Creator, Father, Prince of might!
Who life to me art giving,
Unless Thou guid’st my life aright
In vain here am I living.
For while I’m living, I am dead,
To sin devoted ever;
Whose life in mire of sin is led,
The true life he hath never
Beheld one moment even.
Then turn on Thy poor child Thy face,
In darkness do not leave me;
That I may shun sin and disgrace,
Good counsel ever give me!
To keep my lips a guard, Lord, send,
May no word ever leave them
That e’er Thy people could offend
Let nought I say e’er grieve them,
Nor ever Thee dishonour!
Forbid, Father! that mine ear
Upon this earth so evil,
Against Thy name and pow’r should hear
The wicked rage and cavil.
Let not the poison and the gall
Of slanderers defile me;
If I such filth should touch at all
It surely would beguile me,
Might e’en quite overthrow me.
Lord, keep mine eyes, control their glance,
May they work evil never;
A bold and shameless countenance
Keep Thou far from me ever!
What’s honest, keeps due boundaries,
What angels seek in heaven,
What is well-pleasing in Thine eyes,
For it by me be striven,
All luxury disdaining.
Oh! may I ne’er delighted be
By revelling and eating;
Be what Thou lov’st belov’d by me,
Though others shun it, hating.
The lusts wherein the flesh doth roll,
To hell will draw us ever;
The joys the world doth love, the soul
And spirit will deliver
To torment everlasting.
Oh! happy he who eats heav’n’s bread,
And heav’nly water drinketh,
Who tastes nought else, nought else doth heed,
Nought else desires, and thinketh
Of that alone which strength can bring,
The life we’ll live for ever
With God, and with the hosts who sing
His praise, in joy that never
Shall know an interruption.
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 >