25 October 2022 Anno Domini
the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
In the Eternity Past God the Father brooded over His Heaven in councils Divine with His Beloved Son and the Holy Ghost – the Triune Godhead. In His great and inexhaustible knowledge, He formed the plan for the Creation of all that is today – the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, and all other heavenly bodies, and spoke them into being. With His fingers He hurled the celestial bodies into their respective orbits and declared the natural laws to keep them there. Last of all, He created Man and Woman in Eden. Though Adam, through the sin of disobedience, rejected God, God never rejected man. Even to Adam, He gave evidence of a coming Redeemer.
This hymn, Ancient of Days, was written by Bishop William Doane, Bishop of Albany, N.Y. where he composed the words to this hymn to commemorate the Bicentenary of the founding of the City of Albany in 1886. The tune, ALBANY, is the composition of J. Albert Jeffery also written especially for the occasion.
ANCIENT OF DAYS, WHO SITTEST THRONE IN GLORY
1 Ancient of Days, who sittest, throned in glory,
To Thee all knees are bent, all voices pray;
Thy love hast blest the wide world’s wondrous story
With light and life since Eden’s dawning day.
2 O Holy Father, who hast led Thy children
In all the ages, with the fire and cloud,
Through seas dry-shod, through weary wastes bewildering;
To Thee, in reverent love, our hearts are bowed.
3 O Holy Jesus, Prince of Peace and Saviour,
To Thee we owe the peace that still prevails,
Stilling the rude wills of men’s wild behavior,
And calming passion’s fierce and stormy gales.
4 O Holy Ghost, the Lord and the Life-giver,
Thine is the quickening power that gives increase;
From Thee have flowed, as from a mighty river,
Our plenty, wealth, prosperity and peace.
5 O Triune God, with heart and voice adoring,
Praise we the goodness that doth crown our days;
Pray we that Thou wilt hear us, still imploring
Thy love and favor, kept to us always.
1 Ancient of Days, who sittest, throned in glory, To Thee all knees are bent, all voices pray; Thy love hast blest the wide world’s wondrous story With light and life since Eden’s dawning day. Imagine, if you will, the great and immeasurable love of God the Father who deigned to create this mortal race from His glorious abode in Heaven. He would even send His only Begotten Son to redeem us from our sins in the fullness of time. Though at the present moment, all knees are not v=bent to Him, but I assure you, in time, every knee shall bow, not only the living, but the resurrected dead, shall bow before our Lord Jesus Christ. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:11 (see also Isa 45:23 & Philippians 9:10-11). The love of God has blessed the whole of Creation with the salt of love and kindness.
In the following three verses, the hymn pays homage to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost:
2 O Holy Father, who hast led Thy children In all the ages, with the fire and cloud, Through seas dry-shod, through weary wastes bewildering; To Thee, in reverent love, our hearts are bowed. Not only did God both lead and follow His people across the Red Sea and through the Wilderness, He still leads by the Light and Fire of His Word and Spirit. His right of passage is given in the password of LOVE. Love is, indeed, reverent. We do not love boastfully or in arrogance, but in humble devotion and worship – not through screams and shouts (God is not deaf), but by heartfelt prayers from hearts that do not regard iniquity, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Psalms 66:18)
3 O Holy Jesus, Prince of Peace and Saviour, To Thee we owe the peace that still prevails, Stilling the rude wills of men’s wild behavior, And calming passion’s fierce and stormy gales. The stormy seas of life are stilled by the Lord as on the Sea of Galilee. But to remain afloat, we must keep pour hearts stayed upon the Lord. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
4 O Holy Ghost, the Lord and the Life-giver, Thine is the quickening power that gives increase; From Thee have flowed, as from a mighty river, Our plenty, wealth, prosperity and peace. “Quickening power” actually means the power to make alive – to call us forth from the grave as revealed in Ephesians 2. Being dead in trespasses and sins, we could lift not a finger to gain salvation – salvation comes only by the grace of God (a free gift) through faith which is also a grant from God. While living in Iran, I knew of a wonderful river in the high desert called, in Persian, the Zayanderud. It flowed from the melting snows of the Zagross Mountains to the west of Isfahan carrying its pure and freezing waters across the desert expanse to the east. Though nothing hardly grew in that desert, there certainly was life every where the Zayanderud meandered. It died in a salt sea called Gav Khuni (or blood of an Ox). It reminded me of the life of Christ for the Zayanderud was not long (only 104 miles) like the life of Christ. And the River died in a Wilderness morass much as Christ died in the wilderness of our sins. The dead sea of Gav Khuni presented the appearance of real blood when viewed from its shoreline.
The final verse gathers the Three Persons of the Godhead into a One God – a Godhead with three dimensions – Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
5 O Triune God, with heart and voice adoring, Praise we the goodness that doth crown our days; Pray we that Thou wilt hear us, still imploring Thy love and favor, kept to us always. Much of our modern worship services in mainline churches is more centered on the performances of man in entertaining the audience. Money seems to flow into the coffers of the false churches more easily if they are moved with ecstatic emotion rather than a reverence for God Almighty. We praise God, and not man, for His goodness with which He crowns our days. Man, apart from Christ has no goodness, no righteousness. It is the imputed righteousness of Christ with which we are accounted righteous before God the Father. If our hearts are filled with love of God and our neighbor, we need not doubt that our prayers will be heard. The Love of Christ with which we are blessed shall overflow the heart that has the open receptacle for it. That love is the one resource that survives death itself:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)