This text was written by an Anglican clergyman named George W. Kitchin for a festival of the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel held in his cathedral at Winchester, June of 1887. Most likely the seminal thought arose from Emperor Constantine's 312 A.D. vision of the Cross of Christ in the sky with the words "In hoc signo vinces" (In this sign you shall conquer). Constantine's vision was reported by the ancient historian Eusebius (c. 260-339).
This hymn is recommended in Lutheran Service Book as the Hymn of the Day for St. Barnabas, celebrated today on June 11th. Intended for use as a processional, the following versicle may be said at the entrance into the chancel:
V: God forbid that I should glory,
R: save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Refrain: Lift high the cross, the love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world adore His sacred name.
1. Come, Christians, follow where our Captain trod,
Our king victorious, Christ, the Son of God. Refrain
2. Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
The hosts of God in conqu'ring ranks combine. Refrain
3. All newborn soldiers of the Crucified
Bear on their brows the seal of Him of died. Refrain
4. O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
As Thou hast promised, draw us all to Thee. Refrain
5. Let every race and every language tell
Of Him who saves our lives from death and hell. Refrain
6. So shall our song of triumph ever be:
Praise to the Crucified for victory! Refrain
This is the sign which Satan's legions fear
And angels veil their faces to revere.
Saved by this cross whereon their Lord was slain,
The sons of Adam their lost home regain.
From north and south, from east and west they raise
In growing unison their songs of praise.
From farthest regions let them homage bring,
And on His cross adore their Savior King.
Set up Your throne, that earth's despair may cease
Beneath the shadow of its healing peace.
For Your blest cross which does for all atone
Creation's praises rise before Your throne.