As When the Hebrew Prophet Raised

As when the Hebrew prophet raised
[originally So did the Hebrew prophet raise]
The brazen serpent high,
The wounded looked and straight were cured,
The people ceased to die.

So from the Savior on the cross
A healing virtue flows;
Who looks to Him with lively faith
Is saved from endless woes.

For God gave up His Son to death,
So generous was His love,
That all the faithful might enjoy
Eternal life above.

Not to condemn the sons of men
The Son of God appeared;
No weapons in His hand are seen,
Nor voice of terror heard.

He came to raise our fallen state,
And our lost hopes restore;
Faith leads us to the mercy seat,
And bids us fear no more.

-Isaac Watts, Hymns and Sacred Songs, 1709, alt.

Watts’ original version:

So did the Hebrew prophet raise
The brazen serpent high,
The wounded felt immediate ease,
The camp forbore to die.

“Look upward in the dying hour,
And live,” the prophet cries;
But Christ performs a nobler cure,
When Faith lifts up her eyes.

High on the cross the Savior hung,
High in the heav’ns he reigns:
Here sinners by th’ old serpent stung
Look, and forget their pains.

When God’s own Son is lifted up,
A dying world revives;
The Jew beholds the glorious hope,
Th’expiring Gentile lives.

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