Behold what grace appears

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Behold what grace appears

Roud 3225

Words by Isaac Watts, from Hymns and Spir­it­u­al Songs, 1707-9. Encountered in the oral tradition with a variety of settings.

At Padstow in Cornwall the words are sung to a version of "Cranbrook" by Thomas Clark.

There is a setting in Ralph Dunstan, The Cornish Song Book, 1929: "Communicated by Mrs. E. Jewell, Holsworthy, Devon (formerly of Stratton, Cornwall.)" sheet music midi file

The song was also collected by Cecil Sharp in Shropshire, and - with the title Back Lane - it is in the repertoire of the carol singers at the Royal Hotel, Dungworth in Yorkshire.

  1. Behold, the grace appears!
    The promise is fulfilled;
    Mary, the wondrous virgin, bears,
    And Jesus is the Child.

  2. The Lord, the highest God,
    Calls Him His only Son;
    He bids Him rule the lands abroad,
    And gives Him David’s throne.

  3. O’er Jacob shall He reign
    With a peculiar sway;
    The nations shall His grace obtain,
    His kingdom ne’er decay.

  4. To bring the glorious news
    A heav’nly form appears;
    He tells the shepherds of their joys,
    And banishes their fears.

  5. “Go, humble swains,” said he,
    “To David’s city fly;
    The promised Infant born today
    Doth in a manger lie.”

  6. “With looks and hearts serene,
    Go visit Christ your King;
    And straight a flaming troop was seen:
    The shepherds heard them sing:

  7. “Glory to God on high!
    And heav’nly peace on earth;
    Goodwill to men, to angels joy,
    At the Redeemer’s birth!”

  8. In worship so divine,
    Let saints employ their tongues;
    With the celestial hosts we join,
    And loud repeat their songs:

  9. “Glory to God on high!
    And heav’nly peace on earth;
    Goodwill to men, to angels joy,
    At our Redeemer’s birth!”