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Amazing grace (Judy Collins)
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One of the most famous and popular songs in the history of English (you can also hear it sang by Elvis Presley, Witney Houston, Celine Dion, Chris Tomlin or U2 and many many more).

"Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779. With a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of the sins people commit and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, "Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology. [His Christian conversion turned him to be a strong influence on the leading British abolitionist William Wilberforce in favour of the emancipation of slaves. No wonder this song is specially popular among the black American community.]

Ordained in the Church of England in 1764, Newton became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he began to write hymns with poet William Cowper. "Amazing Grace" was written to illustrate a sermon on New Year's Day of 1773. It is unknown if there was any music accompanying the verses, and it may have been chanted by the congregation without music. It debuted in print in 1779 in Newton and Cowper's Olney Hymns, but settled into relative obscurity in England. In the United States however, "Amazing Grace" was used extensively during the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century. It has been associated with more than 20 melodies, but in 1835 it was joined to a tune named "New Britain" to which it is most frequently sung today.

Author Gilbert Chase writes that "Amazing Grace" is "without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns",[1] and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually.[2] It has had particular influence in folk music, and become an emblematic African American spiritual. Its universal message has been a significant factor in its crossover into secular music. "Amazing Grace" saw a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and has been recorded thousands of times during and since the 20th century, sometimes appearing on popular music charts.

(source: Wikipedia)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm 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
We have already come;
'Twas Grace that brought us safe thus far
and Grace will lead us home.

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've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I'm found,
Was blind, but now I see.

AMAZING= Incredible, fantastic, wonderful, awesome, great.

GRACE= Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favour of God.

WRETCH= A miserable, unfortunate, or unhappy person. A person regarded as base, mean, or despicable.

A WRETCH LIKE ME= Me, who am a wretch. (I'm a wretch and you saved me)
If I say "I don't want to talk to liars like you", I'm saying that you are a liar and I don't want to talk to you.

'TWAS= (a bit old fashioned) It was.

TO FEAR= To be afraid. (a Christian must be afraid of all the things that may harm their soul)

RELIEVE= To free from pain, anxiety, or distress. To rescue.

PRECIOUS= /preʃəs/ Valuable, dear, cherished, important, of high value, very much loved.

TOILS= Difficulties, effort and labour.

SNARES= Traps, dangers.

THUS FAR= Until here; until now.

THERE= At home, in heaven.

BRIGHT SHINING AS THE SUN= (poetical order) Shining brightly like the sun.

This song is a hymn to how wonderful God's grace is. God's grace is all the love, blessings and liberation that He sends to us. He doesn't force us to accept His present, but if we do, all our life will change. In this autobiographical song, the author explains his past, his present and his future:

A past without God: I was a wretch but God saved me
(how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me)

A present with grace: Now I'm not lost, now I can see the truth, etc.
(I once was lost but now I'm found, Was blind, but now I see.)

A future full of hope:
He knows he will one day come home to God
('Twas Grace that brought us safe thus far and Grace will lead us home.)

But most of all, it's a cry of thanks for his conversion:
(How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed.)


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