Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1759 as he approached the anniversary date of his conversion on May 21, 1758. His original hymn contained 19 stanzas and began “Glory to God, and praise and love, and was entitled “For the Anniversary Day of One’s Conversion.” It first appeared in his “Hymns and Sacred Poems” (1740).
Stanza 7 begins “O for thousand tongues to sing,” which is the present first stanza. These words are based on the statement of the Moravian missionary Peter Bohler to Wesley, “”Had I a thousand tongues, I would praise him with them all.” The use of the seventh stanza as the initial stanza is found in R. Conyers’ “Psalms and Hymns” (1767). Apparently this met with John Wesley’s approval, for this form was adapted by him in his Collection of Hymns (1780), where it was the first hymn. The present version is made up of stanzas 7, 8, 9, and 10 of Wesley’s original hymn.
Tune: AZMON by Carl G Glasers (1764-1829); Arranged by Lowell Mason (1792-1872)
A Hymn Story by Dr. Harry Eskew