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 >
Now shall my inward joy arise. J. Watts. [God's care of His Church.] Published in his Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707, Bk. i., No. 39, in 6 stanza of 4 lines, as a paraphrase of Isaiah xlix. 13, &c. In this form its use is limited. In the Draft of the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745, No. xvii., is a hymn on the same passage beginning, "Ye heav'ns, send forth your praising song." Of this hymn stanzas i.-iii. are by an unknown hand, and have little or no resemblance to the corresponding stanzas in Watts, whilst stanzas iv.-vi. are from his hymn, as above, with the alteration of a "kind woman," in stanza iv., l. 1, to a "fond mother." In the authorized issue of the Translations and Paraphrases, of 1781 the opening line reads, “Ye heav'ns, send forth your song of praise; " and the text is a recast of the Draft of 1745 throughout. As Watts's text of stanzas iv.-vi. is easily attainable for comparison we add hereto only the text of stanzas i.-iii. from the 1745 Draft:—
"Ye heav'ns, send forth your praising song!
Earth, raise thy Voice below !
Let Hills and Mountains join the Choir,
and joy thro' Nature flow!
“Behold, how gracious is our God!
with what comforting Strains
He cheers the Sorrows of our Heart,
and banishes our Pains.
"Cease ye, when Days of Darkness fall,
with troubled Hearts to mourn;
As if the Lord could leave a Saint
forsaken or forlorn."
The final recast of this hymn in the authorized issue of the Scottish Translations & Paraphrases of 1781 is claimed for W. Cameron by his daughter in her markings of authors and revisers of that issue. In Miss J. E. Leeson's Paraphrases & Hymns, 1853, No. li., on the same passage is a hymn of 8 stanzas in two parts: (1) "Sing, 0 ye heavens! Be joyful, earth," and (2) "O Zion, from the stranger's land." This arrangement by Miss Leeson is based on the Scottish Translations & Paraphrases of 1781, as above.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)