Hart, Joseph, a Congregational minister of England, was born in 1712 of pious parents. He was well educated, and was for many years a teacher of the classics. In early life he was pious, but relapsed into sin and exerted a most pernicious influence upon all with whom he associated. While in this backslidden state he wrote a pamphlet titled The Unreasonableness of Religion, Being Remarks and Animadversions on the Rev. John Wesley's Sermon on Romans viii.32. But he was deeply convicted in his fortieth year, and betook himself to daily prayer and to reading the Scriptures. It was not, however, until he attended a service at the Moravian church in Fetter Lane, London, on Whitsunday, 1757, that he obtained peace. He now became an earnest and consecrated Christian, and many of his best hymns were written within the next two years following his conversion. His Hymns Composed on Various Subjects, with the Author's Experience were published in several editions during his lifetime (first edition, 1759) and subsequent to his death. This volume led to his being importuned to become a preacher, which he did, although in his forty-eighth year, becoming pastor of an Independent congregation in Jewin Street, London, to which he ministered for eight years, "great crowds gathering to hear his fervid and eloquent discourses." He died May 24, 1768, in the midst of labors and successes almost unprecedented, his funeral being attended by twenty thousand people. Of his volume of Hymns a competent judge said: "Herein the doctrines of the gospel are illustrated so practically, the precepts of the Word enforced so evangelically, and their effects stated so experimentally that with propriety it may be styled a treasury of doctrinal, practical, and experimental divinity." One of the author's sons, who attained remarkable success as a barrister, was made a baronet by George IV., and was appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy 259
O for a glance of heavenly day 274
Once more we come before our God 33
Prayer is appointed to convey 502