Jesus! Thou, my dearest Brother,
Who dost well to me intend,
Thou mine Anchor, Mast, and Rudder,
And my truest Bosom-Friend.
To Thee, ere was earth or heaven,
Had the race of man been given;
Thou, e’en me, poor guest of earth,
Chosen hadst before my birth.
Thou art free from guile, Lord! ever
Innocent of all that’s base;
But on this sad earth whenever
I in meditation gaze,
There I find deception living;
Who excelleth in deceiving,
Who the best dissemble can,
He’s the best and wisest man.
Hollow and unfaithful ever
Is the friendship of the earth;
Seemeth she a man to favour?
’Tis but for the gold he’s worth;
Are we prosp’rous, do we flourish?
She will smile on us, and nourish;
Doth misfortune o’er us low’r?
She forsakes us in that hour.
Drive away from me, and shield me
From such instability;
If I, Father, have defil’d me
(For I also human be)
With this mire, and did I ever
Falsehood love, oh! now deliver.
All my guilt I own to Thee,
Patience give, and grace to me!
May I ne’er be overtaken
By the evils Thou hast said
Come on those who’ve truth forsaken,
And with wares deceptive trade;
For Thou sayest Thou disownest,
As abomination shunnest,
Ev’ry hypocrite’s false mood,
Who talks, but doth not the good.
May my heart be constant ever,
Faithful still to every friend;
When to grief Thou dost deliver
Them, and ’neath the cross they bend,
May I even then ne’er shun them,
But like unto Thee, Lord, own them,
Who, when we were poor and bare,
Tended’st us with fondest care.
After Thy will, Saviour, give me
One in whom I may confide,
Who will faithful counsel give me
When my heart is sorely tried;
To whom I may freely utter
All I feel, with nought to fetter,
In the measure I may need,
’Till my heart from care is freed.
Oh! let David’s bliss betide me,
Give to me a Jonathan
Who will come and stand beside me
Like a rock, though every man
From my company should sever,
Who his heart will give me ever,
Who’ll stand firm in every hour,
When sun shines or tempests low’r.
Out of all the men who’re living,
Choose me a believing friend,
Who to Thee is firmly cleaving,
On Thine arm doth aye depend;
Who may by Thy will relieve me,
Help and comfort ever give me,
Help, from sympathizing heart,
Comfort, when I feel grief’s smart.
When ’tis only the mouth loveth,
Then the love is ill bestow’d;
Whose love but to good words moveth
While he keeps a hateful mood,
Whom self-interest rules ever,
Who when honey falls, stays never,
But escapeth speedily,—
Ever far be such from me!
In my weakness and my sinning,
Move my friend to speak to me,
By his words of kindness winning,
Never as an enemy.
Who reproves in love and sadness
Is like him, in days of gladness,
Who pours balsam over me
That by Jordan floweth free.
Riches great were I possessing,
Priceless were my property;
Jesus! did Thy hand such blessing
Graciously bestow on me,
Were such friend, Lord! ever near me,
By His constancy to cheer me;
Who doth honour Thee, and fear
He hath such a treasure near.
Good friends like to staves are ever,
Whereon men lean as they go,
That the weak one can deliver,
When he slides and lieth low:
Sad his case who such ne’er knoweth,
Who through life all friendless goeth,
Weary is his lonely way,
When he falls, to help who stay?
Gracious Saviour! let it please Thee,
Be my Friend in every hour,
Be my Friend, till death release me,
Be my faithful Staff of pow’r!
When Thou to Thyself wilt bind me,
Then a heart Thou soon wilt find me,
By Thy Holy Spirit fir’d
With good thoughts to me inspir’d.
Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867
|First Line:||Jesus! Thou, my dearest Brother|
|Title:||For Constant Christian Friendship|
|German Title:||Jesu, allerliebster Bruder|
|Translator:||J. Kelly (1867)|
|Copyright:||This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.|