What are the lyrics to ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’

Written as a march for children in the 19th century 'Onward Christian Soldiers' soon became popular across the world and has even been sung in Hollywood films. Here are its lyrics

Onward Christian Soldiers lyrics

Who wrote the hymn ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ and who composed the music?

Inspired by the sight of children walking to church in his home town of Horbury and Christians being referred to as ‘soldiers for Christ’ in the New Testament priest Sabine Baring-Gould  wrote the lyrics to the hymn in 1865. He originally set the lyrics to a melody from the slow movement of Joseph Haydn’s Symphony in D, No. 15, however the hymn  didn’t become popular until .Arthur Sullivan  set it to music six years later in 1871.

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‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ is  The Salvation Army favoured processional hymn

Did you know…

Winston Churchill chose the hymn for a wartime church service with Franklin Roosevelt when they were aboard the battleship HMS Prince of Wales discussing the Atlantic Charter?

On a radio programme after the service he said:

‘We sang “Onward, Christian Soldiers” indeed, and I felt that this was no vain presumption, but that we had the right to feel that we were serving a cause for the sake of which a trumpet has sounded from on high. When I looked upon that densely packed congregation of fighting men of the same language, of the same faith, of the same fundamental laws, of the same ideals … it swept across me that here was the only hope, but also the sure hope, of saving the world from measureless degradation.’

What are the lyrics to ‘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 banner go!

Chorus
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! [chorus]

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. [chorus]

4 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 thro’ countless ages
men and angels sing. [chorus]

Find more lyrics to famous hymns

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