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-and-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!