God of Earth and Altar


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God of earth and altar,
   Bow down and hear our cry,
   Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die
The walls of gold entomb us,

The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,

From sale and profanation,
Of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord!

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.

The words are by G.K. Chesterton, 1874-1936.  This tune is Aurelia. In pursuing the origin of Aurelia I came upon another interesting coincidence. Aurelia was composed by Samuel Wesley for the hymn Jerusalem the Golden but the tune Ewing prevailed in Hymns Ancient and Modern when it first appeared in1861.  Jerusalem the Golden SoP 198 A&M 228  was derived from a translation of an epic poem by Bernard of Cluny c 1145. That poem begins in another hymn so relevant to today,  A&M 226  The World is Very Evil

 The words of O God of Earth and Altar were originally printed in Scott  Holland's monthly magazine The Commonwealth.  The hymn was given to the editor of the English Hymnal, Percy Dearmer who included it in that book when it first appeared in 1906.  G K Chesterton told Percy Dearmer, later also the words editor for Songs of Praise that, not knowing one tune from another, he had written this hymn with the idea that Aurelia was the typical tune for hymns.  So he had written it in that metre. Aurelia  is normally used for The Church's One Foundation  SoP 249.   The tune given in Songs of Praise for O God of Earth and Altar  SoP 308 and in WOV 542 is Kings Lynn.

At school we only used the English Hymnal, and I have only sung this hymn to Aurelia.  Perhaps that is appropriate as that was the tune in his mind when G K Chesterton wrote it.    I remember our form teacher Mr Price told me I could keep my copy of the English Hymnal  when I left Bury Grammar School in 1965.  It was in such a shockingly worn condition after seven years use that he told me he could hardly issue it to anybody else.  But that was when we all sang a hymn every morning in School Assembly.  Over the past twenty years I have found much comfort in those hymns fixed unwittingly in my memory as a child.  Now the experts are so much wiser, preferring children to grow up in a spiritual vacuum until they are old enough to choose for themselves.  By then it is too late.  Only two days ago Emily Bishop on Granada TV's Coronation Street, albeit broadcast a year behind in New Zealand, echoed my sentiments exactly.  She said " I have found comfort in the old hymns ...".   Now the new vicar is throwing out all things old....There have been quite a few interesting coincidences involving Coronation Street in the last few years and especially in relation to the Succession to the English Throne. It is all in the books...

Back to The Four Prophecy Jigsaws

This is the Midi file for this tune

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The first update of this Voice of God site since 2006 was done on 11th September 2012, to mark the 11th anniversary of 9/11.  That was when I revised the site after it had been down since 6th August 2012, because of the Delete All instruction.  On 9/11/12, The Voice told me it was time to republish VoG with the latest information.   I added the message from the spirit of Osama bin Laden which came to me on 5th September, triggered by some words uttered by the wife of his 'namesake' .......  and an interview with one of the 'mission heroes' promoting his new book.  But then there were so many computer software malfunctions.  The site was finally re-published at  1.44pm  6th October, 2012.
Republished in doomsday rainbow format 5th March, 2015.   Water meter reading 3rd March 2834.22933m3. kWh 33400.   Obelisk shadow pointed to 'the black earth'.  BS28 On 5th March water meter read 2834.5570 and power meter 33455kWh Be Thou My Vision.... Everything is precisely measured by the Ancient of Days, the Sentinel of Eternity, the Creator of Space and Time.


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