(#159b in 1940 Hymnal), a Hymn Devotion for 30 July 2019 Anno Domini
The Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
This is a sweet old hymn for Morning Prayer during the Trinity Season. It was written by St. Ambrose of Milan (337 – 397 A.D.) and the English lyrics are a translation by John M. Neale in 1851 of the Latin hymn, Iam Lucis Orto Sidere. The musical score is, HERR JESU CHRIST, by the renowned composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, of the Baroque Period. (1765) Bach began each work with a notation at the first, “Help Me Jesus” and ended with “In Gloria Deo.” This is the original text of this hymn as it appears in John Mason Neale’s Hymnal Noted (1851):
NOW THAT THE DAYLIGHT FILLS THE SKY
Now that the daylight fills the sky,
We lift our hearts to God on high,
That He, in all we do, or say,
Would keep us free from harm to-day:
Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife:
From anger’s din would hide our life:
From all ill sights would turn our eyes:
Would close our ears from vanities:
Would keep our inmost conscience pure;
Our souls from folly would secure:
Would bid us check the pride of sense
With due and holy abstinence.
Now that the daylight fills the sky, We lift our hearts to God on high, That He, in all we do, or say,
Would keep us free from harm to-day: Every sunrise represents a new Creation by our Father in Heaven. It is a day created from nowhere but Heaven and unlike any other that has ever previously existed. It is the first day of the rest of our lives, and we must make a good accounting of it for the glory of God. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.’ Genesis 1:1-5 (KJV)
The daylight fills the sky just as it did on that first primordial morning of Genesis 1. LIGHT! It reflects the very essence of God – the Light of the World, and the sun of Righteousness. And He is the Day Star to the new believer. Our hearts are lifted each day to God in praise by the magnetic draw of the Holy Ghost. It is the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost on the Throne of the Temple of our Hearts that we govern all that we say or do to the measure of righteousness to which we subscribe as sons and daughters of the Most High King. His protecting arm surrounds us to perform His will and protect from the Adversary of our souls.
Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife: From anger’s din would hide our life: From all ill sights would turn our eyes: Would close our ears from vanities: Who is the strong man of your heart? Is it not the Sovereign thereof, the Lord Jesus Christ, at the Gate of His Temple? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (KJV) The Holy Ghost imparts a calming nature to our hearts, minds, and tongues so that we do not blurt out vitriol at the slightest provocation. Our hearts represent Holy Ground, and we must stand in awe of the Holiness of its Sovereign. When the loud noise of the street is too deafening, what should we do? Perhaps we should close the doors and the shutters to block that noise. In the same way, the doors and windows of our hearts to the ill-winded influences of the world with its vulgar tunes and profane sights.
Consider the wisdom of Solomon: “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12:1-7 (KJV)
Would keep our inmost conscience pure; Our souls from folly would secure: Would bid us check the pride of sense With due and holy abstinence. It is the inward character that identifies the saint and not the outward appearance. “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35 (KJV) We are not able to order the furnishings of love, faith, hope and other heavenly fixtures without the oversight of God’s Holy Spirit to set things in order. We are like children before God in a toy shop of good and evil. We need the restraining hand of God to keep us safe from our own carnal proclivities for toys that will ruin us.
The pride of sense is not always spawned of bad intent. It must be based on the Divine Laws of righteousness as well as the Divine Laws of Nature. For many years, I taught or managed the training of military pilots. But I learned as a student pilot myself that my own senses were capable of great deceit. Under instrument weather conditions, a pilot must trust the instruments and not his physical senses. Our physical senses will lie to us and cause us to believe the aircraft is steeply diving when it is actually climbing; turning right when it is actually turning left. If we conduct our responses according to those false signals, we will surely crash and burn. But if we rely upon the instrument gauges to gives us the true attitude of the aircraft, we shall do well. The Holy Ghost is our ‘attitude indicator’ and our instrument panel to help us avoid false senses of the body and of the soul. Quite often, it is those things we AVOID that prosper more than those that we ACQUIRE. Abstinence is a learned and holy habit. If the Holy spirit, speaking through that instrument called the conscience, says, “This is wrong. Do not do it!” we will always prosper by obeying that small, still voice.
Enjoy this wonderful day – a gift of God. “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (KJV)