Grace Notes
Lyrics and The Stories Behind The Praise Songs

Amazing Grace

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound..." So begins one of the most beloved hymns of all times, a staple in the hymnals of many denominations. The author of the words was John Newton, the self-proclaimed wretch who once was lost but then was found, saved by amazing grace.

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. But he was to become so hated by his own crew that when he fell over board, they used a harpoon (to his leg) to haul him back on board. He would limp for the rest of his life, due that injury.

Although he had had some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was seven, he had long since given up any religious convictions. However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his "great deliverance." He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, "Lord, have mercy upon us." Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

For the rest of his life he observed the anniversary of May 10, 1748 as the day of his conversion, a day of humiliation in which he subjected his will to a higher power. "Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’tis grace has bro’t me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

Amazing Grace

John Newton

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 call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

[Some versions include an additional verse:]

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.

[As you can see from the original version above, this verse is not by John Newton. According to Wikipedia it was originally from a hymn called "Jerusalem, My Happy Home". It was added to a version of "Amazing Grace" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, as it appears in her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin". In the novel, Uncle Tom joined the lyrics of several hymns together and those who learned the lyrics from that source have assumed that it was part of the original.

[Some versions also include:]

Shall I be wafted through the skies,
On flowery beds of ease,
Where others strive to win the prize,
And sail through bloody seas.

Can He Could He Would He?

Words & Music: John Chisum & Dwight Liles
Recorded by: The Cathedrals on MASTER BUILDER
Copyright 1986 Riversong Records

CHORUS:
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

1. From the moment I heard about the Lord and his word
Well, it seemed to be too good to be true.
Major questions and doubts I tried to figure it out,
But the best that I could do
Was to wander around in the love that I found
Until my questions started answering themselves, singing
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

CHORUS:
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

2. You can say you don't know it's necessarily so like somebody said it once in a song.
You can be what you choose, but, let me tell you the news, the Lord has loved you all along.
So if you're asking again will the doubts never end, simply trust Him and you'll see for yourself, singing
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

CHORUS:
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

CHORUS:
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.
Can He (can He save me), could He (could He love me), would He (would He take me), did He (did He really).
Can He, could He, would He, yes, He can, He could, He would, and He did.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

In 1861, after a visit to a Union Army camp, Julia Ward Howe wrote the poem that came to be called "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." It was published in February, 1862, in The Atlantic Monthly.

Howe reported in her autobiography that she wrote the verses to meet a challenge by a friend, Rev. James Freeman Clarke. As an unofficial anthem, Union soldiers sang "John Brown's Body." Confederate soldiers sang it with their own version of the words. But Clarke thought that there should be more uplifting words to the tune.

Howe met Clarke's challenge. The poem has become perhaps the best-known Civil War song of the Union Army, and has come to be a well-loved American patriotic anthem.

The words as published in the February, 1862, issue of The Atlantic Monthly are slightly different from her original manuscript version as documented in her Reminiscences 1819-1899, published in 1899.  Later versions have been adapted to more modern usage and to the theological inclinations of the groups using the song.

Here is "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as written by Julia Ward Howe when she published it in February, 1862, in the Atlantic Monthly:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
          His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
          His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
          Since God is marching on."

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
          Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
          While God is marching on.

  

A good website for Christian Midi Files is here:

http://members.aol.com/alshymns/godsmusic.htm



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