The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts
In an age of simplistic and repetitive choruses, many churches are rediscovering the blessing of theologically rich and biblically informed songs. In the latest addition to our A Long Line of Godly Men Profile series, Douglas Bond introduces us to Isaac Watts, “the father of English hymnody.”
Douglas Bond urges Christians to delight in the grandeur, beauty, and joy of Watts’ poetry. We pray that you would regain a sense of God’s majesty as we celebrate the God-given poetic wonder of Isaac Watts.
Gifted from a Young Age
Watts demonstrated a gift for writing songs early in life. Even as a small boy, Watts had a great interest in composing and verse. Once, during family prayers, he began to laugh. His father asked him why. He replied that he had heard a sound and opened his eyes to see a mouse climbing a rope in a corner, and had immediately thought,
A little mouse for want of stairs
Ran up a rope to say its prayers.
His father thought this irreverent, and proceeded to punish him, in the midst of which Isaac called out,
Father, father, mercy take,
And I will no more verses make.
When he was older, he complained of the bad quality of writing in the metrical Psalters of his day. His father promptly challenged him to do better, and he undertook the effort. During his lifetime he wrote about 600 hymns altogether! But most of his best efforts were turned out between his graduation from school when he was 20 and his taking a job teaching when he was 22. During these two Golden Years, hymns poured from his pen with the impetus of true genius. The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts began to emerge.
About the Author
Douglas Bond is author of twenty-seven books of historical fiction, biography, devotion, and practical theology. This includes two adult novels translated and published by Dutch publishing houses. He has been married to his delightfully patient and supportive wife Cheryl since 1983. They are blessed with six children and two grandchildren.
Bond has earned a Masters in Teaching (MIT) from St Martin’s University, and a Preliminary Certificate in Theology from Moore Theological College, NSW Australia. He is adjunct Instructor in Church History at Western Reformed Seminary (WRS) where his Church history tours can be taken for graduate elective credit.
- Followers Worthy to be Followed
- Doxology for All Time
- Life and Legacy
- Watts’ Sermon Hymns
- Lyric Poet
- Hymn Writer
- Poet Theologian
- Children’s Poet
- Psalm Interpreter
- Watts for our Time
- A) An Isaac Watts Timeline
- B) Favorite Watts Hymns
- C) Books by Isaac Watts