Known as the “Father of English Hymnody,” Isaac Watts is one of England’s most influential hymnists. Credited with over 500 hymns—including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “Joy to the World”—he left behind a massive legacy. He paved the way to the inclusion of “original songs of Christian experience” in worship. His introduction of extrabiblical poetry opened doors to new forms of worship in the Protestant Church.
Thomas Milner wrote The Life, Times, and Correspondence of the Rev. Isaac Watts, D. D. to focus on the personal history, ministerial character, and literary labors of Isaac Watts. It includes a chronological list of works, chronological list of letters, and an appendix.
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Isaac Watts (1674–1748), was an English hymn-writer, theologian, and logician. He is recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody” and is credited with some 750 hymns. Many of his hymns remain in active use today.
As a young boy, Watts began to write poems and hymns to please his mother. He received an excellent education as a child and studied at the nonconformist academy at Stoke Newington as a youth. After he completed his education, Watts began to write hymns and also tutored the family of Sir John Hartopp. At age 26, Watts became a pastor, but his poor health kept him from his duties. In 1712, Isaac Watts went to live with the Abney family in Stoke Newington for a short time, and ended up staying there permanently. During his stay, he would occasionally preach, but mostly devoted his time to writing hymns, sermons for publications, essays, discourses, and poems. He died peacefully at the age of 74.