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When God of old came down from heaven

When God of old came down from heaven

Author: John Keble
Published in 95 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI, Recording

Full 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 gale at morning prime
Hover'd His holy Dove.

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

4 And as on Israel's awe-struck ear
The voice exceeding loud,
The trump, that angels quake to hear,
Thrill'd from the deep dark cloud;

5 So, when the Spirit of our God
Came down His flock to find,
A voice from heaven was heard abroad,
A rushing mighty wind.

6 It fills the Church of God; it fills
The sinful world around;
Only in stubborn hearts and wills
No place for it is found.

7 Come Lord, come Wisdom, Love, and Power,
Open our ears to hear;
Let us not miss the accepted hour;
Save, Lord, by love or fear.

Source: Hymnal: according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America #136

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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Instances (1 - 5 of 5)Text InfoTune InfoTextScoreFlexScoreAudioPage Scan
Anglican Hymns Old and New (Rev. and Enl.) #816
Common Praise: A new edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern #199Page Scan
Hymns Ancient & Modern, New Standard Edition #90
Small Church Music #5036Audio
The Cyber Hymnal #7267TextScoreAudio
Include 90 pre-1979 instances