Most of you here know me, and know that I am not a Churchman by any stretch of any imagination. In that train of thought I know many of you here are, and it is for you folks that I make this post, and of course many others will enjoy it also. I think the Sailor in me compells me to do so.
The amazing grace of Christmas morn
By Wesley Pruden
The malls and the Main Streets fall silent. The ringing of cash registers fade in ghostly echoes across silent streets. But the Christ born in a manger 2,000 years ago lives through the centuries, liberating the hearts of sinners and transforming the lives of the wicked.
The authentic story of the redeeming power of the Christmas message is illustrated in the incredible life of an English slaver named John Newton, born 300 years ago into a seafaring family in England. His mother was a godly woman who died when John was 7, and he recalled as the sweetest remembrance of childhood the soft and tender voice of his mother at prayer.
His father married again, and John at 11 went to sea with him. He eagerly adopted the vulgar life of seamen as he grew older, though the memory of his mother’s faith remained. “I saw the necessity of religion as a means of escaping hell,” he recalled many years later, “but I loved sin.”
“I commit my soul to my gracious God and Savior, who mercifully spared and preserved me when I was an apostate”
On shore leave, he was seized by a press gang and taken aboard HMS Harwich. Life grew coarser. He ran away, was captured, put in chains, stripped before the mast, and flogged. “The Lord had by all appearances given me up to judicial hardness,” he recalled. “I was capable of anything. I had not the least fear of God, nor the least sensibility of conscience. I was firmly persuaded that after death, I should merely cease to be.”
The captain of the Harwich traded him to the skipper of a slaving ship, bound for West Africa to take aboard wretched human cargo. “At this period of my life,” he later reflected, “I was big with mischief and, like one afflicted with a pestilence, was capable of spreading a taint wherever I went.” John’s new captain took a liking to him, however, and took him to his home on an island off the African coast, where his wife, a beautiful and cruel African princess, waited for him. She soon grew jealous of her husband’s friendship with John. John fell ill, and when the captain sailed he left John in his wife’s care.
The ship was barely over the horizon when he was thrown into a pigsty. The jealous wife blinded him, and left him in delirium to die. He did not die, but was kept in chains and fed swill from her table. Word spread through the district that a black woman was keeping a white slave, and many came to taunt him. They threw stones at him, mocking his misery. He would have starved if captured slaves, waiting for a ship to take them to the Americas, had not shared their meager scraps of food.
When the captain returned five years later John told how he had been treated. His old friend scoffed, and called him a liar and a thief, but agreed to take him home to England. John was treated ever more harshly on the voyage, fed only the entrails of animals butchered for the crew’s mess. “The voyage quite broke my constitution,” he recalled, “and the effects would always remain with me as a needful memento of the service of wages and sin.”
Like Job, he became a magnet for adversity. When his ship crashed in a storm he despaired that God’s mercy remained after a life of hostile indifference to the Gospel. “During the time I was engaged in the slave trade,” he said, “I never had the least scruple to its lawfulness.” Yet the wanton sinner, the arrogant blasphemer, the mocker of the faith was at last driven to his knees: “My prayer was like the cry of ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear.”
Miraculously, he was rescued, and made his way home to England to reflect on the mercies God had shown him in his awful life. He fell under the preaching of George Whitefield and the influence of John Wesley, and was born again into the new life in Christ. Two days short of Christmas 1807, he died at the age of 82, and left a dazzling testimony to the miracle of Christmas. “I commit my soul to my gracious God and Savior, who mercifully spared and preserved me, when I was an apostate, a blasphemer and an infidel, and delivered me from Africa into which my obstinate wickedness had plunged me.” He set down the story of his life, and it became the most beloved hymn of Christendom.
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.
Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.
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12-23-2011, 08:20 AM #1
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- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
A Christmas Story
Last edited by MalahatTwo7; 12-23-2011 at 08:25 AM.
12-23-2011, 11:49 AM #2
Not being the Churchy type either, I still get tears in my eyes whenever I hear this. Maybe it's because it was my Nana's favorite piece to play on the piano.
12-24-2011, 01:03 AM #3
Outstanding Man!Stay Safe and Well Out There....
Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers
12-24-2011, 12:21 PM #4
A Fireman's Night Before Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the town,
the fire siren echoed blaring its sound.
The firefighters came running from far and from near,
and raced to the trucks quickly donning their gear.
And I in my bunkers my boots and my hat,
jumped to the engine to see where the fire's at.
Down at the corner of Fifth and of Oak,
the dispatcher informed us of a house filled with smoke.
Smoke poured from the sides, from up and from down,
yet up on the roof there was none to be found.
So up to the rooftop we raised up a ladder,
and climbed to the top to see what was the matter.
I came to the chimney and what did I see,
but a fellow in red stuck past his knees.
Well we tugged and we pulled until he came out,
then he winked with his eye and said with a shout.
"These darn newfangled chimneys they make them too small,
for a fellow as I, not skinny at all."
With a twitch of his nose he dashed to his sleigh,
and called to his reindeer, "AWAY now, AWAY."
As we rolled up our hoses he flew out of sight, saying
"God bless our firefighters" and to all a good night.Stay Safe and Well Out There....
Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers
12-24-2011, 12:22 PM #5
Firefighter's Night Before Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, All the firefighters were asleep, even the one called "The Louse",
The bunk room was filled, with farts and snores,
With visions of no fires, nor calls to pry open doors,
The Captain had just laid down, his big fat head,
Hoping and praying, the night would be dead,
When he heard a noise, out in the bay,
If it were a burglar again, what would he say,
As he snuck around the corner, and stepped onto the bay floor, He saw a such a sight, one never seen before,
It was Clause standing there, looking at the truck with awe, The old man was crying, and quivering his jaw,
The Captain filled with compassion, put a hand on his shoulder, Comforting as he'd done, helping others many times over,
He said "It's ok pops", as Santa shivered and cried,
Clause replied "I'm so sorry, I'm thinking of your brothers, that have died",
"I stood here looking, at the soot covered gear,
And thought of them all, who advanced with no fear",
"I thought of the victims, they'd cut out of cars,
And the drunk that they'd helped, who had just left the bars",
"I thought of your brothers, who ran out of air in a fire,
And the ones who have helped, a child with bike, put air in the tire",
"I thought of the their families, who wonder and worry,
When they leave for work, in a mighty big hurry",
"How fireman give selflessly, in a wreck, disaster, or fire,
How they get the job done, and never, ever, seem to tire",
"I bowed my head in silence, and much to my surprise,
A tear welled up, then more, 'Till they filled up my eyes",
"How do you do it Cap?", he asked in sadness,
"It's in our hearts" he replied, and we do it with gladness.",
At that time the tones went off, "Gotta go" said the captain with a sigh,
"Someone's in trouble, so I must say goodbye."
As the crew loaded up, Old Clause he stood back,
Knowing these firefighters, Had just left the sack,
As they pulled out the station, wiping sleep from their eyes, A firefighter said "Hey Cap", "Was that Saint Nick?" with surprise,
Clause smiled and replied, "Thanks David, Michael, Jim and Louse, Thanks all you firefighters, who save peoples house,"
"Thanks Art, Steve, Harvey, Sherrie, and Ryan,
I don't know how you do it, but somehow you keep from cryin'
"May God keep you safe, and in the palm of his hands,
Keep you and guide you,
While you serve and protect these great lands"
~Mark S. WarnickStay Safe and Well Out There....
Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers
12-24-2011, 12:30 PM #6
COT, I'm not ashamed to say that second poem has tears rolling down my face.
12-24-2011, 12:38 PM #7
12-24-2011, 03:31 PM #8
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