Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Isaac Watts

McMurry University's professor Cook( in Abilene, Texas) was a renowned scholar of Isaac Watts. I got to hear her speak of him one time and was amazed at how much this man, born in the 1600's had influenced church music.

He grew up in a Non-comformist home and early had a penchant for verse which drove his parents crazy. Once when he was being punished for using it too much, he said, "O father, do some pity take and I will no more verses make." His verse-making stood him good stead as he wrote almost 750 hymns. Many of them, my fellowship would recognize, although most of them were in the Methodist Hymnal. "Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed", "Come Ye That Love the Lord", "O God Our Help in Ages Past", "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" and "Joy to the World" are a few of his creations. He led the way in Christian worship for "original songs of experience"--tradition then was to use only the Psalms and poetry of the Bible for hymns as John Calvin suggested. So he led the way for a whole new wave of poetry and new writers in hymnody.

Because "Joy to the World" is one of my favorite Christmas hymns, I always think of him when I sing" and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing..."

Thank you Isaac Watts for worship with your beautiful words.

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