Awake our souls, away our fears

Awake our souls, away our fears. Isaac Watts* (1674-1748). This appeared in Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1709), Book I, ‘Collected from the Holy Scriptures’, with the title, ‘The Christian Race, Isa. 40. 28, 29, 30, 31.’ It is a free paraphrase of the Old Testament passage, and, unusually for Watts, does not make any direct reference to Christ as the source of strength, apart from its title. John Wesley was one of the first to include this text in a hymnbook, in A Collection of Psalms and Hymns (Charlestown, 1737), altering stanza 3, line 1 from ‘Thee, mighty God…’ to ‘O mighty God, thy matchless power’. Methodist books retained this change until HP restored the original. The only other...

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