A Devotion for 9 March 2021 Anno Domini (In the Year of Our Lord), the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
(Job 14:12;all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
“Arise, O LORD, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.”
“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
2To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,” (Psalms 92:1-2)
The words of this MORNING HYMN, and the EVENING and MIDNIGHT hymns he wrote, admirably summarize the character of its Christian author, Bishop Thomas Ken (1637-1711). Ken was a non-juror bishop who declined to sign, and openly opposed, the King’s pro-Roman Catholic “Declaration of Indulgence’ issued by King James II, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London for that refusal. He attended Winchester College and later served as chaplain to Winchester College Boy’s School for whom he wrote these three significant hymns to be prayed at morning, evening, and, if sleep did not come, midnight. Most of Protestant, Reformed Churches in Europe at the time sang only Psalms in worship making Ken’s hymns the avant-garde of classical church hymnody. Each of his three hymns below end with perhaps the most memorable of all hymn verses – the Doxology – which Ken wrote as a concluding hymn for worship. Since hymns were not allowed to be sung in worship, Ken asked the students to recite them as prayers at morning and night. Bishop Ken died on March 11, 1711 and the words of the Doxology were sung at his burial at sunrise.
Only the MORNING and Evening hymns are included in the 1940 Hymnal significantly abbreviated (#151 & 152, and 165 in the 1940 Hymnal).
by Thomas Ken
AWAKE , my Soul, and with the sun,
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,
To pay thy Morning sacrifice.
Redeem thy misspent moments past;
And live this day as if thy last:
Improve thy talent with due care,
For the great day thyself prepare.
Let all thy converse be sincere,
Thy conscience as the noon-day clear;
Think how all-seeing God thy ways,
And all thy secret thoughts, surveys.
Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,
And with the Angels bear thy part,
Who all night long unwearied sing
High praise to the eternal King.
Praise God , from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
AWAKE , my Soul, and with the sun, Thy daily stage of duty run; Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise, To pay thy Morning sacrifice. At the ancient dawn of Creation, man awoke to life having been fashioned by the Hand of God from the dust of the earth. In his primitive innocence, the first encounter of his new day was with God who gave commandment to Adam. Little did Adam comprehend the glorious benefit and privilege of that encounter with his Maker. Now that the Redemption of Christ has caused the Temple Veil that separated the believer from a face-to-face encounter with His God, why would we not seek His Face at first light daily? “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalms 63:1-2) The ‘morning sacrifice’ is the daily surrender and dedication of one’s heart to God.
Redeem thy misspent moments past; And live this day as if thy last: Improve thy talent with due care, For the great day thyself prepare. Allow me to ask a question of profound implication: ‘How much time do you have left on this earth?’ You know the grains of sand that have fallen to the bottom of the glass, but the number remaining in the upper chamber remains a mystery. There may be many grains, or only ten, five, of one. Instead of gleaning the Scriptures to determine the time of Christ’s return, why not live every day as if this were the day – He may come for you on your way home today, or as you sit in your easy chair at home. Work while it is yet light – “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” (John 9:4) We have today to accomplish the Lord’s work – tomorrow is not assured.
Let all thy converse be sincere, Thy conscience as the noon-day clear; Think how all-seeing God thy ways, And all thy secret thoughts, surveys. There follows a great comfort in the soul whose tongue neither equivocates or prevaricates in the face of either praise or accusation. “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: 34But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: 35Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. 36Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. 37But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37) God sees all and knows all. “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; 19To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psalms 33:18-19)
Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart, And with the Angels bear thy part, Who all night long unwearied sing High praise to the eternal King. Our most sensible time of life is during the awakening hours. There is little sensibilities in sleep except for dreams of fantasy. Be thankful each morning that God has enabled us to awaken and to depart from our beds for the day’s enterprise. The voices of angels continually rise to the Throne of God both day and night. When we arise to our physical labor, let us also lift our hearts to lead in the spiritual matters that confront every Christian daily.
Now follow the most oft-repeated hymn verse in church hymnody – the Doxology:
Praise God , from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host, Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Certainly every good and pleasing gift comes down from our Father in Heaven. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:17-18) “Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. 2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. 3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. 5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. 6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.” (Psalms 150:1-6)
NOTE: Please observe how classic hymns teach biblical truth and doctrine? The light and puffy gospel songs of the modern church falter in those two regards.