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 is the man whose bowels move. I. Watts. [Ps. xli.] This L.M. version of Ps. xlii., stanzas 1-3, which was published in his Psalms of David, &c, 1719, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, appears in some collections as "Blest is the man whose mercies move;" and in others, "Blest is the man whose heart doth move," the object being to get rid of the, to some, objectionable expression in the first line. These changes are adopted both in Great Britain and in America.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)