Dear Soul, couldst thou become a child

Representative Text

Dear Soul, couldst thou become a child
While yet on earth, meek, undefiled,
Then God Himself were ever near,
And Paradise around thee here.

A child cares nought for gold or treasure,
Nor fame nor glory yield him pleasure;
In perfect trust, he asketh not
If rich or poor shall be his lot.

Little he recks of dignity,
Nor prince nor monarch feareth he;
Strange that a child so weak and small
Is oft the boldest of us all!

He hath not skill to utter lies,
His very soul is in his eyes;
Single his aim in all, and true,
And apt to praise what others do.

No questions dark his spirit vex,
No faithless doubts his soul perplex,
Simply from day to day he lives,
Content with that the present gives.

Scarce can he stand alone, far less
Would roam abroad in loneliness;
Fast clinging to his mother still,
She bears and leads him at her will.

He will not stay to pause and choose,
His father's guidance e'er refuse,
Thinks not of danger, fears no harm,
Wrapt in obedience' holy calm.

For strange concerns he careth nought;
What others do, although were wrought
Before his eyes the worst offence,
Stains not his tranquil innocence.

His dearest work, his best delight,
Is, lying in his mother's sight,
To gaze for ever on her face,
And nestle in her fond embrace.

O childhood's innocence! the voice
Of thy deep wisdom is my choice!
Who hath thy lore is truly wise,
And precious in our Father's eyes.

Spirit of childhood! loved of God,
By Jesu's Spirit now bestowed!
How often have I longed for thee;
O Jesus, form Thyself in me!

And help me to become a child
While yet on earth, meek, undefiled,
That I may find God always near,
And Paradise around me here.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #9

Author: Gerhard Tersteegen

Tersteegen, Gerhard, a pious and useful mystic of the eighteenth century, was born at Mörs, Germany, November 25, 1697. He was carefully educated in his childhood, and then apprenticed (1715) to his older brother, a shopkeeper. He was religiously inclined from his youth, and upon coming of age he secured a humble cottage near Mühlheim, where he led a life of seclusion and self-denial for many years. At about thirty years of age he began to exhort and preach in private and public gatherings. His influence became very great, such was his reputation for piety and his success in talking, preaching, and writing concerning spiritual religion. He wrote one hundred and eleven hymns, most of which appeared in his Spiritual Flower Garden (1731). He… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Dear Soul, couldst thou become a child
German Title: O Liebe Seele, könntst du werden
Author: Gerhard Tersteegen (1731)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Language: English



Instances (1 - 3 of 3)

Hymns of the Ages #d21

Page Scan

Lyra Germanica #19


Lyra Germanica #9

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