Music replays the past memories, awaken our forgotten worlds and make our minds travel. Michael Bassey Johnson
As we journey our way through the 30 Great Hymns of Faith, we now come to the third powerful hymn accredited to the prolific hymn writer, Charles Wesley. Some believe today’s hymn, Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, to be one of Wesley’s finest works. First published in a 1747 collection of hymns called Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption, Wesley’s hymn has four stanzas of eight lines each. And as is common with the hymns of Charles and John Wesley, each stanza is chock full of scriptural references. So today, as a little test of your scriptural knowledge, let’s see how many scriptures come to mind as you ponder through Wesley’s powerful words…
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.
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,
Never more 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 heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
So, are you ready for the answer on how many scriptures Charles Wesley wove into his four- stanza hymn? Thanks to Albert Edward Bailey and his illuminating book (1950), The Gospel in Hymn, here’s our answer. Hold onto your seats, folks. This may take a while…
Stanza One: 1st John 4:8, Colossians 2:9, Revelation 5:11-14, John 14:16-17, 2nd Timothy 1:14, Revelation 21:3, Matthew 9:36, Psalm 86:15, and Psalm 106:4. (9)
Stanza Two: John 20:22, John 14:1, Matthew 19:29, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 4:8, 4:9, 4:11, Isaiah 59:7, Proverbs 21:10, Revelation 1: 8, 1:11, Colossians 3:11, 2nd Corinthians 3:19, and Galatians 5:1. (14)
Stanza Three: Psalm 109:21, 2nd Peter 2:9, James 4:6, Malachi 3:1, 1st Corinthians 6:19, Hebrews 13:5, Romans 1:9, Revelation 7:15, Psalm 138:2, Psalm 145:2, and Psalm 146:2. (11)
Stanza Four: John 3:3, 2nd Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15, 2nd Peter 3:14, Jude 24, 2nd Corinthians 3:18 and Revelation 4:10. (7)
Amazing, isn’t it? Forty-one different scriptures combined into one powerful hymn! Not bad, Mr. Wesley, not bad.
Sad isn’t it, that the pop songs we sing in churches today might contain a scripture or two, if we’re lucky. No wonder most of the church in today’s society seems to be so scripturally insufficient, huh? Maybe it’s time for another man or woman cut from the Wesleyan cloth to compose a few new hymns that take after the master’s deep desire to bring God’s Word to us in song?
My prayer: Father God, as Charles Wesley understood, Your Word in song brings truth and grace to our sinful hearts. May Your people once again sing songs that reflect the powerful truths and promises found within in Your written Word. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Charles Wesley was a student of God’s Word and was determined to write songs that would give the common people every opportunity to hear God’s truth set to music. What powerful truths and promises found in God’s Word need to be set to song in our generation?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together 30 Great Hymns of Faith?
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