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Baker Troop

Amazing Grace Song

Meet JOHN NEWTON Author of Amazing Grace. Was this man a sinner or a saint? john_newtonWhat is the difference between what men call saints and what God calls saints? Ecclesiastical saints are so called after an earthly standard. The lives of men are examined, and if they pass the human requirements of saintliness which have been set up by the church courts, then they are called saints. But when God makes a saint,  He does it by exalting the Lord Jesus Christ and manifesting His grace to a sinner. Of all the examples which I know in the history of the Church, the most outstanding is that of John Newton, who became known as the second founder of the Church of England. One of his hymns has become famous in America, where it is more sung than in England.

This English preacher wrote: 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.

As a child, his mother taught him many verses of Scripture by heart, and when she died, he was no more than six years of age, but the Word was written on his heart. He was reared in the home of a relative who was not a Christian, and became an apprentice seaman. Wild and dissolute, he deserted from the British navy and ran away to Africa in order, as he put it in his memoirs, "that I might sin my fill." He had the reputation of being able to curse for two hours without repeating himself. In Africa he fell in with a Portuguese slave trader, and while this man was absent from his home, John Newton was treated like a dog by the black woman who was the chief of the trader's harem. For months he was forced to grovel in the dirt and pick up his food with his mouth from the ground, being lashed by a slave if he touched it with his hands. Thin and emaciated, he decided to escape inland. Remember that this was the Africa of the18th Century. He survived horrible ordeals, and reached a spot on the coast where, with a signal fire, he drew a small boat from a passing ship, the captain thinking that he was a native wishing to sell ivory. As he was a skilled navigator he became the ship's mate, and soon after, when the captain was ashore, broke out the ship's rum and got the whole crew drunk. The captain, upon his return, struck him so violently that he fell overboard and would have drowned in his drunken condition had not a sailor speared him in the thigh with a boat hook, making a wound so great that, ever afterwards, John Newton could put his fist in the scar. Weeks later, as the ship was returning to Britain, a great storm blew it off course. They passed north of Ireland and came, still in the great storm, off the coast of Scotland where the ship almost foundered. It was in this great storm, when Newton had been manning the pumps for days, that he cried out to God, and was wonderfully saved in a moment.

It was of this storm that Cowper wrote: God moves in His mysterious ways His wonders to perform: He plants His footsteps on the seas And rides upon the storm.

John Newton--from the time of his conversion when God had suddenly made him a saint through the finished work of Christ in grace--became a pillar of the Church of England, chaplain to Parliament, preaching before the King. The old African blasphemer was the one who wrote the hymn:

How sweet the name of Jesus sounds In a believer's ear: it soothes his sorrow, heals his wounds And drives away his fear.

On his monument in Westminster Abbey, where he lies buried, we read that he had been "a slave of slaves," but that the Lord had delivered him out of bondage. His sin had abounded, but God's grace flooded over the mountains. Newton described his experience with Jesus the best in this song:

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.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine; But God,
Who called me here below, Shall be forever mine.
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’d first begun.

It is no wonder that John Newton was a great preacher of grace. He had learned that where sin abounded grace did much more abound: grace overflowed; grace was infinite. And he had become the astounding example of the fact that grace is not withheld because of sin. You have heard the Song before but you didn't know the man who wrote it, now you know a little about the man who wrote it.

Who is this Jesus that everyone keeps bragging on? Think on this

  1. Here is a man who was born in a lowly manger, the child of a peasant woman.
  2. He grew up in an obscure village.
  3. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for 3 years was an itinerant preacher.
  4. He never wrote a book.
  5. He never Held an office.
  6. He never went to college.
  7. He never owned a house.
  8. He never had a Family.
  9. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place he was born.
  10. He never did one of the things usually accompany greatness.
  11. He had no credentials but himself.
  12. He had nothing to do with this world except the power of his divine manhood.
  13. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him.
  14. His friends ran away, and one of them denied him.
  15. He was turned over to his enemies.
  16. He went through the mockery of a trial
  17. He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves.
  18. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was dying - his coat.
  19. When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed tomb through the pity of a friend.
  20. Twenty wide centuries have come and gone. Today he is the center piece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.

I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings the ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has THAT ONE SOLITARY LIFE. Think about that! Who could do such a thing but God himself. The best part is he wants you to personally know him. Read the Gospel of John here