[Note: When the writer asked his buddy, the past due Mr. John Newton, who was see you later the liked minister of Hanover Chapel, Tunbridge, Wells, which hymn of Dr. Watts' he beloved essentially the most, the answer was once, "There is a land of pure delight."]'Lining out', often known as Dr. Watts hymn singing, refers to hymns sung to a limited selection of familiar tunes, intoned a line at a time by way of a pacesetter and taken up in turn by the congregation. From its origins in seventeenth-century England to the present practice of lining out among some Baptist congregations within the American South todayAt church, hymns and psalms had been sung throughout services and products. Some of them had been reworked into songs of an ordinary African American shape referred to as "Dr Watts".The hymns of "Dr. Watts," as he was known in the American vernacular, were passionate, devotional, intense, and vibrant, every now and then to the purpose of being graphic. They influenced African-American as well as European-American sacred music, and the very title of the chief spiritual tune of African-American Christianity underneath slavery, the religiousOld Dr. Watts hymns are sung in a sluggish, decorative taste, with every line being lined out by way of a pace-setter earlier than it is sung via the congregation. Old Dr. Watts refers to Isaac Watts, an early 19th century English composer.
DR. WATTS'S CRADLE HYMN. HUSH, my dear; lie still and slumber Holy angels guard thy mattress; Heavenly blessings, without quantity, Gently falling on thy head. Sleep, my babe! Thy meals and raiment, House and home, thy buddies provide, All without thy care or fee; All thy wants are neatly supplied. How much better thou'rt attended Than the Son of GodWatts further explained his philosophy on hymn-writing in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, a selection of 210 of his hymns: "While we sing the praises of God in His church, we are hired in that part of worship which of all others is the closest akin to heaven, and 'tis pity that this of all others should be carried out the worst upon earth.Demps began to research hymns and hymn lining in public libraries. He was once stunned to be told that almost the entire vital hymnists, including the preferred Isaac Watts, were white Englishmen. "All the black preachers that I was raised up beneath, once they'd sing hymns, they'd say 'we are going to sing one through Dr. Watts'.Isaac Watts (17 July 1674 - 25 November 1748) was an English Christian hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and widespread hymn author, his work used to be part of evangelization. He was known because the "Father of English Hymnody", credited with some 750 hymns.Doctor Watts' preface to the Psalms of David, imitated within the language of the New Testament; and to his Hymns and non secular songs : with observations and remarks [Reprint] (1826) by means of Reid, Robert and an excellent choice of related books, artwork and collectibles available now at AbeBooks.com.
by way of Robert Southey, abridged through Stephen Ross
Isaac Watts, the eldest of nine kids, used to be born at Southampton, [England], July 17, 1674, and named after his father, who stored a boarding-school in that the town. The persecution which the Church of England had passed through during the Great Rebellion, used to be then too recent to be forgotten by the country, or forgiven via the clergy themselves; for toleration is a idea which is seldom learnt through the persecuted, Mr. Watts was a decided non-conformist; and is described as a man of "lively devotion:" he was imprisoned at the score of his faith, and all over his confinement, his wife regularly sat on a stone on the prison-door with this their kid, then an toddler at her breast.
A ebook is claimed to had been the boy's biggest excitement ahead of he had neatly learnt to speak; but this will simplest imply that, like any different kids, he was amused through having a look at prints, earlier than he could learn. His intellect, on the other hand, must have been dangerously precocious; for we are advised that "he entered upon the find out about of the discovered languages in his fourth 12 months, at the loose grammar-school of his local the town, underneath the Rev. John Pinhorne, of whose skill and gentleness, as a schoolmaster, he at all times retained a grateful and affectionate remembrance." It is said of him that his leader pleasure was in books; that the little cash which he received in gifts was once applied to the gratification of this propensity; that even supposing outstanding for vivacity, he employed his leisure hours in reading as an alternative of becoming a member of other boys at play; and that after handiest seven or eight years old, he composed some devotional verses to thrill his mother.
Here he made good development in Latin and Greek, and started the find out about of Hebrew. His promising skills and his amiable disposition brought on some beneficiant persons in that vicinity to suggest that he will have to be entered at some of the English Universities, where they would support him; however having been bred up a dissenter, he decided to stay one; a decision to which, what he had heard his mother relate of her sorrows all the way through his own infancy, will have to no doubt a great deal have contributed. In his sixteenth 12 months, therefore, he was despatched to an academy in London, kept by way of Mr. Thomas Rowe, at that time minister of the Independent meeting at Haberdashers' Hall; and 3 years afterwards he joined in communion with that congregation. Among his fellow-students at this academy have been Hort, afterwards Archbishop of Tuam; Say, whose poems and essays have been revealed after his loss of life; and Hughes, the creator of the Siege of Damascus. Mr. Rowe mentioned of him, that he never had instance to reprove him, and that he continuously held him up as a development to his other pupils.
He used to mark all of the books he read, to abridge a few of them, and annotate others, that have been interleaved for that purpose. But he pursued his research all through three years with intemperate passion, allowing himself no time for needful exercise, and contracting his considered necessary sleep; and his charter thus gained irreparable injury. In 1694, he left the academy, and for the 2 following years prosecuted his studies at his father's house, during which period the greater a part of his hymns had been composed, and most probably most of his juvenile compositions.
It turns out to had been thought remarkable that he did not enter upon the ministry immediately after completing his academical route. One of his biographers says: "The lengthy silence of this excellent and accomplished formative years, as to the primary object of all his studies, the preaching of the gospel, presents substantial scope for conjecture. It is true he used to be but nonetheless a formative years, diffident of himself, and deeply affected with the significance of the ministry, beneath a sense of his insufficiency, and trembling lest he will have to cross to the altar of God uncalled. But after 16 years spent in classical research, — after uncommon proficiency in other portions of learning connected with the paintings of the ministry, — with each and every qualification for the sacred place of work, — residing at a time when his public products and services have been peculiarly needed, and when he was once identified and spoken of as promising famous person in no matter occupation he might choose, — that with some of these benefits he should proceed in retirement, is a fact difficult to account for, and for which best his excessive diffidence can manage to pay for any apology." When it is remembered that Mr. Watts left the academy in his twentieth 12 months, or quickly after its of entirety, the diffidence which withheld him from hurrying into the pulpit should fairly be held forth for example, than represented as a weak spot or a fault. Nor can there be any issue in accounting for it, even to those to whom such diffidence may appear odd. He preached his first sermon at the very day whereon he finished his twenty-fourth 12 months; "probably considering that as the day of a 2nd nativity, in which he entered into a brand new duration of existence;" and in the interim it's recorded of him, that he "applied himself to the learn about of the Scriptures, and to the reading of the most efficient commentators, both crucial and sensible, preparatory to his enterprise taking the pastoral place of job, to which he was made up our minds to devote his lifestyles, and of the significance of which he had a deep sense upon his mind.''
Two years sooner than Mr. Watts entered upon the ministry, he used to be invited by means of Sir John Hartopp, to live in his circle of relatives, at Stoke Newington, as tutor to his son. "I cannot," he says, "but reckon it some of the blessings of Heaven, when I review those 5 years of pleasure and development which I spent in his circle of relatives in my younger part of life. And I found much instruction myself, where I used to be referred to as to be an trainer." If he had no longer, as might all but literally be mentioned, sucked in the main of dissent at his mother's breast, this was a household in which of all others he would have been most prone to imbibe it...
Lady Hartopp "affected retirement to such a degree," that Watts, when he preached her funeral sermon, stated, "it would have positioned her in a wrong mild to have drawn out her virtues at duration, and set them to public view." He therefore most effective interspersed a few hints of her eminent piety, as the textual content and argument led him into them. Sir John, who survived his girl ten years, and lived to the nice age of eighty-five, was once a person of sterling price. He used to be thrice, in Charles the Second's reign, returned to parliament for the county of Leicestershire. By him it used to be that a lot of Owen's sermons were preserved, and from him most of the materials for a existence of Owen ... have been obtained: the sermons he had written down in brief hand, consistent with his constant follow; "by which means," says Dr. Watts, "he incessantly entertained his circle of relatives within the evening worship, at the Lord's day, with very good discourses, copied from the lips of some of the greatest preachers of the ultimate age." On his death, Watts preached the only funeral sermon which he ever concluded with a definite and particular persona of the deceased. We are there informed, that "regardless that he knew what was because of his high quality in this global, but he affected none of the grandeur of life, however day by day practiced condescension and love, and secured the respect of all without assuming a superior air; ... his dialog was once pious and learned, ingenious and instructive; ... the Book of God was once his chief study and his divinest pleasure. His Bible lay prior to him night time and day; and he was once well familiar with the writers that defined it highest ... His doors were ever open, and his carriage all the time pleasant and courteous, to the ministers of the gospel, though they have been prominent amongst themselves by way of names of different parties, for he loved all that liked our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity."
In this circle of relatives Mr. Watts used to be luckily positioned and diligently hired; and it used to be for the use of his pupil that he first drew up those rudiments which, at the repeated importunities of Mr. John Eames, essentially the most discovered of his pals, he afterwards enlarged and published, beneath the title of Logic, or the Right Use of Reason...
In 1698, the year of his first look within the pulpit, he was once selected assistant to Dr. Isaac Chauncy, pastor of the Independent church, then assembly in Mark Lane; and in January, 1701-2 he authorized the invitation to prevail Dr. Chauncy within the pastoral workplace. That this acceptance was once reluctantly given, and compelled from him most effective through a way of duty, appears by the phrases through which it was expressed:
"Brethren,"You know the consistent aversion I have needed to any proposals of a pastoral administrative center, for those 3 years. You know additionally that since you will have given me an unanimous name thereto, I have proposed several methods in your agreement with out me; however your selection and your affections looked to be still unmoved. I have objected my very own indisposition of body; and I have pointed to 3 divines, members of this church, whose gifts would possibly render them more right kind for instructors, and their age for presidency. These issues I've urged until I've provoked you to sorrow and tears, and until I personally have been nearly ashamed. But your perseverance on your choice, your consistent occupation of edification by way of my ministry, the nice chance you display me of building up this well-known and decayed church of Christ, and your prevailing fears of its dissolution if I refuse, have given me floor to imagine that the voice of this church is the voice of Christ. And to reply to this name I've no longer consulted with flesh and blood; I have laid aside the thoughts of myself to serve the hobby of our Lord. I surrender my own ease on your spiritual benefit and your increase. I put up my inclination to my duty; and in hopes of being made an device to building up this ancient church, I go back this solemn resolution for your name, — That with a great sense of my own incapacity in thoughts and body to discharge the duties of so sacred an administrative center, I do, in the power of Christ, undertaking upon it; and in His name I accept your call, promising, in the presence of God and his saints, my utmost diligence in all of the duties of a pastor, so far as God shall enlighten and enhance me. And I go away that promise in the hands of Christ our Mediator, to see it performed by way of me unto you, thru the help of his grace and Spirit."
Soon after his front upon this fee he was seized with a dangerous illness; which, after lengthy confinement and a gradual recovery, left him with a charter so it seems that impaired, that the congregation thought an assistant vital, and accordingly, in July, 1703, appointed Mr. Samuel Price to lend a hand him. Gradually, then again, he recovered strength, and persisted to officiate during some years with out a material interruption; some other illness then introduced him to the threshold of the grave; and when the fever was subdued, a anxious debility remained which for some years solely incapacitated him for the purposes of his office. Days have been set apart by way of his congregation for prayers for his recovery, and plenty of of his brethren within the ministry united in these supplications, "as men deeply impressed with the importance of his existence." It was vital, on the other hand, that his place should be provided, even when their prayers had been up to now responded as to take away any apprehension of a deadly termination; and via his own desire Mr. Price used to be elected to be joint pastor with him. This sickness proved in its consequences a very powerful and maximum lucky tournament of his existence. Sir Thomas Abney invited him to try the impact of change of air, at his area at Theobalds: thither Watts went, intending to stay there but a unmarried week, and there he remained six-and-thirty years, which used to be as long as he lived.
"Here," says his first biographer, Dr. Gibbons, "he loved the uninterrupted demonstrations of the truest friendship. Here, without any cares of his personal, he had each and every factor which might contribute to the enjoyment of lifestyles, and favour the unwearied pursuits of his studies. Here he dwelt in a circle of relatives which, for piety, order, team spirit, and each and every virtue, was a house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the fragrant bower, the spreading garden, the flamboyant garden, and other advantages to appease his thoughts, and help his recovery to health; to yield him, every time he selected them, most thankful intervals from his arduous research, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigour and pleasure. Had it not been for this happy event, he might, as to outward view, have feebly, it may be painfully, dragged on through many more years of languor and lack of ability for public provider, and even for winning find out about; or perhaps might have sunk into his grave, under the overwhelming load of infirmities, in the midst of his days; and thus the church and the sector would were deprived of the ones many excellent sermons and works which he drew up and revealed all through his long place of dwelling in this circle of relatives. In a few years after his coming hither, Sir Thomas Abney dies; however his amiable consort survives, who shows the Doctor the same recognize and friendship as sooner than: and most thankfully for him, and nice numbers but even so ... her thread of existence was drawn out to a great age, even past that of the Doctor's. And thus this excellent man, through her kindness, and that of her daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, who in a like level esteemed and honoured him, enjoyed all the benefits and felicities he experienced at his first front into this family, till his days had been numbered and completed, and, like a surprise of corn in its season, he ascended into the regions of best possible and immortal life and pleasure."
Thus was once Mr. Watts followed into a family which beloved him for his personal qualities, admired him for his genius, and revered him for his piety. On their facet there used to be no pride of patronage, on his there was once no uneasy feeling of dependence. The bond between them was that of whole self assurance and esteem, and their mutual regard was heightened on one part by means of the delight which they skilled in making him glad, at the other, by way of a full and thankful sense in their constant kindness. A happier situation for person who had made up his mind to celibacy may just now not be imagined; and such a choice in his case had, surely, been early shaped, when he turned into aware, that by means of intemperance in his youthful studies his constitution have been irretrievably injured; that his lifestyles was rendered in consequence greater than ordinarily precarious, and that at absolute best he may never hope to be any thing higher than a valetudinarian. He used to be exempt from all the unusual cares of existence, and enabled at very best recreational to make use of himself in the way in which which he deemed, because it was once really, most useful, and which was maximum in conformity as neatly with his personal inclinations as together with his sense of duty...
Mr. Watts's usefulness amongst his flock was in no stage lowered by way of his place of dwelling at Theobalds. It was simple for him, when his health authorized, to officiate in London. There was once a carriage at his command, and the family with which he used to be domesticated being of his personal persuasion, have been as much interested in this level as himself. If he was once disabled through indisposition, there used to be no reason for uneasiness on that account; his colleague, with whom he always maintained probably the most uninterrupted friendship, was once at the spot to offer his place. When he was incapable of public labour, he refused to obtain his salary, and at all occasions a 3rd part of his income was dedicated to charitable makes use of. In this there was no sacrifice, seeing that every one his desires had been equipped for; but it used to be evidence of a disposition which might have made any sacrifice from the similar motives of love against God and his fellow-creatures.
Perhaps the unusual position during which he was placed larger each the respect and the love with which his congregation regarded him. It made him unbiased of them; and they appeared upon him no longer in the mild of a dependent upon the rich family with which he used to be domesticated, nor as a humble good friend, however as what in fact he was once, certainly one of its contributors, adopted into it by way of the particular friendship of one of the vital wealthiest and most considerable individuals attached to the dissenting purpose. Indeed, if Sir Thomas Abney looked as if it would them in the similar light as he did to Mr. Watts, they should have thought him now not best one of the most best possible, but in addition one of the crucial largest males in the country...
...the congregation felt that in proceeding his [Watts's] products and services to them so far as his feeble well being would allow, he conferred upon them a favour and a kindness which could not be imputed to any reason of hobby, and even of his personal convenience, but proceeded from his sense of accountability, his zeal in the dissenting motive, and his attachment to them; they prized them therefore, as they ought, the more extremely. And they were pleased with his rising popularity, for he used to be then the best preacher a few of the dissenters, and probably the most easiest of the ones instances. Not that his sermons can also be positioned in the first, and even 2d rank of such compositions; but they were neatly tailored to the great objective of provide effect; and they had all of the advantages that could be given them by means of an outstanding elocution, and a manner of delivery which with curious felicity turns out to were on the identical time elaborately studied, yet earnestly sincere.
"I hate," said he, "the ideas of constructing any factor in religion, heavy or tiresome." In every other place he ventures to mention, that perhaps the modes of preaching in the most productive church buildings nonetheless need a point of reformation; --that reformation he endeavoured to bring about in his personal. "Suppose two preachers," he says, "have been wanted to minister to the same auditory, on an afternoon of fasting or reward, and at the identical matter too. One of them has all the attractiveness, force, and talent of clear and calm reasoning; the other no longer best instructs smartly, but powerfully strikes the affections with sacred oratory. Which of those two will perfect secure the attention of the folk, and guard them from drowsiness or wandering? Surely, he that touches the center, will fix the eyes and the ears and all the powers; while he that merely endeavours to inform the head, will in finding many wandering eyes, and a few sleepers."
In every other sermon upon the similar subject, "The Use of the Passions in Religion," he exclaims, "Does divine love ship dreaming preachers to call lifeless sinners to life, — preachers which can be content to go away their hearers asleep on the precipice of everlasting destruction? Have they no such factor as passion belonging to them? Have they no piety? Have they no fear? Have they no sense of the price of souls? Have they no springs of love inside of them? — Or do they suspect their hearers have none? — Or is interest so vile an influence that it will have to be all trustworthy to objects of flesh and sense, and must by no means be applied to objects divine and heavenly? Who taught any of us this lazy and drowsy apply? Does God or his prophets, or Christ or his apostles, instruct us in this modish art of still life, this 'lethargy of preaching?' Did the great God ever appoint statues for his ambassadors, to ask sinners to his mercy? Words of grace written upon brass or marble, would do the work virtually as smartly! — How cold and uninteresting and unaffected with divine issues, is mankind by way of nature! — How careless and indolent is an entire meeting, when the preacher appears like a lifeless engine, saying words of law or grace, when he speaks of divine issues in this kind of dry, in such a chilly and formal means, as although that they had no influence on his own heart! When the phrases freeze upon his lips, the hearts of hearers are freezing also."
In an ordination sermon he warned the aspirant pupil towards the fault which would most simply beset him. "Do now not say inside yourself, how a lot or how elegantly I will be able to talk upon such a text; but what can I say most usefully to those that listen me, for the instruction of their minds, for the correction of their consciences, and for the persuasion in their hearts? Be not fond of showing your learned criticisms in clearing up the terms and words of a text, when students only will also be edified through them; nor spend away the dear moments of the congregation, in making them hear you provide an explanation for what is apparent sufficient earlier than, and hath no use of explaining; nor in proving that which is so evident that it wishes no evidence. This is little higher than trifling with God and man. Think now not, how can I make a sermon correct and earnest, however how I will take advantage of successful sermon for my hearers: — no longer what advantageous issues I can say, both in a way of complaint or philosophy, or in some way of oratory or harangue; but what tough words I will be able to speak to provoke the consciences of those that listen with a significant and lasting sense of moral, divine and everlasting issues. Judge wisely what to depart out, as well as what to speak. Let not your chief design be to paintings up a sheet, or to carry out an hour, but to avoid wasting a soul."
In some other a part of the same exhortation, he says, "Get the substance of your sermon which you've gotten prepared for the pulpit, so wrought into your head and center, by means of reason and meditation, that you will have it at command, and talk to your hearers with freedom; now not as in case you have been studying or repeating your lesson to them, but as a person despatched to teach and convince them to faith and holiness. Deliver your discourses to the folks like a man that is talking to them in excellent earnest about their most essential concerns, and their everlasting welfare —like a messenger despatched from heaven, who would fain save sinners from hell, and attract souls to God and happiness. Do now not indulge that lazy means of studying over your ready paper, as a schoolboy does an oration out of Livy or Cicero, who has no concern within the things he speaks. But let all the warmest zeal for God, and compassion for perishing males, animate your voice and countenance; and let the people see and feel, in addition to listen, that you are speaking to them about issues of infinite second, and on which your individual eternal pastime lies in addition to theirs.
"If you pray and hope for the help of the Spirit of God in each part of your works, don't get to the bottom of at all times to confine yourself precisely to the mere words and sentences which you will have written down to your private arrangements. Far be it from me to inspire a preacher to undertaking into public work without due preparation through learn about, and a typical composure of his discourse. We will have to now not serve God with what value us not anything. All our wisest ideas and cares are because of the sacred service of the temple. But what I imply is, that we will have to no longer impose upon ourselves just such a variety of precomposed words and contours to be delivered within the hour, without bold to talk a heat sentiment that comes recent upon the thoughts. Why would possibly you now not hope for some full of life turns of thought, some new pious sentiments which might strike light and heat and lifestyles into the understandings and hearts of those that hear you? In the keenness of your ministrations, why might you no longer expect some bright and warm and pathetic types of argument and persuasion to offer themselves in your lips, for the more powerful conviction of sinners, and the encouragement and comfort of humble Christians? Have you not frequently discovered such an enlargement of concept, such a variety of sentiment and freedom of speech, in commonplace conversation upon a very powerful subject, past what you had been apprised of previously? And why should you forbid yourself this herbal benefit in the pulpit, and in the fervour of sacred ministrations, when additionally you could have extra explanation why to pray for divine help?"
...Watts himself preached upon the plan which he recommended; he wrote, it's said, and dedicated to reminiscence the leading options of his cursory sermon; the rest he trusted to his extemporary energy and the promised help of the Holy Spirit... He ready them for the press as well as for the pulpit: much subsequently of what have been presented in delivery, his own memory, we may be positive, would retain; and as the follow of taking notes from a prominent preacher was at that time not peculiar, it's probable that on this method, by means of which so many of Owen's sermons had been preserved via Sir John Hartopp, his recollection may have been assisted.
Dr. Johnson has seen that "his low stature, which very little exceeded 5 feet, graced him and not using a benefit of look in the pulpit;" but the pulpit is a place in which that defect could entirely be provided, and where the feebleness of his shape and determine would be least perceived, whilst his benign countenance, and robust eye, and animated method, produced their complete effect. His friend, Dr. Gibbons, as soon as requested him if he didn't sometimes to find himself an excessive amount of awed through his auditory; "he replied, that after such a gentleman of eminent skills and learning had come into the assembly and taken his eye, he felt something like a short-term tremour; however that he recovered himself through remembering what God stated to the prophet Jeremiah, 'Be now not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee ahead of them.'" It was once little most probably that he should be confounded, deservedly common as he was in his personal sphere, and correctly conscious of his own energy, and carefully as he had studied each the arts of composition and delivery. "I once mentioned," says Dr. Johnson, "the popularity which Mr. Foster had received via his correct delivery to my good friend Dr. Hawkesworth, who informed me, that in the art of pronunciation he used to be a long way not so good as Dr. Watts." The correctness of his pronunciation, and the elegance of his diction, are stated to have contributed greatly to his unusual popularity as a preacher. It was once doubtless as much from feeling, as for the sake of oratorical impact, that he always paused on the conclusion of any weighty sentence; this gave a solemnity to his words, and allowed time for the impact to be deeply and strongly fastened.
His sermons are see you later, that in printing them he nearly always inserted a realize about the middle of every, that it would comfortably be divided there. What he suspected could be discovered too long for studying, he would most probably have thought too long for preaching, if custom had no longer then exacted lengthy measure in such discourses. "We are not called," mentioned he, preaching at the observance of Sunday, "to draw out the duties of worship to such unreasonable and tiresome lengths; nor to be so incessant and uninterrupted in works of faith on this present day, as would overmuch fatigue the spirits, and overpress animal nature. This does not generally tend to the edification of men or the consideration of God; but it surely has a definite and glaring tendency to prejudice more youthful persons against the commentary of the Lord's-day, if we render the provider of it too irksome and tedious."
On the observance of the Sabbath, Dr. Watts's opinion was reasonable and tolerant. After appearing that under the Jewish dispensation no works of necessity or of mercy had been forbidden on that day, he says: "Under the New Testament we have no strict and critical prohibitions of each and every care and labour within the not unusual return of the Lord's-day, where they don't interfere with the principle design of it, that is, the worship of God, and our best possible growth thereby. And subsequently I say, when the essential labours of a couple of on some a part of the day, by way of offering food and different conveniences of life, render many extra individuals capable of spending the day in religion, I cannot to find that the New Testament forbids it. I say in some part of the Lord's-day, for I feel none must be so continuously employed in secular affairs as to exclude the whole day from its correct industry, this is, faith or devotion, except in the cases of necessity, above discussed. I believe it can be maintained normally, that, as in any way tends to break or nullify the nice design of spiritual worship should be neglected on the Lord's-day, so some lesser labours, which have a tendency to make the performances of faith easier, cheerful, and regular to ourselves, and to nice numbers of others, might safely be performed on this day with out a wilful violation of it." And having premised that, as he would no longer bind new burdens on the servants of Christ, so neither would he release what Christ has certain, he concludes that, "in accordance as our charter is more or less wholesome, or our circumstances in the world, as servants or masters, as deficient or rich, call us more or less to essential works on this day, so we are to employ ourselves in the affairs of faith at such hours, and with such intervals of aid and refreshment, as that the sabbath of the Lord is also a excitement to us, and may not overtax feeble nature, as a substitute of giving it rest. We must all employ this day to the designs and ends appointed, to the distinction of God and our risen Saviour; now not with peevish rigour and superstitious abstinences — no longer in indulgences of the flesh and lazy idleness, — now not in sports activities and pastimes, — however with Christian knowledge fortify our time for religious purposes, according to our capacities and stations; realizing that we're in a state of gospel liberty, free of a state and spirit of bondage, and rejoicing within the Lord, our deliverer and Saviour."
This is solely in accord with the gentle spirit of moderation and benevolence that pervades all his works. Johnson admired his meekness of opposition, and his mildness of censure in his theological writings; and observes that orthodoxy was once united with charity no longer most effective in his works, but in his thoughts. Charity, indeed, in its full Christian sense, used to be certainly one of his favorite issues. "I to find a ordinary excitement," he says, "in discoursing of this virtue, hoping that my very soul is also moulded into its divine likeness. I might always really feel it inwardly warming my middle; I might have it glance through my eyes frequently, and it must be ever able upon my lips to soften each expression of my tongue; I'd get dressed myself in it as my highest raiment; I'd put it on upon my religion and hope, now not in order totally to cover them, but as an upper and extra visible vesture, repeatedly to appear in among males. For our Christian charity is to proof our different virtues."
So completely was once he conformed to this Christian temper, that even when engaged in controversy he turns out never to had been provoked to any offended feeling nor tempted to an uncharitable one...
...Born and bred a Calvinist, after the "most strictest sect" of that persuasion, it used to be not to be anticipated that he must easily resign for himself the high privilege of his predestination, still much less that they within whose circle he was circumscribed, who thought to be themselves, as they've critically been referred to as, to be kings incog. upon earth, should consent to have the entail in their crowns bring to a halt and take simplest the average lot of inheritance with other males. That he and so they have been by way of indefeasible election assured of salvation, used to be what he may just willingly and joyfully believe; however his figuring out, his tenderness for his fellow-creatures, and his piety made him shrink from what had ever been held as a consequent article of the similar creed, that the other and a ways better a part of the human race were, through an equally irrevocable decree, predoomed to sin and wrath and everlasting punishment. "'Surely," says he, "the Lord Jesus would never be despatched in flaming fireplace to render vengeance on those that obey now not the gospel, if there used to be no enough salvation supplied in that gospel which instructions them to obtain it." "Can we predict that the righteous Judge of the international will merely ship phrases of grace and salvation among them, on objective to make his creatures so much the extra miserable, when there is no real grace to salvation contained in those words for them who refuse to receive it?" "It is very exhausting to assume, that after the phrase of God, via the overall commands, guarantees, threatenings, given to all males by any means, and frequently repeated therein, represents mankind as in a state of probation, and in the way in which against eternal rewards or everlasting punishments, in keeping with their behaviour in this life, — I say it's exhausting to assume all this should be no actual and just illustration, but a trifling amusement! that these kinds of proposals of mercy and shows of the gracious dealings of God, will have to be an empty display, in regards to the entire millions of mankind, but even so the few which might be selected to happiness! and that they will have to in reality be so mounted in a wretched, hopeless, and deplorable state, below the first sin of the first guy, that they're completely irrecoverable from the ruins of it!" ...
If Watts had flourished within the ages of the schoolmen, acute as he used to be, the appellation which his disciples would have devised to honour his name, would had been derived quite from his piety and benevolence, his love of God and man, than from his metaphysical speculations; for even in the ones days it was by means of his virtues, through the Christian spirit which animated him, that this religious and amiable guy would were peculiarly characterised. He lived in higher times, and was as fortunate in his station as within the age through which his lot was once forged. In his own circle he enjoyed the absolute best reputation. The universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen spontaneously conferred on him the stage of Doctor in Divinity; and Johnson has justly noticed, that "academical honours would have extra value in the event that they were all the time bestowed with equal judgment." No circumstance, either public or private, tended to provoke in him any offended or acrimonious feelings. Strongly as he used to be hooked up to the overall principle of nonconformity, there was no bitterness in his dissent; he lived now not best in charity with all men, however on phrases of excellent will and friendship with some of essentially the most eminent of the clergy. All parties agreed in rendering justice to the benignity of his disposition, the usefulness of his labours, and the purity of his life.
It was once from motives of gratitude against Sir Thomas and Lady Abney that he first engaged within the humbler parts of training. His Art of Reading and Writing English used to be dedicated to their daughters, for whose use it used to be at the start drawn up, at a time when, being incapable of extra public paintings, he thought himself bound to make his highest acknowledgment of the unusual generosity and kindness which invited him into that circle of relatives: this might be carried out, he stated, on no account extra thankful to them, nor more pleasant to himself, than by means of providing his help in the schooling in their youngsters, then of their youngest years. The sense of a higher accountability brought about him to compose his catechisms for their use; one for youngsters of three or 4 years previous, and a 2d for the ones of seven or 8; each supposed as preparatory for the Assembly's Shorter Catechism. "I well know," said he, "that some of my particular friends consider my time is hired in too mean a provider while I write for babes; but I content material myself with this concept, that nothing is too imply for a servant of Christ to engage in, if he can thereby most effectually promote the kingdom of his blessed Maker. Perhaps it is not correct for me to mention, and the sector will infrequently consider, what pains were taken in composing these catechisms; with what care I have endeavoured to select probably the most simple and important parts of our religion, so as to suggest them to the reminiscence of children in step with their ages; what laborious diligence has been used to hunt out the entire plainest and maximum familiar sorts of speech, that the good issues of God and the mysteries of the gospel may well be brought all the way down to the capacities of kids. It isn't for me to say what number of hours and days and weeks were spent in revising and inspecting each and every word and expression, that, if imaginable, not anything may well be inserted which may give just instance of offence to pious individuals and households; that not anything might be overlooked which was once important for youngsters to know in that gentle age; and that no phrase, phrase, or sentiment, if possible, may well be admitted, which might not be brought in some measure within the achieve of a child's understanding."
He accompanied this with what he called "A Preservative from the Sins and Follies of Childhood and Youth," or a brief account of the vices and frailties to which childhood and formative years are liable, and of which they must be warned early; with arguments against them, taken from reason why and Scripture. This was drawn up in the best way of query and answer; but it used to be no longer called a catechism, because he proposed it not to be learnt through heart, however to be frequently learn and inculcated. He composed additionally catechisms of scriptural names, and of the extra vital transactions recorded within the Bible, and, in the similar form, what he entitled "A Short View of the whole Scripture History," but which is in fact, as this sort of view should be, of substantial length. His love of youngsters made him enjoyment of employing himself for their instruction and amusement. He composed rhyming traces for copy-books, containing moral instruction, and starting with every letter of the alphabet; copies, composed of short letters, for educating to jot down even; and others, each and every line of which contained all the twenty-four letters...
Dr. Johnson says, "he may just now not reward his poetry itself extremely, but he may just reward its design;" — and "this reward the general pastime of mankind calls for to be given to writers who please and don't corrupt, who instruct and don't decoy." No compositions of the type have acquired such extensive use as his Hymns and Songs for Children. Doddridge relates, in a letter to him, an example of the impact they produced, and the affectionate reverence with which his title was in consequence looked. "I used to be preaching" he says to a big assembly of simple nation other people, at a village, when, after a sermon from Hebrews vi. 12, we sung one in every of your hymns, which, if I have in mind proper, was once the a hundred and fortieth of the second ebook; and in that part of the worship I had the satisfaction to observe tears within the eyes of several of the folk. After the service used to be over, a few of them told me that they were not able to sing, so deeply had been their minds affected; and the clerk in particular mentioned he could hardly ever utter the words as he gave them out." The hymn indeed was once prone to have this effect upon an meeting, whose minds had been under the instant affect produced by a pathetic preacher; and it is some of the benefits of devotional singing that they who undergo an element in it, affect themselves.
Give me the wings of faith to upward pushWithin the veil, and seeThe Saints above, how nice their joys,And shiny their glories be.
Once they were mourning right here beneath,And rainy their sofa with tears;They wrestled onerous, as we do now,With sins, and doubts, and fears.
I ask them whence their victory got here:They with united breathAscribe their conquest to the Lamb,Their triumph to his dying.
They mark'd the footsteps that he trod,(His zeal inspired their breast,)And, following their incarnate God,Possess the promised leisure.
Our wonderful Leader claims our reward,For his personal development given,While the lengthy cloud of witnessesShow the similar path to Heaven.
"They were most of them," Doddridge continues, "poor other people, who paintings for their residing but at the point out of your name, I discovered that they had learn a number of of your books with pleasure; and that your Psalms and Hymns have been almost their day by day leisure ... I point out the subject just as it took place, and am persuaded that it is just a well-recognized and herbal specimen of what frequently takes place among a mess of Christians who by no means noticed your face."
"I have been in pain," says Colonel Gardiner, in a letter to Doddridge, lest that very good individual, (Dr. Watts,) will have to be referred to as to heaven sooner than I had an opportunity to let him know the way much his works were blessed in me, and of course to return him my hearty thank you; for regardless that it is owing to the operation of the Blessed Spirit that any factor works effectually upon our hearts, yet if we don't seem to be thankful to the device which God is pleased to make use of, which we do see, how lets be thankful to the Almighty whom we have now no longer seen? Well am I conversant in his works, especially with his Psalms, Hymns, and Lyrics. How often, by means of making a song a few of them when by myself, on horseback and in different places, has the evil spirit been made to escape away,
Whene'er my center in tune was foundLike David's harp of solemn sound."
From such testimonies to the effect of his poems Watts should have won extra heartfelt pride than the best possible degree of vital approbation and well-liked applause may have communicated to a thoughts like his...
Feeble as Dr. Watts all the time used to be in body, and far as he had suffered from sickness, he attained to a just right previous age. The behavior of a few very near family members embittered his latter days; and for some time he gave the impression, being on the time in a state of extreme weak point, stupefied through it to such a level as hardly to take understand of any factor about him. The worst part of this behaviour, which considered one of Doddridge's friends characterizes as "maximum marvelous, notorious, huge wickedness," was concealed from him. "Lady Abney," says the writer, "assists in keeping him in non violent lack of information; and his enemies at a becoming distance; so that in the midst of this cruel persecution he lives conveniently; and when a friend asks him how he does, answers, 'Waiting God's depart to die.' It was on this degree of his decay that he mentioned the statement of an elderly minister, how "essentially the most discovered and knowing Christians, when they come to die, have most effective the similar undeniable guarantees of the Gospel for his or her reinforce, as the common and unlearned; and so," said he, "I in finding it. It is the obvious promises of the Gospel which might be my strengthen; and I bless God that they're plain promises; that do not require much labour and pains to know them; for I will do nothing now however glance into my Bible for some promise to enhance me, and are living upon that."
In this patient and peaceful state of mind, at the 25th of November 1748, and within the 75th yr of his age, he departed "in sure and certain hope." His body was once deposited in the burial-ground of Bunhill-fields. His student, Sir John Hartopp, and his true pal, Lady Abney, underneath whose roof he had partaken of all the comforts of affluence, for six-and-thirty years, erected a good-looking tomb over his grave; the epitaph he had composed himself, in those humble phrases:ISAAC WATTS, D. D.Pastor of a Church of Christ in London,successor toTHE REV. JOSEPH CARYL, DR. JOHN OWEN, MR. DAVIDCLARKSON, AND DR. ISAAC CHAUNCY;after fifty years of feeble labours in the gospel,interrupted by way of 4 years of tiresome sickness,used to be at last disregarded to his relaxation.In uno Jesu omnia.2 Cor. v. 8. Absent from the frame and present with the Lord.Col. iii. 4. When Christ who is my life shall seem, then shall I alsoappear with him in glory.
Robert SouthleyKeswick, August 20, 1834.
Abridged from Horæ Lyricæ and Divine Songs via Isaac Watts, with a memoir by means of Robert Southey. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1863.
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