1. There's a wideness in God's mercy, Like the wideness of the sea; There's a kindness in His justice, Which is more than liberty. 2. There is no place where earth's sorrows Are more felt than up in Heaven; There is no place where earth's failings Have such kindly judgment given. 3. There is welcome for the sinner, And more graces for the good; There is mercy with the Savior; There is healing in His blood. 4. There is grace enough for thousands Of new worlds as great as this; There is room for fresh creations In that upper home of bliss. 5. For the love of God is broader Than the measure of our mind; And the heart of the Eternal Is most wonderfully kind. 6. There is plentiful redemption In the blood that has been shed; There is joy for all the members In the sorrows of the Head. 7. 'Tis not all we owe to Jesus; It is something more than all; Greater good because of evil, Larger mercy through the fall. 8. If our love were but more simple, We should take Him at His word; And our lives would be all sunshine In the sweetness of our Lord. 9. Souls of men! why will ye scatter Like a crowd of frightened sheep? Foolish hearts! why will ye wander From a love so true and deep? 10. It is God: His love looks mighty, But is mightier than it seems; 'Tis our Father: and His fondness Goes far out beyond our dreams. 11. But we make His love too narrow By false limits of our own; And we magnify His strictness With a zeal He will not own. 12. Was there ever kinder shepherd Half so gentle, half so sweet, As the Savior who would have us Come and gather at His feet?
Music: Lizzie Shove Tourjée
Frederick W. Faber, 1814–1863
Frederick Faber had an unusual spiritual journey. Raised as a strict Calvinist, he strongly opposed the Roman Catholic Church. After education at Oxford, he became an ordained Anglican minister. Gradually, however, he was influenced by the Oxford Movement, which stressed that Anglican churches had become too evangelical—with too little emphasis on formal and liturgical worship. Eventually Faber renounced the Anglican State Church, became a Catholic priest, and spent his remaining years as Superior of the Catholic Brompton Oratory in London.
Faber had always realized the great influence that hymn singing had in Protestant evangelical churches. Determined to provide material for Catholics to use in the same way, he worked tirelessly in writing hymns and publishing numerous collections of them. In 1854, the Pope honored Frederick Faber with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in recognition of his many accomplishments.
Faber wrote this hymn text in the middle of the 19th century. During his brief life, he wrote at least 150 hymn texts.