J N Darby – Unchanging Love – O Lord, Thy love’s unbounded, so sweet, so full, so free

O LORD, Thy love’s unbounded,
So sweet, so full, so free;
My soul is all transported
Whene’er I think of Thee!

J N Darby

O LORD, Thy love’s unbounded,
So sweet, so full, so free;
My soul is all transported
Whene’er I think of Thee!

Yet Lord, alas! what weakness
Within myself I find;
No infant’s changing pleasure
Is like my wandering mind.

And yet Thy love’s unchanging,
And doth recall my heart
To joy in all its brightness,
The peace its beams impart.

Yet sure, if in Thy presence
My soul still constant were,
Mine eye would, more familiar,
Its brighter glories bear;

And thus Thy deep perfections
Much better should I know,
And with adoring fervour
In this Thy nature grow.

Still sweet ’tis to discover,
If clouds have dimmed my sight,
When passed, eternal Lover,
Towards me, as e’er, Thou’rt bright.

Oh guard my soul, then, Jesus,
Abiding still with Thee;
And, if I wander, teach me
Soon back to Thee to flee;

That all Thy gracious favour
May to my soul be known,
And, versed in this Thy goodness,
My hopes Thyself shalt crown

John Nelson Darby (1800-82)

This is in Hymns for the  Little Flock 1962 and 1973 – No 51

Written 1845

J N Darby – Fulness of Joy – Oh, bright and blessed hope! When shall it be

OH, bright and blessed hope!
When shall it be
That we His face, long loved,
Revealed shall see?

Christian's hopeOH, bright and blessed hope!
When shall it be
That we His face, long loved,
Revealed shall see?

Oh! when, without a cloud,
His features trace,
Whose faithful love so long
We’ve known in grace;

That love itself enjoy,
Which, ever true,
Did in our feeble path
Its work pursue?

O Jesus, not unknown,
Thy love shall fill
The heart in which Thou dwell’st,
And shalt dwell still.

Still, Lord, to see Thy face,
Thy voice to hear;
To know Thy present love
For ever near;

To gaze upon Thyself,
So faithful known,
Long proved in secret help
With Thee alone;

To see that love, content,
On me flow forth,
For ever Thy delight,
Clothed with Thy worth!

O Lord, ’twas sweet the thought
That Thou wast mine;
But brighter still the joy
That I am Thine!

Thine own, O Lord, the fruit,
The cherished fruit,
Of Thine all perfect love!
No passing root

Of evil e’er will dim
Thy cloudless rays;
But a full heart pour forth
Thine endless praise!

Nor what is next Thy heart
Can we forget –
Thy saints, O Lord, with Thee
In glory met,

(Perfect in comeliness
Before Thy face –
Th’eternal witness all
Of Thine own grace),

Together then their songs
Of endless praise,
With one harmonious voice,
In joy shall raise!

O joy supreme and full,
Where sunless day
Sheds forth, with light divine,
Its cloudless ray!


John Nelson Darby (1800-81)

Written 1879
Parts of the above are in Hymns for the Little Flock 1962 and 1973 – No 160


Meter usually sung as

J N Darby – The Tree of Life – Soon we taste the endless sweetness


SOON we taste the endless sweetness
Of the Tree of life above;
Taste its own eternal meetness
For the heavenly land we love.

In eternal counsels founded,
Perfect now in fruit divine;
When the last blest trump has sounded,
Fruit of God for ever mine!

Fresh and ever new are hanging
Fruits of life on that blest Tree;
There is stilled each earnest longing,
Satisfied my soul shall be.

Safety, where no foe approaches;
Rest, where toil shall be no more;
Joy, whereon no grief encroaches;
Peace, where strife shall all be o’er –

“Holiness and love and joy characterize the land. They are the fruits which grow there spontaneously, as are the thanksgivings that arise in the hearts of those who are there through redeeming power.”

Various fruits of richest flavour
Offers still the Tree divine;
One itself, the same for ever,
All its various fruits are mine.

Where deceiver ne’er can enter,
Sin-soiled feet have never trod,
Free, our peaceful feet may venture
In the paradise of God;

Drink of life’s perennial river,
Feed on life’s perennial food,
Christ, the fruit of life, and Giver –
Safe through His redeeming blood.

Object of eternal pleasure,
Perfect in Thy work divine!
Lord of glory! Without measure,
Worship, joy, and praise are Thine!

But, my soul, hast thou not tasted
Of that Tree of life on high?
As through desert lands thou’st hasted,
Eshcol’s grapes been never nigh?

Ah! that Tree of life was planted,
Rooted deep in love divine,
Ere the sons of God had chanted
Worlds where creature glories shine.

Love divine without a measure
Godhead glory must reveal;
In the Object of its pleasure
All its ways of grace must seal.

As a tender sucker, rising
From a dry and stony land,
Object of man’s proud despising,
Grew the Plant of God’s right hand.

Grace and truth, in love unceasing,
Rivers on the thirsty ground –
Every step to God well pleasing –
Spread their heavenly savour round.

He the Father’s Self revealing –
Heavenly words none else could tell,
Words of grace, each sorrow healing,
On the ear of sorrow fell.

Yes! that Tree of life is planted;
Sweetest fruit e’en here has borne;
To its own rich soil transplanted,
Waits alone the eternal morn-

Fruits that our own souls have tasted
By the Spirit from above,
While through desert lands we’ve hasted,
Fruits of perfect, endless love!


John Nelson Darby,

Written 1870
Parts of the above are in Hymns for the Little Flock 1962 and 1973 – Nos 50 and 206

(Lord, in Thee we taste the sweetness Of the Tree of Life above)


Darby – French Letter No. 148A – Getting Stronger in Faith

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

Extract from 148

Do not be discouraged, dear brother, about your dear daughter. There are hearts which close up in a crowd, which often are open only to God. Sometimes this is linked in some way to some fault. But they have confidence only when they are near God and hide amid the noise of the world where hardier souls are found. God has care of these hearts, but they must be cared for as much as others, for the flesh which is always there always tends to associate with the world. If life is there, which I do not doubt, it must be cultivated as with any other soul, leaving its manifestation to God. One has said: the grace of God in the heart of a man is a delicate plant in a bad climate. One must think about this.

When the faith of your daughter becomes firmer and leans less on its joy in Christ, or rather on the joy which flows from Him, your daughter will have more confidence to face the world. It is necessary to wait for the work of God, and, in the meantime to watch that the world does not spoil this work. There is difficulty in finding one’s first freshness again; but if it is kept, all this will be rediscovered later, more solid, and more completely Christ itself.


Letter originally written in French, translated by Sosthenes, 2013
Click here for original – If you have any comments on the translation, feel free to let me know.

The Love of God 1 John 4:9 
by J. N. Darby

God presents what He is to men, so we know that He is holy, righteous and love. He is love, and love draws me. Love is the divine nature.

I need to be separate from evil: “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14). It is not said, ‘He is holiness’. Indeed I as a sinner would be repelled by mere holiness. He is holy. He is just, and He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. (Hab 1:13) He may be the God of judgment, but He blesses His own so that they might be eternally happy in holiness, for He is holy love.

A summary by Sosthenes

J N Darby
John Nelson Darby

God presents what He is to men, so we know that He is holy, righteous and love.  He is love, and love draws me.  Love is the divine nature.

I need to be separate from evil:  “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb 12:14).  It is not said, ‘He is holiness’.  Indeed I as a sinner would be repelled by mere holiness.  He is holy. He is just, and He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity(Hab 1:13)  He may be the God of judgment, but He blesses His own so that they might be eternally happy in holiness, for He is holy love.

Whatever our state may be, God is perfect in His love, and He would make us learn, enjoy and walk in it now, not when we get to heaven.

Our selfish, unbelieving nature hinders us down here, but this only serves to magnify God’s grace and love.  In spite of all, He brings us to the knowledge of perfect love because “Perfect love casteth out fear, for fear hath torment” (v.18).   If, when thinking of God, we fear, we have torment.  That is the conscience.   Man may seek to bury his conscience, but only succeeds in hardening it.

If we seek peace in ordinances, it is not love but fear. The effect of true ministry is to put the soul in direct contact with God.  False ministry brings in something between the soul and God.

The soul must have the blessed consciousness of perfect peace with God.  God brings you into the joy of His perfect love in His presence; “Who shall separate us? … More than conquerors.” (Rom. 8:35)

The family character of the children of God is light and love.  It is God’s nature, and seen in both in Christ and in all God’s children.  I must have the new nature to know this; but how do I get it?  Where is it found?  In Jesus Christ Himself, image of the invisible God. (Col 1:15).   In Christ I find a perfect manifestation of His love. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us(v10).

There is no mention of anything required of us, but the simple fact of what we were “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1)

Though He is a God of judgment, He brought out the means of our approach: through Christ’s sacrifice.  Abel’s faith testified how man was to approach to God, so from Abel downwards God showed mercy.

Man as man refuses to come to God “none righteous.”  (Rom. 3:10) When Christ comes, it is another thing altogether.  God now approaches man in grace; not man approaching God.  He visited men in their sins, “that they might live through him.” (v.9)  All around was darkness, degradation, and idolatry. God took them out of that condition that they might live through Christ. “God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”  (1 John 5:10). Thus we are brought into His presence.

We live through His only-begotten Son. He is bringing us into His presence, before the One in whom all His delight was from eternity.  It is the eternal enjoyment of it to know eternal life in the Son; but down here we often question it, because we do not see this love in us. He is “a propitiation for our sins.(1 John 2:2)

God has loved me not only when I wanted it, but because His knew what I wanted.  He has not mistaken my case; Christ on the cross made the propitiation for my sins.  So I can say, “Herein is love.” (v.10)  I have found God, and my soul rests there. The cloud has been taken away for ever. If you say, ‘I have committed such and such a sin’; I answer, ‘It is for the sins you had or still have that Christ died; for He died for your sins.’

He cannot bear sin, and therefore He must put the sinner in his sins away, because He cannot bear the sins.  I learn to judge sin according to God, because I am brought into the light.  I find many sins in myself. He is the propitiation for my sins. I believe this, and then I enter into communion with Him. Why do I find fear and torment when I find sin in myself?   Can I not trust that love?  Have I not believed the love God has towards me?

God does not expect fruit from man, but His grace produces fruit.  We should feel sin, and know it has been blotted out.  We are told that  “The glory thou hast given me I have given them, that the world may know that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” (John 17:24)  “There is no fear in love.” (v.18).   It is a matter of communion and we live through Him. “… Perfect love casteth out fear.”

I am not honouring God, if I do not trust the work of Christ in love on the cross.  I come to Him just as I am, and then I know God.  He enables me to trust in blood of Jesus Christ His Son – the perfectness of His work in putting away sin.