What thanks and praise to Thee we owe,
O priest and sacrifice divine,
For Thy dear saint through whom we know
So many a gracious word of Thine;
Whom Thou didst choose to tell the tale
Of all Thy manhood’s toils and tears,
And for a moment lift the veil
That hides Thy boyhood’s spotless years.
How many a soul with guilt oppressed
Has learned to hear the joyful sound
In that sweet tale of sin confessed
The Father’s love, the lost and found?
How many a child of sin and shame
Has refuge found from guilty fears
Through her, who to the Savior came
With costly ointments and with tears!
What countless worshippers have sung,
In lowly fane or lofty choir,
The song that loosed the silent tongue
Of him who was the Baptist’s sire!
And still the Church through all her days
Uplifts the strains that never cease,
The blessèd virgin’s hymn of praise,
The agèd Simeon’s words of peace.
O happy saint! whose sacred page,
So rich in words of truth and love,
Pours on the Church from age to age
This healing unction from above;
The witness of the Savior’s life,
The great apostle’s chosen friend
Through weary years of toil and strife
And still found faithful to the end.
So grant us, Lord, like him to live,
Beloved by man, approved by Thee,
Till Thou at last the summons give,
And we, with him, Thy face shall see.