Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >
Great God, Whose universal sway. I. Watts. [Psalm Ixxii.] First published in his Psalms of David, &c, 1719, as the 1st part of his version of Psalm Ixxii., in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "The Kingdom of Christ." It is followed by pt. ii., "Jesus shall reign where'er the sun " (j.v.), in 8 stanzas of 4 lines. Three hymns, all beginning with the same stanza, "Great God, Whose," &c, are in common use as follows;—
1. The original as above. This is in a few modern collections in Great Britain. In America it is very popular.
2. In E. W. Eddis's Irvingite Hymns for the Use of the Churches, 1864, No. 8 is composed of stanzas i. and vi. of this hymn, and stanzas iv. and v. of "Jesus shall reign," &c.
3. In the same collection, No. 143 is made up of stanza i., as above, and stanzas vi.-viii., of "Jesus shall reign," &c. These centos are limited in their use.