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Blest day, on which the Savior shed
high sanctity, as first he bled!
Blest day, whereon he first began
the task to ransom fallen man!
Scarce born to light, and life, and woe,
his infant blood is seen to flow;
the foretaste of a deadly strife;
the opening of a loving life.
Earth now his home, with fervid will,
his Father's mandates to fulfill,
he quick forestalls his day decreed,
and learns, a victim, how to bleed.
In love the sinner's lot he shares,
his punishment, unguilty, bears;
Law-framer, now to Law the slave,
that he from Law might sinners save.
Before that wound, which it had made,
the canceled Law is seen to fade;
a purer Law begins to reign,
the love, which deathless shall remain.
Lord Jesus, from our hearts we pray,
what is not thine, O take away;
thy Name, thy Law, for ever rest
deep graven on our inmost breast!
Paris Breviary; trans. Robert Corbet Singleton, 1867