Sir John Bowring was a famous British diplomat. He was fluent in thirteen languages. He was twice elected to Parliament. He was knighted by the Queen. He was sent on diplomatic missions to China, Thailand and Italy. He was the governor of Hong Kong.

When he was governor of Hong Kong he took a trip by ship along the China coast. They passed the little Portuguese colony of Macao. An earthquake had struck the region. From the ship Bowring could see the ruins of what once had been a mission church. The cross that once had stood on the steeple now stuck out from the ruins. Taking a piece of paper he wrote these words: "In the cross of Christ I glory Towering o'er the wrecks of time."