After graduation from college, Isaac Watts returned to Southampton, England, and spent two years writing hymns for above Bar Congregationalist Church. He then moved to London to tutor children in a wealthy family. While there he joined Mark Lane Independent Chapel. Soon he was asked to be a teacher in the church, and in 1698, he was hired as associate pastor. There, on his 24th birthday, he preached his first sermon. In 1702, he became the senior pastor of the church, a position he held the rest of his life.
In 1709, Watts rewrote a hymn originally composed in his teens. It is considered by many to be the finest hymn ever written in the English Language. Based on Galatians 6:14, “When I survey the wondrous Cross, on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I cannot but loss, and Pours contempt on all my pride,” come to life.
Another one of Rev Watts hymns played a major role in the life of an American hymnist. In 1851, a blind Fanny Crosby, 31 attended a revival service at John Street Methodist Church in New York. “After a prayer was offered.” Fanny recalled, “they began to sing” Alas and did my savior bleed”. Crosby said while singing that song, “my very soul was filled with celestial light.”
How right that Watts should, long after his death, play a part in the winning to Christ the author of a new generation of hymns and gospel songs.
Blessed Lent All,