1 What are you building, brother,
So busily day by day?
Is it a mighty castle of stone?
Is it a house of clay?
Whose is the plan you build on?
What are the stones and lime?
Is it based on the Rock of eternity,
Or the sands of the shores of time?
Then build on the Rock, the Rock that ever stands,
O build on the Rock, and not upon the sands!
You need not fear the storm or the earthquake shock,
You're safe for evermore if you build on the Rock.
2 What are you building, brother,
You work at it ev'ry day;
Something is added, something is changed,
Something is cast away.
Is it a house of pleasure?
Is it a house of sin?
Or a temple divine for the Light of lights
To descend and abide within? [Chorus]
3 Brother, a time is coming,
When all shall be tried by fire;
Storms of the world shall beat on your house,
Winds of a fierce desire.
Then, if you based it wrongly,
Great will the ruin be;
But if built on the firm and unchanging Rock
It will stand for eternity. [Chorus]
4 Build on the Rock, then, brother,
How grandly it towers above!
Piercing the clouds and the starry skies,
Lost in the heights of Love!
Heaven and earth shall perish,
Grow like a garment old;
But the Rock is the same, and it shall not fail,
Thro' the ages of time untold. [Chorus]
H. Ernest Nichol (b. Hull, Yorkshire, England, 1862; d. Skirlaugh, Yorkshire, England, 1926) had begun a study program in civil engineering when he decided to study music instead. In 1888 he received a bachelor's degree in music from Oxford University. Nichol wrote some 130 hymn tunes and texts, many under the pseudonym “Colin Sterne” (derived from his middle and last name); many were first sung at church school programs.
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