The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christ, To Aid Our Fallen Nature

Words: Fac Christe nostri gratia, Jean-Baptiste de Santeuil, Canon Regular of St. Victor (1630-1697), Paris Breviary, 1736

Translation: Isaac Williams

Source: Isaac Williams, Hymns translated from the Parisian Breviary (London: J. G. F. & J. Rivington, 1839), pp. 96-97.

On the Sundays from the Octave of Epiphany

At Midnight

O the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why shouldest Thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night» Why shouldest Thou be as a man astonied, as a mighty man that cannot save ?— Jerem. xiv.

    Christ to aid our fallen nature,
        Thou didst bear bereavements stern,
    Grant we such with spirits holy,
        And with grateful hymns return;
Though eternal born, yet Thou would'st learn to die,
And didst put on the shape of frail humanity.

    Soon as born, a helpless infant,
        Thou didst suffer winter's cold;
    For a couch of costly purple,
        Hay-bands rude Thy form enfold:
Pitying us, to need our pity Thou dost seem,
And yieldest to the law, the Lawgiver supreme.

    The blood its stern behest requires
        From Thy deepest heart doth come;
    The sword that slays the harmless infants,
        To Thy breast it pierces home;—
Lo, to Pharos now, an exile poor, He flies,
The true God mix'd with foul and lying deities.

    But with hosts of highest Heaven,
        Hence Thy ransora'd heritage
    Shall, with lowest adoration,
        Worship Thee from age to age;
Father eternal, and Thee, eternal Son,
And Thee, eternal Spirit, Three in One.

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