Scripture Verse

God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

Introduction

portrait
John Rippon (1751–1836)

Words: From A Se­lect­ion of Hymns from the Best Au­thors, by John Rip­pon, 1787. At­trib­ut­ed var­ious­ly to John Keene, Kirk­ham, or John Keith.

Music: Pro­tec­tion, from A Com­pi­la­tion of Gen­uine Church Mu­sic, by Jo­seph Funk (Win­ches­ter, Virg­inia: J. W. Hol­lis, 1832) (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Anecdotes

This hymn was sung at the fun­er­als of Am­eri­can pre­si­dents Theo­dore Roo­se­velt and Wood­row Wilson. In ad­di­tion:

[It] was the favorite of Deb­or­ah Jack­son [sic; her name was actually Rach­el] Pre­si­dent An­drew Jack­son’s be­loved wife [he was Pre­si­dent-elect at the time], and on his death-bed the war­ri­or and states­man called for it. It was the fav­or­ite of Gen. Ro­bert E. Lee, and was sung at his fun­er­al.

The Am­eri­can love and fa­mil­iar pref­er­ence for the re­mark­able hymn was ne­ver more strik­ing­ly il­lus­trat­ed than when on Christ­mas Eve, 1898, a whole corps of the United States Ar­my North­ern and Sou­thern, en­camped on the Que­ma­dos hills, near Ha­va­na [Cu­ba], took up the sac­red tune and words.

Brown, p. 206

Lyrics

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,
You, who un­to Je­sus for re­fuge have fled?

In ev­ery con­di­tion, in sick­ness, in health;
In po­verty’s vale, or abound­ing in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may de­mand, shall thy strength ev­er be.

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.

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.

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.

Even down to old age all My peo­ple shall prove
My so­ver­eign, eter­nal, un­change­able love;
And when hoa­ry hairs shall their tem­ples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bo­som be borne.

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.