JMA Logo

    The Methodist Church

    Link to the Methodist Church

    My Methodist History Link to MyMethodist History Website

    Church Calendar

    Link to the Church Google Calendar

    Related Links

    St Albans and Welwyn Circuit

    Link to Our Circuit Website

Link to Fairtrade

Link to Methodist Church App iTunes

Link to Singing the Faith Plus website


My Top Ten Hymns

My fourth choice is another hymn of praise and worship.

4. Love Divine, all Loves Excelling - Charles Wesley

Why one of my choices?

Cross and crowd alter fall

In common with many others, I am sure, we sang this at our wedding. Whilst this is as good a reason as I can think of to include it, this hymn it is also a joyful affirmation of the love shown to the world in Jesus. Its encouragement to praise and worship lifts the soul heavenward.

Additionally, the final verse concerns the concept of Christian Perfection and Wesley's sermon on "Christian Perfection" (sermon 40) was the Wesley Sermon used for my final interview "discussion" at the Local Preachers Meeting on becoming a Local Preacher.

Alongside these reasons this is, in my opinion, one of Charles Wesleys finest hymns.


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.

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 heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.

The omitted second verse is...

Breathe, oh, 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;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Background to the Hymn

"Love Divine" was originally published with four verses in Wesley's "Hymns for those that seek, and those that have Redemption in the Blood of Christ" in 1747.

Many hymn books including Singing the Faith omit the original second verse, probably due to the line "take away our power of sinning." and some have altered this to "take away our love of sinning".

The original had the line Let us all Thy life receive. This was changed to Grace for a long period but is returned to the original in Singing the Faith.

It is thought that a verse from John Dryden's poem beginning with the words "Fairest isle, all isles excelling" which was used by Henry Purcell in his opera King Arthur was Wesley's inspiration for writing this hymn.

A wonderful tone of praise and adoration exists throughout the hymn. The final verse is a prayer for for consistently holy lives. This is specifically the Wesleyan doctrine of perfection.

As in many other of his hymns Charles Wesley includes many biblical passages and hints of passages in the text.

You can read John Wesley's sermon on Christian Perfection here....

From the Book "The Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated by John Telford B.A. (1906)

Hymn 426. Love divine, all loves excelling


Hymns for those that seek and those that have Redemption in the Blood of Jesus Christ, 1747; Works, iv. 219.

Ver. 2 is omitted--

In ver. 2 of the original Charles Wesley wrote, "Let us all Thy life receive."

The gain by the omission of ver. 2 is almost inconceivable. John Fletcher touches on its theology. "Mr Wesley says second rest, because an imperfect believer enjoys a first inferior rest; if he did not he would be no believer." "Take away the power of sinning?" he asks. Is not this expression too strong?" Would it not be better to soften it by saying, "take away the love of sinning?" [or the bent of the mind towards sin]. Can God take away from our power of sinning without taking away our power of free obedience?"