Page:Our Hymns.djvu/22

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

mistake arose in the following way:—The prose translation of the Greek, of which hymn 445 is a free rendering, was given with music in some old music books, and a note added, "ascribed to Telesphorus." The Rev. Henry Allon, one of the compilers of the "New Congregational Hymn Book," adopted the name from that source. Telesphorus was bishop of Rome, where he was martyred, A.D. 139. Irenæus and Eusebius, who speak of him, make no reference to this hymn. Nor do writers who have given special attention to the "Lives of the Saints," such as Cave, Le Nain de Tillemont, and Alban Butler.

The Greek original of hymn 445 is the first twenty-nine lines of the ὑμνος ἑωθινος, placed after the Psalms in the Codex Alexandrinus. The learned editor of the "Journal of Sacred Literature," the Rev. B. H. Cowper, has given the whole of this Greek hymn in his introduction (page xxviii.) to his most valuable reprint of the New Testament portion of the Codex Alexandrinus (1860). Upon the first twenty-nine lines, he says, " Lines 1—3 are the angelic hymn from Luke ii. 14, and the next six lines appear to be a doxology, suggested by it. These are followed by a solemn invocation, forming a kind of introduction to what may be regarded as a Litany, ending with the word, Amen, at line twenty-nine." Most of the remaining part is taken from several psalms, and two lines of the remainder are in the "Te Deum." "Probably," he says, "it originally consisted only of the first twenty-nine lines, and even these may not be free from alterations. They differ repeatedly from the copy in the Apostolic Constitutions, and more or less from other relics to be found in several authors." Some of the modifications of the Greek hymn are known to have been made at a period prior to that when Mr. Cowper supposes the Alexandrine Codex was written, i.e., about the middle of the fifth century.

The hymn in the form given in the "New Congregational" is found in a supplement to "Tate and Brady," 1703. The author's name is not given.