ALAS! AND DID MY SAVIOR BLEED?          written in 1707

The Story

            This hymn, written by Isaac Watts and included in his first hymnal (which was also the first hymnal printed in English), has surely touched the hearts of millions over the last 300+ years.  After drawing stark contrasts between the sacrificial death of our Savior and our own unworthiness as sinful creatures, he comes to the conclusion: “Here, Lord, I give myself away – ‘tis all that I can do.”

And even giving our all is a lopsided trade to God’s detriment.

This hymn became a favorite of many churches and Christians.  In fact, it would eventually make its way to the ears of a 30-yr-old blind woman who heard a revival choir sing this simple hymn.  Verse after verse – phrase after phrase – convicted her heart, but when the choir came to that line, “Lord, I give myself away”, she gave her heart and life to Christ.  That blind woman was Fanny Crosby, who went on to become the writer of hundreds of hymns, many of which are our favorites!

You may know this song by the first words of its chorus, “At the Cross”, but here it is… it’s just filled with thoughts that convict my heart…

The Song

            Read these lyrics and, today, make them your own…

Alas! and did my Savior bleed… And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?

[originally, For such a worm as I?]

Refrain

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away,
it was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine – and bathed in its own blood –
while the firm mark of wrath divine, His Soul in anguish stood.

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 sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face while His dear cross appears,
dissolve my heart in thankfulness, and melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away… ’tis all that I can do.

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