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Let all mortal flesh keep silence

Full Text

1 Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly minded,
for with blessing in His hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

2 King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture -
in the body and the blood.
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

3 Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the pow'rs of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

4 At His feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the Presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry,
“Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, Lord most high!”

Source: Hymns to the Living God #107

Paraphraser: Gerard Moultrie

Moultrie, Gerard, M.A., son of the Rev. John Moultrie, was born at Rugby Rectory, Sept. 16, 1829, and educated at Rugby and Exeter College, Oxford (B.A. 1851, M.A. 1856). Taking Holy Orders, he became Third Master and Chaplain in Shrewsbury School; Chaplain to the Dowager Marchioness of Londonderry, 1855-59; curate of Brightwaltham, 1859; and of Brinfield, Berks, 1860; Chaplain of the Donative of Barrow Gurney, Bristol, 1864: Vicar of Southleigh, 1869, and Warden of St. James's College, Southleigh,1873. He died April 25, 1885. His publications include: 1) The Primer set forth at large for the use of the Faithful. In Family and Private Prayer. Edited from the Post Reformation editions, 1864. (2) Hymns and Lyrics for the Seasons and Saint… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Let all mortal flesh keep silence
Greek Title: Σιϒησάτω πδσα Σάρξ βροτЄία
Paraphraser: Gerard Moultrie (1864)
Source: Liturgy of St James
Language: English
Liturgical Uses: Communion Liturgy, Communion Songs


Scripture References: st. 1 = Hab. 2:20,Zech. 2:13 st. 2 = Rev. 19:16,Luke 22:19-20 st. 3 = Matt. 16:27 st.4 = Isa. 6:2-3 Evidence suggests that the Greek text of "Let All Mortal Flesh" may date back to the fifth century. The present text is from the Liturgy of St. James, a Syrian rite thought to have been written by St. James the Less, first Bishop of Jerusalem. It is based on a prayer chanted by the priest when the bread and wine are brought to the table of the Lord. The text expresses awe at Christ's coming (st. 1) and the mystery of our perception of Christ in the body and blood (st. 2). With images from Isaiah 6 and Revelation 5, it portrays the glory of Christ (sung to by angels) and his victory over sin (st. 3-4). Although it has eucharistic emphasis, the text pictures the nativity of Christ in a majestic manner and in a much larger context than just his birth in Bethlehem. We are drawn into the awe and mystery with our own alleluias." Gerard Moultrie (b. Rugby, Warnickshire, England, 1829; d. Southleigh, England, 1885) translated the text from the Greek; his English paraphrase was first published in Orby Shipley's Lyra Eucharistica (1864) and entitled "Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn." The Psalter Hymnal alters that paraphrase in part to solve Reformed sensitivities about eucharistic theology. Moultrie's great-grandfather had settled in South Carolina, but after siding with England during the American Revolution, he had moved back to Britain. Educated at Exeter College, Oxford, England, Moultrie served as a pastor and chaplain in the Church of England. In addition to writing his own hymns he prepared translations of Greek, Latin, and German hymns. He also edited several hymnals, including Hymns and Lyrics for the Seasons and Saints' Days (1867) and Cantica Sanctorum or Hymns for the Black Letter Saints' Days in the English and Scottish Calendars (1880). Liturgical Use: Ideal to use during Lord's Supper services at Christmastime, but may be used at any time during the Christmas season; Lord's Supper at other times of the church year (especially as a sung part of the Great Prayer of Thanksgiving at the beginning of the eucharistic liturgy). --Psalter Hymnal Handbook



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Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #163
Ancient and Modern: hymns and songs for refreshing worship #452Text
Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #424
Baptist Hymnal 1991 #80TextAudioPage Scan
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Chalice Hymnal #124TextPage Scan
Christian Worship: a Lutheran hymnal #361Text
Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #427
Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #666TextPage Scan
Common Praise (1998) #48TextPage Scan
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #309
Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #381Text
Evangelical Lutheran Worship #490Text
Gather (3rd ed.) #619Page Scan
Gather Comprehensive #540TextPage Scan
Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #542Page Scan
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Hymnal: A Worship Book #463
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #256
Hymns and Psalms: a Methodist and ecumenical hymn book #266
Hymns for a Pilgrim People: a congregational hymnal #142Text
Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #61
Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #295
Hymns to the Living God #107TextPage Scan
Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #821TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
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Moravian Book of Worship #271TextPage Scan
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Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #472
Singing the Faith #591
Small Church Music #230Audio
The Christian Life Hymnal #82
The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #127
The Cyber Hymnal #3646TextScoreAudio
The New Century Hymnal #345TextPage Scan
The New English Hymnal #295TextPage Scan
The United Methodist Hymnal #626TextFlexscoreAudioPage Scan
The Worshiping Church #167TextFlexscorePage Scan
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Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #193TextFlexscorePage Scan
Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #473Text
Worship (3rd ed.) #523TextPage Scan
Worship (4th ed.) #620
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Worship in Song: A Friends Hymnal #75
生命聖詩 - Hymns of Life, 1986 #109Text
찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #150
Include 85 pre-1979 instances
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