Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me

Full Text

1 Gracious Spirit, dwell with me,
I would gracious be;
help me know Thy grace to see,
I would be like Thee;
and, with words that help and heal,
Thy life would mine reveal;
and, with actions, bold and meek
for Christ my Savior speak.

2 Truthful Spirit, dwell with me,
I would truthful be;
help me now Thy truth to see,
I would be like Thee;
and, with wisdom kind and clear,
Thy life in mine appear;
and, with actions lovingly,
speak Christ's sincerity.

3 Holy Spirit, dwell with me,
I would holy be;
show thy mercy tenderly,
make me more like thee;
separate from sin I would
and cherish all things good,
and whatever I can be
give Him who gave me Thee.

4 Mighty Spirit, dwell with me,
I would mighty be,
help me now thy power to see,
I would be like Thee;
'gainst all weapons hell can wield,
be Thou my strength and shield;
let Thy word my weapon be,
Lord, Thine the victory.

Source: Celebrating Grace Hymnal #236

Author: Thomas T. Lynch

Lynch, Thomas Toke, was born at Dunmow, Essex, July 5, 1818, and educated at a school at Islington, in which he was afterwards an usher. For a few months he was a student at the Highbury Independent College; but withdrew, partly on account of failing health, and partly because his spirit was too free to submit to the routine of College life. From 1847 to 1849 he was Minister of a small charge at Highgate, and from 1849 to 1852 of a congregation in Mortimer Street, which subsequently migrated to Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square. From 1856 to 1859 he was laid aside by illness. In 1860 he resumed his ministry with his old congregation, in a room in Gower Street, where he remained until the opening of his new place of worship, in 1862, (Morningto… Go to person page >

Text Information


A century ago, Christians took their hymns very seriously. So seriously that the publication of Thomas Toke Lynch's (1818-1871) little hymnbook, The Rivulet 1855 ("for Christian poetry is indeed a river of life, and to this river my rivulet brings its contribution"), almost split the Congregational Church. The "Rivulet Controversy," as it was called, centered around Lynch's frequent references to nature in his hymn texts, but the controversy was probably exacerbated by his fresh poetic style. The great hymnologist, John Julian, says, "Lynch's hymns are marked by intense individuality, gracefulness and felicity of diction, picturesqueness, spiritual freshness, and the sadness of a powerful soul struggling with a weak and emaciated body." Though the booklet was meant simply as an in-church supplement to Isaac Watt's popular hymnbook, the controversy spilled beyond his own church's walls and provoked the likes of Spurgeon to condemn him for promoting bad theology.

While "Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me" does not contain examples of his controversial nature imagery, it has been accused of promoting the "human spirit" rather than the Holy Spirit. In light of the third verse's prayer for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the hymn's overall concentration on the fruits of the Spirit, these criticisms are unfounded. Lynch's life also bears the mark of the Spirit; in the middle of these turbulent times he said, "The air will be all the clearer for this storm. We must conquer our foes by suffering them to crucify us rather than by threatening them with crucifixion." Although this trial did nothing to shake his faith, his health suffered significantly, and it is thought that it contributed to his early death.

The tune, REDHEAD 76, is given its name because it was the 76th tune in Richard Redhead's (1820-1901) Church Hymn Tunes. Redhead was trained as a chorister at Magdalene College, Oxford, and though he was a reputable organist, he is chiefly remembered as one of the key figures in the Oxford "Gregorian Revival." REDHEAD 76 is probably best known as the tune to "Go to Dark Gethsemane," and is therefore often referred to as "GETHSEMANE;" but has also been called "PETRA" (rock) for its association with the text "Rock of Ages." --Greg Scheer, 1997

Gracious Spirit, dwell with me. T. T. Lynch. [Whitsuntide.] First published in his work, The Rivulet, a Contribution to Sacred Song, 1855, p. 79, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines. It was brought into congregational use through the Baptist Psalms & Hymns, 1858. From that date it has steadily increased in popularity in Great Britain and America, and is given in full or in part in numerous hymn-books, especially those in use by Nonconformists.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



REDHEAD 76 is named for its composer, who published it as number 76 in his influential Church Hymn Tunes, Ancient and Modern (1853) as a setting for the hymn text "Rock of Ages." It has been associated with Psalm 51 since the 1912 Psalter, where the tune was named AJALON. The tune is also known as P…

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Include 151 pre-1979 instances