Thursday, March 12, 2015

Throwback Thursdays: How Firm A Foundation

How Firm a Foundation has been one of a favorite hymns for a while. But when I was getting ready to write about it I was surprised that no one really knows who the author is of this great hymn.
It was first published in 1787 by John Rippon in A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors which was intended to be an appendix to Dr. Watt’s Psalms and Hymns. The Hymn appeared in the collection with the author indicated merely as “K”. Both In Songs of Sublime Adoration and Praise and The Bible is Justly Esteemed, which were published in the same collection, bear the same “K” as their author. Rippon indicated in the preface that such attributions meant that either the author was unknown or that the hymn had undergone significant revisions for publication.
One reprint gave “Kn” as the author and another “Keen”. Because of this it is popularly believed that R. Keen, the music director in Rippon’s church, was the author of this hymn. Though many other theories of who possible authors could be.
I think what I like about this hymn most is that it is really a sermon in verse. In the first verse the sure foundation of the church is established as being the Word of God. The next four verse personalize promises from that word.
Verse 2
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.
--Isaiah 40:10 “Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God…”

Verse 3
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.
–Isaiah 43:2 “When thou passest though the waters, I will be with thee…”

Verse 4
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.
–2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”

Verse 5
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
–Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee…”

This hymn has been a favorite of many American leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt. Andrew Jackson requested it sung at his bedside shortly before he died and Robert E. Lee requested it for his funeral hymn to be “as an expression of his full trust in the ways of the Heavenly Father.” I was particularly excited to find out it was a favorite of Lee’s because I am a southern girl…and though I really do wish to, I will refrain from talking more about the War Between the States…. =D
I will leave you with Hebrews 13:6
“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
Until next time!


Thanks so much, Maria! :) I love learning about these hymns and their backgrounds...

Until next time,

go change the world!


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