The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King

The eternal gifts of Christ the King, The Apostle's glory let us sing

Translator: J. M. Neale; Author: St. Ambrose
Published in 48 hymnals

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Representative Text

1 Th'eternal gifts of Christ the King,
th'apostles' glory, let us sing;
and all, with hearts of gladness, raise
due hymns of thankful love and praise.

2 Theirs is the steadfast faith of saints,
and hope that never yields nor faints,
and love of Christ in perfect glow
that lays the prince of this world low.

3 In them the Father's glory shone,
in them the will of God the Son,
in them exults the Holy Ghost,
through them rejoice the heav'nly host.

4 To thee, Redeemer, now we cry,
that thou wouldst join to them on high
thy servants, who this grace implore,
for ever and for evermore.

Source: Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #639

Translator: J. M. Neale

John M. Neale's life is a study in contrasts: born into an evangelical home, he had sympathies toward Rome; in perpetual ill health, he was incredibly productive; of scholarly tem­perament, he devoted much time to improving social conditions in his area; often ignored or despised by his contemporaries, he is lauded today for his contributions to the church and hymnody. Neale's gifts came to expression early–he won the Seatonian prize for religious poetry eleven times while a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, England. He was ordained in the Church of England in 1842, but ill health and his strong support of the Oxford Movement kept him from ordinary parish ministry. So Neale spent the years between 1846 and 1866 as a warden of Sackvi… Go to person page >

Author: St. Ambrose

Ambrose (b. Treves, Germany, 340; d. Milan, Italy, 397), one of the great Latin church fathers, is remembered best for his preaching, his struggle against the Arian heresy, and his introduction of metrical and antiphonal singing into the Western church. Ambrose was trained in legal studies and distinguished himself in a civic career, becoming a consul in Northern Italy. When the bishop of Milan, an Arian, died in 374, the people demanded that Ambrose, who was not ordained or even baptized, become the bishop. He was promptly baptized and ordained, and he remained bishop of Milan until his death. Ambrose successfully resisted the Arian heresy and the attempts of the Roman emperors to dominate the church. His most famous convert and disciple w… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: The eternal gifts of Christ the King, The Apostle's glory let us sing
Title: The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King
Latin Title: Aeterna Christi munera
Author: St. Ambrose
Translator: J. M. Neale
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Aeterna Christi munera, Et martyrum victorias. Ambrosian. This hymn, originally written for "Martyrs," has been adapted for Apostles," and (in another form) for "Martyrs" in the Roman Breviary ....This hymn is received by the Benedictine editors of St. Ambrose as a genuine work of that Father, on the authority of the Ven. Bede; who, in his work, De arte metricâ, speaks of it as a "hymn for blessed martyrs, composed with most beautiful grace," "pulcherrimo est decore compositus hymnus beatorum martyrum." (See the Benedictine edition of St. Ambrose, in Migne's Patrol, tom. 16.) Mone, No. 733, in his note on the hymn, says, "Vezzosi remarks justly that the congregation of St. Maur [i.e. the Benedictine editors] ascribed this hymn on an obscure reference of Bede to Stanzas Ambrose, whose it is not, though it is yet most likely of the 5th century."
Amongst the earliest manuscripts in which it is found are two of the 11th century, in the British Museum (Harl. 2961, f. 248; Jul. A. vi. f. 646), and another, perhaps of the 8th or 9th century, formerly belonging to that eminent scholar in the Anglo-Saxon and cognate languages, Franciscus Junius. The latter was No. 110 among the manuscripts bequeathed to the Bodleian by Fr. Junius at his death in 1677, but "has been missing from the Library for more than 100 years." [F. Madan, Sub-Librarian, Bodl. Lib. Aug. 21, 1884.]
It should be added that in some Monastic Breviaries this hymn has been adapted to Festivals of Confessors and Virgins. [Rev. W. A. Shoults, B. D.]
Translations in common use:—
1. The eternal gifts of Christ the King, The Martyrs' glorious deeds we sing. By J. M. Neale, published in the enlarged edition of the Hymnal Noted, 1854, No. 80, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines, and from thence into one or two collections, including the Hymner, 1882, No. 94. It is from the York Breviary, and consists of stanzas i., iii., iv., v. and viii. of the original.
2. The eternal gifts of Christ our King, The Martyrs' victories let us sing. By J. D. Chambers, from the York Breviary, first published in his Lauda Syon, Pt. ii., 1866, p. 15, in 5 stanzas of 4 lines. In the People's Hymnal, 1867, No. 211, it is given unaltered. In the Hymnary, 1872, No. 399, a mixed translation from Neale, Chambers, and others, is given, and is wrongly ascribed, in the Index to the Hymnal Noted

--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



The Cyber Hymnal #1326
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Instances (1 - 7 of 7)

Common Praise (1998) #285

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Complete Anglican Hymns Old and New #639

Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard Edition #297

Hymns Old and New #476


The Cyber Hymnal #1326


The New English Hymnal #213a

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The New English Hymnal #213b

Include 41 pre-1979 instances
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