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A Hymn to God

"O Thou Who art above all things! For what besides this am I allowed to utter concerning Thee? How can words hymn Thee? For Thou canst not be expressed by any words. How can the mind behold Thee? For Thou art inaccessible to any mind. Thou alone art unutterable, because Thou past brought forth all things that can be uttered in words! Thou alone art unknowable, for Thou hast brought forth all that can be embraced by thought. All things, both rational and irrational, give Thee honor. The common desires of all are directed towards Thee; all hearts are pained for Thy sake; all things send up entreaty to Thee; to Thee all things that understand Thy beckoning utter a silent hymn of praise. By Thee alone do all things exist? All things strive together towards Thee. Thou art the end of all things; Thou art single and all; Thou art neither single, nor solitary, nor all. O Thou Who art named by all names! What shall I name Thee, the single unnamable! Moreover, what heavenly mind can penetrate the veils beyond the clouds? Be merciful, O Thou Who art above all things! For what besides this am I allowed to utter concerning Thee?" (St. Gregory the Theologian).

The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God (Psalm 13:1). The Prophet David, long before the Incarnation of Christ, clearly showed the reason why men strive to convince themselves that there is no God: Thy are corrupt and are abominable in iniquities (Ps. 52:2).

Moral corruption forces men to tremble before the future judgment; the conscience accuses them of sins. Nevertheless, men wish to sooth themselves, to stifle the conscience. They convince themselves that "there is no God." What else can one call such a self-soothing but foolishness?

Whether we acknowledge that God exists or deny it-still He exists. He ceaselessly declares concerning Himself through the book written by His finger: nature. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth the work of His hands (Ps. 18:1) .

"I asked the luminaries of heaven;" says one church writer: "Are you God? And they answered: No. I asked the air: Are you God? And it answered: No. I asked the forests and groves: Are you not God? And they answered: No. And then all things cried out together unanimously in a loud voice: No, we are not God, but we were created by Him!"

The all nature submits to the Creator and His laws. Only the crown of His creation, tempted by the fallen angel, the devil, rises up against Him.

This is nothing new. Soon after the fall (of Adam) men began to turn away from God. However, an inward voice demands the acknowledgement of a higher power. Those who do not desire to revere the true God only create false gods for themselves. The more corrupt the heart is, the more repulsive and vile is the god men worship.

Nevertheless, here the chief passion of man steps forth; pride, a pride that demands of man that he submit to nothing higher. A battle begins against every religion; men strive to convince, first, themselves that "there is no God;" there is nothing above them. The awareness of their wrongs inspires them to a battle against faith, a battle against religion, to a war against God Himself.

However, the very intensity of this battle only confirms what they deny! If there is no God, then why is there a battle. Do men really fight against what doesn't exist?

An inward voice says to the militant godless that they are lying to themselves, and this voice they strive to stifle with evil deeds.

All the same, even they cannot remain without a god.

The godless at the time of the Prophet Daniel made the king their god, demanding that men turn only to him and the idol erected by him.

The godless in the French Revolution compelled men to worship reason.

The godless of our times have already almost raised up Lenin to be a god: the talks and articles of their leader take the place of Holy Scripture for them, and faith in the Socialist paradise takes the place of the eternal Kingdom of Christ.

A new faith is being built: faith in the non-existence of God.

In order to strengthen faith in atheism, the counsel of the ungodly (Ps. 1:1) is now gathering. The teachers of the new faith and their disciples gather against the Lord, and against His Christ (Ps. 2:2). They address mankind with an appeal to overthrow submission to God, to throw off His yoke from themselves.

He that dwelleth in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn and the Lord shall deride them (Ps. 2:4).

In earlier times the Lord allowed the Egyptian Pharaoh to rise against Him, and Sennacherib, who mocked God, to utter blasphemous speeches?

However, the more the Lord allows, the more frightful is the ruin of the impious! In a moment they have ceased to be; they have perished because of their iniquity (Ps. 72:19).

Now, the hour of the Lord's judgment will come, when the Lord shall speak unto them in Hit wrath, and in His anger shall He trouble the obstinate (Ps. 2:5), and those who are wavering in heart will clearly see the power of God and will have to cry out, like Nebuchadnezzar: Thy Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom, and Thy dominion it from generation to generation (Daniel 3:32).

Shanghai January 25, 1937

Commemoration of St. Gregory the Theologian

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