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~When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


   In 1712, Isaac Watts was invited to recuperate from a serious breakdown in the home of a former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Thomas, and Lady Abney. 

   Although he planned to remain there but three weeks, Sir Thomas

invited him to stay indefinitely as post Chaplain, a position he filled for 36 

   Lady Abney said of his long stay, ‘It seems the shortest visit a friend ever paid a friend.”

   During his residence there, Dr. Watts wrote more volumes of hymns, and almost single-handedly changed the congregational singing habits of English-speaking Christendom. 

   From his pen came these perennial favorites, ‘Alas!  And Did My Saviour Bleed,”  “Jesus Shall Reign,” and this hymn which is generally regarded as the most perfect ever written in our tongue.

—Adapted from Ernest K. Emurian



When I Survey the Wondrous Cross[1]

1           When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

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 Lord;

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 e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

4           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.

[1]Eckert, Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.






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