Pastor Smith began preaching in 1853, pastoring several congregations until arriving at Edinburgh in 1874, where he would serve to age seventy. There, in 1876, he introduced this powerful hymn in a collection entitled Hymns of Christ and Christian Life.
1. Im-mor-tal, in-vis-i-ble, God on-ly wise,
Based on the proclamation found in 1 Timothy 1:17, these lines stand with few others upon the pinnacle of hymnody, forged in study of the word and a life of faithful service to the King.
In light in-ac-ces-si-ble hid from our eyes,
Most bless-ed, most glo-rious, the An-cient of days,
Al-might-y, vic-to-rious, 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 just-ice 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 nought chang-eth thee.
4. To-day and to-mor-row with thee still are now;
Nor trou-ble, nor sor-row, nor care, Lord, hast thou;
Nor pas-sion doth fe-ver, nor age can de-cay,
The same God for ev-er that was yes-ter-day.
5. Great Fa-ther of glo-ry, pure Fa-ther of light,
Thine an-gels a-dore thee, all veil-ing their sight;
But of thy rich grac-es this grace, Lord, im-part –
Take veils from our fac-es, the veil from our heart.
6. All laud we would ren-der; O help us to see,
’Tis on-ly the splen-dour of light hid-eth thee;
And so let thy glo-ry Al-might-y im-part,
Through Christ in the sto-ry, thy Christ to the heart.
Lyricist: Walter C. Smith, 1824-1908
Composer: Welsh Hymn Melody arranged by Anonymous