Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunday Hymn - O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Words by George Matheson.

Born: March 27, 1842, Glas­gow, Scot­land.
Died: Au­gust 28, 1906, Aven­ell House, North Ber­wick, Ed­in­burgh, Scot­land.
Born with poor vi­sion, Ma­the­son’s eye­sight grad­ual­ly wors­ened un­til he was al­most to­tal­ly blind. How­ev­er, he was aca­dem­ic­al­ly gift­ed, and his sis­ters learned La­tin, Greek, and He­brew to help him stu­dy. He grad­u­at­ed from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Edin­burgh (MA 1862), then be­came a min­is­ter in the Church of Scot­land. He pa­stored in the re­sort town of In­ne­lan for 18 years; due to his abil­i­ty to mem­o­rize serm­ons and en­tire sec­tions of the Bi­ble, lis­ten­ers were of­ten un­a­ware he was blind. In 1886, Matheson be­came pas­tor of St. Ber­nard’s Church in Edin­burgh, where he served 13 years. He spent the re­main­ing years of his life in lit­er­ary ef­forts.

Matheson said about this hymn:
My hymn was com­posed in the manse of In­ne­lan [Ar­gyle­shire, Scot­land] on the ev­en­ing of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s mar­ri­age, and the rest of the fam­i­ly were stay­ing over­night in Glas­gow. Some­thing hap­pened to me, which was known only to my­self, and which caused me the most se­vere men­tal suf­fer­ing. The hymn was the fruit of that suf­fer­ing. It was the quick­est bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the im­press­ion of hav­ing it dic­tat­ed to me by some in­ward voice ra­ther than of work­ing it out my­self. I am quite sure that the whole work was com­plet­ed in five min­utes, and equal­ly sure that it ne­ver re­ceived at my hands any re­touch­ing or cor­rect­ion. I have no na­tur­al gift of rhy­thm. All the other vers­es I have ever writ­ten are man­u­fact­ured ar­ti­cles; this came like a day­spring from on high.

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