Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Representative Text

1 Jesus, priceless treasure,
source of purest pleasure,
friend most sure and true:
long my heart was burning,
fainting much and yearning,
thirsting, Lord, for you.
Yours I am, O spotless Lamb,
so will I let nothing hide you,
seek no joy beside you!

2 Let your arms enfold me:
those who try to wound me
cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Fires may flash and thunder crash;
yea, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

3 Hence, all worldly treasure!
Jesus is my pleasure,
Jesus is my choice.
Hence, all empty glory!
What to me your story
told with tempting voice?
Pain or loss or shame or cross
shall not from my Savior move me,
since he chose to love me.

4 Banish thoughts of sadness,
for the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in;
though the clouds may gather,
those who love the Savior
still have peace within.
Though I bear much sorrow here,
still in you lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

Psalter Hymnal, 1987

Author: 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 >

Author: Johann Franck

Franck, Johann, son of Johann Franck, advocate and councillor at Guben, Brandenburg, was born at Guben, June 1, 1618. After his father's death, in 1620, his uncle by marriage, the Town Judge, Adam Tielckau, adopted him and sent him for his education to the schools at Guben, Cottbus, Stettin and Thorn. On June 28, 1638, he matriculated as a student of law at the University of Königsberg, the only German university left undisturbed by the Thirty Years' War. Here his religious spirit, his love of nature, and his friendship with such men as Simon Dach and Heinrich Held, preserved him from sharing in the excesses of his fellow students. He returned to Guben at Easter, 1640, at the urgent request of his mother, who wished to have him near her in… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Jesus, priceless treasure
Title: Jesus, Priceless Treasure
German Title: Jesu, meine Freude
Author: Johann Franck (1653)
Author: Catherine Winkworth
Liturgical Use: Scripture Songs


Scripture References: st. 1 = Matt. 13:44-46, John 15:1-4 st. 3 = Ps. 73:25, Phil. 3:8 The original German text “Jesu, meine Freude” by Johann Franck (PHH 305) first appeared in Johann Crüger's Praxis Pietatis Melica (1653) in six long stanzas. The text was modeled in part after a love song found in Heinrich Albert's Arein (1641), "Flora, meine Freude, meiner Seele Weide." Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194) translated the text into English and published it in her Chorale Book for England (1863). Our version includes the original stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 6. Much loved by Christians from various traditions, “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” is one of the finest examples of German piety in a devotional hymn. The intensity of emotional expression found here provides a suitable counter¬ balance to the cerebral character of much Reformed worship. Inspired by Jesus' parables of the great treasure and fine pearl (Matt. 13:44-46) and other New Testament references to the metaphor "treasure," this text is strongly Christocentric. Stanza 1 confesses with mystical ecstasy that Christ is the source of purest pleasure (a bold affirmation that counters the hedonism of this world). Stanza 2 expands the metaphor: Christ our treasure is also our fortress, our defense and protector from the "sin and hell" that would "assail" us. Stanza 3 contrasts the eternal pleasures of knowing Jesus with the "empty" delights of this world. And stanza 4 affirms that, despite the fears and sorrow we must bear, Jesus remains our greatest treasure and source of profound joy. Liturgical Use As a hymn of devotion and trust and a testimony of our joyous commitment to Christ amid the temptations of contemporary life; after Lord's Supper; profession of faith. --Psalter Hymnal Handbook



Johann Crüger (PHH 42) composed JESU, MEINE FREUDE, a bar form tune (AAB) written for this text. Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) incorporated the tune into his cantatas 12, 64, 81, and 87 and composed a beautiful motet and several organ preludes on the melody. Sing this great chorale in harmony throughout.…

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