SONG & MUSIC WRITER: George Bennard
WHEN WRITTEN: 1913
HYMN HISTORY: George Bennard (1873-1958) was born in Youngstown, Ohio, but his family moved to Iowa, where he accepted Christ as his savior at a revival meeting sponsored by the Salvation Army. George's coal-miner father died when George was sixteen. George had hoped to become an evangelist, but instead went to work as a coal-miner to support his mother and sisters.
Some years later, Bennard moved to Chicago, married, and began an evangelistic ministry with the Salvation Army. Later still, he was ordained as an evangelist by the Methodist Church, and traveled through the northern states carrying out his ministry. In December, 1912, he was struggling with some sort of personal problem, which led him to reflect on Christ's suffering on the cross. He later wrote, "I saw the Christ of the cross as if I were seeing John 3:16 leave the printed page, take form, and act out the meaning of redemption."
BIBLE VERSE: Philippians 2:8 – “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary.
In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he'll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I'll share.