From Bondage to Freedom
John Newton’s mother died when he was a small boy, and his father was a sea captain. Newton also went to sea, and fell into the most prodigal and profligate life. After being impressed into the British navy, he became a deserter. He eventually sold himself to a slave trader in Africa and fell as low as a man could descend. Then he found the incomparable grace of God in Christ Jesus. Here is a poem that he wrote of his marvelous conversion:
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear;
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw one hanging on a tree
In agony and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me
As near His cross I stood.
Sure, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look:
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair;
I saw my sins His blood had spilt
And helped to nail Him there.
Alas! I knew not what I did,
But now my tears are vain:
Where shall my trembling soul be hid?
For I the Lord have slain!
A second look He gave, which said,
I freely all forgive:
This blood is for thy ransom paid,
I die that though mayst live.
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue;
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is filled;
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I killed.