God's Guardian Presence

Representative Text

1 This stone in faith, O Lord, we lay;
and build a house for You in love;
to guard this sanctuary night and day
look down in mercy from above.

2 Here, when Your people seek Your face,
and dying sinners pray to live,
hear them in heaven Your dwelling-place,
And when You hear, O Lord, forgive!

3 Here, when Your messengers proclaim
the blessed gospel of Your Son,
still, by the power of His great name,
be mighty signs and wonders done.

4 'Hosanna!' to their heavenly King,
when children's voices raise that song,
'Hosanna!' let their angels sing,
and heaven, with earth, the strain prolong.

5 But will the eternal Father deign,
here to abide, no transient guest?
Will here the world's Redeemer reign,
and here the Holy Spirit rest?

6 That glory never hence depart!
Yet choose not, Lord, this house alone:
Your kingdom come to every heart:
in all the world be Yours the throne.

Source: The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #139

Author: James Montgomery

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: This stone to Thee in faith we lay
Title: God's Guardian Presence
Author: James Montgomery
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


This stone to Thee in faith we lay. J, Montgomery. [Laying Foundation-stone of a Church.] Written in 1822, for the laying of the Foundation-stone of Christ Church, Attercliffe, Sheffield, and sung at that ceremony on Oct. 30, 1822. It was printed in Montgomery's newspaper, the Sheffield Iris, Nov. 5, 1822, together with a full account of the whole ceremony. Subsequently it was published in Montgomery's Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 474, his Poetical Works of various dates, and his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 300, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. It is in extensive use in its full or in an abbreviated form, and also as:—
1. Here, in Thy Name, eternal God. This form is given in Hatfield's Church Hymn Book, N. Y., 1872, and others.
2. When in these courts we seek Thy face. In the American Sabbath Hymn Book , Andover, 1858, it begins with an altered form of stanza ii.
3. Within these walls let heavenly peace. In the American Church Praise Book, N. Y., 1882. Of this text in 3 stanzas, stanza i. is from J. Newton's "O Lord, our languid souls inspire," Olney Hymns, 1779, Bk. ii., No. 43, stanzas v., and stanzas ii. and iii. are from this hymn by Montgomery.
4. When here, 0 Lord, we seek Thy face. This form of the text, beginning with stanza ii., is in the Plymouth Collection, U.S.A., 1855.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



William Knapp (b. Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, 1698; d. Poole, Dorsetshire, 1768) composed WAREHAM, so named for his birthplace. A glover by trade, Knapp served as the parish clerk at St. James's Church in Poole (1729-1768) and was organist in both Wareham and Poole. Known in his time as the "coun…

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SAMSON (Handel)

MENDON (17151)



Instances (1 - 4 of 4)

Hymns and Psalms #659

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The A.M.E. Zion Hymnal #659

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The Irish Presbyterian Hymbook #139


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #945

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