A Charge to Keep I Have (1762)
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
The great hymnologist John Julian wrote of Charles Wesley, “As a hymnwriter, taking quantity and quality into account, he is the greatest hymnwriter of all ages,” Wesley is said to have written around 9000 hymns and poems. Through some of them are of indifferent quality, many are some of the best-loved hymns in the English language—“ “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” and “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” are just a few. It is ironic to note that he was much more highly esteemed as a preacher than a hymnwriter in his life, though time has reversed that evaluation.