“None Other Lamb”

"Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee" (Ps. 73.25)

     INTRO.: A hymn which suggests that there is none other to save us either in heaven or earth besides Christ is "None Other Lamb." The text was written by Christina Georgina Rossetti, who was born Dec. 5, 1830, at St. Pancras in London, England. Her father, Gabriele Rossetti, was a political refugee in England and served as professor of Italian at King’s College in London. Her brothers, Dante Gabriel, a painter, and William Michael, an editor, were among the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood which gave birth to the nineteenth century English artistic movement of the same name. Educated at home in a circle of literary people and artists, she was in poor health from the age of sixteen but had begun to produce poetry in early childhood and found solace in her prose and poetry of intense religious devotion, with some of her earliest work being published in 1850 in The Germ, established by her brother William.

     For a short while, Miss Rossetti helped her mother with a small day school in North London. Strikingly beautiful, she often posed as a model for many of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, including her brother Dante.  Though gifted and talented, she lived a quiet, secluded life, writing, tending her mother who lived until 1886, and befriending the poor children in the church near Regent’s Square which she attended. Her published works include three books of poetry, mostly religious, four books of devotions, and other prose items, such as Goblin Market and Other Poems of 1862, The Prince’s Progress of 1866, Sing-Song for Children of 1872, Annus Domini of 1874, Poems of 1875, Seek and Find of 1879, Called to Be Saints and A Pageant and Other Poems of 1881, Letter and Spirit of the Decalogue of 1883, Time Flies, A Reading Diary of 1885, The Face of the Deep of 1892, which contained "None Other Lamb," and Verses of 1893.

     Christina did not pen hymns as such, but many of her poems have been adapted as hymns, such as "Love Came Down," "Open Wide the Window of Our Spirits," and "In the Bleak Midwinter," which have appeared in recent hymnbooks. John Julian lists fourteen in his 1892/1908 Dictionary of Hymnology. "None Other Lamb" is said to be the second of two poetical meditations on Rev. 5.6. Miss Rossetti died at St. Giles in London on Dec. 29, 1894.  The tune (All Hallows) was composed by Frederick Luke Wiseman (1859-1944). I have been able to find no further information about him, the date of the tune, or its source of origin. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, the song appeared in the 1963 Christian Hymnal edited by J. Nelson Slater, and to my knowledge only there.   The only other books in which I have seen it are the 1961 Trinity Hymnal (with a 1907 tune by William Jeter) edited by Robert S. Marsden, and the 1990 Trinity Hymnal Revised (with both the Jeter tune and a newer one from 1950 by Peggy S. Palmer) edited by Lawrence C. Roff, both published by Great Commission Publications of Philadelphia, PA.

     The song speaks of our dependence upon Christ, the Lamb, for all our spiritual needs.

I. Stanza 1 says that we depend upon Him for hope
"None other Lamb, none other name, None other hope in heaven or earth or sea,
None other hiding place from guilt and shame, None beside Thee."
 A. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved: Acts 4.12
 B. Therefore, He alone is our only hope: Col. 1.27
 C. Only He can provide a hiding place from guilt and shame: Ps. 17.8

II. Stanza 2 says that we depend upon Him for faith
"My faith burns low, my hope burns low; Only my heart’s desire cries out in me,
By the deep thunder of its want and woe, Cries out to Thee."
 A. There are times when our faith burns low: Matt. 8.26
 B. It is then that our heart’s desire turns to the Lord for strength: Ps. 38.9
 C. Out of the depths of our hearts, we cry out to Christ: Ps. 84.2

III. Stanza 3 says that we depend upon Him for life
"Lord, Thou art Life, though I be dead; Love’s Fire Thou art, however cold I be;
Nor heaven have I, nor place to lay my head, Nor home, but Thee."
 A. Though we are dead in sin, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Jn. 14.6
 B. Therefore, He brings warmth to cold hearts because He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly: Jn. 10.10
 C. Not only does He offer us life with Him here, but He also offers eternal life in the home that we call heaven: 1 Pet. 1.3-5

     CONCL.: W. Garrett Horder said in Julian’s Dictionary, "Miss Rossetti’s verses are profoundly suggestive and lyrical, and deserve a larger place than they occupy in the hymnody of the church. Her sonnets are among the finest in the English language." The few hymns that have been adapted from her poems are not well known because they appear in very few hymnbooks generally. Even this hymn, which is probably her most famous, is practically unheard of among us because it appeared in only one of our books, and that one had limited circulation. However, it is good to be reminded that concerning the provisions that have been made for our salvation from sin, there is "None Other Lamb."


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