The Love of God by Fredrick Lehman
(music and first two lines and
Meir Ben Isaac Nehora, (third line)
This is a beautiful old hymn…Frederick M. Lehman Music and Lyrics (first 2 verses and chorus).
1.The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star, and reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.
It shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.
2.When years of time shall pass away, and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure, all measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—the saints’ and angels’ song.
3.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.
“Words: Frederick M. Lehman; he wrote this song in 1917 in Pasadena, California, and it was published in Songs That Are Different, Volume 2, 1919. The lyrics are based on the Jewish poem Haddamut, written in Aramaic in 1050 by Meir Ben Isaac Nehorai, a cantor in Worms, Germany; they have been translated into at least 18 languages.
‘One day, during short intervals of inattention to our work,’ F.M.Lehman writes, ‘we picked up a scrap of paper and, seated upon an empty lemon box pushed against the wall, with a stub pencil, added the (first) two stanzas and chorus of the song…Since the lines (3rd stanza from the Jewish poem) had been found penciled on the wall of a patient’s room in an insane asylum after he had been carried to his grave, the general opinion was that this inmate had written the epic in moments of sanity.’
Frederick M. Lehman, “History of the Song, The Love of God,” 1948
In reference to the writer of the third stanza, I have researched the circumstances under which people were admitted to insane asylums during that period of time:
Georgia’s Mental Institution, Central State Hospital, Milledgeville, Ga. by Rhetta Alcumotsu, Yahoo Contributor Network: “Many of these patients were epileptic or suffered from other chronic diseases, and had nothing wrong with them mentally at all.”
Amy Browne Yahoo Contributor Network: “If a woman grew too old the husband could have her committed and would take a younger wife. Menopause or PMS was reason enough to ship her off to a facility. Once a woman was committed to the asylum, it was as if she died, and usually an obituary was published. A landlord could have a tenant committed for not paying rent, being outlandish in behavior or dress. A boss could do the same thing to an employee if the employee was slow or a ‘bad employee’. People could be committed if they were poor. One could be committed for being an alcoholic, person with a short fuse, or anyone who deviated from the normal things society thought was right. This goes for both men and woman and this is very sad indeed to be admitted to an insane asylum for such a thing. Children who acted out or had mental or physical disabilities were also placed in mental asylums. Imagine a blind child or a child with a speech problem being locked away for his or her entire life because of a birth defect.”
Things were very different many years ago…c.c.