Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (BEECHER)

Words:8.7.8.7 D • Charles Wesley (1747), with small historical influences
Music:BEECHER (or ZUNDELL) • John Zundell (1870), with small historical influences to the harmony

Words

1.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
  Joy of heav’n 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 our 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 heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
  Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

Compared to Hymnals

  No. Words Music
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs 283 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below) Identical
Songs of Faith and Praise 140 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Lacks vs 3;
Changes “all loves” to “all love” in vs 1
Identical
Praise for the Lord 405 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Changes “all loves” to “all love” in vs 1
Identical
Hymns for Worship (Revised) 393 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Changes every occurrence of “let us” to “may we”
Identical
Songs of the Church 331 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Changes “all loves” to “all love” in vs 1
Identical
Sacred Selections 260 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Changes “all loves” to “all love” in vs 1
Changes every occurrence of “let us” to “may we”
Identical
Christian Hymns No. 2 n/a
Great Songs of the Church No. 2 440 Alters vss 2 & 4 (see below);
Changes “all loves” to “all love” in vs 1
Identical

Verse 2

Our Version Common in Hymnals Above
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit
  Into every troubled breast.
Let us all in Thee inherit,
  Let us find the promised rest.
Take away our love of sinning;
  Alpha and Omega be!
End of faith as its beginning,
  Set our hearts at liberty.
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;
  Take our load of guilt away.
End the work of Thy beginning;
  Bring us to eternal day.

Our wording is closer to the original text of Charles Wesley. Here is an excerpt from a 1761 reprinting of Wesley’s original text:

It is unclear when the altered form was originally written, but its essence can be seen in The Hartford selection of hymns (1799):

On its own, this is an excellent stanza. Unfortunately, when compared with the original, Wesley’s rich allusion to Jesus as the Alpha and Omega in Revelation (Rev 1:8; 21:6; 22:13) is lost, as is the idea of him being the beginning and end, the author and perfecter, of our faith (Heb 12:2). We’ve chosen to stay close to Wesley’s original text.

Verse 4

Our Version Common in Hymnals Above
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 heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
  Lost in wonder, love, and praise!
Finish, then, Thy new creation;
  Pure, unspotted may we be.
Let us see our whole salvation
  Perfectly secured by Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
  Till in heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
  Lost in wonder, love, and praise!

The altered wording common in the hymnals above is based on Toplady’s version of 1776:

Wesley’s original text, however, focused on salvation as being Jesus’ great work of restoring and recreating us in Him. Here again is an excerpt from a 1761 reprinting of Wesley’s original text:

As with verse 2, we’ve chosen to stay closer to Wesley’s original text.

Sources

References

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Through [Jesus] let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.
— Hebrews 13:15