O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

1. O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

2. O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

3. O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

4. O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

This hymn was written by a Scottish preacher named George Matheson (1842-1906). Mattheson went blind when studying for the ministry. He was abandoned by his fiancé, who said she could not go through life with a blind man. His sister took care of him. She learned Greek, Hebrew and Latin to help him. He wrote a book on German theology, but took grief because of some inaccuracies, perhaps due to his blindness. He later became pastor of a large church, and was said to have been an excellent preacher. He wrote this hymn on the day of his sister’s wedding, perhaps in the angst of losing his caregiver. He wrote an account of the writing of this hymn (101 Hymn Stories by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Kregel Publications, 1982). Albert Peace (1844-1912) wrote the melody, that I remember singing growing up as a child.

Mattheson also wrote Make Me A Captive Lord:

1 Make me a captive, Lord,
and then I shall be free;
force me to render up my sword,
and I shall conqueror be.

2 I sink in life’s alarms
when by myself I stand;
imprison me within thine arms,
and strong shall be my hand.

3 My will is not my own
till thou hast made it thine;
if it would reach a monarch’s throne,
it must its crown resign.

4 I only stand unbent
amid the clashing strife
when on thy bosom I have leaned
and found in thee my life.