Hymn #25: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) based this hymn on Psalm 90.  He wrote it in 1714, at a time when Queen Anne was near death and all of England was anxious about her successor.  Many feared that England would be divided by civil strife upon her death.  This is undoubtedly Watts's greatest hymn.

 

Isaac Watts, long considered the father of modern English hymnody, wrote more than six hundred hymns and paraphrases, enabling Protestantism in England and New England to free itself from line-singing the Psalms.  Ill health kept Watts a semi-invalid for the last thirty-six years of his life.

William Croft (1678-1727) is thought to have written the tune ST. ANNE while he was organist at St. Anne's Church in Soho, London, England.  This tune was not used with these words by Watts until 1861.  Tradition holds that Anne was the mother of the virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.

 

William Croft was born in Ettington, England, in 1678, and greatly influenced English church music during his lifetime.  He served as organist at Westminster Abbey and was buried there following his death on August 14, 1727.