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Isaac Watts died 11/25/1748.   Born (7/17/1674) eldest of 8 children of a Dissenter pastor, Watts learned Latin by 4, Greek at 9, French at 11, & Hebrew at 13.  This “Father of modern hymnology” also wrote Logick (1725), Knowledge of the Heavens and Earth (1726),  Philosophical Essays (1733),  The Improvements of the Mind (1741),  ALL used as Texts for decades at such “little known” colleges as Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard & Yale!  Isaac was only 5’ tall, had a disproportionately large head, & never married.

His nearly 600 hymns include “At the Cross” “Come We That Love the Lord” “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” “O God Our Help in Ages Past” & “Joy To the World.”

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

 

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

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“Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?”  (stanzas 1,3,5)

 

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

 

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

 

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.       (Underlining -eab)

 

Isaac Watts died this day in England, his native land.  He is known for many worshipful hymns and, of course for, “Joy to the World.”  The average reader may be unaware that Watts also wrote, Logick (1725)  Knowledge of the Heavens and Earth (1726)  Philosophical Essays (1733)  The Improvements of the Mind (1741) all used for decades at Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and Yale!

 

Watts is said to have rhymed so much as a kid that his dad wanted it stopped to which Isaac replied “O father, do some pity take

                                                And I will no more verses make.”

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“Spirit of Holiness” (stanza 4)

 

Spirit of holiness, ’tis Thine
To hear our feeble prayer;
Come, for we wait Thy power divine,
Let us Thy mercy share.

 

Samuel Francis Smith, Baptist, in addition to his famous “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” (written at 23) also wrote hymns.  Above and a second example is:

 

“The Morning LIght Is Breaking” (stanza 4)

 

Blest river of salvation, pursue thy onward way;
Flow thou to every nation, nor in thy riches stay:
Stay not till all the lowly triumphant reach their home;
Stay not till all the holy proclaim, “The Lord is come.”

 

Olver Wendell Holmes wrote a cute few lines about Smith:

 

There’s a nice youngster of excellent pith,
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,
Just read on his medal, “My country,” “of thee.”

 

Smith and Holmes were classmates at Harvard.

[Some info credit goes to information Cyberhymnal.com]

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