Full often as I meditate
Upon the world’s disorder’d state,
I ask myself if earthly life
Be good, and worthy of the strife,
Has he not acted for the best
Who laid himself betimes to rest?
Reflect, my friend, say, if you know
What station is there here below
Without its fall and daily share
Of sorrow, pain, and anxious care?
And tell me if a place there be
From sorrow, tears, vexation free.
And doth not every passing day,
From youth to manhood, bear away
Its own peculiar load of grief
Upon its back, and such relief
As transient joy may seem to bring,
Is it not full of suffering?
If times be good, and fortune smile,
My God! how envy storms the while;
If dignity and honours great
Attend thy steps, alas! their weight.
If others thou’rt preferr’d before,
Than others too thou’rt burden’d more.
Art thou to-day in joyous mood,
Rejoicing in thy share of good?
Lo! ere thou think’st, thy gains are gone,
Thy joyous mood with them is flown,
The hurricane so suddenly
Doth sweep away thy property.
Dost from the world withdraw thyself,
And lov’st God more than gold or pelf?
Thy crown, thy jewel, thy good name
Is cover’d by the world with shame.
For he who can’t dissembler play,
The world as fool will spurn away.
’Tis true, alas! that trouble waits
In daily watch before our gates;
On earth the cross is borne by all,
All feel its weight, and taste its gall;
But shall we therefore cast away
The Christian’s light? I tell thee—nay.
The saints, who to their Saviour cleave,
In faith and in the Spirit live,
Unhurt by any ill or woe
Pass through their pilgrimage below;
Though things may sometimes fall out ill
Yet with them it is ever well.
Though they no gold have stor’d away,
They’ve God, and care not what men say,
Reject with joy, and aye despise
The world’s vain pomp and vanities;
Their honour is to hope and wait,
From God alone comes all their state.
The Christian, God as Father knows,
Can in His faithfulness repose;
Whatever trial God may send,
Can’t separate him from his friend;
The more He smites, he loves the more,
Remaineth true, though chasten’d sore.
He only plays a hero’s part
Who cherishes within his heart
The Saviour’s love; whate’er betide,
Firm as a rock shall he abide
When heav’n and earth shall pass away;
Though men forsake, God’s word’s his stay.
The word of God beguiles our fears,
And turns to smiles our bitter tears;
It robs misfortune of the pow’r
Of hurting in the evil hour;
It brings the sadden’d heart relief,
When bow’d beneath the load of grief.
Now cease, I pray, your tale of woe:
Though full of grief this life below,
Still falleth to the Christian’s share
Salvation and God’s guardian care;
Who loves the Saviour, trusts in God,
Remains unmov’d beneath the rod.
As gold into the fire is cast,
And comes forth purified at last,
So saints supported by God’s grace
Uninjur’d through affliction pass;
A child his father’s child is still,
Although his father’s rod he feel.
Dear heart, chase all thy fears away,
On thy God’s faithfulness now stay,
Though smiting with His chast’ning rod,
He means it well, ’tis for thy good;
Confide in Him, His guiding hand
Will bring thee to the better land.
Live on according to His will,
Although the way be rough, be still!
In heav’n Thou hast a mansion fair,
Where joy will banish every care;
If here we to the Saviour cleave,
With Jesu’s angels shall we live.
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 >