Thou God of glorious majesty

Thou God of glorious majesty

Author: Charles Wesley
Tune: MERIBAH (Mason)
Published in 92 hymnals

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1 Thou God of glorious majesty,
To thee, against myself, to thee,
A worm of earth, I cry;
An half-awaken'd child of man,
An heir of endless bliss or pain,
A sinner born to die!

2 Lo! on a narrow neck of land,
’Twixt two unbounded seas I stand,
Secure, insensible;
A point of time, a moment’s space,
Removes me to that heavenly place,
Or shuts me up in hell.

3. O God mine inmost soul convert!
And deeply on my thoughtful heart
Eternal things impress:
Give me to feel their solemn weight,
And tremble on the brink of fate,
And wake to righteousness.

4 Before me place in dread array,
The pomp of that tremendous day,
When thou with clouds shalt come,
To judge the nations at thy bar;
And tell me, Lord, shall I be there
To meet a joyful doom?

5 Be this my one great business here,
With serious industry and fear
Eternal bliss t'ensure:
Thine utmost counsel to fulfil,
And suffer all thy righteous will,
And to the end endure.

6 Then, Saviour, then, my soul receive,
Transported from this vale to live,
And reign with thee above;
Where faith is sweetly lost in sight,
And hope in full supreme delight,
And everlasting love.

Source: Hymns, Selected and Original: for public and private worship (1st ed.) #248

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 >

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First Line: Thou God of glorious majesty
Author: Charles Wesley
Copyright: Public Domain


Thou God of glorious majesty. C. Wesley. [Death and Judgment.] First published in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1749, vol. i., in 6 stanzas of 6 lines, and entitled "An Hymn for Seriousness" (Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. iv. p. 310). In 1780 it was included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, as No. 58, and from thence has passed into many collections. The hymnals of the Church of England however received their text from M. Madan, who included the hymn in his Psalms & Hymns, 1760, and appended to the lines:—

”Give me to feel their solemn weight,
And tremble on the brink of fate
And wake to Righteousness,"

and a long note, thus introduced:—

”I am glad of an Opportunity to rescue this significant Word [Fate] out of the Hands of the Infidels, who use it together with Luck, Fortune, Chance, Destiny, to promote their favourite Scheme, of excluding the particular Providence of the Wise Disposer of all Events from the Government of the Affairs of Man."

He then proceeds to justify the use of the word by first giving its derivation from the Latin, Fatum, and then quoting classical authorities for its use in the same sense as that in which it is used by Wesley. Fate is that which God has spoken concerning man. In this verse of the hymn that word is, “Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return.” Hence its truth.
Concerning the second stanza, "Lo! on a narrow neck of land," much controversy has arisen as to whether or not it was written on a narrow neck of land" at the Land's End, Cornwall. Mr. T. Jackson, in his Life of Charles Wesley, asserts that there is no proof of its having been written under these circumstances; and Dr. Osborn, the learned editor of the Poetical Works of J. & C. Wesley, in silent on the subject. Failing to find elsewhere any evidence of value in favour of the common belief, we must join the above authorities in pronouncing against it.
The literary merits of this hymn won the praise of Montgomery:—

" 'Thou God of glorious majesty!' is a sublime contemplation in another vein; solemn, collected, unimpassioned thought, but thought occupied with that which is of everlasting import to a dying man, standing on the lapse of a moment between 'two eternities.'" Christian Psalmist. Introductory Essay.

An abbreviated form of this hymn is found in a few collections including Major's Book of Praise, &c, No. 65. It is composed of stanzas iii.-vi., beginning "O God, mine inmost soul convert." The same stanzas, considerably altered, are given as "O God, Thy saving grace impart," is in Kennedy, 1863.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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