It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine

It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine,
My Savior, Jesus; yet this soul of mine
Would of Thy love in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
    Know more and more.
It passeth telling, that dear love of Thine,
My Savior, Jesus; yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners, far and near,
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
    And love beget.
It passeth praises, that dear love of Thine,
My Savior, Jesus; yet this heart of mine
Would sing that love, so full, so rich, so free,
Which brings a rebel sinner, such as me,
    Nigh unto God.
But though I cannot sing, or tell, or know
The fulness of Thy love, while here below,
My empty vessel I may freely bring;
O Thou, who art of love the living spring,
    My vessel fill.
I am an empty vessel—not one thought
Or look of love to Thee I’ve ever brought;
Yet I may come, and come again to Thee,
With this the empty sinner’s only plea,
    Thou lovest me.
Oh, fill me, Jesus, Savior, with Thy love!
Lead, lead me to the living fount above;
Thither may I, in simple faith draw nigh,
And never to another fountain fly,
    But unto Thee.
Lord Jesus, when Thee face to face I see,
When on Thy lofty throne I sit with Thee,
Then of Thy love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength,
    My soul shall sing.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

Mary Shekleton was born in 1827, in Dublin, Ireland. She was taught by her young widowed mother who as a Christian had four small girls to bring up aged between 6 years and 6 months. Mrs. Shekleton was on a steep learning curve growing rapidly in her faith and knowledge of the Bible while praying with and for her daughters as well as reading to and with them God’s word.

Fragile from birth and apparently doomed with tuberculosis, Mary showed spiritual awareness from her earliest years, knowing the

Lord for as long as she could remember.

In 1852 both her tutor and mother were taken by death. Surviving as an invalid, especially from 1861 onwards, close to death and in 1872 Mary worked as secretary of the “Invalid Prayer Union” which she founded later that year. She formed a network of more than 300 household contacts who became her friends by correspondence, news and prayer. The IPU grew from positive responses and later without her knowledge, a letter was published in the journal “ Women’s Work in the Great Spiritual Harvest Field. ” She provided her contacts with some basic practical rules: Scripture reading, prayer topics, a prayerfully chosen prayer motto, and some brief devotional comments. She was fully occupied with this work and sewing for charitable causes; her writing was honest, aware of failure, sometimes witty, always thankful, never gloomy or critical of others, full of nuggets of scriptural truth combined with practical common sense.

Her visits to church were rare because of her condition but they were a delight to her.... to join in public worship with the people of God. “I found myself in the house of God after an absence of nearly 20 years! ”

She appreciated the hills and coastline of Monkstown and Bray just South of Dublin. Once she reluctantly agreed to be photographed for the sake of those who had never seen her countenance before.

By 1883, she had become too weak to continue and died in September of that year. Near the end she would repeat, “Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness, my beauty are, my glorious dress. ” In the following year her sister Margaretta of Kingston, Dublin published “ Chosen Chastened and Crowned—Memorials is Mary Shekleton. ”

Talakai Finau

Kenai, Alaska, United States

Tonga Free Wesleyan hymn 535. What a blessing.


Itzel Vizcarra

Horizon City, United States

I am an empty vessel—not one thought

Or look of love to Thee I’ve ever brought;

Yet I may come, and come again to Thee,

With this the empty sinner’s only plea,

Thou lovest me.

We are empty vessels!!



Moses Kulabako

Kampala, Uganda


This is best hymn for ages now!

It fully describes the Lord's immense Love to me that my heart will never fully fathom as long He still lends me breath here below!

Whenever I sing it, tears roll down my face because I cant imagine His saving grace and love to a wretched sinner like me.

Ryan Danek

Long Beach, California, United States

I want to know this love more and more.

Mulangira Lambert

Kampala, Uganda

I don't know how best I can comment about this song but, it happens to be my all time best hymn. I love it for it brings back my life and hope in the love Jesus shows us all. Indeed, it is beyond all knowledge.

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Mary Shekleton of Dublin, Ireland, was for many years an invalid, during which time she wrote several hymns. Several of these are given in "Chosen, Chastened, Crowned. Memorials of Mary Shekleton, late Secretary of the Invalid's Prayer Union, by her Sister", 1884, and are in common use. -John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology


Stanza 3, last 2 lines originally said:

Which brought an undone sinner, such as me,

Right home to God.


The last stanza, 1st 3 lines is humbler in the original:

7. And when my Jesus face to face I see,

When at His lofty throne I bow the knee,

Then of His love, in all its breadth and length,


I think stanza 5, 1st 2 lines is not true. It is an exaggeration to say that Christians brought not even 1 thought of love to the Lord. The whole song contains many thoughts of love that she brought to the Lord. She probably meant before we were saved and didn't have room to fit that thought in the stanza.


Marilao ,bulacan, Philippines

Oh ~ When I'm listening and singing this song, I feel that my heart is full of God's love. <3

I love You, God!


United States

Precious hymn, sweet, tender, poetic. This was one of the favorites of a dear sister who has not been meeting. One day we where singing it and as she found the hymn in her old hymn book she saw she had all sorts of hearts and stars around it, she realized she had enjoyed it much when she was a teenager. O Lord, "Yet I may come, and come again to Thee, with this the empty sinner's only plea, Thou lovest me." Lord, bring this sister and her husband back.

Some hymns may be in the same category and of the same subject but have a different feeling. Every hymn has its feeling. For example, "It passeth knowledge, that dear love of Thine" (Hymns, #154) is a hymn for remembering the Lord and has the Lord's love as its subject. The feeling of this hymn is fine, sweet, and tender. The feeling of other hymns may not be as fine as this one, even though their subject is the Lord's love. Some hymns have a fine feeling and are also poetic. Other hymns, however, may not be poetic. In learning the hymns, we need to know their categories and subject so that we can further distinguish them according to their feeling.