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Bread of heaven, on Thee we feed

Representative Text

1 Bread of heaven, on thee we feed,
for thou art our food indeed.
Ever may our souls be fed
with this true and living Bread,
day by day with strength supplied
through the life of Christ who died.

2 Vine of heaven, thy love supplies
this blest cup of sacrifice.
'Tis thy wounds our healing give;
to thy cross we look and live.
Thou our life! O let us be
rooted, grafted, built on thee.

Source: Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #496

Author: Josiah Conder

Josiah Conder was born in London, in 1789. He became a publisher, and in 1814 became proprietor of "The Eclectic Review." Subsequently to 1824, he composed a series of descriptive works, called the "Modern Traveller," which appeared in thirty volumes. He also published several volumes of poems and hymns. He was the author of the first "Congregational Hymn Book" (1836). He died in 1855. --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872.… Go to person page >


Bread of Heaven, on Thee I [we] feed. J. Conder. [Holy Communion.] This hymn takes rank as the most popular and widely used of the author's productions. It appeared in his Star of the East, &c, 1824, p. 57, in the following form:—

”For the Eucharist.

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven . . . Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. ... I am the true vine."—John vi. 51-4, xv. l

"Bread of Heav'n!on Thee I feed,
For thy flesh is meat indeed.
Ever may my soul be fed
With this true and living bread;
Day by day with strength supplied,
Through the life of Him who died.

"Vine of Heav'n! thy blood supplies
This blest cup of sacrifice.
‘Tis thy wounds my healing give:
To thy Cross I look, and live.
Thou my life! oh, let me be
Rooted, grafted, built on Thee."

This text was repeated in Conder's Congregational Hymn Book, 1836, and his Hymns of Praise, &c, 1856, p. 86. It is in several Nonconformist hymnals, but sometimes, as in the Baptist Psalms and Hymns, 185S, No. 725, with "The blest" for "This blest cup," in stanza ii., line 2. In Pratt's Psalms & Hymns, 1829, No. 69. it was broken up into 3 stanzas of 4 lines, and given as "Bread of heaven, on Thee we feed"; and this was repealed in some later collections. The most popular and widely used form of the hymn is the following, which was given in the Cooke and Denton Church Hymnal, 1853, No. 202, as follows:—

"Bread of heaven, on Thee we feed,
For Thy Flesh is meat indeed;
Ever may our souls be fed
With this true and living Bread;
Day by day with strength supplied
Through the life of Him Who died.

"Vine of heaven! Thy Blood supplies
This blest cup of Sacrifice;
Lord, Thy Wounds our healing give;
To Thy Cross we look and live:
Jesu! may we ever be
Grafted, rooted
, built in Thee. Amen."

Great popularity was given to this text by its adoption by Hymns Ancient & Modern in 1861, and subsequently by other important Church of England collections. In Thring's Collection, 1882, there is a slight return to the original. It will be noted that in the revised text there is no change of doctrine involved. Both in it, and in the original, the same truth is set forth; but the revised text is the more congregational and musical of the two. The American hymnals, in common with those of Great Britain, have adopted both texts, the revised being mainly found in the Protestant Episcopal collections. A Latin rendering of the Hymns Ancient & Modern text by the Rev. C. B. Pearson as: "Pasce nos, Divine Panis," was given in Biggs’s Annotated Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1867.

-- John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



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The Cyber Hymnal #512
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Instances (1 - 23 of 23)

Ancient and Modern #430a


Ancient and Modern #430b

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #83a

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #83b

Church Hymnal, Mennonite #314


Common Praise (1998) #72

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Common Praise #284

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Common Praise #284b

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Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #82

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Glory to God #496

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #271

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #398a

Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #398b

Hymns Old and New #67

Sing Glory #464


Small Church Music #1506

The Baptist Hymnal #547


The Cyber Hymnal #512

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The Hymnal 1982 #323

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The New English Hymnal #276a

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The New English Hymnal #276b

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The Presbyterian Hymnal #501


Together in Song #513

Include 299 pre-1979 instances
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