The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Thou, Who Camedst Down of Old

For Advent

December 17, called O Adonai

This is one in a series of seven hymns based on the Seven Great “O” Antiphons.

Words: "O Adonai," one of the Great O Antiphons for Advent
See: O Adonai by Abbott Prosper Louis Guéranger, O.S.B.

Music: "Old Melody" from The Hymnary, #120.

See: Notes on Veni, Veni, Emmanuel

Source: William Cooke and Benjamin Webb, eds., The Hymnary – A Book of Church Song (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1872), #120, pp. 100-101.

O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel, Who appearedst unto Moses in a flame of fire in the bush, and gavest unto him the Law in Sinai: Come, and redeem us with a stretched-our arm.

O Thou, Who camedst down of old
    To bring salvation nigh,
What time the people of Thy fold
    Sent up a bitter cry:

Thy servant turned aside with awe,
    And that great wonder learnt;
A bush that flamed with fire he saw,
    That yet was never burnt.

When Israel thought all hope was o'er,
    And fear seized every mind,
The Red Sea's wave was stretched before,
    And Pharoah's host behind:

Thou didst not leave them in their need,
    Nor let their prayer be vain;
But didst command Thy winds with speed
    To cleave the waves in twain:

Thy people, like a flock of sheep,
    Passed on, though weak and few;
But Pharoah's chariots in the deep
    Thy Right Hand overthrew.

Come, Saviour, come, and from their foes
    Set free the sons of men;
Our foes are mightier now than those
    That threatened Israel then.

We wait in faith, we wait in prayer,
    Until the happy morn
When Thou didst come our flesh to Share,
    And for our sakes be born.

To God the Father praise be done;
    And equal glory be
To Thee, O Ruler, God the Son,
    And Holy Ghost, to Thee. Amen.

Sheet Music from William Cooke and Benjamin Webb, eds., The Hymnary – A Book of Church Song (London: Novello, Ewer and Co., 1872), #120, pp. 100-101.

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