Where Shall My Wondering Soul Begin

Where shall my wondering soul begin

Author: Charles Wesley
Published in 50 hymnals

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Representative Text

Where shall my wondering soul begin?
How shall I all to heaven aspire?
A slave redeemed from death and sin,
a brand plucked from eternal fire,
how shall I equal triumphs raise,
or sing my great deliverer’s praise?

O how shall I the goodness tell,
Father, which thou to me hast showed?
That I, a child of wrath and hell,
I should be called a child of God!
Should know, should feel my sins forgiven,
blest with this antepast of heaven!

And shall I slight my Father’s love,
or basely fear his gifts to own?
Unmindful of his favors prove,
shall I, the hallowed cross to shun,
refuse his righteousness to impart,
by hiding it within my heart?

Outcasts of men, to you I call,
harlots, and publicans, and thieves;
he spreads his arms to embrace you all,
sinners alone his grace receive.
No need of Him the righteous have;
he came the lost to seek and save.

Come, O my guilty brethren, come,
groaning beneath your load of sin;
his bleeding heart shall make you room,
his open side shall take you in.
He calls you now, invites you home:
Come, O my guilty brethren, come.

For you the purple current flowed
in pardon from his wounded side,
languished for you the eternal God,
for you the Prince of Glory died.
Believe, and all your sin’s forgiven,
only believe--and yours is heaven.

Source: The United Methodist Hymnal #342

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 >


Where shall my wondering soul begin? C. Wesley. [Praise for Pardon and Peace.] Written in May, 1738, together with the hymn, "And can it be that I should gain?", on the occasion of the great spiritual change which the author then underwent. Minute details of the event are given in the author's Diary, May 21-23, 1738. Its biographical interests, together with that of “And can it be," &c, are not inconsiderable, showing as they do the struggles and triumphs of a sincere and cultured man. This hymn was first published in the Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, in 8 stanzas of 6 lines, and again, with the omission of stanza vi., in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780, No. 29, from whence it has passed into other collections. Original text Poetical Works, 1868-72, vol. i. p. 91. Dr. Osborn's note on this hymn, vol. i. p. 91, is:—

"Probably the hymn written on his conversion by Charles Wesley. Compare his Journal, under date May 23, 1738: ‘Least of all would he [the enemy] have us tell what things God has done for our souls.....In His name, therefore, and through His strength, I will perform my vows unto the Lord, of not hiding His righteousness within my heart, if it should ever please Him to plant it there' (vol. i. p. 94). The same hymn was probably sung next day, when his brother John was able to declare, 'I believe' (lb. p. 95)."

Further extracts from the Journal are given in G. J. Stevenson's Methodist Hymn Book Notes, 1883, p. 40, together with other comments which are worthy of attention, but are too lengthy to transcribe.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #7389
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Instances (1 - 7 of 7)

Hymns and Psalms #706a

Hymns and Psalms #706b

Singing the Faith #454a

Singing the Faith #454b


The Cyber Hymnal #7389

TextPage Scan

The United Methodist Hymnal #342

Wesley Hymns #8

Include 43 pre-1979 instances
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