Onward, Christian Soldiers


“Therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ”
(2 Timothy 2:3).

The story goes that about the time our American Civil War ended, Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the following hymn to commemorate Whit Sunday in Yorkshire, England. Local schoolchildren were to march from one village to another for a school festival, and Baring-Gould, unable to find something suitable, hastily prepared his own lyrics as a marching song. Six years later (1871) Arthur S Sullivan composed the music.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

What the saints established that I hold for true.
What the saints believèd, that I believe too.
Long as earth endureth, men the faith will hold,
Kingdoms, nations, empires, in destruction rolled.

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing. ~Sabine Baring-Gould (1865)

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(1 Corinthians 15:57).

Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lee

Photo Credit: Yorkshire, England


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