Beneath the Cross of Jesus

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

This song reflects the narrative of the suffering and death of Christ on Calvary, events whose significance and purpose is deepened by the confessions of the church. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Days 15-16, Questions and Answers 37-44 explain the significance of each step of his suffering. Question and Answer 40 testifies that Christ had to suffer death “because God’s justice and truth require it; nothing else could pay for our sins except the death of the son of God.”

The Belgic Confession, Article 20 professes that “God made known his justice toward his Son…poured out his goodness and mercy on us…giving to us his Son to die, by a most perfect love, and raising him to life for our justification, in order that by him we might have immortality and eternal life.”
Consider also the testimony of Belgic Confession, Article 21: “He endured all this for the forgiveness of our sins.”

Tune Information

D♭ Major

Hymn Story/Background

Elizabeth Clephane wrote this text in five stanzas shortly before she died at the age of 39; it was the first of eight of her texts published posthumously the next couple of years in the Scottish magazine Family Treasury (the last being “There Were Ninety and Nine,” made famous by Ira D. Sankey in the United States). The tune ST. CHRISTOPHER is traditionally associated with the text.
— Emily Brink

Author Information

Elizabeth Clephane (b. Edinburgh, Scotland, June 18, 1830; d. Melrose, Roxburghshire, Scotland, February 19, 1869) was the third daugh­ter of An­drew Cle­phane, Sher­iff of Fife and Kin­ross. She lived most of her life in Me­lrose, Scot­land, about 30 miles south­east of Ed­in­burgh. She spent most of her mon­ey on char­it­a­ble caus­es, and was known lo­cal­ly as “The Sun­beam.”
Clephane’s hymns ap­peared post­hu­mous­ly, al­most all for the first time, in the Fam­i­ly Trea­sury (1872), un­der the gen­er­al ti­tle of “Breath­ings on the Border.”
— Cyberhymnal.org

Composer Information

Frederick C. Maker (b. Bristol, England, August 6, 1844; d. January 1, 1927) received his early musical training as a chorister at Bristol Cathedral, England. He pursued a career as organist and choirmaster—most of it spent in Methodist and Congregational churches in Bristol. His longest tenure was at Redland Park Congregational Church, where he was organist from 1882-1910. Maker also conducted the Bristol Free Church Choir Association and was a long-time visiting professor of music at Clifton College. He wrote hymn tunes, anthems, and a cantata, Moses in the Bulrushes.
— Bert Polman