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The amazing story of the "Old Converted Sea Captain" whose hymns are still loved today.
John Newton (1725-1807) was a British sailor whose life of sin took him to the western coast of Africa, where he became a virtual slave before getting involved in the African slave trade. His dramatic conversion during a violent storm in the North Atlantic, however, did not end his involvement with slave trading. It would be six years before he gave up his career as a sea captain and went on to become an Anglican clergyman.
Dissatisfied with the hymns of the day, Newton began writing his own, many autobiographical in nature, and is remembered for "Amazing Grace," "How Sweet the Name the Name of Jesus Sounds," and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken." In his latter years, he played a leading role in Wilberforce's political campaign against slave trading.
From a "wretched" prodigal son to a crusader against slavery.[via]