O Thou Who Camest from Above

Representative Text

1 O thou who camest from above
the fire celestial to impart,
kindle a flame of sacred love
on the mean altar of my heart!

2 There let it for thy glory burn
with inextinguishable blaze,
and trembling to its source return
in humble prayer and fervent praise.

3 Jesus, confirm my heart's desire
to work, and speak, and think for thee;
still let me guard the holy fire,
and still stir up the gift in me.

4 Ready for all thy perfect will,
my acts of faith and love repeat;
till death thy endless mercies seal,
and make the sacrifice complete.

Source: Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #258

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: O Thou who camest from above
Title: O Thou Who Camest from Above
Author: Charles Wesley (1762)
Source: Adapt.: Jubilate Hymns
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


O Thou Who camest from above. C. Wesley. [For Holiness, and for Earnestness in Work.] Published in his Short Hymns, &c, 1762, vol. i. p. 57, in 2 stanzas of 8 lines. (Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. ix. p. 58). It was included in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780, No. 318, and has become one of the most popular hymns in the Methodist denominations. To some hymnbook compilers the opening lines of stanza ii.,

"There let it for Thy glory burn
With inextinguishable blaze,"

have presented difficulties which have caused its omission from many collections. Bishop E. H. Bickersteth, in his Hymnal Companion, has done much towards removing this difficulty by rendering the lines:—

"There let it for Thy glory burn
Unquenched, undimmed in darkest days."

This reading has been adopted by others. Bp. Bickersteth's note thereto explains the cause and meaning of the change:—

" The Editor believes that this admirable hymn would have been far more popular if it had not been for the very long word 'inextinguishable.' Words of five syllables must be admitted into hymns sparingly; but for a whole congregation to be poised on six, practically leads to a hymn being passed by. It is hoped that the line given in the text, which only paraphrases the same thought, will be allowed."

In Martineau's Hymns, 1840, and 1873, the opening line of this hymn is changed to "O Thou, Who deignest from above."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



WILTON (Stanley)


William Knapp (b. Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, 1698; d. Poole, Dorsetshire, 1768) composed WAREHAM, so named for his birthplace. A glover by trade, Knapp served as the parish clerk at St. James's Church in Poole (1729-1768) and was organist in both Wareham and Poole. Known in his time as the "coun…

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