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Hymn History: When I Survey The Wondrous Cross
The communion service is a time to think on what Jesus has done for us. Isaac Watts wrote the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” to help people consider not only the death of Jesus on the cross but also the love that drew Him there. Watts wrote this hymn to be used during communion services.
Charles Wesley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one.
“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the
cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the
world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world” (Gal 6:14).
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?
(not found in many hymnals)
[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.]
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.