Wednesday, 25 March 2015

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,

Another American clergyman has furnished us with a classic Christmas hymn. We refer to the hymn by the Rev. Edwin Hamilton Searles, which, in spite of the fact that its author was a Unitarian clergyman, yet is a hymn in which there is a very joyful note for the child of faith. Written in 1860, Mr. Searle's words stir the imagination and bring to the ear and eye of the singer most wonderful scenes and harmonies of heaven.

A unitarian's CHRISTMAS HYMN


It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, good-will to men

From heaven's all-gracious King";
The world in solemn stillness lay

To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,

With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats

O'er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains

They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its Babel sounds

The blessed angels sing.

O ye, beneath life's crushing load.

Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way

With painful steps and slow!
Look now, for glad and golden hours

Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road.

And hear the angels sing.
 
For lo! the days are hastening on,

By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years,

Shall come the time foretold.
When the new heaven and earth shall own

The Prince of Peace their King,
And the whole world send back the song

Which now the angels sing. Amen.



Add to the above his earlier Christmas hymn, written in 1834, namely, "Calm on the listening ear of night," and we have two hymns which give to Mr. Searles a high and deserved place among the great American hymn writers. 


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