A rest here have I never

A rest here have I never

Author: Paul Gerhardt; Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Published in 1 hymnal

Representative Text

A rest here have I never,
A guest on earth am I,
Heav’n will be mine for ever,
My Fatherland’s on high.
Here up and down I’m driven;
In rest eternal there,
God’s gift of grace is given
That endeth toil and care.

What hath my whole life ever
From youth been to this hour,
But labour ceasing never,
As long as I have pow’r
To tell of; days of anguish
I’ve past, and oft the night
In sorrow did I languish
Until the morning light.

And on the ways I’ve wander’d
What storms have terrified,
It blew, rain’d, lighten’d, thunder’d,
Fear was on every side.
Hate, envy, opposition
Rag’d, undeserv’d by me,
This was the sad condition
I must bear patiently.

So liv’d the honour’d fathers
In whose footsteps we tread,
From whom the saint oft gathers
The wisdom he may need
Of trial what full measure
Had father Abraham,
Ere he attain’d his pleasure,
To his right dwelling came.

How rough too and uneven
The way that Isaac trod,
And Jacob, who had striven
And had prevail’d with God;
What bitter grief and wearing
Felt he, what woe and smart;
In fear and in despairing
Oft sank his fainting heart.

The holy souls and blessèd
Went forward on their race,
They chang’d with hearts distressèd
Their wonted dwelling-place:
They hither went and thither,
Great crosses bore each day,
Till death came to deliver,
Them in the grave to lay.

In patience am I giving
Myself to just such woe?
Could I be better living
Than such have liv’d below?
Here must we suffer ever,
Here must we upwards strive;
Who fights not well shall never
In joy eternal live.

While on the earth I’m staying,
My life shall thus be spent,
I would not be delaying
For aye in this strange tent.
Along the paths I wander
That lead me to my home,
God boundless comfort yonder
Will give me when I come.

My home is high above me,
Where angel hosts for aye
Praise Him whose heart doth love me,
Who ruleth all each day,
Who aye preserves and beareth
All in His hand of might,
Who orders and prepareth
What good seems in His sight.

For home my tir’d heart yearneth,
I’d gladly thither go,
From earth away it turneth
From all I’ve here pass’d through.
The longer here I’m staying
I less of pleasure taste,
My spirit’s thirst allaying,
The world’s an arid waste.

The dwelling is unholy,
The trouble is too great.
Why com’st Thou, Lord, so slowly
To free me from this state?
Come, make a happy ending
Of all my wanderings,
Relief by Thy pow’r sending,
From all my sufferings.

Where I’ve so long remainèd
Is not my proper home;
When my life’s end is gainèd,
Then forth from it I’ll come,
What here I’ve needed ever
I’ll put it all away;
When soul and body sever,
Me in the grave they’ll lay.

Thou, who my Joy art ever,
And of my life the Light,
When death life’s thread doth sever,
Bring’st me to heav’n so bright,
To mansions everlasting,
Where I shall ever shine,
E’en as the sun, while tasting
Of pleasures all divine.

There I’ll be ever living
Not merely as a guest,
With those who crowns receiving
From Thee are ever bless’d;
I’ll celebrate in glory
Thine ev’ry mighty deed,
My portion have before Thee,
From every evil freed.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt (b. Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany, 1607; d. Lubben, Germany, 1676), famous author of Lutheran evangelical hymns, studied theology and hymnody at the University of Wittenberg and then was a tutor in Berlin, where he became friends with Johann Crüger. He served the Lutheran parish of Mittenwalde near Berlin (1651-1657) and the great St. Nicholas' Church in Berlin (1657-1666). Friederich William, the Calvinist elector, had issued an edict that forbade the various Protestant groups to fight each other. Although Gerhardt did not want strife between the churches, he refused to comply with the edict because he thought it opposed the Lutheran "Formula of Concord," which con­demned some Calvinist doctrines. Consequently, he was r… Go to person page >

Translator: J. Kelly

Kelly, John, was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne, educated at Glasgow University, studied theology at Bonn, New College, Edinburgh, and the Theological College of the English Presbyterian Church (to which body he belongs) in London. He has ministered to congregations at Hebburn-on-Tyne and Streatham, and was Tract Editor of the Religious Tract Society. His translations of Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs were published in 1867. Every piece is given in full, and rendered in the metre of the originals. His Hymns of the Present Century from the German were published in 1886 by the Religious Tract Society. In these translations the metres of the originals have not always been followed, whilst some of the hymns have been abridged and others condens… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: A rest here have I never
German Title: Ich bin ein Gast auf Erden
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Meter: 7.6.7.6.7.6.7.6
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.

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Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #69

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