Saturday, September 10

Life of John Newton... writer of Amazing Grace

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.

We all know those words and many of us, because of the movie Amazing Grace, know a little about John Newton, who wrote them later in his life.  But do we know how truly "wretched" he was?  His wretchedness gives such hope to me!  He was terribly rotten, denied God numerous times, participated in the slave trade while he was a strong Christian (did you know that?!) and thought nothing was wrong with it, and God continued to draw Him closer, to save him, to change his life & to change his mind. 

Was blind, but now I see.

Surely John Newton was still blind in many ways even for years after giving his life to God.  When we read about his life, about the "dangers, toils and snares" through which he "came," it give the song Amazing Grace so much more depth & meaning.   This book is short, only 141 pages, and it only just begins to go into the "Life of John Newton."  It's a wonderful starting point and a beautiful book itself.  Originally published in 1831 just 24 years after Newton's death, it's been republished by Attic Books to look much like the original book.  The edges of the pages are ridged, the typeface is old-fashioned, and it feels like reading an old book... except for the smell.  If they could include that wonderfully musty smell of old books, it'd be perfect!  Life of John Newton makes me want to know even more about him, even though now I understand so much more of what God brought him through.  I can hold to the words he held to:

'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.
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've first begun.

--John Newton, 1773

This book was provided to me by the wonderful people at New Leaf Publishing in exchange for a thoughtful and honest review.

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