One of the best hymns of all time:
This is the full, original text of the hymn from the original pamphlet “A Hymn to the God of Abraham in Three Parts”:
Part The First
The God of Abrah’m praise,
Who reigns enthron’d above;
Ancient of everlasting days, a
And God of Love:
(1)JEHOVAH, GREAT I AM!
By earth and heav’n confest;
I bow and bless the sacred Name,
For ever bless’d.
The God of Abrah’m praise,
At whose supreme command,
From earth I rise—and seek the joys
At his right hand:
I all on earth forsake,
Its wisdom, fame, and power;
And Him my only Portion make,
My Shield and Tower.
The God of Abrah’m praise,
Whose all-sufficient grace
Shall guide me all my happy days,
In all my ways:
He calls a worm his friend!
He calls himself my God!
And he shall save me to the End,
Thro’ Jesu’s blood.
He by himself has sworn,
I on His oath depend,
I shall, on eagle wings up-borne,
To heav’n ascend:
I shall behold his face,
I shall his power adore,
And sing the wonders of his grace,
Part The Second
Tho’ nature’s strength decay,
And earth and Hell withstand
To Canaan’s bounds I urge my way
At his command:
The wat’ry deep I pass,
With Jesus in my view;
And thro’ the howling wilderness
My way pursue.
The goodly land I see,
With peace and plenty bless’d;
A land of sacred liberty,
And endless rest:
There milk and honey flow,
And oil and wine abound;
And trees of life for ever grow,
And(2) mercy crowned.
There dwells the Lord our King,
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS,
(Triumphant o’er the world and sin)
The Prince of Peace:
On Sion’s sacred height,
His kingdom still maintains;
And glorious with his saints in light,
For ever reigns.
He keeps his own secure,
He guards them by his side,
Arrays in garments white and pure
His spotless bride:
With streams of sacred bliss,
With groves of living joys—
With all the fruits of Paradise,
He still supplies.
Part The Third
Before the great Three-One,
They all exulting stand;
And tell the wonders he hath done,
Thro’ all their land;
The list’ning spheres attend,
And swell the growing fame;
And sing, in songs which never end,
The wondrous NAME.
The God who reigns on high,
The great arch-angels sing,
Holy, Holy, Holy,” cry,
Who Was, and Is, the same;
and evermore shall be;
(3)JEHOVAH—FATHER—GREAT I AM!
We worship Thee.”
Before the Saviour’s face
The ransom’d nations bow;
O’erwhelm’d at his Almighty grace,
For ever new:
He shews his prints of Love—
They kindle—to a flame!
And sound thro’ all the worlds above,
The slaughter’d Lamb.
The whole triumphant host
Give thanks to God on high;
“Hail, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,”
They ever cry:
Hail, Abraham’s God—and mine!
I join the heavenly lays,
All Might and Majesty are Thine,
And endless Praise.
Words: “Yigdal” by Daniel Ben Yehudah, ca. 1400; para. Thomas Olivers, ca. 1765.*
Tune: “Leoni” Hebrew melody.
*This hymn is very loosely based on the Yigdal (see below).
(1) This is often rendered as “The Lord, the Great I AM.”
(2) This is also rendered as “with” in some versions.
(3) This is often rendered as “Eternal Father, Great I AM”
Here is the Hebrew text of the Yigdal:
יִגְדַּל אֱלֹהִים חַי וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח/נִמְצָא וְאֵין עֵת אֶל מְצִיאוּתוֹ
אֶחָד וְאֵין יָחִיד כְּיִחוּדוֹ/נֶעְלָם וְגַם אֵין סוֹף לְאַחְדּוּתוֹ
אֵין לוֹ דְמוּת הַגּוּף וְאֵינוֹ גּוּף*/לֹא נַעֲרֹךְ אֵלָיו קְדֻשָּׁתוֹ
קַדְמוֹן לְכָל דָּבָר אֲשֶׁר נִבְרָא/רִאשׁוֹן וְאֵין רֵאשִׁית לְרֵאשִׁיתוֹ
הִנּוֹ אֲדוֹן עוֹלָם לְכָל נוֹצָר/יוֹרֶה גְּדֻלָּתוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ
שֶׁפַע נְבוּאָתוֹ נְתָנוֹ/אֶל אַנְשֵׁי סְגֻלָּתוֹ וְתִפְאַרְתּוֹ
**לֹא קָם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמֹשֶׁה עוֹד/נָבִיא וּמַבִּיט אֶת תְּמוּנָתוֹ
תּוֹרַת אֱמֶת נָתַן לְעַמּוֹ אֵל/עַל יַד נְבִיאוֹ נֶאֱמַן בֵּיתוֹ
לֹא יַחֲלִיף הָאֵל וְלֹא יָמִיר/דָּתוֹ לְעוֹלָמִים לְזוּלָתוֹ
צוֹפֶה וְיוֹדֵעַ סְתָרֵינוּ/מַבִּיט לְסוֹף דָּבָר בְּקַדְמָתוֹ
גּוֹמֵל לְאִישׁ חָסִיד כְּמִפְעָלוֹ/נוֹתֵן לְרָשָׁע רָע כְּרִשְׁעָתוֹ
יִשְׁלַח לְקֵץ יָמִים מְשִׁיחֵנוּ/לִפְדּוֹת מְחַכֵּי קֵץ יְשׁוּעָתוֹ
מֵתִים יְחַיֶּה אֵל בְּרֹב חַסְדּוֹ/בָּרוּךְ עֲדֵי עַד שֵׁם תְּהִלָּתוֹ
אֵלֶּה שלוש עֶשרֵה לְעִקָּרִים/הֵן הֵם יְסוֹד דַּת אֵל וְתוֹרָתו
תּוֹרַת מֹשה אֱמֶת וּנְבוּאָתוֹ/בָּרוּךְ עֲדֵי עַד שם תְּהִלָּתוֹ
Here is an English translation of the original Hebrew:
May the living God become greater and be praised, He exists yet there is no time associated with His existence.
He is one and there is no other as one as He is, His oneness is not comprehensible and there is no end to His oneness.
He has no form of body nor any body,* we cannot compare anything to His holiness.
He preceded everything He created, He was first and there was nothing before Him.
Here is the master of the world to all His creation, He instructs His creation regarding His greatness and His kingdom.
An abundance of prophecy He has given to His chosen people and those who glorify Him.
There has not arisen in Israel anyone like Moses, a prophet who viewed an image of the divine.**
The true Torah He gave to His nation – God, through His prophet, the loyal one of His house.
God will not change or reverse His belief, until the end of the world for eternity.
He examines and knows our hidden things, He sees the end of matters at the beginning.
He causes a man kindness according to his works, He gives a wicked man wickedness according to his wickedness.
He will send at the end of days our messiah, to redeem those waiting for the end of his salvation.
God will give life to the dead in His great kindness, blessed for eternity is His praised name.
[These are the thirteen fundamental beliefs, they are the foundation of the religion of God and His faithful. The teaching of Moses and his prophesy is true, blessed for eternity is His name.]
Notes on the Yigdal:
* I am dubious as to whether a Christian can say this line as while true that God as the Holy Trinity in and of Himself has no body, through the Incarnation God did assume a human body. I am unsure as to whether this line constitutes a denial of the Incarnation as such.
**This line a Christian cannot say. It is taken from the promise in Deuteronomy 18 that God would raise up a prophet like Moses. This promise of the Prophet has since ancient times been taken as a Messianic prophecy. We see this in the New Testament where the authorities ask John the Baptist whether he is the Prophet. St. Peter references this passage in connection with Jesus in Acts 3.