Immortal, invisible God only wise_ was written by W. Chalmers Smith in 1867. In regard to this hymn, Nigel Kot writes:
“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” reminds us of the awe and reverence that we need to have as we worship our God. Even as we cannot see the sun, we see merely the light reflected by the hot gases surrounding the sun, so God’s glory is hid from our eyes. Even the angels cover their faces in God’s presence (Isaiah 6:2) because they cannot look on God’s full glory.
“Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” draws from other Scriptural references as well. “The Ancient of Days” from stanza one is from Daniel 7:9. “Thy justice like mountains” from stanza two is from Psalm 36:6.
1 Timothy 1:17, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever
Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessèd, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might; Thy justice, like mountains, high soaring above Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love. To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small; In all life Thou livest, the true life of all; We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, And wither and perish—but naught changeth Thee. Great Father of glory, pure Father of light, Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight; But of all Thy rich graces this grace, Lord, impart Take the veil from our faces, the vile from our heart. All laud we would render; O help us to see 'Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee, And so let Thy glory, Almighty, impart, Through Christ in His story, Thy Christ to the heart.
This hymn appears in a slightly different form in The Lutheran Hymnal as number 451.
Words: Hymns of Christ and the Christian Life, 1876. Music: St. Denio, Welsh melody, from Canaidau y Cyssegr, by , 1839.