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Life is the time to serve the Lord

Full Text

1 Life is the time to serve the Lord,
The time t'insure the great reward;
And while the Spirit gives concern,
The vilest sinner may return.

2 Life is the hour that God has given
To 'scape from hell,and fly to heaven;
The day of grace, and mortals may
Secure the blessings of the day.

3 Then what my thoughts design to do,
My hands with all your might pursue,
Since no device, nor work if found,
Nor faith, nor hope, beneath the ground.


Source: Book of Worship with Hymns and Tunes #359

Author: Isaac Watts

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 >


Life is the time to serve the Lord. I. Watts. [Life for God.] First published in his Hymns & Spiritual Songs, in the 2nd edition, 1709, Bk. i.. No. 88, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "Life the Day of Grace and Hope." It is found in a few modern collections. In the authorized issue of the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1781, No. xv., on Eccl. ix. 4, &c, it is recast as:—

"As long as life its term extends,
Hope's blest dominion never ends."

In the markings of the Translations & Paraphrases by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron (q.v.), this recast is attributed to Cameron. Its use is very extensive.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)