“For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation.” Luke 1:49-50 (KJV)
This hymn is the 1854 composition of Frederick W. Faber. There are a large number of alternate tunes, but the favored tune by most is BLEECHER by John Zundel in 1870. It is the same tune to which “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” is sung. This hymn, in its original composition, contains twelve verses; however, out of an act of mercy for the reader, I will only cover eight.
THERE’S A WIDENESS IN GOD’S MERCY
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.
There is welcome for the sinner,
And more graces for the good;
There is mercy with the Savior;
There is healing in His blood.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
Are more felt than up in Heaven;
There is no place where earth’s failings
Have such kindly judgment given.
There is plentiful redemption
In the blood that has been shed;
There is joy for all the members
In the sorrows of the Head.
’Tis not all we owe to Jesus;
It is something more than all;
Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall.
If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.
For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.
“There’s a wideness in God’s mercy, Like the wideness of the sea; There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.” In his book, Trinity in the Universe, Dr. Nathan R. Wood points out the evidence of the Holy Trinity throughout the physical creation of space, time, and matter. God, too, is three dimensional. Each dimension declares infinity. When we describe a physical object on earth we provide specific dimensions of width, height, and depth; but the dimensions of God are infinite in each of these three dimensions. If one dimension were missing, God would not be who He is today. All three dimensions of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost comprise all the known Universe and beyond. Every attribute of God is infinite. So it is not contrary to principle to aver that His mercy is infinite in its wideness. That wideness exceeds the wideness of the sea. The kindness in His justice is enabled by His justice being satisfied under the terms of the Law by the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son. The perfect Liberty that we may enjoy is a direct heir of that Liberty made available through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“There is welcome for the sinner, And more graces for the good; There is mercy with the Savior; There is healing in His blood.” The invitation to the Savior is a function of the drawing power of the Holy Spirit working in the depths of the chambers of the heart. It draws the called one as a magnet draws like metal. We have been infected from birth with a deadly disease – that disease is sin. There is only one remedy to save us from eternal darkness – that is, a blood transfusion made available in Christ.
“There is no place where earth’s sorrows Are more felt than up in Heaven; There is no place where earth’s failings Have such kindly judgment given.” Since God’s presence is omnipresent, there is no vacuum of tenderness toward His people at any place – Heaven or Earth. Judgment is ALWAYS just under the Law of God, but that justice was satisfied for us at the Cross.
“There is plentiful redemption In the blood that has been shed; There is joy for all the members In the sorrows of the Head.” The redemption made by the shed blood of our Lord is likewise infinite to all who are of faith. We have heard oftentimes that salvation is free, and that is true from our perspective; however, it cost Heaven the greatest bounty that has ever been paid – the atoning death of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the HEAD, and we are the body of His Church.
“’Tis not all we owe to Jesus; It is something more than all; Greater good because of evil, Larger mercy through the fall.” We owe our Lord more than our all – we owe Him for our very souls which we could never purchase, nor could we sell. The soul is eternal, and each soul will spend an eternity in the hereafter either with our Lord, or that depraved Prince of the Air. A greater mercy than has ever been expressed in human terms ensued from the curse of the Fall of Adam at Eden.
“If our love were but more simple, We should take Him at His word; And our lives would be all sunshine In the sweetness of our Lord.” This verse is full of beauty and wonder. We complicate every problems when we apply our human understanding, uninformed by prayer and Godly wisdom, to those crises that arise in life. The Word of God is so simple that a child can understand its cardinal points. Theologians, I know, invent great, bewildering terms to describe the existence of God, but simplicity is far superior to their ramblings and interminable discourses. Though the storm clouds form, and the dark shadows of evening gather, there can be sunshine in our souls since peace and joy are sourced in the heart and not in the outward expression.
“For the love of God is broader Than the measure of our mind; And the heart of the Eternal Is most wonderfully kind.” Again, I will remind the reader that every attribute of God is boundless. His love knows no margin of depth, height, or width. Is so far exceeds the pitiful awareness of our little minds that it would not even register on the seismograph. The enormity of God’s love is been expressed in mortal terms by the hymn, “The Love of God”:
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” Isaiah 49:15-16 (KJV)