Hymns of the Faith

Maker and Sov’reign Lord

Maker and sov’reign Lord
Of Heav’n, and earth, and seas,
Thy providence confirms Thy Word,
And answers Thy decrees.

The things so long foretold
By David are fulfilled,
When Jews and Gentiles join’d to slay
Jesus, Thine holy Child.

Why did the Gentiles rage,
And Jews, with one accord,
Bend all their counsels to destroy
Th’Anointed of the Lord?

Rulers and kings agree
To form a vain design;
Against the Lord their powers unite
Against His Christ they join.

The Lord derides their rage,
And will support His throne;
He that hath rais’d Him from the dead
Hath own’d Him for His Son.

Now He’s ascended high,
And asks to rule the earth;
The merit of His blood He pleads,
And pleads His heav’nly birth.

He asks, and God bestows
A large inheritance;
Far as the world’s remotest ends
His kingdom shall advance.

The nations that rebel
Must feel His iron rod;
He’ll vindicate those honors well
Which He receiv’d from God.

Be wise, ye rulers, now,
And worship at His throne;
With trembling joy, ye people, bow
To God’s exalted Son.

If once His wrath arise,
Ye perish on the place;
Then blessèd is the soul that flies
For refuge to His grace.

Here is some more information on Isaac Watts:

In the annals of hymn writing, Isaac Watts shines as a leading luminary. In other Reformation countries, hymns were employed in worship but seldom in the English church before Watts was born. Anglicans sang the Psalms. Psalm singing, which had at first been a welcome innovation, had become a dreary, unmelodious chanting. Each line was first read out by a clerk and then sung. Through Isaac Watts’ influence, that changed.

Watts was born in Southampton, England He fell under conviction in 1688 and learned to trust Christ in a personal way a year later. His father was twice imprisoned for refusing to bend to the Church of England beliefs. Some of that pluck carried over to Isaac, who refused to take an all-expenses-paid education rather than conform himself to the Church of England. After attaining his education under more difficult circumstances, Watts became a preacher. He gave his first sermon at Mark Lane in London. His qualities were such that the church soon named him its assistant pastor. Shortly afterward he became seriously ill and suffered such poor health the remainder of his life that he was often unable to carry out his church duties.
A kindly friend, Sir Thomas Abney took him under his roof and there he lived thirty years. The church also showed much wisdom and charity in continuing to support him despite his fevers and neuralgia. A lady who fell in love with him from reading his hymns is said to have rejected him close up upon finding him small and far from handsome.

Despite his lack of beauty, Watts’ poems found their mark. Scarcely a hymnbook today in the English speaking nations is without one or more of his hymns. 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 [stifle] the aroused devotions of Christians by giving out a song of the old dispensation.”

Acting on his own word, he published a collection of Christianized psalms in 1719. Even before this, in 1707, he published his Hymns and Spiritual Songs. They include “Joy to the World.” These, not his sermons, are his true gift to the church and inspired Charles Wesley’s even more successful endeavors.

Watts faced fierce opposition. Many church leaders were opposed to his efforts and some called his hymns “Watt’s Whims.” The common people, however, delighted in them. Eventually the Church of England itself revised its stand and began adding hymns to their worship.

(information found @ www.chi.gospelcom.net)

Next week we will venture on to other hymns and hymn writers.

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