1000 Songs/When I survey the wondrous cross (Isaac Watts)

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When I survey the wondrous cross (Watts)

1000 Songs

Text[edit | edit source]

The song "When I survey the wondrous cross" is four stanzas of four lines that tell of the wonderment of the work that Jesus Christ performed on the cross of Calvary, and what response is the needed from us, the recipient of this work of mercy. This song promotes the concept that since Jesus Christ gave his all for us, we should give our all to him, and that anything less than our all would not be a return of love and thankfulness.

Author[edit | edit source]

Isaac Watts wrote the text of this hymn.

Translations/Challenges[edit | edit source]

Editor's Choice[edit | edit source]

Music[edit | edit source]

Lowell Mason (1792-1872) wrote the music for this hymn.

Tune[edit | edit source]

The tune of this song is "Hamburg" and is in Long meter

Arrangements[edit | edit source]

"O the wonderful cross" by Chris Tomlin is a popular and contemporary arrangement of this hymn. The version of the song has the original text but with the addition of a refrain: "O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross, bids me come and die and find that I may truly live, O the wonderful cross, O the wonderful cross, all who gather here by grace draw near, and bless your name.

Editor's Choice[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Author biography[edit | edit source]

Isaac Watts was born in Southampton, England on July 17, 1674. He was a pastor, preacher, poet, and hymn writer. Watts is attributed for writing over hymns. Some well known hymns are "Joy to the world", "am I a soldier of the cross", and "When i survey the wondrous cross"

Author's circumstances[edit | edit source]

Isaac Watts father was a nonconformist who was imprisoned twice for his religious views. Isaac Watts complained to his father about how quaint and odd the versions of the Psalms were sung in congregation. His father charged him by saying,"then give us something better, young man".

Historical setting[edit | edit source]

In 1685, James Stuart becomes King James II of England. From 1677-1690, William Sancroft was the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Cultural setting[edit | edit source]