Missing Verses

Sometimes, you sing something year and after year and never know there was more to it. I know 5 verses of “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” Turns out there are more. It was verse 2 that really got me on the new reading. Who would have thought of pairing the idea of creation with Jesus’ birth this way, and then having the whole thing remind us of the Trinity?

Classical authors usually wrote all those long verses for a reason, to make a point, and we get all worked up about how long it takes to read or sing, so we start lopping off a verse here and there. This one has been around for awhile (written in the 5th century by Aurelius Prudentius). Imagine how long it’s been around, how long it’s informed and inspired Christians, how wonderful it is that it eventually got paired with a piece of music from the 16th century…now that’s the communion of the saints: a 5th century Spanish author writing in Latin, his poem paired with 16th century music by someone from somewhere else in Europe, translated into English by a 19th century psator, and now sung by a bunch of suburban North Americans on Christmas.

While it’s still Christmas (7 days left!) take a few minutes to read and perhaps pray along with the church in many times and many places, to love what’s familiar to you in this, and savor what is new…

Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore!

At His Word the worlds were framèd;
He commanded; it was done:
Heaven and earth and depths of ocean
In their threefold order one;
All that grows beneath the shining
Of the moon and burning sun,
Evermore and evermore!

He is found in human fashion,
Death and sorrow here to know,
That the race of Adam’s children
Doomed by law to endless woe,
May not henceforth die and perish
In the dreadful gulf below,
Evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessèd,
When the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving,
Bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face,
evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert sing,
Evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time
Chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets
Promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord,
Evermore and evermore!

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!

Thee let old men, thee let young men,
Thee let boys in chorus sing;
Matrons, virgins, little maidens,
With glad voices answering:
Let their guileless songs re-echo,
And the heart its music bring,
Evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father,
And, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving,
And unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory,
Evermore and evermore!

One Response to “Missing Verses”

  1. Kristen Zoetewey Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Erica.