4 8 15 16 23 42 LOST: an original stanza of the song Amazing Grace
Without a doubt one of the most popular Christian songs of all time, Amazing Grace was written in the late 1700s by John Newton, a slave trader prone to drunkeness, revelry and profane living. After his dramatic conversion to Christ in the midst of a terrible storm at sea, Newton began to grow in his faith and through the influence of Wilbur Wilberforce he eventually came to renounce slavery during a time when most church attendees favored the practice. Newton became a minister and one of the most influential pastors of his time, and he wrote this song while preparing for one of his messages. Below is the original version as written by Newton.
You may be surprised to find the last verse unfamiliar. Most modern day hymnals close with the verse that begins with "when we’ve been there ten thousand years". Remarkably, this stanza was not authored by Newton but was inserted into the hymn in the 1900’s, at which time the sixth verse Newton authored was dropped.
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d 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 reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yes, 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.