A Hymn Of Grace -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 02:2 (Autumn 1989)
Article: A Hymn Of Grace
Author: Anonymous

A Hymn Of Grace

Faith’s Review and Expectation
(Amazing Grace)

Amazing 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.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Through 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 promised 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 called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

John Newton (1725–1807)

Newton’s original title was “Faith’s Review and Expectation,” but the work is now universally known by its first two words, “Amazing Grace.” It is based on David’s words in 1 Chron 17:16–17:

Who am I, O Lord God, and what is mine house, that thou bast brought me hitherto? And yet this was a small thing in throe eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come, and hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, O Lord God.

The first (original) six stanzas are taken completely unaltered from Olney Hymns, 1779.1 When one considers how even the hymns of such a great poet as Charles Wesley have been altered (and actually improved in many cases), such a phenomenon is amazing. The same six stanzas appear in the Moravian Hymnal, 1789.2 The original sixth stanza is rarely seen today, being replaced by the popular last stanza printed here.

All knowledgeable church historians are agreed that “Amazing Grace” accurately reflects John Newton’s own experience as a converted “infidel and libertine,” to use his own self-evaluation. His marvelous and truly amazing life story is condensed in his epitaph, written by himself. It is incised on a plain marble tablet near the vestry door of his Lond...

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