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 >
These glorious minds, how bright they shine. J. Watts. [Martyrs.] First published in his Hymns, &c, 1707, Bk. i., No. 41, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled "The Martyrs glorified. Rev. vii., 13, &c." In this form it is rarely used. In the Draft of the Scottish Translations and Paraphrases of 1745, it is given as No. xliii. The author of this recast is unknown. This text was repeated, with slight changes, in the Draft of 1751, but in the authorized issue of the Translations, &c, of 1781, it underwent considerable changes.
This text has been in authorized use in the Church of Scotland for more than 100 years. It is also in extensive use in all English-speaking countries, and sometimes with a doxology added thereto, as in Hymns Ancient & Modern. It has been translated into several languages, e.g. into Latin, by H. M. Macgill, in his Songs of the Christian Creed and Life, 1876, as:—“Animae clare lucentes." The 1781 version is claimed by the eldest daughter of W. Cameron as his. His indebtedness, however, to the recast of 1745 was very great. Its right designation is I. Watts, 1709; Scottish Draft Translations and Paraphrases, 1745; and W. Cameron, 1781. From the 1781 text we also have:—
1. A numbered company behold. By Jane E. Leeson, in her Paraphrases and Hymns, 1853. This is a recast.
2. How bright these saints in glory shine. In T. Darling's Hymns for the Church of England. 1857-88.
3. How bright those saints in glory shine. In J. B. Whiting's Hymns for the Church Catholic. 1882.
These altered versions of the text are not in extensive use.
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)
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Display Title: These Glorious Minds, How Bright They ShineFirst Line: These glorious minds, how bright they shineTune Title: BROMSGROVEAuthor: Isaac WattsMeter: CMSource: Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707