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Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me

Representative Text

1 Gracious Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would gracious be;
and with words that help and heal
would thy life in mine reveal;
and with actions bold and meek
would for Christ my Savior speak.

2 Truthful Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would truthful be;
and with wisdom kind and clear
let thy life in mine appear;
and with actions brotherly
speak my Lord’s sincerity.

3 Mighty Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would mighty be;
mighty so as to prevail
where unaided man must fail;
ever by a mighty hope
pressing on and bearing up.

4 Holy Spirit, dwell with me:
I myself would holy be;
separate from sin, I would
choose and cherish all things good,
and whatever I can be,
give to him who gave me thee!

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #400

Author: Thomas T. Lynch

Lynch, Thomas Toke, was born at Dunmow, Essex, July 5, 1818, and educated at a school at Islington, in which he was afterwards an usher. For a few months he was a student at the Highbury Independent College; but withdrew, partly on account of failing health, and partly because his spirit was too free to submit to the routine of College life. From 1847 to 1849 he was Minister of a small charge at Highgate, and from 1849 to 1852 of a congregation in Mortimer Street, which subsequently migrated to Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square. From 1856 to 1859 he was laid aside by illness. In 1860 he resumed his ministry with his old congregation, in a room in Gower Street, where he remained until the opening of his new place of worship, in 1862, (Morningto… Go to person page >


A century ago, Christians took their hymns very seriously. So seriously that the publication of Thomas Toke Lynch's (1818-1871) little hymnbook, The Rivulet 1855 ("for Christian poetry is indeed a river of life, and to this river my rivulet brings its contribution"), almost split the Congregational Church. The "Rivulet Controversy," as it was called, centered around Lynch's frequent references to nature in his hymn texts, but the controversy was probably exacerbated by his fresh poetic style. The great hymnologist, John Julian, says, "Lynch's hymns are marked by intense individuality, gracefulness and felicity of diction, picturesqueness, spiritual freshness, and the sadness of a powerful soul struggling with a weak and emaciated body." Though the booklet was meant simply as an in-church supplement to Isaac Watt's popular hymnbook, the controversy spilled beyond his own church's walls and provoked the likes of Spurgeon to condemn him for promoting bad theology.

While "Gracious Spirit, Dwell with Me" does not contain examples of his controversial nature imagery, it has been accused of promoting the "human spirit" rather than the Holy Spirit. In light of the third verse's prayer for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the hymn's overall concentration on the fruits of the Spirit, these criticisms are unfounded. Lynch's life also bears the mark of the Spirit; in the middle of these turbulent times he said, "The air will be all the clearer for this storm. We must conquer our foes by suffering them to crucify us rather than by threatening them with crucifixion." Although this trial did nothing to shake his faith, his health suffered significantly, and it is thought that it contributed to his early death.

The tune, REDHEAD 76, is given its name because it was the 76th tune in Richard Redhead's (1820-1901) Church Hymn Tunes. Redhead was trained as a chorister at Magdalene College, Oxford, and though he was a reputable organist, he is chiefly remembered as one of the key figures in the Oxford "Gregorian Revival." REDHEAD 76 is probably best known as the tune to "Go to Dark Gethsemane," and is therefore often referred to as "GETHSEMANE;" but has also been called "PETRA" (rock) for its association with the text "Rock of Ages." --Greg Scheer, 1997

Gracious Spirit, dwell with me. T. T. Lynch. [Whitsuntide.] First published in his work, The Rivulet, a Contribution to Sacred Song, 1855, p. 79, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines. It was brought into congregational use through the Baptist Psalms & Hymns, 1858. From that date it has steadily increased in popularity in Great Britain and America, and is given in full or in part in numerous hymn-books, especially those in use by Nonconformists.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



REDHEAD 76 is named for its composer, who published it as number 76 in his influential Church Hymn Tunes, Ancient and Modern (1853) as a setting for the hymn text "Rock of Ages." It has been associated with Psalm 51 since the 1912 Psalter, where the tune was named AJALON. The tune is also known as P…

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Instances (1 - 18 of 18)

Celebrating Grace Hymnal #236


Chalice Hymnal #266

Great Songs of the Church (Revised) #297

Hymnal #507

Hymns and Psalms #286

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Hymns for a Pilgrim People #234

Hymns of the Saints #284

Praise for the Lord (Expanded Edition) #195

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Redemption Hymnal #209

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Sing Joyfully #149


Small Church Music #2498


Small Church Music #6174

The Christian Life Hymnal #227

The Covenant Hymnal #277


The Cyber Hymnal #2043


The Song Book of the Salvation Army #212

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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #335

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Trinity Psalter Hymnal #400

Include 178 pre-1979 instances
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