1 Eternal Power, whose high abode
Becomes the grandeur of a God,
Infinite lengths beyond the bounds
Where stars revolve their little rounds:
2 Thee while the first archangel sings,
He hides his face behind his wings;
And ranks of shining ones around
Fall worshipping and spread the ground.
3 Lord, what shall earth and ashes do?
We would adore our Maker too!
From sin and dust to thee we cry,
The great, the holy, and the high!
Source: The New English Hymnal #207
Eternal Power, Whose high abode. I. Watts. [Praise to God.] This hymn supplies what the author called "The Conclusion," to his Horae Lyricae, 1705. It is in 6 stanzas of 4 lines, and is entitled "God exalted above all Praise." In 1743, J. Wesley included it, with the omission of stanzas ii., and the alteration of stanza i., line 3, of "length" to "lengths", and of stanza iii., line 1, from “Thy dazzling beauties whilst he sings," to "Thee, while the first archangel sings " (a change necessitated by the omission) in Psalms & Hymns, 1743, p. 66. In 1780 this version of the text was given in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, No. 307, and from the Wesleyan Hymn Book has passed into numerous collections in all English-speaking countries. According to Methodist usage Dr. J. Beaumont read the lines,
"Thee, while the first archangel sings,
He hides his face behind his wings,"
to the congregation in Waltham Street Chapel, Hull, on Sunday, Jan. 23, 1855; and during the singing of the second line he fell dead in the pulpit. The incident is given in detail in Stevenson's Methodist Hymn Book and its Associations, 1883, p. 225.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)