Awful Hymns

Classical music is fascinating. Especially stuff from the 70’s. Isaac Watts was born 300 years before that era, but fought his own revolution. He was tired of skating on the thin ice of Anglican Traditionalism (dragging behind him the silent reproach of a million trampled graces). Since breathing life into the corpse of High Church hymnology wasn’t working, he started writing contemporary music. He blended the emotional subjectivity of Christian experience with the doctrinal objectivity of biblical content. Poetry, Scripture, and contemporary music was blended. Critics rejected it for being too emotional. Praise the Lord Isaac Watts responded by producing 650 new songs. As a result, today we can cherish these great old hymns like Joy to the World and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Many of these hymns are being rediscovered, rehabbed, and released again to churches that never knew they existed. Here’s an awful (google the meaning) one I love:

How sweet and awful is the place
With Christ within the doors,
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores.

‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.