The complete letters of John Newton are presented in Cardiphonia: together, they constitute compelling treatises of faith and spiritual wisdom.
Newton was born in the early 18th century: a time when slavery was legal and actively practiced in the West. His initial chosen career of sailing led him to enlist with the British Royal Navy, where he was put to work on vessels carrying slaves across the oceans to be sold into lifelong servitude and oppression.
At age twenty-two, John Newton experienced a near-fatal storm off the coast of Ireland: his ship barely survived, and this event proved a catalyst for spiritual conversion. In the years following, Newton departed the slave trade and undertook studies of the ancient Biblical lore: eventually, he was granted priesthood in the town of Olney, Buckinghamshire.
It was there that Newton served with distinction, taking an active role as a caring spiritual advisor for his parish. His wisdom led to some renown: as the letters in this volume evidence, Newton was regularly consulted by fellow reverends and many members of his parish. In 1788, after many years working in the church, Newton emerged as an abolitionist, lending his eloquence and reputation to the cause of outlawing slavery.