Hymn Devotion for 14 March 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
2 Peter 3:3-7 (KJV)
This ancient hymn reflects the faith and values of the early Church fathers. It is the composition of St. Ambrose of Milan sometime after 337 A.D. The translation is by John Mason Neale in 1851. The musical score is ‘VETTER’ by Daniel Vetter in 1713. Just as the imaginations of men are only more and more evil continually in moral turpitude, so, in reverse order, it seems the faith and righteousness of the greater church has declined in inverse proportion. Those subjects that would never have been even uttered in privacy only half a century ago are now held up to be common parlance today.
O GOD, CREATION’S SECRET FORCE
1 O God, creation’s secret force,
Yourself unmoved, all motion’s source,
You, from the morn till evening’s ray,
Through all its changes guide the day:
2 Grant us, when this short life is past,
The glorious evening that shall last;
That, by a holy death attained,
Eternal glory may be gained.
3 Almighty Father, hear our cry
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord Most High,
Whom with the Spirit we adore
For ever and for evermore.
1 O God, creation’s secret force, Yourself unmoved, all motion’s source, You, from the morn till evening’s ray, Through all its changes guide the day: God is the ‘secret force’ behind Creation that is unseen by the knowingly ignorant – an ignorance born of defiance of a Sovereign Creator. Those who lean upon the cudgel of ignorance are without excuse before the Throne of a Holy God. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” Romans 1:19-20 (KJV) All things material, and all things possessed of energy and movement, exist at the discretion of His Will. Though unbelieving men claim all continues as it did from the Creation, that is a lie. We are growing more depraved in faith and morals day by day. I need not cite any source for that claim – all we need do is open our eyes to the growing wickedness all around us in high places (as well as low places). All Creation are upheld moment by moment by the Hand of God.
2 Grant us, when this short life is past, The glorious evening that shall last; That, by a holy death attained, Eternal glory may be gained. The life of man is a flower of the field that withers away almost from its blooming, or as a vapor that disappears very close to the kettle. A quote from Omar Khayyam proclaims, “The bird of time has but a little way to fly, and, lo, the bird is on the wing.” Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayyam. WE are born into this life with physical bodies that began to succumb to the progressing ills of death from birth. WE have a little space of time to know of God and things of virtue and truth. If we while away our time at the tavern, or in salacious subjects, we may find we not only have no oil for our lamps at evening time, but without even the lamps! Salvation through the grace of God through the blood of His only Begotten Son is too easy for the world. They must either work their way to Heaven or, else, follow greed alone in this world until the curtain falls and time will be no more.
3 Almighty Father, hear our cry Through Jesus Christ, our Lord Most High, Whom with the Spirit we adore For ever and for evermore. This doxology seals the whole of the hymn. First, it acknowledges God as the Most High of all Sovereigns; then the Way to gain His favor and grace is through the redemption of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ – the same through whom the Holy Spirit bears witness and testimony.