Scripture Verse

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast. 1 Corinthians 5:7–8

Introduction

Words: Un­known au­thor (Ad cœ­nam Ag­ni pro­vi­di). Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale (1818–1866).

Music: Rex Glo­ri­o­se French church tune (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

portrait
John M. Neale
(1818–1866)

Introduction

In or­der to un­der­stand this hymn, we must know for whom it was writ­ten. It was the cus­tom of the ear­ly Church that Bap­tism should be sol­emn­ly ad­min­is­tered to ma­ny ca­te­chu­mens, that is, per­sons who had been un­der in­struc­tion and pre­pa­ra­tion for it, on East­er Eve.

This hymn then re­fers in the first place to them…The Lamb’s high ban­quet we await. These new­ly bap­tized per­sons were now for the first time about to receive the Ho­ly Com­mun­ion, and there­fore tru­ly wait­ing for that high ban­quet.

In snow white robes [the Et sto­lis al­bis can­di­di of the orig­in­al], be­cause, at bap­tism, a white gar­ment was gi­ven to the pe­rsons bap­tized, with words like these: Take this white ves­ture for a to­ken of the in­no­cence which, by God’s grace, in this ho­ly Sac­ra­ment of Bap­tism, is gi­ven un­to thee and for a sign where­by thou art ad­mon­ished, so long as thou liv­est, to give thy­self to in­no­cen­cy of liv­ing, that af­ter this tran­si­tory life thou may­est be par­tak­er of life ev­er­last­ing.

The chri­som-robes were worn from East­er Eve till Low Sun­day (all the week-days of the oc­tave are marked in Al­bis in the Sa­cra­men­ta­ry of St. Gre­go­ry), for which the an­cient name was Do­min­i­ca in al­bis de­po­si­tis as in the Am­bro­si­an Mis­sal, or, short­ly, Do­min­i­ca in Al­bis, be­cause on this day the new­ly bap­tized first ap­peared with­out the chri­soms, or white robes, which they had worn ev­ery day since their bap­tism on East­er Eve.

John Ma­son Neale, Short Com­men­ta­ry on the Hymn­al Not­ed, 1853, part I, pag­es 26–27

Lyrics

The Lamb’s high banquet we await
In snow white robes of royal state;
And now, the Red Sea’s channel past,
To Christ, our Prince, we sing at last.

Upon the altar of the cross
His body hath redeemed our loss;
And tasting of His roseate blood
Our life is hid with Him in God.

That Paschal eve God’s arm was bared;
The devastating angel spared:
By strength of hand our hosts went free
From Pharaoh’s ruthless tyranny.

Now Christ our Paschal Lamb is slain;
The Lamb of God that knows no stain;
The true oblation offered here,
Our own unleavened bread sincere.

O Thou from whom hell’s monarch flies,
O great, O very sacrifice,
Thy captive people are set free,
And endless life restored in Thee.

For Christ, arising from the dead,
From conquered hell victorious sped;
He thrusts the tyrant down to chains,
And Paradise for man regains.