As shepherds in Jewry
Words and music: William Billings (1746–1800) in The Psalm-Singer’s Amusement, 1781.
Singers: Katy Lavinia Cooper, Sheena Templeton, Daisy Abbott, Harry Campbell, Rory Haye.
As shepherds in Jewry were guarding their sheep,
Promisc'ously seated, estranged from sleep,
An angel from heaven presented to view,
And thus he accosted the trembling few:
Dispel all your sorrows and banish your fears,
For Jesus your Savior in Jewry appears.
A token I leave you, whereby you may find
This heavenly stranger, this friend to mankind:
A manger's His cradle, a stall His above,
The oxen are near him and blow on your God.
Then shepherds, be humble, be meek and be low,
For Jesus your Savior's abundantly so.
"Hosanna" the angels in ecstasy cry,
"Hosanna" the wandering shepherds reply;
Salvation, redemption are center'd in one,
All glory to God for the birth of His Son.
Then shepherds, adieu, we commend you to God,
Go visit the Son in His humble abode.
Though Adam the first in rebellion was found,
Forbidden to tarry in hallowed ground,
Yet Adam the second appears to retrieve
The loss you sustain'd by the Devil and Eve.
Then shepherds, be tranquil, this instant arise,
Go visit your Savior and see where He lies.
This wonderous story scarce cooled on the ear,
When thousands of angels in glory appear,
They join in the concert, and this was the theme:
All glory to God and good will towards men.
Then shepherds strike in, join your voice to the choir,
And catch a few sparks of celestial fire.
To Bethlehem city the shepherds repair'd,
For full confirmation of what they had heard;
They enter'd the stable, with aspect so mild,
And there they beheld the Mother and Child.
Then make proclamation, divulge it abroad,
That gentle and simple may hear of the Lord.