The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Hymns of the Nativity from the Gospel of St Matthew

Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns on the Four Gospels: St. Matthew, Hymns 1-779

Source: The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, Vol. 10 (London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1868), pp. 138-144.

The Birth of Christ - Selections from the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke






1. The book of the generation of Jesus Christ. Matthew i. 1.

1. The book (let all bow down and read),
     The book of God to sinners given,
The birth of Abraham's blessed Seed,
     Of David's Son, sent down from heaven!
Stupendous mystery Divine,
     Gospel to ages past unknown!
Heathens and Jews through Jesus join,
     And God and man in Christ are one.

2. Father of Jesus Christ, our Lord,
     Our Father through His birth Thou art;
Thy Spirit testifies the Word
     Made flesh, to every faithful heart;
In us Thy new-born Son reveal,
     Thy Son from all eternity,
And give Him still on earth to dwell,
     By faith conceived and form'd in me.


2. The Son of David. Matthew i. 1.

     Hosannah to the Son
     Of David on His throne!
David's Son and King Thou art,
     Christ, by highest heaven adored,
     Reign in every human heart,
Sovereign, everlasting Lord!


3. The Son of Abraham. Matthew i. 1.

     Through earth the blessing spread
     Derived from Abraham's seed,
Abraham's promised Son and God,
     God in us Thyself reveal,
Jesus, come, on all bestow'd,
     All with grace and glory fill!


4. Who is called Christ. Matthew i. 16.

1. Christ, the true anointed Seer,
     Messenger from the Most High,
Thy prophetic character
     To my conscience signify:
Signify Thy Father's will;
     By that unction from above,
Mysteries of grace reveal,
     Teach my heart that God is love.

2. Thou who didst for all atone,
     Dost for all incessant pray.
Make Thy priestly office known,
     Take my cancell'd sin away:
Let me peace with God regain,
     Righteousness from Thee receive;
Through Thy meritorious pain,
     Through Thy intercession, live.

3 Sovereign, universal King,
     Every faithful soul's desire,
Into me Thy kingdom bring,
     Into me Thy Spirit inspire:
From mine inbred foes release;
     Here erect Thy gracious throne;
King of righteousness and peace,
     Reign in every heart alone.

4. O that all were taught of God,
     All anointed by Thy grace;
Kings and priests redeem'd with blood,
     Born again to sound Thy praise;
An elect, peculiar seed,
     Offspring of the Deity;
Christians both in name and deed,
     One, entirely one, with Thee!


5. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise. Matthew i. 18.

Let all adore the' immortal King,
     Maker of heaven and earth!
Angels and men, rejoice and sing
     For your Creator's birth.
A Son is born, a Child is given,
     That mortals born again
May in the new-created heaven
     With God in glory reign.


6. Thou shalt call His name Jesus, &c. Matthew i. 21.

Salvation from our sins we found,
     Through Jesu's grace forgiven;
And Jesu's grace doth more abound,
     And makes us meet for heaven:
The hallowing virtue of His name
     Our spotless souls shall prove,
And to the utmost saved, proclaim
     Our Lord's almighty love.

7. Jesus from, not in, our sins
     Doth still His people save:
Him our Advocate and Prince,
     Our Priest and King we have;
Strength in Him with righteousness,
     With pardon purity, we gain,
Priests His praying Spirit possess,
     And kings for ever reign.


8. They shall call His name Immanuel. Matthew i. 23.

1. Celebrate Immanuel's name,
     The Prince of life and peace;
God with us, our lips proclaim,
     Our faithful hearts confess:
God is in our flesh reveal'd;
     Heaven and earth in Jesus join;
Mortal with immortal fill'd,
     And human with Divine.

2. Fulness of the Deity
     In Jesu's body dwells,
Dwells in all His saints and me,
     When God His Son reveals:
Father, manifest Thy Son,
     And, conscious of the' incarnate Word,
In our inmost souls make known
     The presence of the Lord.

3. Let the Spirit of our Head
     Through every member flow;
By our Lord inhabited,
     We then Immanuel know:
Then He doth His name express,
     And God in us we truly prove,
Fill'd with all the life of grace,
     And all the power of love.



9. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Matthew ii. 1.

Happy the place, but happier still
     The heart where Christ is born:
The heart which He vouchsafes to fill
     Need neither sin nor mourn;
No city could with Bethlehem share
     The honour of His birth,
But every soul by faith may bear
     The Lord of heaven and earth.


10. We have seen His star in the east, and are come, &c. Matthew ii.

1. Mine eyes have seen His orient star,
And sweetly drawn I come from far,
     Leaving the world behind;
His Spirit gently leads me on
A stranger in a land unknown,
     The new-born King to find.

2. The word of all-preventing grace
Marks out the Saviour's natal place;
     And follower of the word,
I keep His glimmering star in sight,
Which by its sure unerring light
     Conducts me to my Lord.


11. Out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule, &c. Matthew ii. 6.

Thou dost in all Thy people dwell;
     Come, Lord, and reign in me alone,
Set up Thy kingdom now, and seal
     My heart Thine everlasting throne:
My Governor, if here Thou art,
     And rulest me by the power of love,
Thou wilt Thy glorious power impart,
     And crown with all Thy joys above.


12. When they saw the star, they rejoiced, &c. Matthew ii. 10.

The comfort lost, and soon restored,
Doth more transporting bliss afford,
     And makes my joy o'erflow;
I bless the' enlightening word that brings
My soul to' adore the King of kings,
     God manifest below.


13. They saw the young Child, and fell down, &c. Matthew ii. 11.

1. Hail, holy, heaven-descended Child,
Who God and man hast reconciled,
     Whom angels bow before!
Whate'er I have of good to give,
To Thee, from whom I first receive,
     I thankfully restore.

2. To Thee my heart I open wide,
The myrrh of passions mortified,
     The gold of charity,
The incense sweet of humble prayer,
Jesus, Thy prostrate worshipper,
     I now present to Thee.


14. Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him. Matthew ii. 13.

1 Who Herod did of old inspire,
     Doth still inspire his sons
With aim malicious to inquire
     "Where are the perfect ones?"

2 Suffice that known to God they are,
     Nor will themselves proclaim,
Kept ever, watching unto prayer
     And hid in Jesus' name.


15. Being warned of God, he turned aside, &c. Matthew ii. 22.

1. The Son obeys the will Divine,
     Conducted step by step below;
But we our Father's whole design
     Concerning us at once would know:
The Word, the true essential Light,
     Doth still, as taught of God, proceed;
But darker than Egyptian night
     We boldly aim ourselves to lead.

2. In honour of the Infant-God,
     Henceforth I His obedience trace,
The light by just degrees bestow'd
     Attend the providential grace;
Observant of a Father's word,
     Led with a child's docility,
Jesus, my Pattern and my Lord,
     In life and death I follow Thee.

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