Today marks the birthday of hymn writer Isaac Watts, Born July 17, 1674, in England, Watts introduced hymns to a post-reformation church culture which theretofore relied exclusively on Psalm singing. His pioneering and voluminous work gained him the title, “The Father of English Hymnody.” Benjamin Franklin imported his works to America and re-printed Watts paraphrased “Psalms of David” in 1729. Both Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield incorporated Watts hymns into their respective ministries making Watts’s hymnals the musical score for the Great Awakening.
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
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.
Praise to God for Our Redemption
Blessed be the wisdom and the power,
The justice and the grace,
That joined in council to restore,
and save our ruined race.
Our father ate forbidden fruit,
And from his glory fell;
And we his children thus were brought
To death and near to hell.
Bless’d be our Lord that sent his Son
To take our flesh and blood;
He for our lives gave his own,
To make our peace with God.
He honored all his Fathers laws,
Which we have disobeyed;
He bore our sins upon the cross,
And the full ransom paid.
Behold him rising from the grave,
Behold him raised on high;
He pleads his merits there to save
Transgressors doomed to die.
There on a glorious throne he reigns,
And by his power divine
Redeems us from the slavish chains
of Satan and of sin.
Thence shall the Lord to judgment come,
And, with a sovereign voice,
Shall call and break up every tomb,
While waking saints rejoice.
Oh may I then with joy appear
Before the Judge’s face;
And with the blessed assembly there,
Sing his redeeming grace.