Article

1745, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord

by Dean McIntyre
Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord
(First Edition)
by Charles Wesley
(London: William Strahan, 1745)

This is a publication of the entire contents of the text of the first edition of Charles Wesley's 1745 collection, with some minor editorial changes (such as capitalization and some punctuation and spelling) to facilitate use in congregational singing or personal reading. This hymnal was published in over twenty-five editions during the life of Charles Wesley (1707-1788), and not always with Wesley's approval. The numerous editions contain many variations in text. All texts are in the public domain.

Dean B. McIntyre
Director of Music Resources
The United Methodist Discipleship Ministries
PO Box 340003
Nashville TN 37203-0003
Telephone: (615) 340-7073
E-mail address: [email protected]



Contents and Meters
Ye simple men of heart sincere
8.8.8.8
Ye heavenly choir
5.5.5.5.6.5.6.5
Angels speak, let man give ear
8.3.3.6
Glory be to God on high
7.6.7.6.7.7.7.6
Let earth and heaven combine
6.6.6.6.8 8
Join all ye joyful nations
7.7.4 4.7.7.7.4 4.7
All glory to God, and peace upon earth
5.5.5.5.6.5.6.5
Away with our fears!
5 5.5 11
Father, our hearts we lift
6.6.8.6.6.6.8.6
Come, thou long-expected Jesus
8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7
Light of those whose dreary dwelling
8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7
Sing, ye ransomed nations, sing
7 7.7 7
Let angels and archangels
8.8.8.8.8 8
O astonishing grace
5 5.5 11
All-wise, all-good, almighty Lord
8 8.6.8 8.6
O mercy divine
5 5 11
Where is the holy, heaven-born child?
8.8.8.8
All glory to God in the sky
8.8.8.8.8.8.8.8


Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord

(First Edition)

by

Charles Wesley

(London: William Strahan, 1745)


Hymn 1: Ye simple men of heart sincere 8.8.8.8

  1. Ye simple men of heart sincere,
    Shepherds who watch your flocks by night,
    Start not to see an angel near,
    Nor tremble at this glorious light.
  2. An herald from the heavenly king,
    I come, your every fear to chase;
    Good tidings of great joy I bring,
    Great joy to all the fallen race.
  3. To you is born on this glad day,
    A Savior by our host adored,
    Our God in Bethlehem survey,
    Make haste to worship Christ the Lord.
  4. By this the Saviour of mankind,
    Th' incarnate God shall be displayed,
    The babe ye wrapped in swaths shall find,
    And humbly in a manger laid.


Hymn 2: Ye heavenly choir 5.5.5.5.6.5.6.5

  1. Ye heavenly choir,
    Assist me to sing,
    And strike the soft lyre,
    And honour our king:
    His mighty salvation
    Demands all our praise,
    Our best adoration,
    And loftiest lays.
  2. All glory to God,
    Who ruleth on high,
    And now hath bestowed,
    And sent from the sky
    Christ Jesus, the Saviour,
    Poor mortals to bless;
    The pledge of his favour,
    The seal of their peace.


Hymn 3: Angels speak, let man give ear 8.3.3.6

  1. Angels speak, let man give ear,
    Sent from high,
    They are nigh,
    And forbid our fear.
  2. News they bring us of salvation,
    Sounds of joy
    To employ
    Every tongue and nation.
  3. Welcome tidings! To retrieve us
    From our fall,
    Born for all,
    Christ is born to save us.
  4. Born his creatures to restore,
    Abject earth,
    Sees his birth,
    Whom the heavens adore.
  5. Wrapped in swaths th' immortal stranger,
    Man with men,
    We have seen,
    Lying in a manger.
  6. All to God's free grace is owing;
    We are his
    Witnesses,
    Poor, and nothing knowing.
  7. Simple shepherds us he raises,
    Bids us sing
    Christ the King,
    And shew forth his praises.
  8. We have seen the King of glory,
    We proclaim
    Christ his name,
    And record his story.
  9. Sing we with the host of heaven,
    Reconciled,
    By a child,
    Who to us is given.
  10. Glory be to God the giver,
    Peace and love
    From above
    Reign on earth for ever.


Hymn 4: Glory be to God on high 7.6.7.6.7.7.7.6

  1. Glory be to God on high,
    And peace on earth descend;
    God comes down; he bows the sky,
    He shews himself our friend!
    God th' invisible appears,
    God the blest, the great I AM
    Sojourns in this vale of tears,
    And Jesus is his name.
  2. Him the angels all adored.
    Their maker and their king;
    Tidings of their humbled Lord,
    They now to mortals bring:
    Emptied of his majesty,
    Of his dazzling glories shorn,
    Being's source begins to be,
    And God himself is born!
  3. See th' eternal Son of God,
    A mortal son of man,
    Dwelling in an earthly clod,
    Whom heaven cannot contain!
    Stand amazed, ye heavens, at this!
    See the Lord of earth and skies
    Humbled to the dust he is,
    And in a manger lies!
  4. We the sons of men rejoice,
    The Prince of Peace proclaim,
    With heaven's host lift up our voice,
    And shout Immanuel's name;
    Knees and hearts to him we bow;
    Of our flesh, and of our bone,
    Jesus is our brother now,
    And God is all our own!


Hymn 5: Let earth and heaven combine 6.6.6.6.8 8

  1. Let earth and heaven combine,
    Angels and men agree,
    To praise in songs divine
    Th' incarnate deity,
    Our God contracted to a span,
    Incomprehensibly made man.
  2. He laid his glory by,
    He wrapped him in our clay,
    Unmarked by human eye,
    The latent Godhead lay;
    Infant of days he here became,
    And bore the loved Immanuel's name.
  3. See in that infant's face
    The depths of deity,
    And labour while ye gaze
    To found the mystery:
    In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
    But fall, and silently adore.
  4. Unsearchable the love,
    That hath the Saviour brought,
    The grace is far above,
    Or men or angels thought;
    Suffice for us, that God, we know,
    Our God is manifest below.
  5. He deigns in flesh to appear,
    Widest extremes to join,
    To bring our vileness near,
    And make us all divine;
    And we the life of God shall know,
    For God is manifest below.
  6. Made perfect first in love,
    And sanctified by grace,
    We shall from earth remove,
    And see his glorious face;
    His love shall then be fully showed,
    And man shall all be lost in God.


Hymn 6: Join all ye joyful nations 7.7.4 4.7.7.7.4 4.7

  1. Join all ye joyful nations,
    Th' acclaiming hosts of heaven!
    This happy morn
    A child is born,
    For us a son is given.

    The messenger and token
    Of God's eternal favour,
    God hath sent down
    To us his Son,
    An universal Saviour!

  2. The wonderful Messiah,
    The joy of every nation,
    Jesus his name,
    With God the fame,
    The Lord of all creation;

    The Counsellor of sinners,
    Almighty to deliver,
    The Prince of Peace,
    Whose love's increase,
    Shall reign in man for ever.

  3. Go see the King of glory,
    Discern the heavenly stranger,
    So poor and mean,
    His court an inn,
    His cradle is a manger:

    Who from his Father's bosom,
    But now for us descended,
    Who built the skies,
    On earth he lies,
    With only beasts attended.

  4. Whom all the angels worship,
    Lies hid in human nature;
    Incarnate see
    The deity,
    The infinite Creator!
  5. Gaze on that helpless object
    Of endless adoration!
    Those infant hands
    Shall burst our bands,
    And work out our salvation;

    Strangle the crooked serpent,
    Destroy his works for ever,
    And open set
    The heavenly gate
    To every true believer.

  6. Till then, thou holy Jesus,
    We humbly bow before thee,
    Our treasures bring
    To serve our king,
    And joyfully adore thee:
  7. To thee we gladly render
    Whate'er thy grace hath given,
    Till thou appear
    In glory here,
    And take us up to heaven.


Hymn 7: All glory to God, and peace upon earth 5.5.5.5.6.5.6.5

  1. All glory to God, and peace upon earth,
    Be published abroad at Jesus's birth;
    The forfeited favour of heaven we find
    Restored in the Saviour and friend of mankind.
  2. Then let us behold Messiah the Lord,
    By prophets foretold, by angels adored,
    Our God's incarnation with angels proclaim,
    And publish salvation in Jesus's name.
  3. Our newly-born King by faith we have seen,
    And joyfully sing his goodness to men,
    That all men may wonder at what we impart,
    And thankfully ponder his love in their heart.
  4. What moved the Most High so greatly to stoop,
    He comes from the sky our souls to lift up;
    That sinners forgiven, might sinless return
    To God and to heaven; their Maker is born.
  5. Immanuel's love let sinners confess,
    Who comes from above, to bring us his peace;
    Let every believer his mercy adore,
    And praise him for ever, when time is no more.


Hymn 8: Away with our fears! 5 5.5 11

  1. Away with our fears!
    The Godhead appears
    In Christ reconciled,
    The Father of Mercies in Jesus the Child.
  2. He comes from above,
    In manifest love,
    The desire of our eyes,
    The meek Lamb of God, in a manger he lies.
  3. At Immanuel's birth
    What a triumph on earth!
    Yet could it afford
    No better place for its heavenly Lord.
  4. The Ancient of Days
    To redeem a lost race,
    From his glory comes down,
    Self-humbled to carry us up to a crown.
  5. Made flesh for our sake,
    That we might partake
    The nature divine,
    And again in his image, his holiness shine;
  6. An heavenly birth
    Experience on earth,
    And rise to his throne,
    And live with our Jesus eternally one.
  7. Then let us believe,
    And gladly receive
    The tidings they bring,
    Who publish to sinners their Saviour and King.
  8. And while we are here,
    Our King shall appear,
    His Spirit impart,
    And form his full image of love in our heart.


Hymn 9: Father, our hearts we lift 6.6.8.6.6.6.8.6

  1. Father, our hearts we lift
    Up to thy gracious throne,
    And bless thee for the precious gift
    Of thine incarnate son;
    The gift unspeakable
    We thankfully receive,
    And to the world thy goodness tell,
    And to thy glory live.
  2. Jesus, the holy child,
    Doth by his birth declare,
    That God and man are reconciled,
    And one in him we are.
    Salvation through his name
    To all mankind is given,
    And loud his infant-cries proclaim
    A peace 'twixt earth and heaven.
  3. A peace on earth he brings,
    Which never more shall end:
    The Lord of hosts, the King of Kings,
    Declares himself our friend,
    Assumes our flesh and blood,
    That we his Spirit may gain,
    The everlasting Son of God,
    The mortal Son of man.
  4. His kingdom from above
    He doth to us impart,
    And pure benevolence and love
    O'erflow the faithful heart:
    Changed in a moment we
    The sweet attraction find,
    With open arms of charity
    Embracing all mankind.
  5. O might they all receive
    The new-born Prince of Peace,
    And meekly in his Spirit live,
    And in his love increase!
    'Till he convey us home,
    Cry every soul aloud,
    Come, thou desire of nations come,
    And take us all to God!


Hymn 10: Come, thou long-expected Jesus 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7

  1. Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
    Born to set thy people free,
    From our fears and sins relieve us,
    Let us find our rest in thee:
    Israel's strength and consolation,
    Hope of all the earth thou art,
    Dear desire of every nation,
    Joy of every longing heart.
  2. Born thy people to deliver,
    Born a child and yet a King,
    Born to reign in us for ever,
    Now thy gracious kingdom bring;
    By thine own eternal Spirit,
    Rule in all our hearts alone,
    By thine all-sufficient merit
    Raise us to thy glorious throne.


Hymn 11: Light of those whose dreary dwelling 8.7.8.7.8.7.8.7

  1. Light of those whose dreary dwelling
    Borders on the shades of death,
    Come, and by thy love's revealing,
    Dissipate the clouds beneath:
    The new heaven and earth's Creator,
    In our deepest darkness rise,
    Scattering all the night of nature,
    Pouring eye-sight on our eyes.
  2. Still we wait for thy appearing,
    Life and joy thy beams impart,
    Chasing all our fears, and chearing
    Every poor benighted heart.
    Come, and manifest the favour
    God hath for our ransomed race;
    Come, thou universal Saviour,
    Come, and bring the gospel-grace.
  3. Save us in thy great compassion,
    O thou mild pacific Prince,
    Give the knowledge of salvation,
    Give the pardon of our sins;
    By thine all-redeeming merit
    Every burdened soul release,
    Every weary wandring Spirit
    Guide into thy perfect peace.


Hymn 12: Sing, ye ransomed nations, sing 7 7.7 7

  1. Sing, ye ransomed nations, sing,
    Praises to our new-born King,
    Son of man our Maker is,
    Lord of hosts and Prince of peace!
  2. Lo! He lays his glory by,
    Emptied of his majesty!
    See the God who all things made,
    Humbly in a manger laid.
  3. Cast we off our needless fear,
    Boldly to his crche draw near,
    Jesus is our flesh and bone,
    God-with-Us is all our own.
  4. Let us then with angels gaze
    On our new-born monarch's face,
    With the choir celestial joined,
    Shout the Saviour of mankind.
  5. Son of Man, will he despise,
    Man's well-meaning sacrifice?
    No; with condescending grace
    He accepts his creature's praise.
  6. Will his majesty disdain
    The poor shepherd's simple strain?
    No; for Israel's shepherd, he
    Loves their artless melody.
  7. He will not refuse the song
    Of the stammering infant's tongue,
    Babes he hears humanely mild,
    Once himself a little child.
  8. Let us then our Prince proclaim,
    Humbly chant Immanuel's name,
    Publish at his wondrous birth,
    Praise in heaven and peace on earth.
  9. Triumph in our Saviour's love,
    Till he takes us up above,
    All his majesty displays,
    Shews us all his glorious face.


Hymn 13: Let angels and archangels 8.8.8.8.8 8

  1. Let angels and archangels sing
    The wonderful Immanuel's name,
    Adore with us our new-born King,
    And still the joyful news proclaim,
    All earth and heaven be ever joined
    To praise the Saviour of mankind.
  2. The everlasting God comes down
    To sojourn with the sons of men;
    Without his majesty or crown,
    The great Invisible is seen:
    Of all his dazzling glories shorn,
    The everlasting God is born!
  3. Angels, behold that infant's face,
    With rapturous awe the Godhead own:
    'Tis all your heaven on him to gaze,
    And cast your crowns before his throne;
    Though now he on his footstool lies,
    Ye know he built both earth and skies.
  4. By him into existence brought,
    Ye sang the all-creating word;
    Ye heard him call our world from nought:
    Again, in honour of your Lord,
    Ye morning-stars your hymns employ,
    And shout, ye sons of God, for joy.


Hymn 14: O astonishing grace 5 5.5 11

  1. O astonishing grace,
    That the reprobate race
    Should be so reconciled!
    What a wonder of wonders that God is a child!
  2. The Creator of all,
    To repair our sad fall,
    From his heaven stoops down,
    Lays hold of our nature, and joins to his own.
  3. Our Immanuel came,
    The whole world to redeem,
    And incarnated shewed
    That man may again be united to God!
  4. And shall we not hope,
    After God to wake up,
    His nature to know?
    His nature is sinless perfection below.
  5. To this heavenly prize,
    By faith let us rise
    To his image ascend,
    Apprehended of God let us God apprehend.


Hymn 15: All-wise, all-good, almighty Lord 8 8.6.8 8.6

  1. All-wise, all-good, almighty Lord,
    Jesus, by highest heaven adored,
    E'er time its course began,
    How did thy glorious mercy stoop
    To take the fallen nature up,
    When thou thyself wert man?
  2. Th' Eternal God from heaven came down,
    The King of glory dropped his crown,
    And veiled his majesty,
    Emptied of all but love he came;
    Jesus, I call thee by the name
    Thy pity bore for me.
  3. O holy child, still let thy birth
    Bring peace to us poor worms of earth,
    And praise to God on high!
    Come, thou who didst my flesh assume,
    Now to the abject sinner come,
    And in a manger lie.
  4. Didst thou not in thy person join
    The natures human and divine,
    That God and man might be
    Henceforth inseparably one?
    Haste then, and make thy nature known
    Incarnated in me.
  5. In my weak sinful flesh appear,
    O God, be manifested here,
    Peace, righteousness, and joy,
    Thy kingdom, Lord, set up within
    My faithful heart, and all my sin,
    The devil's work destroy.
  6. I long thy coming to confess
    The mystic power of godliness,
    The life divine to prove,
    The fullness of thy life to know,
    Redeemed from all my sins below,
    And perfected in love.
  7. O Christ, my hope, make known in me
    The great, the glorious mystery,
    The hidden life impart:
    Come, thou desire of nations, come,
    Formed in a spotless virgin's womb,
    A pure believing heart.
  8. Come quickly, dearest Lord, that I
    May own, though antichrist deny,
    Thy incarnation's power,
    May cry, a witness to my Lord,
    "Come in my flesh is Christ, the Word,
    And I can sin no more!"


Hymn 16: O mercy divine 5 5 11

  1. O mercy divine,
    How couldst thou incline
    My God to become such an infant as mine!
  2. What a wonder of grace!
    The ancient of days
    Is found in the likeness of Adam's frail race.
  3. He comes from on high,
    Who fashioned the sky,
    And meekly vouchsafes in a manger to lie.
  4. Our God ever blest
    With oxen doth rest,
    Is nursed by his creature and hangs at the breast.
  5. So heavenly-mild
    His innocence smiled,
    No wonder the mother should worship the child.
  6. The angels she knew
    Had worshipped him too,
    And still they confess adoration his due.
  7. On Jesus's face,
    With eager amaze,
    And pleasure extatic the cherubim gaze.
  8. Their newly-born King,
    Transported they sing,
    And heaven and earth with the triumph doth ring.
  9. The shepherds behold
    Him promised of old,
    By angels attended, by prophets foretold.
  10. The wise men adore,
    And bring him their store,
    The rich are permitted to follow the poor.
  11. To the inn they repair,
    To see the young heir:
    The inn is a palace; for Jesus is there.
  12. Who now would be great,
    And not rather wait
    On Jesus their Lord in his humble estate?
  13. Like him would I be,
    My Master I see
    In a stable; a stable shall satisfy me.
  14. With him I reside:
    The manger shall hide
    Mine honour; the manger shall bury my pride.
  15. And here will I lie,
    Till raised up on high
    With him on the cross I recover the sky.


Hymn 17: Where is the holy, heaven-born child? 8.8.8.8

  1. Where is the holy heaven-born child,
    Heir of the everlasting throne,
    Who heaven and earth hath reconciled,
    And God and man rejoined in one?
  2. Shall we of earthly kings enquire,
    To courts or palaces repair?
    The nation's hope, the world's desire,
    Alas! We cannot find him there.
  3. Shall learning shew the sinner's friend,
    Or scribes a sight of Christ afford?
    Us to his natal place they send,
    But never go to see their Lord.
  4. We search the outward church in vain,
    They cannot him we seek declare,
    They have not found the Son of Man,
    Or known the sacred name they bear.
  5. Then let us turn no more aside,
    But use the light himself imparts,
    His Spirit is our surest guide,
    His Spirit glimmering in our hearts.
  6. Drawn by his grace we come from far,
    And fix on heaven our wishful eyes,
    That ray divine, that orient star
    Directs us where the infant lies.
  7. See there! The new born Saviour see,
    By faith discern the great I AM;
    'Tis he! The eternal God! 'tis he
    That bears the mild Immanuel's name.
  8. The Prince of Peace on earth is found,
    The child is born, the son is given;
    Tell it to all the nations round,
    Jehovah is come down from heaven!
  9. Jehovah is come to raise
    His dying creatures from their fall,
    And all may now receive the grace
    Which brings eternal life to all.
  10. Lord, we receive the grace and thee,
    With joy unspeakable receive,
    And rise thine open face to see,
    And one with God for ever live.


Hymn 18: All glory to God in the sky 8.8.8.8.8.8.8.8

  1. All glory to God in the sky,
    And peace upon earth be restored!
    O Jesus, exalted on high,
    Appear our omnipotent Lord:
    Who meanly in Bethlehem born,
    Didst stoop to redeem a lost race,
    Once more to thy creature return,
    And reign in thy kingdom of grace.
  2. When thou in our flesh didst appear,
    All nature acknowledged thy birth;
    Arose the acceptable year,
    And heaven was opened on earth:
    Receiving its Lord from above,
    The world was united to bless
    The giver of concord and love,
    The Prince and Author of Peace.
  3. O wouldst thou again be made known,
    Again in thy Spirit descend,
    And set up in each of thine own,
    A kingdom that never shall end!
    Thou only art able to bless,
    And make the glad nations obey,
    And bid the dire enmity cease,
    And bow the whole world to thy sway.
  4. Come then to thy servants again,
    Who long thy appearing to know,
    Thy quiet and peaceable reign
    In mercy establish below:
    All sorrow before thee shall fly,
    And anger and hatred be o'er,
    And envy and malice shall die,
    And discord afflict us no more.
  5. No horrid alarm of war
    Shall break our eternal repose;
    No sound of the trumpet is there,
    Where Jesus's spirit o'erflows:
    Appeased by the charms of thy grace
    We all shall in amity join,
    And kindly each other embrace,
    And love with a passion like thine.
F I N I S

Categories: Source Readings, Wesley Music