At Calvary

There are so many new worship songs sung in churches today, that some of the great old hymns are being overlooked.

At Calvary is one of the great old hymns.

“Calvary” means, the place of the skull. It is a place that is visited by thousands of Christian pilgrims each year, and it is the place where our Lord and Savior’s life was given to pay the penalty for our sin. The author, William Newell, was contemplating what this meant on the way to teach one of his many Bible classes.

As soon as he reached an empty classroom, he wrote them down on the back of an envelope. The words used today are these same words written in those moments. Then he met Daniel Towner, the Director of Music, and asked if he could try to put a tune to the words. After teaching his class, the two met up and the tune had already been written, so they sang it together. It was then first published in 1895.
Years I spent in vanity and pride, 

caring not my Lord was crucified, 

knowing not it was for me He died on 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.

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 Calvary.

O the love that drew salvation’s plan! 

O the grace that bro’t it down to man! 

O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!


Mercy there was great, and grace was free; 

pardon there was multiplied to me. 

There my burdened soul found liberty—at Calvary.


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