Kevin DeYoung recently posted a marvelous explanation of the background and theology of the ancient hymn we often associate with Christmas and Advent, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” We sing this song at our church frequently in its original, a capella, plainsong chant-setting (and not just during Advent and Christmas). I’ve found that modern worship crowds love it! The hymn is quite long. DeYoung prints all nine verses. Verse seven was a shocker to me:
Righteous judge of souls departed,
Righteous King of them that live,
On the Father’s throne exalted
None in might with Thee may strive;
Who at last in vengeance coming
Sinners from Thy face shalt drive,
Evermore and evermore!
We probably don’t sing this verse today because we are uncomfortable lauding God for His wrath, vengeance, and justice. It’s just not P.C. But this is reason #573 why the modern church needs ancient hymnody.
Perhaps most surprising to me is that the hymn-writer, Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (ca. 348-413), only started writing hymns in his fifties after a late mid-life crisis! I, for one, am grateful that God stirred his pot, and the church is the beneficiary. Please read DeYoung’s full post.