Another Special Life in Christ
These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!
And, the story behind the hymn, "Amazing
Naval deserter, slave, becomes slave
He was a wretch, a moral pariah/outcast, a vile,
profane man. Born in 1725, he was at sea by the age of eleven (mother died when he was 7), he
was forced to enlist on a British man-of-war seven years later (age 18). Recaptured after
desertion, the disgraced sailor was exchanged to the crew of a slave ship bound for Africa
where he, himself, was enslaved and half-starved for 15 months. It was a book he found on
board...Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ...which sowed the seeds of his conversion. When
the ship he was on nearly foundered in a storm at age 23, he gave his life to Christ. Later
he was promoted to captain of a slave ship. Commanding a slave vessel around 1750 (at age
25!) seems like a strange place to find a new Christian. Over 6 years, he transported more
than a few shiploads of the 6 million African slaves brought to the Americas in the 18th
century. But, at last, the inhuman aspects of the business began to weigh heavily on him, and
he left the sea for good. And, through all of this, he had a Godly mother who prayed for him
to be changed.
While working as a tide surveyor, he was greatly
influenced by the Methodist-founder Wesley brothers and evangelist George Whitefield. He
studied for the ministry; and for the last 43 years of his life (ordained at age 39...1764),
he preached the gospel in Olney and London. At 82, he said, "My memory is nearly gone, but I
remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior." No wonder
he so well understood grace...the completely undeserved mercy and favor of
The wretch's tombstone reads, "John Newton, Clerk,
once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was, by the rich mercy of our
Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the
faith he had long labored to destroy."
But a far greater testimony outlives Newton
(1725-1807) in the words of the most famous of the hundreds of hymns he wrote (in 1772,
originally titled, "Faith's Review and Expectation"):
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.
grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come.
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
Note: The movie, "Amazing Grace", about this man is
set to debut 23 February 2007. Also,the John Newton story is key to Wintley Phipps' (black singer) story of how so many Negro spirituals are played on the "slave keys"...the black keys on the piano, HERE.
***give me your comments about this
[reposted & revised 17 February
2007; adjusted 8 September 2015]
You have just read a very brief example of the
powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now