Onward Christian Soldiers

This hymn was written in the early 1860s, for children to sing while marching to a schools' festival on Pentecost-Monday in Yorkshire.    It is based on various New Testament references to the the idea of being a "solider for Christ".

The words were written by English Anglican, and later Roman Catholic, priest Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) and it was first published in 1865.   It later became very popular with the Salvation Army.

With meter D with refrain, it is almost-always set to the tune ST GERTRUDE, which was composed for the text in 1871 by Arthur S. Sullivan (1842–1900) - a prominent composer who wrote many works, both sacred and secular, including musicals in collaboration with W S Gilbert.


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Choir with chamber orchestra - recorded outdoors:

A different choir and a larger organ:

Pastor with contemporary band:


Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

Like a mighty army moves the Church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

What the saints established that I hold for true.
What the saints believ'ed, that I believe too.
Long as earth endureth, men the faith will hold,
Kingdoms, nations, empires, in destruction rolled.

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail.

Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honour unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

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1 comment:

  1. Please note: the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould was a famous Anglican priest, Squireson ( Squire/parson ) of Lew Trenchard in Devonshire.

    Thank you.