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Isaac Watts

ISAAC WATTS (1674–1748) was born in Southampton, England. His father, a schoolmaster, was jailed twice for his non-conformist faith. Isaac loved to read and attended the free school in Southampton. He started learning Latin at the age of four. He attended Rev. Mr. Thomas Rowe’s Nonconformist Academy at Stoke Newington in London. He started writing poetry at fifteen. He became a preacher at 24, and remained in partnership with Samuel Price, an assistant and later joint pastor. He lived at Abney House with Sir Thomas and Lady Mary. He gave himself to preaching and writing his entire life. He was an industrious hymn writer who wrote over 600 hymns, among many other works.

Curiosmith features:
The Beauties of Dr. Isaac Watts.
The Redeemer and the Sanctifier.
A Guide to Prayer.
Divine and Moral Songs for Children.

Isaac Watts booklist:
An Essay on Psalmody
Art of Reading and Writing English (The)
Brief Scheme of Ontology
Catechisms for Children and Youth
Caveat Against Infidelity (A)
Death and Heaven
Defense Against the Temptation to Self-murder (A)
Education of Children and Youth (The)
Way of Instruction by Catechisms (The)
Dissertations Relating to the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity
Divine and Moral Songs for Children
Doctrine of the Passions
Psalms and Hymns
Essays Towards Proof of a Separate State of Souls
Essays Towards the Encouragement of Charity Schools among the Dissenters
Evangelical Discourses
Glory of Christ as God-Man Unveiled
Guide to Prayer (A)
Harmony of all the Religions God Ever Prescribed (The)
Holiness of Times, Places, and People, Under the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, Considered and Compared (The)
Horae Lyricae: Poems Chiefly of the Lyric Kind
Humble Attempt Toward the Revival of Practical Religion Among Christians
Humility Represented in the Character of St. Paul
Improvement of the Mind; or, Supplement to the Art of Logic
Knowledge of the Heavens and the earth Made Easy; or, The First Principals of Geography and Astronomy Explained (The)
Large Catalog of Remarkable Scripture Names (A)
Logick; or, The Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry After Truth
Nine Sermons Preached in the Years 1718-19
On Civil Power in Things Sacred
On the Freedom of the Will in God and in Creatures
Orthodoxy and Charity United
Philosophical Essays on Various Subjects
Posthumous Works: Complied from Papers in Possession of His Immediate Successor: Published by a Gentleman of the University of Cambridge
Posthumous Works: Published from his MSS by David Jennings, D. D. and Philip Doddridge, D. D.
Prayers for Children
Preservative from the Sins and Follies of Youth by Way of Question and Answer (A)
Psalms of David (The)
Questions Proper for Students in Divinity etc
Rational Foundation of a Christian Church (The)
Redeemer and the Sanctifier or The Sacrifice of Christ, and the Operations of the Spirit (The)
Reliquiae Juveniles; or, Miscellaneous Thoughts in Prose and Verse
Ruin and Recovery of Mankind
Self-Love and Virtue Reconciled only by Religion
Sermons on Various Subjects Divine and Moral
Short View of the Whole Scripture history, in Questions and Answers
Strength and Weakness of Human Reason (The)
Treatise on the Love of God and the Use and Abuse of the Passions
Twelve sermons on various subjects
Useful and Important Questions Concerning Jesus the Son of God
World to Come (The)


Extended Biography of Dr. Isaac Watts

ISAAC WATTS, D.D. One great object of this compilation is, the illustration of divine grace, in its power and influence upon the hearts of men: So that, while we point out the bright examples of many eminent Christians, we would be understood not so much to set up men for mere admiration, but to shew what God hath done, in successive generations, for poor sinners like ourselves, that others may be encouraged, according to their measure of the same grace, to follow them who now through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hence, therefore, as we must abhor a mean and invidious detraction, which could only prove that we want either grace or common candor, we would be careful also to avoid the other extreme, from a mind equally devoted to temporal views, of sliding into fulsome or swelling panegyrics, through any respect that should be entertained for the memories of faithful men. It becomes us, in this case, to consider what the persons we venture to celebrate, would say of us or to us, could they read what fell from our pens, now their spirits are made perfect, and divested of all the vanity and conceit of the flesh. I believe, they would readily own, with the Apostle, that they were at best but empty vessels in themselves; that whatever they enjoyed of goodness was entirely out of that Fullness, which filleth all in all; and that, by the grace of God, they were whatever they were, either in themselves or for others, in point of usefulness and worth. And, in consequence of this acknowledgment, they would be much more ready to chide than to thank us, were we to dignify their persons for public view, and to forget to mention, that they had nothing worth having but what they freely received from their Master. Under this impression of mind, which we would wish never to forget, we shall select, from the various memoirs which have been published of this excellent man, chiefly what has been given by the late Dr. Samuel Johnson, as the most concise, judicious, and candid of any; to which we will add a few edifying particulars, which, we conceive, cannot but be grateful to our serious readers.

Isaac Watts (says Dr. Johnson) was born July 17, 1674, at Southampton, where his father, of the same name, kept a boarding-school for young gentlemen, though common report makes him a shoemaker. He appears, from the narrative of Dr. Gibbons, to have been neither indigent nor illiterate. Isaac, the eldest of nine children, was given to books from his infancy; and began, we are told, to learn Latin when he was four years old, I suppose at home. He was afterwards taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, by Mr. Pinhorne, a clergyman, master of the free-school at Southampton, to whom the gratitude of his scholar afterwards inscribed a Latin Ode. His proficiency at school was so conspicuous, that a subscription was proposed for his support at the university; but he declared is resolution to take his lot with the Dissenters. Such he was, as every Christian church would rejoice to have adopted. He therefore repaired in 1690 to an academy taught by Mr. Rowe, where he had for his companions and fellow-students Mr. Hughes the poet, and Dr. Horte, after wards Archbishop of Tuam. Some Latin Essays, supposed to have been written as exercises at this academy, shew a degree of knowledge, both philosophical and theological such as very few attain by a much longer course of study. He was, as he hints in his miscellanies, a maker of verses from fifteen to fifty, and in his youth he appears to have paid attention to Latin poetry. His verses to his brother, in the glyconic measure, written when he was seventeen, are remarkably easy and elegant. Some of his other odes are deformed by the pindaric folly then prevailing, and are written with such neglect of all metrical rules as is without example among the ancients; but his diction, though perhaps not always exactly pure, has such copiousness and splendor, as shews that he was but at a very little distance from excellence.

His method of study was to impress the contents of his books upon his memory by abridging them, and by interleaving them to amplify one system with supplements from another. With the congregation of his tutor Mr. Rowe, who were, I believe, independents, he communicated in his nineteenth year. At the age of twenty he left the academy, and spent two years in study and devotion at the house of his father, who treated him with great tenderness; and had the happiness, indulged to few parents, of living to see his son eminent for literature, and venerable for piety. He was then entertained by Sir John Hartopp five years, as domestic tutor to his son; and in that time particularly devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures; and being chosen assistant to Dr. Chauncey, preached the first time on the birth-day that completed his twenty-fourth year; probably considering that as the clay of a second nativity, by which he entered on a new period of existence. In about three years, he succeeded Dr. Chauncey; but, soon after his entrance on his charge, he was seized by a dangerous illness, which sunk him to such weakness, that the congregation thought an assistant necessary, and appointed Mr. Price. His health then returned gradually, and he performed his duty, till (1712) he was seized by a fever of such violence and continuance, that, from the feebleness which it brought upon him, he never perfectly recovered. This calamitous state made the compassion of his friends necessary, and drew upon him the attention of Sir Thomas Abney, who received him into his house; where, with a constancy of friendship and uniformity of conduct not often to be found, he was treated for thirty-six years with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate. Sir Thomas died about eight years afterwards; but he continued with the lady and her daughters to the end of his life. The lady died about a year after him.

A coalition like this, a state in which the notions of patronage and dependence were overpowered by the perception of reciprocal benefits, deserves a particular memorial; and I will not withhold from the reader Dr. Gibbon's representation, to which regard is to be paid as to the narrative of one who writes what he knows, and what is known likewise to multitudes besides.

Our next observation (says Dr. Gibbons) shall be made upon that remarkably kind providence which brought the Doctor into Sir Thomas Abney's family, and continued him there till his death, a period of no less than thirty-six years. In the midst of his sacred labors for the glory of God, and the good of his generation, he is seized with a most violent and threatening fever, which leaves him oppressed with great weakness, and puts a stop at least to his public services for four years. In this distressing season, doubly so to his active and pious spirit, he is invited to Sir Thomas Abney's family, nor ever removes from it till he had finished his days. Here he enjoyed the uninterrupted demonstrations of the truest friendship. Here, without any care of his own, he had every thing which could contribute to the enjoyment of life, and favor the unwearied pursuit of his studies. Here ne dwelt in a family which for piety, order, harmony, and every virtue, was an house of God. Here he had the privilege of a country recess, the pure air, the retired grove, the fragrant bower, the spreading lawn, the flowery garden, and other advantages to soothe his mind, and aid his restoration to health, to yield him, whenever he chose them, most grateful intervals from his laborious studies, and enable him to return to them with redoubled vigor and delight. Had it not been for this most happy event, he might, as to outward view, have feebly, it may be, painfully, dragged on through many more years of languor and inability for public service, and even for profitable study, or perhaps might have sunk into his grave under the overwhelming load of infirmities in the midst of his days; and thus the church and world would have been deprived of those many excellent sermons and works, which he drew up and published during his long residence in this family. In a few years after his coming hither Sir Thomas Abney dies, but his amiable consort survives, who shows the Doctor the same respect and friendship as before, and most happily for him, and great numbers besides; for as her riches were great, her generosity and munificence were in full proportion, her thread of life was drawn out to a great age, even beyond that of the Doctor's, and thus this excellent man through her kindness, and that of her daughter, the present Mrs. Elizabeth Abney, who in a like degree esteemed and honored him, enjoyed all the benefits and felicities he experienced at his first entrance into this family, till his days were numbered and finished, and, like a shock of corn in its season, he ascended into the regions of perfect and immortal life and joy.

If this quotation (says Dr. Johnson) has appeared long, let it be considered that it comprises an account of six-and thirty years, and those the years of Dr. Watts. From the time of his reception into this family, his life was no other wise diversified than by successive publications. The series of his works I am not able to deduce; their number, and their variety, shew the intenseness of his industry, and the extent of his capacity. He was one of the first authors that taught the Dissenters to court attention by the graces of language. Whatever they had among them before, whether of learning or acuteness, was commonly obscured and blunted by coarseness, and inelegance of style. He shewed them, that zeal and purity might be expressed and enforced by polished diction, He continued to the end of his life the teacher of a congregation, and no reader of his works can doubt his fidelity or diligence. In the pulpit, though his low stature, which very little exceeded five feet, graced him with no advantages of appearance, yet the gravity and propriety of his utterance made his discourses very efficacious. I once mentioned the reputation which Mr. Foster had gained by his proper delivery to my friend Dr. Hawkesworth, who told me, that in the art of pronunciation he was far inferior to Dr. Watts. Such was his flow of thoughts, and such his promptitude of language, that in the latter part of his life he did not precompose his cursory sermons; but having adjusted the leads, and sketched out some particulars, trusted for success to his extemporary power. He did not endeavor to assist his eloquence by any gesticulations; for, as no corporeal actions have any correspondence with theological truth, he did not see how they could enforce it. At the conclusion of weighty sentences he gave time, by a short pause, for the proper impression. To stated and public instruction he added familiar visits and personal application, and was careful to improve the opportunities which offered, of diffusing and increasing the influence of religion.

By his natural temper he was quick of resentment; but, by his established and habitual practice, he was gentle, modest, and inoffensive. His tenderness appeared in his attention to children, and to the poor. To the poor, while he lived in the family of his friend, he allowed the third part of his annual revenue, though the whole was not an hundred a-year; and for children, he condescended to lay aside the scholar, the philosopher, and the wit, to write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at an other making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science, is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can teach. As his mind was capacious, his curiosity excursive, and his industry continual, his writings are very numerous, and his subjects various. With his theological works I am only enough acquainted to admire his meekness of opposition, and his mildness of censure. It was not only in his book, but in his mind, that orthodoxy was united with charity. Of his philosophical pieces, his logic has been received into the universities, and therefore wants no private recommendation: If he owes part of it to Le Clerc, it must be considered that no man, who undertakes merely to methodize or illustrate a system, pretends to be its author. In his metaphysical disquisitions, it was observed by the late learned Mr. Dyer, that he confounded the idea of space with that of empty space, and did not consider, that though space might be without matter, yet matter being extended, could not be without space. Few books have been perused by me with greater pleasure than his "Improvement of the Mind," of which the radical principles may indeed be found in Locke's “Conduct of the Understanding;” but they are so expanded and ramified by Watts, as to confer upon him the merit of a work in the highest degree useful and pleasing. Whoever has the care of instructing others, may be charged with deficiency in his duty, if this book is not recommended.

I have mentioned his treatises of theology as distinct from his other productions; but the truth is, that whatever he took in hand was, by his incessant solicitude for souls, converted to theology. As piety predominated in his mind, it is diffused over his works: Under his direction, it may he truly said, Theologiae Philosophia ancillatur, philosophy is subservient to evangelical instruction; it is difficult to read a page without learning, or at least wishing, to be better. The attention is caught by indirect instruction, and he that sat down only to reason, is on a sudden compelled to pray. It was therefore with great propriety that, in 1728, he received from Edinburgh and Aberdeen an unsolicited diploma, by which he became a doctor of divinity. Academical honors would have more value, if they were always bestowed with equal judgment.

It is not often possible to bestow them with equal propriety; for men like Dr. Watts the Christian world doth not often enjoy. It is, however, a true observation, made by another writer (Mr. Toplady) upon this article, that “Learned seminaries would retrieve the departing respectability of their diplomas, were they only presented to (I will not say such men as Dr. Watts, for few such men are in any age to be found; but to) persons of piety, orthodoxy, erudition, and virtue.” The presenting such titles to people, who either can pay for them, or whose silly vanity prompts them to have their names ushered in with a sound, without any just qualification in the world beside, exposes the honors of a university to contempt, and the persons who bear them to ridicule. The name of Doctor, though it cannot make a man intuitively learned or wise, should give the world a just expectation not to find him at least either weak or illiterate.

He continued many years to study and to preach, and to do good by his instruction and example; till at last the infirmities of age disabled him from the more laborious part of his ministerial functions, and, being no longer capable of public duty, he offered to remit the salary appendant to it, but his congregation would not accept the resignation. By degrees his weakness increased, and at last confined him to his chamber and his bed, where he was worn gradually away without pain, till he expired November 25, 1748, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. Few men have left him such purity of character, or such monuments of laborious piety. He has provided instruction for all ages, from those who are lisping their first lessons, to the enlightened readers of Malebranche and Locke; he has left neither corporeal nor spiritual nature unexamined; he has taught the art of reasoning, and the science of the stars. His character, therefore, must be formed from the multiplicity and diversity of his attainments, rather than from any single performance; for it would not be safe to claim for him the highest rank in any single denomination of literary dignity; yet perhaps there was nothing in which he would not have excelled, if he had not divided his powers to different pursuits. As a poet, had he been only a poet, he would probably have stood high among the authors with whom he is now associated; [i.e. among the poets, the lives of whom, almost every body knows, Dr. Johnson has most elegantly written.] For his judgment was exact, and he noted beauties and faults with very nice discernment; his imagination, as the “Dacian Battle” proves, was vigorous and active, and the stores of knowledge were large by which his fancy was to be supplied. His ear was well-tuned, and his diction was elegant and copious. But his devotional poetry is, like that of others, unsatisfactory. The paucity of its topics enforces perpetual repetition, and the sanctity of the matter rejects the ornaments of figurative diction. It is sufficient for Watts to have done better than others, what no man has done well.

This must be read cum grano salis, considering, who wrote this life, and for whose perusal it was chiefly written. That it is impossible for language so to ornament divine truths, as to make them acceptable to an ungodly world, is too serious a fact to be disputed; but that divine truths are without beauty, or the most sublime and enrapturing beauty, can only be affirmed by those who have no spiritual eyes to see, or gracious hearts to enjoy them. Dr. Johnson unhappily wrote for those, who understand- the language and the arts of men more than the voice and the things of God: Otherwise he too would have confessed, that there is more sublimity, excellence, and glory, of all kinds, in one page of Isaiah, than in all the writings of the poets he collected, or could have collected from the ancient heathen or modern world. A critic, who may be learned in all books but one—I mean the Bible, may affect to smile at such a remark; but nevertheless there is no hazard of breaking truth in making it, that the first poem which ever appeared on earth, I mean that in the 15th chapter of Exodus, has more real majesty, beauty, force, and propriety in it, than all that lying Greece or brutal Rome, or any other country or age, have ever produced; and I may add, it is celebrated by more competent judges, and will last infinitely longer; for it is sung by spirits perfectly enlightened, and will be sung by them throughout eternity. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints, Revelation 15:3.

His poems on other subjects seldom rise higher than might be expected from the amusements of a man of letters, and have different degrees of value as they are more or less labored, or as the occasion was more or less favorable to invention. He writes too often without regular measures, and too often in blank verse; the rhymes are not always sufficiently correspondent. He is particularly unhappy in coining names expressive of characters. His lines are commonly smooth and easy, and his thoughts always religiously pure; but who is there that, to so much piety and innocence, does not wish for a greater measure of sprightliness and vigor? He is at least one of the few poets with whom youth and ignorance may be safely pleased; and happy will be that reader, whose mind is disposed, by his verses or his prose, to imitate him in all but his nonconformity, to copy his benevolence to man, and his reverence to God. Thus far Doctor Johnson.

But, glad as we are to consult brevity in our accounts of gracious persons, in order to admit as many as possible within the prescribed limits of our work, we cannot dismiss this article, without a few edifying additions to the memorial of this excellent man. What some critics have observed upon the most valuable circumstance of his character, which they have been pleased to style, ' the enthusiasm of his heart, operating on a fanatical creed, which hurried him too often into extravagance and absurdity,' only proves, that they are not blessed with a mind like his, capable of understanding (he same intellectual good, and that consequently they are too incompetent to decide upon what is so much above them. Whatever rises in the least degree above earth and sensual comprehension, is to men, who know no happiness (if it deserve the name) but what comes from earth, altogether fanatical, enthusiastic, and absurd. The logic of their decision is, “We know it not, therefore it is not to be known; we feel no influence of grace, therefore there is none; therefore it is all chimera; therefore we have a right to ridicule.” But, omitting the reflections of men, whose absurdities are more dangerous to themselves than prejudicial to the cause of truth, we subjoin a few of the dying sayings of this blessed man, which were preserved and communicated to the world by Dr. Jennings, who preached his funeral sermon, about a fortnight after the body had been interred at Bunhill Fields. "I bless God,” says he, “I can lie down with comfort at night, unsolicitous whether I wake in this world or another!” His faith in the promises was lively and unshaken: “I believe them enough to venture an eternity on them!'" Once, to a religious friend, he expressed himself thus: “I remember, an aged minister used to say, that the most learned and knowing Christians, when they come to die, have only the same plain promises for their support, as the common and unlearned. Anil so (continued the Doctor) I find it. It is the plain promises of the gospel that are my support: And, I bless God, they are plain promises, which do not require much labor and pains to understand them: For I can do nothing now, but look into my Bible, for some promise to support me, and live upon that.” On feeling any temptations to complain, he would remark, “The business of a Christian is, to bear the will of God, as well as to do it. If I were in health, I could only be doing that: And that I may do now. The best thing in obedience is, a regard to the will of God: And the way to that, is to get our inclinations and aversions as much mortified as we can.” If our readers wish to read a more prolix account of the Doctor and his writings, we must refer them to the memoirs drawn up by Dr. Gibbons, to which are added several valuable letters written to him by his friends, among which were the late Dr. Seeker, Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Hart, Archbishop of Tuam, Dr. Gibson, Bishop of London, Lady Hartford, (afterwards Duchess of Somerset) the first Lord Barrington, Mr. Hervey, etc.

His Works. “I. Sermons on various Subjects, divine and moral, with a sacred Hymn suited to each subject. II. A Guide to Prayer, etc. III. The Christian Doctrine of the Trinity, etc. Vindicated by plain Evidence of Scripture, without the Aid or Incumbrance of human schemes. IV. Seven Dissertations relating to the Christian Doctrine of the Trinity, in two parts. V. Death and Heaven, or the last Enemy Conquered, and separate Spirits made perfect; attempted in two funeral discourses in memory of Sir John Hartopp, Baronet, and his lady. VI. A Defence against the Temptations to Self-murder, etc. together with some Reflections on excess in strong Liquors, Duelling, and other Practices akin to this heinous Sin. VII. A Caveat against Infidelity, or the Danger of Apostasy from the Christian Faith; with an Answer to some Queries concerning the Salvation of the Heathens, and the Hope of the modern Deists upon Pretences to Sincerity. VIII. The Strength and Weakness of Human Reason. To conduct Mankind to Religion and future Happiness, argued between an inquiring Deist and a Christian Divine. IX. An humble attempt towards the Revival of practical Religion among Christians, &c. by a serious Address to Ministers and People, in some occasional Discourses. X. Discourses on the Love of God. XI. The Redeemer and the Sanctifier, &c. represented in a friendly conversation between persons of different sentiments. XII. The Holiness of Times, Places, and People, under the Jewish and Christian Dispensations considered and compared in several discourses, on the Sabbath, the temple, churches, meeting houses, etc. XIII. A Book of Catechisms, complete, containing five parts; to which is added a large catalogue of remarkable scripture names collected for the use of children. XIV. Prayers composed for the use and imitation of children, suited to their different ages, etc. and a serious address to them on that subject. XV. A short View of the Whole Scripture History, with a continuation of the Jewish affairs from the end of the Old Testament to the coming of Christ. XVI. Humility represented in the character of St. Paul. XVII. Self-love and Virtue reconciled only by Religion, etc. together with an occasional proof of the necessity of Revelation. XVIII. The World to come, or Discourses on the Joys and Sorrows of departed Souls at Death, and the Glory or Terror of the Resurrection, to which is prefixed an Essay towards the proof of a separate state of souls after death. XIX. The Ruin and Recovery of mankind, &c. To which are subjoined Three short Essays, namely, the Proof of Man's Fall by his Misery; the Imputation of Sin and Righteousness; and the Guilt and Defilement of Sin. XX. The Harmony of all the Religions which God ever prescribed, etc. XXI. Orthodoxy and Charity united, in several reconciling Essays on the Law and Gospel, Faith and Works. XXII. The Rational Foundation of a Christian Church, and the Terms of Christian Communion; to which are added Three Discourses, namely, A Pattern for a Dissenting Preacher; the Office of Deacons; and Invitations to Church-fellowship. XXIII. Useful and important Questions concerning Jesus the Son freely proposed; with an humble attempt to answer them according to Scripture. XXIV. The Glory of Christ as God-Man, displayed in three discourses; with an Appendix containing an Abridgement of Doctor Thomas Godwin's Discourse of the ' Glories and Royalties of Christ,' in his works in folio, vol. ii. B. 3. XXV. Evangelical Discourses on several Subjects; to which is added an Essay on the Powers and Contests of Flesh and Spirit. XXVI. A Sermon preached at Salter's Hall to the Societies for Reformation of Manners in the Cities of London and Westminster, October 6, 1707. XXVII. The religious Improvement of Public Events, a sermon preached at Bury Street, June 18, 1727, on occasion of the death of King George I. and the peaceful succession of King George II. XXVIII. Nine Sermons in the Bury Street collection of discourses preached by several ministers. XXIX. Questions proper for Students in Divinity, Candidates of the Ministry, and young Christians, to be proposed to them by themselves or others. XXX. A Short Essay towards the Improvement of Psalmody, or an Inquiry how the Psalms of David ought to be translated into Christian songs, and how lawful and necessary it is to compose other hymns according to the clearer revelation of the Gospel, for the use of the Christian church. XXXI. Hora Lyrica; Poems chiefly of the Lyric kind, in three books. XXXII. The Psalms of David imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship. XXXIII. Hymns and Spiritual Songs, in three books. XXXIV. Divine Songs, attempted in easy Language for the Use of Children. XXXV. Logic, or the Right Use of Reason in the Inquiry after Truth. XXXVI. The Improvement of the Mind, or a Supplement to the Art of Logic, in two parts. N. B. The two parts are in two volumes. XXXVII. A Discourse on the Education of Children and Youth. XXXVIII. The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth made easy, or the first Principles of Astronomy and Geography explained by the Use of the Globes and Maps; with a solution of the common problems by a plain scale and compasses as well as by the globe. Written for the use of learners. XXXIX. Philosophical Essays on various Subjects, &c. with some Remarks on Mr. Locke's Essay on the Human Understanding. To which is subjoined a brief Scheme of Ontology, or the Science of Being in general, with its affections. XL. The Art of Reading and Writing English, etc. with a variety of instructions for true spelling. XLI. The Doctrine of the Passions explained and improved. XLII. Reliquia Juveniles; Miscellaneous Thoughts in Prose and Verse on Natural, Moral, and Divine Subjects; written chiefly in younger years. XLIII. Remnants of Time employed in Prose and Verse, or short Essays and Composures on various Subjects. XLIV. An Essay on the Freedom of the Will in God and in Creature, and on various subjects connected therewith. XLV. An Essay on Civil Power in Things sacred. XLVI. An Essay towards the Encouragement of Charity-Schools, particularly those which are supported by Protestant Dissenters, for teaching the children of the poor to read and work, etc. to which is prefixed an Address to the supporters of those schools."

A collection of poems was published, a few years since, with the title of the “Doctor's Posthumous Works,” which are considered very justly as generally spurious and unworthy of the Doctor.

There is so just and seasonable a remark, made by a person in a class of life, now unhappily very little dignified with religion, in a letter to our author, that we wish to recommend its consideration to every lover of the Bible; and the more so, as it is a very ignorant as well as a very prevailing sentiment at this day, that we have nothing to do with the Old Testament, but that all our attention should be confined to the New.


Becket House, Feb. 4, 1731.

Rev. Sir,

At last I have received the kind present [Dr. Watts's “View of the whole Scripture History”] you so long since ordered me. I have read it over, and looked over some parts of it again. I shall lay it in my nursery, hall, and parlor, and keep it in my study. I think it a book that will be very instructive and entertaining to people of all ages and conditions. You know I am very much for the whole Bible's being looked through, and not one part of it only; or even the New Testament alone in prejudice of the rest. I think you have done very good service in giving us the Apocryphal history, as a part of the account of God's transactions with his people. But, after saying this, I must own to you I could have wished you had made your sections, especially at the beginning, not barely as historical ones, but with a view to the different dispensations of God to mankind, (I mean in that part of the book before the law) though still preserving the order of the Bible. The breaks that arise from that consideration, are what are most likely to lead us into the true knowledge of the Bible. Without them, the history of the Bible will be little more than the amusement of other histories. I am, Sir, your very faithful humble servant,


Source: Middleton, Erasmus. Evangelical Biography; or, An Historical Account of the Lives and Deaths of the Most Eminent and Evangelical Authors or Preachers, Vol. 4. London: W. Baynes, 1816.