1 Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart,
wean it from sin, through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as you are,
and make me love you as I ought to love.
2 I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
no sudden rending of the veil of clay,
no angel visitant, no opening skies;
but take the dimness of my soul away.
3 Did you not bid us love you, God and King,
love you with all our heart and strength and mind?
I see the cross there teach my heart to cling.
O let me seek you and O let me find!
4 Teach me to feel that you are always nigh;
teach me the struggles of the soul to bear,
to check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh;
teach me the patience of unceasing prayer.
5 Teach me to love you as your angels love,
one holy passion filling all my frame:
the fullness of the heaven-descended Dove;
my heart an altar, and your love the flame.
Psalter Hymnal, 1987
|First Line:||Spirit of God, descend upon my heart|
|Title:||Spirit of God, Descend upon My Heart|
|Author:||George Croly (1854)|
|Liturgical Use:||Songs of Illumination|
st. 1 = Ps. 51:10-12, Rom. 8:26, Eph. 3:16
st. 2 = Luke 11:13
st. 3 = Matt. 22:37
st. 4 = Ezek. 36:27
st. 5 = Rom. 5:5
This hymn is an intense, personal prayer for the working of the Holy Spirit (st. 1), for illumination (st. 2), for more fervent love for Christ (st. 3), for greater holiness in our walk with the Lord (st. 4), and for the fullness of the Spirit (st. 5). The first line was changed from "Spirit of God, descend upon my heart" to "Spirit of God, who dwells within my heart."
This text was ascribed posthumously to George Croly (b. Dublin, Ireland, 1780; d. Holborn, London, England, 1860) when it was published in Charles Rogers's Lyra Britannica (1867). Croly was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. After serving in Irish Anglican churches from 1804-1810, he moved to London and began a successful literary career as poet, novelist, conservative journalist, and editor of The Universal Review. In 1835 he returned to pastoral work and served a poor parish in London, where he became a very popular preacher. Croly published a number of his hymns in a collection he edited, Psalms and Hymns for Public Worship (1854).
Pentecost; worship services at other times of the year because anytime is renewal time!
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1988
Spirit of God! descend upon my heart. G. Croly. [Holiness Desired.] From his Psalms & Hymns, 1854.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology, Appendix, Part II (1907)
George Croly wrote this text on Galatians 5:25, and it was first published in 1867 in Lyra Britannica. It has five stanzas. All of them are usually sung, though some hymnals omit one of the last four. This hymn is a prayer addressed by the singer to God. The first stanza is a petition that the Spirit of God would become active in one's life, but the second is a clarification that the singer is not asking for a spectacular sign. In the third stanza, he or she recalls the “first and greatest commandment” on how to love God (see Matthew 22:37-38). The fourth and fifth stanzas are requests that God would teach the singer to be conscious of the constant presence of God, and again, to love God whole-heartedly.
MORECAMBE is by far the most popular tune to which this text is sung. It was composed in 1870 by Frederick C. Atkinson for another hymn, “Abide with Me.” The tune is named for a town on Morecambe Bay near Bradford, England, where Atkinson served as organist. The tune has a soft mood, but can sound doleful if sung too slowly.
The topic of this hymn is the presence of the Holy Spirit. One liturgical occasion for which this hymn is very well suited is Pentecost. The quiet nature of the tune does not lend itself well to festive settings, but works well for congregational singing, preferably in parts. It can also be used for quiet moments in the service in settings such as the organ offertory in “Praise to the Lord,” or the idiomatic piano arrangement in “Hymns for Piano.”
Tiffany Shomsky, Hymnary.org