The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

As On The Night Before This Blessed Morn

For Christmas Day

Words: George Wither
Compare: As On The Night Before This Happy Morn

Music: Not Stated

Source: George Wither, Hymns and Songs of the Church (London: Printed by the Assigns of George Wither, 1623, reprinted London: John Russell Smith, 1856), Song XLVI, p. 180.

See: George Wither's Hymns of the Christmas-tide

1. As on the night before this blessed morn
A troop of Angels unto Shepherds told,
Where in a stable he was poorly born,
Whom nor the earth nor heaven of heavens can hold,
        Through Bethlehem rung.
    This news at their return ;
        Yea, Angels sung,
    That God with us was born
And they made mirth, because we should not mourn.

        His love, therefore, oh! let us all confess;
        And to the sons of men his works express.

2. This favour Christ vouchsafed for our sake :
To buy us thrones he in a manger lay ;
Our weakness took, that we his strength might take,
And was disrob'd, that he might us array :
        Our flesh he wore,
    Our sin to wear away :
        Our curse he bore,
    That we escape it may ;
And wept for us, that we might sing for aye.

        His love, therefore, oh ! let us all confess ;
        And to the sons of men his works express.

Note from the text, p. 180.

This day is worthily dedicated to be observed in remembrance of the blessed Nativity of our Redeemer Jesus Christ : at which time it pleased the Almighty Father to send his only begotten Son into the world for our sakes ; and by an unspeakable union to join in one person God and Man, without confusion of natures, or possibility of separation. To express, therefore, our thankfulness, and the joy we ought to have in this love of God, there hath been anciently, and is yet continued in England (above other countries), a neighbourly and plentiful hospitality in inviting, and (without invitation) receiving unto our well-furnished tables, our tenants, neighbours, friends, and Grangers ; to the honour of our nation, and increase of amity and free-hearted kindness among us. But, most of all, to the refreshing of the bowels of the poor, being the most Christian use of such festivals. Which charitable and good English custom hath of late been seasonably re-advanced by his Majesty's gracious care, in commanding our Nobility and Gentry to repair (especially at such times) to their country mansions.

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