"Am I A Soldier Of The Cross": A Christian Soldier's Many Battles
The picture of a soldier is rarely seen in modern Christian iconography. However, every Christian is a soldier for Christ even though they are not aware of it. The battle of a Christian Soldier is many and varied as detailed by "Am I A Soldier Of The Cross" or '"Holy Fortitude" to be exact.
Like many hymns, this hymn is most recognized by its first line rather than its title. The formal name of the hymn is "Holy Fortitude," and it is also known as a title by its first line "Am I A Soldier Of The Cross."
"Am I A Soldier Of The Cross" is a collaboration between Thomas A. Arne and Isaac Watts. Isaac Watts was the lyricist while Thomas Arne made the primary composition for this hymn.
The history of the hymn started when Watts wrote the hymn in 1724. At the time it was written, the hymn was in constant revision and abandonment. It was also appended as Sermon XXXI. The hymn traces themes from Acts 14:22 and 1 Corinthians 16:13. The song is written with six stanzas with four lines. Other versions of the hymn are also available.
In terms of tune/melody, Arne's "Arlington" is the most recognized one for this hymn. It was created by Thomas Arnne in 1782 with the arrangement from Ralph Harrison. The arrangement was mentioned in Sacred Harmony—A Collection of Psalmtunes, Ancient, and Modern (1784). There is another melody attributed to the theme called "McAnally" by Rigdon M. McIntosh (1836–1899). The hymn is very popular as it appeared in 1722 hymnals.
The hymn encapsulates that the battle for Christ has an outstanding reward: eternal salvation and life. However, there are battles to be won every day, and there will be casualties in the short and long term. The hymn also is an ideal picture of Calvinism hymnody as. It serves as a "theological guilt-trip" for its followers to know and do better in the footsteps of Christ.