Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to its foes..."

"Chaplain Mike" at Internet Monk chooses "How Firm a Foundation," a great hymn, my favorite hymn, to comment on in "A Hymn for Ordinary Time." It is the theme hymn I chose for the annual conference I planned when I was president of my denomination.
.... One of the great hymns that references the Scriptures is “How Firm a Foundation.” However, only the first verse speaks of the Bible as our foundation. The rest of the lyrics are words from God’s own mouth, reassurances of his unfailing covenant love for his own in Jesus. These words of comfort come to a climax in the magnificent final verse, in which he promises “never, no never, never” to forsake us. ....
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

"Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

"When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

"The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake."
The scripture references for the verses [thank you, Paul Manuel] are, Verse Two - Isaiah 41:10, Verse Three - Isaiah 43:2, Verse Four - II Corinthians 12:9, and Verse Five - Hebrews 13:5.

Cyberhymnal describes the importance the hymn had in American history:
[It] was the fa­vo­rite of De­bo­rah Jack­son [sic; her name was ac­tu­al­ly Ra­chel], Pre­si­dent Andrew Jack­son’s be­loved wife [he was Pre­si­dent-elect at the time], and on his death-bed the war­ri­or and states­man called for it. It was the fa­vo­rite of Gen. Ro­bert E. Lee, and was sung at his fun­er­al. The Amer­i­can love and fa­mil­iar pre­fer­ence for the re­mark­a­ble hymn was never more strik­ing­ly il­lus­trat­ed than when on Christ­mas Eve, 1898, a whole corps of the Unit­ed States Ar­my North­ern and South­ern, en­camped on the Que­ma­dos hills, near Havana [Cu­ba], took up the sa­cred tune and words.
A Hymn for Ordinary Time (6) | internetmonk.comHow Firm a FoundationHow Firm a Foundation