Charles Wesley: An Interest in the Saviour’s Blood Friday, Apr 18 2014 

Charles_wesleyAnd can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me, who caused his pain?
For me, who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine!
‘Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel-minds inquire no more.

He left his Father’s throne above,
(So free, so infinite his grace!)
Emptied himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in him, is mine!
Alive in him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Charles Wesley (1701-1778; Church of England): Hymns, 201.

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Charles Wesley: Stupendous Height of Heavenly Love Thursday, Dec 26 2013 

Charles_wesleyStupendous height of heavenly love,
Of pitying tenderness divine!
It brought the Saviour from above,
It caused the springing day to shine;
The Sun of righteousness to appear,
And gild our gloomy hemisphere.

God did in Christ himself reveal,
To chase our darkness by his light,
Our sin and ignorance dispel,
Direct our wandering feet aright,
And bring our souls, with pardon blest,
To realms of everlasting rest.

Come then, O Lord, thy light impart,
The faith that bids our terrors cease,
Into thy love direct our heart,
Into thy way of perfect peace;
And cheer the souls of death afraid,
And guide them through the dreadful shade.

Answer thy mercy’s whole design,
My God incarnated for me;
My spirit make thy radiant shrine,
My light and full salvation be,
And through the shades of death unknown
Conduct me to thy dazzling throne.

Charles Wesley (1701-1778; Church of England): Hymns, 686.

Germanus of Constantinople: A Great and Mighty Wonder, a Full and Holy Cure Wednesday, Dec 25 2013 

Germanus of Constantinopleμεγα και παραδοξον Θαυμα

A great and mighty wonder, a full and holy cure:
The virgin bears the Infant with virgin honor pure!

The Word becomes incarnate and yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems to shepherds from the sky.

And we with them triumphant repeat the hymn again:
“To God on high be glory and peace on earth to men!”

While thus they sing your Monarch, those bright angelic bands,
Rejoice, ye vales and mountains, ye oceans, clap your hands.

Since all He comes to ransom, by all be He adored,
The Infant born in Bethl’em, the Savior and the Lord.

And idol forms shall perish, and error shall decay,
And Christ shall wield His scepter, our Lord and God for aye.

Germanus of Constantinople (c.634–c.733): Stichera for Christmastide, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Hymns of the Eastern Church.

John Mason Neale: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Tuesday, Dec 17 2013 

John_Mason_NealeO come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. 

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory over the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times once gave the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
an ensign of thy people be;
before thee rulers silent fall;
all peoples on thy mercy call.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid thou our sad divisions cease,
and be thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Anonymous Latin Author (12th Century[?]): translated from the Latin Veni, Veni, Emmanuel by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Mediaeval Hymns (1851).

John Keble: “Let Us Put On the Armour of Light” Sunday, Dec 1 2013 

John Keble“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Romans 13:12).

Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever.  Amen (Collect for the first Sunday of Advent).

These clothes are called “armour,” because our condition in this world is a warfare, a continual war against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and our calling is that of soldiers; and has been so ever since that time, when we were sealed “with the sign of the Cross, in token that we were to fight under Christ’s banner, and to continue His faithful soldiers.”

Now what this Christian clothing, or armour of light is, we know from other places of Holy writ. There is “the shield of faith;” entire belief in the great things out of sight.

There is “the helmet of salvation;” hope, that through Christ we may be saved, on our true repentance and dutiful obedience. There is the “breastplate of love” and true charity, to guard our hearts from evil and selfish desires.

There is “the sword of the Spirit, that is, the Word of God;” His holy commandments, deeply fixed in our heart, and always ready for our use, that by the remembrance of them we may put away proud, unkind, impure, foolish imaginations.

This is the armour of light: these are the portions of a Christian man’s armour, which lie, as it were, by his bedside, when he awakes in the morning, and which Christ expects him to put on, as he would his clothing, to prepare himself for the duties of the day.

How is he to put it all on? By good thoughts and good resolutions; considering beforehand what he will have to do that day; what temptations he is likely to meet with, and how he may best prepare against them. And this cannot be, without earnest prayer; therefore the Christian warrior will be very punctual and very attentive in his morning prayers.

And when this time of Advent comes, which is so far like the morning, in that it is a new beginning, the Church opening her new year, we shall, if we are wise, be yet more diligent than usual in attending to our Lord’s call, throwing aside all encumbrances, girding on our armour, and saying our prayers.

Too much reason have we, most of us, to look upon the time past as a night, wherein we have been either asleep, or doing what we were ashamed of.

Yet, if we will so use it, this Advent may prove to us a blessed morning; we may, if we will, wake up at the call of our Saviour, and begin dressing ourselves, and doing His work.

John Keble (1792-1866; Church of England): Sermon XXIV:  The Advent Collects, I, in Sermons for the Christian Year, Advent to Christmas Eve @ Lectionary Central.

Charles Wesley: Come, O Thou All-Victorious Lord! Thursday, Nov 28 2013 

Charles_wesleyCome, O thou all-victorious Lord!
Thy power to us make known;
Strike with the hammer of thy word,
And break these hearts of stone.

O that we all might now begin
Our foolishness to mourn;
And turn at once from every sin,
And to our Saviour turn!

Give us ourselves and thee to know,
In this our gracious day;
Repentance unto life bestow,
And take our sins away.

Conclude us first in unbelief,
And freely then release;
Fill every soul with sacred grief,
And then with sacred peace.

Impoverish, Lord, and then relieve,
And then enrich the poor;
The knowledge of our sickness give,
The knowledge of our cure.

That blessed sense of guilt impart,
And then remove the load;
Trouble, and wash the troubled heart
In the atoning blood.

Our desperate state through sin declare,
And speak our sins forgiven;
By perfect holiness prepare,
And take us up to heaven.

Charles Wesley (1701-1778; Church of England): Hymns, 84.

Christina Rossetti: The Faithful Witness, the First Begotten of the Dead, the Prince of the Kings of the Earth Sunday, Nov 3 2013 

Christina_Rossetti_3And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful Witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father (Revelation 1:5-6).

St. John, the Apostle of love, becomes here the mouthpiece of very Love.

So that in this Apocalypse not glories only, joys unutterable, perfection, are witnessed to us by Love, but terrors likewise, doom, the Judgment, the opened Books, the lake of fire.

Love reveals to us these things, threatens now that it may spare then, shows us destruction lest we destroy ourselves.

Let us not in all our tremblings forget or doubt that it is Faithful Love which speaketh.

My God, Thyself being Love Thy heart is love,
And love Thy Will and love Thy Word to us,
Whether Thou show us depths calamitous
Or heights and flights of rapturous peace above.
O Christ the Lamb, O Holy Ghost the Dove,

Reveal the Almighty Father unto us;
That we may tread Thy courts felicitous,
Loving Who loves us, for our God is Love.
Lo, if our God be Love through heaven’s long day,

Love is He through our mortal pilgrimage,
Love was He through all aeons that are told.
We change, but Thou remainest; for Thine age
Is, Was, and Is to come, nor new nor old;
We change, but Thou remainest: yea, and yea!

“The Faithful Witness” demands faith: “the First Begotten of the dead “ invites hope: “the Prince of the kings of the earth” challenges obedience.

Now faith may be dead, hope presumptuous, obedience slavish. But “He that loved us” thereby wins our love: and forthwith by virtue of love faith lives, hope is justified, obedience is enfranchised.

[…] “Kings and Priests.” At the least and lowest, each of us king with subject self to rule; priest with leprous self to examine and judge. At one step higher “the King’s face gives grace,” and we edify our brethren. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Another step upward, and we execute our priestly function of intercession, offering up prayers and thanks for all men: and highest of all, we offer up ourselves to God in will and indeed as His reasonable and lively sacrifice, beseeching Him to sanctify and accept our self-oblation.

O Good Lord God, Who uniting us with Thine everlasting King and Priest Jesus Christ, makest us unworthy in Him to be Thy kings and priests, constitute us what Thou requirest, endow us with what Thou desirest.

Give us royal hearts to give back ourselves to Thee Who bestowest all, and priestly hearts to sacrifice ourselves to Thee, and keep back nothing, through the grace of Thine indwelling Holy Spirit, by Whom Christ dwells in His members. We ask this for His sake, for Whose sake we cannot ask too much. Amen.

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894; Anglican): The Face of the Deep: A Devotional Commentary on the Apocalypse (1893), pp. 15-17.

Charles Wesley: Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast Sunday, Oct 20 2013 

Charles_wesleySee Luke 14:16-24.

Come, sinners, to the gospel feast,
Let every soul be Jesu’s guest;
Ye need not one be left behind,
For God hath bidden all mankind.

Sent by my Lord, on you I call,
The invitation is to all:
Come, all the world; come, sinner, thou!
All things in Christ are ready now.

Come, all ye souls by sin opprest,
Ye restless wanderers after rest,
Ye poor, and maimed, and halt, and blind,
In Christ a hearty welcome find.

Come, and partake the gospel feast;
Be saved from sin; in Jesus rest;
O taste the goodness of your God,
And eat his flesh, and drink his blood!

Ye vagrant souls, on you I call;
(O that my voice could reach you all!)
Ye all may now be justified,
Ye all may live, for Christ hath died.

My message as from God receive,
Ye all may come to Christ, and live;
O let his love your hearts constrain,
Nor suffer him to die in vain!

His love is mighty to compel;
His conquering love consent to feel,
Yield to his love’s resistless power,
And fight against your God no more.

See him set forth before your eyes,
That precious, bleeding sacrifice!
His offered benefits embrace,
And freely now be saved by grace.

This is the time; no more delay!
This is the acceptable day,
Come in, this moment, at his call,
And live for him who died for all.

Charles Wesley (1701-1778; Church of England): Hymns, 2.

Thomas Ken: My Jesus, Thou All Lovely Art Wednesday, Oct 9 2013 

Thomas_KenMy Jesus, Thou all lovely art,
And shouldst be loved with all the heart;
But woe is me, my heart is prone,
Thee, for cursed trifles to disown ;
O with a Love Thy votary bless,
Proportion’d to Thy loveliness!

Our want, Thou, Jesu, didst foreknow,
And didst proportion’d Love bestow;
At Thy ascent Thou in Thy place
Didst leave the boundless Source of Grace.
We at the Source of Love abide,
Where wants of Love are all supplied.

O blessing, next to that dear Love,
Which drew God Filial from above!
Oh God co-breathed, who Love art styled.
Delighting in souls undefiled!
Towards God my whole propension turn,
Love heavenly cannot downwards burn.

Great Third of the co-glorious Trine,
O may my spirit Thee enshrine.
O consecrate my mortal frame
Into a temple to Thy Name!
O be Thou of my soul the Soul,
And all rebellious powers control!

O Love Immense, within me dwell,
All loves but Thy own Love expel!
Within my heart Thy piercing eye
Will all absconded lusts descry;
Thy goodness, which all thought exceeds,
Will bring supplies for all my needs.

My soul with Truth’s bright radiance fill,
Keep me resign’d to God’s sole Will;
Whene’er I stray, be Thou my Guide,
Fix me, inclining to backslide;
Quicken me when I stupid grow,
Deep consolations, when in woe.

O purify my soul from stain.
All tendencies towards ill restrain;
My soul with warm devotion fire,
Which may with sighs and groans aspire;
Invigorate me when afraid,
When weak, vouchsafe me heavenly aid.

Truth sacred in my memory keep,
For sin create contrition deep;
All filial grace in me excite,
Be Witness that I walk upright.
Seal pardon for transgressions past,
Support me when I breathe my last.

Be Monitor Thy law to heed,
Be Advocate my cause to plead,
By Thee may I be born again,
By Thee celestial glory gain;
To me be Water, Oil, Fire, Wind,
To cleanse, oint, warm, and wing my mind.

[…]

I objects see; yet in my brain
How vision’s made, cannot explain;
My soul the Spirit working feels
While modes of working He conceals;
When God makes in our souls abode,
‘Tis curiosity to search the mode.

O Love co-breathed, I Love implore,
O give me Love, I need no more;
Gifts are for souls heroic meet,
Reserved for heights or sufferings great;
But void of Love I cannot live.
In that Thou wilt all graces give.

Jesu! I’ll love, I’ll hymn Thy Name,
From Thee co-effluent Godhead came;
Love shed by Him, through Thee shall rise,
Paternal Godhead’s sacrifice,
Of Love the co-eternal Three
Are thus the Spring, the Stream, the Sea.

Thomas Ken (1637–1711; Church of England): Christian Year, Tenth Sunday after Trinity, pp. 264-267.

Andrew of Crete: Christ, giver of life, hath burst the fetters of the tomb Wednesday, Aug 21 2013 

AndrewofcreteExult, ye Gentiles! mourn, ye Hebrews! Christ,
Giver of Life, hath burst
The fetters of the Tomb:
And raised the dead again, and healed the sick.
This is our God, Who giveth health
To every soul believing on His Name.

Marvel of marvels! Thou, O Lord, didst turn
The water into wine,
As once Thou spak’st the word
To Egypt’s river, and forthwith ’twas blood.
All praise to Thee, O Lord, Who now
By laying down Thy glory, man renew’st!

O overflowing stream of truest life,
Our Resurrection, Lord!
Thou for our sakes didst toil,
Thou for our sakes—so Nature willed—didst thirst:
And resting Thee by Sichar’s well,
Of the Samaritan didst seek to drink.

Thou blessest bread, Thou multipliest fish,
Incomprehensible!
Thou freely feed’st the crowd,
And givest Wisdom’s spring to thirsting men.
Thou art our Savious, O our God!
Giver of Life to them that trust in Thee!

Three co-eternal, co-enthroned, I laud:
The unbegotten Sire,
And Co-existant Son,
And Spirit, co-eternal with the Twain:
Tri-hypostatic Essence! One
In might and majesty and Godhead sole.

Mother of God! Thou only didst contain
The Uncontainable;
And brought’st the Infant forth,
Ineffable in Thy Virginity.
Hence without ceasing, O most pure,
Vouchsafe to call down blessing on Thy flock!

Thou turned’st the sea to land, when Thou didst whelm
Pharoah and all his host,
His chariot and his horse:
And ledd’st Thy people to the Holy Mount.
Sing we, said they, to Thee our God,
Mighty in War, this Ode of Victory!

Andrew of Crete (c.650-740[?]): Extracts from Canon for Meso-Pentecost, translated by John Mason Neale (1818-1866) in Hymns of the Eastern Church.

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