Scripture Verse

To the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.@1 Timothy 1:17

Introduction

portrait
Walter C. Smith
(1824–1908)

Words: Wal­ter C. Smith, Hymns of Christ and the Chris­tian Life (Lon­don & Cam­bridge, Eng­land: Mac­mi­llan, 1867), pag­es 210–11, alt.

Music: St. Den­io Welsh tune, from Can­iad­au y Cyssegr, by John Ro­berts, 1839 (🔊 pdf nwc).

This hymn was sung in West­min­ster Ab­bey, Lon­don, Eng­land, at the 2002 fun­er­al of Queen Eliz­a­beth, the Queen Mo­ther.

Lyrics

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 striving, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains
Of mercy 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,
To wither and perish—
But naught changeth Thee.

Today and tomorrow with Thee still are Now;
Nor trouble, nor sorrow, nor care, Lord, hast Thou;
Nor passion doth fever, nor age can decay,
The same God for ever as on yesterday.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
Of all Thy good graces, this grace, Lord, impart—
Remove Thou the veil from
Our faces and heart.

All laud we would render; O help us to see,
’Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee;
And now let Thy glory to our gaze unroll,
Through Christ in the story,
And Christ in the soul.

Although St. De­nio is al­most un­i­ver­sal­ly used with this hymn to­day, the orig­in­al text is ir­re­gu­lar and fits this tune on­ly if al­tered. Here is Smith’s 1867 text:

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, silent as light,
Nor striving, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy Justice like mountains soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of mercy and love.

To all life Thou givest, both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, true life of all;
Thy blossom and flourish only are we,
To wither and perish—but nought changeth Thee.

To-day and To-morrow with Thee still are Now;
Nor trouble, nor sorrow, nor care, Lord, hast Thou;
Nor passion doth fever, nor age can decay,
The same God for ever as on yesterday.

Great Father of Glory, Father of Light,
Thine angels adore Thee, veiling their sight;
But of all Thy good graces this grace, Lord, impart—
Take the veil from our faces, the veil from our heart.

All laud we would render; O help us to see,
’Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee;
And now let Thy glory to our gaze unroll
Through Christ in the story, and Christ in the soul.