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comparative peace. Mohammed having died before completing the conquest of Syria, the Moslem rule before whose advance Oriental Christianity was to lose its first field of triumph had not yet asserted its persecuting power in the north. This devout monk, in his meditations at St. Sabas, dwelt much upon the birth and the resurrection of Christ, and made hymns to celebrate them. It was probably four hundred years before Bonaventura (?) wrote the Christmas “Adeste Fideles" of the Latin West that John of Damascus composed his Greek “Adeste Fideles" for a Resurrection song in Jerusalem.
Come ye faithful, raise the strain
Christ hath burst His prison;
Light and life have risen. The nobler of the two hymns preserved to us, (or six stanzas of it) through eleven centuries is entitled “The Day of Resurrection."
The day of resurrection,
Earth, tell its joys abroad:
The Passover of God.
From earth unto the sky,
With hymns of victorv.
Our hearts be pure from evil,
That we may see aright
Of resurrection light;
May hear, so calm and plain,
May raise the victor-strain.
Let earth her song begin,
All that dwell therein.
Their notes let all things blend,
joy that hath no end! Both these hymns of John of Damascus were translated by John Mason Neale.
“The ['ay of Resurrection” is sung in the modern hymnals to the tune of “Rotterdam,” composed by Berthold of Tours, born in that city of the Netherlands, Dec. 17, 1838. He was educated at the conservatory in Leipsic, and later made London his permanent residence, writing both vocal and instrumental music. Died 1897. “Rotterdam” is a stately, sonorous piece and conveys the flavor of the ancient hymn.
“Come ye faithful" has for its modern interpremap Sir Arthur Sullivan, the celebrated compo of hard secular and sacred works, but best .
known in hymnody as author of the great Christian march,“Onward Christian Soldiers.”
Hymns are known to have been written by the earlier Greek Fathers, Ephrem Syrus of Mesopotamia (A. D. 307–373), Basil the Great, Bishop of Cappadocia (A. D. 329–379) Gregory Nazianzen, Bishop of Constantinople (A. D. 335-390) and others, but their fragments of song which have come down to us scarcely rank them among the great witnesses—with the possible exception of the last name. An English scholar, Rev. Allen W. Chatfield, has translated the hymns extant of Gregory Nazianzen. The following stanzas give an idea of their quality. The lines are from an address to the Deity:
How, Unapproached! shall mind of man
Descry Thy dazzling throne,
Where Thou dost dwell alone ?
Have had their birth from Thee;
Of all we know and see.
And through the complex whole,
Thyself of all the Goal. This is reverent, but rather philosophical than evangelical, and reminds us of the Hymn of Aratus, more than two centuries before Christ was born.
ST. STEPHEN, THE SABAITE.
This pious Greek monk, (734-794,) nephew of St. John of Damascus, spent his life, from the age of ten, in the monastery of St. Sabas. His sweet hymn, known in Neale's translation,
Art thou weary, art thou languid,
Art thou sore distrest?
Be at rest, -is still in the hymnals, with the tunes of Dykes, and Sir Henry W. Baker (1821–1877), Vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire.
KING ROBERT II.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus. Robert the Second, surnamed “Robert the Sage" and “Robert the Devout,” succeeded Hugh Capet, his father, upon the throne of France, about the year 997. He has been called the gentlest monarch that ever sat upon a throne, and his amiability of character poorly prepared him to cope with his dangerous and wily adversaries. His last years were embittered by the opposition of his own sons, and the political agitations of the times. He died at Melun in 1031, and was buried at St. Denis.
Robert possessed a reflective mind, and was fond of learning and musical art. He was both a poet and a musician. He was deeply religious, and, from unselfish motives, was much devoted to the church.
Robert's hymn, “Veni, Sancte Spiritus,” is given below. He himself was a chorister; and there was no kingly service that he seemed to love so well. We are told that it was his custom to go to the church of St. Denis, and in his royal robes, with his crown upon his head, to direct the choir at matins and vespers, and join in the singing. Few kings have left a better legacy to the Christian church than his own hymn, which, after nearly a thousand years, is still an influence in the world:
Come, Thou Holy Spirit, come,
Shed the ray of light divine;
Come, within our bosoms shine.
Thou of Comforters the best,
Sweet Refreshment here below!
Solace in the midst of woel
Oh, most blessed Light Divine,
And our inmost being fill;
All our good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds; our strength renew
Wash the stains of guilt away!