The scene arround me disappears,
And, borne to ancient regions,
While Time recals the flight of years,
I see angelic legions
Descending in an orb of light,
Amidst the dark and silent night;
I hear celestial voices.
"Tidings, glad tidings from above
To every age and nation;
Tidings, glad tidings,--God is love,
To man He sends salvation:
His Son beloved, His only Son,
The work of mercy hath begun;
Give to his name the glory."
Through David's city I am led;
Here all around are sleeping;
A light directs to yon poor shed,
There lonely watch is keeping:
I enter;--ah! what glories shine!
Is this Immanuel's earthly shrine?
Messiah's infant temple?
It is, it is; and I adore
This Stranger meek and lowly,
As saints and seraphs bow before
The throne of God thrice holy:
Faith through the veil of flesh can see
The face of thy Divinity,
My Lord, my God, my Saviour!
Montgomery, James, son of John Montgomery, a Moravian minister, was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, Nov. 4, 1771. In 1776 he removed with his parents to the Moravian Settlement at Gracehill, near Ballymena, county of Antrim. Two years after he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary, Yorkshire. He left Fulneck in 1787, and entered a retail shop at Mirfield, near Wakefield. Soon tiring of that he entered upon a similar situation at Wath, near Rotherham, only to find it quite as unsuitable to his taste as the former. A journey to London, with the hope of finding a publisher for his youthful poems ended in failure; and in 1792 he was glad to leave Wath for Shefield to join Mr. Gales, an auctioneer, bookseller, and printer of the Sheffield Register newspap… Go to person page >
The scene around me disappears. J. Montgomery. [Christmas.] Published in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 488, in 4 stanzas of 7 lines, and headed, "A visit to Bethlehem in Spirit; and repeated, without alteration, in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 52. In Holy Song for All Seasons (Bell & Daldy), 1869, it begins "Fair Bethlehem's star again appears." It is limited in use.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)