COLLEGE OF THE OPEN BIBLE
Hymn History: Beneath The Cross of Jesus
Beneath the Cross of Jesus" was written by Elizabeth Clephane in 1868, one year before her death. It was not published, however, until 1872, when it appeared anonymously in The Family Treasury with several of her other poems. The original poem consisted of five stanzas, but today only three are used in most hymnals. It is obvious that Elizabeth, like most Scottish Presbyterians of her day, was an ardent Bible student for her hymn is replete with Biblical symbolism and imagery. For example, in stanza one:
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock Within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness, A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat And the burden of the day.
Upon the cross of Jesus Mine eyes at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears Two wonders I confess:
The wonders of redeeming love And my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow For my abiding place,
I ask no other sunshine Than the sunshine of His face.
Content to let the world go by, To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self, my only shame, My glory all the cross.
O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where heaven's love And heaven's justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch That wondrous dream was giv'n,
So seems my Savior's cross to me, A ladder up to heav'n.
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