Church’s One Foundation

The Church’s One Foundation

In consideration to share another most favorite Church Song and Hymn at this Easter Passover season, I thought at first to post one of those of the Passion or Crucifixion; but matters in my family in regards to my daughters and their Church Missions redirected my reflections to the Church as the object of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection in the purposes of God. Some of asked why I am sharing these Songs and Hymns and Psalms every week. I promised the Lord and others that in 2017 I would do so as I may have the strength and time, that the poetic heritage the church possesses, and has enriched my life, may in some small way bless and help others. There are many Christian and secular songs I do not desire or intend to share, but have in some way influenced and helped me along the way, but they are not needful to pass on in this endeavor. The Cross of Christ is for the Life of the Church, and the Christian as members of His Body lives out His life and God’s will as the expression and reality of that spiritual kingdom that Jesus told Pilate that it was not of this world. So it is natural to reflect on the Church as we reflect on the Cross, and to see in the Church as His Body and Bride His Cross and Death on our behalf.
We are admonished by Paul the Apostle as Christians to be filled with the Spirit, by which we sing and pray, sharing with others in joy and melody, heartily to the Lord, in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Eph 5, Col 3, I Cor 14; and Psalms). It is my belief and consolation that the spiritual poetic and musical treasury of the church is filled with the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit of God, Who ever works since the Day of Pentecost after the Resurrection of Christ from death and grave, to guide and instruct believers and saints in the things of Christ.
This Song and Hymn is filled with immense value and merit in God’s grace towards us. It was produced out of great spiritual struggle in the church, and it pictures the universal conflict the Church has always experienced in accordance to the warning and promise of Christ and His Apostles. The Lord promised and predicted that He would both build and preserve His Church, even against the attacks of the Gates of Hell, and that in the dispensation of the present times, by the Holy Spirit sent down from Above, He would return for her as a Groom for the Bride. Such thoughts and more filled the hearts of Christians like S.J. Stone when he set out to compose this great hymn. He was like many of us, born in trials and adversity, along with previlege and advantages. He had good and honorable Christian parents; he had many natural qualities; and a national heritage of both Church and State that went back for centuries. He was intelligent, excellent physique and looks, and a disposition that was fond of people, especially favorable to women and children (he once discovered a big bully had hit in the stomach a girl from his school, and confronted and rebuked him, with a slap to boot, the bully struck him back, so he gave him a severe beating that almost got him arrested; and later regretted his aggressive action and promised he would never quickly respond again like that). He entered the Anglican priesthood in his twenties, and immediately proved useful, diligent, and fruitful. He ever remained simple and humble, loved physical outdoor activities (very fond of fishing), refused to accept offers to be moved to better and more affluent locations, enjoyed being around common folks; in all he was a good and great parish priest and pastor.
The nature and testimony of the Church forced upon many like Stone to take sides in the ever recurrent controversies and ventures as it effected them in one way or another. The Church has from the beginning to deal with issues and choices in its pilgrimage. Whether the Jew or Gentile, or heresy versus orthodoxy, or catholic versus protestants, and many such things, the Church struggled and endeavored to uphold God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to adhere to and defend the Holy Scriptures as the divine revelation inspired by the Holy Spirit as the Word of God. In every spiritual battle over the 20 centuries the Christian Church has fought faithfully and valiantly to transmit and propagate the Bible and its Truth with its doctrines and practices. Even in her failure and defects she has fought back and constantly finds herself returning and reviving in every generation. Stone was of the Church of England, and as a Protestant resisted Romanism, that is, Roman Catholicism, he was attracted to some of the Biblical Criticism of his day, but found that a fellow Anglican Bishop published a large detail work seeking to the demolish the credibility of the Bible, especially of the Books of Moses. Many entered the battle and the storm, one in this way and another in that; Stone chose to use the Anglican Confession of the Nicene Creed in 12 Articles to compose 12 Songs and Hymns to help the common folks; this song was for the 9th article. In this he followed John Keble and others. The development of Christianity in 19th century England showed signs of German and French influences (Lutheranism and Calvinism), of Methodism and Spiritualism (Mystics, Swedenborg, Southcote, etc.), of Irvingism (New Apostolic Church), of the Oxford Tractarian Movement (Neo-Catholocism), and the Plymouth Brethren Movement (Dispensationalism). This is not the place to pursue these things in more detail, so I offer this Song and Hymn as the legacy of the Church’s warfare to uphold her One and True Foundation which the witness and words of the Apostles and Prophets has secured once for all.

The Church’s One Foundation
Original 1866 lyrics by S.J. Stone. Tune originally was Aurelia by S.S. Wesley.

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.
She is 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.
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 or 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!
’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.
Yet she on earth hath union
(With God the Three in One),
And (mystic) sweet communion
With those whose rest is won,
With all her sons and daughters
Who, by the Master’s Hand
Led through the deathly waters,
Repose in Eden land.
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee:
There, past the border mountains,
Where in sweet vales the Bride
With Thee by living fountains
Forever shall abide! Amen

About mjmselim

Male, 65, born in Jamaica, USA since 1961, citizen in 2002; cobbler for 40 plus years, Christian since 1969; married to same wife since 1979; 6 daughters and 2 sons, with 7 grandkids. Slowly adapting to the digital world of computers and internet; hobby in digital editing.
This entry was posted in Christian Poetry, Psalms Hymns Spiritual Songs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s