The Eternal speaks, all heaven attends

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General information

This is an hymn by an Anonymous author, first printed in William Knapp's New Church Melody, 1753, where it appears as one of three carols attributed to 'a Gentleman unknown', who sent the texts to Knapp and requested that he set them to music. See Behold that splendour: hear the shout (William Knapp). In the original, there are several places where words are combined, e.g., the first line is "Th'Eternal speaks," and the fifth stanza begins "Th'Almighty radiance." These condensations have been expanded here, for indexing and sorting purposes.

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Text and translations

English.png English text

1. The Eternal speaks, all heaven attends;
Who that unhappy race defends
While justice aims the blow.
See nature tremble at their fates;
Death with his iron scepter waits;
Hell opes her adamantine gates,
And triumphs at their woe.

2. Which of the bright celestial throng,
With love so warm and heart so strong,
Dares languish on a cross?
Who can leave liberty for chains,
Abandon ecstasy for pains,
What angel fortitude sustains
The inestimable loss.


3. He said; and death-like silence reigned;
Deep was their awe; the radiant band,
The mighty task declined.
At length heaven's Prince the silence broke,
And ardent, thus, the Sire bespoke,
None but thy Son can ward the stroke;
Then let the task be mine.

4. Mine be the feeble infant-state;
Mine, in return for love, be hate;
A manger be my throne.
Pain, when thy glory calls, is bliss;
When man's in danger, torture's peace.
Shame praise, a paradise the abyss:
Then yield thy darling Son.


5. The Almighty radiance smiled assent,
Loud was the shout that ether rent.
All heaven was in amaze.
Go, my loved Image, said the Sire,
Be born in anguish to expire;
Earth triumph; angels, strike the lyre
To everlasting praise.

The Counsels of Grace, from William Knapp, 1761, New Church Melody, Fourth Edition, pp. 164-167.

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