Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some Hymns about the Eucharistic Sacrifice

Staying on my Anglican theme (I am a man of enthusiasms), here are some decent hymns teaching the doctrine of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the One Oblation of Christ made present in the Mass and offered up for all the living and the dead; first, three short hymns, and then two longer ones, of which my favourite is that by V.S.S. Coles, for its fullblooded declaration of doctrine:

William H. H. Jervois (1852-1905) & William B. Trevelyan (1853-1929), The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), number 308:

Father, see thy children bending at thy throne,
Pleading here the Passion of thine only Son,
Pleading here before thee all his dying love,
As he pleads it ever in the courts above.

Not for our wants only we this Offering plead,
But for all thy children, who thy mercy need;
Bless thy faithful people, win thy wandering sheep,
Keep the souls departed who in Jesus sleep.

William H. H. Jervois (1852-1905), The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), number 328:

See, Father, thy belovèd Son,
Whom here we now present to thee;
The all sufficient Sacrifice,
The sinner’s one and only plea.

Through him we pray for all we love,
For all by pain or sin oppressed;
For souls departed in thy fear:
O grant them thine eternal rest.

William H. H. Jervois (1852-1905), The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), number 335:

Wherefore, O Father, we thy humble servants
Here bring before thee Christ, thy well belovèd,
All-perfect Offering, Sacrifice immortal,
Spotless Oblation.

See now thy children, making intercession
Through him our Saviour, Son of God incarnate,
For all thy people, living and departed,
Pleading before thee.

Vincent S. S. Coles (1845-1929), The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), number 334:

We pray thee, heavenly Father,
To hear us in thy love,
And pour upon thy children
The unction from above;
That so in love abiding,
From all defilement free,
We may in pureness offer
Our Eucharist to thee.

All that we have we offer,
For it is all thine own;
All gifts by thy appointment
In bread and cup are shown;
One thing alone we bring not,
The wilfulness of sin;
And all we bring is nothing,
Save that which is within.

Within the pure oblation,
Beneath the outward sign,
By that his operation,—
The Holy Ghost divine, —
Lies hid the sacred Body,
Lies hid the precious Blood
Once slain, now ever glorious,
Of Christ our Lord and God.

Wherefore though all unworthy
To offer sacrifice,
We pray that this our duty
Be pleasing in thine eyes;
For praise, and thanks and worship,
For mercy and for aid,
The Catholic oblation
Of Jesus Christ is made.

William Bright (1824-1901), The English Hymnal (London: Oxford University Press, 1906), number 302:

And now, O Father, mindful of the love
That bought us, once for all, on Calvary's Tree,
And having with us him that pleads above,
We here present, we here spread forth to thee
That only Offering perfect in thine eyes,
The one, true, pure, immortal Sacrifice.

Look, Father, look on his anointed face,
And only look on us as found in him;
Look not on our misusings of thy grace,
Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim:
For lo, between our sins and their reward
We set the Passion of thy Son our Lord.

Part 2.

And then for those, our dearest and our best,
By this prevailing Presence we appeal:
O fold them closer to thy mercy's breast,
O do thine utmost for their souls' true weal;
From tainting mischief keep them white and clear,
And crown thy gifts with strength to persevere.

And so we come: O draw us to thy feet,
Most patient Saviour, who canst love us still;
And by this Food, so aweful and so sweet,
Deliver us from every touch of ill:
In thine own service make us glad and free,
And grant us never more to part with thee.

I suspect that these hymns were sung in advanced Ritualistic Anglican churches, while the minister, having said the B.C.P. Prayer of Consecration aloud, then said secretly the second half of the Roman Canon (from Unde et memores to the end), having read the first half (down to Quam oblationem) while the Sanctus was in singing. This was a common practice among the very High at the Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Papalist end of the spectrum at one time.

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