The ancient law departs

Representative Text

1 The ancient law departs
And all its terrors cease;
For Jesus makes with faithful hearts
A covenant of peace.

2 The Light of Light divine,
True Brightness undefiled,
He bears for us the shame of sin,
A holy, spotless Child.

3 To-day the Name is Thine,
At which we bend the knee;
They call Thee Jesus, Child divine!
Our Jesus deign to be.

Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, 1871

Author: Sebastian Besnault

Little is known of Abbé Besnault save that he was a priest of St. Maurice at Sens and one of the contributors to the Cluniac Breviary of 1686. He died April 29, 1724. Some of his hymns are also included in the Sens Breviary of 1726, and two hymns, for the Feast of the Circumcision, in the Paris Breviary, 1736. --Hymnal 1940 Companion… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The ancient law departs
Latin Title: Debilis cessant elemnta legis
Author: Sebastian Besnault (1736)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Debilis cessent elementa legis. Abbe Besnault. [The Circumcision.] In the revised Paris Breviary,1736, it is the hymn for first Vespers on the Feast of the Circumcision. It is also in the Lyons and other modern French Breviaries, and Card. Newman's Hymni Ecclesiae, 1838 and 1865. Translated as:—
1. The ancient law departs. By the compilers of Hymns Ancient & Modern, first appeared in the trial copy of that collection, 1859, and again in the 1st edition, 1861. It has passed into a few hymnals in Great Britain and America, and is sometimes altered.

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



The Cyber Hymnal #165
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Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary #158

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Lutheran Service Book #898


The Cyber Hymnal #165

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