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The moral significance and far-reaching importance of the visit of Commodore Perry to Japan in 1853–54 is well known.
It is said that while his flagship lay anchored off the coast of Japan, in close proximity to the shore, on a certain Sabbath religious services were held on board the steamer, and this hymn was used in the worship, the naval band playing as an accompaniment the tune ofOld Hundred,while thousands who lined the shore listened in impressive silence to what was to them new and strange music.
It is narrated that when Dr. Dempster, of Garrett Biblical Institute, was on his way, with his wife and two brother missionaries, to South Africa, they were pursued for three days by a pirate vessel, and it seemed that they would have to surrender.
They spent no little time in prayer to thewondrous Sovereign of the seato rescue them from the hands of their pursuers.
On the third day, just after they had joined in prayer and in singing this hymn, the pirate ship was seen to change its course, thus leaving them to pursue undisturbed their errand of mercy to the Dark Continent.
It is not strange that this hymn should have remained ever thereafter associated in grateful remembrance with their providential escape from robbery and possibly from death.
Nutter, p. 8
Before Jehovah’s awful throne,
Ye nations, bow with sacred joy;
Know that the Lord is God alone;
He can create, and He destroy,
He can create, and He destroy.
His sovereign power, without our aid,
Made us of clay, and formed us men;
And when like wandering sheep we strayed,
He brought us to His fold again,
He brought us to His fold again.
We are His people, we His care,
Our souls, and all our mortal frame;
What lasting honors shall we rear,
Almighty Maker, to Thy name,
Almighty Maker, to Thy name?
We’ll crowd Thy gates with thankful songs,
High as the heavens our voices raise;
And earth, with her ten thousand tongues,
Shall fill Thy courts with sounding praise,
Shall fill Thy courts with sounding praise.
Wide as the world is Thy command,
Vast as eternity Thy love;
Firm as a rock Thy truth must stand,
When rolling years shall cease to move,
When rolling years shall cease to move.