Biography of William Holman Hunt

Childhood, Early Education and Training

The child of humble working-class parents (his father earned his living as a Cheapside warehouse manager) William Holman Hunt (he changed his name from Hobman Hunt on the discovery of the fact that a clerk had misspelled his name on his baptism certificate) was raised as a devout Christian, dedicating his early childhood to reading the Bible in its finest detail. This being Victorian England, Hunt began his working life aged just 12 as an office clerk. It would take a further five years before his parents agreed, albeit reluctantly, to his enrolment at the Royal Academy art school (in 1844). Once there, Hunt made the acquaintance of John Everett Millais and, a little later on, the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Hunt's portrait of a youthful Dante Gabriel Rossetti, executed in 1853.

Hunt had already made his mark having exhibited at Royal Manchester Institution in 1845, and at the Royal Academy and the British Institution a year later, before the three men formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – at Millais’s modest townhouse on Gower Street in Bloomsbury, London – in 1848. The men had grown disenchanted by their experience at the Royal Academy, having taken collective issue with the seemingly entrenched codes of artistic convention; not least the current orthodoxy of working from dark to light. The Brotherhood aspired to a brighter, more dynamic style of painting, driven primarily by close attention to picture detail. Together, they rejected the scholarly conventions of painting in favor of an acutely observation-driven style of representation. Rossetti summarized the aims of the Brotherhood as follows: “1. To have genuine ideas to express; 2. to study Nature attentively, so as to know how to express them; 3. to sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote; 4. and most indispensable of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues”.

A key stimulus on the Brotherhood project was the critical writing of John Ruskin. Ruskin, author of the book(s) Modern Painters (1843), was a renowned polemicist, moralist, and artist who had, most famously perhaps, championed the seven (tone, color, space, skies, earth, water and vegetation) “truths of natural form” in the expressive landscape paintings of J.M.W. Turner. (Much later, in 1880, Hunt, who was by now well known, wrote to John Ruskin praising him for the influence he had exercised over Hunt’s own art. He explained to Ruskin how he had come to be possessed, not by Turner, but by the poetry of John Keats, and how he (Hunt), under Ruskin’s influence, had come to regard Keats at a benchmark for the material reality he sought in his painting.) Hunt duly invested in the painterly ideal of a spiritual truth that would resound in material objects. It was from Ruskin indeed that Hunt derived the principle that it was not only good to depict things truthfully, it was also morally right. Thus, whereas previously Hunt had pursued a detailed, materially descriptive style, now he comprehended the way that material reality was the stuff of divine creation, and therefore indivisible from a sacred reality.

The Brotherhood lasted only about five years. Of the three founders it was Hunt who remained most committed to the ideals of the Brotherhood (Millais took over the presidency of the Royal Academy while the “amoral” Rossetti used his art to explore the beauty of the female form). In 1950 Hunt sold A Converted British Family Sheltering a Christian Missionary from the Persecution of the Druids to one Thomas Combe. Combe became Hunt’s close friend and business adviser and two years later he sold Hunt’s The Hireling Shepherd to the City of Manchester Art Galleries. Shepherds was significant because it was Hunt’s first work to display his style of divine realism. Meanwhile, Hunt and Millais vacationed at a farm in Surrey in 1853 and it was here that the former produced his first masterpiece: The Light of the World.

Mature Period

Portrait of Hunt by Sir William Blake Richmond (1900)

A year later the artist left England for Egypt and the Holy Land. To mark his departure, Millais gifted his friend a signet ring. The ring, which Hunt wore for the rest of his life, would become an emblem of the men’s life-long friendship. Hunt’s expedition lasted two years during which time he visited the Great Sphinx of Giza and the Pyramids though he remarked later that “[t]heir only association that I value is that Joseph, Moses and Jesus must have looked upon them.” For his painting The Scapegoat (1854–56), one of his signature pieces, Hunt travelled sixty miles outside Jerusalem where he found a suitably arid, desolate place for the setting of his painting. As he described it in his memoirs (published in 1905 and 1906) his own journey seemed to parallel that of the scapegoat in the picture, with Hunt the artist emerging as the hero of his own narrative. Indeed, Hunt returned to England in February 1856 sporting a voluminous beard. He saw the beard (as illustrated in William Blake Richmond’s 1877 and 1900 portraits of the artist) as somehow prophetic and he was to present himself henceforward as an untamed artistic genius.

Hunt's portrait of his first wife Fanny Hunt née Waugh (1866-68)

In 1865 Hunt married Fanny Waugh. The couple soon embarked on a tour of the Middle East in 1866 and it was while in quarantine in Florence that Fanny gave birth to a son. Their joy was short-lived however as Fanny lost her life to miliary fever. In 1868, Hunt returned to Florence to work on a memorial to Fanny (which beautifies the city’s Protestant Cemetery to this day). Hunt journeyed to the Holy Land again in August 1869. This time his stay lasted five years, during which time he worked tirelessly on the detail for his painting The Shadow of Death. Hunt worked on the background to the picture while in Nazareth (“whence he could command a charming panorama of cultivated landscape and distant hills”, according to his biographer A.C. Gissing). Indeed, the Holy Land exercised a huge pull on Hunt’s romantic vision of the past, though by physically inhabiting the places he sought to represent through his art, Hunt was able to achieve the material accuracy he sought in his updated renderings of Biblical narratives.

Late Period

Hunt’s self-styled piety was to be demeaned when he married Fanny’s sister, Edith, in 1875. According to English law, it was illegal to marry the sister of one’s deceased wife (the ceremony was conducted overseas) the legal consensus being that the new marriage constituted a form of incest. The couple duly took leave in Jerusalem where Hunt began work on The Triumph of the Innocents (1870–1903). At home meanwhile the scandal had caused considerable disquiet, especially within the Waugh clan, who considered it a stain on the family’s proud history. Some fifty years on – perhaps as an act of familial ‘revenge’ – Evelyn Waugh, the novelist and great nephew of the Waugh sisters, published a monograph, not about Hunt, but rather on the artist’s erstwhile colleague Rossetti.

Julia Margaret Cameron's photograph of Hunt in eastern costume, taken in 1864.

Though Hunt had exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy between the 1840s and 1860s, he made a definitive break with the organization in the 1870s. His final involvement with the Academy was in 1874, when he exhibited a portrait of his patron Thomas Fairbairn. Intriguingly, in the exhibition catalogue for that year he gave a split address, suggesting dual residence between 10 The Terrace, Hammersmith, and Jerusalem. He was living in Jerusalem in fact when the 1874 exhibition took place. Thereafter, Hunt preferred to exhibit at the Grosvenor Gallery and the New Gallery, both of which were aligned with an eclectic milieu of painters that ranged from other Pre-Raphaelites to (what Hunt saw as vain and ‘foppish’) aesthetes like J.A.M. Whistler.

Despite his advancing years, Hunt remained actively involved with art world politics during the 1880s. For instance, in 1886, with George Clausen and Walter Crane, he signed a letter lambasting the Royal Academy for its restrictive exhibition practices, while in the same year, with Ford Madox Brown, he established the Arts and Crafts Exhibiting Society. Though not directly affiliated with the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Society’s intention was to facilitate the exhibition of “fine art” alongside a so-called “decorative art”, including furniture and designs for stained glass windows. Hunt himself had paid special attention to the framing of his works throughout his career, treating his frames as iconographical extensions of the pictures that they contained.

Hunt’s first career retrospective was held in London in 1886 and was complemented with a collection of articles on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the Contemporary Review. Though future artistic undertakings were curtailed due to deteriorating eyesight and a serious asthma condition, Hunt visited the Middle East one last time in 1892. In 1905 he was awarded the Order of Merit and an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law by Oxford University. Following the publication of his memoirs in 1905-06, In 1907 his painting The Ship was purchased by a group of benefactors who presented the work to the Tate Gallery as a mark of respect, and to commemorate the artist’s eightieth birthday. Hunt died in London in 1910.

The Legacy of William Holman Hunt

In a fate that befell other Pre-Raphaelite painters, Hunt’s work fell from grace in the later decades of the nineteenth century. Though Hunt continued to work through this period, he had been long-since overtaken in the popular imagination by more youthful, frivolous, and less earnest forms of art. However, the dandyish aestheticism of J.A.M. Whistler – an artist who did so much to dent Hunt’s reputation – was largely a response to the Pre-Raphaelites. Hunt, and the Ruskinian milieu in which he worked, were in fact central to later developments in art, not least because artists like Whistler, if they were to make a name for themselves at all, had to reject what had gone before. As is so often the case with art, however, the division between Hunt and Whistler’s paintings was not so clear cut and in fact they merely define one another. Indeed, the two artists exhibited alongside each other on a number of occasions.

It was not until the early decades of the twentieth century however that Hunt started to excite the imagination of the new generation of painters. A retrospective held in 1906 and 1907, touring from London to Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, marked a revival of interest in his work. Certain works by painters like Harold Speed, such as in his 1905 portrait of the Arts and Crafts pioneer C.F.A. Voysey, suggest a debt of influence to Hunt. Other artists at this time, like Charles Ricketts and Charles Haslewood Shannon, (though their own preference was for Venetian painting and Tintoretto) seem to have absorbed Hunt’s approach to history too, specifically through their debt to a hallowed pre-Raphaelite style. Though Hunt had various defenders in the twentieth century (including, conversely, Evelyn Waugh who owned works by him) Hunt’s reputation would often languish due not least to the sweeping onset of modernism (in 1978, the Oxford Companion to Art stated in fact that “[m]ost of his works are now regarded as failures”). More recently, however, the ebb and flow of artistic taste has allowed for a critical revision of nineteenth-century British painting and in that context, Hunt emerges as one of its most revered sons.

Holmun Hunt also painted a picture of Jesus sanding outside a door knocking and I believe this can be seen in St Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Image result for jesus knocking at the door painting

O Jesus, thou art standing,
outside the fast closed door,
in lowly patience waiting
to pass the threshold o’er:
shame on us, Christian brothers,
his Name and sign who bear,
O shame, thrice shame upon us,
to keep him standing there!

O Jesus, thou art knocking;
and lo, that hand is scarred,
and thorns thy brow encircle,
and tears thy face have marred:
O love that passeth knowledge,
so patiently to wait!
O sin that hath no equal,
so fast to bar the gate!

O Jesus, thou art pleading
in accents meek and low,
“I died for you, my children,
and will you treat me so?”
O Lord, with shame and sorrow
we open now the door;
dear Savior, enter, enter,
and leave us never more.

How to Worship

1 Corinthians 14 New International Version

Good Order in Worship

26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.

29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]

36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]

39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

One of my favourite prayer choruses is ‘Prayer gently lifts me’ and the words to this simple chorus are displayed in the video

Unlimited Love

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version – UK 

13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Image result for god's unlimited love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Not so long ago The Salvation Army released music of the same title of today’s blog to which they put the words of a well known hymn.

  1. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
  2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
  3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
  4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Just where he needs me

Galatians 6 New International Version 

Doing Good to All

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Andrew Mair a Salvationist and composer of music with The Salvation Army composed the following tune to the hymn/song “Just where he needs me”. He speaks a little about his musical background and the Salvationist musicians/composers that inspired him.

Take time to be Holy

1 Peter 1 New International Version – UK

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Be holy

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’[a]

This beloved devotional hymn comes to us from British layman William Dunn Longstaff (1822-1894). Since his father was a wealthy ship owner, Longstaff was a person of independent financial means. Due to his generous philanthropy, he was influential in evangelical circles. The Rev. Carlton Young, editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, notes that he followed his friend and persuasive Welsh preacher Arthur A. Rees when he left the Anglican priesthood in 1842 after disagreements with his rector and bishop. As a result, Rees established the Bethesda Free Chapel in Sunderland, where Longstaff served as his church treasurer. He married Joyce Burlinson in 1853 and together they had seven children.

Longstaff befriended a number of well-known evangelists such as William Booth (1829-1912), founder of the Salvation Army. Some of Longstaff’s hymns were published in the official magazine of the Salvation Army magazine, The War Cry, during the 1880s. In 1873 the famous American preacher Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) and his chief musician Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908) arrived in England to hold a series of evangelistic meetings. The financial sponsor for their revivals died, leaving them with meager means to continue. They were desperately seeking funds, and Longstaff came to their rescue, helping to establish a donor base that allowed Moody to hold revivals in London and Scotland.

Methodist hymnologist Robert Guy McCutchan notes that Longstaff was inspired by the words of Griffith John, a missionary to China, repeated in a meeting in Keswick, England in the early 1880s. John cited I Peter 1:16, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (KJV), a reference to Leviticus 11:44. The hymn text appeared in Hymns of Consecration, the collection of hymns used during the Keswick event.

Longstaff showed the hymn to Ira Sankey, who in turn passed it on to American songwriter George C. Stebbins (1846-1945) to set in 1882. Stebbins laid it aside and did not recall it until an evangelistic meeting in India, during which the theme of holiness was explored. Stebbins recalled Longstaff’s hymn and set it to music for the revival. He sent his tune HOLINESS to Sankey, who published the hymn in New Songs and Sacred Solos (1888).

Each of the four stanzas begins with the invitation, “Take time to be holy.” The first stanza begins with a devotional request, “speak oft with thy Lord.” The invitation to holiness extends to care for “God’s children” and “those who are weak,” echoing the twin commandments, Matthew 22:36-40, to love God and neighbor.

The second stanza seeks to be alone with Jesus while “the world rushes on.” Through time with Jesus, “like him we shall be,” and, as a result, others will witness this “likeness.” In Methodist theology, this might be seen as a journey toward Christian perfection.

In stanza three, Jesus becomes the “guide” that we follow and trust. The final stanza suggests that when we “Take time to be holy,” our souls become calm. This calmness leads to Jesus’ control in our lives. Control manifests itself in “fountains of love.” This love in turn “fit[s us] for service above.”

Carlton Young distinguishes between Longstaff’s use of holiness and the Wesleyan understanding of personal holiness that demands a “radical change of heart and the resulting release from the bonds of sin as embodied in the Wesleyan precepts of entire sanctification, perfecting grace, perfect love, and Christian perfection.” To illustrate the transforming nature of holiness, the Rev. Young cites a section of the opening stanza of Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Love divine, all loves excelling”:

Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

In addition, Longstaff’s sense of devotional holiness also does not embrace a Wesleyan sense of social justice. This hymn has appeared in Methodist hymnals in the United States since 1901, reflecting the evangelical roots of Methodism in this country

  1. Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
    Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
    Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
    Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.
  2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
    Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
    By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
    Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
  3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
    And run not before Him, whatever betide.
    In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
    And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.
  4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
    Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
    Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
    Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

A Childs Burden

Matthew 6 – New International Version

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The above passage has got to be one of the most well known passages on Worry in the Bible. So much so I recall using it in a blog about a week ago called ‘No Worries’

While Jesus tells both you and I not to worry I must admit this is a very hard thing to do sometimes.

Granted some of us worry more than others and our partners or friends may use the phrase ” I don’t know what your worrying about” I’ve said it myself.

A Childs Burden

My Mother’s name is worry, In summer she worries about the water; In winter she worries about coal and briquets, and all year long she worries about the rice.

In daytime my mother worries about living; At night she worries about her children, and all the day long she worries and worries.

Then, my mother’s name is worry. My father’s name is drunken frenzy. And mine is tears and sigh.

When God Says No

Isaiah 25:1-5 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Praise to the Lord

25 Lord, you are my God;
    I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
    you have done wonderful things,
    things planned long ago.
You have made the city a heap of rubble,
    the fortified town a ruin,
the foreigners’ stronghold a city no more;
    it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will honour you;
    cities of ruthless nations will revere you.
You have been a refuge for the poor,
    a refuge for the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the storm
    and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
    is like a storm driving against a wall
    and like the heat of the desert.
You silence the uproar of foreigners;
    as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud,
    so the song of the ruthless is stilled.See the source image

I’ve had many tears and sorrows,
I’ve had questions for tomorrow,
There’ve been times
I didn’t know right from wrong:
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials come
To only make me strong.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I’ve been to lots of places,
And I’ve seen a lot of faces,
There’ve been times I felt so all alone;
But in my lonely hours,
Yes, those precious lonely hours,
Jesus let me know that I was His own.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

I thank God for the mountains,
And I thank Him for the valleys,
I thank Him for the storms
He brought me through;
For if I’d never had a problem
I wouldn’t know
That He could solve them,
I’d never know what faith
In God could do.

Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus,
I’ve learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.

When God says no, He has a plan. Keep trusting Him!

Isaac Watts 

Watts was born in Southampton, England in 1674 and was brought up in the home of a committed religious Nonconformist; his father, also Isaac Watts, had been incarcerated twice for his views. Watts had a classical education at King Edward VI School, learning Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.Watts displayed a propensity for rhyme from an early age. He was once asked why he had his eyes open during prayers, to which he responded:A little mouse for want of stairs-ran up a rope to say its prayers.He received corporal punishment for this, to which he cried:O father, father, pity take And I will no more verses make.[1][2]Watts could not attend Oxford or Cambridge because he was a nonconformist and these universities were restricted to Anglicans—as were government positions at the time. He went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690. Much of the remainder of his life centred on that village, which is now part of Inner London.Following his education, Watts was called as pastor of a large independent chapel in London, Mark Lane Congregational Chapel, where he helped train preachers, despite his poor health. He held religious opinions that were more nondenominational or ecumenical than was common for a nonconformist Congregationalist.Image result for when i survey the wondrous cross He had a greater interest in promoting education and scholarship than preaching for any particular sect. Watts took work as a private tutor and lived with the Nonconformist Hartopp family at Fleetwood House on Church Street in Stoke Newington. Through them, he became acquainted with their immediate neighbours Sir Thomas Abney and Lady Mary. He eventually lived for a total of 36 years in the Abney household, most of the time at Abney House, their second residence. (Lady Mary had inherited the manor of Stoke Newington in 1701 from her late brother Thomas Gunston.)On the death of Sir Thomas Abney in 1722, his widow Lady Mary and her unmarried daughter Elizabeth moved all her household to Abney House from Hertfordshire, and she invited Watts to continue with them. He particularly enjoyed the grounds at Abney Park, which Lady Mary planted with two elm walks leading down to an island heronry in the Hackney Brook, and he often sought inspiration there for the many books and hymns that he wrote.Watts lived at Abney Hall in Stoke Newington until his death in 1748; he was buried in Bunhill Fields. He left an extensive legacy of hymns, treatises, educational works, and essays. His work was influential amongst Nonconformist independents and religious revivalists of the 18th century, such as Philip Doddridge, who dedicated his best-known work to Watts.

One of Issac watts well known hymns is the following;

  1. When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.
  2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.
  3. See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
  4. Were the whole realm of nature mine,
    That were a present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Prosperity and Pleasure

Job 36 New International Version – UK

36 Elihu continued:

‘Bear with me a little longer and I will show you
    that there is more to be said on God’s behalf.
I get my knowledge from afar;
    I will ascribe justice to my Maker.
Be assured that my words are not false;
    one who has perfect knowledge is with you.

‘God is mighty, but despises no one;
    he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.
He does not keep the wicked alive
    but gives the afflicted their rights.
He does not take his eyes off the righteous;
    he enthrones them with kings
    and exalts them for ever.
But if people are bound in chains,
    held fast by cords of affliction,
he tells them what they have done –
    that they have sinned arrogantly.
10 He makes them listen to correction
    and commands them to repent of their evil.
11 If they obey and serve him,
    they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity
    and their years in contentment.

12 But if they do not listen,
    they will perish by the sword[a]
    and die without knowledge.

Perfection

1 John 4 New Living Translation

Loving One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[b] because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.[d]

Loving One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[b] because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.[d]

Loving One Another

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. 14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. 16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[b] because he loved us first.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.[d]

  1. O perfect Love, all human thought transcending,
    Lowly we kneel in prayer before Thy throne,
    That theirs may be the love which knows no ending,
    Whom Thou forevermore dost join in one.
  2. O perfect Life, be Thou their full assurance,
    Of tender charity and steadfast faith,
    Of patient hope and quiet, brave endurance,
    With childlike trust that fears not pain nor death.
  3. Grant them the joy which brightens earthly sorrow;
    Grant them the peace which calms all earthly strife;
    And to life’s day the glorious unknown morrow
    That dawns upon eternal love and life.