WILLIAM R. NEWELL was best known as a bible teacher, commentator, pastor, and professor, not a hymn writer. Yet while on his way to teach a class at Moody Bible Institute one day, the words of this hymn began to form in his mind.
He didn't want to forget these ideas, so he went into an unoccupied classroom and there scribbled the words on the back of an envelope.
A few minutes later he gave the words to Daniel B. Towner, the director of music at the school. Within an hour Towner had composed music for them.
The first three stanzas tell the testimony of the Christian; the final stanza praises God for the greatness of divine love, the depth of grace, and the breadth of mercy.
Since Newell is best known for a commentary on the book of Romans, it is no surprise that the last stanza bears a resemblance to Romans 11:33, "Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
Calvery can be discussed theologically, and examined biblically, but sometimes it is best to do what Dr. Newell did---
simply marvel at it.
Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died On Calvery.
Mercy there was great and grace was free, Pardon there was multiplied to me, There my burdened soul found liberty---At Calvery.
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 Calvery.
Now I've giv'n to Jesus ev'rything, Now I gladly own Him as my King, Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvery.
O the love that drew salvations plan! O the grace that bro't it down to man! O the mighty gulf that God did span At Calvery.