Before the use of hymnbooks in the 18th century, the main form of musical involvement by English congregations was to intone paraphrases of the Psalms. One Sunday, Isaac Watts opined that the way the Psalms were rendered lacked the dignity and beauty that he felt should characterize every part of Christian worship. His father challenged him to produce something better. In 1707, Watts published his Hymns and Spiritual Songs. These were set to music by a host of later composers, and came to be sung all over the English-speaking world. According to Watts, the systematic study of the heavens enlarged his understanding of the immense power of God and the magnificence of His creation.
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🎵 Song heard in this episode, When I Survey The Wondrous Cross (Choir of Kings College, Cambridge)
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