By Stuart Townend
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life--
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart--
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Stuart Townend Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music
HymnCraft 101 (Critiques and Writing Tips)
How deep... How vast... How great...
upon a cross, upon His shoulders
No gifts, no power, no wisdom,
CONTRAST and IRONY:
I will not boast... But I will boast...
I cannot give an answer... But this I know
His dying breath has brought me life
MOVES IN to the PERSONAL:
Verse 1: (God’s pain... bringing) many sons to glory... [more general]
Verse 2: MY sin... MY mocking voice... MY sin... [more personal]
Verse 3: (my boastings)... (my) gain, ‘with all my heart...’ my ransom
AUTHORITY: --Without apology or prelude, the first lines immediately begin painting us a bold picture, with broad strokes, in brilliant color.
--Fully accepts the necessity of ‘My sins’ requiring God’s face turned away in agony as Christ perishes.
--“Behold the man” commands us to get involved
--Closes with a vow of boasting in Jesus Christ, and a ringing testimony: ‘I know with all my heart...’ This enCOURAGEs us!
a wretch His treasure... the pain of searing loss... wounds which mar... I will not boast in anything... wounds have paid my ransom...
[CONFESSION]: I didn’t appreciate this hymn as much as I should have when I first heard it, since I’m a bit of a stickler for Watts-and-Wesley-quality rhyme and meter.
None of the twelve 1st and 3rd lines rhyme, and of the 2nd and 4th lines, the only perfect ones are measure and treasure.
But study the rest, and you’ll see that they’re all close: shoulders... scoffers / accomplished... finished / wisdom... resurrection / answer... ransom— they could be much worse.
The hymn’s Popularity bears witness to the Wealth of Substance in its message, and the easy flow of Truths strung aptly together.
THE MELODY: a simple tune, easily learned, with a vocal range of exactly an octave, from sol up to sol.
You can notate the tune, using ABC, 123, or DRM (as I have below) to study the step-wise (41x) vs. skip-wise (19x) movement of the notes. Notice also the repetition: folks LIKE songs they can easily LEARN and SING.
[ My Code--> D-do, R-re, M-mi, F-fa, etc.; capitalized when going up... in lower case when staying on the same pitch or descending* ]
__1&2: MmdRMrdl, ssDdMmr,
__3&4: dMdRMrdl, ssDdMrd [only the first note & last two vary]
____5&6: SsmFSfmd, SsmFmmrr
__7&8: dMdRMrdl, ssDdMrd [identical to 3&4, and nearly to 1&2)
CONCLUSION: a meritorious hymn, easily memorized, and worthy of its popularity. God bless you, to go and do likewise. --Stan B.