"IN THE HOUSE OF ANCIENT STORY"
"…And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever" (Ps. 23.6)
INTRO.: A song which identifies heaven as the eternal house of the Lord where we shall dwell forever is "In The House of Ancient Story." The text was written by Miss H. M. Bolman. No further information is available about this author or the origin of the words. The tune (Dijon) is an old German melody that is attributed to J. G. Bitthauer, who may have either composed or arranged it. It is sometimes dated 1794. No further information is available about this composer or the origin of the music. The earliest known publication is in the 1842 Lieder-buch published by Theodor Fliedner (1800-1864). Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ during the twentieth century, the song was found in the 1921 Great Songs of the Church (No. 1) and the 1937 Great Songs of the Church No. 2 both edited by E. L. Jorgenson; and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by Tillit S. Teddlie. Many of our books have used this same tune as the melody or as an alternate for John Fawcett’s "Lord, Dismiss Us With Thy Blessing," including Great Songs No. 1 and No. 2; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson. Today the tune is found with Fawcett’s hymn in 1971 Songs of the Church, the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed., and the 1994 Songs of Faith and Praise all edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 Church Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.
The song is designed to point our minds to the eternal home God has prepared for His people.
I. Stanza 1 says that no storms will ever come there
"In the house of ancient story Where no storms can ever come,
Where the Savior dwells in glory, There remains for us a home."
A. Storms are often used to symbolize the trials and tribulations of life that bring pain and sadness, but none of that will be in heaven: Rev. 20.4
B. The reason for this state of perfect peace and serenity in heaven is that the Savior Himself dwells there in glory: 1 Tim. 6.16
C. Thus, in that place remains a rest for the people of God: Heb. 4.9
II. Stanza 2 says that mansions for us will be there
"There within the heavenly mansions, Where life’s river flows so clear,
We shall see our blessed Savior If we love and serve Him here."
A. Jesus promised that when He went away, he would prepare a place for His people in the many mansions or dwelling places that are in the house of the Father: Jn. 14.1-3
B. In that place where these mansions are, the pure river of life flows: Rev. 22.1
C. If we love and serve Him here, we can have the hope of seeing the blessed Savior there: 1 Jn. 3.1-3
III. Stanza 3 says that we shall dwell forever there
"There amid the shining numbers, All our toils and labors o’er,
Where the Guardian never slumbers, We shall dwell for evermore."
A. The shining numbers would refer to the angels and the redeemed of all ages who will be in heaven: Rev. 7.9-14
B. In that place, all toils and labors will be over because the righteous will continue the rest that was begun in death: Rev. 14.13
C. And what makes this such a blessed hope is that in this blessed state we shall dwell for evermore because in the world to come we shall have eternal life: Mk. 12.30
CONCL.: God has placed much upon this earth for us to use and enjoy, but we must be very careful not to become so attached to the things of this life, even those which are not evil in and of themselves, that we fail to make the necessary preparations for death and eternity. While we should never become so "otherworldly" that we are of "no earthly good," we do need to remember that as Christians our citizenship and thus the focus of our lives are not to be here on this earth but "In The House Of Ancient Story."