Isaac Watts was an English Christian minister, hymn writer, theologian, and logician. He was a prolific and popular hymn writer and is credited with some 750 hymns.
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Famous Isaac Watts Poems
Psalm 32 Part 2
A guilty conscience eased by confession and pardon.
While I keep silence, and conceal
My heavy guilt within my heart,
What torments doth my conscience feel!
What agonies of inward smart!
I spread my sins before the Lord,
And all my secret faults confess;
Thy gospel speaks a pard’ning word,
Thine Holy Spirit seals the grace.
For this shall every humble soul
Make swift addresses to thy seat;
When floods of huge temptations roll,
There shall they find a bless’d retreat.
How safe beneath thy wings I lie,
When days grow dark and storms appear;
And when I walk, thy watchful eye
Shall guide me safe from every snare.
Psalm 46 Part 2
God fights for his church.
Let Zion in her King rejoice;
Though tyrants rage, and kingdoms rise,
He utters his almighty voice,
The nations melt, the tumult dies.
The Lord of old for Jacob fought,
And Jacob’s God is still our aid:
Behold the works his hand has wrought,
What desolations he has made!
From sea to sea, through all the shores,
He makes the noise of battle cease;
When from on high his thunder roars,
He awes the trembling world to peace.
He breaks the bow, he cuts the spear
Chariots he burns with heav’nly flame;
Keep silence, all the earth, and hear
The sound and glory of his name.
“Be still, and learn that I am God;
I’ll be exalted o’er the lands;
I will be known and feared abroad;
But still my throne in Zion stands.”
O Lord of hosts, Almighty King,
While we so near thy presence dwell,
Our faith shall sit secure, and sing
Defiance to the gates of hell.
The last judgment.
The Lord, the Sovereign, sends his summons forth,
Calls the south nations and awakes the north;
From east to west the sounding orders spread,
Through distant worlds and regions of the dead:
No more shall atheists mock his long delay;
His vengeance sleeps no more: behold the day!
Behold, the Judge descends, his guards are nigh;
Tempest and fire attend him down the sky:
Heav’n, earth, and hell, draw near; let all things come
To hear his justice, and the sinner’s doom:
“But gather first my saints,” the Judge commands,
“Bring them, ye angels, from their distant lands.
“Behold, my cov’nant stands for ever good,
Sealed by th’ eternal Sacrifice in blood,
And signed with all their names; the Greek, the Jew,
That paid the ancient worship or the new,
There’s no distinction here; come, spread their thrones,
And near me seat my fav’rites and my sons.
“I, their Almighty Savior and their God,
I am their Judge: ye heav’ns, proclaim abroad
My just eternal sentence, and declare
Those awful truths that sinners dread to hear:
Sinners in Zion, tremble and retire;
I doom the painted hypocrite to fire.
“Not for the want of goats or bullocks slain
Do I condemn thee; bulls and goats are vain
Without the flames of love; in vain the store
Of brutal off’rings that were mine before;
Mine are the tamer beasts and savage breed,
Flocks, herds, and fields and forests where they feed.
“If I were hungry, would I ask thee food?
When did I thirst, or drink thy bullocks’ blood?
Can I be flattered with thy cringing bows,
Thy solemn chatt’rings and fantastic vows?
Are my eyes charmed thy vestments to behold,
Glaring in gems, and gay in woven gold?
“Unthinking wretch! how couldst thou hope to please
A God, a Spirit, with such toys as these,
While, with my grace and statutes on thy tongue,
Thou lov’st deceit, and dost thy brother wrong?
In vain to pious forms thy zeal pretends,
Thieves and adulterers are thy chosen friends.
“Silent I waited with long-suff’ring love,
But didst thou hope that I should ne’er reprove?
And cherish such an impious thought within,
That God, the Righteous, would indulge thy sin?
Behold my terrors now: my thunders roll,
And thy own crimes affright thy guilty soul.”
Sinners, awake betimes; ye fools, be wise;
Awake before this dreadful morning rise;
Change your vain thoughts, your crooked works amend,
Fly to the Savior, make the Judge your friend
Lest, like a lion, his last vengeance tear
Your trembling souls, and no deliv’rer near.
Christ’s incarnation, and the last judgment.
Ye islands of the northern sea,
Rejoice, the Savior reigns;
His word, like fire, prepares his way,
And mountains melt to plains.
His presence sinks the proudest hills,
And makes the valleys rise;
The humble soul enjoys his smiles,
The haughty sinner dies.
The heav’ns his rightful power proclaim,
The idol-gods around
Fill their own worshippers with shame,
And totter to the ground.
Adoring angels at his birth
Make the Redeemer known:
Thus shall he come to judge the earth,
And angels guard his throne.
His foes shall tremble at his sight,
And hills and seas retire;
His children take their unknown flight,
And leave the world in fire.
The seeds of joy and glory sown
For saints in darkness here,
Shall rise and spring in worlds unknown,
And a rich harvest bear.
Psalm 90 Part 2
Infirmities and mortality the effect of sin.
Lord, if thine eye surveys our faults,
And justice grows severe,
Thy dreadful wrath exceeds our thoughts,
And burns beyond our fear.
Thine anger turns our frame to dust;
By one offence to thee
Adam with all his sons have lost
Life, like a vain amusement, flies,
A fable or a song;
By swift degrees our nature dies,
Nor can our joys be long.
‘Tis but a few whose days amount
To threescore years and ten;
And all beyond that short account
Is sorrow, toil, and pain.
[Our vitals with laborious strife
Bear up the crazy load,
And drag those poor remains of life
Along the tiresome road.]
Almighty God, reveal thy love,
And not thy wrath alone;
O let our sweet experience prove
The mercies of thy throne!
Our souls would learn the heav’nly art
T’ improve the hours we have,
That we may act the wiser part,
And live beyond the grave.
Psalm 9 Part 2
The wisdom and equity of Providence.
When the great Judge, supreme and just,
Shall once inquire for blood,
The humble souls that mourn in dust
Shall find a faithful God.
He from the dreadful gates of death
Does his own children raise;
In Zion’s gates, with cheerful breath,
They sing their Father’s praise.
His foes shall fall, with heedless feet,
Into the pit they made;
And sinners perish in the net
That their own hands had spread.
Thus, by thy judgments, mighty God,
Are thy deep counsels known;
When men of mischief are destroyed,
The snare must be their own.
The wicked shall sink down to hell;
Thy wrath devour the lands
That dare forget thee, or rebel
Against thy known commands.
Though saints to sore distress are brought,
And wait and long complain,
Their cries shall not be still forgot,
Nor shall their hopes be vain.
[Rise, great Redeemer, from thy seat,
To judge and save the poor;
Let nations tremble at thy feet,
And man prevail no more.
Thy thunder shall affright the proud,
And put their hearts to pain;
Make them confess that thou art God,
And they but feeble men.]
Psalm 68 Part 3
Praise for temporal blessings; or, Common and special mercies.
We bless the Lord, the just, the good,
Who fills our hearts with joy and food:
Who pours his blessings from the skies,
And loads our days with rich supplies.
He sends the sun his circuit round,
To cheer the fruits, to warm the ground;
He bids the clouds with plenteous rain
Refresh the thirsty earth again.
‘Tis to his care we owe our breath,
And all our near escapes from death;
Safety and health to God belong;
He heals the weak, and guards the strong.
He makes the saint and sinner prove
The common blessings of his love;
But the wide diff’rence that remains,
Is endless joy, or endless pains.
The Lord, that bruised the serpent’s head,
On all the serpent’s seed shall tread;
The stubborn sinner’s hope confound,
And smite him with a lasting wound.
But his right hand his saints shall raise
From the deep earth, or deeper seas,
And bring them to his courts above;
There shall they taste his special love.
Psalm 97 Part 1
Christ reigning in heaven, and coming to judgment.
He reigns! the Lord, the Savior reigns;
Praise him in evangelic strains
Let the whole earth in songs rejoice,
And distant islands join their voice.
Deep are his counsels, and unknown,
But grace and truth support his throne;
Though gloomy clouds his ways surround,
Justice is their eternal ground.
In robes of judgment, lo! he comes,
Shakes the wide earth and cleaves the tombs;
Before him burns devouring fire;
The mountains melt, the seas retire.
His enemies, with sore dismay,
Fly from the sight, and shun the day;
Then lift your heads, ye saints, on high,
And sing, for your redemption’s nigh.
A song for the fifth of November.
Had not the Lord, may Isr’el say,
Had not the Lord maintained our side,
When men, to make our lives a prey,
Rose like the swelling of the tide;
The swelling tide had stopped our breath,
So fiercely did the waters roll,
We had been swallowed deep in death;
Proud waters had o’erwhelmed our soul.
We leap for joy, we shout and sing,
Who just escaped the fatal stroke;
So flies the bird with cheerful wing,
When once the fowler’s snare is broke.
For ever blessed be the Lord,
Who broke the fowler’s cursed snare,
Who saved us from the murd’ring sword,
And made our lives and souls his care.
Our help is in Jehovah’s name,
Who formed the earth and built the skies:
He that upholds that wondrous frame
Guards his own church with watchful eyes.
Pleading with submission.
O thou whose grace and justice reign
Enthroned above the skies,
To thee our hearts would tell their pain,
To thee we lift our eyes.
As servants watch their master’s hand,
And fear the angry stroke;
Or maids before their mistress stand,
And wait a peaceful look;
So for our sins we justly feel
Thy discipline, O God;
Yet wait the gracious moment still,
Till thou remove thy rod.
Those that in wealth and pleasure live,
Our daily groans deride,
And thy delays of mercy give
Fresh courage to their pride.
Our foes insult us, but our hope
In thy compassion lies;
This thought shall bear our spirits up,
That God will not despise.
Christ our sacrifice.
The wonders, Lord, thy love has wrought,
Exceed our praise, surmount our thought;
Should I attempt the long detail,
My speech would faint, my numbers fail,
No blood of beasts on altars spilt
Can cleanse the souls of men from guilt;
But thou hast set before our eyes
An all-sufficient sacrifice.
Lo! thine eternal Son appears,
To thy designs he bows his ears,
Assumes a body well prepared,
And well performs a work so hard.
“Behold, I come,” the Savior cries,
With love and duty in his eyes,
“I come to bear the heavy load
Of sins, and do thy will, my God.
“‘Tis written in thy great decree,
‘Tis in thy book foretold of me,
I must fulfil the Savior’s part;
And lo! thy law is in my heart!
“I’ll magnify thy holy law,
And rebels to obedience draw,
When on my cross I’m lifted high,
Or to my crown above the sky.
“The Spirit shall descend and show
What thou hast done, and what I do
The wond’ring world shall learn thy grace,
Thy wisdom, and thy righteousness.”
Psalm 34 Part 1
God’s care of the saints; or, Deliverance by prayer.
Lord, I will bless thee all my days,
Thy praise shall dwell upon my tongue
My soul shall glory in thy grace,
While saints rejoice to hear the song.
Come, magnify the Lord with me,
Come, let us all exalt his name;
I sought th’ eternal God, and he
Has not exposed my hope to shame.
I told him all my secret grief,
My secret groaning reached his ears;
He gave my inward pains relief;
And calmed the tumult of my fears.
To him the poor lift up their eyes,
Their faces feel the heav’nly shine;
A beam of mercy from the skies
Fills them with light and joy divine.
His holy angels pitch their tents
Around the men that serve the Lord;
O fear and love him, all his saints,
Taste of his grace, and trust his word.
The wild young lions, pinched with pain
And hunger, roar through all the wood;
But none shall seek the Lord in vain,
Nor want supplies of real good.
Dwelling with God.
The earth for ever is the Lord’s,
With Adam’s num’rous race;
He raised its arches o’er the floods,
And built it on the seas.
But who among the sons of men
May visit thine abode?
He that has hands from mischief clean,
Whose heart is right with God.
This is the man may rise and take
The blessings of his grace;
This is the lot of those that seek
The God of Jacob’s face.
Now let our souls’ immortal powers
To meet the Lord prepare,
Lift up their everlasting doors,
The King of glory’s near.
The King of glory! who can tell
The wonders of his might?
He rules the nations; but to dwell
With saints is his delight.
Christ ascending and reigning.
O for a shout of sacred joy
To God the sovereign King!
Let every land their tongues employ,
And hymns of triumph sing.
Jesus our God ascends on high,
His heav’nly guards around
Attend him rising through the sky,
With trumpets’ joyful sound.
While angels shout and praise their King,
Let mortals learn their strains;
Let all the earth his honors sing;
O’er all the earth he reigns.
Rehearse his praise with awe profound,
Let knowledge lead the song,
Nor mock him with a solemn sound
Upon a thoughtless tongue.
In Isr’el stood his ancient throne,
He loved that chosen race;
But now he calls the world his own,
And heathens taste his grace.
The British islands are the Lord’s,
There Abraham’s God is known;
While powers and princes, shields and swords,
Submit before his throne.
Psalm 31 Part 2
Deliverance from slander and reproach.
My heart rejoices in thy name,
My God, my help, my trust;
Thou hast preserved my face from shame,
Mine honor from the dust.
“My life is spent with grief,” I cried,
“My years consumed in groans,
My strength decays, mine eyes are dried,
And sorrow wastes my bones.”
Among mine enemies my name
Was a mere proverb grown,
While to my neighbors I became
Forgotten and unknown.
Slander and fear on every side
Seized and beset me round
I to the throne of grace applied,
And speedy rescue found.
How great deliverance thou hast wrought
Before the sons of men!
The lying lips to silence brought,
And made their boastings vain!
Thy children from the strife of tongues
Shall thy pavilion hide;
Guard them from infamy and wrongs,
And crush the sons of pride.
Within thy secret presence, Lord,
Let me for ever dwell;
No fenced city, walled and barred,
Secures a saint so well.
Psalm 31 Part 1
Deliverance from death.
Unto thine hand, O God of truth,
My spirit I commit;
Thou hast redeemed my soul from death,
And saved me from the pit.
The passions of my hope and fear
Maintained a doubtful strife,
While sorrow, pain, and sin conspired
To take away my life.
“My times are in thine hand,” I cried,
“Though I draw near the dust;
Thou art the refuge where I hide,
The God in whom I trust.
O make thy reconciled face
Upon thy servant shine,
And save me for thy mercy’s sake,
For I’m entirely thine.
[‘Twas in my haste my spirit said,
“I must despair and die,
I am cut off before thine eyes;
But thou hast heard my cry.]
Thy goodness how divinely free!
How wondrous is thy grace
To those that fear thy majesty,
And trust thy promises!
O love the Lord, all ye his saints,
And sing his praises loud;
He’ll bend his ear to your complaints,
And recompense the proud.
Psalm 16 Part 2
How fast their guilt and sorrows rise
Who haste to seek some idol-god!
I will not taste their sacrifice,
Their offerings of forbidden blood.
My God provides a richer cup,
And nobler food to live upon;
He for my life has offered up
Jesus, his best-beloved Son.
His love is my perpetual feast;
By day his counsels guide me right;
And be his name for ever blessed,
Who gives me sweet advice by night.
I set him still before mine eyes;
At my right hand he stands prepared
To keep my soul from all surprise,
And be my everlasting guard.
Psalm 25 Part 3
Distress of soul; or, Backsliding and desertion.
Mine eyes and my desire
Are ever to the Lord;
I love to plead his promises,
And rest upon his word.
Turn, turn thee to my soul,
Bring thy salvation near;
When will thy hand release my feet
Out of the deadly snare?
When shall the sovereign grace
Of my forgiving God
Restore me from those dangerous ways
My wand’ring feet have trod?
The tumult of my thoughts
Doth but enlarge my woe;
My spirit languishes, my heart
Is desolate and low.
With ev’ry morning light
My sorrow new begins;
Look on my anguish and my pain,
And pardon all my sins.
Behold the hosts of hell,
How cruel is their hate!
Against my life they rise, and join
Their fury with deceit.
O keep my soul from death,
Nor put my hope to shame,
For I have placed my only trust
In my Redeemer’s name.
With humble faith I wait
To see thy face again:
Of Isr’el it shall ne’er be said,
He sought the Lord in vain.
Self-examination; or, Evidences of grace.
Judge me, O Lord, and prove my ways,
And try my reins, and try my heart
My faith upon thy promise stays,
Nor from thy law my feet depart.
I hate to walk, I hate to sit,
With men of vanity and lies
The scoffer and the hypocrite
Are the abhorrence of mine eyes.
Amongst thy saints will I appear
With frauds well washed in innocence;
But when I stand before thy bar,
The blood of Christ is my defence.
I love thy habitation, Lord,
The temple where thine honors dwell;
There shall I hear thine holy word,
And there thy works of wonder tell.
Let not my soul be joined at last
With men of treachery and blood,
Since I my days on earth have passed
Among the saints, and near my God.
Psalm 16 Part 3
Courage in death, and hope of the resurrection.
When God is nigh, my faith is strong;
His arm is my almighty prop:
Be glad, my heart; rejoice, my tongue;
My dying flesh shall rest in hope.
Though in the dust I lay my head,
Yet, gracious God, thou wilt not leave
My soul for ever with the dead,
Nor lose thy children in the grave.
My flesh shall thy first call obey,
Shake off the dust, and rise on high;
Then shalt thou lead the wondrous way
Up to thy throne above the sky.
There streams of endless pleasure flow;
And full discoveries of thy grace
(Which we but tasted here below)
Spread heav’nly joys through all the place.