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 >
As some tall rock amidst the waves. J. Newton. [St. Stephen.] On "The Death of Stephen," in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and first published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No. 120, and repeated, without alteration, in later editions. It was in common use as early as Cotterill's Selection, 1810. It is seldom found in modern collections.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)