Behold the messengers of Christ

Behold the messengers of Christ

Author: Jean-Baptiste de Santeul; Translator: Isaac Williams
Published in 9 hymnals

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Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1. Behold the messengers of Christ,
Who bear to every place,
The unveiled mysteries of God,
The Gospel of His grace.

2. The things through mists and shadows dim
By holy prophets seen,
In the full light of day they saw
With not a cloud between.

3. What Christ, true Man, divinely wrought,
What God in manhood bore,
They wrote, as God inspired, in words
That live forevermore.

4. Although in space and time apart,
One Spirit ruled them all;
And in their sacred pages still
We hear that Spirit’s call.

5. To God, the blessèd Three in One,
Be glory, praise, and might,
Who called us from the shades of death
To His own glorious light.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #593

Author: Jean-Baptiste de Santeul

Santeüil, Jean-Baptiste de, was born in Paris of a good family on May 12, 1630. He was one of the regular Canons of St. Victor, at Paris, and, under the name of Santolius Victorinus, was distinguished as a writer of Latin poetry. Many of his hymns appeared in the Cluniac Breviary 1686, and the Paris Breviaries 1680 and 1736, and several have been translated into English, and are in common use in Great Britain and America. He was very jocose in disposition and singular in his habits. When on a journey he died at Dijon, Aug. 5, 1697. His Hymni Sacri et Novi were published at Paris in 1689, and again, enlarged, in 1698. [George Arthur Crawford, M.A.] --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)  Go to person page >

Translator: Isaac Williams

Isaac Williams was born in London, in 1802. His father was a barrister. The son studied at Trinity College, Oxford, where he gained the prize for Latin verse. He graduated B.A. 1826, M.A. 1831, and B.D. 1839. He was ordained Deacon in 1829, and Priest in 1831. His clerical appointments were Windrush (1829), S. Mary the Virgin's, Oxford (1832), and Bisley (1842-1845). He was Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, from 1832 to 1842. During the last twenty years of his life his health was so poor as to permit but occasional ministerial services. He died in 1865. He was the author of some prose writings, amongst which are Nos. 80, 86 and 87 of the "Oxford Tracts." His commentaries are favourably known. He also published quite a large num… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Behold the messengers of Christ
Spanish Title: Christi perennes nuntil
Translator: Isaac Williams
Author: Jean-Baptiste de Santeul
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Christi perennes nuntii . Jean Baptiste de Santeüil. [SS. Mark and Luke.] Published in the Cluniac Breviary, 1686, p. viii., and in his Hymni Sacri et Novi, 1689, 197; and in the ed. 1698, p. 240, as a hymn for the Evangelists, in 6 stanzas of 4 lines. In 1736 it was included, with alterations, in the revised Paris Breviary as the hymn for 1st and 2nd Vespers on the Feasts of SS. Mark and Luke. It is also appointed for the same Feasts in other French Breviaries. The Paris Breviary text is given in Cardinal Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B.D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. Heralds of Christ, to every age, by J. Chandler, from the Paris Breviary, in his Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837, No. 92 (with the Latin text), in 5 stanzas of 4 lines.
2. Christ's everlasting messengers, by I. Williams, is the most widely used of the translations of this hymn.
3. Heralds of Jesus through all time, by E. Caswall, first published in his Masque of Mary, &c, 1858, and again in his Hymns, &c, 1873. In the Hymnary, 1872, it is given with alterations by the compilers as " Behold Christ's heralds through all time."
4. Behold the messengers of Christ, by the compilers of Hymns Ancient & Modern, is based upon I. Williams, as above. It was given in the first edition, 1861, and again in the revised ed., 1875.
Translations not in common use:—
Praise for Thy saints to Thee, 0 Lord. Bp. Mant. 1837.

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


BELMONT (Gardiner)

This tune has been mis-attributed to various other composers, but is clearly the work of the above-named composer.

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CLIFTON (Turpin)

DURHAM (Ravenscroft)



The Cyber Hymnal #593
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The Cyber Hymnal #593

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