"MY FAITH HAS FOUND A RESTING PLACE"
"The Lord redeems His servants" (Ps. 34.22)
INTRO.: A hymn which helps us to appreciate the fact that it is the Lord who redeems us is "My Faith Has Found A Resting Place." The text was written, under the pseudonym of Lidie H. Edmunds, by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1851-1920). A lifelong resident of Philadelphia, PA, Mrs. Hewitt wrote many songs which became popular and are found in our books, such as "Sunshine in My Soul, "When We All Get To Heaven," "More About Jesus," "Give Me Thy Heart," and "Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown." The tune (No Other Plea, Landas, or Norse Air) is usually identified as a Norwegian folk melody originally with the words "The Hardy Norseman’s House of Yore." It has been attributed to Belgian opera composer Andre Ernest Modeste Gretry (1741-1813). The arrangement for use with the hymn was made by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1920). The song first appeared in Songs of Joy and Gladness, No. 2 published around 1890 or 1891 which Kirkpatrick compiled for McDonald, Gill and Co. of Boston, MA, and Chicago, IL. Apparently it did not appear in any other collections until the Plymouth Brethren’s 1944 Choice Hymns of the Faith. It is not in many of the older denominational hymnbooks that I have in my collection, but it is found in a large number of the newer ones.
A great-nephew of Eliza Edmunds Hewitt contacted me as a result of an internet search on his great aunt in which he came across some of the posts that I have done on her hymns. He told me, "I am in the process of preparing a small biography about her." He also said, "For me this began as an effort to gather historical information on her. I have found and visited the places that she lived and worshiped for example. I have gained very little factual information other than what I have from my family sources (which are pretty good). But what I did not anticipate was the spiritual journey that I have taken as I began to study her music and hear stories about the impact that her music has had on people….I believe that ‘My Faith Has Found A Resting Place’ is the best statement of faith that exists in hymns." I concur with his sentiment. It is my opinion that perhaps the song was not found in many older denominational hymnbooks because it is somewhat anti-denominational in nature. However, as people eventually became tired of denominational dogmatism and sought for a better, more solid basis for their religious convictions, the song was seen as an expression of that spirit and was included in the more recent denominational hymnbooks. However, it expresses ideas that we who have been calling for a complete return to Bible ways for years have proclaimed. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use among churches of Christ, the only one in which I have found this good song is the 1994 Songs of Faith And Praise edited by Alton H. Howard; however it is also found in the 2007 Sumphonia Hymn Supplement edited by David Maravilla and others.
The sheer number of more recent denominational hymnbooks in which this song is found demonstrates its popularity.
1964, Christian Praise, Broadman
1968, Great Hymns of the Faith, Sinspiration
1972, Favorite Hymns of Praise, Tabernacle Publishing Co.
1972, Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns, Sword of the Lord
1972, Living Hymns, Encore Publications
1972, Christian Hymnary, Christian Hymnary Publishers (Mennonite)
1973, New Church Hymnal, Lexicon Music
1974, Living Praise Hymnal, Singspiration
1974, Hymns for the Living Church, Hope Publishing Co.
1976, Hymns for the Family of God, Brentwood-Benson Music Co.
1977, Praise: Our Songs and Hymns, Singspiration
1987, Worship His Majesty, Gaither Music Co.
1989, Worship The Lord, Warner Press
1991, Baptist Hymnal, Convention Press
1993, Sing to the Lord, Lillenas Publishing Co.
1995, Rejoice Hymnal, Tempo Music Publications
1997, Celebration Hymnal, Word Music/Integrity Music
2001, Worship and Rejoice, Hope Publishing Co.
A few of these newer books (including Songs of Faith and Praise and the Sumphonia Hymn Supplement) have some alterations which I believe were made by Fred Bock for his Hymns for the Family of God. These seem somewhat to "soften" the direct tone of original, which I think is better and therefore personally prefer to the newer version, to make it a little more palatable to the modern ecumenical spirit.
This song emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ as the only basis for our faith.
I. Stanza 1 says that Jesus lives
"My faith has found a resting place, Not in device nor creed;
(the altered version says, "Not in a man-made creed")
I trust the ever living One, His wounds for me shall plead.
(the altered version says, "That He for me will plead")
A. Our faith can find a resting place in Christ because He offers us rest: Matt. 11.28-30, Heb. 4.3
B. Therefore, our faith must be in Him, not in any device, creed, or other expression of human wisdom: 1 Cor. 2.1-5
C. "His wounds for me shall plead" is simply the poet’s way of saying that it is because Jesus died for our sins He now is able to make intercession for us: Heb. 7.25
II. Stanza 2 says that Jesus saves
"Enough for me that Jesus saves, This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him, He’ll never cast me out."
(the altered version says, "He will not cast me out")
A. Because Jesus saves, He alone can remove all fear and doubt: 2 Tim. 1.7, 1 Jn. 4.18
B. What causes fear and doubt is our sin, and all of us come to Him as sinful souls: Rom. 3.23
C. But He has promised to all who come to Him in simple faith, humble repentance, and submissive obedience that He will never cast them out: Jn. 6.37
III. Stanza 3 says that Jesus leads
"My heart is leaning on the Word, The written Word of God;
(the altered version says, "My soul is resting on the word, The living Word of God")
Salvation by my Savior’s name, Salvation through His blood."
(the altered version says, "Salvation in my Savior’s name")
A. The means by which Jesus leads us is the written word of God; it is true that God’s word is living and powerful, but we must remember that the means by which God chose to reveal that word to us is in writing: Heb. 4.12, 2 Pet. 1.12-15 & 3.1
B. The written word reveals to us that salvation is only in the name of Jesus: Acts 4.12
C. And it reveals to us that salvation is only through His blood: Rom. 5.8-10
IV. Stanza 4 says that Jesus heals
"The great Physician heals the sick, The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed, For me His life He gave."
A. The healing of the sick here refers to the spiritual man because the purpose for which Jesus came was to seek and save the lost: Lk. 19.10, 1 Tim. 1.15
B. Therefore, He shed His precious blood for us: Matt. 26.28
C. In other words, He gave His life for us that we might have life in Him: 1 Jn. 3.16
CONCL.: The chorus the points out that we need nothing other than what Jesus provides for us:
"I need no other argument, I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died And that He died for me."
(the altered version reads, "And rose again for me).
With this sentiment, I am surprised that this hymn has not been found in more of our hymnbooks. As I look around at all the religious confusion in the world, I need to remember that in Jesus Christ alone "My Faith Has Found A Resting Place."