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Hymn: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


DistanceIsaac Watts (1674-1748), the father of English hymnody, wrote over 750 hymns, many of which are still sung today. Watts published several books of hymns, including Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, and his hymns were included in hymnals compiled by John Rippon, Willam Gadsby, William Cowper, and John Newton.

Hymn Text

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 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 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.

Theological Application

As we approach Good Friday, Watts again beckons us to look upon Christs wondrous cross. We look at the cross and see the punishment for our sin laid upon Jesus. We carefully consider the suffering He endured: the sorrow of being cut off from His Father whom He loved, the pain of being beaten and crucified for the people He loved, the thorny crown for the Prince of Glory. He suffered these for sinners such as us.  Gods love demonstrated at the cross demands a response. How can we respond to the Man who suffered and died in our place? Will we give everything our lives, our pride, our happiness to the One whose blood pardoned us? May we, with Watts, boast only in the death of Christ my God!

Jennifer Grisham (@jennifergrisham) serves as managing editor and administrator at Doxology & Theology, and previously worked as director of administration at Providence Church in Frisco, TX. She’s a graduate of Baylor University, currently pursuing a masters degree at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Find her online at jkgrisham.com.

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