Come, Thou Redeemer Of The Earth
Evening Hymn from Christmas Eve to the Epiphany.
Source: Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #12 (Common Edition #31), pp. 35-36.
Also found in George Radcliffe Woodward, ed, Songs of Syon (London: Schott & Co., Third Edition, 1908), # 18.
Gal. iv. 4.—" When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons."
1. a Come,
Thou Redeemer of the earth,
b Come, testify Thy Virgin-birth :2
c All lands admire,—all times applaud ;
d Such is the birth that fits a God.
2. e Begotten of no human will,
But of the Spirit, mystic still, 6
f The Word of God, in flesh array'd,
g The promised fruit to man display'd.
3. h The Virgin womb that burden gain'd 9
With Virgin honour all unstain'd :
i The banners there of virtue glow : 11
k God in His temple dwells below.
4. l Proceeding from His Chamber free,
The royal hall of chastity, 14
m Giant of twofold substance, straight 15
His destined way He runs elate.
5. n From God the Father He proceeds : 17
To God the Father back He speeds :
o Proceeds,—as far as very hell ;
p Speeds back,—to light ineffable.
6. q O Equal to Thy Father, Thou !
r Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now :
s The weakness of our mortal state 23
With deathless might invigorate.
7. Thy cradle here shall glitter bright, 25
t And darkness breathe a newer light :
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
u And twilight never intervene.
8. All honour, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to Thee !
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen.
Notes from A Short Commentary on the Hymnal Noted (London: Joseph Masters, 1852), #12, pp. 11-14.
This hymn is by S. Ambrose, (a holy Archbishop, who lived about 370 years after our Lord,) and it has always been a great favourite with the Church.
2. Testify Thy Virgin Birth. That is, show, by being born of a Virgin, that Thou art really He of Whom the prophets spoke. All lands: because the command is to "Go and teach all nations:" all times because the Jews looked forward, as we look backward, to our Lord's coming. Return
6. The Spirit, mystic still. That is, the Spirit, the manner of Whose working is a mystery : — "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof: but canst not tell whence it cometh, nor whither it goeth : so is every one that is born of the Spirit." Return
9. The Virgin womb that burden gained. With Virgin honour all unstained. This is thus explained by a very learned Bishop of our Church, Bishop Pearson. "I assent unto this as a most certain truth, that there was a certain woman, known by the name of Mary, espoused unto Joseph of Nazareth, which before and after her espousals was a pure and unspotted Virgin ; — and being and continuing in the same virginity, did, by the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost, conceive within her womb the Only Begotten Son of God, and, after the natural time of other women, brought Him forth as her First-born Son, continuing still a most pure and spotless Virgin." Return
11. The banners there of virtue glow. That is, as a banner is hung out to show where the general's tent is, so there, that is, in this miraculous birth, we have a manifest proof that the Captain of our Salvation, Who has all virtues, that is powers, in Himself, is indeed among His people. Return
14. The royal hall of chastity. That is, the Virgin's womb. It is the hall of chastity, because of her purity : and it is the royal hall, because out of it came He That is to be the King of all nations. Return
15. Now S. Ambrose applies what David said of the Sun, to the true Sun of Righteousness, Christ. "He rejoiceth as a giant to run his course. He goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again." (Psalm xix. 5.) So Christ is likened to a giant, because of His Almighty power, and He is a giant of two-fold substance, because His Two Natures are formed together in His One Person. And it was fit that S. Ambrose should here, where he is speaking of our Lord's coming to save the world, remind us of His Two Natures, because it was by means of His having Two Natures that He saved us. It was needful that while He died as Man, He should live as God ; while He suffered as Man, He should conquer as God ; that He should be of the same substance with us, as touching His Manhood, while He was of the same substance as the Father, as touching His Godhead. Return
17. From God the Father He proceeds : To God the Father back He speeds. Still the hymn refers to the nineteenth psalm. And so our Lord said Himself: "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world ; again I leave the world, and go unto the Father." Return
23. The weakness of our mortal state With deathless might invigorate. That is, strengthen our weakness with Thy might, which can never perish. For it was in order to give us that grace without which we cannot please God, that our Lord came into the world ; — as it is written : "Without Me ye can do nothing." Return
25. Thy cradle here shall glitter bright. This refers to an old belief of the Church, that when the shepherds came into the stable, the place was filled with a glorious light from the manger where our Lord lay. And so we go on to pray that we, who now see our Lord, the Light of the World, by faith, may hereafter see Him as He is, where twilight shall never intervene, that is, come between us : for it is written, "the Lord God giveth them light ;" and again, "there shall be no night there." Return
Notes from The Words of the Hymnal Noted Complete With Scriptural References (London: J. A. Novello and J. Masters, no date, circa 1855), #12, pp. 34-36.
a. Psalm lxxii. 11, 12. Psalm lxxx. 2. Psalm cxliv. 5. Return
b. Isaiah lxvi. 7. Jer. xxxi. 22. Return
c. Psalm xlvii. 1. Psalm lxvi. 1. S. Luke i. 33. Return
d. Heb. vii. 26. Return
e. S. Luke i. 34. Return
f. S. John i. 14. 1 Tim. ill. 16. Return
h. Ezek. xliv. 2. Isaiah vii. 14. Return
i. Isaiah xi. 10, 12. Return
k. Mai. iii. 1. Habbuk. ii. 20. Return
l. Psalm xix. 5. Return
m. Psalm xix. 5. Return
n. Psalm xix. 6. S. John xiii. 3. Return
o. 1 S. Pet. iii. 19. Return
p. S. John xvi. 28. Return
q. Philip. ii. 6. S. John v. 18. Return
r. Heb. ii. 16. Philip. ii. 7. Zech. iii. 3. Return
s. 2 Cor. xil. 9. Ex. xiv. 14. Deut. xx. 4. Return
t. 2 Cor. iv. 6. 1 Thess. v. 5. Return
u. Eph. v. 8. Return
Sheet Music from Rev. John Mason Neale and Rev. Thomas Helmore, eds., Hymnal Noted, Part I. (London: Novello & Co., 1852), Part II (London: Novello & Co., 1856), #12, pp. 35-36.
Sheet Music from Thomas Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies to the Hymnal Noted. Part I (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., and Masters and Son, 1852), Part II (London: Novello and Co., Joseph Masters and J. T. Hayes, 1858), #12.
Rev. Helmore describes this as "One of the most celebrated hymns of S. Ambrose." Helmore, Accompanying Harmonies, Appendix, p. v.
Sheet Music from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #60, p. 93.
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