Isaac Watts was born on this day, 344 years ago.
Watts was born in Southampton, England on this day July 17, 1674. He fell under conviction in 1688 and learned to trust Christ in a personal way a year later.
Watts preached his first sermon on this day, 320 years ago.
After attaining his education under more difficult circumstances, Watts became a preacher. He gave his first sermon on this day, his birthday, July 17, 1698, at Mark Lane in London.
Watts remains one of the most influential hymn writers of the English-speaking world – so much so that he is often referred to as “the Father of English Hymnody.”
Psalm singing had fallen into a sad state and church leaders were seriously questioning what to do. Watts boldly called for a new kind of psalm, rewritten in light of the New Testament gospel. “We preach the gospel and pray in Christ’s name, and then check the aroused devotions of Christians by giving out a song of the old dispensation.”
One of Watts’s most well-known hymns is Crucifixion to the World by the Death of Christ, which he related to Galatians 6:14 (But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.). It is purported that Charles Wesley said that he would give up all his own hymns for this one.
1. When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory dy’d,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
2. 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 thy blood.
3. See from his head, his hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
4. His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er his body on the tree;
Then am I dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.
5. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.