Not what I once was

Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce in "Amazing Grace."

Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce in “Amazing Grace.”

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”

English sailor, Slave ship captain, and clergyman John Newton was born on this day in 1725 (died 1807)

Newton became an abolitionist nearly 34 years after he retired from the slave trady offering “a confession, which … comes too late … It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me, that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”

Newton became an ally of William Wilberforce who lead the fight in Parliament to abolish the stave trade in Britain.

I love the depiction of the two men in the movie by the name of Newton’s beloved hymn, Amazing Grace.

My wife tells the story of being asked to sing for a lady in a nursing home who was more than 100 years old. When my wife sang “Amazing Grace” the woman said “Oh, that takes me back a hundred years.” And it did.

And now the story of the song is being told in a Broadway musical by the same name.

Newton’s story is one of redemption the “old, old, story” if you will.

It is perhaps best told simply by listening to the hymn.


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