Of the Father’s Love Begotten

“Of the Father’s Love Begotten” is a marvelous song, and an ancient one (although the plainchant to which it is sung was wedded with the text only in the 19th century). While in many hymnals it is included in the Advent section, often none of the verses are included that directly refer Christ’s advent!

While the text begins, “Of the Father’s love begotten” (which phrase in isolation may conjure up images of crèches),  it continues, “Ere the worlds began to be.”  The reference in the first stanza to Christ being “begotten” is not to Bethlehem, but to what is known in theological terms as the “eternal generation” of the Son.

In the context of the full piece, the commonly-sung stanza which begins “O ye heights of heav’n adore Him; Angel hosts, His praises sing” does refer to the first advent (Luke 2:13–14). Other verses often not included in hymnals, however, speak much more directly to the incarnation:

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!

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 blessed,
when a virgin, full of grace,
by the Holy Ghost conceiving,
bore the Savior of our race;
and the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face,
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!

O ye heights of heav’n, adore Him,
angel hosts, His praises sing,
pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him,
and extol our God and King;
let no tongue on earth be silent,
ev’ery voice in concert ring,
evermore and evermore!

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

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Author Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Chuck Bumgardner

Chuck has a PhD in New Testament and a heart for Scripture and the church.