Scripture Verse

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


George C. Stebbins

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

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.