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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.

O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
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

Music: Fred­er­ick Leh­man; ar­ranged by his daugh­ter, Clau­dia L. Mays (MI­DI, score).

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.

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