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 >
O Thou that [Who] hangedst on the tree. C. Wesley. [For Condemned Malefactors.] Published in Hymns & Sacred Poems, 1749, vol. i, in 14 stanzas of 4 lines, and headed, “For Condemned Malefactors." It is based on the Prayer-Book Version of Psalms lxxix. 12 (Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. iv., p. 460). From this hymn the following are taken:—
1. O Thou that hangedst on the tree. Composed of stanzas i. iv.-vii. in the 1830 Supplement of the Wesleyan Hymn Book.
2. O Thou Who hangedst on the tree. A cento in the Hymnary, 1812, stanzas i.-iv., very much altered from, and stanzas v.-viii. based upon Wesley.
3. Canst Thou reject our dying prayer? Composed of stanza viii.-xi. in the 1830 Supplement to the Wesleyan Hymn Book.
4. Thou that didst hang upon the tree. A cento in the American Sabbath Hymn Book, 1858, and others. Stanzas i, viii.,x.,xi., altered.
5. We have no outward righteousness. Composed of stanzas iv.-vii. in the American Methodist Episcopal Hymns, 1849, and their Hymnal, 1878.
Most of these centos are in extensive use in Great Britain and America.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)