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Near the Cross

by Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915


“For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:19-20)


The cross was the superb triumph over Satan, death and hell.  Never was Christ more a King then 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 “boldly…that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)  And the best is yet to come: that “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,” a 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 so many of her 8,000 hymn texts, Fanny wrote this poem to fit an existing tune that had been composed by William H. Doane.  Although she worked with many other gospel musicians, William Doane was Fanny’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 left much of his fortune to philanthropic causes, including the construction of a music hall at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  The Doane Memorial Music Building remains on the campus to this day.