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 >
So new-born babes desire the breast. I. Watts. [Christian Life]. Published in his Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1709, Book i., No. 143, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines and headed “Characters of the Children of God from several Scriptures." In common use it is usually abridged. Modern hymn-books also contain the following centos therefrom:—
1. As new-born babes desire the breast. In a few collections.
2. Dost thou the high and heavenly One? This, in the American Unitarian Hymns of the Spirit, Boston, 1864, No. 427, is composed of stanzas ix., vi.-viii. with blight alterations.
3. Father, I wait before Thy throne. An altered form of stanzas ix., x., in the Methodist Episcopal Hymns, 1849, and other American collections.
4. Grace, like an uncorrupted seed. This begins with stanzas v. and is found in a few American hymnals.
5. Immortal principles forbid. This, in the New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859, is composed of stanzas v.-x., with alterations.
6. Lord, I address Thy heavenly throne. This, in the Baptist Psalms & Hymns, 1858, is composed of stanzas ix., vi., v., vii., viii., in the order named. This hymn in these various forms is in extensive use.
-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)