This hymn is a plea for salvation and forgiveness written in 1779 by 54-year-old John (1725 - 1807), an English clergyman, who was desperately seeking peace within himself.
Peace from what? Here is his story:
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John had been a slave ship captain, buying slaves in Africa, and selling them in America.
He had no religious convictions, even mocking those who did.
But that changed when his slave ship was battered by a violent storm off the coast of Ireland.
It appeared the ship would sink, and John prayed to God to save everyone on board. His prayers were answered and his religious conversion had begun.
At first, he still captained slave ships, but he began to study Christian theology. In 1764, he was ordained by the Church of England.
But John's conscience was tortured by the hell he had inflicted on his black captives.
As was common practice, he had these men, women and children chained below deck for the two to three-week journey to America, seasick and living in their own waste.
When his ships reached port, the surviving slaves were cleaned up and sold at auction.
But some, such as mothers who tried to hold onto their children, were beaten. When their children were sold many mothers never saw them again.
John had profited from their misery, but as the years passed he could hear their cries, and he had endless nightmares.
Then a dramatic transformation took place.
Deeply regretful for what he had done, John became an abolitionist, doing everything in his power to end slavery in England and throughout the British Empire.
He strongly influenced the leading abolitionist, William Wilberforce, whose fierce determination ultimately succeeded in ending slavery and the slave trade in the British Empire.
But it was "Amazing Grace," John's plea for forgiveness and redemption, which reached a vast audience then, as it does today.
For "Amazing Grace" has become a spiritual anthem for people all over the world, as a message of forgiveness and hope, one of faith for a better tomorrow.
To hear a beautiful version of this hymn with its original lyrics, sung by Chelsea Robinson, please click here, or listen to it below.