The hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", was written by Isaac Watts, and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. It is significant for being an innovative departure from the early English hymn style of only using paraphrased biblical texts, although the first two lines of the second verse do paraphrase St Paul at Galatians 6:14. may be seen as English literary baroque.
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Prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics for When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Watts was born in Southampton, England, in 1674 and was brought up in a Nonconformist home, which was the term used to describe a Protestant Christian who did not conform with the Church of England. After receiving his education from Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington, he spent two years at home, where most of his hymns were written. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross was published in 1707.
1 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. 2 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 through his blood. Although the tale probably is more legend than fact, it does illustrate the point that the songs of the church need constant infusion of new life, of new generation's praises.