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Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts

(1674 – 1748)

TUNE: Amanda

How vain are all things here below

Born in Southampton, (UK) Dr. Watts became known as the father of English hymnody. The story goes that one day after returning from a Dissenting meeting house, the young Watts complained about the poor content of the Psalmody; he said that it is as if Jesus had never come! His Father then turned to him and told young Isaac to produce something better. And so he did, producing some of the most wonderful Christ – centred hymns in the language. Watts became known as the ‘Father of English hymns’.

This hymn is subtitled: Love to the creatures is dangerous


How vain are all things here below!
How false, and yet how fair!
Each pleasure hath its poison too,
And ev’ry sweet a snare.


The brightest things below the sky
Give but a flatt’ring light;
We should suspect some danger nigh
When we possess delight.


Our dearest joys, and nearest friends,
The partners of our blood,
How they divide our wav’ring minds
And leave half for God!


The fondness of a creature’s love,
How strong it strikes the sense!
Thither the warm affections move,
Nor can we call them thence.


Dear Saviour! let Thy beauties be
My soul’s eternal food;
And grace command my heart away
From all created good.