Great is Your love, higher than the heavens. Psalm 108:4
Words: Gerhard Tersteegen, 1729 (Verborgne Gottesliebe du). Tersteegen wrote this hymn while in charge of the Pilgerhutte, a spiritual retreat at Otterbeck, Germany. John Wesley translated the words from German to English in 1736 in Savannah, Georgia. His translation was published in A Collection of Psalms and Hymns (London: 1738).
Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
Whose depth unfathomed no man knows,
I see from far thy beauteous light,
Inly I sigh for thy repose.
My heart is pained, nor can it be
At rest, till it finds rest in thee.
Thy secret voice invites me still
Thee sweetness of Thy yoke to prove;
And fain I would: but tho’ my will
Be fixed, yet wide my passions rove.
Yet hindrances strew all the way;
I aim at thee, yet from thee stray.
’Tis mercy all, that Thou hast brought
My mind to seek its peace in thee!
Yet while I seek, but find thee not,
No peace my wandering soul shall see.
O when shall all my wanderings end,
And all my steps to theeward tend?
Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with thee my heart to share?
Ah tear it thence that thou alone,
May’st reign unrivaled monarch there.
From earthly loves I must be free,
Ere can find repose in thee.
O hide this self from me, that I
No more, but Christ in me may live!
My vile affections crucify,
Nor let one darling lust survive.
In all things nothing may I see,
Nothing desire or seek, but thee!
O love, thy sovereign aid impart
To save me from low-thoughted care!
Chase this self-will from all my heart,
From all its latent mazes there;
Make me thy duteous child, that I
Abba, Father cry.
Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:
Thine wholly, thine alone I am!
Thrice happy he, who views with scorn
Earth’s toys for thee his constant flame;
O help that I may never move
From the blest footsteps of thy love!
Each moment draw my heart away
From earth, that lowly waits thy call:
Speak to my inmost soul and say,
I am thy love, thy God, thy all!
To feel thy power, to hear thy voice,
To taste thy love, is all my choice!