Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 83: Amazing Grace... The Story Behind It...

One of my favorite songs is Amazing Grace. It can be sung so many different ways and always be beautiful. The lyrics are touching, but the story behind it is even more...

It's hard to shake off a mother's influence. John Newton's earliest memories were of his godly mother, who, despite fragile health, devoted herself to nurturing his soul. At her knee he memorized Bible passages and hymns. Though she died when he was about seven, he later recalled her tearful prayers for him.

After her death, John alternated between boarding school and the high seas, wanting to live a good life but nonetheless falling deeper and deeper into sin. Pressed into service with the British Navy, he deserted, was captured, and after two days of suspense, was flogged. His subsequent thoughts vacillated between murder and suicide. "I was capable of anything," he recalled.

More voyages, dangers, toils, and snares followed. It was a life unrivaled in fiction. Then, on the night of March 9, 1748, John, twenty-three, was jolted awake by a brutal storm that descended too suddenly for the crew to foresee. The next day, in great peril, he cried to the Lord. He later wrote, "That tenth of March is a day much remembered by me; and I have never suffered it to pass unnoticed since the year 1748... the Lord came from on high and delivered me out of deep waters."

The next several years saw slow, halting spiritual growth in John, but in the end he became one of the most powerful evangelical preachers in British history, a powerful foe of slavery, and the author of hundreds of hymns.

Here are some things you may not know about Newton's most famous hymn. His title for it wasn't originally "Amazing Grace" but "Faith's Review and Expectation." It is based in Newton's study of 1 Chronicles 17:16-17: "King David... said: 'Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet... You have also spoken of Your servant's house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the rank of a man of high degree..."

And here's a nearly forgotten verse that Newton added near the end of "Amazing Grace." Try singing it for yourself:

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, the sun forbear to shine:
But God, Who called me here below, shall be forever mine.

Copyrighted to Robert J. Morgan, Then Sings My Soul(Special Edition)

 (Remember to pause my purple music box on the right sidebar. The bottom middle button will pause it) This has some different facts in it that I didn't share up above... It's also pretty short :-)

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