Forth in Thy name, O Lord, I go
My daily labour to pursue,
Thee, only Thee, resolved to know
In all I think, or speak, or do.
Thee may I set at my right hand,
Whose eyes my inmost purpose see,
And labour on at Thy command,
And offer all my works to Thee.
Give me to bear Thy easy yoke
And every moment watch and pray,
And still to things eternal look
And hasten to Thy glorious day.
For Thee delightfully employ
Whate’er Thy bounteous grace hath given,
And run my course with even joy,
And closely walk with Thee to Heaven.
This hymn is being posted at the time that Labour Day is recognised in North America, and as many people begin a new school year or return to work after a summer vacation. May it remind us all to do our daily work as to the Lord. This is true whether we are engaged in labour that is easily seen as significant, or whether our daily round consists of seemingly minor tasks.
Charles Wesley, of course, is the author of thousands of hymns, many of which are still sung today, even though he lived from 1707 to 1788. He was a British minister’s son, and was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford. At Oxford he was called a ‘Methodist’, along with his friends who observed the method of study required by the university statutes. Charles was ordained in 1735. After a short and not too successful time in the United States with his brother, John, he returned to London. There Charles became friends with a group of Moravian Christians, including Count Zinzendorf and Peter Bohler. It seems his religion had been quite formal until in 1738, on Whitsunday, it is said that Charles “found peace with God”, and soon afterwards wrote a hymn. He then spent years preaching in various locations and gave pastoral support to the Methodist societies, mainly in Bristol and London.
WORDS: CHARLES WESLEY; MUSIC: TUNE ‘MELCOMBE’BY SAMUEL WEBB, SR., OR ‘DUKE STREET’, BY JOHN HATTON
S.A. SONG BOOK, 1987 EDITION, #667; 2015 EDITION, #642