Joseph Hart (1712-1768)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Congregationalist
Hymns #23, Appendix 54.
Joseph Hart was born of pious parents in London in 1712. But he turned away from the gospel, although at times anxious about his soul. He admitted that he for nine years rebelled against God and taught others the same. He fell into despondency of mind and shunned all company, preferring to be alone. In this sad state he went to hear preaching at the Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane and the text was Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10): “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” It made a great impression on him and he says: “I was hardly got home, when I felt myself melting away into a strange softness of affection which made me fling myself on my knees before God. My horrors were dispelled and such comfort flowed into my heart as no words can paint. The Lord, by His Spirit of love, came with such power into my soul that I was lost in blissful amazement. I cried out, ‘What, me, Lord?’ His Spirit answered in me, ‘Yes, thee!’ I objected, ‘But I have been so unspeakably vile and wicked!’ The answer was, ‘I pardon thee freely and fully!’ I threw myself willingly into my Savior’s hands. Jesus Christ and Him crucified is now the only thing I desire to know.”
He had been a sinner “poor and needy” and so his hymn #54 in the Appendix, written in 1759, appeals to such. In 1760 he settled in London in charge of a work in the “Old Wooden Meetinghouse.” Here he preached earnestly to a large congregation. He suffered great affliction, but went on with the work of the Lord until his death, May 24, 1768. In the funeral sermon it was said of him: “He was like the laborious ox that dies with the yoke on his neck; so died he with the yoke of Christ on his neck; for ye are witnesses that he preached Christ to you, with the arrows of death sticking to him.”
The gathered saints will remember this dear brother more for hymn #23. How often have we sung that wondrous song:
“How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend,
Whose love is as great as His power
And knows neither measure nor end.”