John Newton - (1725-1807), Evangelical Pastor and Hymn Writer
John Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. 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.
On March 21,1748, during his return voyage to England aboard the ship Greyhound, Newton had a spiritual conversion. He awoke to find the ship caught in a severe storm off the coast of Donegal, Ireland and about to sink. In response, Newton began praying for God's mercy, after which the storm began to die down. After four weeks at sea the Greyhound made it to port in Lough Swilly, Ireland. This experience marked the beginning of his conversion to Christianity.
He began to read the Bible and other religious literature. By the time he reached Britain, he had accepted the doctrines of Christianity. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling and drinking. Although he continued to work in the slave trade, he had gained sympathy for the slaves during his time in Africa. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: "I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards."
For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of March 21, 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. During his days as a sailor he had begun to educate himself, teaching himself Latin, among other subjects. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield's enthusiastic disciple. During this period Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton's self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew.
As his faith matured, Newton’s remorse over his involvement in the slave trade surfaced and galvanized him. In 1785 he met with William Wilberforce and counseled him to remain in politics rather than pursue a religious life. Newton would remain a spiritual mentor for the prominent abolitionist for the next 20 years. He renounced his former slaving profession by publishing a blazing pamphlet called “Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade.” The tract described the horrific conditions on the ships and Newton apologized for making a public statement so many years after participating in the trade: “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”
Cowper helped Newton with his religious services and on his tours to other places. They held a regular weekly church service and also 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 between 1760 and 1770 in Olney, "Amazing Grace" was possibly one of the hymns written for a weekly service. The origin of the melody is unknown. Most hymnals attribute it to an early American folk melody.
John Newton died in London England on December 21, 1807 at age 82. His wife Mary had died previously a few years earlier in 1790.
The graphic below shows an artists depiction of the slaves crammed into the hull of ships as they were transported to destinations around the world. Many never made it, dying before they arrived, and thrown overboard.
God's convictions moved Newton to abandon the slave trade-and actively preach against it, lifting the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Can You Identify With John Newton?
Through the centuries there have been, and continue to be, many who can identify with Newton's testimony. Once a blasphemer, living in deep sin, trading humans in slavery, responsible for the suffering and death of many, but the grace and mercy of God seized him, and brought him to repentance, and salvation in Christ. The process of transformation as Newton said, was gradual, and ongoing through the years of his life. The choices he made, revealed the inner workings of God, bringing him into the path of truth and holiness, from a life of degradation, and sin.
A story of a transformed life. What Jesus did for John Newton, he did for me in 1978, and is still in the process of renewing my mind, and transforming my life.
What Jesus has done for us who have come out of deep sin-and the power of God to change us-can happen for you.
Newton cried out to God when he thought all was lost, and was answered. Call out to the Lord, He will hear you, just the same.
"I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior." - John Newton
This is not just a song.
It is the testimony and declaration of faith by every believer in Christ.
I am certain this song, with other songs of Praise, will be sung by the saints in Heaven for ten thousands of years.
Amazing Grace: The Story Behind the Song
In this page there will be devotions/poems
music and inspirational material
The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
But this is that which was spoken by the
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: