restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


The Favorite Hymns of Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson

David Alan Black

It would wreck some Sunday morning worship services if church members decided to get right with each other before they sang their songs or presented their offerings. Christ taught that we are to seek reconciliation with offending brothers in the church (Matthew 18:15-17). I just preached a “revival”—four days of Bible teaching among a wonderful congregation in Southside Virginia. But when real revival comes, apologies are made, things are set right, emails are sent, letters are written—in short, there is reconciliation and, where necessary, restitution. This is the “love triangle” of First John: God loves us, we love others, and only then is love returned to God. Thus the apostle John writes, “Don’t tell me that you love God and hate your brother. The love of God is not in you!”

Do you have a conscience void of offence toward God and your fellow man? Are you right with your spouse, your parents, your children, your neighbors, your employer or employee?

Today we could use a lot of plain, old-fashioned kindness and humility—the kind exemplified by the two men I admire most, Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan Jackson. Their portraits grace my office wall and are a constant reminder that the serpent’s wisdom must always be blended with the harmlessness of the dove. Criticism from others, opposition, slander, lies, the grind of the ordinary and the pressure of adversity—these call for a tough but gracious hide.

The simplest faith in the Christ of the Bible is worth more than all the carnal weapons of intellect and ability—and the simpler the better.

Two men who had a simple faith in their God. Two hymns that epitomized their love for God and man. Two expressions of humility before the Sovereign of the Ages. These are the favorite hymns of Lee and Jackson.

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,

Is laid for your rest in his excellent word.

What more can he say than to you he has said,

To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?


“Fear not, I am with thee, O 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, omnipotent hand.”


“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,

The rivers of sorrow shall not thee overflow.

For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,

And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”


“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose

I will not, I will not desert to his foes.

That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,

I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.”


Show Pity, Lord

Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive.

Let a repenting rebel live.

Are not thy mercies large and free?

May not a sinner trust in thee?


My crimes, though great, cannot surpass

The power and glory of thy grace.

Great God, thy nature hath no bound.

So let thy pardoning love be found.


O wash my soul from every sin,

And make my guilty conscience clean.

Here, on my heart, the burden lies,

And past offenses pain my eyes.


Yet save a trembling sinner, Lord,

Whose hope, still hovering round thy word,

Would light on some sweet promise there,

Some sure support against despair.


April 11, 2003

David Alan Black is the editor of

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