Newton, John, who was born in London, July 24, 1725, and died there Dec. 21, 1807, occupied an unique position among the founders of the Evangelical School, due as much to the romance of his young life and the striking history of his conversion, as to his force of character. His mother, a pious Dissenter, stored his childish mind with Scripture, but died when he was seven years old. At the age of eleven, after two years' schooling, during which he learned the rudiments of Latin, he went to sea with his father. His life at sea teems with wonderful escapes, vivid dreams, and sailor recklessness. He grew into an abandoned and godless sailor. The religious fits of his boyhood changed into settled infidelity, through the study of Shaftesbury and… Go to person page >
Alas! by nature how depraved. J. Newton. [Lent.] Appeared in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 29, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and based on the words, "How shall I put thee among the children?" Jer. iii. 19. As given in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1872, No. 450, and elsewhere, it is composed of st. i.-iv. of the original.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Traditionally used for Montgomery's text and for Peter Abelard's "Alone Thou Goest Forth, O Lord," BANGOR comes from William Tans'ur's A Compleat Melody: or the Harmony of Syon (the preface of which is dated 1734). In that collection the tune was a three-part setting for Psalm 12 (and for Psalm 11 i…