Home » Amazing things you don’t know about the popular carol hymn “Joy to the world! the Lord is come!”

Amazing things you don’t know about the popular carol hymn “Joy to the world! the Lord is come!”

by O. S David

“Joy to the world! the Lord is come” by Isaac Watts is one of the famous and most sing Christmas carol hymn among Christians all over the world during Christmas.

 

However, many love singing this hymn but only a few know the author and the history of the popular hymn.

Below are the amazing things to know about the hymn and its author

Scripture References:
st. 1-3 = Ps. 98
st. 2 = Ps. 96:11-12
st. 3 = Gen. 3:17-18

About the Hymn

Isaac Watts (PHH 155) wrote this text as a paraphrase of Psalm 98. He published it in his Psalms of David Imitated (1719) under the heading “The Messiah’s Coming and Kingdom.” The paraphrase is Watts’ Christological interpretation.

Consequently, he does not emphasize with equal weight the various themes of Psalm 98. In stanzas 1 and 2 Watts writes of heaven and earth rejoicing at the coming of the king. An interlude that depends more on Watts’ interpretation than the psalm text, stanza 3 speaks of Christ’s blessings extending victoriously over the realm of sin. The cheerful repetition of the non-psalm phrase “far as the curse is found” has caused this stanza to be omitted from some hymnals. But the line makes joyful sense when understood from the New Testament eyes through which Watts interprets the psalm. Stanza 4 celebrates Christ’s rule over the nations.

Liturgical Use
Christmas Day, but also at any other time of year in relation to Psalm 98. Raised eyebrows at singing “Joy to the World!” in July will lower as soon as the relationship to Psalm 98 becomes clear.

About the author

Image result for isaac watts hymns

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 labours. He did not retire from ministerial duties, but preached as often as his delicate health would permit.

The number of Watts’ publications is very large. His collected works, first published in 1720, embrace sermons, treatises, poems and hymns. His “Horae Lyricae” was published in December, 1705. His “Hymns” appeared in July, 1707. The first hymn he is said to have composed for religious worship, is “Behold the glories of the Lamb,” written at the age of twenty. It is as a writer of psalms and hymns that he is everywhere known. Some of his hymns were written to be sung after his sermons, giving expression to the meaning of the text upon which he had preached. Montgomery calls Watts “the greatest name among hymn-writers,” and the honour can hardly be disputed. His published hymns number more than eight hundred.

Watts died November 25, 1748, and was buried at Bunhill Fields. A monumental statue was erected in Southampton, his native place, and there is also a monument to his memory in the South Choir of Westminster Abbey. “Happy,” says the great contemporary champion of Anglican orthodoxy, “will be that reader whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to imitate him in all but his non-conformity, to copy his benevolence to men, and his reverence to God.” (“Memorials of Westminster Abbey,” p. 325.)

 

Now that we know the history of the hymn let sing it together 

 

1 Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King!
Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n and nature sing,
and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

2 Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat the sounding joy,
repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

3 No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found.

4 He rules the world with truth and grace,
and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness
and wonders of His love,
and wonders of His love,

Source: hymnary.org

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