IN THE CROSS OF CHRIST I GLORY
John Bowring, 1792–1872
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14)
The cross has been the most significant symbol of the Christian faith throughout church history. It is said that as many as 400 different forms or designs of it have been used—among them the usual Latin Cross, the Greek Cross, the Budded Cross. Regardless of design, the symbol of the cross should always remind us of the price that was paid by the eternal God for man’s redemption. “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” is generally considered one of the finest hymns on this subject. It was written by John Bowring, one of the most remarkable men of his day as well as one of the greatest linguists who ever lived. It is said that he could converse in over 100 different languages before his death.
Some writers claim that John Bowring had visited Macao, on the South Chinese Coast, and was much impressed by the sight of a bronze cross towering on the summit of the massive wall of what had formerly been a great cathedral. This cathedral, originally built by the early Portuguese colonists, overlooked the harbor and had been destroyed by a typhoon. Only one wall, which was topped by the huge metal cross, remained. This scene is said to have so impressed Bowring that it eventually served as the inspiration for this hymn text.
The writing of the tune for this hymn is also most interesting. It was composed 24 years after Bowring’s text by an American organist and choir leader of the Central Baptist Church of Norwich, Connecticut. The composer, Ithamar Conkey, was sorely disappointed at one Sunday morning service when only one choir member appeared, a faithful soprano by the name of Mrs. Beriah Rathbun. Before the evening service Conkey composed a new tune for this text and named it after his one faithful choir member.
The preaching of the cross may be a foolish message to many “but unto us who are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV).
In the cross of Christ I glory, tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time; all the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o’er take me, hopes deceive and fears annoy, never shall the cross forsake me: Lo! it glows with peace and joy.
When the sun of bliss is beaming light and love upon my way, from the cross the radiance streaming adds more luster to the day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified; peace is there that knows no measure, joys that thru all time abide.
For Today: John 19; Romans 5:6–11; 1 Corinthians 1:17–19; Ephesians 2:16
Determine to allow the glory of Christ’s cross to be evident in all that you do. Sing this musical testimony as you go realizing that—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Then Piate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple garment, And said, Hail King of the Jews. And they smote him with their rods. Then Pilate went forth again, and said unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know, that I find no fault in him at all. Then came Jesus forth wearing a crown of thorns, and a purple garment. And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man. Then when the high Priests and officers saw him, they cried, saying, Crucify, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Behold the man. Then when the high Priests and officers saw him, they cried, saying, Crucify, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Plate then heard that word, he was the more afraid, And went again into the common hall, and said unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him none answer. Then said Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to loose thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above, therefore he that delivered me unto thee, hath the greater sin. From thenceforth Pilate sought to loose him, but the Jews cried, saying, If thou deliver him, thou art not Caesar’s friend: for whosoever maketh himself a King, speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate heard this word, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place called the pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the Preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he said unto the Jews, Behold your King. But they cried, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate said unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The high Priests answered, We have no King but Caesar. Then delivered he hin unto them, to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. And he bare his own cross, and came into a place named of dead men’s skulls, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha: Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote also a title, and put it on the cross, and it was written, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified, was near to the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Then said the high Priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews, but that he said I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments (and made four parts, to every soldier a part) and his coat: and the coat was without seam woven from the top throughout. Therefore they said one to another, Let us not divide it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be. This was that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my garments among them, and on my coat did cast lots. So the soldier did these things indeed. Then stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. And when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then said he to the disciple, Behold thy mother: and fromthat hour, the disciple took her home unto him. After, when Jesus knew that all things were performed, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, I thirst. And there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar: and put it about an Hyssop stalk, and put it to his mouth. Now when Jesus had received of the vinegar, he said, It is finished, and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews then (because it was Preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day: for that Sabbath was an high day) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken down. Then came the soldiers nad brake the legs of the first, and of the other, which was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it, bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe it. For these things were done, that the Scipture should be fulfilled, Not a bone of him shall be broken. And again another Scipture saith, They shall see him whom they have thrust through. And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take down the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave him license. He came then and took Jesus’ body. And ther came also Nicodemus (which first came to Jesus by night) and brought of myrrh and aloes mingled together about an hundred pounds. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wrapped it in linen clothes with te odors, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. And in that place where Jesus was crucified, was a garden, and in the garden a new sepulcher, wherein was never man yet laid. There then laid they Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation day, for the sepulcher was near. John 19
- For Christ, when we were yet of no strength, at his time died for the ungodly. Doubtless one will scarce die for a righteous man: but yet for a good man it may be that one dare die. But God setteth out his love towards us, seeing that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Romans 5:6–11
- For CHRIST sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For that preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness: but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will cast away the understanding of the prudent. 1 Corinthians 1:17–19
- And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by his cross, and slay hatred thereby, Ephesians 2:16