Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus
by Charles Wesley (1707-1788)
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.
Notes on the text
Christians traditionally prepare for Christmas through self-reflection, prayer and special services of worship. Beginning with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, liturgical churches refer to this as the season of Advent. The incarnation of God in the baby Jesus is a central event of Christianity. Ironically, there are relatively few hymns written for this season of the church year.
Incarnation and the Second Coming
In Come Thou Long-expected Jesus, Charles Wesley refers to both the incarnation and to the second coming of Jesus. Consider the following phrases. “Born a child and yet a king….to reign in us forever.” “By thine own eternal spirit rule in all our hearts alone. By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.”
As is often the case, this hymn was first published without any music. Therefore, it could be sung with any tune in compatible meter for syllables arranged in the following pattern: 18.104.22.168.
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Charles Wesley, Poet and Hymn Author
Charles Wesley stands as one of the finest English poets of the 18th century. Without question, he is one of the greatest and most prolific hymn writers of all time.
Wesley wrote over 6500 hymns, many of which are still popular today. He expresses a wide range of Christian experience in subjective poetic language with a decidedly evangelical emphasis.