(John Keble)

The Circumcision of Christ

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands.  Coloss. ii. 11.

   The year begins with Thee,
   And Thou beginnst with woe,
To let the world of sinners see
   That blood for sin must flow.

   Thine infant cries, O Lord,
   Thy tears upon the breast,
Are not enoughthe legal sword
   Must do its stern behest.

   Like sacrificial wine
   Poured on a victims head
Are those few precious drops of Thine,
   Now first to offering led.

   They are the pledge and seal
   Of Christs unswerving faith
Given to His Sire, our souls to heal,
   Although it cost His death.

   They to His Church of old,
   To each true Jewish heart,
In Gospel graces manifold
   Communion blest impart.

   Now of Thy love we deem
   As of an ocean vast,
Mounting in tides against the stream
   Of ages gone and past.

   Both theirs and ours Thou art,
   As we and they are Thine;
Kings, Prophets, Patriarchsall have part
   Along the sacred line.

   By blood and water too
   Gods mark is set on Thee,
That in Thee every faithful view
   Both covenants might see.

   O bond of union, dear
   And strong as is Thy grace!
Saints, parted by a thousand year,
   May thus in heart embrace.

   Is there a mourner true,
   Who fallen on faithless days,
Sighs for the heart-consoling view
   Of those Heaven deigned to praise?

   In spirit mayst thou meet
   With faithful Abraham here,
Whom soon in Eden thou shalt greet
   A nursing Father dear.

   Wouldst thou a poet be?
   And would thy dull heart fain
Borrow of Israels minstrelsy
   One high enraptured strain?

   Come here thy soul to tune,
   Here set thy feeble chant,
Here, if at all beneath the moon,
   Is holy Davids haunt.

   Art thou a child of tears,
   Cradled in care and woe?
And seems it hard, thy vernal years
   Few vernal joys can show?

   And fall the sounds of mirth
   Sad on thy lonely heart,
From all the hopes and charms of earth
   Untimely called to part?

   Look here, and hold thy peace:
   The Giver of all good
Een from the womb takes no release
   From suffering, tears, and blood.

   If thou wouldst reap in love,
   First sow in holy fear:
So life a winters morn may prove
   To a bright endless year.

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