John Mason Neale

Daily Reading for August 7 • John Mason Neale, Priest, 1866

With particular gifts as a hymn writer, Neale was responsible for English translations of many notable hymns from both the Greek and Latin traditions, as well as writing many original compositions. . . . He had a particular interest in the Eastern Church and his writings and translations of Eastern hymns helped to make Orthodox history, theology, and devotion known to Anglicans.

The Ascension and Pentecost

Holy gift, surpassing comprehension!

Wound’rous mystery of each fiery tongue!

Christ made good His Promise in Ascension:

O’er the Twelve the cloven flames have hung! . . .

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! . . .

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!

From “The Ascension and Pentecost” and an introduction to John Mason Neale, in Love’s Redeeming Work: The Anglican Quest for Holiness compiled by Geoffrey Rowell, Kenneth Stevenson, and Rowan Williams (Oxford, 2001).

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