THE SOLID ROCK
Edward Mote, 1797–1874
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11)
Life with Christ is an endless hope;
without Him a hopeless end.
The Bible likens our life to a house. Some homes are built to last while others crumble easily in strong wind or rain. The difference is not in the severity of the storm but in the quality of the foundation upon which the structure is built. The author of this hymn text wisely chose “the solid rock” on which to build his own life, and he rested on Christ’s “unchanging grace” until his homegoing at age 77.
Edward Mote knew nothing about God or the Bible as he grew up in London, England, the child of poor innkeepers. At the age of 16 he was genuinely converted to Christ. Mote later settled in a suburb of London where he became known as a successful cabinet maker and a devoted church layman.
After a time, a Baptist chapel was built in Horsham, Sussex, England, largely because of Edward’s efforts. The grateful church members offered him the deed to the property. He refused it, saying, “I only want the pulpit, and when I cease to preach Christ, then turn me out of that.” Here Mote ministered faithfully until forced to resign because of poor health one year before his death. He commented, “The truths I have been preaching, I am now living upon and they’ll do very well to die upon.”
During his busy life as a minister, Edward Mote wrote more than 150 hymn texts. In 1836 he published a collection titled Hymns of Praise and included “The Solid Rock” in it.
One morning it came into my mind as I went to labour, to write an hymn on the ‘Gracious Experience of a Christian.’ As I went up Holborn I had the chorus,
‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.’
In the day I had four first verses complete, and wrote them off. On the Sabbath following I met brother King as I came out of Lisle Street Meeting who informed me that his wife was very ill, and asked me to call and see her. I had an early tea, and called afterwards.
He said that it was his usual custom to sing a hymn, read a portion, and engage in prayer, before he went to meeting. He looked for his hymn-book but could find it nowhere. I said, ‘I have some verses in my pocket; if he liked, we would sing them.’ We did, and his wife enjoyed them so much, that after service he asked me, as a favour, to leave a copy of them for his wife.
I went home, and by the fireside composed the last two verses, wrote the whole off, and took them to sister King…As these verses so met the dying woman’s case, my attention to them was the more arrested, and I had a thousand printed for distribution. I sent one to the Spiritual Magazine, without my initials, which appeared some time after this. Brother Rees, of Crown Street, Soho, brought out an edition of hymns , and this hymn was in it. David Denham introduced it  with Rees’ name, and others after Your inserting this brief outline may in future shield me from the charge of stealth, and be a vindication of truthfulness in my connection with the Church of God.
Letter to the Gospel Herald
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
in ev’ry high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
dressed in His righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.
Refrain: On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand
—all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
For Today: Matthew 7:24-27; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:1–5; Hebrews 6:17–20