Keep On, Charge On: “A Charge To Keep I Have”
If there was a hymn that talks about the perseverance of the Christian life, Charles Wesley's "A Charge To Keep I Have" is the perfect hymn.
This hymn was written by Charles Wesley (1708-1788), an iconic hymn maker. It was said that this hymn's text was based on Mathew Henry's Commentary on Leviticus 8:36. Lowell Mason (1792-1872), the famous New England music educator, created the hymn's score.
Charles Wesley is an English hymn maker and also known as the "Bard of Methodism." He was the 18th and youngest son of Samuel and Susanna Wesley, born at Epworth on December 18, 1707. He was educated and got his Masters of Arts in Oxford. His title of "Bard of Methodism." was well earned due to the quality and quantity of his hymns.
He was a prolific hymn maker. He wrote 623 of the 770 hymns in the "Wesleyan Hymn Book". His every hymn was born from his emotions and instances in his life. With the depth and breadth of Wesley's contribution to 19th century English hymnody, Wesley's hymns endures and are still used today.
"A Charge To Keep I Have" is a traditional favourite hymn sung in annual conferences. It is also favoured by African-American congregations and sung during the end of Holy Communion.
A hymn to keep the faith alive and burning in our hearts, the message of "A Charge To Keep I Have" is to commit to the call of Christ and persevere as sin tempts us. This hymn asks us to keep our courage and push through everything as we serve others. As the hymn says, our calling is to save our fellow man, a "never-dying soul". We must try to make it "fit it for the sky", resonating with our wish to live with Christ and God the Father in heaven. As Christians, it's the ultimate journey – a journey that encapsulates our lives and our goals as we keep and charge on.