Ere the blue heavens were stretch'd abroad. I. Watts. [Divinity and Humanity of Christ.] First published in his Hymns & Sacred Songs, 1707, Bk. i. No. 2, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. In addition to its somewhat extensive use in its original form in Great Britain and America, it is also given in an altered form as, "Before the heavens were spread abroad," in Songs for the Sanctuary, N. Y., 1865-72, and others.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)