Rejecting his mother’s Christian faith, John became a reckless, blasphemous sailor and an evangelist for unbelief. Press-ganged onto a man-of-war, he
faced death in naval battle, was flogged for deserting his ship, and eventually enslaved and starved in Africa. All because of his passion for ‘Polly’—a girl
beyond his reach. Later, as a slave-ship captain, John’s life was threatened by mutinous crews, callous traders, desperate slaves, Barbary pirates, tropical diseases and violent storms. John’s encounter with God in an Atlantic storm transformed him to become the caring Christian pastor of the most influential church in the country. Among his congregation, he could number a Lord Mayor, prominent politicians, wealthy bankers, a national poet, a leading playwright and hundreds of the labouring poor. John’s unfading love for his wife, his wise counsel, his hymns and correspondence and his fight against the slave-trade, influenced the lives of thousands in his day. More than two hundred years after his death his letters and example are as valuable as ever. In this new and fully illustrated edition, the life of John Newton is seen against the colourful and cruel backcloth of the eighteenth-century.