Prefatory Epistle (Isaac Watts)

“To an Intimate Friend of Mrs. Rowe,”

by Isaac Watts


If these pious Meditations of so sublime a Genius should be inscrib’d to any Name, there is none but Your’s must have stood in the Front of them. That long and constant Intimacy of Friendship with which You delighted to honour her, that high Esteem and Veneration You are pleased to pay her Memory, and the sacred Likeness and Sympathy between two kindred Souls, absolutely determine where this Respect should be paid.

Besides, Madam, You well know, that some Copies out of these Papers have been Your own several Years by the Git of the Deceased; and the Favour You have done me lately by Your Permission to peruse them, has assisted the Correction of these Manuscripts, and would add another Reason to support this Inscription of them, if Your Fear of assuming too much Honour could but have admitted this Piece of Justice.

I know, Madam, Your Tenderness and Indulgence to every thing Mrs. Rowe has written cannot withhold Your Judgment from suspecting some of her Expressions to be a little too rapturous, and too near a-kin to the Language of the mystical Writers; yet Your Piety and Candour will take no such Offence as to prevent Your best Improvement by them in all that is Divine and Holy; and may Your retired Hours find such happy Assistances and Elevations hereby, that You may commence the Joys of Angels and of blessed Spirits before-hand.

And when Your valuable Life has been long extended amidst all the temporal Blessings you enjoy, and the Christian Vertues You practice, may You at the all of God find a gentle Dismission from Mortality, and ascend on High to meet Your deceased Friend in Paradise. Nor can I suppose that any of the Inhabitants of that blissful Region will sooner recognize Your glorify’d Spirit, or will salute Your first Appearance there with a more tender sense of mutual Satisfaction. There may You join with Your beloved Philomela, in paying celestial Worship in exalted and unknown Forms, to her God, and your God; and may the Harmony of the Place be assisted by Your united Songs to Jesus, your common Saviour!

I am, Madam, with great Sincerity and Esteem,

Your Most Faithful

And Obedient


I. Watts.


Sept. 29.


Text: Elizabeth Singer Rowe, Devout Exercises of the Heart in Meditation and Soliloquy, Prayer and Praise. By the late Pious and Ingenious Mrs. Rowe. Review’d and Published at her Request by I. Watts, D. D. (London: Printed for R. Hett, at the Bible and Crown in the Poultry. M.DCC.XXXVIII [1738]), unpaginated.