Scripture Verse

I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat. Exodus 25:22


Hugh Stowell

Words: Hugh Stow­ell, in The Win­ter’s Wreath, a Col­lec­tion of Orig­in­al Con­tri­bu­tions in Prose and Verse, 1828. Stow­ell re­wrote & re­pub­lished the words in 1831.

Music: Re­treat Tho­mas Hast­ings, 1842 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

Thomas Hastings


[This hymn] has been sung through the dec­ades by Chris­tian peo­ple amidst var­y­ing deg­rees of tri­al and dif­fi­cul­ty…but ne­ver has it been sung with more dra­ma­tic mean­ing than when in 1857 the eight Am­er­i­can mis­sion­ar­ies, the Rev. Al­bert John­son, John E. Free­man, Da­vid E. Camp­bell, John Mc­Mull­en and their wives sung in Caw­npore [now Kan­pur], In­dia, just be­fore they and the two Camp­bell child­ren suf­fered the death of Chris­tian mar­tyrs by or­der of the blood-thirs­ty Na­na Sa­hib.

Stowell’s son once wrote that his fath­er’s death il­lus­trat­ed Mont­gom­e­ry’s lines,

His watchword at the gates of death
He enters heaven by prayer.

My fat­her’s last ut­ter­anc­es, he ad­ded, abun­dant­ly showed his love of and de­light in pray­er. Al­most ev­ery word was pray­er…The morn­ing of his death the on­ly ar­ti­cu­late words that we could catch, ut­tered two or three hours be­fore his de­cease, were Amen! Amen!

Price, p. 31


From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat;
’Tis found beneath the mercy seat.

There is a place where Jesus sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads;
A place than all besides more sweet;
It is the blood bought mercy seat.

There is a scene where spirits blend,
Where friend holds fellowship with friend;
Though sundered far, by faith they meet
Around one common mercy seat.

Ah, whither could we flee for aid,
When tempted, desolate, dismayed,
Or how the hosts of hell defeat,
Had suffering saints no mercy-seat?

There, there, on eagles’ wings we soar,
And time and sense seem all no more;
And heaven comes down, our souls to greet,
And glory crowns the mercy seat.

Oh, let my hand forget her skill,
My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
This bounding heart forget to beat,
If I forget the mercy seat!