O Thou Who Camest from Above

Full Text

1 O thou who camest from above
the fire celestial to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love
on the mean altar of my heart!

2 There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

3 Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
to work, and speak, and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire,
and still stir up the gift in me.

4 Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat;
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #258

Author: Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley, M.A. was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, perhaps, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the great hymn-writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory, Dec. 18, 1707. In 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such received his board and education free. In 1726 Charles Wesley was elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much deepene… Go to person page >

Notes

O Thou Who camest from above. C. Wesley. [For Holiness, and for Earnestness in Work.] Published in his Short Hymns, &c, 1762, vol. i. p. 57, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines. (Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. ix. p. 58). It was included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780, No. 318, and has become one of the most popular hymns in the Methodist denominations. To some hymnbook compilers the opening lines of stanza ii.,

"There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,"

have presented difficulties which have caused its omission from many collections. Bishop E. H. Bickersteth, in his Hymnal Companion, has done much towards removing this difficulty by rendering the lines:—

"There let it for Thy glory burn
Unquenched, undimmed in darkest days."

This reading has been adopted by others. Bp. Bickersteth's note thereto explains the cause and meaning of the change:—

" The Editor believes that this admirable hymn would have been far more popular if it had not been for the very long word 'inextinguishable.' Words of five syllables must be admitted into hymns sparingly; but for a whole congregation to be poised on six, practically leads to a hymn being passed by. It is hoped that the line given in the text, which only paraphrases the same thought, will be allowed."

In Martineau's Hymns, 1840, and 1873, the opening line of this hymn is changed to "O Thou, Who deignest from above."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

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The Cyber Hymnal #6977
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Small Church Music #419
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The United Methodist Hymnal #501

Instances

Instances (1 - 26 of 26)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #258Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #639
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #625TextPage Scan
Common Praise (1998) #624Page Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #191Page Scan
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #553
Complete Mission Praise #525
Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #704TextPage Scan
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #233
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #745a
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #745b
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #552
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #596Text
Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #580
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #392
Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #560
Singing the Faith #564a
Singing the Faith #564b
Small Church Music #419Audio
Small Church Music #614Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #6977TextScoreAudio
The New English Hymnal #431Page Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal #501TextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #572a
Together in Song: Australian hymn book II #572b
찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #269
Include 117 pre-1979 instances



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