Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

    Little is said about the man who wrote the hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise. It is a lovely hymn, inspired by Paul’s first letter to Timothy, describing God’s greatness and praising him for it. The author, Walter Chalmers Smith, lived from 1824 to 1908. Born in Aberdeen December 5th he was educated at a Grammar School and University of the same city. He studied Theology at Edinburgh and was ordained Pastor of the Scottish Church in London on Christmas Day of 1850. He pastored several churches and wrote poetical literature. Smith wrote many hymns though I believe Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise is the only one still in use today.
A few of Smith’s other hymns are Lord, God, Omnipotent, Our Portion is not Here, There is no Wrath to be Appeased, Earth was waiting, Spent and restless, Faint and weary Jesus Stood, and To me to Live is Christ.
“Dr. Smith’s hymns are rich in thought and vigorous in expression. They deserve and probably will receive greater notice than hitherto at the hands of hymnal compilers.” ~Rev. W. Garrett Horder
Personally my favorite line in Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise, is in the 3rd verse.
“We blossom and flourish as leave on a tree, and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.”
It is a beautiful reminder that the life we live is a life that changes and eventually ends, but that Christ is a rock on which we can find support for he never changes and will never end.
I will leave you with the passage that inspired Walter Smith to write this song.
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” ~ 1 Timothy 1:17

The One Year book of Hymns

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