This hymn is another great hymn of the faith! One that sets our eyes on the cross of Christ. A hymn that exalts the Savior and his work of salvation. As Easter approaches, this hymn brings forth pictures of the passion of Christ.
“Watts’ original text, published in 1707, consisted of five verses. He later took out his original fourth verse, which read,
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.
Greg Scheer speculates that perhaps Watts eliminated this verse to focus our attention on our own response to Christ’s crucifixion rather than the actual event itself. This would make sense since Watts wrote the text for a collection of hymns for the Lord’s Supper, an act in which we remember and respond with gratitude to Christ’s sacrifice for us.
Apart from this verse being omitted, not much else has changed in this text, and for good reason: the Psalter Hymnal Handbook writes that “Watts’ profound and awe-inspiring words provide an excellent example of how a hymn text by a fine writer can pack a great amount of systematic theology into a few memorable lines.” The only slight differences you can find between texts are changes of a few words, such as “present/tribute/offering” in the fourth verse.” – http://www.hymnary.org/text/when_i_survey_the_wondrous_cross_watts
Meditate with me upon Isaac Watts beautiful words from When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. See the Savior’s love displayed from his blood-stained crown of thorns to his nail-pierced hands and feet. This love demands our souls, our lives, and our all!
In case you missed it yesterday here is the link to the Hymn of the Day for Sunday: Hymn of the Day: He Will Hold Me Fast