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)