O Perfect Life of Love

Representative Text

1 O perfect life of love!
All, all, is finished now,
All that He left His throne above
To do for us below.

2 No work is left undone
Of all the Father willed;
His toil, His sorrows, one by one,
The Scriptures have fulfilled.

3 No pain that we can share
But He has felt its smart;
All forms of human grief and care
Have pierced that tender heart.

4 And on His thorn-crowned head
And on His sinless soul
Our sins in all their guilt were laid
That he might make us whole.

5 In perfect love He dies;
For me He dies, for me.
O all atoning Sacrifice,
I cling by faith to Thee.

6 In ev'ry time of need,
Before the judgment throne,
Thy work, O Lamb of God, I'll plead,
Thy merits, not mine own.

7 Yet work, O Lord, in me
As Thou for me hast wrought;
And let my love the answer be
To grace Thy love has brought.

Source: Lutheran Service Book #452

Author: H. W. Baker

Baker, Sir Henry Williams, Bart., eldest son of Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, born in London, May 27, 1821, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated, B.A. 1844, M.A. 1847. Taking Holy Orders in 1844, he became, in 1851, Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire. This benefice he held to his death, on Monday, Feb. 12, 1877. He succeeded to the Baronetcy in 1851. Sir Henry's name is intimately associated with hymnody. One of his earliest compositions was the very beautiful hymn, "Oh! what if we are Christ's," which he contributed to Murray's Hymnal for the Use of the English Church, 1852. His hymns, including metrical litanies and translations, number in the revised edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, 33 in all. These were cont… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
st. 1-5 = John 19:30

Because of how well biblical phrases and theological statements are packed into such short meter, John Julian calls this a text "of much merit." Written by Henry W. Baker (PHH 342) in seven stanzas, "O Perfect Life of Love" was first published in the 1875 edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern as a hymn for Passiontide.

The text meditates on the suffering and death of Christ, "that he might make us whole" (st. 1-5), confesses our total dependence on the merits of Christ (st. 6), and prays that our response to Christ's love may be a life of love and service (st. 7).

Liturgical Use:
Holy Week; stanzas 6 and 7 in worship services of confession/forgiveness or in other prayer services (including times other than Holy Week).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988

O perfect life of love. Sir H. W. Baker. [Passiontide.] Written for the revised edition of Hymns Ancient & Modern, and included therein in 1875, as one of the “Hymns of the Passion," in 7 stanzas of 4 lines. It is a hymn of much merit.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)




GORTON (Beethoven)

The tune GORTON derives from the second movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 23, Opus 57 (1807); however, the arranger and any significance to the tune title are unknown. GORTON was published with this versification of Psalm 79 in the 1912 Psalter. Sing this tune in parts, beginning v…

Go to tune page >



The Cyber Hymnal #5271
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)
Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #380
  • Bulletin Score (melody only) (PDF)
  • Full Score (PDF, XML)
  • Bulletin Score (PDF)


Instances (1 - 5 of 5)
TextPage Scan

Christian Worship #138

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #253


Lutheran Service Book #452

Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreAudioPage Scan

Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #380


The Cyber Hymnal #5271

Include 73 pre-1979 instances
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