Saturday, 28 March 2015

"Glory be to the Father"

ONE of the most universally accepted forms of worship among Protestants, who would praise the Triune God in song, is the ancient "Gloria Patri." This is, strictly within the meaning of the term, a doxology, for a doxology is an alleluia or other expression of praise to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity. "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost" expresses the fundamental doctrine of the Apostles Creed, and at the same time utters worshipful praise to God. 

The story of the exact origin of the "Gloria Patri" is not known, though it is thought by many hymnologists to have come to us from the apostolic age. The coming of Christ as a babe in Bethlehem was heralded by a hymn of the angels in the first Christmas gloria : "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." After the Last Supper with the Saviour the apostles sang a hymn and went out, as it is recorded in the gospel. Hymn-singing was one of the peculiar customs of the early Christians observed by secular writers of that age. There is inspiration to us in the thought that the Christians of this day make such frequent use of the hymn to the Trinity, sung by Christians in the apostolic age. 

It is said that on May 26, A. D. 735, when his death was approaching, The Venerable Bede, the most eminent sacred scholar of his age, asked his friends to carry him to that part of the room where he usually prayed; and there he sang the "Gloria Patri" ; and when at last he had sung, "World without end, Amen," he died.  

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