O for a thousand tongues to sing

Hymn # 493         O for a thousand tongues to sing

Words:                 Charles Wesley

Tune:                    Azmon

Composer:          Carl Gotthilf Glaser

This important text by Charles Wesley has suffered at the hands of past Revision Committees of the Hymnal.   It entered the Hymnal in 1871; was deleted in 1874; reentered in 1892, but was deleted in H16.  Restored in H40, the text is here matched with a tune [Azmon] associated with it in the hymnals of many other denominations.

This hymn opened John Wesley’s definitive A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the People called Methodists (London, 1780) and has continued with the exception (1935) as the opening hymn of every official American hymnal in the Methodist Episcopal tradition since that time. 

In 1739, for the first anniversary of his conversion, Charles Wesley wrote an eighteen-stanza text beginning "Glory to God, and praise and love." It was published in Hymns and Sacred Poems (1740), a hymnal compiled by Wesley and his brother John. The version in our Hymnal  comes from stanzas 1, 7-9, and 11-12 of this longer text. Wesley acquired the title phrase of this text from Peter Böhler, a Moravian, who said to Wesley, "If I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ with them all" (Böhler was actually quoting from Johann Mentzner's German hymn "O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte").

Here is the 15th verse now omitted …

Harlots, and publicans, and thieves
In holy triumph join;
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Enjoy this festive rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1YPmQibTRw

Sources:   Hymnary. org and The Hymnal 1982 Companion