The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Before Thy Face, O God, Of Old

For St. John The Baptist's Day
June 24

Words: John Mason Neale

Music: Not Stated

Source: Rev. John Mason Neale, Hymns For Children. A Third Series. (1854), Third Edition (London: Joseph Masters, 1867), #29, pp. 23-24.
See: Christmas in Neale's Hymns for Children

1. Before Thy face, O God, of old
    The great Forerunner went,
Preparing for Thy heavenly Fold,
    And bidding men repent.

2. Before Thy face Thou sendest still
    Thy messengers of grace,
To make obedient to Thy will
    A disobedient race.

3. So year by year, and day by day,
    Through good report and shame,
They labour to prepare Thy way,
    And spread a road Thy Name.

4. The warn to flee from wrath to come :—
    How few their warning fear!
They speak of Thine eternal Home :—
    How many will not hear!

5. But we, believing their report
    As Thine, and not their own,
And knowing that the time is short,
    Would keep us near Thy throne!

6. And taking heed from others’ fall,
    While yet ‘tis called to-day,
Would hear Thy holy Baptist’s call,
    Lest we too fall away.

7. To God, in Whom our boast we make,
    All power and glory be;
To Him of Whom the Baptist spake,
    And, Holy Ghost, to Thee.



Also found in Mary Sackville Lawson, et al, eds., Collected Hymns, Sequences and Carols of John Mason Neale (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1914), pp. 370-371, citing Mark 1:1-8 (KJV).

1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;

2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;

7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

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