Come, Thou long expected Jesus

Come, thou long expected Jesus! Born to set thy people free

Author: Charles Wesley
Prayer Songs
Published in 609 hymnals

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1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989

Author: Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley, the son of Samuel Wesley, was born at Epworth, Dec. 18, 1707. He was educated at Westminster School and afterwards at Christ Church, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. In 1735, he took Orders and immediately proceeded with his brother John to Georgia, both being employed as missionaries of the S.P.G. He returned to England in 1736. For many years he engaged with his brother in preaching the Gospel. He died March 29, 1788. To Charles Wesley has been justly assigned the appellation of the "Bard of Methodism." His prominence in hymn writing may be judged from the fact that in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book," 623 of the 770 hymns were written by him; and he published more than thirty poetical works, written either by himself alone,… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1=2 Cor. 4:14, Rev. 3:21
st. 3-4 =Isa. 61:1-2, Luke 4:18-19, Rom. 6:22

Charles Wesley (PHH 267) wrote this Advent hymn and printed it in his Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord (1744). Like so many of Wesley's texts, "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" alludes to one or more Scripture passages in virtually every phrase. The double nature of Advent is reflected in this text, in which we remember Christ's first coming even while praying for his return. Stanzas 1 and 2 recall Advent prophecies in the Old Testament; stanza 3 speaks of Christ's birth and kingdom, and stanza 4 is a prayer for Christ's rule in our hearts.

Liturgical Use:
Advent; Christmas and Christmas carol/lesson worship services; worship that stresses the second coming.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook


Come, Thou long expected Jesus. C. Wesley. [Christmas.] Appeared in Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, 1744, No. x., in 2 stanzas of 8 lines. The tract in which it appeared formed the first of those called the "Festival Hymns," which were subsequently published by Lampe in 1746. It was not included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book until the revised edition of 1875, No. 688, although it was given by Whitefield in his Collection, 1753, and later editions; by Madan, in his Psalms & Hymns, 1760; by Toplady, in his Psalms & Hymns, 1776; and by others. It is found in a great number of hymnals in Great Britain and America, specially those of the Church of England, and usually without alteration, as in Hymnal Companion, No. 96. A marked departure from this rule is, "Come, O Saviour, long expected," which appeared in Hall’s Mitre, 1836, in 4 stanzas of 4 lines, and again in the New Mitre, 1875, in 6 stanzas, the last two stanzas being Edward Osier's doxology, "Worship, honour, glory, blessing," from the older Mitre, 1836, No. 282. Other altered forms are, "Come, Thou Saviour, long expected," in Kennedy, 1863, No. 89, "Hail, Thou long expected Jesus," in the American Protestant Episcopal Hymnal, 1871. Original text, Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. iv. p. 116.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


Come, Thou long expected Jesus, p. 252, ii. This is rendered into Latin by H. M. Macgill, 1876, No. 17, as "Veni Jesu ter Optate."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)



STUTTGART was included in Psalmodia Sacra (1715), one of the most significant hymnals of the early sixteenth century [sic: eighteenth century]. Christian F. Witt (b. Altenburg, Germany, e. 1660; d. Altenburg, 1716) was an editor and compiler of that collection; about 100 (of the 774) tunes in that c…

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One of the most loved Welsh tunes, HYFRYDOL was composed by Rowland Hugh Prichard (b. Graienyn, near Bala, Merionetshire, Wales, 1811; d. Holywell, Flintshire, Wales, 1887) in 1830 when he was only nineteen. It was published with about forty of his other tunes in his children's hymnal Cyfaill y Cant…

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