God in heaven hath a treasure

1
God in heaven hath a treasure,
  Riches none may count or tell;
Hath a deep eternal pleasure,
  Christ the Son, He loveth well.
God hath here on earth a treasure,
  None but He its price may know—
Deep, unfathomable pleasure,
  Christ revealed in saints below.
2
God in tongues of fire descending,
  Chosen vessels thus to fill
With the treasure never ending,
  Ever spent—unfailing still.
God’s own hand the vessel filling
  From the glory far above,
Longing hearts forever stilling
  With the riches of His love.
3
Thus though worn, and tried, and tempted,
  Glorious calling, saint, is thine;
Let the Lord but find thee emptied,
  Living branch in Christ the Vine!
Vessels of the world’s despising,
  Vessels weak and poor and base,
Bearing wealth God’s heart is prizing,
  Glory from Christ’s blessed face.
4
Oh to be but emptier, lowlier,
  Mean, unnoticed—and unknown,
And to God a vessel holier,
  Filled with Christ and Christ alone!
Naught of earth to cloud the glory,
  Naught of self the light to dim,
Telling forth His wondrous story,
  Emptied to be filled with Him.
4
Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

I awoke this morning with this song in my heart.

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The hymns of Frances Bevan are chiefly translations from German Pietists (so-called) of the Middle Ages. There is found in them that mystical touch, that indefinable quality (also found in the hymns of J.N. Darby) that reached the inmost recesses of the soul, and calls for the deepest language of the spirit. By her beautiful translations, Mrs. Bevan has taught us something of that wealth of hymnology found in the German language; and in her interesting prose works "Three friends of God", "Sketches of the Quiet in the Land", [and "Trees Planted by the River", F.W.] she has drawn aside the curtain and revealed the atmosphere and environment of the hymnists themselves.

She says, "How distinct was their witness to the truth of the Gospel may be early seen by comparing their writings with those of the true servants of God who remained under the influence of Roman Catholicism only. A comparison of Thomas à Kempis with Johann Tauler will serve as an instance of this contrast. In the case of the latter the present possession and enjoyment of eternal life; in the case of the former an earnest and true desire to attain that possession. In the latter, peace and joy, the starting point; in the former, the goal to be reached by strenuous effort". The translations of Mrs. Bevan have exercised a deep influence upon the hearts of those to whom her poetry more particularly made its appeal, i.e. those with whom she was linked in assembly fellowship.

... Among her prose works, linked up with Church History, are two valuable little biographies, "The Life of William Farel" and "The Story of John Wesley".

When Mrs. Bevan was born at Oxford in 1827, her father Philip Nicholas Shuttleworth was Warden of New College. In 1842 he became Bishop of Chichester, but died two years later, leaving her fatherless at seventeen. He was opposed to Puseyism [following church traditions] and wrote "Scripture not Tradition", a work of "great force and learning".

When a girl, Mrs Bevan was taught by a German governess, and became interested in Gothic art and medieval Christianity; and later on she was much attached to the family of Baron von Bunsen, at one time Prussian ambassador to England, whose scholarly attainments largely influenced her study of German literature.

Mrs. Bevan has given us glimpses of her own life story in two little biographies she has written, "Reminiscences of Ada Frances Bevan" is the touching story of her eldest child, taken from her at the age of four. The other biography, "Recollections of R.C.L. Bevan", is a memoir of her husband, a Christian banker, whose leisure was given so simply, yet fruitfully to God. In this narrative, we read that Frances Shuttleworth (as she was then) came to the house of Mr. Bevan to Bible Readings that made a lasting impression on her, being then 27 years of age; and Mrs. Bevan goes on to say, "As time passed on, I was no more a visitor but at home in his home". She was married to Mr. Bevan when 29, and 3 sons and 6 daughters were born into that happy household. - Songs of Pilgrimage and Glory by Cornwall

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This hymn has 7 stanzas. The above stanza #2 is a combo of the original stanzas 3 & 4:

1b Christ, the Light that fills the heavens,

Shining forth on earth beneath,

Through His Spirit freely given,

Light of life ’midst shades of death.

Down from heav’n’s unclouded glory

God Himself the treasure brought,

Closing thus His love’s sweet story

With His sweetest, deepest thought.

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2 God in tongues of fire descending,

Chosen vessels thus to fill

With the treasure never ending,

Ever spent—unfailing still.

Still unwasted, undiminished,

Though the days of dearth wear on,

Store eternally unfinished,

Fresh, as if but now begun.

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2b Earthen vessels, marred, unsightly,

But the treasure as of old,

Fresh from glory, gleaming brightly,

Heav’n’s undimmed, unchanging gold.

God’s own hand the vessel filling

From the glory far above,

Longing hearts forever stilling

With those riches of His love.

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2c Thus, through earthen vessels only,

Shining forth in ceaseless grace,

Reaching weary hearts and lonely,

Beams the light in Jesus’ face.

Vessels worthless, broken, bearing

Through the hungry ages on,

Riches giv’n with hand unsparing,

God’s great gift, His precious Son.


Isaiah Tor

Sydney, NSW, Australia

This hymn is written concerning Christ as God's unique Treasure and One whom He utterly delights in, so much so that He desires to reveal, work, constitute and reproduce this Christ in all those whom He has chosen since eternity past. Everything God does is based on the premise of His economy presented in verse 1. Verses 2-3 speaks of the process where Christ is constituted as the expanded Treasure into us, spirit, soul and body, in spite of all the trials and worldly despisings and persecutions. This constitution is done organically as shown in verse 3 and is not done for self-display or exaltation, but rather that Christ be all in all without any factor dimming the expression of His glory shining from out of us in our daily living, being continually filled with Him.


Keith McDonald

St. Catharines, ON, Canada

I used to sing this song many years ago in Christian meetings. The kingdom of God is all about treasure and harvest. Many of Jesus'parables spoke to this point.


Daniel Jackson

Reading, United Kingdom

I appreciate the words of this hymn so much! Verse 1 particulary touches me:

God in heaven hath a treasure,

Riches none may count or tell;

Hath a deep eternal pleasure,

Christ the Son, He loveth well.

God hath here on earth a treasure,

None but He its price may know-

Deep, unfathomable pleasure,

Christ revealed in saints below.

Praise Him! God only has ONE treasure - and that is Christ! What is His deep, unfathomable pleasure on earth? It is not us - it is Christ! - Christ revealed in us! How wonderful! I pray that when God would look at us, He would see nothing but the One with Whom He is well pleased! Christ! Oh, may we be filled with Him to such an extent!