Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.
Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.
Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.
Written by Charles Wesley, a prolific hymn writer, who was the 18th of 19 children, born into a musically oriented family. He could write up to 10 lines of song per day, his brother John acting as his editor (source). He was a preemie, thought to be born dead, lying still wrapped in wool for the first few weeks of his life. Initially educated by his mother, he later attended Westminster School and later Oxford.
First published in 1747 in his brother John Wesley's collection, rather dauntingly entitled Hymns for those that seek, and those that have, Redemption in the Blood of Jesus Christ. (source) Some think this song was inspired by a popular pagan song of the day "Fairest isle, all isles excelling".
He was ordained in 1735, ministering in Georgia for a year, then returning to England dejected at his lack of success, God used this time though to help the Wesley Brothers to be more alert to the state of their souls, leading them to deepen their faith. His songs were wildly popular within his Methodist denomination.
Wesley frequently composed verse while riding from Church to Church on his preaching tour, jotting down rough notes so he could transcribe them later. (source) He was a man with a poet's heart, easily taking his thoughts and putting them into verse.
It's fascinating isn't it? To learn about some of these authors of hymns? :)