The hymn Amazing Grace was written in 1772 by John Newton (1725-1807) and published in 1779. The most familiar tune used these days is New Britain, composed in 1835 by the American composer William Walker.
John Newton worked on board slave ships for many years and it was during a storm at sea that the first steps of his conversion to Christianity occurred. However, he stated that he was truly converted some time later. He became an Anglican priest in 1764 and an abolitionist in the 1780s and campaigned against slavery thereafter.
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.
Yea, 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’d first begun.
The hymn is used for A Song for Farnham.