O Boundless Salvation
O boundless salvation, deep ocean of love!
O fullness of mercy Christ brought from above!
The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free;
Now flowing for all men, come roll over me.
This stirring song was written by the founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, in November, 1893. He had planned a series of evangelistic meetings to be held in Exeter Hall, London, England. The series was titled ‘Boundless Salvation’ because, he said, “We are anxious to emphasize the dimensions of the atonement.” Some of these dimensions are shown as the song progresses through all seven verses, with lines such as:
My sins they are many; their stains are so deep,
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep….
My tempers are fitful; my passions are strong;
They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong….
Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years….
The last three verses tell of the person’s hesitance, then eagerness, to plunge ’neath the waters and be released from the past, enabling him to sing:
And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise.
The tune, by J. Ellis, is also used for the hymn, “My Jesus, I Love Thee”. A tune had to be found quickly, as William Booth wrote the words throughout the night, just before the meetings at Exeter Hall. Three hundred and fifty-eight people committed themselves to Christ during the first singing of the song! No doubt it will be sung heartily by the thousands of Salvationists gathered in London, England, this July to celebrate the Army’s 150th anniversary. This international congress gathering is titled simply, “Boundless!” William Booth could never have imagined the “dimensions” to which his movement would extend.