When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

GodTube Staff When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
The hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", was written by Isaac Watts, and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. It is significant for being an innovative departure from the early English hymn style of only using paraphrased biblical texts.

1. When I survey the wond'rous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory dy'd,
My richest Gain I count but Loss,
And pour Contempt on all my Pride.

2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the Death of Christ my God:
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his Blood.

3. See from his Head, his Hands, his Feet,
Sorrow and Love flow mingled down!
Did ever such Love and Sorrow meet?
Or Thorns compose so rich a Crown?

4. His dying Crimson, like a Robe,
Spreads o'er his Body on the Tree;
Then am I dead to all the Globe,
And all the Globe is dead to me.

5. Were the whole Realm of Nature mine,
That were a Present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my Soul, my Life, my All.

Songwriters Isaac Watts Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

At the time of Isaac Watts' early years, churches in England sang only metrical psalms. But by the time of his death, he had developed a style of a much more complex hymnody. His 600 hymns found in seven collections made the transition from stringent, metrical psalmody to liberated, theologically-based hymnody. 

Watts’ hymns include theology in a format that is well suited for congregational singing. He believed that hymns should echo the theme of the sermon and insisted that songs in the church should be amply evangelical and not just additives to the Psalms.  He thought that hymns should be freely composed and not just hold to the letter of Scripture; and that hymns should give straightforward expression to the thoughts and feelings of the singers and not merely recall events of the distant past.  Watts played a vital role in the evolution and creativity of hymnody as we know it today. 

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When I survey the wondrous cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

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