Divine Love


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Ephesians 3 New International Version

A Prayer for the Ephesians

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

The Story Behind Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

According to Hymnary.org, Love Divine is considered “among Wesley’s finest”.  The hymn first appeared in Wesley’s Hymns for those that Seek, and those that Have Redemption published in 1747.

Wesley is considered to have been influenced by a distinctly pagan popular song of the day, ‘Fairest isle, all isles excelling’, written by John Dryden for Act 2 of Henry Purcell’s opera King Arthur (1691).  

The hymn is written around a progression of thoughts: (1) our prayers for the Holy Spirit, (2) praying for the return of our Lord through the second coming, and (3) prayers for the finalisation of his new creation.

  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 that second rest.
    Take away our bent to 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.

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