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Life is the time to serve the Lord

Representative Text

1. Life is the time to serve the Lord, The time t’insure the great reward; And while the lamp holds out to burn The vilest sinner may return. 2. Life is the hour that God has giv’n, To escape hell and fly to heav’n; The day of grace, and mortals may Secure the blessing of the day. 3. The living know that they must die, But all the dead forgotten lie; Their mem’ry and their sense is gone, Alike unknowing and unknown.

Source: The Sacred Harp: the best collection of sacred songs, hymns, odes, and anthems ever offered the singing public for general use (1991 rev.) #28b

Author: Isaac Watts

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 >


Life is the time to serve the Lord. I. Watts. [Life for God.] First published in his Hymns & Spiritual Songs, in the 2nd edition, 1709, Bk. i.. No. 88, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed "Life the Day of Grace and Hope." It is found in a few modern collections. In the authorized issue of the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1781, No. xv., on Eccl. ix. 4, &c, it is recast as:—
"As long as life its term extends, Hope's blest dominion never ends."
In the markings of the Translations & Paraphrases by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron (q.v.), this recast is attributed to Cameron. Its use is very extensive. --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 4 of 4)

The Baptist Hymnal #252


The Cyber Hymnal #3742

The Sacred Harp (Rev. Cooper Ed.) #28b


The Sacred Harp #28b

Include 330 pre-1979 instances
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