April 07, 2005

30R Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

Original Title: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise," Walter Chalmers Smith (1876), ST DENIO,, Welsh Melody (1839); rev. REH (2005), same title, same hymn tune. Smith was Scottish. The tune and hymn appear as "Immortal, Invisible" in Singing the Living Tradition as no. 273, with the exception of the final stanza; it appears here. The hymn appears without parental metaphors in The New Century Hymnal as no. 1. The lyrics resonate with some of the images in Psalm 139, as well as Psalm 36:5-6, 103:14-17, and 104:27-39; but most directly the lyrics are based on 1 Timothy 1:17.


1. Im-mort-al, in-vi-si-ble, God on-ly wise,
in light in-ac-ces-si-ble hid from our eyes,
most bles-sèd, most glo-rious, the An-cient of Days,
Al-migh-ty, vic-tor-ious, thy great Name we praise.

2. Un-rest-ing, un-hast-ing, and si-lent as light,
nor want-ing, nor wast-ing, thou rul-est in might;
thy jus-tice, like moun-tains, high soar-ing a-bove
thy clouds, which are foun-tains of good-ness and love.

3. To all, life thou giv-est, to both great and small;
In all life thou liv-est, the true life of all;
We blos-som and flour-ish as leaves on the tree,
and with-er and per-ish— but naught chang-eth thee.

4. Great Fath-er, Great Moth-er, Ho-ly One of light,
thine an-gels a-dore thee, all veil-ing their sight;
All laud we would rend-er; O help us to see
’tis on-ly the splen-dor of light hid-eth thee.

Word Score
PDF Score
Noteworthy Composer File

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Posted by rehurst at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)