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 >
Now may fervent prayer arise. J. Newton. [New Year.] The third of thirteen "Hymns before Annual Sermons to Young People on New Years' Evenings," published in the Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 9, in 7 stanzas of 6 lines. It is in common use both in the original and in the following forms:—
1. Bless, 0 bless the opening year.
2. Bless, 0 Lord the opening year.
3. Bless 0 Lord this opening year.
4. Bless 0 Lord each opening year.
These forms of the text generally embrace stanzas ii., iii., vi., vii., and are in use in Great Britain and America.