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A Charge to Keep I Have

Representative Text

1 A charge to keep I have,
a God to glorify,
a never-dying soul to save,
and fit it for the sky.

2 To serve the present age,
my calling to fulfill,
O may it all my pow'rs engage
to do my Master's will!

3 Arm me with watchful care
as in Thy sight to live,
and now Thy servant, Lord, prepare
a strict account to give!

4 Help me to watch and pray,
and still on Thee rely,
O let me not my trust betray,
but press to realms on high.

Source: Psalms and Hymns to the Living God #391

Author: Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley, M.A. was the great hymn-writer of the Wesley family, perhaps, taking quantity and quality into consideration, the great hymn-writer of all ages. Charles Wesley was the youngest son and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, and was born at Epworth Rectory, Dec. 18, 1707. In 1716 he went to Westminster School, being provided with a home and board by his elder brother Samuel, then usher at the school, until 1721, when he was elected King's Scholar, and as such received his board and education free. In 1726 Charles Wesley was elected to a Westminster studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, where he took his degree in 1729, and became a college tutor. In the early part of the same year his religious impressions were much deepene… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: A charge to keep I have
Title: A Charge to Keep I Have
Author: Charles Wesley (1762)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


A charge to keep I have. C. Wesley. [Personal Responsibility.] First published in his Short Hymns on Select Passages of Holy Scripture, 1762, vol. i.. No. 188, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines and based on Lev. viii. 35. It was omitted from the second edition of the Short Hymns, &c, 1794, but included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book 1780, and in the P. Works of J. & C. Wesley, 1868-72, vol. ix., pp. 60, 61. Its use has been most extensive both in Great Britain and America, and usually it is given in an unaltered form, as in the Wesleyan Hymn Book No. 318; and the Evangelical Hymnal, New York, No. 320. The line, "From youth to hoary age," in the American Protestant Episcopal Hymnal No. 474, is from the American Prayer Book Collection, 1826.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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