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 >
If Solomon for wisdom prayed. J. Newton. [Lent.] First published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No. 32, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines, as the second hymn on 1 Kings iii. 5, "Ask what I shall give thee." In its original form it is unknown to the hymnals; but stanzas v.-viii., as "And dost Thou say, Ask what thou wilt," is well known, and in extensive use. It appeared in this form in the Arminian Magazine, 1781, p. 231. It is given in many modern collections in Great Britain and America, and usually with slight alterations, which vary in different hymnals. In the Presbyterian Selection of Hymns, Philadelphia, 1861, it begins, "Lord, dost Thou say," &c.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
Henry Baker (b. Nuneham, Oxfordshire, England, 1835; d. Wimbledon, England, 1910; not to be confused with Henry W. Baker) was educated as a civil engineer at Winchester and Cooper's Hill and was active in railroad building in India. In 1867 he completed a music degree at Exeter College, Oxford, Engl…