Indelible Grace Hymnbook

John Newton

Born: Ju­ly 24, 1725, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: De­cem­ber 21, 1807, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: Orig­in­al­ly at St. Ma­ry Wool­noth Church, Lom­bard Street, Lon­don. In 1893, New­ton and his wife Ma­ry were re­in­terred in the south­east cor­ner of the grave­yard at St. Pe­ter and St. Paul’s Church, Ol­ney.

Pseudonym: Om­i­cron.

Newton’s mo­ther died when he was sev­en years old. At age 11, with but two years school­ing and on­ly a rud­i­men­ta­ry know­ledge of La­tin, he went to sea with his fa­ther. Life at sea was filled with won­der­ful es­capes, viv­id dreams, and a sail­or’s reck­less­ness. He grew in­to a god­less and aban­doned man. He was once flogged as a de­sert­er from the na­vy, and for 15 months lived, half starved and ill treat­ed, as a slave in Af­ri­ca.

A chance read­ing of Tho­mas à Kemp­is sowed the seed of his con­ver­sion. It was ac­cel­er­at­ed by a night spent steer­ing a wa­ter­logged ship in the face of ap­par­ent death. He was then 23 years old. Over the next six years, dur­ing which he com­mand­ed a slave ship, his faith ma­tured. He spent the next nine years most­ly in Li­ver­pool, stu­dy­ing He­brew and Greek and ming­ling with White­field, Wes­ley, and the Non­con­form­ists. He was even­tu­al­ly or­dained, and be­came cur­ate at Ol­ney, Buck­ing­ham­shire, in 1764. His works in­clude:

Omicron, 1762
A vol­ume of ser­mons preached at Ol­ney, 1767
Review of Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal His­to­ry, 1769
Olney Hymns, with Wil­liam Cow­per (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)
Cardiphonia, 1781

Source: The Cyber Hymnal