The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Word Supreme, Before Creation

Feast day of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist is December 27
Hymns To St. John The Evangelist

Words: J. Keble, 1792-1866

Music: "Tantum Ergo," Melody from S. Webbe's 'Motetts or Antiphons,' 1792
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Meter: 87 87 87

Source: Percy Dearmer, R. Vaughan Williams, et. al., eds., The English Hymnal. London: Oxford University Press, 1906, Hymn #33, p. 57.

1. Word supreme, before creation
        Born of God eternally,
Who didst will for our salvation
    To be born on earth, and die;
Will thy Saints have kept their station,
    Watching till thine hour drew nigh.

2. Now 'tis come, and faith espies thee;
    Like an eaglet in the morn,
One in steadfast worship eyes thee,
    Thy beloved, thy latest born:
In thy glory he descries thee
    Reigning from the tree of scorn.

3. He upon Thy Bosom lying
    Thy true tokens learn'd by heart;
And Thy dearest pledge in dying,
    Lord, Thou didst to him impart:
Show'dst him how, all grace supplying,
    Blood and water from Thee start.

4. He first hoping and believing
    Did beside the grave adore;
Latest he, the warfare leaving,
    Landed on the eternal shore;
And his witness we receiving
    Own thee Lord for evermore.

5. Much he asked in loving wonder,
    On thy bosom leaning, Lord!
In that secret place of thunder,
    Answer kind didst thou accord.
Wisdom for thy Church to ponder
    Till the day of dread award.

6. Lo! heaven's doors lift up, revealing
    How thy judgements earthward move;
Scrolls unfolded, trumpets pealing,
    Wine-cups from the wrath above,
Yet o'er all a soft voice stealing --
    'Little children, trust and love!'

7. Thee, the Almighty King eternal,
    Father of the eternal Word;
Thee, the Father's Word supernal,
    Thee, of both, the Breath adored;
Heaven, and earth, and realms infernal
    Own, one glorious God and Lord.

Additional Tune: Alleluia Dulce Carmen
Source: Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1889
Originally from Essay on the Church Plain Chant, 1782
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF
Meter: 87 87 87

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Word Supreme, Before Creation - Tantum Ergo

Word Supreme, Before Creation - Alleluia Dulce Carmen

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Third verse from Hymns Ancient and Modern (London: 1889).

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