A phrase came into my mind this morning that I recognized from a hymn, but I could not remember the title of it. I’m glad that happened because I discovered a wonderful old book of hymns when I searched the phrase. This gem, A Book of General Psalmody Compiled by William Carus Wilson, (Third Edition), was printed in 1853 and can be read and downloaded here. I found the hymn I was looking for, “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” in the topical section titled Prayer. That section contains close to 50 pages.
The phrase I remembered was: “take away our bent to sinning, Alpha and Omega be; End of Faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.” It is in the second verse, unfortunately omitted in the singing recorded above. The tune is different from the one I knew as a child, but I like it very much.
The complete text by Charles Wesley:
1.Love divine, all love excelling,
Joy of heaven, to earth come down;
Fix us in thy humble dwelling, All thy faithful mercies crown:
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love thou art;
Visit us with thy salvation,
Enter ev’ry waiting heart.
2.Breathe, oh! breathe thy loving Spirit
Into ev’ry troubled breast;
Let us all in thee inherit,
Let us find thy promised rest;
Take away our love of sinning,
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its beginning,
Set our souls at liberty.
3.Come, almighty to deliver,
Let us all thy grace receive;
Suddenly return—and never,
Never more thy temple leave:
Thee may we be always blessing,
Serve thee as thy hosts above,
Pray and praise thee without ceasing,
Triumph in redeeming love.
4.Finish, then,thy new creation;
Pure, unspotted, may we be;
Let us see our full salvation,
Perfectly secured 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.