Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to warAuthor: S. Baring-Gould
Tune: ST. GERTRUDE
Songs of Response
Published in 1520 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
Christ, the royal Master,
leads again the foe;
Forward into battle,
see his banner go!
Onward, Christian soldiers,
marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
going on before!
2 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! [Refrain]
3 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. [Refrain]
4 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 thro' countless ages
men and angels sing. [Refrain]
Baptist Hymnal, 1991
|First Line:||Onward, Christian soldiers, Marching as to war|
|Title:||Onward, Christian Soldiers|
|Meter:||188.8.131.52 D with refrain|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
st. 1 = Deut. 31: 6
1 Tim. 6:12
st. 2 = Eph. 4:4
st. 3 = Matt. 16:18
Sabine Baring-Gould (b. Exeter, England, 1834; d. Lew Trenchard, England, 1924), curate of a mission church at Horbury Bridge, Yorkshire, England, wrote this text in 1864 for a children's Pentecost Sunday procession. Baring-Gould said the following about his writing of the text:
For a Whitsuntide [Pentecost] procession it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing when marching from one village to another, but couldn't think of anything quite suitable, so I sat up at night and resolved to write something myself. "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was the result. It was written in great haste. . . . I am certain that nothing surprised me more than its popularity.
Entitled "Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners," the text was published in The Church Times (Oct. 15, 1864) in six stanzas and refrain. His stanzas 1, 3, 5-6 are included with small alterations.
As indicated in the refrain, "Onward, Christian Soldiers" is a processional hymn with a cross as the head of the procession (see also 373). It is also a children's hymn; the line in stanza 2 “We are not divided; all one body we” initially referred simply to the children from the several villages (the hymn obviously does not provide a realistic analysis of church unity on a larger scale). And "Onward, Christian Soldiers" is clearly a nineteenth-century text that reveals some of the British triumphalism of that era. Its martial imagery, though drawn from biblical texts such as Ephesians 6:10-18, has often been misinterpreted as militaristic. Thus various opinions exist about the modem usefulness of this text. All agree, however, that stanza 3, which quotes Jesus' promise in Matthew 16:18, is the hymn's finest verse.
Baring-Gould is remembered today especially for this hymn, though he was also the author of some eighty volumes, including books about travel, popular theology, and English folk songs. Educated at Clare College, Cambridge, England, he was a curate and rector in the Church of England. He inherited a large estate but married a mill-hand girl after paying for her education. Many of his hymns were written for the children of his congregations, often for their marches around the village in procession with crosses and banners. Baring-Gould compiled several collections of folk songs, which were an important part of the English folk-music movement, including Songs and Ballads of the West (1889-1891) and A Garland of Country Song (1894).
Services dealing with spiritual warfare, with greatest emphasis on stanzas 3 and 4.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987
Sabine Baring-Gould wrote the text in 1865 for a children’s procession for Whitsuntide (Pentecost) in the village of Horbury Bridge, England. It was published later that year in Church Times under the title “'Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners.” There is a story that low-church Anglican clergy who preferred not to carry the cross in their processions were derided when the end of the refrain was altered to “With the cross of Jesus left behind the door.”
This hymn is most commonly published with four stanzas and the refrain. The first (“Onward, Christian soldiers”) and last (“Onward, then, ye people”) are always included. The original third (“Like a mighty army”) and fifth (“Crowns and thrones may perish”) stanzas are usually included, but the original second stanza (“At the sign of triumph”) is often omitted. The original fourth stanza (“What the saints established”) is always omitted.
The images of war that are heavily prominent throughout this text have provoked some controversy in past decades. This hymn is often seen as promoting militarism and triumphalism. However, it is possible to read the text as a call to the church to fight the forces of evil, which is clearly derived from such scripture passages as Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
Arthur S. Sullivan, the composer half of the operetta team Gilbert and Sullivan, wrote ST. GERTRUDE especially for this text. The tune may have been named after Gertrude Clay-Ker-Seymer, a friend of Sullivan. His composing skill is evident in how the tune fits the rhythm and mood of the text, as well as in the details of composition. The tune ST. GERTRUDE is one reason why this hymn came to be so popular.
The harmony of this tune is better suited to instruments than singing. One example is the marching band bass line in the first phrase of the refrain. Unison singing with steady accompaniment works well.
This hymn is appropriate for services on the theme of spiritual warfare. The use of varying instrumentation can affect how the hymn is viewed. If the full congregation is accompanied by full organ or the addition of a brass quartet in an arrangement of “ST. GERTRUDE,” the full martial themes of the text are brought out. However, a solo handbell setting of three hymns on the theme of “Soldier of the Cross,” including “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” features a much smaller ensemble, which moderates the idea of humanity’s power in the fight, and can bring a recognition that power belongs to God.
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org
|Instances (1 - 44 of 44)||First Line||Title||Tune||Tune Key||Author||Meter||Scripture||Date||Subject||Source|
|African American Heritage Hymnal #481||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||6 5 6 5 D with refrain||2 Timothy 2:3||2001||Jesus Christ | His Cross|
|Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #461||Onward, Christian soldiers,||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 D w/refrain||1994||Challenge | ; Commitment | ; Service | ; Warfare ||
|Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #758||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)||65 65 and refrain||Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:3-4||2013||Church | nature of; Conflict | ; Courage | ; Praise | ; Victory ||
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #493||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||184.108.40.206.D. with Refrain||2 Timothy 2:3||1991|
|Baptist Hymnal 2008 #660||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||220.127.116.11.D. with Chorus||2008||Spiritual Warfare ||
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #261||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||18.104.22.168 D with refrain||2010||The Church as Community | Identity; Christian unity | ; Church ||
|Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #537||Onrward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 D with Refrain||1993||Church ||
|Church Family Worship #551||Onward, Christian soldiers||65 65 D Ref||1988|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #659||Onward, Christian soldiers||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #514||Onward! Christian soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)||6565 D and refrain||2 Timothy 2:3-4; Daniel 2:44; Ephesians 6:12; Galatians 6:14; Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 16:18; Psalm 20:5; Revelation 19:5-6; Revelation 19:16||2005||Life in Christ | Our Response to Christ - In Discipleship; Church | images of; Conflict | ; Jesus | cross; Victory ||
|Common Praise (1998) #499||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65D with refrain||Exodus 15:1-21; Matthew 16:13-20; Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:1-15||1998||Christian Life ||
|Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #549||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 and refrain||1 Corinthians 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:3; Ephesians 4:4-5; Matthew 16:18; Matthew 24:7||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #543||Onward, Christian soldiers||65 65 D Ref||2000|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #562||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65. 65. D with Refrain||1985|
|Hymns and Psalms - 1983 #718||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||1983|
|Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #449||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||22.214.171.124 D with Refrain||2 Corinthians 2:14||2007||Courage | ; Discipleship | ; Eternal Life | ; Mission | ; Unity ||
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #532||Onward, Christian soldiers!||ST. GERTRUDE||S. Baring-Gould (1834-1924)||6 5 6 5 Triple||1987||God's Church | Conflict and Endurance; Lent 2, The King and the Kingdom | Conflict; Lent 3, The King and the Kingdom | Suffering; Pentecost 2 | The Church's Unity and Fellowship; Pentecost 3 | The Church's Confidence in Christ; Pentecost 9 | The Whole Armour of God; Pentecost 13 | The Suffering Community; Pentecost 20 | Endurance|
|Hymns of Faith #474||Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war||Onward, Christian Soldiers||[Onward, Christian soldiers]||Sabine Baring-Gould||Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4-6; 2 Timothy 2:3||1980||Church | militant and triumphant|
|Hymns of Promise: a large print songbook #108||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||126.96.36.199.D.Ref.||2015||Walking in Faith ||
|Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #599||Onward, Christian pilgrims||ST. GERTRUDE||Michael Forster||2008|
|Lutheran Service Book #662||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 65 D||Ephesians 6:10-18; Ephesians 4:4-6; Matthew 16:18; Psalm 145:13||2006||The Church Militant | ; Spiritual Songs ||
|Lutheran Worship #518||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 65 D||1982||Spiritual Songs | ; Warfare, Christian ||
|Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #132||Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||1979||The Church | General|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #522||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||65 65 D with refrain||Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 16:18; 1 Timothy 6:12||1987||Cross of Christ | ; Reformation | ; Warfare, Spiritual | ; Songs for Children | Hymns; Church and Mission | ; Church | ; Kingdom | ; Missions ||
|Rejoice Hymns #660||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||188.8.131.52.D. with Refrain||2 Timothy 2:3||2011||Spiritual Warfare ||
|Sing Joyfully #517||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||[Onward, Christian soldiers]||Sabine Baring-Gould||1989||Church | Militant & Trumphant; Warfare, Spiritual ||
|Small Church Music #106||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||S. Baring-Gould||184.108.40.206.D with refrain|
|Small Church Music #6187||Onward Christian Soldiers||Haydn||HAYDN||S. Baring-Gould|
|Soul-stirring Songs & Hymns (Rev. ed.) #412||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||[Onward, Christian soldiers]||Sabine Baring-Gould||1989||Choir and Special | ; Christian Warfare | ; Youth ||
|Soul-stirring Songs & Hymns (Rev. ed.) #478||Onward, Christian soldiers!||Onward, Christian Soldiers||[Onward, Christian soldiers!]||Sabine Baring-Gould||1989||Choir and Special | ; Christian Warfare | ; Youth ||
|The Bible Hymnal #126||Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war||ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS!||[Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war]||Sabine Baring-Gould||2013|
|The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #731||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||220.127.116.11.D. with Refrain||1997||Walking with God | Spiritual Conflict and Victory|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #466||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||18.104.22.168 D. with Refrain||Ephesians 4:4-6; Ephesians 6:10-17; 1 Timothy 6:12||1996||Victory in Conflict ||
|The Cyber Hymnal #5255||Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||<cite>Church Times</cite>, 1865|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #479||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||22.214.171.124.D. with refrain||1986||Discipleship | ; Spiritual Warfare ||
|The New English Hymnal #435||Onward, Christian soldiers||ST GERTRUDE||S. Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||65 65 and refrain||1986|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #575||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||65.65 D with Refrain||1989||The Nature of the Church | Called to God's Mission; Jesus Christ | Cross; Mission and Outreach | ; Zeal ||
|The Worshiping Church #748||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||126.96.36.199.D.Ref.||2 Timothy 2:3; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 4:4-6||1990||Conflict, Spirtual ||
|Timeless Truths #997||Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||188.8.131.52.11.11||2 Chronicles 20:15||Warfare |||Timeless Truths (http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Onward_Christian_Soldiers); Faith Publishing House, <i>Echoes from Heaven</i>, 1976 (21); The Gospel Trumpet Company, <i>Select Hymns</i>, 1911 (510)|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #572||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould||184.108.40.206.D.ref.||Matthew 16:18||1990||The Christian Life | Christian Warfare; Christ | Master; Church | Triumph of; Hell | ; The Nation ||
|Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems #1b||Onward, Christian soldiers||RACHIE||Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)||220.127.116.11.D||1979|
|Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems (Reformatted) #1b||Onward, Christian soldiers||RACHIE||Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924)||18.104.22.168.D||1995|
|Worship and Rejoice #509||Onward, Christian soldiers||Onward, Christian Soldiers||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924||22.214.171.124.D.Ref.||Revelation 5:6-14; 1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Timothy 2:3; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 4:4-6; Revelation 19:11; Galatians 6:14; Revelation 7:9-17; 2 Corinthians 10:3||2001||Conflict | Spiritual; Conflict & Victory ||
|生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #381||基督精兵前進， (Onward, Christian Soldiers)||基督精兵前進， (Onward, Christian Soldiers)||ST. GERTRUDE||Sabine B. Gould||1986|