Lamb of God, whose bleeding love

We thus recall to mind,

Send the answer from above,

And let us mercy find;

Think on us, who think on thee,

And every struggling soul release:

R: O remember Calvary,

    And bid us go in peace!


By thine agonising pain

And bloody sweat, we pray,

By thy dying love to man,

Take all our sins away;

Burst our bonds, and set us free;

From all iniquity release: R.


Let thy blood by faith applied,

The sinner’s pardon seal;

Speak us freely justified,

And all our sickness heal;

By thy passion on the tree,

Let our griefs and troubles cease: R.


Never will we hence depart,

Till thou our wants relieve,

Write forgiveness on our heart,

And all thine image give.

Still our souls shall cry to thee,

Till perfected in holiness:

R: O remember Calvary,

    And bid us go in peace!


This hymn comes from the first section of Charles Wesley’s Hymns on the Lord’s Supper (1745), which was subtitled ‘As it is a Memorial of the Sufferings and Death of Christ.’ It is a striking example of Wesley’s frequent tendency to meditate on the salvific power of the blood of Christ. While this is a characteristic that can be observed across Wesley’s output, including in such familiar hymns as ‘And Can It Be’ and ‘O For A Thousand Tongues’, it is particularly prevalent in his eucharistic hymns – but one of several ways in which early Methodist hymnody reveals the influence of Moravianism. Many Moravian hymns of the early eighteenth century contain remarkably vivid imagery in describing the Five Wounds and the Precious Blood, not least Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf’s ‘Christi Blut und Gerechtigkeit’, freely translated by John Wesley as ‘Jesu, Thy Blood and Righteousness.’

   ‘Lamb of God, Whose Bleeding Love’ is one of Charles Wesley’s most sustained engagements with this topic. Its four verses are an extended exploration of the relationship between the Crucifixion and the Eucharistic sacrifice, drawing on Scripture and the liturgy. The hymn takes the form of a collective prayer to the Lamb of God, and the original first line – altered to ‘Lamb of God, Whose Dying Love’ in most publications since the 1836 Mitre Hymn Book – sets the tone. The first verse establishes the relationship between the meditative believer and the attentive Saviour: ‘Think on us, who think on Thee; And every struggling soul release…’. The second verse invokes the ‘agonising pain/And sweat of blood…’ as the communicants pray for release from their sins. Faith in the Precious Blood for pardon and justification is the theme of the third verse; while the final verse reflects on the need for perpetual mercy – culminating in the most powerful expression of the refrain couplet that ends each verse.

Dr Martin Clarke is Lecturer and Director of Teaching in Music at the Open University