A Prospect of Heaven Makes Death Easy
by ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748)
There is a land of pure delight
Where saints immortal reign;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain.
There everlasting spring abides,
And never-withering flowers;
Death like a narrow sea divides
This heavenly land from ours.
Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand dressed in living green:
So to the Jews old Canaan stood,
While Jordan rolled between.
But timorous mortals start and shrink
To cross this narrow sea,
And linger shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away.
Oh could we make our doubts remove,
These gloomy doubts that rise,
And see the Canaan that we love,
With unbeclouded eyes;
Could we but climb where Moses stood
And view the landscape o’er,
Not Jordan’s stream, nor death’s cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore.
Often referred to as the “Father of English Hymnody”, Isaac Watts was born in England in the late 17th century. Watts composed over 600 hymns, many still in general use today, such as “Jesus Shall Reign,” When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “We’re Marching to Zion.” Every year, thousands celebrate Christmas and sing “Joy to the World,” although many are unaware that Isaac Watts wrote it.