Thursday, January 10, 2013

Solid Rock

England, 1834
On his morning walk to work, thirty seven year old cabinetmaker Edward Mote was inspired to write a few lines of prose. When completed, he named it  "The Immutable Basis of a Sinner’s Hope."  It was sung in churches in England but we have no copies of the music, only the prose.

Though he'd not been raised in the church--in fact he was a largely unsupervised child of tavern owners in London--Edward found great satisfaction in writing about his faith. The cabinetmaker to whom he was apprenticed took him to church and at eighteen, Edward was baptised. A collection of his poems was published when he was thirty. Twenty Five years later, at 55, he became a minister and served until he was 76.

That hymn became known as "The Solid Rock" or "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less" and, in 1863, American composer William Bradbury set it to the melody we know today. It's unlikely that Edward ever heard Bradbury's composition.

I love this hymn and I wonder what inspired Edward to write these words.
  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    • Refrain:
      On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
      All other ground is sinking sand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
  2.  When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.
  3. His oath, His covenant, His blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my hope and stay.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found;
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.
Perhaps he'd just read Jesus' parable found in Matthew 7, known as the Wise and Foolish Builders:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Sometimes when life's storms come upon us, it feels like we are reaching to find something sturdy to hang on to. I hope you have that in the Lord Jesus Christ. Don't wait for the storm to grow fierce. If you are wondering if trials and tribulations will come to you . . .  they will.

Have you built your life on rock or sand?


  1. I hope your church offers both contemporary and the old hymns. I think the old songs add quite a bit to worship. They're quite comforting.

    Enjoy your day!

  2. hi Debra!

    i love old hymns. i'm also thankful my life is built on the Rock and my wish is that my little toddler will build his life on the Rock as well.

    thanks for the mini-history lesson today. greatly appreciated.

  3. Thanks Deb, I love the stories behind the hymns. Edward Mote's isn't as dramatic as some of the others, but his devotion touched me. He must have been a very interesting man.

  4. This is definitely one of my most favourite hymns. I had never heard the story behind it before though. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks Elaine. I admit much of my enjoyment is the fact they remind me of church when I was a child. I loved sitting next to my grandmother.

  6. Great post, Debra. I really enjoy hearing about the people who wrote the songs I love to sing.

    We are blessed in our church to have a variety of worship leaders who each have their own music passions. We can always count on Dianne, our pastor's wife, to include several hymns during her turn at Praise and Worship.

    I must admit, it's been awhile since we've sung this one, but just reading the words in your post filled me with joy. :)

  7. I love learning about saints and the stories behind hymns. I find them so encouraging. Our congregation primarily sings hymns and I love how my kids are exposed to music, older and contemporary, that praises the Lord.

  8. Count me as another who loves to learn the story behind the story. Maybe it just helps to know that other people have produced something beautiful during tough times. A testament to their faith.

  9. thanks ladies!

    We've done some posts on hymns before. I didn't even check to see if we'd discussed this one but it's been on my mind all week. I love to combination of contemporary and hymns.

    I love that photo of Edward Mote by the way. He looks so genial. You don't always see that in the old photos.

  10. This is one of my favorite hymns. I haven't heard it in years and years, but I still sing it sometimes - when no one else is around to hear me. ;-)


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.