There is a land of pure delight

There is a land of pure delight. Isaac Watts* (1674-1748). From Hymns and Spiritual Songs (1707), Book II, ‘Composed on Divine Subjects, Conformable to the Word of God’, with the heading ‘A Prospect of Heaven makes Death easy.’ It is about Christian hope, although in the final stanza, Watts does not seem to take into account that Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. One is reminded of Emily Dickinson’s stanza: It always felt to me — a wrong To that old Moses — done — To let him see — the Canaan — Without the entering. But Watts is using the idea of Canaan as Heaven, reached by way of the Jordan and death: Moses, dying, did indeed enter ‘the land of pure delight’. The...

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