Scripture Truth Banner
Charles Wesley

Charles Wesley

(1708 – 1788)

TUNE: Marienlyst

Captain of Israel’s host

Charles Wesley was possibly the most prolific hymn writer that ever lived. It is estimated that he wrote more than 6500 hymns. He was born In Epworth, Lincolnshire (UK) . Along side his brother, John, Charles was used mightily by God during the 18th century ‘Great Evangelical Awaking’.

In verse 2 Charles originally wrote ‘The light of man’s direction need.’ John wrote in the a note ‘yes J.W.’ However in 1780 he altered it to the version below to express confidence, without giving the impression of the independence of human help.


Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide
Of all who seek the land above,
Beneath Thy shadow we abide,
The cloud of Thy protecting love;
Our strength, Thy grace; our rule Thy word;
Our end, the glory of the Lord.


By Thine unerring Spirit led,
We shall not in the desert stray;
We shall not full direction need,
Nor miss our providential way;
As far from danger as from fear,
While love, almighty love, is near.


We’ve no abiding city here,
But seek a city out of sight;
Thither our steady course we steer,
Aspiring to the plains of light,
Jerusalem the saints’ abode,
Whose founder is the living God.


Patient the appointed race to run,
This weary world we cast behind;
From strength to strength we travel on
The new Jerusalem to find;
Our labour this our only aim,
To find the new Jerusalem.


Through Thee, who all our sins hast borne,
Freely and graciously forgiven,
With songs of Zion we return,
Contending for our native heaven;
That palace of our glorious King,
We find it nearer while we sing.


Raised by the breath of love divine,
We urge our way with strength renewed;
The church of the first-born to join
We travel to the mount of God,
With joy upon our heads to rise,
And meet our Captain in the skies.