The 139th Psalm of David

Lord, Thou my heart dost search and try

Author: Paul Gerhardt; Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Published in 1 hymnal

Full Text

Lord, Thou my heart dost search and try,
And what is hidden from mine eye
Thou seest, all I am and own
To Thine omniscient mind is known.

Whene’r I sit, lie down, or stand,
Or walk, or run, on ev’ry hand
Thy presence doth encompass me,
At all times I am hard by Thee.

And all the thoughts that stir my heart,
That lurk in its most secret part,
Thy searching eye doth scrutinize
Ere they to consciousness arise.

And never from my tongue a word
Escapes, by Thee, O Lord, unheard;
Thou order’st all I speak or do,
And guidest me life’s journey through.

’Tis true, I know, but must remain
A knowledge I can ne’er attain,
A mystery beyond the ken
Of feeble and short-sighted men.

Where shall I from Thy Spirit fly,
Escape from Thine omniscient eye?
Where shall I from Thy presence hide,
And where remote from Thee abide?

If I ascend the utmost height
Of heav’n, there art Thou, thron’d in light;
Or should I down to hell repair
And make my bed, I’d find Thee there.

Should I on morning’s pinions ride,
As far as ocean’s empire wide
Of stormy waves breaks on the land,
I’d be upheld by Thy right hand.

Or if the help of night I sought,
No change by darkness would be wrought,
For let the night be as it may,
With Thee is ever cloudless day.

’Mid darkest shadows Thou canst see,
The darkness is a light to Thee,
Thy glance is ever clear and bright,
From sun and moon Thou need’st no light.

My reins Thou ever hast possess’d,
For in Thy hand they ever rest,
From infancy Thou hast me led,
With daily blessings crown’d my head.

Thou hast, who’rt greatly to be fear’d,
My frame with cunning hand uprear’d;
Thy works, Thy wondrous pow’r forth tell,
And that my soul doth know right well.

My substance was not hid from Thee,
When I in secret curiously
Was fashion’d in the depths of earth,
From whence Thy pow’r hath brought me forth.

Before my time, my times for me
Determin’d were by Thy decree,
The tale of years and days I’d see,
Hours, moments, all were fix’d by Thee.

My God, how precious, sweet, and fair,
I see array’d before me there
The thoughts of wisdom of Thy heart,
In all Thy bounty doth impart.

The sum of these so high doth mount,
That when their number I would count,
I find them infinitely more
Than dust or sand, on field or shore.

How doth the bold blaspheming band
Thee vilify on every hand,
O God of wonders! and Thy name
Despise and treat with open shame.

Their scornful mouths, Lord, close and seal,
Against them speedily reveal
Thy wrath! against Thy foes arise,
Thy foes are hateful in mine eyes.

Though in return, their hatred sore
Against Thee burn, I do no more
Amid the rage of angry foes,
Than ’neath Thy shelt’ring wings repose.

Lord, search and know my heart and mood,
See if my way be right and good,
The everlasting joyful road
Lead me that brings me home to God.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Gerhardt, Paulus, son of Christian Gerhardt, burgomaster of Gräfenhaynichen, near Wittenberg, was born at Grafenhaynichen, Mar. 12, 1607. On January 2, 1628, he matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. In the registers of St. Mary's church, Wittenberg, his name appears as a godfather, on July 13, 1641, described still as "studiosus," and he seems to have remained in Wittenberg till at least the end of April, 1642. He appears to have gone to Berlin in 1642 or 1643, and was there for some time (certainly after 1648) a tutor in the house of the advocate Andreas Barthold, whose daughter (Anna Maria, b. May 19, 1622, d. March 5, 1668) became his wife in 1655. During this period he seems to have frequently preached in Berlin. He was appoint… 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 >

Text Information

First Line: Lord, Thou my heart dost search and try
Title: The 139th Psalm of David
German Title: Herr, du erforschest meinen Sinn
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Meter: 8.8.8.8
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.



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