Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord (London: William Strahan, 1745), number 16, alt.
O mercy divine, O couldst Thou incline,
My God, to become such as infant as mine?
What wonder of grace: The Ancient of Days
Is found in the likeness of Adam’s frail race!
He comes from on high, who fashioned the sky,
And meekly vouchsafes in a manger to lie;
Our God ever blest, with oxen doth rest,
Is nursed by His creature and hangs at the breast.
So heavenly-mild, His innocence smiled,
No wonder the mother would worship the Child,
The angels she knew had worshipped Him, too,
And still they confess adoration His due.
On Jesus’ face, with eager amaze,
And pleasure ecstatic the cherubim gaze;
Their newly born King, transported they sing,
And Heaven and earth with the triumph doth ring.
The shepherds behold Him, the promised of old,
By angels attended, by prophets foretold;
The wise men adore now, and bring Him their store,
The rich are permitted to follow the poor.
To the inn they repair, to see the young Heir;
The inn is a palace, for Jesus is there!
Who now would be great, and not rather wait
On Jesus their Lord in His humble estate?
Like Him would I be, my Master I see
In a stable; a manger shall satisfy me;
And here will I lie, till raised up on high,
With Him on the cross I recover the sky.