John Newton (b. London, England, 1725; d. London, 1807) was born into a Christian home, but his godly mother died when he was seven, and he joined his father at sea when he was eleven. His licentious and tumultuous sailing life included a flogging for attempted desertion from the Royal Navy and captivity by a slave trader in West Africa. After his escape he himself became the captain of a slave ship. Several factors contributed to Newton's conversion: a near-drowning in 1748, the piety of his friend Mary Catlett, (whom he married in 1750), and his reading of Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. In 1754 he gave up the slave trade and, in association with William Wilberforce, eventually became an ardent abolitionist. After becoming a tide… Go to person page >
I am, saith Christ, your glorious Head. J. Newton. [Easter.] First published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No. 116, in 7 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed “The Resurrection and the Life." The most popular form of the hymn is that given to it by Cotterill in the 8th edition of his Selection, 1819, No. 18. This is composed of stanzas iv., ii., v.-vii. in the order named, and altered to, "Pour down Thy Spirit, gracious Lord." It is in extensive use, and sometimes as: "Pour out Thy Spirit," &c. Another form was given in Stowell's Manchester Selection, 1831, p. 87, and is still in common use. It begins, "Fulfil Thy promise, gracious Lord," and is composed of stanzas iv.-vi., and slightly altered.