"O FOR A SOUL AGLOW WITH LOVE"
"And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also" (1 Jn. 4:21)
INTRO.: A hymn which emphasizes the need for those who claim to love God to make sure that they love their brother also is "O For a Soul Aglow with Love." The text was written and the tune (Saxony or Agape) was composed both by William James Kirkpatrick (1838-1921). He provided melodies for many well known texts by various authors, including "A Blessing in Prayer," "O Spread the Tidings ‘Round," "Give Me Thy Heart," "I Am Not Skilled to Understand," "Hallelujah! Praise Jehovah!", "He Hideth My Soul," "Jesus Understands," "Lead Me to Calvary," "Meet Me There," "O To Be Like Thee," "Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It," "Stepping in the Light," "’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus," "We Have an Anchor," "Welcome for Me," "When Love Shines In," "For Christ and the Church," "In the Hush of Early Morning," "The Lord Is in His Holy Temple," "Who Will Follow Jesus?", and "Jesus Saves," as well as arrangements for "Blessed Be the Name," "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place," "We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes," and "On the Cross of Calvary."
Kirkpatrick produced both words and music for very few songs, including "Lord, I’m Coming Home," "Saved to the Uttermost," and "O For a Soul, Aglow with Love," which was published in 1900. Its first inclusion in a hymnbook prepared for churches of Christ seems to have been in The New Christian Hymn Book of 1907 edited by Kirpatrick and T. B. Larimore and published by the Gospel Advocate Company in Nashville, TN. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal edited by Marion Davis; and the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson. Today it may be found in the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann. Cyberhymnal suggests using this same tune with Isaac Watts’s paraphrase of Psalm 8, "O Lord, Our Lord, How Wondrous Great."
The song describes several characteristics of a soul that is filled with love.
I. Stanza 1 talks about how broad that love should be
"O for a soul aglow with love, With love for God and man;
Rejoicing every passing day To follow God’s own plan."
A. Our love should be so broad that it encompasses both God and man: Matt. 22:37-40
B. Such a love can rejoice in the Lord every passing day: Phil. 4:4
C. However, true love will always follow God’s own plan by keeping His commandments: 1 Jn. 5:3
II. Stanza 2 talks about how large that love should be
"A soul so large that all mankind Can be embraced therein:
The high, the low, the good, the bad, Be counted all akin."
A. This love will be so large that all mankind can be embraced in it, even our enemies: Matt. 5:43-48
B. It will include the high, the low, the good, the bad–there will be no respect of persons: Jas. 2:1-4
C. To say that these "be counted all akin" simply means that we must recognize that each human being is a person made in the image of God: Gen. 1:26-27
III. Stanza 3 talks about how great that love should be
"A soul so great that God alone Can actuate its will;
That every pulse shall beat for Him, His purpose to fulfil."
A. God is able to actuate our wills if we do love love with all our hearts and are determined that His will, not ours, be done: Lk. 22:42
B. Every pulse will beat for Him because the one who truly loves God will seek first His kingdom and righteousness: Matt. 6:33
C. This is the kind of attitude that God can best use to fulfil His purpose: Eph. 1:9
CONCL.: It should be the "holy desire" of each Christian to submit his soul to Jesus Christ in such a way that it will be filled with a love for God and man which will be large enough to embrace all mankind and great enough to fulfil God’s purpose. We live in a world where we are sometimes tempted when we are drawn away by our own desires, which include the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When such desire conceives, it gives birth to sin. We can surely be thankful that forgiveness is available, but it should be our desire to work at overcoming the problem of sin in our lives by making our request known to the Father, saying, "O For a Soul Aglow with Love."