Known throughout her community for her helpful, cheery nature, Elizabeth Clephane was one of a few female hymn writers in Scotland. Although she was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Elizabeth grew up in Melrose. Her father was a county Sheriff and her mother was a descendant of the famous Douglas family. She was one of 3 sisters. Personally, her health was very delicate. Yet within the limits of her strength, she served the poor and the sick in her community. She and her sisters gave to charity all they did not need for their daily needs. Elizabeth became known by the townspeople in Melrose as “the sunbeam”. Elizabeth enjoyed writing poems and actually had several published in The Family Treasury, a Scottish Presbyterian magazine.
Miss Clephane composed her poem, BENEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS just one year before her early death at the age of thirty-nine. The poem appeared anonymously in that Presbyterian magazine. Being an ardent Bible student, many of the phrases in the hymn were chosen verbatim from scripture references throughout the Bible.
In first Corinthians 1:18 we read, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” It is the forgiveness from sin that God has made available to all people through the cross of His Son, Jesus. Because of the cross of Jesus Christ it makes an eternal difference to those who are saved.