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Newton, John, the child of many prayers, the profligate youth, the wicked sailor boy, the contrite penitent, the happy Christian, the consecrated minister, the eminent divine, the sweet singer, was born in London 429 July 24, 1725. His mother, a devotedly pious woman, died when he was only seven years of age. His only "schooling" was from his eighth to his tenth year. He was engaged in the African slave trade for several years, and was even himself held as a slave at one time in Sierra Leone. He became an infidel, but was converted in a storm at sea while returning from Africa. He married a noble and pious woman in 1750. He became a minister in the Established Church in 1758, but was not ordained until 1764, when be obtained the curacy of Olney, near Cambridge. He remained here for nearly sixteen years, being intimately associated with the poet Cowper, who was joint author with him of the Olney Hymns, 1779. Soon after the appearance of this volume he moved to London, where he did faithful and successful work for many years as rector of St. Mary Woolnoth. He attained an honored old age, dying December 21, 1807. Newton wrote his own epitaph, which he requested might be put upon a plain marble tablet near the vestry door of his church in London:

Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A servant of slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour
Preserved, restored, and pardoned,
And appointed to preach the Faith
He had long labored to destroy,
Near 16 years at Olney in Bucks
And . . . years in this church
On Feb. 1, 1750, he married
Daughter of the late George Catlett
Of Catham, Kent.
He resigned her to the Lord who gave her
On 15th of December, 1790.

The following thirteen hymns are among the best in our Hymnal:

Amazing grace! how sweet the 309
Approach, my soul, the mercy seat 285
Come, my soul, thy suit prepare 507
Glorious things of thee are spoken 210
How sweet the name of Jesus 137
How tedious and tasteless the hours 538
Joy is a fruit that will not grow 546
Lord, I cannot let thee go 514
May the grace of Christ our Saviour 40
One there is, above all others 174
Safely through another week 69
Though troubles assail, and dangers 92
While with ceaseless course the sun 574
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