Saturday, 28 March 2015

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Hymn - Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Hymn Story


MATTHEW ARNOLD declared the greatest Christian hymn in the English language to be "When I survey the wondrous cross." At least it is admittedly the greatest hymn of a great hymn-writer, Isaac Watts, the father of modern English hymnody. He was the son of a deacon in the Independent Church, who had no sympathy with young Watts's custom of making rhymes and verses when a boy. At the age of eighteen Watts was one day ridiculing some of the poor hymns then sung in the churches, when his father said to him, sarcastically, "Make some yourself, then." Accordingly, Watts set himself to writing a hymn, and produced the lines beginning: "Behold the glories of the Lamb." That was the start of his eminent career as a hymn-writer. 

He became a clergyman, but illness compelled him to give up the pastorate, and for thirty-six years he remained at the home of Sir Thomas Abbey at Theobaldo, continuing his hymn-writing, which had reached its highest expression in this hymn, based on Paul s words, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." 

Once, after this hymn had been sung in the Church of Saint Edmund, London, Father Ignatius repeated to his congregation the last two lines of the hymn impressively 

Matthew Arnold
"Love so amazing, so divine, 
Demands my soul, my life, my all." 

And he added: "Well, I am surprised to hear you sing that. Do you know that altogether you put only fifteen shillings in the collection bag this morning?"




When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Hymn Lyrics

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.

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.

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?

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.

For more lyrics and stories of popular hymns click here.

When I Survey The Wondrous Cross Gaither Youtube Video





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