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Updated 10/18/2018

 

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling


 

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling is a Christian hymn by Charles Wesley with a theme of "Christian perfection." Judging by general repute, it is among Wesley's finest: "justly famous and beloved, better known than almost any other hymn of Charles Wesley." Judging by its distribution, it is also among his most successful: by the end of the 19th century, it is found in 15 of the 17 hymn books consulted by the authors of Lyric Studies.  On a larger scale, it is found almost universally in general collections of the past century, including not only Methodist and Anglican hymn books and commercial and ecumenical collections, but also hymnals published by Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist, Brethren, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran, Congregationalist, Pentecostal, and Roman Catholic traditions, among others including the Churches of Christ.

The melody was inspired by the form and metre of Drydenís patriotic poem Fairest isle, all isles excelling (set by Purcell). It became associated with the Welsh tune Hyfrydol in the twentieth century. This was composed by R H Prichard, a Welsh mill-worker and chapel precentor, and published in 1855.

Rowland Huw Prichard (14 January 1811 Ė 25 January 1887) was a Welsh musician. A native of Graienyn, near Bala, he lived most of his life in the area, serving for a time as a loom tender's assistant in Holywell, where he died. In 1844 Prichard published Cyfaill y Cantorion (The Singer's Friend), a song book intended for children.

Lyrics by Charles Wesley

  Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of Heavín 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.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

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.

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 Heavín we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.