Posted by: rcottrill | August 7, 2010

Today in 1868 – Frederich Lehman Born

Frederich (Anglicized to Frederick) Martin Lehman was born in Germany. His family emigrated to the United States when he was 4 years old, settling in a one-room log cabin in Iowa. Frederich Lehman became a Christian while still a boy. At the age of 27 he entered Christian ministry. For a time he was a circuit-riding preacher, traveling by horse and buggy between communities. Later, he became a pastor and a music publisher.

Pastor Lehman wrote hundreds of gospel songs. (For another of these, see the second item under Today in 1867.) His best known selection is the 1917 hymn The Love of God, for which his daughter Claudia wrote the tune or at least arranged it.

The profoundly beautiful third stanza was not written by Lehman. It was found penciled on the wall of a room in a mental hospital, after the patient had died. At first, it was assumed he had created it himself in a moment of sanity. However, it later proved to be a translation of a Hebrew poem originating some 850 years earlier. Whatever its origin, the imagery of trying to write of the love of God across the sky is memorable.

In the Bible, Paul prayers for the Ephesian Christians that they might “know the love of God which passes [or surpasses] knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). That is a paradox. God’s love is knowable…and yet it isn’t. The New Living Translation clarifies the text nicely with, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it.”

Of course each Christian knows something of this quality of God’s character. We discovered it at Calvary (Jn. 3:16). But, as Job puts it, “Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!” (Job 26:14). Commentator William MacDonald describes the infinity of God’s love as “an ocean without shores.” It will be the joy of the saints, through all eternity, to learn and “know” more and more of the wonderful love of our great God.

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.

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.

(2) Praise Him, All Ye Little Children (Data Missing)
One of the songs I can remember singing as a child is Praise Him, Praise Him, All Ye Little Children. We do not know the author of the words of this simple but effective little song, but the tune was written by Baptist clergyman Carey Bonner. Mr. Bonner was active in the British Sunday School movement of the early 20th century.

Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.

Love Him, love Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Love Him, love Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.

Thank Him, thank Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Thank Him, thank Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.


Responses

  1. […] No Disappointment in Heaven (tomorrow see Item 2 under Today in 1867), and The Love of God (see Today in 1868). (In the latter hymn, “the guilty pair” is, of course, a reference to Adam and Eve, to […]

  2. […] best known song is The Love of God (see Today in 1868), but consider some of the text for There’s No Disappointment in Heaven. Lehman was struggling […]

  3. I did not know “The Love of God” until just recently. We sang it at a writers’ conference in June. I talk about it on my blog here: http://devojournal.wordpress.com/2010/05/31/the-love-of-god/.

    • Yep, I know you discuss it on your DevoJournal. I left a comment for you there. Thanks for dropping by. Glad to see you any time. 🙂

  4. […] Wordwise Hymns The Cyber […]


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