Charles Wesley (1707-1788) was a prolific English poet and hymn writer. He wrote nearly 9000 hymns. Charles and his brother John are considered the founders of Methodism. Both men were necessary in establishing this well known branch of the Church. As one historian put it, “The early Methodists were taught and led as much through [Charles’s] hymns as through sermons and [John] Wesley’s pamphlets.” Both Charles and John also served as missionaries to the new world colony of Georgia. Charles preached extensively throughout Great Britain before the end of his life. But he will always be remembered for his hymns. His lyrical writing was deeply theological. His brother John once remarked that Charles lyrics produced a “distinct and full account of Scriptural Christianity.” During this Advent season, in anticipation of Christmas, I thought it would be more than appropriate to read carefully and thoughtfully the words of one of Wesley’s Christmas hymns. His most famous is probably “Hark The Herald, Angels Sing.” But I chose “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.” Take some time to read and reflect on this magnificent hymn. Allow the rich theology of these words draw you to the Savior, who became flesh on our behalf.
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
- Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
- Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.