7 February 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.”
(Psalms 24:1-2; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I must confess that I do not recall writing of this hymn in past years, but I should have done. It is a beautiful hymn composed by a great Bible scholar and minister – Dr. Maltbie Babcock (1858-1901) – a great athlete at Syracuse University who was called to preach the Gospel, and well did he answer the call. The present hymn is taken from a poet he wrote by the same title, but extending for sixteen verses. This hymn was written in the year of his death of a fever at Naples, Italy – age 42 years. The tune is titled TERRA BEATA– an old English folk tune.
MY FATHER’S WORLD
1 This is my Father’s world,
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas–
His hand the wonders wrought.
2 This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.
3 This is my Father’s world:
O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let earth be glad!
1 This is my Father’s world, And to my listening ears All nature sings, and round me rings The music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas– His hand the wonders wrought.Unfortunately, only a small remnant of all tribes, tongues, and nations can proclaim the first clause of this hymn with sincerity – This is my Father’s world– because a very small fraction of the world claim Him as Father though they are the objects of His Creation. Only those who are the bona fide children of God can call Him Father. This is sadly true, even in the Church! But to the devout Christian, called and ordained of God, all of the wonders of nature proclaim His love and Beauty. What a privilege and security to lay our burdens upon His broad shoulders and sleep the peace of protection. Do we not see Him in the vast, unfathomable depths of the sea, in the scroll of sky at sunrise, or the mountain heights that sweep down to the valleys and fertile plains?
2 This is my Father’s world: The birds their carols raise, The morning light, the lily white, Declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass, He speaks to me everywhere.To the trusting heart committed to Christ, there is no darkness – the light surrounds him in a world of smothering darkness. But God is not only Love, but our Lord is the Light of the world. The choir of birds, singing from the trees of the forest, need no human words to express their praise for it is a language of the hearty and spirit with which they convey their music. Can man create an artificial light to compare with a morning sunrise in spring? Can any artist create anything of beauty to surpass that of the Lily White? All these things of Creation exclaim their Maker’s name. The evolutionists may boast of knowledge of things unseen and unproven, but all his presumed knowledge falls at the altar of the flowers of spring. Every place the believer looks, He beholds Christ. His artistry has made every snowflake and every rain droplet. He walks always in the corridors of beauty and truth.
3 This is my Father’s world: O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: let the heavens ring! God reigns; let earth be glad! God, with amazing repetition, reminds us throughout Scripture to REMEMBER Him and forget not. This is especially important during times of trial and moments of temptation. We must remember that God rules in the affairs of men despite man’s false perception that he, himself, is, as Mr. William Henley wrote in Invictus, the master of his fate and the captain of his soul:
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”
– William Ernest Henley, INVICTUS.
This poem, Invictus, was one I had to memorize in the fifth grade. To my young and undiscerning mind, the words seemed to be possessed of great power. My teachers all commended its supposed power and majesty; however, those words are an illusion staged by the Dark Prince of this World. There is, after all, great matter in the road that we take – either that of the Broad Way of the world, or else the Straight and Narrow way that leads up. And, too, we shall be judged by our sins if they are not annulled by the blood of Christ. Show me the man who is the master of his fate at the moment of death or horror; or what man is captain of his soul as he passes through the gloomy gate of ruin? Mr. Henley misses the mark with inconceivable ignorance while the writer of this hymn gets his rounds on target for truth. “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” (Isaiah 45:11-12)