IMMORTAL, INVISIBLE, GOD ONLY WISE written in 1867
The writer of this hymn, Walter Chalmers Smith, was a pastor in the Free Church of Scotland for 44 years (1850-1894). Though he wrote many hymns, this is the only hymn still found in hymnals today. This hymn is rarely sung… and that’s too bad. One scholar called this hymn a flowery attempt to express the inexpressible. It sings like “one of those praise songs” sung in most churches today, and sounds as though it could have been written yesterday!
This hymn was inspired by Paul’s words to Timothy in 1Timothy 1:17… “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever”.
In our day of casual Christianity and seldom-prayed prayers, we desperately need to catch a longer glance at God’s character. In these wonderful verses, we who “wither and perish” come face-to-face with our immortal, invisible, unchanging God. And, amazingly, not even this great hymn can describe the God who loves us so deeply.
Read this hymn, and – today – praise God for Who He is!
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
most blessèd, 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 naught changeth Thee.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
but of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart
take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart.
All laud we would render; O help us to see
’tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee,
and so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart,
through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.