Elizabeth Clephane (1830-1869) was a frail Scottish woman, who, despite her physical limitations, was known throughout her community for her helpful, cheery nature. Among the sick and dying in her area she won the name of “Sunbeam.” She wrote 8 hymns in all and only two have endured … one of them being “The Ninety and Nine” and the other “Beneath the Cross of Jesus”
“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” was written by Miss Clephane in 1868, one year before her early death at the age of 39. There is no doubt that the lyrics of this hymn reveal that Clephane was a serious Bible student. It is filled with biblical symbolism and images:
“the mighty Rock” is a reference from Isaiah 32:2
“the weary land” is a reference from Psalm 63:1
“home within the wilderness” is a reference from Jeremiah 9:2
“rest upon the way” is a reference from Isaiah 28:12
“noontide heat” is a reference from Isaiah 4:6
“burden of the day” is a reference from Matthew 11:30
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; a home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way from the burning of the noon day heat and the burden of the day.
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see the very dying form of One who suffered there for me; and from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess—the wonders of His glorious love and my own worthlessness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place—I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face; content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss, my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
Is there a more appropriate response at the foot of Calvary than to proclaim the awesome wonder of His love and the immeasurable degree of our unworthiness? — I think not!