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Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross

From the series Church Music of China

One translated hymn that is much loved by Chinese Christians who worship in unregistered churches as well as those who worship in registered churches is “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.” Written by the prolific American hymn writer, Fanny J. Crosby, the hymn first appeared in a published hymnal in 1869.

Crosby, who despite being blind from the age of six weeks, paints a beautiful picture of the healing and mercy that are found at the cross. Clearly it was near the cross that Crosby found hope in the midst of her suffering.

These are the lyrics, as they appear in The Methodist Hymnal, published in 1989:

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 raptured 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
Sheds its 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 shadows 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]

Different hymnals have slightly different versions of the refrain. The third line of the refrain, “till my raptured soul shall find. . .” is often rendered as “till my ransomed soul shall find. . . . ”  One hymnal, The Revival Hymns and Choruses, published by the Bible Presbyterian Church of Singapore in 1970, has slightly different wording:

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my vision glorious;
All my sins are washed away
In the blood of Jesus.

This is the wording that is used in the Chinese translation of the hymn in The New Chinese Hymnal. For those of you who have a copy, it is hymn #216.

Perhaps one of the reasons that this hymn is so loved by Christians in China is because decades of suffering have given them a special appreciation for the suffering and preciousness of the cross.

Header image credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Text image credit: Joann Pittman.
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Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio

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