Ambrose of Milan (A.D. 339-397), stands as an important character from the history of the early church. I was dimly acquainted with this remarkable figure, as he was the first leader of the church acknowledged to have won a victory over the state during the reign of Theodosius, (you can read more about him here.) however, I was completely unaware of his prolific hymn writing until a short, few days ago.
Ambrose was the veritable “Chris Tomlin” of the early church and, blessedly, some of those hymns have been preserved for us. You will note the startling lack of repetitive phrasing and the rich theological content of this hymn. I post it for your enlightenment and Christmas enjoyment.
Come, Thou Redeemer of the earth,
And manifest Thy virgin birth:
Let every age adoring fall;
Such birth befits the God of all.
Begotten of no human will,
But of the Spirit, Thou art still
The Word of God in flesh arrayed,
The promised Fruit to man displayed.
The virgin womb that burden gained
With virgin honor all unstained;
The banners there of virtue glow;
God in His temple dwells below.
Forth from His chamber goeth He,
That royal home of purity,
A giant in twofold substance one,
Rejoicing now His course to run.
From God the Father He proceeds,
To God the Father back He speeds;
His course He runs to death and hell,
Returning on God’s throne to dwell.
O equal to the Father, Thou!
Gird on Thy fleshly mantle now;
The weakness of our mortal state
With deathless might invigorate.
Thy cradle here shall glitter bright,
And darkness breathe a newer light,
Where endless faith shall shine serene,
And twilight never intervene.
All laud to God the Father be,
All praise, eternal Son, to Thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To God the Holy Paraclete.