Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Church's One Foundation

Lyra Fidelium: Twelve Hymns on the Twelve Articles of the Apostle's Creed 
by S. J. Stone, B.A., 

“...the Holy Catholic* Church: the communion of the saints...” 
"He is the Head of the Body, the Church." 
(Tune No. 142.) 

THE Church’s one foundation 
Is Jesus Christ her Lord, 
She is His new creation 
By water and the Word: 
From heaven He came and sought her 
To be His holy bride, 
With His own blood He bought her 
And for her life He died. 

She is from every nation 
Yet one o'er all the earth, 
Her charter of salvation 
One Lord, one faith, one birth, 
One Holy Name she blesses, 
Partakes one Holy Food, 
And to one Hope she presses 
With every grace endued. 

The Church shall never perish! 
Her dear Lord to defend, 
To guide, sustain, and cherish, 
Is with her to the end: 
Though there be those who hate her, 
And false sons in her pale, 
Against or foe or traitor 
She ever shall prevail. 

Though with a scornful wonder 
Men see her sore oppressed, 
By schisms rent asunder 
By heresies distressed: 
Yet saints their watch are keeping, 
Their cry goes up “How long?” 
And soon the night of weeping 
shall be the morn of song! 

'Mid toil and tribulation 
And tumult of her war, 
She waits the consummation 
Of peace forevermore; 
Till, with the vision glorious, 
Her longing eyes are blest, 
And the great Church victorious 
Shall be the Church at rest! 

Yet she on earth hath union 
With God the Three in One, 
And mystic sweet communion 
With those whose rest is won, 
With all her sons and daughters 
Who, by the Master's Hand 
Led through the deathly waters, 
Repose in Eden-land. 

O happy ones and holy! 
Lord, give us grace that we 
Like them, the meek and lowly, 
On high may dwell with Thee: 
There, past the border mountains, 
Where in sweet vales the Bride 
With Thee by living fountains 
For ever shall abide! 

        I believe that the Church of Christ is, has been, and will be one and the same: that it is holy in respect of (1) its Author and End, (2) the vocation of all the baptized, (3) the true saints within it:  that it is One, by unity of origination, of faith, of hope, of charity, of sacraments, of discipline: that it is Catholic, as being universally disseminated, as teaching all truth, as possession all graces: that its truly sanctified members have communion with the Holy Trinity, with the Angels, and with all Saints on earth and in Paradise.

"OTHER foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS Christ." 
"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." 
"Even as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctity and cleanse it." 
"The Church of God which He purchased with His Own Blood." 

"Out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation." 
"We being many are one Bread and one Body." 
"One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism." 
"There is none other Name under Heaven...whereby we must be saved." 
"We all are partakers of that one Bread." 
"Called in one hope of our calling." 
"...grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."  

"Upon this Rock will I build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." 
"Lo, I am with you alway even unto the end of the world." 
"Marvel not if the world hate you." 
"False brethren." 
"Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy! when I fall I shall arise." 

"By reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." 
"I hear that there be divisions among you." 
"Watch unto prayer." 
"Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles." 
"Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting..." 
"The redeemed of the Lord...shall come with singing unto Zion." 
"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and against powers,"&c. 
"In all these things we are more than conquerors." 
"The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." 
"We know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 
"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God." 

"Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son JESUS Christ." - "...the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you." 
"Ye are come unto the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, and to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn...and to the spirits of just men made perfect." 
""When thou passeth through the waters I will be with thee." 
"...with Me in Paradise." 

"Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." 
"Humble yourselves...that He may exalt you in due time." 
"He carried a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem." 
"The Lamb...shall lead them unto the living fountains of waters." 
"The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them." 

* The word "catholic" in this context does not refer to the Roman Catholic Church but means "universal or including people all around the world."    

        Most clergymen are aware how many of their parishioners, among the poor especially, say the Creed in their private prayers.  And they cannot but feel how this excellent use, as also its utterance in public worship, is too often accompanied by a very meagre comprehension of the breadth and depth of meaning contained in each Article of the Confession of Faith.
        Such a feeling first suggested to the Author the probable usefulness of a simple and attractive explanation of the Creed in the popular form of a series of Hymns, such as might be sung or said in private devotion, at family prayer, or in public worship. 
        Prose expositions indeed of every kind are not wanting, from the great work of Bishop Pearson downwards, but these are more adapted for the student than for the general worshipper, for education rather than for devotion; and there can be little doubt but that the poetical form is more likely to be effectual in securing an abiding place in the general mind, and also in exercising an influence upon heart and life.
        To this end the Author set about the composition of the following Hymns, and though, now the work is done, he is painfully sensible that he has not reached the point either of fulness or simplicity at which he aimed, he humbly trusts that GOD will make them nevertheless of some use in His Church.
       A short prose Summary of the truths contained in each Article has been added, to render the world more complete by supplying some unavoidable omissions in the Hymns. 
        In the preparation of the summaries the Author has been much assisted by the Rev. J. Gorle's "Analysis of Person on the Creed." 
        The testimony of Holy Scripture has also been adduced to authorise the doctrine and sentiment of almost every line, and to shew the oneness of the truth of the Bible and the belief of the Church.
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