A beautiful hymn from the early 5th century

Several weeks ago, I was talking with a really mature Christian guy in his early 20s at our church about worship music.  He said that he felt like a lot of contemporary worship music was about performance, but the “old school” stuff from the 1980s and early 1990s was more authentic.  I told him that I liked the old school stuff from the 80s too, but I meant the 1780s.  He was confused for a moment, and then we shared a laugh.

I love the traditional hymns, but many of them really haven’t been traditional more more than a century or two.  One truly ancient hymn that I’ve been able to sing once or twice is “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius.  So I was pleased to read Kevin DeYoung’s post that gave a brief biographical sketch of Prudentius.  It also includes a YouTube video of a live performance of the song.

Here are the first and last verses:

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!

 

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

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4 comments

  1. It is certainly a lovely hymn, maintaining the ancient plainchant style. It reminds me of listening to the monks at our nearby monastery pray. When it comes to ancient hymns, I’m a bit partial to the Te Deum, myself. Many a saint and martyr has gone to their eternal reward with that song on their lips or in their ears.

  2. I had heard of the Te Deum, but never really known what it was or how old it is. I just read the Wikipedia entry on it and the lyrics are quite beautiful. Is there a good example of a performance of it online?

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