Light of Those Whose Dreary Dwelling


Charles Wesley (1707-1788) wrote many popular hymns as well as the famous Christmas carol “Hark The Herald Angels Sing.” Below is one of his lesser known Christmas hymns published in the Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord (1745). I think it’s mostly forgotten because it begins less than cheery, but keep reading and rejoice with God’s gift of new eyes, gospel grace, and perfect peace.

Merry Christmas!

Light of those whose dreary dwelling
Borders on the shades of death,
Come, and by Thy love’s revealing
Dissipate the clouds beneath:
The new heaven and earth’s Creator,
In our deepest darkness rise,
Scattering all the night of nature,
Pouring eyesight on our eyes.

Still we wait for Thy appearing,
Life and joy Thy beams impart,
Chasing all our fears, and cheering
Every poor benighted ‘heart:
Come and manifest the favour
God hath for our ransom’d race;
Come, Thou universal Saviour,
Come, and bring the gospel grace.

Save us in Thy great compassion,
O Thou mild pacific Prince,
Give the knowledge of salvation,
Give the pardon of our sins;
By Thine all-restoring merit
Every burden’d soul release,
Every weary, wandering spirit
Guide into Thy perfect peace.

The Lord’s Prayer Paraphrased

John Wesley (1703 -1791) wrote the poem below paraphrasing the Lord’s Prayer.

Father of all, whose powerful voice
Call’d forth this universal frame,
Whose mercies over all rejoice,
Through endless ages still the same;
Thou by Thy word upholdest all,
Thy bounteous love to all is show’d,
Thou hear’st Thy every creature’s call,
And fillest every mouth with good.

In heaven Thou reign’st, enthroned in light,
Nature’s expanse beneath Thee spread;
Earth, air, and sea before Thy sight,
And hell’s deep gloom, are open laid.
Wisdom, and might, and love are Thine;
Prostrate before Thy face we fall,
Confess thine attributes Divine,
And hail the Sovereign Lord of all.

Thee, Sovereign Lord, let all confess,
That moves in earth, or air, or sky,
Revere Thy power, Thy goodness bless,
Tremble before Thy piercing eye.
All ye who owe to Him your birth,
In praise your every hour employ;
Jehovah reigns! Be glad, O earth,
And shout ye morning stars for joy.

Son of Thy Sire’s eternal love,
Take to Thyself Thy mighty power;
Let all earth’s sons Thy mercy prove,
Let all Thy bleeding grace adore.
The triumphs of Thy love display;
In every heart reign Thou alone,
Till all Thy foes confess Thy sway,
And glory ends what grace begun.

Spirit of grace, and health, and power,
Fountain of light and love below,
Abroad Thine healing influence shower,
O’er all the nations let it flow.
Inflame our hearts with perfect love,
In us the work of faith fulfil:
So not heaven’s hosts shall swifter move
Than we on earth to do Thy will.

Father, ’tis Thine each day to yield
Thy children’s wants a fresh supply;
Thou cloth’st the lilies of the field,
And hearest the young ravens cry:
On Thee we cast our care; we live
Through Thee, who know’st our every need:
O feed us with Thy grace, and give
Our souls this day the living Bread.

Eternal, spotless Lamb of God,
Before the world’s foundation slain,
Sprinkle us ever with Thy blood;
O cleanse, and keep us ever clean.
To every soul (all praise to Thee)
Our bowels of compassion move,
And all mankind by this may see
God is in us, for God is love.

Giver and Lord of life, whose power
And guardian care for all are free,
To Thee in fierce temptation’s hour
From sin and Satan let us flee.
Thine, Lord, we are, and ours Thou art;
In us be all Thy goodness show’d;
Renew, enlarge, and fill our heart
With peace, and joy, and heaven, and God.

Blessing and honor, praise and love,
Co-equal, co-eternal Three,
In earth below and heaven above,
By all Thy works, be paid to Thee.
Thrice Holy, Thine the kingdom is,
The power omnipotent is Thine;
And when created nature dies
Thy never-ceasing glories shine.

Behind the lines

The Poetical Works of John and Charles (1707 – 1788 ), ed. G. Osborn, 13 vols., London, 1868–72 are available online for free.  Volume II  contains “The Lord’s Prayer Paraphrased” (see the bottom of page 335) and here’s the link: “The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley: Reprinted from the Originals”.

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