Written by John Newton
`Amazing Grace` is a Christian hymn with words written by the English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807. Containing a message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed 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.
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. It may have simply been chanted by the congregation. 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.