Jesus Shall Reign

Jesus Shall Reign (iTunes)
Words by Isaac Watts, Music by John Hatton
From the album Colonial Meditations (Wisdom & Truth Music)

Often called "the Father of English Hymnody," Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote at least 750 hymns.  He paved the way for hymnwriters to pen original texts instead of sticking strictly to poetry from Scripture.  Often, Watts did turn to the book of Psalms for inspiration for his hymns.  However, he gave these songs in the Old Testament a Christocentric focus, as seen in this week's hymn, which is a paraphrase of Psalm 72.  The psalm speaks of the king who will come in the line of David and rule with justice and power and care for the poor; Watts makes clear that the king is Jesus, the promised Messiah.  John Hatton (1710-1793) wrote the tune most often associated with this text. Very little is known about the composer, except that he lived on Duke Street, which became the name for this well-known melody.