LORD, this swelling, tideless sea,
Is like Thy love in Christ to me;
The ceaseless waves that fill the bay
Through flinty rocks have worn their way,
And Thy unceasing love alone
Hath broken though this heart of stone.
The countless smile that gilds the deep
When sunbeams on the water sleep,
Is like Thy countless smile of grace
When I am seen in Jesus’ face.
No ebbing tide these waters know,
Pure, placid, constant in their flow –
No ebb Thy love to me hath known
Since first it chose me for Thine own.
Or, if perchance, at Thy command,
The wave retiring leaves the sand,
One moment all is dry, and then
It turns to fill the shore again:
So I have found Thy wondrous grace
Forsake my soul a little space;
Barren and cold, deserted, dry,
A helpless worm to Thee I cry;
Thy face is hid a little while,
But with the morning comes Thy smile –
Jesus once more His beauty shows,
And all my heart with peace o’erflows.
These deep blue waters lave the shore
Of Israel, as in days of yore!
Though Zion like a field is ploughed,
And Salem’s covered with a cloud –
Though briers and thorns are tangled o’er
Where vine and olive twined before –
Though turbaned Moslems tread the gate,
And Judah sits most desolate –
Their nets o’er Tyre the fishers spread,
And Carmel’s top is withered –
Yet still these waters clasp the shore
As kindly as they did before!
Such is Thy love to Judah’s race,
A deep unchanging tide of grace.
Though scattered now at Thy command
They pine away in every land,
With trembling heart and failing eyes –
And deep the veil on Israel lies –
Yet still Thy word Thou canst not break,
“Beloved for their fathers’ sake.”
18th July 1839, near Acre.