Sermon Illustrations

Isaac Watts was a well known minister and writer of songs in the 1700’s. Among his better known songs are, “Joy to the World,” “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and “I’ll Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath.” The theme of this last hymn reflects Isaac’s great interest in the afterlife with Christ.

He once wrote, “Death to a good man is . . . but passing through one little, dusky room of his Father’s house into another that is fair and large, lightsome and glorious, and divinely entertaining.”

Then he added this personal note. “May the rays and splendor of my heavenly apartment shoot far downward and gild the dark entry with such a cheerful beam as to banish every fear when I shall be called to pass through.”

It was as he wished. As he was on his deathbed for three weeks in November of 1748, at age 74, his friends gathered round. Mustering his strength, he exclaimed, “If God may raise me up again, I may finish some more of my papers, or God can make use of me to save a soul, and that will be worth living for. If God has no more service for me to do, through grace I am ready. It is a great mercy to me that I have no manner of fear nor dread of death . . . .”

His body lies buried in London, England’s Bunhill Fields. The epitaph on his tomb, which he had prepared for himself, includes the following scriptures:

2 Corinthians 5:8, “Absent from the body, and present with the Lord.” And Colossians 3:4, “When Christ, who is my life, shall appear, then shall I also appear with Him in glory.”

("Then Sings My Soul", Book 2, by Robert Morgan)