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The Brazen Serpent; or Looking to Jesus

So did the Hebrew prophet raise

Author: Isaac Watts
Tune: DOWNS (Mason)
Published in 49 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

So did the Hebrew prophet raise
The brazen serpent high,
The wounded felt immediate ease,
The camp forbore to die.

"Look upward in the dying hour,
And live," the prophet cries;
But Christ performs a nobler cure,
When Faith lifts up her eyes.

High on the cross the Savior hung,
High in the heav'ns he reigns:
Here sinners by th' old serpent stung
Look, and forget their pains.

When God's own Son is lifted up,
A dying world revives;
The Jew beholds the glorious hope,
Th' expiring Gentile lives.

Source: The Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Watts #281

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 >

Text Information

First Line: So did the Hebrew prophet raise
Title: The Brazen Serpent; or Looking to Jesus
Author: Isaac Watts
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


So did the Hebrew prophet raise . I. Walts. [Passiontide.] Published in his Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1709, Book i., No. 112, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines. In the same work, Book i., No. 100, is the L. M. hymn, "Not to condemn the sons of men," in 4 st. of 4 1. These hymns are in common use in their original forms, but their principal interest arises out of their connection with the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases. In 1745, st. i.-iii. of "So did the Hebrew prophet raise," were adopted as st. i.-iii. of the Draft Scottish Translations and Paraphrases. "Of old the Hebrew prophet rais'd," and "Not to condemn the sons of men," was rewritten in C. M., and given as st. iv.-vii. of the same hymn. In the Draft of 1751 this arrangement was altered to As when the Hebrew prophet rais'd," the alteration being confined to st. i. The Draft of 1781 contained further alterations, and finally the hymn came forth in the official Translations and Paraphrases, 1781, as a paraphrase (No. xli.) of St. John iii. 14-19, " As when the Hebrew prophet rais'd," st. i. being from the Draft of 1751, as above; st. ii., iii, iv., new, but based upon the Draft of 1745; st. iv. from the Draft of 1745 ; st. v. new; st. vi. from the Draft of 1745. This form of the hymn has been authorized for use in the Church of Scotland for more than 100 years, and is also found in several modern hymnbooks. In a list of authors and revisers of Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1781, made by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron, the 1781 revision is attributed to W. Cameron. The designation of this hymn is I. Watts, 1709; Scottish Translations and Paraphrases, 1745-51; and W. Cameron, 1781.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #6172
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The Cyber Hymnal #6172

Include 48 pre-1979 instances
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