How sweet and aweful is the place
with Christ within the doors,
while everlasting love displays
the choicest of her stores.
While all our hearts and all our songs
join to admire the feast,
each of us cries, with thankful tongue,
“Lord, why was I a guest?
“Why was I made to hear your voice,
and enter while there’s room,
when thousands make a wretched choice,
and rather starve than come?”
‘Twas the same love that spread the feast
that sweetly drew us in;
else we had still refused to taste,
and perished in our sin.
Pity the nations, O our God,
constrain the earth to come;
send your victorious Word abroad,
and bring the strangers home.
We long to see your churches full,
that all the chosen race
may, with one voice and heart and soul,
sing your redeeming grace.
– Isaac Watts. (Read more about this hymn at Hymnary.org)
Here’s a new arrangement of the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation”, text by Samuel Stone, tune “AURELIA” by Samuel Sebastien Wesley. This arrangement was written for guitars/bass/drums, piano and organ. We sang it at Cedar Springs using the four stanzas printed, although you may choose to use different stanzas.
- Click to download a PDF of this chart
Now for some background on this hymn, courtesy of the excellent book “The One Year Book of Hymns” published by Tyndale House. Samuel Stone’s ministry work during the mid 1800’s was located in the outskirts of London, near Windsor on the Thames. He was regarded as a fundamentalist and stood in opposition to the liberal theological tendencies of the day. He was also very protective of the people in his congregation, many of whom lived under the threat of violence from local crime gangs. Samuel was not afraid to take them on in order to shepherd his flock.
This hymn, and many others, was written when he was 27 years old as a part of a collection of hymns based on the Apostle’s Creed. Two years later in 1868, Anglicans gathered from around the world to discuss theological issues that were tearing the church apart. They chose this hymn as the processional for their historic conference.
– Adapted from “The One Year Book of Hymns” – August 15 devotional.