AT CALVARY written in 1895
William R. Newell (1891-1956) was best known as a Bible teacher and as the writer of a commentary on the book of Romans. But, one day, while on his way to teach a class at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, the words of this hymn began to form in his mind. He didn’t want to forget these ideas, so he went to an empty classroom and quickly scribbled the words on the back of an envelope.
Continuing on to his class, he met the school’s director of music, Daniel B. Towner (1850-1919), and gave him that envelope on which he had written those words. By the time Professor Newell had finished teaching his class an hour later, Professor Towner had finished composing the music for this gospel song.
The verses of this song follow the outline of the book of Romans.
The first verse deals with our sinfulness.
The second verse deals with God’s Law and with the Cross.
The third verse deals with our salvation.
The fourth verse deals with praise to God for His goodness.
The words to this hymn have great meaning, but the tune is one that tends to stay with you, too. Put them both together, and you have a hymn that is a favorite of many believers still today.
Read this hymn, and – today – consider the sacrifice made for you at Calvary.
Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified,
knowing not it was for me He died… on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free; pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty… at Calvary.
By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
till my guilty soul imploring turned… to Calvary. (Refrain)
Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything, now I gladly own Him as my King,
now my raptured soul can only sing… of Calvary! (Refrain)
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan! Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span… at Calvary! (Refrain)