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O mean may seem this house of clay

Representative Text

1 O mean may seem this house of clay,
Yet ’twas the Lord’s abode;
Our feet may mourn this thorny way,
Yet here Emmanuel trod.

2 This fleshly robe the Lord did wear;
This watch the Lord did keep;
These burdens sore the Lord did bear;
These tears the Lord did weep.

3 This world the Master overcame;
This death the Lord did die;
O vanquished world! O glorious shame!
O hallowed agony!

4 O vale of tears, no longer sad,
Wherein the Lord did dwell!
O holy robe of flesh that clad
Our own Emmanuel!

5 Our very frailty brings us near
Unto the Lord of heaven;
To every grief, to every tear,
Such glory strange is given.


Source: Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church #54

Author: Thomas H. Gill

Gill, Thomas Hornblower, was born at Bristol Road, Birmingham, Feb. 10th, 1819. His parents belonged to English Presbyterian families which, like many others, had become Unitarian in their doctrine. He was educated at King Edward's Grammar School under Dr. Jeune, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough. He left the school in 1838, and would have proceeded to the University of Oxford, but was prevented by his hereditary Unitarianism (long since given up), which forbade subscription to the Articles of the Church of England then necessary for entrance to the University. This constrained him to lead the life of an isolated student, in which he gave himself chiefly to historical and theological subjects. Hence his life has been singularly devoid of ou… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: O mean may seem this house of clay
Author: Thomas H. Gill (1850)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


O mean may seem this house of clay. T. H. Gill. [Divinity of, and Oneness with, Christ.] Written in 1850; 1st published in G. Dawson's Psalms & Hymns, 1853; and again, after slight revision, in the author's Golden Chain, &c, 1869, No. 36, in 11 stanzas of 4 lines. Concerning it the author says that it

"Has had by far the widest acceptance of all my hymns. It was put into my mouth as the truth of the Incarnation was revealed to me. Its production was a great spiritual event in my own life, as well as an exquisite and unspeakable delight. It wrought powerfully upon my outward life, and introduced me to persons my connection with whom led to a change of residence, and furthered the publication of my work, ‘The Papal Drama.'" [E. MSS.]

This hymn as a whole is too long for common use, but in an abbreviated form it is in numerous hymn-books in Great Britain and America. No. 58 in Horder's Congregational Hymns, 1884, is an example of a choice selection of stanzas.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #5183
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The Cyber Hymnal #5183

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