Birds in Hymns – He That Hath Made His Refuge God

Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom's Wing - ©CC

Baby Chick Peeping Out From Under His Mom's Wing - ©CC

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalms 91:9-10 KJV)

Words by Isaac Watts, (1674-1748) The Psalms of Da­vid, 1719.

Music: St. John’s High­lands, anon­y­mous

He That Hath Made His Refuge God

He that hath made his refuge God
Shall find a most secure abode,
Shall walk all day beneath His shade,
And there at night shall rest his head.

Then will I say, My God, Thy power
Shall be my fortress and my tower;
I, that am formed of feeble dust,
Make Thine almighty arm my trust.

Thrice happy man! Thy Maker’s care
Shall keep thee from the fowler’s snare;
Satan, the fowler, who betrays
Unguarded souls a thousand ways.

Just as a hen protects her brood
From birds of prey that seek their blood,
Under her feathers, so the Lord
Makes His own arm His people’s guard.

If burning beams of noon conspire
To dart a pestilential fire,
God is their life; His wings are spread
To shield them with a healthful shade.

If vapors with malignant breath
Rise thick, and scatter midnight death,
Israel is safe; the poisoned air
Grows pure, if Israel’s God be there.

What though a thousand at thy side,
At thy right hand ten thousand died,
Thy God His chosen people saves
Amongst the dead, amidst the graves.

So when He sent His angel down
To make His wrath in Egypt known,
And slew their sons, His careful eye
Passed all the doors of Jacob by.

But if the fire, or plague, or sword,
Receive commission from the Lord
To strike His saints among the rest,
Their very pains and deaths are blest.

The sword, the pestilence, or fire,
Shall but fulfill their best desire;
From sins and sorrows set them free,
And bring Thy children, Lord, to Thee.

Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalms 17:8 KJV)


Under His Wings - (Dove - photographer unknown)

Under His Wings - (Dove - photographer unknown)

Isaac Watts – (1674-1748)

Watts’ fa­ther was Non­con­form­ist im­pris­oned twice for his re­li­gious views. Isaac learned Greek, Latin, and He­brew un­der Mr. Pin­horn, Rec­tor of All Saints, and head­mas­ter of the Gram­mar School in South­amp­ton. Isaac’s taste for verse showed it­self in ear­ly child­hood, and his prom­ise caused a lo­cal doc­tor and other friends to of­fer him a un­i­ver­si­ty ed­u­ca­tion, as­sum­ing he would be or­dained in the Church of Eng­land. How­ev­er, Isaac de­clined and in­stead en­tered a Non­con­for­mist Acad­e­my at Stoke New­ing­ton in 1690, un­der the care of Thom­as Rowe, pas­tor of the In­de­pen­dent cong­re­ga­tion at Gir­dlers’ Hall; Isaac joined this con­gre­ga­tion in 1693.

Watts left the Acad­e­my at age 20 and spent two years at home; it was dur­ing this per­i­od that he wrote the bulk of his Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs. They were sung from man­uscripts in the South­amp­ton Cha­pel, and pub­lished 1707-1709.

The next six years of his life were again spent at Stoke New­ing­ton, work­ing as tu­tor to the son of em­i­nent Pur­i­tan John Har­topp. The in­tense stu­dy of these years is re­flect­ed in the the­o­log­ic­al and phil­o­soph­ic­al ma­ter­i­al he sub­se­quent­ly pub­lished.

Watts preached his first ser­mon at age 24. In the next three years, he preached fre­quent­ly, and in 1702 was or­dained as pas­tor of the In­de­pen­dent con­gre­ga­tion in Mark Lane. At that time he moved in­to the house of a Mr. Hollis in the Mi­nor­ies. His health be­gan to fail the next year, and Sam­u­el Price was ap­point­ed as his as­sist­ant in the min­is­try. In 1712, a fe­ver shat­tered his con­sti­tu­tion, and Price be­came co-pas­tor of the con­gre­ga­tion, which had moved to a new cha­pel in Bu­ry Street. It was at this time that Isaac be­came the guest of Sir Thom­as Ab­ney. He lived with Ab­ney (and lat­er Abney’s wi­dow) the rest of his life, main­ly at The­o­balds in Hert­ford­shire, then for 13 years at Stoke New­ing­ton.

In 1728, the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Ed­in­burgh award­ed Watts a Doc­tor of Di­vin­i­ty de­gree.

More Birds in Hymns

See ~ Wordless Birds

Most information from The Cyber Hymnal  –  He That Hath Made His Refuge God

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