The Worship Quote of the Week for (04/29/2008):

Watts Communion Hymn
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE includes two Communion hymns from the pen of the English pastor/poet Isaac Watts. The first of these is rather obscure and the second is one that you will certainly recognize. These are from the oldest hymnal in my collection. Printed in Boston in 1803, the volume contains THE PSALMS OF DAVID and HYMNS AND SPIRITUAL SONGS IN THREE BOOKS: (I.) Collected from the Scriptures, (II.) Composed on Divine Subjects, and (III.) Prepared for the Lord's Supper. Of course, the book has words only. I have retained the early spelling and punctuation with the exception of the use of the long "S" (S's that look very much like F's).


HYMN I. Long Metre.
The Lord's Supper Instituted. 1 Cor. xi.23, &c.;

’Twas on that dark, that doleful night,
When pow'rs of earth and hell arose
Against the Son of God’s delight,
And friends betray'd him to his foes.

Before the mournful scene began,
He took the bread, and bless'd, and brake;
What love through all his actions ran!
What wondrous words of grace he spake!

“This is my body, broke for sin;
"Receive and eat the living food:”
Then took the cup, and bless'd the wine;
"'Tis the new cov’nant in my blood.”

For us his flesh with nails was torn,
He bore the scourge, he felt the thorn;
And justice poured upon his head
Its heavy vengeance in our stead.

For us his vital blood was spilt,
To buy the pardon of our guilt,
When, for black crimes of biggest size,
He gave his soul a sacrifice.

“Do this,” he cried, “till time shall end,
"In memory of your dying Friend;
"Meet at my table, and record
"The love of your departed Lord.”

Jesus! thy feast we celebrate,
We shew thy death, we sing thy name,
'Till thou return, and we shall eat
The marriage supper of the Lamb.

HYMN VII. Long Metre.
Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ. Gal. vi.14.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory dy'd,
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!

--Isaac Watts (1674-1748), THE PSALMS OF DAVID: IMITATED IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTEMENT, AND APPLIED TO THE CHRISTIAN STATE AND WORSHIP. Boston: Manning and Loring, 1803, pp. 255, 260-61. I find it interesting that Lowell Mason's tune that we associate with "When I Survey" first appeared in 1824, over a hundred years after the publication of the beloved hymn text.

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky

To subscribe, unsubscribe, or view a complete
index of worship quotes, please visit