Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise   2 comments

Above:  Clouds on the Horizon

Photographer = William Henry Jackson (1843-1942)

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a16709

Text (1867; subsequently modified) by Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Walter Chalmers Smith altered his text.  As best as I can determine, the original six-stanza version of the hymn was as follows:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

+++++

Unresting, unhasting, silent as light,

Nor striving, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;

Thy justice like mountains soaring above

Thy clouds which are are fountains of goodness and love.

+++++

All live thou givest–to both great and small;

In all life livest, true life of all;

Thy blossom and flourish only are we,

To wither and perish–but nought changeth thee.

+++++

Today and tomorrow with Thee still are now;

Nor trouble, nor sorrow, nor care, Lord, hast thou;

Nor passion doth fever, nor age can decay,

The same God for ever as on yesterday.

+++++

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,

Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;

But of all Thy good graces this grace, Lord, impart–

Take the veil from our faces, the veil from our heart.

+++++

All laud we would render; O help us to see,

‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee;

And now let Thy glory to our gaze unroll

Through Christ in the story, and Christ in the soul.

Sources:  

The Church Hymnary–Revised Edition (1927), The Church of Scotland, The United Free Church of Scotland, The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, The Presbyterian Church of England, The Presbyterian Church of Wales, The Presbyterian Church of Australia, The Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, and The Presbyterian Church of South Africa

Moffatt, James, ed. Handbook to The Church Hymnary–Revised Edition (1927)

Stulken, Mary Kay, and Catherine Salika.  Hymnal Companion to Worship–Third Edition (1998), Roman Catholic Church

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Since The English Hymnal (1906), however, the standard version has been four stanzas long.  This has resulted from various minor changes, the omission of the original fourth stanza, the omission of the second halves of the original fifth and sixth stanzas, and the creation of a new fourth stanza from the first halves of the original fifth and sixth stanzas.

I have italicized changes from the version above.

+++++

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

In light accessible hid from our eyes,

Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

Almighty, Victorious, Thy great name we praise.

+++++

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;

Thy justice like mountains high soaring above

Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

+++++

To all life Thou givest–to both great and small;

In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;

We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,

And wither and perish–but nought changeth Thee.

+++++

Great Father of Glory, pure Father of Light,

Thine Angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;

All laud we would render; O help us to see

‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee.

Other Sources:

Moffatt, James, ed. Handbook to The Church Hymnary–Revised Edition (1927)

Young, Carlton R.  Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal (1993)

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

2 responses to “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Walter Chalmers Smith | GATHERED PRAYERS

  2. Pingback: Feast of Walter Chalmers Smith (September 19) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: