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Updated 05/31/2013


Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone

Henry Beecher

Thomas Shepherd wrote the first stanza to “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone.”  Son of William Shepherd, some­time Vi­car of Til­brook, Bed­ford­shire, Thom­as was or­dained an An­gli­can priest, serv­ing first at St. Neots, then in Buck­ing­ham­shire. He lat­er left the Church of Eng­land, and in 1694 be­came pas­tor of the In­de­pen­dent Cas­tle Hill Bap­tist Meet­ing, North­amp­ton (Phil­ip Dod­dridge lat­er served there, as well). In 1700 he moved to Bock­ing, Es­sex, preach­ing in a barn for sev­er­al years be­fore a cha­pel could be built. He served there the re­maind­er of his life.

 Subsequent stanzas appeared in a publication by Henry Beecher.

Bro­ther of Har­ri­et Beech­er Stowe and Charles Beech­er, his ma­jor con­tri­bu­tion to hymn­ol­o­gy was his Ply­mouth Col­lection of Hymns and Tunes (New York: AMS. Barnes and Burr, 1855); it is named af­ter Ply­mouth Church, in Brook­lyn, New York, where he was pas­tor.

George Allen

The music is by George Allen.  Allen stu­died mu­sic in Bos­ton, Mass­a­chu­setts, un­der Lowell Mason. In 1837, Allen be­came an in­struct­or in Sci­ence of Mu­sic at Ober­lin Coll­ege, while he was still a stu­dent; a year lat­er, he was ap­point­ed in­struct­or of Sac­red Mu­sic, and be­came a full pro­fess­or in 1841. Allen was al­so a stu­dent of ge­ol­o­gy, and 1847 be­came pro­fess­or of Ge­ol­o­gy and Nat­ur­al His­to­ry.

In 1837, Allen found­ed the Ober­lin Mu­sic­al As­so­ci­a­tion (now known as the Mu­sic­al Un­ion), one of the old­est or­gan­iz­a­tions of its type in Amer­i­ca. In 1844, he com­piled the Ober­lin So­cial and Sab­bath Hymn Book.

Lyrics by Henry Beecher


Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone,
And there’s a cross for me.

How happy are the saints above,
Who once went sorrowing here!
But now they taste unmingled love,
And joy without a tear.

The consecrated cross I’ll bear
Till death shall set me free;
And then go home my crown to wear,
For there’s a crown for me.

Upon the crystal pavement down
At Jesus’ piercèd feet,
Joyful I’ll cast my golden crown
And His dear Name repeat.

O precious cross! O glorious crown!
O resurrection day!
When Christ the Lord from Heav’n comes down
And bears my soul away.