July 24, 1725: John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace" and other hymns, is born in London. Converted to Christianity while working on a slave ship, he hoped as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo. In 1764 he became an Anglican minister and each week wrote a hymn to be sung to a familiar tune. In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to end the slave trade (see issue 31: The Golden Age of Hymns).
July 24, 1874: Oswald Chambers, author of "My Utmost for His Highest" (which was published posthumously in 1927), is born in Aberdeen, Scotland.
July 24, 1921: C.I. Scofield, editor of the Scofield Reference Bible and defender of dispensational premillennialism, dies in Douglaston, New York (see issue 61: The End of the World).
June 13, 1231: Anthony of Padua dies at age 36. His mentor, Francis of Assisi, wrote early in his ministry, "It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as—in the words of the Rule—you 'do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion' with study of this kind." With this blessing, Anthony went on to a life of teaching and preaching, becoming the most popular and effective preacher of his day .