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 >
Away from every mortal care. I. Watts. [Public Worship.] First published in his Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1709, Bk. ii., No. 123, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled, "The benefit of Public Ordinances." It has been republished in all later editions of the Hymns, &c., and in Watts's Works. G. Whitefield included stanzas i., ii., iii., and vi., in his Collection, 1753. This arrangement is often repeated in modern hymnals. In Hatfield's American Church Hymn Book, 1872, No. 122, the full text is given with brings, for "bears down," in stanza iii., l. 3.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)