Welcome!  Hymns have been and continue to be a real source of inspiration to me.  My desire in this blog is to share special hymns with my readers hoping that the words will minister to them, especially in times of great personal need.  If one of these hymns ministers to you, please take time to leave a comment so that I know that my blog is helping others as much as it helps me. Sometimes I will also provide a link where you can go to hear the hymn played.  So, please join me here each week and sing along as we praise God together.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


        This week's hymn choice was written by the Rev. Samuel John Stone (1839-1900), a twenty-seven-year-old pastor, during a time of great doctrinal controversy in the Church of England.  A book had been written challenging the accuracy of the first five books of the Bible and Samuel Stone joined those who defended the trustworthiness of the Word of God.  Stone was well aware of the effectiveness of singing when he wrote and published "Lyra Fidelium" in 1866. As a curate in the small town of Windsor, England, he was aware of his parishioners' habit of using the Apostles' Creed in their private prayers. But he was concerned that many of them did not grasp the meaning of what they said. The prose felt too academic, disconnected from the average worshipper, and lacking of a devotional spirit.  It was in this context that he wrote "Lyra Fidelium" which consisted of twelve hymns, one for each article of the Apostles' Creed. With each hymn he included a short "summary of truths confessed" in that article, along with a list of the scripture passages supporting it. "The Church's One Foundation" was the hymn he wrote for article 9 of the Creed, which affirms belief in "the holy catholic church" and "the communion of saints." "The Church's One Foundation" is the best known of the twelve hymns in this collection. The now unused third and fourth verses focus particularly on this attempt to discredit the Bible, and thus harm the body of Christ.

The Church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain, and cherish,
Is with her to the end:
Though there be those who hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against both foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed:
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song!

The word foundation is used a couple of times in the Epistles, in a theological sense. First, we are told, "no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 3:11). But then Paul writes that "the household of God [has been] built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Eph. 2:20).  This is not a contradiction. It's simply an example of imagery being used in two different ways. The latter is a reference to the holy Scriptures, the Word of God, communicated to us by apostles and prophets inspired by the Holy Spirit (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:20-21). It is through the written Word of God that we learn of the saving work of the living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, so that the two are inextricably linked.  The original seven verses of Stone's hymn have been changed in most of today's hymnbooks.  As noted above, the original third and fourth verses have been dropped and verses six and seven have been combined to form a new final verse.  It is typically set to the tune "Aurelia" by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  Meditate on this magnificent hymn this week and remember that the words of the Lord Jesus will not fail to be fulfilled: "I will build My church, and the gates of Hades [i.e. the power of death and the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).  Below are the four verses usually sung today.

1.     The Church's one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died.

2 Elect from every nation, 
yet one o'er all the earth;
her charter of salvation: one Lord, 
one faith, one birth.
One holy name she blesses, 
partakes one holy food,
and to one hope she presses, 
with every grace endued.

'3.     Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace forevermore;
Till, with the vision glorious,
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

4.     Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
 O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.

You can listen to it here.   LISTEN

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