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Poetry: The Hiding Place

Hail, sovereign love, which first began
The scheme to rescue fallen man!
Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,
That gave my soul a Hiding Place!

Against the God who built the sky
I fought with hands uplifted high,
Despised the mention of His grace,
Too proud to seek a Hiding Place.

Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,
And fond of darkness more than light,
Madly I ran the sinful race,
Secure without a Hiding Place.

But thus the eternal counsel ran:
"Almighty love, arrest that man!"
I felt the arrows of distress,
And found I had no hiding place.

Indignant justice stood in view.
To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew;
But justice cried, with frowning face:
"This mountain is no hiding place".

Ere long a heavenly voice I heard,
And Mercy’s angel soon appeared;
He led me with a placid pace
To Jesus, as a Hiding Place.

On Him almighty vengeance fell,
Which must have sunk a world to hell.
He bore it for a sinful race,
And thus became their Hiding Place.

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,
And shake this globe from pole to pole,
No thunderbolt shall daunt my face,
For Jesus is my Hiding Place.

A few more setting suns at most,
Shall land me on fair Canaan’s coast,
Where I shall sing the song of grace,
And see my glorious Hiding Place.

Footnote: Authorship of this hymn is often mistakenly ascribed to Major John Andre, a British officer who was hanged as a spy (unjustly according to many historians) during the American Revolution. His remains were later brought to Britain and buried in Westminster Abbey as a recognition of a miscarriage of justice.

The hymn had been transcribed by him as a testimony to his faith two days before his execution, apparently from memory, on to a piece of paper which was found in his pocket afterwards, without any information as to its original author. Major Andre was executed on 2nd October, 1780, exactly four years after this hymn was published in the "Gospel Magazine" (October, 1776) under a pseudonym "Sylvestris" used by the author, Jehoida Brewer.


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