Come Lord, to a Soul,

That waits in thy Ways,

That stays at the Pool

Expecting thy Grace:

To see thy Salvation,

And prove all thy Will,

With sure Expectation

I calmly stand still.


With Fasting and Prayer

My Saviour I seek,

And listen to hear

The Comforter speak;

In Searching and Hearing

The Life-giving Word

I wait thy Appearing,

I look for my Lord.


Because Thou has said

Do this for my sake,

The Mystical Bread

I gladly partake:

I thirst for the Spirit

That flows from above,

And long to inherit

Thy fullness of Love.


This here I look up,

And grasp at thy Mind,

Here only I hope

Thine Image to find;

The Means of bestowing

Thy Gifts I embrace;

But all Things are owing

To Jesus’s Grace.


This hymn was first published in a pamphlet entitled A Short View on the Difference between the Moravian Brethren, lately in England, and the Reverend Mr John and Charles Wesley (1745). Comprised mainly of extracts from John Wesley’s journal, it sought to address the dispute over Quietism that had arisen between the Moravians and the Methodists. The Moravians advocated a period of stillness until absolute assurance of faith was received: one of the key features of this practice was abstaining from the Lord’s Supper. The Wesleys objected to the practice on several grounds, chief among which was their attitude to the sacrament. John Wesley’s emphasis on the Eucharist as a means of grace and as a converting ordinance meant that he advocated regular communion for all those who sought to repent of their sins and to grow in grace and holiness.

Appended to the pamphlet were six hymns by Charles Wesley which set out the Wesleys’ position in this dispute with the Moravians. ‘Come, Lord, to a Soul’ is the most directly sacramental. It begins with an acknowledgement of the virtue of patience in waiting for assurance of faith, seemingly in recognition of the Moravian position. However, the third and fourth verses make clear that receiving the sacrament is one of the most profound ways in which the believer can obtain that assurance. Charles Wesley is characteristically direct and vivid in the connections he makes between the Eucharistic elements and the gift of grace.

Until the third and fourth verses were published in Hymns & Psalms (1983), this hymn remained unknown and apparently unused, even within Methodist circles. Its revival shares a powerful text that encourages believers to approach Holy Communion with hearts and minds open to receive his grace.

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