Friday, March 18, 2011

Classic Christian Poetry - Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Isaac Watts  (1674-1748)
"When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
When I survey the wondrous Cross
 On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
Save in the Cross of Christ my God;
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His Blood.
See from His Head, His Hands, His Feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingling down;
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Where the whole real of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so Divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
To Christ, Who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransom'd race
For ever and for evermore.
"Man Frail and God Eternal"
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of thy throne
Thy Saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.
Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth receiv'd her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.
Thy word commands our flesh to dust,
"Return, ye sons of men:"
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.
A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an ev'ning gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night,
Before the rising sun.
The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carry'd downwards by the flood,
And lost in following years.
Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
Bears all his sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the op'ning day.
Like flow'ry fields the nations stand,
Pleas'd with the morning light:
The flow'rs beneath the mower's hand
Lie with'ring ere 'tis night.
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.
No 'tis vain to seek for bliss;
For bliss can ne'er be found
'Till we arrive where Jesus is,
And tread on hev'nly ground.
There's nothing round these painted skies,
Or round the dusty clod;
Nothing, my soul, that's worth thy joys,
Or lovely as thy God.
'Tis heav'n on earth to taste his love,
To feel his quick'ning grace;
And all the Heav'n I hope above
Is but to see his face.
Isaac Watts is credited with writing hundreds of hymns.
Just a sampling of his hymns revels the love that he had
for the Lord and how he held the grace of God a precious
gift. Many of his hymns are available on-line. Watts also
set most of the Psalms in metre, for singing and wrote
many philosophical, theological and devotional works
such as Logic, Divine and Moral Songs, and Speculations
on the human nature of the logos.

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