Before the Throne of God Above is a classic example of modernizing a hymn text in order to reach a new generation of worshippers. Written around 1863 by Charitie Lees Bancroft, this hymn was originally wedded with Williams Bradbury's 1861 tune, Sweet Hour. The hymn text focuses on the righteousness of Christ being imputed to believers, declaring us blameless before a Holy God. The tune Sweet Hour worked well in the mid 1800s, but the hymn text did not gain its current popularity and circulation until Vikki Cook composed the tune we sing today. Cook's tune is perfect for today and possibly for generations to come. It is modern and classic all at the same time. It contains the reflective yet celebratory sound this hymn text deserves. Check out the lyric video below to get a feel for this beautiful text and tune.
Charitie Lees Smith was born in 1841 in the vicinity of Dublin, Ireland. Her father was a minister in the Church of Ireland. Not much is known about Charitie’s life, but it appears she was widowed twice. She married an Arthur Bancroft in 1869, but died under the name Charitie de Cheney in California in 1923. She published poetry in leaflet form as early as 1860, and a number of her collected works were published as Within the Veil in 1867. “Before the Throne” was written in 1863 under the title “The Advocate.” (Bio taken from www.hymnary.org)
Songwriter, vocalist, and Steve Cook’s wife and creative partner, Vikki wrote the music to “Before the Throne of God Above” and has collaborated with her husband on dozens of songs including “I Will Glory in My Redeemer,” “The Glories of Calvary,” “When You Move” and “Great Things.” Vikki’s voice has been featured on albums such as Worship God Live, Songs for the Cross Centered Life, and Upward: The Bob Kauflin Hymns Project. Vikki also enjoys directing school choirs and giving piano and voice lessons.
Steve and Vikki are part of Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville and reside in the Louisville area with their two daughters. (Bio taken from Sovereign Grace Ministries)