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.
- 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.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
- When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
- 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.
- 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.
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?