When God of old came down from heaven

Representative Text

1 When God, of old, came down from heaven,
In power and wrath he came;
Before his feet the clouds were riven,
Half darkness and half flame.

2 But when he came the second time,
He came in power and love;
Softer than gales at morning prime,
Hovered his holy Dove.

3 The fires that rushed on Sinai down
In sudden torrents dread,
Now gently light a glorious crown
On every sainted head.

4 Like arrows went those lightnings forth,
Winged with the sinner's doom;
But these, like tongues, o'er all the earth
Proclaiming life to come.

Source: Laudes Domini: a selection of spiritual songs ancient & modern (Abr. ed.) #237

Author: John Keble

Keble, John, M.A., was born at Fairford, in Gloucestershire, on St. Mark's Day, 1792. His father was Vicar of Coln St. Aldwin's, about three miles distant, but lived at Fairford in a house of his own, where he educated entirely his two sons, John and Thomas, up to the time of their entrance at Oxford. In 1806 John Keble won a Scholarship at Corpus Christi College, and in 1810 a Double First Class, a distinction which up to that time had been gained by no one except Sir Robert Peel. In 1811 he was elected a Fellow of Oriel, a very great honour, especially for a boy under 19 years of age; and in 1811 he won the University Prizes both for the English and Latin Essays. It is somewhat remarkable that amid this brilliantly successful career,… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: When God of old came down from heaven
Author: John Keble
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


When God of old came down from heaven. J. Keble. [Whitsuntide.] First published in hisChristian Year, 1827, in 11 stanzas of 4 lines, as the poem for Whitsunday. In an abbreviated form it is in extensive use. A cento therefrom is given in a few American hymn-books as "Lo, when the Spirit of our God.” In Bishop Wordsworth's (St. Andrews) Series Collectarum, &c, 1890, stanzas i., iii., iv., vi., vii., ix., and xi. are rendered into Latin as "Olim cum Dominus supera descendit ab arce."

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



WINCHESTER OLD is a famous common-meter psalm tune, presumably arranged by George Kirbye (b. Suffolk, England, c. 1560; d. Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, 1634) from a melody in Christopher Tye's Acts of the Apostles and published in T. Este's The Whole Book of Psalmes (1592) set to Psalm 84. Ki…

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The Cyber Hymnal #7267
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Instances (1 - 5 of 5)

Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #816

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Common Praise #199

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CPWI Hymnal #206

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #90


The Cyber Hymnal #7267

Include 104 pre-1979 instances
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