Thursday, August 05, 2010

O Love that will not let me go

From George Matheson on his hymn "O Love that wilt not let me go":
My hymn was com­posed in the manse of In­ne­lan [Ar­gyle­shire, Scot­land] on the ev­en­ing of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s mar­ri­age, and the rest of the fam­i­ly were stay­ing over­night in Glas­gow. Some­thing hap­pened to me, which was known only to my­self, and which caused me the most se­vere men­tal suf­fer­ing. The hymn was the fruit of that suf­fer­ing. It was the quick­est bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the im­press­ion of hav­ing it dic­tat­ed to me by some in­ward voice ra­ther than of work­ing it out my­self. I am quite sure that the whole work was com­plet­ed in five min­utes, and equal­ly sure that it ne­ver re­ceived at my hands any re­touch­ing or cor­rect­ion. I have no na­tur­al gift of rhy­thm. All the other vers­es I have ever writ­ten are man­u­fact­ured ar­ti­cles; this came like a day­spring from on high.
HT: Dane Ortlund.

1 comment:

  1. BTW, I'm not sure how, given Matheson's blindness, he was able to transcribe his hymn.

    A few possibilities come to mind though:

    1. Perhaps he wasn't completely blind but, as we'd say today, closer to something like "legally" blind.

    2. Perhaps since he had been blind for years at this point in his life, but was quite literate prior to his blindness, he could still manage to trace the form of words onto paper well enough for someone to read later.

    3. Perhaps he had composed the hymn in his mind, memorized it, and when his family or others came back home, he dictated it to them.

    4. Perhaps he used a system like Braille, which would've been around at the time, I think.