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Holy Gift, Surpassing Comprehension

Holy Gift, Surpassing Comprehension

Author: Joseph of the Studium; Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Published in 2 hymnals

Representative Text

Holy gift, surpassing comprehension!
Wondrous mystery of each fiery tongue!
CHRIST made good His Promise in Ascension:
O’er the Twelve the cloven flames have hung!

Spake the LORD, or ere He left the Eleven;
“Here in Salem wait the Gift I send:
Till the PARACLETE come down from Heaven:
Everlasting Guide and Guard and Friend.”


O that shame, now ended in that glory!
Pain untold, now lost in joy unknown!
Tell it out with praise, the whole glad story,
Human nature at the FATHER’s Throne!

Declare, ye Angel Bands that dwell on high,
How saw ye Him, the Victor, drawing nigh?
What strange new visions burst upon your sight?
One in the form of Man, That claims by right
The very throne of GOD, the unapproached Light!

Eternal! After Thine own will
Thou born in time would’st be:


After the self-same counsel still
Was Thine Epiphany:
Thou in our flesh didst yield Thy breath,
Immortal GOD, for man:
Thou by Thy death didst conquer Death,
Through Thine Almighty plan:
Thou, rising Victor to the sky,
Fill’st Heav’n and earth above:
And send’st the Promise from on high,
The SPIRIT of Thy love!

Hymns of the Eastern Church, 1866

Author: Joseph of the Studium

Joseph of the Studium [Joseph of Thessalonica]. This person not the same person wrongly named by Dr. Neale in his Hymns of the Eastern Church as Joseph of the Studium, author of the great Canon for the Ascension. That Joseph is St. Joseph the Hymnographer. Joseph of Thessalonica, younger brother of St. Theodore of the Studium, q.v., was some time Bishop of Thessalonica, and died in prison, after great suffering inflicted by command of Theophilus. He was probably the author of the Triodia in the Triodion, and certainly of five Canons in the Pentecostarion to which his name is prefixed. His pieces have not been translated into English. [Rev. H. Leigh Bennett, M.A.] --John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907) Go to person page >

Translator: John Mason Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Holy Gift, Surpassing Comprehension
Author: Joseph of the Studium
Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Meter: with refrain
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
TextPage Scan

Hymns of the Eastern Church (5th ed.) #226

Songs of the Spirit #d203

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