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Another Coffee from the April 1990 Deep Cove Crier

What’s So Amazing About Grace??

A violent storm was the turning point in John Newton’s life.  Motherless at age 6 and sent to sea on his 11th birthday, he soon became a teenage rebel. He was press-ganged into the Navy and flogged for desertion. Newton became involved with the African Slave Trade and came close to starvation while living in extreme poverty in Sierra Leone.

You name the corruption ... he both saw it and lived it during his wealthy slave trading days. He even ended up for a short time as a slave himself. What he was most enslaved to, however, was a violent temper and a filthy tongue. John was so blasphemous that once even his hardened shipmates threatened to throw him overboard in order to calm a dangerous storm.

Throughout his blasphemy and rebellion, John had family members who never stopped praying for him.  Secretly he began to read the "Good Book:’ but somehow it never made sense. One night in March 1748, at the age of 23, he was on board a cargo ship which was fighting for its life against heavy seas and rough weather. Worn out with pumping and almost frozen, he called out for God’s mercy at the height of the storm, and was amazed to be saved from almost certain death.

Who would have guessed that this blasphemous sailor would have been used to write one of the most-loved songs: Amazing Grace?  Who would have imagined that he would have been instrumental in abolishing the evil of slavery?
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St. Simon's Anglican Church 
North Vancouver, B.C.