Divine songs by Isaac Watts, for children
Isaac Watts (1674–1748).
Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children.
London: Printed for J. Buckland, J.F. and C. Rivington, [et. al.], 1787. (BRA2361)
First published in 1715, Isaac Watts’s Divine Songs was reprinted regularly throughout the eighteenth century. In his preface addressed to parents, guardians, and teachers, Watts wrote of the “awful and important charge that is committed to you. The wisdom and welfare of the succeeding generation are entrusted with you beforehand, and depend much on your conduct.” He then lists four advantages to religious instruction delivered in verse:
I: “There is great delight in the very learning of truths and duties this way.”
II: “What is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory and sooner recollected.”
III: “This will be a constant furniture for the minds of children, that they may have something to think upon when alone, and sing over to themselves.”
IV: “These Divine Songs may be a pleasant and proper matter for their daily or weekly worship, to sing one in the family, at such time as the parents or governors shall appoint.”
This printing of Divine Songs includes twenty-eight songs for children, six hymns, eight additional “moral songs,” and brief instructional texts in verse.