Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Birthday John Newton; Both Infidile and Libertine


Our first hymn of the month was of course Amazing Grace written by John Newton.

I am not sure if you know the whole story of this man, whose birthday happens to be today, but if you don't here is some good info to digest.

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, John went to sea with his fa­ther. His 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. It was at Ol­ney that he formed a life long friend­ship with Wil­liam Cow­per, and pro­duced the Ol­ney Hymns.

The above taken from NetHymnal.org

If you are interested in a deeper knowing of Mr. Newton, I welcome you to borrow a biography written by Jonathan Aitken. Or you may purchase your own copy here.