I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever. Psalm 89:1
Words: John G. Whittier. This hymn, and We May Not Climb the Heavenly Steeps, come from Whittier’s poem The Master, in The Panorama, and Other Poems, 1856.
Music: Serenity adapted by Uzziah C. Burnap, 1856, from Waft, Ye Winds, by William V. Wallace, 1836 (🔊 pdf nwc).
Immortal love, forever full,
Forever flowing free,
Forever shared, forever whole,
A never ebbing sea!
Our outward lips confess the name
All other names above;
Love only knoweth whence it came,
And comprehendeth love.
Blow, winds of God, awake and blow
The mists of earth away:
Shine out, O light divine, and show
How wide and far we stray.
We may not climb the heavenly steeps
To bring the Lord Christ down;
In vain we search the lowest deeps,
For Him no depths can drown.
But warm, sweet, tender, even yet,
A present help is He;
And faith still has its Olivet,
And love its Galilee.
The healing of His seamless dress
Is by our beds of pain;
We touch Him in life’s throng and press,
And we are whole again.
Through Him the first fond prayers are said
Our lips of childhood frame,
The last low whispers of our dead
Are burdened with His name.
O Lord and master of us all,
Whate’er our name or sign,
We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call,
We test our lives by Thine.
The letter fails, the systems fall,
And every symbol wanes;
The Spirit over brooding all,
Eternal love remains.