Beneath the Cross of Jesus
1 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.
2 Upon the cross of Jesus
mine eye at times can see
the very dying form of One
who suffered there for me:
and from my stricken heart with tears
two wonders I confess,
the wonders of redeeming love
and my unworthiness.
3 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.
Beneath the Cross of Jesus Hymn History
Beneath the Cross of Jesus is a hymn that was composed by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane.
Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane was a Scottish lady who was born in the famous city of Edinburgh on 18th June 1830.
She departed to be with the Lord on 19th February 1869.
Elizabeth was a very spiritual person who exemplified the love of Christ in her life. He cared deeply about the less privileged people in the world.
Her sister once told Mr. Arnot, the editor of the Scottish Presbyterian magazine, “Family Treasury” that everyone who knew her loved her as she was always doing things for other people.
She recounted how once she persuaded her to let her sell their horse and carriage because there were some hungry people in their neighborhood.
She said she felt that it was wrong for them to enjoy the luxury of riding when so many people were actually starving.”
Having lost her parents at a very young age Elizabeth grew up a quiet child spending most of her time indoors reading various books.
She was said to have a very good sense of imagination, and this led her to start writing stories. She later discovered that she could also write poems.
Unfortunately, none of her poems were published while she was still alive.
She only shared her poems with friends and family and did not need to sell them as she was financially all right because of wealth her parents had left them.
It had to take Mr. Arnot’s effort to have them published in the “Family Treasury” after he came across a scrap book Elizabeth had used to write some of her poems.
Mr. Arnot was especially touched by the poem that later became today’s song, ‘Beneath the Cross of Christ’.
He was especially touched by the following lines,
‘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 noon-tide heat, And the burden of the day.
Mr. Arnot immediately asked for permission to add this poem and the others to the “Family Treasury” magazine.
Below is how Mr. Arnot introduced the poems the first time it was printed in Family Treasury in 1872:
“These lines express the experiences, the hopes, and the longings of a young Christian lately released. Written on the very edge of this life, with the better land fully, in the view of faith, they seem to us footsteps printed on the sands of Time, where these sands touch the ocean of Eternity. These footprints of one whom the Good Shepherd led through the wilderness into rest, may, with God’s blessing, contribute to comfort and direct succeeding pilgrims.”
Later in 1872, Ira D Sankey read Beneath the Cross of Jesue in one of the magazines and immediately set it to music. That is how we came to have this poem turned into a hymn.
Below are some more hymns’ stories and lyrics: