In the cross of Christ I glory

1
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.
2
When the woes of life o'ertake me,
  Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
  Lo! It glows with peace and joy.
3
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.
4
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
  By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
  Joys that through all time abide.
4
Dr. David Brown

Spartanburg, SC, United States

This hymn is a perfect depiction of Life as it really is. Jesus is our only hope. He accomplished our salvation through the Cross and Resurrection. I fly to Him in spirit to continue on or when I can go no further.


Ana Lara

United States

It is said that Sir John Bowring once visited Macao, on the South Chinese coast and was greatly impressed by a bronze cross on the summit of a old massive wall that at one time had been a large cathedral. It was built by the early Portuguese colonists but had been destroyed by a typhoon. The only thing remaining was the metal cross on top of the one remaining wall. The scene impressed Bowring to the extent that it inspired him to write this hymn.

John Bowring was born at Exeter in Devon, England, October 17, 1792. He was considered one of the greatest linguist of his day. Before the age is sixteen he self taught and mastered five languages. Some say that before his death he could converse in over 100 languages. He translated literary works from various languages. He was also a biographer, naturalist, financier, statesman and philanthropist. He served two terms in the House of Commons and in 1854 was appointed governor of Hong Kong. In that same year he was knighted by Queen Victoria for outstanding service to his country. He wrote many poems and hymns. He also wrote about politics, economics and spiritual truths.

Yet in spite the fact that he has thirty-six published volumes, he is best known for this hymn text. On his tombstone is inscribed the words of this hymn “ In the Cross of Christ I Glory. ”

The writing of this tune in 1851 by Ithamar Conkey has also an interesting origin. He was an organist and choir master at the Central Baptist Church of Norwich, Connecticut. One Sunday during the night during the Lenten season of the year, Conkey was disappointed when only one choir master appeared for the morning service, a faithful soprano by the name of of Mrs. Beriah S. Rathbun.

Conkey was so upset with the choir’s unfaithfulness that he left the service right after playing the prelude. That afternoon he thought with remorse about the service that he had left and remembered one of the hymns that he wanted to use. It was John Browning’s “ In the Cross of Christ I Glory, ” which was being sung to a dull tune. Before the evening service Conkey composed a new tune for this text and named it after his faithful choir member, Mrs. Rathbun. He later said, “The inspiration that came to me at that moment was a vivid contrast to my feelings at the morning service. ”


Toyin Diyan

London, United Kingdom

Lord Jesus we praise You for Your glorious death! Thank You! Cause us to fully realise its gain~ that It is our glory, the solution to all our problems. Hallelujah to the crucified Christ!

I love this hymn. It's truth and melody are astoundingly wonderful.


Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Sir John Bowring was born at Exeter, England. He could speak fluently in 22 languages and carry on a conversation in 100. He was consul of Hong Kong (1849-1853) when the Opium War broke out and later was the Governor of Hong Kong (1854-59). Bowring was closely associated with the Unitarians. The following hymn, which appears in many hymn collections today, does not appear in modern Unitarian hymnals.

Nearly 33 years after Bowring's death, during the Boxer rebellion in China in 1900, many missionaries were killed. One incident that occurred in Peking during this time is related to this hymn. After the siege of Peking was over, the missionaries gathered in the Temple of Heaven, the shrine where only the Emperor was allowed to visit once a year. The missionaries gathered around the marble altar of the heathen temple and sang this song which gave expression to the spirit that had sustained them during the previous weeks of suffering. - Songs of the Spirit by Martin