Scripture Verse

His children shall have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:26


Elizabeth C. Clephane

Words: Eli­za­beth C. Cle­phane, 1868. Pub­lished post­hu­mous­ly in 1872, in the Scot­tish Pres­by­te­ri­an ma­ga­zine Fa­mi­ly Trea­su­ry, pag­es 398–99, ti­tled Breath­ings on the Bor­der.

Music: St. Chris­to­pher Fred­er­ick C. Mak­er, in the Bris­tol Tune Book, 1881 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Mak­er (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els), or a bet­ter one of Cle­phane,


These lines ex­press the ex­pe­ri­ences, the hopes and the long­ings of a young Chris­tian late­ly re­leased. Wri­tten on the ve­ry edge of life, with the bet­ter land ful­ly in view of faith, they seem to us foot­steps print­ed on the sands of Time, where these sands touch the ocean of Eter­ni­ty. These foot­prints of one whom the Good Shep­herd led through the wil­der­ness in­to rest, may, with God’s bless­ing, con­trib­ute to com­fort and di­rect suc­ceed­ing pilg­rims.

William Ar­not, ed­it­or, Fa­mi­ly Trea­su­ry

The first time this hymn was sung is still fresh in my me­mo­ry. The morn­ing af­ter I had com­posed the mu­sic the Rev. W. H. Ait­kin was to speak at our mis­sion in the great Bow Road Hall, in Lon­don, Mr. Moody hav­ing made an ar­range­ment to speak at Her Ma­jes­ty’s The­ater.

It was a love­ly morn­ing, and a great ga­ther­ing had as­semb­led at the meet­ing, which was held at eight o’clock. Before the ser­mon I sang Be­neath the Cross of Je­sus as a so­lo; and as in the case of The Nine­ty and Nine much bless­ing came from its use for the first time.

With eyes filled with tears, and deep­ly moved, the preach­er said to the au­di­ence: Dear friends, I had in­tend­ed to speak to you this morn­ing up­on work for the Mas­ter, but this new hymn has made such an im­pres­sion on my heart, and ev­id­ent­ly up­on your own, that I will de­fer my pro­posed ad­dress and speak to you on The Cross of Je­sus.

The ser­mon was one of the most pow­er­ful I have ev­er heard, and ma­ny souls that morn­ing ac­cept­ed the mes­sage of grace and love. Some years lat­er Mr. Aitk­in held many suc­cess­ful meet­ings in New York and oth­er ci­ties in this coun­try, and he of­ten used this hymn as a so­lo.

An odd in­ci­dent oc­curred in con­nect­ion with Mr. Ait­kin’s use of this hymn in St. Paul’s Church, at Broad­way and Wall Street, the mon­ey cen­ter of Am­er­ica.

A gen­tle­man, hav­ing heard this piece sung fre­quent­ly by great con­gre­ga­tions of bu­si­ness men and Wall Street brok­ers in St. Paul’s Church, called up­on the pub­lish­ers of the small book of words which had been dis­trib­ut­ed in the church, and said that he wished to se­cure that beau­ti­ful Eng­lish tune which Mr. Ait­kin used so much in his meet­ings.

When he was told that he could find it in any co­py of Gos­pel Hymns he be­came quite in­dig­nant, and in­sist­ed that it was a fine clas­sic which the great preach­er had brought with him from Eng­land—noth­ing like the Moody and San­key trash!

Having se­cured a co­py of Mr. Ait­kin’s hymn book con­tain­ing the fine Eng­lish tune to the beau­ti­ful words of Be­neath the Cross of Je­sus, he went away hap­py, but on­ly to find that it was wri­tten by the au­thor of the mu­sic to The Nine­ty and Nine.

Sankey, pp. 260–62


Beneath the cross of Je­sus
I fain would take my stand—
The sha­dow of a migh­ty rock
Within a wea­ry land—
A home with­in the wil­der­ness,
A rest up­on the way,
From the burn­ing of the noon­tide heat,
And the bur­den of the day.

O safe and hap­py shel­ter!
O re­fuge tried and sweet!
O tryst­ing place where Hea­ven’s love
And Hea­ven’s jus­tice meet!
As to the ex­iled pa­tri­arch
That won­drous dream was giv’n,
So seems my Sav­ior’s cross to me—
A lad­der up to Heav’n!

There lies be­neath its sha­dow
But on the fur­ther side,
The dark­ness of an op­en grave
That gapes both deep and wide;
And there, be­tween us, stands the cross
Two arms out­stretched to save,
Like a watch­man set to guard the way
From that eter­nal grave.

Upon that cross of Je­sus
Mine eye at times can see
The ve­ry dy­ing form of One
Who suf­fered there for me.
And from my strick­en heart, with tears,
Two won­ders I con­fess—
The won­ders of re­deem­ing love,
And my own worth­less­ness.

I take, O cross, thy sha­dow
For my abid­ing place;
I ask no oth­er sun­shine
Than the sun­shine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss—
My sin­ful self my on­ly shame,
My glo­ry all, the cross!

Dim eyes for ev­er closed
For house­hold tears or mirth;
A pale face look­ing up to God—
And so, fare­well to earth!
Out to the light be­yond,
Out of the pain and fear;
Out to the up­per glo­ry there,
Out of the dark­ness here!

Out of the land of death,
Out of the land of doubt,
To en­ter in the in­ner court,
And ne­ver more go out!
The heal­ing and the balm,
The crown up­on the brow,
The tri­al o’er, the tri­umph won—
O God! to have this now!

Not so, O Lord, not this
The boon I ask from Thee;
But for Thy strength to do the work
My God hath set for me.
No faith­ful ser­vant he
Who seeks for rest be­fore,
Who faints ere yet the day is done,
And the ev­en­ing work is o’er.

I ask a liv­ing faith
Within me to abide;
I ask Thee for a ho­ly heart,
And a Spi­rit pu­ri­fied;
Two will­ing hands to serve,
A pa­tient mind to bear,
And hal­lowed, ear­nest lips to speak
For Je­sus ev­ery­where.

Not till the night hath come,
And stars shine out on high,
The dark­ness draw­eth o’er the earth,
The work­ing time is by.
Then fold the wea­ry hands
Upon the qui­et breast;
Thou faith­ful one, thy work is done—
Now en­ter in­to rest!