, Cuba. Once in Havana, the Africans were classified as native Cuban slaves and purchased at auction by two Spaniards, Don Jose Ruiz and Don Pedro Montez. The two planned to move the slaves to another part of Cuba. The slaves were shackled and loaded aboard the cargo ship Ami
  • Civil War Study Guide
    Civil War Study Guide 1. Alexander Hamilton - He was one of the earliest and most active nationalists, believing that the continental congress needed to be strengthened or overthrown in favor a new, more imposing federal government that could legislate within the states, which the continental congress could not do. Hamilton was the spokesman for an active government, stressing the principle of government Responsibility , against the Jeffersonian/Madisonian principle of public vigilance and suspi
  • The Slave Trade In Uncle Toms Cabin
    The Slave Trade In Uncle Toms Cabin The slave trade in Uncle Tom\'s Cabin Few books can truly be said to have altered the course of history, and even fewer can be said to have started an entire war. Uncle Tom\'s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one novel to do both. Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe upon meeting her, So this is the little lady who made this big war.". Uncle Tom\'s Cabin had a tremendous effect on early 19th century thoughts of slavery; stirring abolitioni
  • Slave Stuff
    Slave Stuff The slave trade in Uncle Tom\'s Cabin Few books can truly be said to have altered the course of history, and even fewer can be said to have started an entire war. Uncle Tom\'s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one novel to do both. Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe upon meeting her, So this is the little lady who made this big war.". Uncle Tom\'s Cabin had a tremendous effect on early 19th century thoughts of slavery; stirring abolitionist support in the north.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin - The Slave Trade
    Uncle Tom\'s Cabin - The Slave Trade Few books can truly be said to have altered the course of history, and even fewer can be said to have started an entire war. Uncle Tom\'s Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one novel to do both. Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe upon meeting her, "So this is the little lady who made this big war.Ē. Uncle Tomís Cabin had a tremendous effect on early 19th century thoughts of slavery; stirring abolitionist support in the north. The novel is