The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Of Christ's Birth In An Inn

Words: Jeremy Taylor

Source: Henry Vizetelly, Christmas With The Poets (London: David Bogue, 1851).

The Blessed Virgin travailed without pain,
    And lodged in an inn,
    A glorious star the sign
But of a greater guest than ever came that way,
    For there He lay
That is the God of night and day,
And over all the pow'rs of heav'n doth reign.
It was the time of great Augustus' tax,
    And then He comes
    That pays all sums,
Even the whole price of lost humanity;
    And sets of free
    From the ungodly emperie
Of Sin, of Satan, and of Death.
O make our hearts, blest God, Thy lodging-place,
    And in our breast
    Be pleased to rest,
For Thou lov'st temples better than an inn,
    And cause that Sin
May not profane the Deity within,
And sully o'er the ornaments of grace.

Note from Vizetelly:

[This] poem is by Bishop Jeremy Taylor, whose eloquent prose writings cause him to be regarded as one of the ornaments of the English Church. He was a man of singular humility and piety, and irreproachable as regards all the duties of life. During the civil troubles he warmly attached himself to the cause of Charles I., one of whose chaplains he had been, and suffered imprisonment in consequence. He lived to lend the lustre of his name to the era following the Restoration, when a depraved monarch, and a licentious court, had succeeded in banishing both religion and morality beyond the circle of their pernicious influence.

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