The chorus of the hymn, “The Love of God” goes:
O Love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints and angels song.
When the author F.M. Lehman (1868-1953) tried to write a third verse to the song, the words just wouldn’t fall into place. He then thought of a card he had once received that had on it a poem about the love of God. He searched for the card and soon found it. Lehman read the words on the card and his heart was just as thrilled with the poem as the first time he read it. He began to voice the words of the poem with the melody he had composed for his song. They fit perfectly and he knew he had his third verse to his song.
Lehman noticed at the bottom of the card some smaller but heavier printing. It told the story of the origin of the poem. It was found written on a prison wall some 200 years earlier. It wasn’t known why the prisoner was incarcerated; nor if the words were original or if he had heard them elsewhere. Whatever the circumstances, he had written them on the wall of his prison cell. That third stanza goes:
Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.