March for the Battle of the Soul: "Onward Christian Soldiers"
From the title, "Onward Christian Soldiers," it is easy to say that this is a hymn of battle, warfare, soldering, and appeal. This hymn is a call for not any struggle, but the fight for Christ and Salvation. Underneath the themes, there are also mentions of courage, commitment, praise, encouragement, and unity.
Like many believers of other denominations, Christians are soldiers of the Faith. There is the never-ending battle between good and evil alongside the struggle for salvation and sin. Every soldier and army must have a theme, and "Onward Christian Soldiers" fits the bill.
The hymn was the product of the words by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) who wrote it in 1871. Its music is named as "St. Gertrude", after the wife of the composer, Arthur Seymour Sullivan (1842-1900). The hymn is based on verse 2 Timothy 2:3. Other people credit 2 Chronicles 20:15 or Deuteronomy 31:6, for the inspiration.
The creation of the hymn was due to its use as a processional hymn for children walking from Horbury Bridge to Horbury St Peter's Church in 1865. Its original title was "Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners." It was said that the lyricist, Baring-Gould wrote this hymn under 15 minutes, apologized for the haste and allowed some of the lines to be changed. Changes include changing one word in a line or a paraphrase of the line. Despite the corrections, thus hymn was using with its original text and published as such in many hymnals. It has since been adopted as the processional hymn of the Salvation Army and Baring- Gould's most famous hymn.
The hymn has four stanzas and one refrain. Each verse has eight lines with the time of 4/4.
The hymn was used during World War II in a mass attended by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin Roosevelt. The mass was held on August 1941 on the battleship HMS Prince of Wales. Since then, the hymn was associated with the military. The hymn is also a traditional hymn to be sung at funerals. Ironically, this hymn was also popular to sign in activities against the established order.