Glorying in the Cross of Christ

Full Text

1 Jesus! and shall it ever be
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Ashamed of Thee whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days?

2 Never! For Jesus is my Friend,
On whom my hopes of heav'n depend.
He sheds the beams of light divine
O'er this benighted soul of mine.

3 Jesus! May this my glory be:
That He is not ashamed of me!
The Lamb of God, my Savior slain,
Has washed me clean from sin's dark stain.

4 Jesus, the name which we adore,
O make us love Thee more and more!
Thy godness, Jesus, now we sing,
True Man and God, our loving King!

Source: Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #471

Author: Benjamin Francis

Francis, Benjamin , M.A., was born in Wales in 1734. He was baptized at the age of 15, and began to preach at 19. He studied at the Bristol Baptist College, and commenced his ministry at Sodbury. In 1757 he removed to Horsley (afterwards called Shortwood), in Gloucestershire. There he remained, through a happy and very successful ministry of 42 years, until his death in 1799. He was the author of many poetical compositions :— (1) Conflagration, a Poem in Four Parts, (1770); (2) Elegies on the Deaths of the Revs. George Whitefield , Caleb Evans, Robert Day, and Joshua Thomas; (3) The Association, a Poem (1790); (4) a Poetical Address to the Stockbridge Indians (5) two satirical pieces on the Baptismal controversy; The Salopian Zealo… Go to person page >

Author: Joseph Grigg

Grigg, Joseph, was born in 1728, according to the D. Sedgwick’s Manuscript," but this date seems to be some six or eight years too late. He was the son of poor parents and was brought up to mechanical pursuits. In 1743 he forsook his trade and became assistant minister to the Rev. Thomas Bures, of the Presbyterian Church, Silver Street, London. On the death of Mr. Bures in 1747, he retired from the ministry, and, marrying a lady of property, look up his residence at St. Albans. He died at Walthamstow, Essex, Oct. 29, 1768. As a hymnwriter Grigg is chiefly known by two of his hymns, "Behold a stranger at the door"; and "Jesus, and can it ever be?" His hymnwriting began, it is said, at ten years of age. His published works of various kinds… Go to person page >


Jesus, and shall it ever be. J. Grigg. [Glorying in Jesus.] The somewhat complicated history of this hymn begins with its publication by J. Grigg in his Four Hymns on Divine Subjects wherein the Patience and Love of Our Divine Saviour is displayed, 1765, as follows:—

"Jesus! and shall it ever be!
A mortal man ashamed of Thee?
Scorn'd be the thought by rich and poor;
0 may I scorn it more and more!

"Ashamed of Jesus! sooner far
Let evening blush to own a star.
Ashamed of Jesus! just as soon
Let midnight blush to think of noon.

"Tis evening with my soul till He,
That Morning Star, bids darkness flee;
He sheds the beam of noon divine
O'er all this midnight soul of mine.

"Ashamed of Jesus! shall yon field
Blush when it thinks who bids it yield?
Yet blush I must, while I adore,
I blush to think I yield no more.

"Ashamed of Jesus! of that Friend
On Whom for heaven my hopes depend!
It must not be! be this my shame,
That I no more revere His name.

"Ashamed of Jesus! yes, I may,
When I've no crimes to wash away;
No tear to wipe, no joy to crave,
No fears to quell, no soul to save.

"Till then (nor is the boasting vain),
Till then I boast a Saviour slain:
And oh, may this my portion be,
That Saviour not ashamed of me! "

These crude verses were given in an unaltered form in a few of the older hymnbooks. It was soon found, however, that they called for revision with the results following:—
1. In the April number of the Gospel Magazine, 1774, it was given with alterations and the omission of stanzas iii. and iv., with the heading, "Shame of Jesus conquer'd by Love. By a Youth of Ten Years." It was without signature, and began, "Jesus! and can it ever be." We believe that this was the first instance in which it was set forth that it was written at ten years of age; and we have failed to find any evidence other than this for the statement. In the Methodist Free Church Hymn Book 1860, it is altered to "Lord Jesus! can it ever be."
2. The second version of the text was given in Rippon's Baptist Selection, 1787, No. 451, where it is stated to have been "Altered by B. Francis." The alterations are somewhat extensive, stanza iv. is omitted, and a new stanza is added ("His institutions would I prize," &c). This text may be distinguished by stanza i.:—

“Jesus! and shall it ever be
A mortal man asham'd of Thee!
Asham'd of Thee, Whom angels praise,
Whose glories shine through endless days

3. The third version which we have traced is In J. Kempthorne's Select Portions of Psalms . . . and Hymns, &c, 1810, p. 175, in 4 stanzas, and beginning, "Asham'd of Jesus! Can it be?" This was taken from the Gospel Magazine, as above, with the omission of its stanza ii., and slight alterations. It was repeated in Elliott's Psalms & Hymns, 1835, and later collections, sometimes with can changed to shall.
4. The fourth version begins:—

"Jesus! Redeemer! can it be
That sinners are ashamed of Thee

This was given in 4 stanzas in Cotterill's Selection, 8th edition, 1819, No. 81. This text was altered from that in the Gospel Magazine, and was a failure.
5. The fifth version is a recast by Bishop W. W. How, and was printed in the Society for promoting Christian Knowledge Hymns for Occasional Services, No. 5, 1882, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines. It is also in the S. P. C. K. sheet of Hymns for Mission Services. It begins:—

"Ashamed of Thee! 0 dearest Lord,
I marvel how such wrong can be;
And yet how oft in deed and word
Have I been found ashamed of Thee!"

It is a good mission hymn, but it has little in common with that by Grigg.
Other and somewhat minute changes have been introduced into the text by various hymnbook compilers, but these are the most important, and practically cover the whole ground.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Henry Kemble Oliver (b. Beverly, MA, 1800; d. Salem, MA, 1885) composed FEDERAL STREET in 1832, possibly as an imitation of earlier psalm tunes in long meter. He took it to a music class taught by Lowell Mason (who may have contributed to the harmony); Mason (PHH 96) published it in his Boston Acade…

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