O God, the Rock of Ages

Full Text

1 O God, the Rock of Ages,
Who evermore hast been,
What time the tempest rages,
Our dwelling place serene:
Before Thy first creations,
O Lord, the same as now,
To endless generations
The Everlasting Thou!

2 Our years are like the shadows
On sunny hills that lie,
Or grasses in the meadows
That blossom but to die;
A sleep, a dream, a story
By strangers quickly told,
An unremaining glory
Of things that soon are old.

3 O thou who canst not slumber,
Whose light grows never pale,
Teach us aright to number
Our years before they fail;
On us Thy mercy lighten,
On us Thy goodness rest,
And let Thy Spirit brighten
The hearts Thyself hast blessed.

4 Lord, crown our faith's endeavor
With beauty and with grace,
Till, clothed in light for ever,
We see Thee face to face:
A joy no language measures;
A fountain brimming o'er;
An endless flow of pleasures;
An ocean without shore.


The Hymnal: Published by the authority of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1895

Author: Edward H. Bickersteth

Bickersteth, Edward Henry, D.D., son of Edward Bickersteth, Sr. born at Islington, Jan. 1825, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge (B.A. with honours, 1847; M.A., 1850). On taking Holy Orders in 1848, he became curate of Banningham, Norfolk, and then of Christ Church, Tunbridge Wells. His preferment to the Rectory of Hinton-Martell, in 1852, was followed by that of the Vicarage of Christ Church, Hampstead, 1855. In 1885 he became Dean of Gloucester, and the same year Bishop of Exeter. Bishop Bickersteth's works, chiefly poetical, are:— (l) Poems, 1849; (2) Water from the Well-spring, 1852; (3) The Rock of Ages, 1858 ; (4) Commentary on the New Testament, 1864; (5) Yesterday, To-day, and For Ever, 1867; (6) The Spirit of Life, 1868;… Go to person page >


O God, the Rock of Ages. Bishop E. H. Bickersteth. [Sunday after Christmas.] In his note to this hymn in his annotated edition of his Hymnal Companion, 1880, Bishop Bickersteth says that "this hymn was written by the Editor (1860),"but in his work. The Two Brothers, &c, 1871, p. 226, it is dated "1862." It was included in the English Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns, 1867; the Hymnal Companion, 1870 and 1876; and the author's From Year to Year, 1883. Its use has extended to America and other English-speaking countries.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)




GREENLAND, an example of the popular nineteenth-century practice of creating hymn tunes from the works of classical composers, is thought to be originally from one of J. Michael Haydn's (PHH 67) "Deutschen Kirchen Messen." The tune acquired its title from its occasional association with the text "Fr…

Go to tune page >

SCHUBERT (53344)



The Book of Common Praise: being the hymn book of The Church of England in Canada (revised 1938) #505
The Cyber Hymnal #4883
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Small Church Music #1914
  • PDF Score (PDF)


Instances (1 - 4 of 4)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Small Church Music #1914Audio
Small Church Music #3357Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #4883TextScoreAudio
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #28Text
Include 181 pre-1979 instances