Although Newton is remembered for his preaching, his hymn-writing, and his outspoken support of the abolitionist movement, he also wrote hundreds of letters, which are included in this collection. The Works of John Newton also contains Richard Cecil’s 129-page biography, first published in 1809, two years after Newton’s death. This biography includes factual information on Newton’s life and reflections on his legacy and influence.
John Newton was one of the key figures in the evangelical movement in eighteenth century England. As a slave trader, Newton experienced a powerful conversion after he was nearly shipwrecked. As the spiritual mentor of William Wilberforce, Newton was influential in the abolitionist movement. He also preached before the British Parliament and wrote extensively on political issues. After leaving behind the slave trade, Newton became an influential preacher, a prolific writer, and an author of hundreds of hymn texts—which are included in this collection. In fact, “Amazing Grace,” which Newton wrote, has become arguably the most popular hymn ever written.
In few writers are Christian doctrine, experience, and practice more happily balanced than in the author of these letters, and few write with more simplicity, piety, and force.
Grace, like water, always flows downward, to the lowest place. I know no one who embodies this principle better than John Newton . . .
—Philip Yancey, author, Grace Notes
I keep John Newton on my select shelf of spiritual books . . .
—Alexander Whyte, Professor of New Testament, New College, 1909
He moved in the lowest and vilest circles and sank to the depths of vice, and yet there emerges from this stormy story a man who not only commands the affection of any humane soul, but who showed himself then and afterwards capable of the highest Christian graces.
—Erik Routley, pastor and hymn writer