Newton, John

(1725-1807)
   Born in London, the son of an officer in the merchant service, he joined his father at sea at the age of 11. He was press-ganged aboard HMS Harwich, then subsequently worked in the slave trade. During a violent storm he experienced a profound religious conversion and retired from the sea in 1754. In 1764 he was ordained to the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire, where he published the account of his life-The Authentic Narrative. A friend of William Cowper (see entry), in 1779 Newton published the Olney Hymns, which contained sixty-eight pieces by Cowper and 280 by Newton. In 1780, he took on St. Mary Woolchurch, Lombard Street. In 1792 he was awarded the degree of doctor of divinity by the University of New Jersey. He continued to preach till the last year of his life, although he was too blind to see his text. He was buried at St. Mary Woolnoth Church, near the Bank of England. Some of his hymn/poems: "Amazing Grace," "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken," "In Evil Long I Took Delight," "In Sweet Communion," "The Name of Jesus," "Thou Art Coming to a King."
   Sources: A Sacrifice of Praise: An Anthology of Christian Poetry in English from Caedmon to the Mid-Twentieth Century. James H. Trott, ed. Cumberland House Publishing, 1999. Best Loved Songs of the American People. Denes Agay, ed. Doubleday, 1975. Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Cyber Hymnal (http://www.cyberhymnal.org/index.htm). The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The World's Great Religious Poetry. Caroline Miles Hill, ed. Macmillan, 1954.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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