Some beautiful music for Sunday

It’s the birthday of slave-trader-turned-abolitionist John Newton (1725-1807). Newton wrote the words to hundreds of hymns, including “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,” “May the Grace of Christ Our Savior,” “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,” and his greatest hit, “Amazing Grace.”

8 Responses to Some beautiful music for Sunday

  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. —- Suzanne

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  2. Thanks for this.Never heard this famous choir. Unusual in not having soloists. Am intrigued how this became an anthem for abolition. Always felt ‘I wish I knew how it would feel to be free’ more appropriate, think it was written by a former slave.

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    • John Newton’s experience was unusual in that he got to see slavery from several different perspectives: first he was a slave trader, then he was a slave himself, and later in life he became an abolitionist. This particular hymn is not really about slavery; it’s just Newton’s general reflections on the grace of God.

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      • He wasn’t a slave. He was not a trader either. He captained slave ships

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        • You are correct that he captained slave ships; I was using the shorthand “slave trader” to signify one who made his living in the slave trade. But all of the sources I consulted in my research agreed that he was indeed a slave, if slavery is defined as “involuntary servitude.” As a teenager he was captured by a press gang and forced into service in the Royal Navy — a common practice in those days. Later, while a crew member on a slave ship, he apparently made such a nuisance of himself that his fellow crew members left him with a slave dealer in West Africa, who gave him to his wife/mistress (depending upon which source you ask) as her personal slave. He worked alongside the black slaves, was treated as one of them, and was not paid for his labor. By any reasonable definition, that constitutes slavery.

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  3. Yvonne says:

    Wahhh, that always makes me cry. Sniffle.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful and haunting. I saw a bottle at the perfume counter—the scent is “Amazing Grace.” So much nicer than “My Sin.”

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