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God is love, that anthem olden

Author: John S. B. Monsell

John Samuel Bewley Monsell (b. St. Colomb's, Londonderry, Ireland, 1811; d. Guilford, Surrey, England, 1875) was educated at Trinity College in Dublin and served as a chaplain and rector of several churches in Ireland after his ordination in 1835. Transferred to England in 1853, he became rector of Egham in Surrey and was rector of St. Nicholas Church in Guilford from 1870 until his death (caused by a construction accident at his church). A prolific poet, Monsell published his verse in eleven volumes. His three hundred hymns, many celebrating the seasons of the church year, were issued in collections such as Hymns and Miscellaneous Poems (1837), Spiritual Songs (1857), Hymns of Love and Praise (1863), and The Parish Hymnal (1873). Bert P… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: God is love, that anthem olden
Author: John S. B. Monsell
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


God is love; that anthem olden. J.S.B. Monsell. [God is Love.] A poem for the 1st Sunday after Trinity, appeared in his Spiritual Songs, 1856 and 1857, in 6 stanzas of 6 lines. A second form of the text in 4 stanzas, beginning, “God is love: the heavens tell it," was included in the Rev. F. Pott's Hymns, &c, 1861, No. 209. These stanzas, with a return to the original text save "Our" for "Their" in stanza iv., line 5, are found in the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns, No. 372, Thring's Collection, and several others. The complete text of 1856-57 was repeated by Dr. Monsell in his Parish Hymnal, 1873. During his last illness the hymn was revised by the author for the people's edition of his Spiritual Songs. The opening lines read:—

"God is Love: by Him upholden,
Hang the glorious orbs of light."

This form of the hymn is in Horder's Congregational Hymns, 1884, and others. In the notes to Church Hymns, fol. edition, 1881, it is regarded as the original text in error.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 29 of 29)

A Church of England Hymn Book #268

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A Selection of Spiritual Songs #36

Carmina for Social Worship #d75

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Carmina for the Sunday School and Social Worship #54

Church Hymns with Tunes #372

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Common Praise #116

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Garnered Gems #105

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Hymns for Schools and Colleges #72

Hymns of the Christian Life #d114

Hymns of the Christian Life #d113

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Hymns of the Christian Life #78

Love and Praise #d41

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Our New Hymnal #199

Our Sunday-School Songs #16

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Pilgrim Songs (Number Two) #32

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Select Songs No. 2 #42

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Select Sunday School Songs #16

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Songs of the Christian Life #62

The Children's Hymnary #d27

The Church Hymnal #d119

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The Church Hymnary #117

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The Hymnal of Praise #97

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The New Children's Hymnal #191

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The Pilgrim Hymnal #37

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The Pilgrim Hymnal #46

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The Praise Hymnary #14

The Sabbath Hour #d23

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The School Hymnal #32

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Worship in Song #143

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