568. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

1 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.

2 Come, Almighty to deliver,
let us all thy life receive;
suddenly return, and never,
nevermore thy temples leave.
Thee we would always blessing,
serve thee with thy hosts above,
pray and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.

3 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.

Text Information
First Line: Love divine, all loves excelling
Title: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Author: Charles Wesley (1747)
Publication Date: 1987
Meter: 87 87 D
Scripture: John 3:16; John 15:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 3
Topic: Epiphany & Ministry of Christ; Love: God's Love to Us; Walk with God
Language: English
Tune Information
Name: HYFRYDOL
Composer: Rowland H. Prichard (1831)
Meter: 87 87 D
Key: F Major


Text Information:

Scripture References:
st. 1 = Rev. 21:3, John 3:16, John 15:9
st. 2 = Mal. 3:1
st. 3 = 2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Cor. 5:17, 2 Pet. 3:14

Considered by many to be among Charles Wesley's (PHH 267) finest texts, "Love Divine" was published in four stanzas in his Hymns for those that seek, and those that have Redemption in the Blood of Christ (1747). Many hymnals, including the Psalter Hymnal, omit the original second stanza, which contained the questionable line "take away our power of sinning." A verse from John Dryden's poem beginning with the words "Fairest isle, all isles excelling" used by Henry Purcell in his opera King Arthur were undoubtedly Wesley's inspiration for writing this text. In fact, "Love Divine" was set to a Purcell tune in John and Charles Wesley's Sacred Melody (1761).

Addressed to Christ, this text begins as a prayer for the indwelling of his love in our lives: "fix in us thy humble dwelling" and "let us all thy life receive" (st. 1-2). A tone of praise and adoration runs throughout the text. But the final stanza is clearly a prayer for sanctification, for consistently holy lives. Though this stanza was an outcome of the Specifically Wesleyan doctrine of perfection, it is our fervent Christian prayer that our sanctification will ultimately lead to glorification. As is customary in a Charles Wesley text, biblical allusions abound.

Liturgical Use:
As a sung prayer, probably towards the end of the service or, given its tone of praise, as a closing hymn; Advent.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

See PHH 479 for a discussion of HYFRYDOL.

Sing in harmony on stanzas 1 and 2. You may also want to sing the middle stanza unaccompanied. On the third stanza sing in unison, perhaps with an alternate accompaniment.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


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