In 1973 I received a church publication from Rev. Lowell Foster containing a story that made a lasting impression on me. Now, more than 20 years later, I still have that story. It is entitled: "Hiding Place For A Spy," and it tells of how one who "felt secure" outside of Christ, until suddenly he faced his eternal jeopardy. Then, after feeling "the arrows of distress," he found real security in "Jesus as a Hiding Place." This remarkable account is quoted below:

The H.M.S. Vulture crept up the Hudson River, early in the Fall of 1780, to an anchorage above Stony Point. In the Dusk a young army officer clambered down into a small boat, and was rowed to the shore. There the Britisher was met by Benedict Arnold, commander of West Point. General Arnold was prepared to sell out to the enemy. During the night plans were laid and a bargain was struck to put West Point into the hands of the British. The British officer returned to Governor Clinton's headquarters in New York by horseback. Near the end of his journey he was waylaid by three American soldiers. They searched him, and the plot was discovered. The captured officer was brought to trial and sentenced to death as a spy. The spy's name was Major John Andre', of the British Army. Meanwhile, Benedict Arnold escaped to the British lines.

While Major Andre' was awaiting his execution, he seems to have given serious thought to eternal matters. Doubtless he recalled his early training given him by his Huguenot parents who had found spiritual refuge in England. Until he faced death, Andre' had lived the usual social life of an army officer -- one continuous whirl of gay functions, but his capture and trial changed all of that. Death for him was but a matter of days.

In repentance and faith, he turned to that blessed One who had long before said, "Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out." -- John 6:37 Major Andre' found there was amazing grace even for him, and he tasted the fruits of conversion -- joy and peace in believing after full repentance. This is set forth wonderfully in his own words in a poem, "My Hiding Place," found in his pocket after he was hanged at Tappan, New York, October 2, 1780. Here is the poem. (See Part Two for the poem)

 

Hail, sovereign love, which first began

The scheme to rescue fallen man!

Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,

Which gave my soul a Hiding Place!

 

Against the God who built the sky

I fought with hands uplifted high --

Despised the mention of His grace,

Too proud to seek a Hiding Place.

 

Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night,

And fond of darkness more than light,

Madly I ran the sinful race,

Secure -- without a Hiding Place!

 

But thus the eternal counsel ran:

Almighty love, arrest that man!

I felt the arrows of distress,

And found I had no Hiding Place.

 

Indignant Justice stood in view;

To Sinai's fiery mount I flew;

But Justice cried with frowning face,

This mountain is no Hiding Place!

 

Ere long a heavenly voice I heard,

And mercy's angel soon appeared:

He led me, with a beaming face

To JESUS as a Hiding Place.

 

On Him almighty vengeance fell,

Which must have sunk a world to hell!

He bore it for a sinful race,

And thus became our Hiding Place.

 

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,

And shake this globe from pole to pole,

No thunderbolt shall daunt my face,

For Jesus is my Hiding Place.

 

A few more setting suns at most

Shall land me on that glorious coast,

Where I shall sing the song of grace,

And see my glorious Hiding Place!

 

From: 2700-PLUS SERMON ILLUSTRATIONS By Duane V. Maxey

 

 

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