For Patience in Great Sorrow

Ah! faithful God, compass'nate heart

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

Representative Text

Ah! faithful God, compass'nate heart,
Whose goodness never endeth,
I know this bitter cross and smart
Thy hand it is that sendeth!
Yea, Lord, I know this burden great
Thou sendest not in wrath and hate,
But ’tis in love appointed.

That ever is Thy way all-wise,
Thy child in woe must languish,
Thou whom Thou lovest, dost chastise,
’Fore joy Thou sendest anguish,
Sink’st us to hell, in woe we lie,
And raisest us again on high,
Thus with us fares it always.

Thou ever leadest wondrously
Thy children dear who please Thee!
Would I have life? Then first must I
E’en down to death abase me.
In honour who’d be raised on high,
He self-abas’d on earth must lie
As worthless dust and ashes.

On earth, Lord, Thy belovèd Son
Such sorrow had to try Him;
Ere He could reach His glorious throne
Ill men must crucify Him.
He pass’d through trouble, need, and woe,
Nor shrunk He from death’s cruel blow,
To reach the joys of heaven.

Did then Thy good and holy Son
Himself for us deliver,
And I enslavèd, sinful one,
Shall I resist Thee ever?
Of patience aye the glass is He,
And who His face desires to see
Must in His footsteps follow.

How is it reason finds it hard,
The truth so oft rejecteth,
That Thou with favour dost regard
E’en while Thy hand afflicteth?
How long doth oft the cross remain,
How hardly can we love and pain
Then reconcile together.

God of the Church! when fails my pow’r,
Strength graciously then give me;
And grant that nought in trial’s hour
Of faith may e’er deprive me.
Uphold me by Thy might, O Lord,
Establish me then in Thy word,
From murmuring deliver!

When I am weak, be Thou my stay,
In faithfulness be near me,
That I continually may pray,
And call on Thee to hear me.
While yet a heart hopes and believes,
And still in pray’r unceasing lives,
Bold is it, and unvanquish’d.

In measure, Lord, apply the rod,
Lest I sink altogether;
Thou know’st how I can bear the load,
How life’s imperill’d ever,
For neither steel nor stone am I,
But sooner pass away and die,
E’en than a fleeting vapour.

Ah! Jesus, who did’st stoop so low,
Thy blood shed, life that giveth,
The bitter cross full well dost know,
And how the spirit grieveth
When cross and heavy woe combine,
So wilt Thou hear each cry of mine,
When bitterly complaining.

I know Thou feelest sympathy
When want and woe distress me,
That Thou with help wilt visit me,
And graciously wilt bless me.
Ah! strengthen Thou my feeble hand,
And lead my feet where I may stand
In safety—Come and save me!

Speak courage to my fainting heart,
With comfort, Lord, support me.
Of weary souls the Rest Thou art,
My Tow’r, where none can hurt me!
My Rock, where from the sun I hide,
My Tent, where safely I abide
When storms without are raging!

And as in love, while here I dwell,
Thou suff’ring hast decreed me,
Thy grace vouchsafe Thy child, Lord, still,
In Thy green pastures lead me;
That I in faith may patience gain,
Through patience rich reward attain,
When I’ve endur’d the trial.

Oh! Holy Ghost, of joy the Oil,
Whom God from Heaven giveth,
Refresh me, pour into my soul
What heart and flesh reviveth.
Of glory, Thou the Spirit art,
Know’st what in heav’n shall be my part
Of grace, joy, consolation!

How fair ’twill be, ah! let me gaze
Upon the life so glorious,
That Thou wilt give to those who pass
Through trials sore, victorious.
The earth with all its treasures fair
Can never with this life compare,
They pale and fade before it.

Thou’lt deal with me so graciously,
I’ll endless joy be tasting,
For trials known to Thee and me
Have glory everlasting.
Thou’lt wipe the tear-drop from mine eyes,
To exultation turn my sighs,
Lord! I believe it. Amen!

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 >

Paraphraser: 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: Ah! faithful God, compass'nate heart
Title: For Patience in Great Sorrow
German Title: Ach! treuer Gott, barmherzigs Herz
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Paraphraser: J. Kelly (1867)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.


Ach! treuer Gott, barmherzigs Herz. P. Gerhardt. [Cross and Consolation.] Founded on a prayer "for patience under great trial," No. xxv. in Class iii. of J. Arndt's Paradies-gartlein, 1612. Appeared in Crüger's Praxis pietatis melica, Frankfurt, 1656, No. 381, in 16 stanzas of 7 lines, and included in many subsequent hymn-books, as recently in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 693; also in Wackernagel's edition of his Geistliche Lieder, No. 57; Bachmann's ed., No. 80.
Translations in common use:—
1. 0 God most true, most merciful!—A good translation of stanzas i., iv., v., x., by A. T. Russell, as No. 224, in his Psalms & Hymns 1851, and thence, altered and beginning, “O God of mercy full and free," as No. 665, in Kennedy, 1863.
2. 0 faithful God! 0 pitying heart, a good translation, omitting stanzas iii., ix., xi., xiii., xv., in the 2nd Ser. 1858, of Miss Winkworth's Lyra Germanica. p. 182, and thence, in the Gilman-Schaff, Library of Religious Poetry, ed. 1883, p. 837. The translations of stanzas x., xii., xiv., xvi., beginning, "O Thou, who diedst to give us life," appear as No. 327, in Church Praise, 1883.
3. Ah! faithful God, compassionate heart, by J. Kelly, 1867, p. 169. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)


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Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #38

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