Famous hymn with words written by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) in 1864 and music by Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900; as in "Gilbert and Sullivan") in 1871. The tune is "St. Gertrude."

According to Baring-Gould:

"Whitmonday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire. One Whitmonday, thirty years ago, it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing when marching from one village to another, but couldn’t think of anything quite suitable; so I sat up at night, resolved that I would write something myself. 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' was the result."

While it isn't really militaristic, one still wonders at the wisdom of using "soldier," "battle," "army," and "war" as metaphors for use in a hymn.

Onward, Christian Soldiers

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.

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


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.

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


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

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


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


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

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

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