Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1830-1869

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
I Corinthians 1:18

There is no neutral ground when we face the cross: Either we accept its atoning work and become a new person in the crucified One, or we reject God's plan of salvation and remain in our sinful, self-centered state. When we take our stand with Christ and His redemption accomplished at Calvary, we are compelled to make two profound confessions: "The wonders of His glorious love and my own worthlessness."

This hymn of commitment was written by a frail, Scottish, Presbyterian woman of the 19th Century, Elizabeth Clephane, who, despite her physical limitations, was known throughout her charming community of Melrose, Scotland, for her helpful, cheery nature. Among the sick and dying in her area she won the name of "Sunbeam". "Beneath the Cross of Jesus" was written by Miss Clephane in 1868, one year before her early death at the age of 39. She wrote eight hymns, all published posthumously. Besides this hymn, only one other has endured--"The Ninety and Nine", made popular by the tune composed for it by Ira D. Sankey.

It is obvious that Elizabeth was an ardent Bible student, for her hymn is replete with biblical symbolism and imagery. For example:
* "the mighty Rock" is a reference from Isaiah 32:2
* "the weary land" is a reference from Psalm 63:1
* "home within the wilderness" from Jeremiah 9:2
* "rest upon the way" from Isaiah 28:12
* "noontide heat" from Isaiah 4:6
* "burden of the day" from Matthew 11:30

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.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heavínís love and Heavínís justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
So seems my Saviorís 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.

*For Today*: Psalm 22:7; Matthew 27:33 & 37; Luke 9:23; Galatians 6:14

"My glory all the cross". Determine to live in the truth of this phrase.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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