Salvation Army Commissioner Theodore Kitching said that one morning he arrived at the house of the Founder (Salvation Army term for William Booth; “Boundless Salvation” is also called “The Founder’s Song,” though Booth wrote many songs). Kitching found General Booth in his study completing the verses of this song. He wrote it to be sung at an evangelistic campaign being held at Exeter Hall in London. The crusade was called the “Boundless Salvation Campaign,” and this song was first sung November 14, 1893, during that campaign. Originally, the chorus “Heavenly Gales are Blowing” was sung between each of the verses. The words were first published in the The Salvation Army magazine The War Cry on December 23, 1893. Booth announced this song the last time he appeared in public, at his 83rd birthday celebration in the Royal Albert Hall, London, May 9, 1912.
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, now flowing for all men,
Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!
My sins they are many, their stains are so deep,
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;
But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,
Thy waters can cleanse me, thy waters can cleanse me,
Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!
My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,
They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;
Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,
O come, mighty ocean, O come, mighty ocean,
O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!
Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years;
I feel something better most surely would be
If once thy pure waters, if once thy pure waters,
If once thy pure waters would roll over me.
O ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood
On the brink of thy wonderful, life giving flood!
Once more I have reachèd this soul cleansing sea,
I will not go back, I will not go back,
I will not go back till it rolls over me.
The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ’neath the waters, I plunge ’neath the waters,
I plunge ’neath the waters they roll over me.
And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise
Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea
Of boundless salvation, of boundless salvation,
Of boundless salvation for you and for me.