How sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see."
These were the words of
, a former slave ship captain, who died DECEMBER 21, 1807.
At age 11, his mother died and he went to sea with his father.
fell in love with Mary Catlett while on shore leave, but overstaying his visit, he missed his ship's departure.
In 1744, he was caught by a "press gang" and dragged onto the ship
where he was forced to be a sailor.
tried to desert but was caught, stripped to the waist and flogged with 8 dozen lashes.
later wrote in a letter:
"Like an unwary sailor who quits his port just before a rising storm, I renounced the hopes and comforts of the Gospel at the very time when every other comfort was about to fail me."
His reckless behavior caused him to be traded to a slave ship.
Being a continual problem,
was intentionally left on a plantation in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
There the African slave dealer, Amos Clowe, made
a slave of his wife, Princess Peye, an African duchess, where he suffered abuse and mistreatment.
Scottish Missionary David Livingstone
and the Muslim Arab slave traders' shocking treatment of African slaves (
Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa
, London, October 1857):
"It was refreshing to get food which could be eaten without producing the unpleasantness described by the
Rev. John Newton,
of St. Mary's, Woolnoth, London, when obliged to eat the same roots while a slave in the West (Africa) ..."
"A party of
Arabs from Zanzibar
were ... at a village in the same latitude as Naliele town ...
The Arabs mentioned ... they ... disliked the English, 'because they thrash (criticize) them for selling slaves' ...
... I ventured to tell them that I agreed with the English, that it was better to let the children grow up and comfort their mothers when they became old, than to carry them away and sell them across the sea ...
After many explanations of our abhorrence of slavery, and how displeasing it must be to God to see his children selling one another."
David Livingstone described the
Arab Muslim slave trade
a monster brooding over Africa
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was finally rescued from Africa but continued his immoral life in the slave trade, deriding Christians with blasphemy that shocked even sailors.
wrote in 1778:
"How industrious is Satan served.
I was formerly one of his active under-temptors and had my influence been equal to my wishes I would have carried all the human race with me.
A common drunkard or profligate is a petty sinner to what I was."
was on the slave ship
. They were caught in a storm so terrible that he was convinced they would sink. He prayed for the first time in his life.
then read Thomas a Kempis'
'Imitation of Christ'
and the Bible.
He continued in the slave trade for a time, but endeavored to treat slaves humanely.
finally left the slave trade, married Mary Catlett in 1750, and moved to Liverpool, where from 1755 to 1760 he worked as a surveyor of tides.
met the evangelistic preacher
, the founder of Methodism.
was inspired to become a minister and taught himself Greek and Hebrew.
He was turned down by the Archbishop of York, but persisted and was eventually ordained in 1764.
was assigned to the village of
, Buckinghamshire, where he humbly proclaimed the saving power of Christ.
In 1767, poet
William Cowper moved to Olney, and with his help, Newton composed songs for their weekly prayer meetings.
wrote in the poem "Winter Walk at Noon," 1785:
"Nature is but a name for an effect,
Whose cause is God."
Newton and Cowper's
songs were first published in 1779 in a collection titled
"Oh! for a Closer Walk with God,"
"God Moves in a Mysterious Way," and
"There is a Fountain Filled with Blood," which has the lines:
"The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away."
This is in reference to God, being
just, having to judge every single sin, but being
love, He provided the Lamb to take the judgment for the sin.
Isaiah 53: "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed ...
Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent ...
He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished ...
Yet it was the
Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer ... The
Lord makes his life an offering for sin ...
My righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities ... For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
as William Wilberforce and
as John Newton.
Experiencing the joy of forgiveness,
in 1780 to become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Mary Woolchurch.
He continually preached against slavery and published his ghastly experiences in the slave trade in 1788.
Many influential leaders in England
attended John Newton's
services, among them being
to champion the effort in the British Parliament to end slavery.
President Ronald Reagan
wrote in "Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation" (
The Human Life Review
"Prayer and action are needed to uphold the sanctity of human life. I believe it will not be possible to accomplish our work of saving lives, 'without being a soul of prayer.'
The famous British member of Parliament
prayed with his small group of influential friends,
the 'Clapham Sect,' for decades to see an end to slavery in the British empire.
Wilberforce led that struggle in Parliament
, unflaggingly, because he believed in the sanctity of human life. He saw the fulfillment of his impossible dream when
Parliament outlawed slavery just before his death."
tomb and on a church plaque is,
once an infidel and libertine,
a servant of slaves in Africa,
was, by the rich mercy
of our Lord and Saviour
preserved, restored, pardoned,
appointed to preach the faith
he had long labored to destroy.
the most popular Christian hymn ever,
John Newton's word began:
How sweet the sound
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine."
MIRACLES IN AMERICAN HISTORY-32 Amazing Stories of Answered Prayer
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