226. Holy Gift, Surpassing Comprehension

Holy gift, surpassing comprehension!
Wondrous mystery of each fiery tongue!
CHRIST made good His Promise in Ascension:
O’er the Twelve the cloven flames have hung!

Spake the LORD, or ere He left the Eleven;
“Here in Salem wait the Gift I send:
Till the PARACLETE come down from Heaven:
Everlasting Guide and Guard and Friend.”

O that shame, now ended in that glory!
Pain untold, now lost in joy unknown!
Tell it out with praise, the whole glad story,
Human nature at the FATHER’s Throne!

Declare, ye Angel Bands that dwell on high,
How saw ye Him, the Victor, drawing nigh?
What strange new visions burst upon your sight?
One in the form of Man, That claims by right
The very throne of GOD, the unapproached Light!

Eternal! After Thine own will
Thou born in time would’st be:

After the self-same counsel still
Was Thine Epiphany:
Thou in our flesh didst yield Thy breath,
Immortal GOD, for man:
Thou by Thy death didst conquer Death,
Through Thine Almighty plan:
Thou, rising Victor to the sky,
Fill’st Heav’n and earth above:
And send’st the Promise from on high,
The SPIRIT of Thy love!

Translator: John Mason Neale (1862)
Author: Joseph of the Studium, Saint, 762-832
Topic: Theoctistus of the Studium

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