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The Trinitarian Hymns of Frederick Faber

Frederick Faber (1814-1863) was an English theologian and hymn writer whose work was characterized by both theological depth and heartfelt devotion. He wrote many hymns and poems for the church, including several magnificent hymns about the Trinity.  In his classic book, The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer wrote that Faber’s life was set “afire with a burning adoration rivaling that of the Seraphim before the throne. His love for God extended to the three Persons of the Godhead equally, yet he seemed to feel for each One a special kind of love reserved for Him alone” (The Pursuit of God, 40). Since we have been discussing the Trinity in our Sunday Class, I thought it would be helpful to look at some of Faber’s profound hymns about our Triune God.

According to Fred Sanders, “The boundless life that God lives in himself, at home, within the happy land of the Trinity above all worlds, is perfect. It is complete, inexhaustibly full, and infinitely blessed.”1 What Faber does in these hymns is direct our gaze primarily on who God is in himself, which is what the doctrine of the Trinity is first and foremost about. He calls us to think about, rejoice in, and worship the Triune God for who he is and who he would be whether or not he ever created us, revealed himself to us, or redeemed us. It is in the eternal life-giving, loving, triune nature of God that we find the ground and guarantee of the gospel. Sanders goes on to say that, “The blessedness of God’s inner life is the only thing that is even better than the good news. The life of God in itself is the source of all the riches that fund the economy of salvation.2 This is exactly what Faber has in view in his three hymns, “The Holy Trinity,” “Majesty Divine,” and “The Vision of the Godhead.”

O Blessed Trinity!
Thy children dare to lift their hearts to Thee,
And bless Thy triple Majesty!
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
Holy, unfathomable, infinite,
Thou art all Life and Love and Light.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
God of a thousand attributes we see,
That there is no one good but Thee.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
In our astonished reverence we confess
Thine uncreated loveliness.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

Blessed Trinity!
O simplest Majesty! O Three in One!
Thou art for ever God alone.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity
The Fountain of the Godhead, in repose,
Forever rests, forever flows.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
O Unbegotten Father! give us tears
To quench our love, to calm our fears.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
Bright Son! who art the Father’s mind displayed,
Thou art begotten and not made.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
Coequal Spirit! wondrous Paraclete!
By Thee the Godhead is complete.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
We praise Thee, bless Thee, worship Thee as one.
Yet Three are on the single Throne.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
In the deep darkness of prayer’s stillest night
We worship Thee blinded with light.
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee.

O Blessed Trinity!
Oh would that we could die of love for Thee,
Incomparable Trinity!
Holy Trinity!
Blessed Equal Three,
One God, we praise Thee

Full of glory, full of wonders,
Majesty Divine!
Mid Thine everlasting thunders
How Thy lightnings shine!
Shoreless Ocean! who shall sound Thee?
Thine own eternity is round Thee,
Majesty Divine!

Timeless, spaceless, single, lonely,
Yet sublimely Three,
Thou art grandly, always, only
God in Unity!
Lone in grandeur, lone in glory,
Who shall tell Thy wondrous story,
Awful Trinity?

Speechlessly, without beginning,
Sun that never rose!
Vast, adorable, and winning,
Day that hath no close!
Bliss from Thine own glory tasting,
Everliving, everlasting,
Life that never grows!

Thine own Self forever filling
With self-kindled flame,
In Thyself Thou art distilling
Unctions without name!
Without worshipping of creatures
Without veiling of Thy features,
God always the same!

In Thy praise of Self untiring
Thy perfections shine;
Self-sufficient, self-admiring,
Such life must be Thine;
Glorifying Self, yet blameless
With a sanctity all shameless
It is so divine!

’Mid Thine uncreated morning,
Like a trembling star
I behold creation’s dawning
Glimmering from afar;
Nothing giving, nothing taking,
Nothing changing, nothing breaking,
Waiting at time’s bar!

I with life and love diurnal
See myself in Thee,
All embalmed in love eternal,
Floating in Thy sea:
’Mid Thine uncreated whiteness
I behold Thy glory’s brightness
Feed itself on me.

Splendours upon splendours beaming
Change and intertwine;
Glories over glories streaming
All translucent shine!
Blessings, praises adorations
Greet Thee from the trembling nations
Majesty Divine!

Unchanging and Unchangeable, before angelic eyes,
The Vision of the Godhead in its tranquil beauty lies;
And, like a city lighted up all gloriously within,
Its countless lustres glance and gleam, and sweetest worship win.
On the Unbegotten Father, awful well-spring of the Three,
On the Sole Begotten Son’s coequal Majesty.
On Him eternally breathed forth from Father and from Son.
The spirits gaze with fixed amaze, and unreckoned ages run.

Myriad, myriad angels raise
Happy hymns of wondering praise,
Ever through eternal days,
Before the Holy Trinity,
One Undivided Three!

Still the Fountain of the Godhead giveth forth eternal being:
Still begetting, unbegotten, still His own perfection seeing,
Still limiting His own loved Self with His dear coequal Spirit,
No change comes o’er that blissful Life, no shadow passeth near it.
And beautiful dread Attributes, all manifold and bright,
Now thousands seem, now lose themselves in one self-living light;
And far in that deep Life of God, in harmony complete,
Like crowned kings, all opposite perfections take their seat.
And in that ungrowing vision nothing deepens, nothing brightens,
But the living Life of God perpetually lightens;

And created life is nothing but a radiant shadow fleeing
From the unapproached lustres of that Unbeginning Being;
Spirits wise and deep have watched that everlasting Ocean,
And never o’er its lucid field hath rippled faintest motion;
In glory undistinguished never have the Three seemed One,
Nor ever in divided streams the Single Essence run.

There reigns the Eternal Father, in His lone prerogatives,
And, in the Father’s Mind, the Son, all self-existing, lives,
With Him, their mutual Jubilee, that deepest depth of love,
Lifegiving Life of two-fold source, the many gifted Dove!
O Bountiful! O Beautiful! can Power or Wisdom add
Fresh features to a life, so munificent and glad?
Can even uncreated Love, ye angels! give a hue
Which can ever make the Unchanging and Unchangeable look new?

The Mercy of the Merciful is equal to Their Might,
As wondrous as Their Love, and as Their Wisdom bright!
As They, who out of nothing called creation at the first,
In everlasting purposes Their own design had nursed,
As They, who in their solitude, Three Persons, once abode,
Vouchsafed of Their abundance to become creation’s God,—
What They owed not to Themselves They stooped to owe to man,
And pledged Their glory to him, in an unimaginable plan.

See! deep within the glowing depth of that Eternal Light.
What change hath come, what vision new transports angelic sight?
A creature can it be, in uncreated bliss?
A novelty in God? Oh what nameless thing is this?
The beauty of the Father’s Power is o’er it brightly shed,
The sweetness of the Spirit’s Love is unction on its head;
In the wisdom of the Son it plays its wondrous part,
While it lives the loving life of a real Human heart!

A Heart that hath a Mother, and a treasure of red blood,
A Heart that man can pray to, and feed upon for food!
In the brightness of the Godhead is its marvelous abode,
A change in the Unchanging, creation touching God!
Ye spirits blest, in endless rest, who on that Vision gaze,
Salute the Sacred Heart with all your worshipful amaze,
And adore, while with ecstatic skill the Three in One ye scan,
The Mercy that hath planted there that blessed Heart of Man!

All tranquilly, all tranquilly, doth that Blissful Vision last,
And Its brightness o’er immortalized creation will it cast;
Ungrowing and unfading, Its pure Essence doth it keep,
In the deepest of those depths where all are infinitely deep;
Unchanging and Unchangeable as It hath ever been,
As It was before that Human heart was there by angels seen,
So is it at this very hour, so will it ever be,
With that Human Heart within It, beating hot with love of me!

For more on the Trinity, check out these fantastic resources:

Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves
The Deep Things of God, Fred Sanders
Communion with the Triune God, John Owen
The Essential Trinity, Brandon D. Crowe and Carl Trueman
Life in the Trinity, Donald Fairbarn
The Holy Trinity, Robert Letham

  1. Fred Sanders, The Deep Things of God, 62.
  2. Ibid., 83

Mitch Bedzyk serves as a teacher and worship leader at Elmira Christian Center. He received his Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and works in IT for the NY state Office of Mental Health. He and his wife, Sarah, have one son named Oliver Paul and are foster parents. In his spare time he enjoys reading, coffee, guitar, following the Bundesliga and MLS, and supporting Bayern Munich. You can follow him on Twitter @mitchbedzyk

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