Beneath the Cross of Jesus
by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane (1830-1869)
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.
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 given,
So seems my savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.
There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide,
And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.
Upon that 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.
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 or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
Notes on the Hymn
Subjective, emotional and widely-expressive contrasts are characteristics of Romanticism in art, poetry and music. Consequently, Romanticism had a profound effect on the creation of new hymns in English during the 19th century. In Great Britain, the Oxford Movement emphasized a return to a more formal, liturgical manner of worship. This contrasted with the fervor for evangelism and gospel hymns in the United States and even in Presbyterian Scotland. There, since the Reformation, Psalmody had been the prevailing style of hymn singing.
One of the most enduring of hymns from this period is “Beneath the Cross of Jesus,”