Sunday, December 14, 2008

Heavenly Host

Hymn lyrics and Music by William Billings
(1786 edition)
Verse 1
  • Methinks I see an Heav’nly host
  • Of angels on the wing;
  • Methinks I hear their cheerful notes,
  • So merrily they sing:
  • Let all your fears be banish’d hence,
  • Glad tidings I proclaim,
  • For there’s a Saviour born today,
  • And Jesus is his name.
Verse 2
  • Lay down your crooks, and quit your flocks,
  • To Bethlehem repair;
  • And let your wand’ring steps be squared
  • By yonder shining star.
  • Seek not in courts or palaces,
  • Nor royal curtains draw;
  • But search the stable, see your God
  • Extended on the straw.
Verse 3
  • Then learn from hence, ye rural swains,
  • The meekness of your God,
  • Who left the boundless realms of joy,
  • To ransom you with blood.
  • The master of the inn refus’d
  • A more commodious place;
  • Ungenerous soul of savage mold,
  • And destitute of grace.
Verse 4
  • Exult ye oxen, low for joy,
  • Ye tenants of the stall,
  • Pay your obeisance; on your knees
  • Unanimously fall.
  • The royal guest you entertain
  • Is not of common birth,
  • But second in the Great I am;
  • The God of Heav’n and Earth.
Verse 5
  • Then suddenly an Heav’nly host
  • Around the shepherds throng,
  • Exulting in the threefold God
  • And thus address their song:
  • To God the Father, Christ the Son,
  • And Holy Ghost ador’d;
  • The First and Last, the Last and First,
  • Eternal praise afford.

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