God Incomprehensible and Sovereign

Can creatures to perfection find

Author: Isaac Watts
Tune: LLEF
Published in 64 hymnals

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Representative Text

[Can creatures to perfection find
Th' eternal, uncreated Mind?
Or can the largest stretch of thought
Measure and search his nature out?

'Tis high as heav'n, 'tis deep as hell
And what can mortals know or tell?
His glory spreads beyond the sky,
And all the shining worlds on high.

But man, vain man, would fain be wise;
Born like a wild young colt, he flies
Through all the follies of his mind,
And swells, and snuffs the empty wind.]

God is a King of power unknown,
Firm are the orders of his throne;
If he resolve, who dares oppose,
Or ask him why or what he does?

He wounds the heart, and he makes whole
He calms the tempest of the soul;
When he shuts up in long despair,
Who can remove the heavy bar?

He frowns, and darkness veils the moon;
The fainting sun grows dim at noon;
The pillars of heav'n's starry roof
Tremble and start at his reproof.

He gave the vaulted heav'n its form,
The crooked serpent, and the worm;
He breaks the billows with his breath,
And smites the sons of pride to death.

These are a portion of his ways;
But who shall dare describe his face?
Who can endure his light, or stand
To hear the thunders of his hand?

Source: The Psalms and Hymns of Dr. Watts #42

Author: Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts was the son of a schoolmaster, and was born in Southampton, July 17, 1674. He is said to have shown remarkable precocity in childhood, beginning the study of Latin, in his fourth year, and writing respectable verses at the age of seven. At the age of sixteen, he went to London to study in the Academy of the Rev. Thomas Rowe, an Independent minister. In 1698, he became assistant minister of the Independent Church, Berry St., London. In 1702, he became pastor. In 1712, he accepted an invitation to visit Sir Thomas Abney, at his residence of Abney Park, and at Sir Thomas' pressing request, made it his home for the remainder of his life. It was a residence most favourable for his health, and for the prosecution of his literary… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Can creatures to perfection find
Title: God Incomprehensible and Sovereign
Author: Isaac Watts
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Can creatures to perfection find? J. Watts. [God unsearchable.] Published in hisHymns, &c, 2nd ed., 1709, Bk. ii., No. 170, in 8 stanzas of 4 lines, and entitled, "God Incomprehensible and Sovereign." It is found in a few modern collections, as Spurgeon’s Our Own Hymn Book, but usually in an abbreviated form. In the Church Pastorals, Boston, U. S. A., 1864, stanzas iv., v., vii., viii., are given as, "God is a King, of power unknown," and in the American Hymn for the Church of Christ by Hedge & Huntington, 1853, No. 123, stanzas v., vi., viii. begin, “God wounds the heart, and He makes whole."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Griffith Hugh Jones (b. Ty Du, Llanberis, Wales, 1849; d. Rhiwddolion, Wales, 1919) composed LLEF in memory of his brother, Rev. D. H. Jones, and the tune was first sung (prior to publication) at a Cymanfa, a Welsh song festival. LLEF was first published in David Jenkins's Gemau Mawl (1890). The hau…

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The Cyber Hymnal #9684
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The Cyber Hymnal #9684

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