Monday, July 19, 2010

Amazing Grace(奇異恩典)

The Song : Amazing Grace(奇異恩典)

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.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!

"Amazing Grace" is a Christian hymn written by English poet and clergyman John Newton (1725–1807), published in 1779. With a message that forgiveness and redemption is possible regardless of the sins people commit 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.

Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life's path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination. He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.

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, and it may have been chanted by the congregation without music. 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.

Author Gilbert Chase writes that "Amazing Grace" is "without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns", and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates that it is performed about 10 million times annually. It has had particular influence in folk music, and become an emblematic African American spiritual. Its universal message has been a significant factor in its crossover into secular music. "Amazing Grace" saw a resurgence in popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and has been recorded thousands of times during and since the 20th century, sometimes appearing on popular music charts.

(source: wikipedia,

Amazing Grace, it changes life; it touches life, it comfort life... It is the song that have been sung many times, millions of people have touched by the song, the song is still been sing daily.....the Amazing Grace.......It touches the heart of President and the highest , Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama , and it also touch the heart of the lowly. It touches millions,including you and me....

I once was lost, but now I'm found ... from UK, the song to to USA, then to all over the world, history was changed....

It liberalize the slaves, the blind to see... William Wilberforce (24 August 1759 – 29 July 1833) was a British politician, a philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. A native of Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, he began his political career in 1780 and became the independent Member of Parliament for Yorkshire (1784–1812). In 1785, he underwent a conversion experience and became an evangelical Christian, resulting in major changes to his lifestyle and a lifelong concern for reform. In 1787, he came into contact with Thomas Clarkson and a group of anti-slave-trade activists, including Granville Sharp, Hannah More and Charles Middleton. They persuaded Wilberforce to take on the cause of abolition, and he soon became one of the leading English abolitionists. He headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act 1807. On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln(1809-1865) issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy. Martin Luther King(1929-1968) call loud at the step in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. " I have a dream".... which broken the final chain of racial discrimination in USA. In 1994, Nelson Mandela, who gave the final blow to the apartheid rule in South Africa and wake up the global awareness on ugly face of racial discrimination. The song changes history, and all man are equal in the eyes of God.....Amazing Grace....

In 2009, Barack Obama become the first black to become President of USA....the happening was make possible by the changes, starts from the inspiring song, Amazing Grace....without the song that move the love for equality that go against racial discrimination, that change the heart, that start the motion of the change.... I once was lost, but now I'm found.... without the change, Obama will not be able to become President of USA and make history....Amazing Grace.....

The song is living, it changes lives, it will continue to be sing and change lives. It is the amazing grace from above....

The Amazing sweet the sound.....

and the movie, Amazing Grace...

Amazing Grace is a 2006 film directed by Michael Apted about the campaign against the slave trade in 19th century Britain, led by William Wilberforce, who was responsible for steering anti-slave trade legislation through the British parliament. The title is a reference to the hymn "Amazing Grace" and the film also recounts John Newton's writing of the hymn and highlights his influence on Wilberforce.

The film premiered at the closing of the Toronto Film Festival on September 16, 2006 and its US premiere was at the opening of the Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis, Indiana on October 19, 2006, after which director Michael Apted participated in a question and answer session. It also was screened as the centrepiece of the annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The film's wider release was on February 23, 2007 through IDP and Samuel Goldwyn Films, which coincided with the 200th anniversary of the date the British parliament voted to ban the slave trade.





约翰•牛顿的奇迹-Amazing Grace

约翰•牛顿(John Newton 1725-1807)本是一名从事黑奴贸易的船员,他不但不信神,还喜欢嘲笑周围的信徒,甚至捉弄辱骂他们。但1748年5月10日,约翰迎来了他人生的重要转折。这天他的船在海上遇到风暴并陷入了非常危险的状态,在几乎失去希望的时候,约翰突然回想起自己的过去,第一次从心底忏悔并向上帝做了祈祷。后来约翰的船竟然挺过了风暴,又奇迹般地克服了食物、淡水和靠岸等种种问题,生还了。



约翰的故事本身似乎只是在说一个人如何良心发现的。但令人感兴趣的是他于1765年写下的赞美诗,这首诗后来配上曲子就成了现在著名的《Amazing Grace》(全部歌词)。前两段歌词是这样的:

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.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!

很明显,这首诗里融合了约翰对那次风暴的回忆,但值得注意的是,作者赞美恩典时没有强调他奇迹般的生还或上帝的“力量”,而是说:“I once was lost, but now I'm found, Was blind, but now I see.”(我曾经迷失,现在我找到了,曾经盲目,现在我看到了。)约翰的“迷失”指的不是方向而是自我,盲目也不是视力残疾,而是利欲熏心。




“'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved;”(恩典教会了我恐惧,又是恩典把我从恐惧中解放了出来)。前一个恐惧指的是面对生命的脆弱时产生的,对某种神圣东西的敬畏;后一种恐惧是对失去世俗性东西(比如说金钱地位名誉)的恐惧。当一个人从低级欲望中解放出来时,他是不会再为或许无法满足这些欲望而害怕了。相反,被解放了的心灵中产生的平和与充实,却是任何东西都无法代替的——Amazing Grace。


Related articles/web sites/books:

1. 约翰·牛顿-Amazing Grace, Chinese)
2. Amazing Grace: The Story of John Newton ,
4. Abraham Lincoln ,

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