Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed

Isaac Watts wrote many papers for places of higher learning but his most famous work is the hymn, “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed.” Watts was born July 17, 1674, at Southampton, England. Such compelling lyrics came from a child born into a home of “non-comformists” during the times when the Church of England persecuted Dissenters and Independents. His father was jailed twice during this time of persecution. Despite the fact that this era of intolerance lasted only a short while; it had a significant effect on Watts. In 1707, Watts wrote the lyrics to “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed.” One line echoes such a impact, “Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?”

In 1850, Fanny Crosby answered the altar call at a revival as the audience began to sing “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed.” When they sang the lyric, “Here, Lord I give myself away - ‘tis all that I can do,” Fanny realized that she needed to yield to the call. She was quoted as saying: “I surrendered myself to the Savior, and my very soul flooded with celestial light. I sprang to my feet, shouting ‘Hallelujah.’”

Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed

Alas! and did my Saviour bleed, and did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?

Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown! and love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut His glories in,
When Christ, the Mighty maker, died for man, the creature’s sins.

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine - and bathed in its own blood -
While the firm mark of Wrath Divine His soul in anguish stood.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while his dear Cross appears;
Dissolved my heart in thankfulness, and melt mine eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I woe;
Here, Lord, I give myself away- ‘til all that I can do.

Isaac Watts humbly described his lyric writing ability, “I have made no pretence to be a poet. But to the Lamb that was slain, and now lives, I have addressed many a song, to be sung by the penitent and believing heart.” Hugh Wilson wrote the music to this hymn.

1 comment:

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

Such a beautiful piece of literary and Christian history to share with us. Thank you, Karin. :)