THERE’S A WIDENESS IN GOD’S MERCY                               written in 1862

The Story

Brought up as an Anglican, Frederick Faber was ordained in the Church of England. But, at the age of 31, he converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Catholic priest. In 1849, Frederick decided to open an oratory – a place of prayer in London. The word “oratory” comes from the Latin word oratorio – which is often used to describe a composition uniting a biblical text with music. When Frederick opened his oratory, it soon became a place of both prayer and music, much like the famous Oratory of Rome.

Frederick was concerned that British Roman Catholics did not have a heritage of hymn-writers like Isaac Watts. So he began writing hymns so Catholics could also be a hymn-singing people. Just as there is “a wideness in God’s mercy”, so there was a width to Frederick’s hymns… which soon became more familiar to Protestants than to Catholics.

This hymn is taken from Luke 1:50. It is somewhat difficult to sing – regardless of which of the several tunes you might hear it sung to, but the words are SO good!

The Song

            Read this hymn and – today – thank God for His incredible mercy.

 

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea;

there’s a kindness in His justice, which is more than liberty.

There is no place where earth’s sorrows are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings have such kindly judgment given.

 

There is welcome for the sinner, and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the Savior; there is healing in His blood.

There is grace enough for thousands of new worlds as great as this;
there is room for fresh creations in that upper home of bliss.

 

For the love of God is broader than the measure of our mind;
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.

There is plentiful redemption in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the members in the sorrows of the Head.

 

’Tis not all we owe to Jesus; it is something more than all;
greater good because of evil, larger mercy through the fall.

If our love were but more simple, we should take Him at His word;
and our lives would be all sunshine in the sweetness of our Lord.

 

Souls of men!  Why will ye scatter like a crowd of frightened sheep?
Foolish hearts!  Why will ye wander from a love so true and deep?

It is God: His love looks mighty, but is mightier than it seems;
’tis our Father: and His fondness goes far out beyond our dreams.

 

But we make His love too narrow by false limits of our own;
and we magnify His strictness with a zeal He will not own.

Was there ever kinder shepherd half so gentle, half so sweet,
as the Savior who would have us come and gather at His feet?
For the love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind;
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful, we should take him at His word;
and our life would be thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord.

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