#SS: How Firm A Foundation

When it’s a tumultuous time, this is a good reminder to remain steadfast in one’s faith.

About the hymn:
"How Firm a Foundation" is a Christian hymn, published in 1787 by John Rippon in A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, Intended to be an Appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns, known as "Rippon's Selection". It is attributed only to "K", which probably refers to Robert Keen(e), precentor at Rippon's church, though other names suggested include Richard or John Keene, Kirkham,John Keith or Words by G. Keith and Music by J. Reading as cited in the 1884 publication of Asa Hull's Jewels of Praise.  It is most often sung to the tune "Foundation" (or "Protection") which first appeared in A Compilation of Genuine Church Music (1832) edited by Joseph Funk, though the original tune may be Keen(e)'s "Geard".

In 1835, the hymn was included in the first hymnbook introduced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although officially organized by the prophet Joseph Smith in 1830, his wife Emma Smith was charged early-on with collecting hymns for and establishing a hymnbook for the new church.

In addition, this was the favorite hymn of General Robert E. Lee and has been played at the funerals of several US politicians. On Christmas Eve 1898, American units involved in the Spanish–American War joined together to sing the hymn. The units were from the North and the South.

The hymn, along with "Jesus Loves Me," served as the thematic material for Virgil Thomson's Symphony on a Hymn Tune, which was later incorporated into his score for the 1938 documentary film The River. Sections of The River's score were reused in the 1983 television film The Day After.
Don Gillis interspersed the hymn tune throughout his Symphony No. 7 "Saga of a Prairie School", written in honor of his alma mater, Texas Christian University.

“How Firm A Foundation”
1. 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,
Who unto the Savior, who unto the Savior,
Who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
2. In ev’ry condition—in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—
As thy days may demand, as thy days may demand,
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.
3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.
6. E’en down to old age, all my people shall prove
My sov’reign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when gray hair shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs shall they still, like lambs shall they still,
Like lambs shall they still in my bosom be borne.
7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

I am always open to suggestions for songs to be used, as well as other suggestions you might have for the blog. If you would rather not share that info in the comments, you may email your suggestions.


  1. The sheer power of that many voices and that full orchestra makes it that much more majestic...

  2. Excellent! What a great read! Thanks, Mary; it's cool learning about the background of this and so many other hymns that we've sung for decades!

  3. As I just texted to a good buddy of mine :

    "The times are dark and getting darker, but [Link> The True Light is returning soon, in OUR lifetime! We are blessed to be here now, as we will see what Christians have been waiting 2,000 years for!!"

    ~ D-FensDogG


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