Scripture Verse

I was blind, but now I see! John 9:25


John Newton

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 41. Ex­cep­tion: The last stan­za is by an un­known au­thor; it ap­peared as ear­ly as 1829 in the Bap­tist Song­ster, by R. Win­chell (We­thers­field, Con­nec­ti­cut), as the last stan­za of the song Je­ru­sa­lem My Hap­py Home.

Music: New Bri­tain, Vir­gin­ia Har­mo­ny, by James P. Car­rell & Da­vid S. Clay­ton (Win­che­ster, Vir­gin­ia: 1831) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

St. Peter and Paul Church, Olney
Photo by Adam Jones


This is prob­ab­ly the most po­pu­lar hymn in the Eng­lish lan­guage. Per­haps it is be­cause its words so well des­cribe the au­thor: John New­ton was a slave trad­er be­fore com­ing to Christ. The Am­er­i­can Pub­lic Broad­cast­ing Sys­tem, with nar­rat­or Bill Moy­ers, made a tel­e­vi­sion doc­u­ment­a­ry about Am­az­ing Grace in 1990.

Ironically, the hymn is sung in Har­ri­et Beech­er Stowe’s 1852 nov­el Un­cle Tom’s Ca­bin by the ti­tu­lar Un­cle Tom, a slave him­self. In ad­di­tion to New­ton’s words, Tom sang the final stan­za be­low. Though that stan­za ap­peared in the 1829 Bap­tist Song­ster, Un­cle Tom’s Ca­bin may be the first time the words When we’ve been there ten thou­sand years are used as part of Amaz­ing Grace.

Wethersfield, Con­nec­ti­cut, where the Bap­tist Song­ster was pu­blished, is on­ly a couple of miles from Stowe’s home town of Hart­ford, Con­nec­ti­cut. In­ter­est­ing­ly, there is al­so a town named New Bri­tain just out­side Hart­ford.

This hymn was sung at the fun­er­al of Am­er­i­can pre­si­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan in 2004.



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.

Additional Scripture Verse

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul. Psalm 66:16