IsaacWatts.464

Isaac Watts, a Nonconformist, is the father of English hymnody. “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” – “Joy to the World” – “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” – English speakers have sung him all our lives. His prolific output was both immensely popular and controversial to church authorities, because he didn’t adhere to the Calvinist dictum that the only acceptable music in church was metrical psalms. He defended himself by quoting St. Paul, who recommended singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” His hymns largely focus on individual, often emotional experience, rather than a shared response of the Christian community.

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