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 >
And is this life prolonged to me? I. Watts. [Decision for Christ.] Appended to his Sermons, 1721-24, vol. iii., and later editions, vol. ii., No. 39, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. It is based on his Sermon 39 on 1 Cor. iii. 22, "Whether Life or Death,—All are yours," to which he gave the title, "The Right Improvement of Life." The hymn is not in extensive use. It is sometimes abbreviated. The text in the New Congregational Hymn Book, No. 488, is slightly altered.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
NAOMI was a melody that Lowell Mason (PHH 96) brought to the United States from Europe and arranged as a hymn tune; the arrangement was first published in the periodical Occasional Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1836). Some scholars have attributed the original melody to Johann G. Nageli (PHH 315), but there…