Scripture Verse

Thou shalt hide them in the secret of Thy presence. Psalm 31:20


George C. Stebbins (1846–1945)

Words: Ell­en L. Gor­eh, From In­dia’s Cor­al Strand: Hymns of the Chris­tian Faith (Lon­don: Home Words Pub­lish­ing Office, 1883), pag­es 24–25.

Music: George C. Steb­bins, Gos­pel Hymns No. 5 (Cin­cin­na­ti, Ohio; New York; and Chi­ca­go, Il­li­nois: John Church and Big­low & Main, 1887), num­ber 98 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Ellen L. Goreh (1853–1937)

Origin of the Hymn

The au­thor of the words of this beau­ti­ful hymn was a high-caste na­tive of In­dia. Af­ter her con­ver­sion to Chris­ti­an­ity, it is said, she spent some years in the home of an Eng­lish cler­gy­man, and wrote the po­em…there. It made its ap­pear­ance in a book of po­ems of which she was the au­thor…

The hymn was first sung by [George Steb­bins] as an of­fer­to­ry in one of the church­es in Brook­lyn, New York. It was oft­en re­peat­ed as an of­fer­to­ry, and on oc­ca­sions was sung in ev­an­gel­is­tic ser­vices.

But it had its larg­er in­tro­duc­tion to the pub­lic dur­ing the All-Win­ter Mis­sion con­duct­ed by Mr. Moo­dy and my­self in Lon­don in the win­ter of 1883–84, when I sang it fre­quent­ly, as did Mr. Steb­bins, who spent sev­er­al months as­sist­ing in the mis­sion.

It was al­so oft­en sung by Miss Beau­cham, daugh­ter of the late La­dy Beau­cham and since the wife of Co­lo­nel Dru­ry-Lowe, one of the he­roes of the In­di­an Mu­ti­ny, and un­cle of Lord Cur­zon, Vi­cer­oy and Gov­er­nor-Ge­ne­ral of In­dia.

The hymn at once came into ge­ne­ral fa­vor, and the deep­ly spir­it­ual tone of the words brought bless­ing to ma­ny. The song was af­ter­wards pub­lished in Gos­pel Hymns, and in Sac­red Songs and So­los.

Very soon it found its way in­to all parts of the world. Dr. Hud­son Tay­lor, head of the great Chi­na In­land Mis­sion, stat­ed at North­field [Mas­sa­chu­setts] that it was the fav­or­ite hymn of his mis­sion­ar­ies.

The win­ter of 1890–91 Mr. and Mrs. Steb­bins spent in In­dia. While vis­it­ing the ci­ty of Al­lah­abad, the home of Miss Gor­eh, Mr. Steb­bins sought her out and made her ac­quaint­ance.

He found her en­gaged in mis­sion work among the wo­men of Ind­ia, a mo­dest, de­vo­ted Chris­tian, held in high es­teem by mis­sion­ar­ies of all de­no­mi­na­tions and by all who knew her.

Thus the two sing­ers whose names had be­come as­so­ci­at­ed in Chris­tian song met each oth­er—one from the far East, and one from be­yond far West­ern seas—both in­spired by the same Lord, in the sec­ret of whose pre­sence they long since came to abide.

Sankey, pp. 166–67


In the sec­ret of His pre­sence,
How my soul de­lights to hide!
Oh, how pre­cious are the les­sons
Which I learn at Je­su’s side!
Earthly cares can ne­ver vex me,
Neither tri­als lay me low:
For when Sa­tan comes to tempt me,
To the sec­ret place I go,
To the sec­ret place I go.

When my soul is faint and thirs­ty,
’Neath the sha­dow of His wing
There is cool and plea­sant shel­ter,
And a fresh and crys­tal spring;
And my Sav­ior rests be­side me,
As we hold com­mun­ion sweet:
If I tried, I could not ut­ter
What He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know, I tell Him
All my doubts and griefs and fears;
Oh, how pa­tient­ly He list­ens,
And my droop­ing soul He cheers!
Do you think He ne’er re­proves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He ne­ver, ne­ver told me
Of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

Do you think that I could love Him
Half so well, or as I ought,
If He did not tell me plain­ly
Of each sin­ful deed and thought?
No, He is very faith­ful, and
That makes me trust Him more:
For I know that He does love me,
Though He wounds me ve­ry sore
Though He wounds me ve­ry sore.

Would you like to know the sweet­ness
Of the sec­ret of the Lord?
Go and hide be­neath His sha­dow;
This shall then be your re­ward.
And when­e’er you leave the si­lence
Of that hap­py meet­ing place
You must mind and bear the im­age
Of the Mas­ter in your face,
Of the Mas­ter in your face.

You will sure­ly lose the bless­ing,
And the full­ness of your joy,
If you let dark clouds dis­tress you,
And your in­ward peace de­stroy;
You may al­ways be abid­ing,
If you will, at Je­su’s side;
In the sec­ret of His pre­sence
May you ev­ery mo­ment hide
May you ev­ery mo­ment hide.