pirate-1825392Amazing 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.

Chances are, you have heard these lyrics many times. These are the words from “Amazing Grace,” one of the greatest songs of all time.

What you may not realize is that these words were penned by a repentant slave trader.

John Newton’s life changed forever during a storm at sea in 1748. He had been reading “The Imitation of Christ,” by Thomas a Kempis, and pondering the mess his life had become. The storm lasted for several days, and in the midst of the turmoil, Newton called out to God.

His life changed after that storm, but it took time for Newton to turn away from his slave-trading ways. Slowly he changed, and he went on to write a pamphlet that had a tremendous impact on William Wilberforce, the man who led the effort to abolish slavery in most of the British empire. Newton wrote the lyrics to “Amazing Grace” in late 1772.

Check out our latest video, “Amazing Grace,” on our History by the Slice YouTube channel. And be sure to subscribe to our History By the Slice YouTube channel by clicking the “Subscribe” button on my author home page.

Amazing Grace: the Amazing Story of John Newton

By Doug Peterson


History by the Slice