Thou art the everlasting Word

Thou art the everlasting Word,
  The Father’s only Son,
God manifestly seen and heard,
  And heav’n’s beloved One:
Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,
In Thee God’s fulness find we now.
In Thee most perfectly expressed
  The Father’s glories shine;
Of the full Deity possessed,
  Eternally divine:
Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,
In Thee God’s fulness find we now.
True image of the Infinite,
  Whose essence is concealed;
Brightness of uncreated light;
  The heart of God revealed:
Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,
In Thee God’s fulness find we now.
But the high mysteries of Thy Name
  An angel’s grasp transcend;
The Father only, glorious claim!
  The Son can comprehend:
Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,
In Thee God’s fulness find we now.
Throughout the universe of bliss,
  The center, Thou, and sun;
Th’ eternal theme of praise is this,
  To heav’n’s beloved One:
Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,
In Thee God’s fulness find we now.
Ana Lara

Storrs, Connecticut, United States

Josiah Conder, the author of this hymn of praise once said concerning subjective hymns: “On reading a hymn nobody enquirers why it was written or attributes the feeling it depicts to the poet’s actual, or, at any rate, present experience. ” That was said over a hundred and fifty years ago. Times have changed, and since then the story of how hymns have come into being has been told and retold; how the author’s thought and feeling prompted them to put their original theme into sacred verse.

Josiah Conder, the son of a bookseller, was born in Aldersgate, London, on September 17, 1789. His father and mother were non-conformists, and he grew up in the faith of his God-fearing parents. At an early age Josiah lost the sight in his right eye, and fearing the loss of his other eye, he was sent to be treated by a notable physician. While the young patient was undergoing treatment, the physician became his tutor and thus gained knowledge in French, Latin and other studies.

At the age of fifteen, Josiah was taken as assistant into his father’s bookshop. He contacted many people of knowledge that frequented the shop and Josiah soon began to exhibit a taste for literature and at age twenty-one, he was assisting in the production of a volume of poems to which he largely contributed.

It was about this time that Conder began writing hymns while keeping up his literary career. However, he constantly struggled with the means of sustaining himself economically. Remembering these conflicting experiences, Conder’s hymns, ever hopeful and trustful in spirit, come to the heart of the Christian with special power and feeling. He wrote many prose and poetical works in his lifetime.

He was a well known hymn-book compiler and editor. Among his hymnal publications, “The Congressional Hymn Book, ” issued in 1836, and recognized as a standard collection of hymns, contained fifty-six of his compositions. Julian the eminent hymnologist, praises Conder by ranking him as one of the best writers of that century. “Conder’s hymns, ” he says, “are the outcome of a deep spiritual mind. Their variety in meter, in style, and in treatment saves them from the monotonous mannerism which mars the work of many hymn writers. Their theology though decidedly evangelical, is yet of a broad and liberal kind. ”

Conder is represented in the “Believers Hymn Book, ” “Hymns of Light and Love, ” and “Hymns for Christian Worship, ” by a single hymn— but one of great importance— “Thou Art the Everlasting Word”—Here in this other stanza, we see the heart of the poet exulting Christ, the Father’s only Begotten to the fullest praise:

“In Thee, most perfectly expressed,

The Father’s glories shine,

Of the full Deity possessed,

Eternally Divine! ”

Many tunes have been adapted to this hymn, but the one that best suits the theme of this hymn is the melody known as “Arabia. ”

Josiah Conder died at St. John’s Wood, London, on December 27, 1855.

Steve Miller

Detroit, MI

Josiah Conder was born in London, England to a bookseller, Thomas Conder. At the age of 13 he left school and entered his father's book-selling business but continued to educate himself. He became a good writer and wrote articles for magazines, produced a volume of poems, edited a Nonconformist newspaper, and also acted as a lay preacher. In 1836 he edited the "Congregational Hymn Book: a Supplement to Dr. Watts' Hymns and Psalms". In this collection he added 56 of his own hymns. At the time of his death he had prepared for the press a collection of all his hymns. His son published it and entitled it, "Hymns of Praise and Prayer and Devout Meditation." In the preface, his son wrote that many of his father's hymns are "transcripts of personal experience and add to the proofs so often given that God tunes the heart by trial and sorrow, not only to patience but to praise." - Songs of the Spirit by Martin


In the original, the last 2 lines of each stanza say:

Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou

that every knee to Thee should bow.

Daniel Jackson

Reading, United Kingdom

So often in my concept the Lord Jesus is somehow less than God, or only a part of the Godhead. However, this is not the case! This song makes it so clear:

"Divine, O Son of God, art Thou, In Thee God's fulness find we now."

The Lord Jesus is fully divine - fully God. When we touch Christ, we get God's fulness!