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THE WONDROUS CROSS


Gal. 6:14 inspired Isaac Watts to compose one of modern Christendom’s favorite hymns. While preparing for a communion service in 1707, Isaac Watts wrote this deeply moving and very personal expression of gratitude for the amazing love that the death of Christ on the cross revealed. It first appeared in print that same year in Watts’ outstanding collection, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. The hymn was originally titled "Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ." Noted theologian Matthew Arnold called this the greatest hymn in the English language (Osbeck, Kenneth W.: Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1990, S. 106).


Note in particular the beauty of the little-known fourth verse:


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 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.

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