It’s the birthday of the Father of English hymnody, Isaac Watts (1674-1748). Isaac began writing poetry at a very young age, and when he complained about the lackluster music he heard at church, his father challenged him to come up with something better. Isaac accepted the challenge, and he went on to write hundreds of hymns — including “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” “Jesus Shall Reign,” “Come, Ye That Love the Lord,” and “Joy to the World.” Here is one of my favorites.
When I can read my title clear
to mansions in the skies,
I’ll bid farewell to every fear,
and wipe my weeping eyes.
Should earth against my soul engage
and hellish darts be hurled,
then I can smile at Satan’s rage,
and face a frowning world.
Let cares like a wild deluge come,
and storms of sorrow fall;
May I but safely reach my home,
my God, my heaven, my all.
There I shall bathe my weary soul
in seas of heavenly rest,
and not a wave of trouble roll
across my peaceful breast.