John Newton was born in London, in 1725. His father was a shipmaster, and at the age of 11 Newton joined his father and became a sailor. He went on to became the captain of slave ships and an investor in the slave trade.
Newton came to Jesus and was converted to Christianity in 1748, yet he later wrote, “I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterward.”
In 1754, Newton suffered a severe stroke and gave up seafaring, yet he continued to invest in the slave trade. In 1780, Newton moved to London as the rector of St Mary Woolnoth Church. He served there until his death. During his time there, Newton contributed to the work of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade. He also contributed to a hymn book with hymnist William Cowper. The book contained Newton’s hymn, “Faith’s Review and Expectation,” which later became known by its opening phrase, “Amazing Grace“.
John Newton died on December 21, 1807.
The Man — John Newton
The Song — Amazing Grace
Watch -- Stories behind the songs and those who wrote them:
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