One thing is needful! Let me deem
Aright of that whereof He spoke;
All else, how sweet soe'er it seem,
Is but in truth a heavy yoke,
'Neath which the toiling spirit frets and pants,
Yet never finds the happiness it wants:
This one can make amends, whate'er I miss,
Who hath it finds in all his joy through this!
My soul, wouldst thou this one thing find?
Seek not amid created things;
Leave what is earthly far behind,
O'er Nature heavenward stretch thy wings,
Where God and man are One, in whom appear
All truth and fulness, thou hast found it here,—
The better part, the One thing needful He,
My One, my All, my Joy, who saveth me.
As Mary once devoutly sought
The eternal truth, the better part,
And sat, enwrapt in holy thought,
At Jesu's feet with burning heart,
For nought else caring, yearning for the word
That should be spoken by her Friend, her Lord,
Losing her All in Him, His word believing,
And through the One all things again receiving:
Even so is all my heart's desire
Fixed, dearest Lord, on Thee alone;
Oh make me true and draw me nigher,
And make Thyself, O Christ, my own.
Though many turn aside to join the crowd,
To follow Thee in love my heart is vowed,
Thy word is life and spirit, whither go?
What joy is there in Thee we cannot know?
All perfect wisdom lies in Thee
As in its primal hidden source;
Oh let my will submissive be,
And hold henceforth its even course,
Controlled by truth and meekness, for high Heaven
To lowly simple hearts hath wisdom given;
Who knoweth Christ aright, and in Him lives,
Hath won the highest prize that wisdom gives.
Oh that my soul from sleep might wake,
And ever, Lord, Thine image bear!
Thee for my portion I will take,
Thy holiness Thou bidd'st us share,
Whate'er we need for God-like walk and life
Is given to us in Thee; oh end this strife,
And free me from the love of passing things,
To know alone the life from Thee that springs!
What can I ask for more? Behold
Thy mercy is a very flood;
I know that Thou hast passed of old
Into the Holiest through Thy blood,
And there redeemed for ever those who lay
Beneath the rule of Satan; now are they
Made free by Thee, who erst were slaves and weak,
And childlike hearts the name of Father speak.
Deep joy and peace and holy calm
Fill my once restless spirit now;
O'er verdant pastures free from harm,
She follows Thee, her shepherd Thou;
Whate'er rejoices or consoles us here,
Is not so sweet as feeling Thou art near;
This One is needful, but all else is dross,
Let me win Christ, all other gain is loss.
|First Line:||One thing is needful! Let me deem|
|Title:||One thing is needful! Let me deem|
|German Title:||Eins ist Noth|
|Translator:||Catherine Winkworth (1855)|