~Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
Reading only the title or the first line, we assume that this is
a hymn extolling the love of God. But
its message is far more specific.
Who is the “Joy of heaven, to earth come down?”
It is Jesus Christ who comes to make our hearts His humble
dwelling. The third line of
the first stanza makes it clear. Jesus
is “pure, unbounded love” – the love of God made manifest
– the love of God incarnate, in the flesh.
The hymn, then, is really a prayer to Christ who is Love Divine.
But there are still other obscure phrases in the hymn.
What is “that second rest” that we are asking to find?
Here it helps to know something of the doctrinal emphasis of the
Wesleys and of all the early Methodists.
They believed that after conversion there is a second experience
for the Christian – that when one totally consecrates himself to
Christ, his heart is cleansed from all sin.
The experience is called “entire sanctification.”
Of course, for all Christians, we must all be changed “from
glory to glory” – knowing more about Christ and becoming more like
Him, until we “take our place in heaven.”
All Loves Excelling 
divine, all loves excelling,
of heaven, to earth come down,
in us Thy humble dwelling,
Thy faithful mercies crown.
thou art all compassion,
unbounded love thou art;
us with Thy salvation,
every trembling heart.
O breathe Thy loving Spirit
ev’ry troubled breast;
us all in Thee inherit;
us find the promised rest;
away the love of sinning,
our load of guilt away;
the work of Thy beginning,
us to eternal day.
almighty to deliver,
us all thy life receive;
return, and never,
more thy temples leave.
we would be alway blessing,
Thee as Thy hosts above,
and praise Thee without ceasing,
in Thy perfect love.
then Thy new creation;
and spotless let us be;
us see Thy great salvation
restored in Thee:
from glory into glory,
in heaven we take our place,
we cast our crowns before Thee,
in wonder, love and praise.
Paul, Steve Green’s MIDI Hymnal, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos
Research Systems, Inc.) 1998.