#191 Love Divine
Words by Charles Wesley, 1747, (1707-1788)
Music by John Zundel, 1870 (1815-1882)
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast!
Let us all in thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;
suddenly return and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
Finish, then, thy new creation;
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee;
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
It is God's love we praise in this wonderful hymn by none other than Charles Wesley. He published it in 1747, and it's original title was Jesus, Show Us Thy Salvation. He adapted it from a song about King Arthur in a popular play of the era. Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns. Like most hymnists, his works were frequently altered. In the preface to the 1779 Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists, his brother John wrote:
I beg leave to mention a thought which has been long upon my mind, and which I should long ago have inserted in the public papers, had I not been unwilling to stir up a nest of hornets. Many gentlemen have done my brother and me (though without naming us) the honour to reprint many of our hymns. Now they are perfectly welcome to do so, provided they print them just as they are. But I desire they would not attempt to mend them, for they are really not able. None of them is able to mend either the sense or the verse. Therefore, I must beg of them these two favours: either to let them stand just as they are, to take things for better or worse, or to add the true reading in the margin, or at the bottom of the page, that we may no longer be accountable either for the nonsense or for the doggerel of other men.
In addition to hymn writing, Charles and John founded the movement which became the Methodist denomination.