Hymn of the Rock

Continuing my project of setting John Newton and William Cowper’s Olney Hymns to new music, here is my latest, a hymn which Newton called “That Rock Was Christ”, after 1 Corinthians 10:4. Newton’s words are, as always, beautiful, verging on heartbreaking. I have tried to capture them with my tune. It is perhaps the recording I am the happiest with so far. I hope you enjoy and benefit from it like I have done in recording it. Here are Newton’s words below for you to read as you listen.


That Rock Was Christ - John Newton (Original Music by Matthew Pullar)

When Israel's tribes were parch'd with thirst, 
Forth from the rock the waters burst; 
And all their future journey through 
Yielded them drink, and Gospel too! 

In Moses' rod a type they saw 
Of his severe and fiery law; 
The smitten rock prefigur'd Him 
From whose pierc'd side all blessings stream. 

Their outward rock could feel no pain, 
But ours was wounded, torn and slain; 
The rock gave but a wat'ry flood, 
But Jesus pour'd forth streams of blood. 

The earth is like their wilderness, 
A land of drought and sore distress; 
Without one stream from pole to pole, 
To satisfy a thirsty soul. 

But let the Saviour's praise resound; 
In him refreshing streams are found, 
Which pardon, strength, and comfort give; 
And thirsty sinners drink and live.

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