The everlasting God. Genesis 21:33
Charles Wesley’s Hymns for a Family have a peculiar charm, and they all seem to date from the hymn, Come, thou everlasting Lord.
Wesley had remained single for nearly forty years. He then met a young lady in Wales who interested him greatly, and after much pondering and consultation and hymn-writing, he proposed, was accepted, and was marriedSaturday, April 8th, 1749.
From the experiences of that wedding and that marriage these hymns came, and they will be more and more remarkable for their perfect fitness to the vicissitudes of family life, as they are studied with this fact in view.
The bridegroom’s own experience can be best given in his own language:
Not a cloud was to be seen from morning till night. I rose at four; spent three and a half hours in prayer, or singing, with my brother, with Sally, with Beck.
At eight, I led My Sally to church. Her father, sister, Lady Rudd, Grace Bowen, Betty Williams, and I think, Billy Tucker, and Mr. James were all the persons present.
At the church-door I thought of the prophecy of a jealous friend,that if we were even at the church-door to be married, she was sure, by revelation, that we could get no farther.We both smiled at the remembrance. We got farther.
Mr. Gwynne gave her to me (under God); my brother joined our hands. It was a most solemn season of love!
Never had I more of the Divine Presence at the sacrament. My brother gave out the following hymn:Come, thou Everlasting Lord,etc. He then prayed over us in strong faith.
We walked back to the house, and joined again in prayer. Prayer and thanksgiving was our whole employment. We were cheerful without mirth, serious without sadness… My brother seemed the happiest person among us.
Not many men are married to the music of their own hymn as Charles Wesley was.
Duffield, pp. 115–16.
Come, Thou everlasting Lord,
With Thy presence crown the board;
Condescend to be a guest,
At Thy creatures’ humble feast.
Now Thine own appointment grace,
With Thy presence in this place;
Wedded may our spirits be,
Heavenly Bridegroom, unto Thee.
May this newly-wedded pair
Learn each other’s cross to bear;
Partners of each other’s joy,
Every gift for Thee employ.
Husband, wife, are now one twain,
One in heart may they remain;
One in sentiment and will,
All the law of love fulfill.
Glory to Thy sovereign grace,
Thus to multiply our race;
May their offspring be, indeed,
To the Lord a holy seed.
May the household all, at last,
Come to the eternal feast;
Drink at large the heavenly wine,
Flowing from the living Vine.
May our every action tend
To Thy glory as its end:
Our affections, Lord, refine,
Thou canst make the water wine.
At the marriage of the Lamb,
When the ready Bride is come,
We shall at the marriage feast
Find the best is kept till last.