One of the greatest hymns of the church, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, was written by Isaac Watts and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. So great are the words of this hymn that Charles Wesley, who authored at least two thousand hymns himself, reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one.
Kathryn Scott’s 2007 arrangement of this song (300 years after it was first penned by Isaac Watts!) is perhaps the most beautiful and moving I have ever heard. It seems appropriate to not only begin 2009 surveying that wondrous cross but to spend it in service to the Prince of Glory who hugn upon it.
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?
His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am 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.