Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Full Text

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 Breathe, O breathe thy loving Spirit
into every troubled breast;
let us all in thee inherit;
let us find the promised rest.
Take away the love of sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

3 Come, Almighty, to deliver;
let us all thy life 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.

4 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.


Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #366

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 >

Text Information

First Line: Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heaven, to earth come down
Title: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Author: Charles Wesley (1747)
Meter: 8.7.8.7 D
Language: English

Notes

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
============================

Love Divine, all loves excelling. C. Wesley. [The Love of Christ.] First published in Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption, 1747, No. 9, in 4 stanzas of 8 lines (Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. iv. p. 219). In 1780 it was included, with the omission of stanza ii., in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, No. 374, and in this form it has passed into a large number of hymn-books in all English-speaking countries. It had previously appeared in full in M. Madan's Psalms & Hymns, 1760; A. M. Toplady's Psalms & Hymns, 1776, and other hymn-books of the Church of England. The two forms, the full and the abridged, have thus come into common use. Tested by its use it is found to rank with the best of its author's work. Mr. G. J. Stevenson has an interesting note thereon in his Methodist Hymn Book Notes, 1883, p. 266.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

Tune

BEECHER

John Zundel's BEECHER (named after Henry Ward Beecher, his pastor) was first published in his Christian Heart Songs (1870) as a setting for Charles Wesley's "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" (568). The tune is also known as ZUNDEL. Approximating the shape of a rounded bar form (AA'BA'), BEECHER is…

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HYFRYDOL

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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Timeline

Media

Baptist Hymnal 1991 #208
The Cyber Hymnal #3606
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #568
The United Methodist Hymnal #384
Worship and Rejoice #358

Instances

Instances (55)TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
African American Heritage Hymnal #440Image
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #208TextImageAudioScore
Baptist Hymnal 2008 #172TextImage
Celebrating Grace Hymnal #281Image
Celebration Hymnal #648Image
Chalice Hymnal #517Text
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #365Text
Church Family Worship #387
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #634
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #519Text
Common Praise (1998) #485
Common Praise (1998) #486
Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #437
Complete Mission Praise #449
Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #407Text
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #631Image
Gather (3rd ed.) #641Image
Gather Comprehensive #622Text
Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #613
Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #366TextImageAudioFlexscore
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #657TextImage
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #131
Hymns for a Pilgrim People #48
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #217a
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #217b
Hymns of Faith #56TextImage
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #321
Lead Me, Guide Me (2nd ed.) #494
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #351ImageAudioFlexscore
Living Hymns #7
Lutheran Service Book #700Text
Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #376TextImage
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #568TextImageAudioScore
Rejoice in the Lord #464Text
Renew! #196TextImage
Revival Hymns and Choruses #3
Revival Hymns and Choruses #4
Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #191
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #179
Sing Joyfully #71TextImage
The Christian Life Hymnal #40
The Christian Life Hymnal #41
The Christian Life Hymnal #42
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #439
The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #92
The New Century Hymnal #43Image
The Sacred Harp 1991 Revision: The Best Collection of Sacred Songs, Hymns, Odes, and Anthems Ever Offered the Singing Public for General Use #30A
The United Methodist Hymnal #384TextImageAudioScoreFlexscore
The Worshiping Church #558TextImageFlexscore
Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #217
Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #529TextImageFlexscore
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #333Text
Welsh and English Hymns and Anthems #75b
Worship and Rejoice #358TextImageAudioScore
Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal #150



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