Thursday, February 22, 2007

Amazing Grace

I would say, that slave trading is less than an honorable profession. Of course we've had slaves since the dawn of man. Remember, the Israelites were slave to Egypt, they built the pyramids with their own blood, sweat and tears. But if you disagree, with my first sentence, then just envision yourself, as a slave. It was not right then or even 100 years ago. But just as slavery has a part in the past, people have not always seen, eye to eye on this subject. I imagine, if they, themselves were or had been a slave, it might change their minds. Or maybe not...
Long ago, there was a man, by the name of John Newton, who was highly regarded in his trade. One dark and stormy night, as he sailed upon the open sea, the storm grew worse and an ever present threat to sink his ship, was evident and imminent. It was enough, to make him full of fear. It was enough to make him think.
Isn't it strange, how we justify doing things, things we know are wrong, by not thinking about them? We make excuses to lighten the true nature of it and show complete disregard and twist the laws of God and nature, do we not? I do believe Mr. Newton had regarded his position and behavior with mixed emotion. It was a matter of convenience, to do his job and show no real accountability, till this dark and stormy night.
As this storm slammed and ravaged his slave ship, John in fear for his very life, thought to pray. He cried out to God, "Save us and I'll quit this business and become your slave, forever."
John Newton, along with his ship, survived the storm. He went on to become a Minister, serving the Lord. His spirit was transformed. He was such joyful, in his celebration he wrote;

"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."

Isn't it a wonderful thing to be forgiven? True repentance is when we are sorry for our actions, not because we are caught or in dire straights but when we see the err of our behavior. Once we are forgiven, it is time to celebrate. Do not take this forgiveness for granted. By giving true importance to the method of repentance we give it true meaning. It is then, not for naught, Christ/Yeshua's death/resurrection on the cross; for me and you.

Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean. When John was eleven, he went to sea with his father and made six voyages with him before the elder Newton retired. In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.

Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. He then became the servant of a slave trader and was brutally abused. Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had known John's father. John Newton ultimately became captain of his own ship, one which plied the slave trade.

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