NEAR THE CROSS
Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:19, 20)
The cross was a superb triumph over Satan, death, and hell. Never was Christ more a king than when He shouted from the cross—“It is finished.” Out of the hideous suffering of Calvary He has carved His victory and His kingdom. The victory of the cross assures us that we no longer need to be kept separate from God—either in this life or for eternity. Even now we can enter into His presence “with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). And the best is yet to come—“the golden strand just beyond the river.”
As God’s people, we should live daily with a sensitive awareness of Christ’s cross. We should review its scenes of suffering as well as revel in its triumph. “Near the Cross,” this simply stated hymn by Fanny Crosby, has been widely used by God to teach people this truth since its first publication in 1869.
As she did with many of her 8,000 hymn texts, Fanny Crosby wrote this poem to fit an existing tune that had been composed by William H. Doane. Although she worked with a number of other gospel musicians, William Doane was Fanny Crosby’s principal collaborator. Doane was a very successful business man in Cincinnati, as well as a composer and publisher of numerous gospel songs. He was a very wealthy man when he died and he left much of his fortune to philanthropic causes, including the construction of the Doane Memorial Music Building at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.
Jesus, keep me near the cross—there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.
Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; there the Bright and Morning Star sheds its beams around me.
Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadows o’er me.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.
Chorus: In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest, beyond the river.
For Today: John 6:47-51; 19:17, 18; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 2:13
Determine that especially during this Lenten season you are going to review and revel more often in the cross of Christ and all that it means. Sing this musical prayer to help you remember—