Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Life of John Newton

Life of John Newton
American Missionary Fellowship
9780890516201 Retail Price: $14.99

About the book:
What about the life of an 18th century human trafficker could inspire you?

John Newton found himself the captain of a ship transporting slaves from Africa to England. On each journey, he mercilessly subjected hundreds to inhumane conditions only to be sold if they survived. But in a life-threatening storm, he cried out to God for help. Saved from imminent death, Newton soon realized he had also been saved from himself. Twenty years into his journey of knowing the grace and mercy of God, Newton penned Amazing Grace, unforgettable hymn of redemption.

The Life of John Newton is a biography that will inspire every man, woman and child. His spiritual transformation highlights the unstoppable force of God's love and unlimited grace regardless of one’s own wretched history.

This Christian Classic was originally published in 1831 ASSU (American Sunday School Union). Attic Books, an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group, meticulously reproduced each page. With tattered edged pages and a vintage cover, Life of John Newton is now an affordable, timeless classic is for a new generation interested in the foundations of our Christian heritage. It is one of Attic Books “Life of” series featuring biographies of heroes from the 18th century and beyond.

My Thoughts and Review:
Amazing Grace, the most popular hymn of all times...who hasn't heard it? Some also know who wrote it. I wonder how many really know the dramatic life of John Newton, its author. I myself had heard his story before. But what a treat it was for me to read this book/his biography and learn more about him! I was stunned to find out how many times he had near-death experiences (at least 7 times!...I counted them). Talk about God's providence...John Newton saw it over and over again. John Newton was born in London on July 24, 1725. His life had gone through lots of challenges and difficulties starting as early as when he was a preteen (a rough, corrupted seaman). From being a troubled teen at its worst to working like a slave under a mean mistress to becoming a slave trader himself! But no one including John Newton is beyond God's grace, mercy, and redemption! His life was such a powerful testimony.

I really enjoyed reading this inspiring book. Did you know that he couldn't swim (which contributed to the fact that he was on the brink of death many times considering his line of work :))? Did you know that he was a romantic guy :)? He wrote beautiful love letters to his wife; they were also filled with Biblical insights and eternal perspectives. Here is an example (he wrote to his wife when he was ill and didn't know if he would live or die): "Should it therefore please God, to make my death the happy occasion of fixing your dependence, hope, and desire, upon him alone; surely I can say, Thy will be done. My heart bleeds when I represent to myself, the grief with which such an event would overwhelm you. But I know that he can moderate and sanctify it, and give you cause hereafter to say, it was good for you to have been so afflicted; and ere long, the time will come, when all tears shall be wiped, both from your eyes and mine." (p. 92) Did you know that he knew 5 languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, French, and English? John Newton was humble, encouraging, and loving. He was a major influence on William Cowper (who struggled with depression most of his life), a fellow hymn writer. They worked together and produced the famous Olney Hymns hymnal in 1779.

John Newton died at the age of 82. He never ceased to be in awe at God's grace and if you read this book, you'll totally understand why. Shortly before his death, John Newton said, "My memory is nearly gone, but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior!"

"The power of God can reclaim the most hardened offender, but no one has a right to expect it will be exerted in his favour, if he persist in that which he knows to be wrong." (p. 6)
"I can see no reason why the Lord singled me out for mercy, but this, 'that so it seemed good to him;' unless it was to show, by one astonishing instance, that with him 'nothing is impossible.' (p. 56)

~ I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.

Note: Please turn off my music playlist at the bottom of this page before starting the trailer.

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