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 >
Blest are the souls that [who] hear and know. I. Watts. [Ps. lxxxix.] Pt. jii. of his C.M. rendering of Psalm 89, in 3 stanzas of 4 lines, which appeared in his Psalms of David, &c, 1719, with the heading "The Blessed Gospel." Whitefield included it in his Collection in 1753, No. 72; and Toplady in his Psalms & Hymns, 1776, No. 32. It thus came into general use, and is still found in numerous collections in Great Britain and America.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)