Saturday, August 6, 2011

Life of John Newton {Author of Amazing Grace}

Do you get chills when you hear or sing Amazing Grace?

Even for those who do not often enter church buildings, Amazing Grace is one of the most emotion-invoking, recognizable hymns of all time.

After having read Life of John Newton, I will never hear nor sing that song the same again.  I only thought it stirred my soul before...but now...unbelievable...amazing.

This brief but powerful biography of John Newton, author of Amazing Grace, was written and originally published in 1831 by the American Sunday School Union and was reprinted in June of 2011 by Attic Books.

I have read and reviewed most of the other books Attic Books has printed in the Life Of... series, and I must say that this one is my absolute favorite so far.  Though each one has been powerful, influencing, and insightful to read, this one...well, you just need to see for yourself.

Sure, the words of Amazing Grace allude to the author having been a "wretch."  BUT, we really don't get the depth of his meaning behind saying he was a wretch.  This man, John Newton, was as he says, "the chief of sinners."  Recognize that?
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. - Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15
After having read the account of John Newton's life, I would say he was even more "the chief of sinners" than Paul.  I know sin has no degrees, as in one is worse than another, but the life of Mr. Newton was truly a wretched one for many, many years.

Each time I thought his circumstances and demeanor had gotten as bad as they could---they got worse.

Each time I thought he had surely awakened and learned his lesson and was about to pen Amazing Grace---he didn't.


Yes, he obviously did finally come to that crucial turning point, and truly only by the Amazing Grace of God by the drawing and conviction of His Holy Spirit through the saving work of the spilling of the blood payment of His beloved Son, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.

And today, because Mr. N. (as he is often referred to in this biography) lived a wretched life, seemingly beyond hope of redemption, and because he WAS redeemed and lived to tell and write and sing about it---because of Mr. Newton and many others like him (myself being one)---today you and I can sing a song that speaks to the souls of many far deeper than most songs can.

Are you a wretch?  
Are you the chief of sinners?  
Are you too far gone to have any hope for redemption 
or even any desire for it?

Do you know anyone who may be feeling that way right now?  

Have you been there and found that amazing grace 
is more amazing and gracious than you ever thought possible?

I challenge you all to consider reading this powerful life story of Mr. John Newton.  Then, don't stop there.  Share it.  Share it with those who need to hear it.  Those who can relate to it.  We all need to recognize the depth of our despair without the amazing grace, forgiveness, salvation, and redemption of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And we all need to accept His free gift, then share it until we cannot speak nor sing nor write anymore.

As Mr. Newton replied when in his physically deteriorating old age he was being encouraged to stop preaching before he could no longer speak,
"'I cannot stop,' said he, raising his voice; 'What ! shall the old African blasphemer stop while he can speak?'"
We cannot afford to deny our need for God's amazing grace and accept it as it is freely given to us.  And we cannot stop speaking of it as long as we can still speak.

Who knows what blasphemer and slave trader may hear our testimony of the amazing grace we have found and in turn become the next John Newton and write the next Amazing Grace?

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Attic Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

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