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Dissenting PraiseReligious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales$
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Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199545247

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199545247.001.0001

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The Hymns of Isaac Watts and the Tradition of Dissent

The Hymns of Isaac Watts and the Tradition of Dissent

(p.33) Chapter 2 The Hymns of Isaac Watts and the Tradition of Dissent
Dissenting Praise

J. R. Watson (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the features of Isaac Watts’s hymn-writing that reflect his loyalty to the dissenting tradition, and that make it unmistakably that of a non-Anglican. This is demonstrated in his firm adherence to the Independent church and its members (‘the saints’), in his interpretation of the Bible, and in his exploration of the experience of the believer in pilgrimage. The chapter argues that the tradition of a gathered church, strengthened by former persecution but now celebrating a degree of toleration, is the context in which Watts’s hymns and metrical psalms must be seen. A particular importance is attached to the Lord’s Day, and to the congregation of the saints, who are to rejoice in the freedom to worship granted by the Hanoverian dynasty.

Keywords:   Isaac Watts, dissent, Bible, pilgrimage, gathered church, metrical psalms, worship

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