John Newton’s 1767 Diary

Posted on November 3, 2023 
Filed under History, People, Resources

“Some authors wait a long time to see their work reach publication. In Newton’s case, the wait for this one has been 256 years!

Rhys Bezzant, Dean of the Anglican Institute at Ridley College, comments: ‘1767 was a remarkable year in the life of John Newton, not least because he travelled extensively and subsequently moved into a new rectory. In his Diary of this year we learn about his aching soul, his busy schedule, his pastoral heart, and his prodigious correspondence. Here we meet no detached preacher elevated above his congregation, but someone who wrestled with the meaning of a text and engaged honestly with his parishioners concerning his own future in Olney…’

In 1767 John Newton kept a small pocket diary of the sort we might buy today, with one page for recording the week’s events and the opposite page for keeping a record of accounts. You would be excused for thinking that the transcript would be brief, but somehow this has morphed into an illustrated 72-page A4 edition, augmented with illustrations and illuminating footnotes, published by The John Newton Project. …”

– Marylynn Rouse at the John Newton Project in the UK has been working to open windows into the life and thinking of someone who has had a huge influence worldwide.

Read about it at AP, the national journal of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

The Diary for 1767 is available from

See also:

Lord hast thou not a time for these poor benighted souls? – John Newton’s prayer for ‘poor benighted souls’ on the other side of the world.