O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go
Romans 8:35
ST. MARGARET  |  Hymn History  |  Bible Passage
Author: Geroge Matheson, 1842-1906
Musician: Albert L. Peace, 1844-1912

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O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O Light that follow'st all my way,
I yield my flick'ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me thro' pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow thro' the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from Thee;
I lay in dust life's glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

O Faith that quickened me in death,
I owe my inward life to Thee;
By Thee God's Son is mine indeed,
And has supplied my ev'ry need
By Blood at Calvary.


We often wonder why it is that God allows His ints to suffer so much hardship. Yet, it's t~'ue that He does. The latter part of Hebrews chapter eleven is proof positive, if such proof is needed, that this is so.

However, God has a purpose in everything. He doesn't do things by whim or by chance. Everything is reasoned and planned, and for the very best of motives. When he does ask His child to endure hardship, it is never out of malice or spite, but that the believer may learn to trust Him more.

Yet, it's wonderful how so many of these trials become triumphs; and how seemingly impossible situations turn into milestones of blessing.

Surely, one such is the experience which led George Matheson to write those lovely words, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.

George Matheson was bom in Glasgow, Scotland, on 27th March, 1842. Before he was very old it was discovered that he suffered from a disease which would eventually cause him to become completely blind. Despite this, he pressed on with his studies, and, in due course entered university, graduating with honours, when he was 19.

It was while at university that he suffered the stunning blow which later prompted the writing of his beautiful hymn.

He had met and fallen in love with a young woman, also a student at the university, and, in due course, they planned to be married. But then George had to tell her the awful news that one day he would be blind! Would she still marry him?

To his astonishment and grief her blunt answer came, striking to his heart wi th the force of a dagger: I do not want to be the wife of a blind man.' And with that they parted.

Years later the memory of that rebuff came flooding back on the eve of his sister's wedding; and in less than five minutes he penned those immortal words.

Matheson recorded that they were 'the fruits of suffering, written when I was alone and suffering a mental anguish over something that no one else knew.'

This story will surely strike a sympathetic chord in the heart of every reader. Who among us would care to suffer the deep personal hurt which was George Matheson's; yet who among us has not been blessed with the words which were born out of that desperate experience?

That George Matheson triumphed over his great disappointment is evident. After leaving university he spent another four years in the study of theology, preparing himself for the ministry.

His first pastorate was at lnnellan on the Clyde, where he stayed for 18 years. It was while there that he received a summons to preach before Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The Queen was so impressed by his preaching and prayers that she presented him with a small sculpture of herself. She had the thoughtfulness not to present a blind man with a photograph.

His ministry continued, long, faithful and fruitful, until August 28th 1906, when, on a much needed holiday, he was called home to be with his Saviour. His body was laid to rest in the family vault at Glasgow.

Some would say that much of the success of O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go, results from the tune 'Saint Margaret.' It was composed by Dr. Albert L. Peace; who was organist at Glasgow Cathedral and it came to him while sitting on the sandy shores of the Arran Island.

O love, that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths,
Its flow may richer, fuller be.


35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?