1 Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain;
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calv'ry's mountain.
In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever,
Till my ransomed soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
2 Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the Bright and Morning Star
Shed His beams around me. [Refrain]
3 Near the cross! O lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o'er me. [Refrain]
4 Near the cross! I'll watch and wait,
Hoping, trusting ever;
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river. [Refrain]
Baptist Hymnal, 1991
|First Line:||Jesus, keep me near the cross|
|Title:||Near the Cross|
|Author:||Fanny Crosby (1869)|
|Refrain First Line:||In the cross, in the cross|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Response|
In 1869, Fanny Crosby was shown a tune by William Doane, for which she wrote this text. The text and tune were published together in Bright Jewels for the Sunday School in 1869. Crosby wrote four stanzas and a refrain, which most hymnals have kept. The fourth stanza (“Near the cross I'll watch and wait”) is occasionally omitted.
The first line of each stanza contains the phrase “near the cross,” emphasizing the value of Christ's redeeming work there. Each stanza has a slightly different aspect of the main theme. The first stanza describes redemption through Jesus' blood, and the second, the need of humanity for salvation. The third stanza is a prayer that the Christian would always remember God's love as shown on the cross, and the fourth looks forward to heaven.
The tune for this hymn was actually written before the text, but it was named after the text, NEAR THE CROSS. William H. Doane, who often collaborated with Crosby, is the composer. He wrote the tune in 1869 and it was first published with the text in Bright Jewels.
The stanza and the refrain are in two phrases each, clearly marked by the ending long notes. This tune should be sung at a moderate tempo. If it is too fast, it sounds like a dance, which is not appropriate to the theme of the text, but an excessively slow tempo is depressing, while the text gives hope.
This hymn is best suited to Lent or Holy Week. This hymn is perfect for a contemporary or blended worship service, as it fits well with modern songs such as “The Power of the Cross,” as in the choral arrangements “Near the Cross,” or “Keep Me Near the Cross,” both of which can be accompanied by piano alone, or with optional instruments. It could also be used as instrumental music preceding Communion, such as in a handbell arrangement like “Near the Cross.”
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org