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 >
Incarnate God! the soul that knows. J. Newton. [Safety of the Believer.] Published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. i., No. 47, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "The Believer's Safety. Psalm xci." It is in use in its original form, and also as, "O God most high, the soul that knows." This altered form of stanzas i., vi.-viii. was made by W. J. Hall for his Mitre Hymn Book, 1836, No. 83. Sometimes, as in the New Mitre, 1875, a doxology is added.