The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

When Jesus Christ Incarnate Was

For the Advent

Words: George Wither

Music: Not Stated

'Sing this as the 9th Song.'

Source: George Wither, Hymns and Songs of the Church (London: Printed by the Assigns of George Wither, 1623, reprinted London: John Russell Smith, 1856), Song XLV, pp. 178-179.

See: George Wither's Hymns of the Christmas-tide

1. When Jesus Christ incarnate was,
To be our brother then came he :
When into us he comes by grace,
Then his beloved spouse are we :
When he from Heaven descends again,
To be our judge returns he then.

2. And then despair will those confound,
That his first comings nought regard ;
And those, who till the trumpet sound,
Consume their leisures unprepar'd :
Curst be those pleasures, cry they may,
Which drove the thought of this away.

3. The Jews abjected yet remain,
That his first advent heeded not ;
And those five virgins knock'd in vain,
Who to provide them oil forgot :
But safe and blessed those men are,
Who for his comings do prepare.

4. O let us therefore watch and pray,
His times of visiting to know ;
And live so furnish'd, that we may
With him unto his wedding go :
Yea, though at midnight he should call,
Let us be ready, lamps, and all.

5. And so provide before that feast,
Which Christ his coming next doth mind,
That he to come, and be a guest
Within our hearts, may pleasure find ;
And we bid welcome, with good cheer,
That coming, which so many fear.

6. Oh come, Lord Jesu, come away ;
(Yea, though the world it shall deter)
Oh let thy kingdom come, we pray,
Whose coming most too much defer :
And grant us thereof such foresight,
It come not like a thief by night.

Note from the text, p. 177.

The Advent is that for Christmas, which John Baptist was to Christ (even a forerunner for preparation) : and it is called the Advent (which signifieth coming) because the Church did usually, from that time until the Nativity, commemorate the several comings of Christ, and instruct the people concerning them. Which comings are these, and the like : His Conception, by which he came into the Virgin's womb : His Nativity, by which he came (as it were) further into the world: His coming to preach in his own person : His coming by his Ministers : His coming to Jerusalem : The coming of the Holy Ghost : His spiritual coming, which he vouchsafeth into the heart of every regenerate Christian : And finally, that last coming of his, which shall be unto judgment, &c. All which comings are comprehended in these three; his coming to men, into men, and against men ; to men, by his Incarnation ; into men, by Grace ; against men, to Judgment.

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