My God, I know that I must die

Representative Text

1 My God, I know that I must die:
My mortal life is passing hence;
On earth I neither hope nor try
To find a lasting residence.
Then teach me by Thy heav'nly grace
With joy and peace my death to face.

2 My God, I know not when I die;
What is the moment or the hour,
How soon the clay may broken lie,
How quickly pass away the flower:
Then may Thy child preparéd be
Through time to meet eternity.

3 My God, I know not how I die;
For death in many ways doth come,
In dark, mysterious agony,
Or gently as a sleep to some.
Just as Thou wilt, if but it be
To bring me, blesséd Lord, to Thee!

4 My God, I know not where I die,
Where is my grace, upon what strand;
Yet from its gloom I do rely
To be delivered by Thy hand.
Content, I take what spot is mine,
Since all the earth, my Lord, is Thine.

5 My gracious God, when I must die,
O bear my happy soul above,
With Christ, my Lord, eternally
To share Thy glory and Thy love:
Then all is right and well with me,
When, where, and how my death shall be.


Source: The Hymnal and Order of Service #593

Translator: Jane Borthwick

Miss Jane Borthwick, the translator of this hymn and many others, is of Scottish family. Her sister (Mrs. Eric Findlater) and herself edited "Hymns from the Land of Luther" (1854). She also wrote "Thoughts for Thoughtful Hours (1859), and has contributed numerous poetical pieces to the "Family Treasury," under the signature "H.L.L." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A. 1872.… Go to person page >

Author: Benjamin Schmolck

Schmolck, Benjamin, son of Martin Schmolck, or Schmolcke, Lutheran pastor at Brauchitschdorf (now Chrόstnik) near Liegnitz in Silesia (now Poland) was born at Brauchitschdorf, Dec. 21, 1672. He entered the Gymnasium at Lauban in 1688, and spent five years there. After his return home he preached for his father a sermon which so struck the patron of the living that he made Benjamin an allowance for three years to enable him to study theology. He matriculated, at Michaelmas, 1693, at the University of Leipzig, where he came under the influence of J. Olearius, J. B. Carpzov, and others, and throughout his life retained the character of their teaching, viz. a warm and living practical Christianity, but Churchly in tone and not Pietistic. In th… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: My God, I know that I must die
German Title: Mein Gott, ich weiss wohl das ich sterbe
Author: Benjamin Schmolck (1853)
Translator: Jane Borthwick
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



Martin Luther's versification of the Lord's Prayer was set to this tune in Valentin Schumann's hymnal, Geistliche Lieder (1539); the tune, whose composer remains unknown, had some earlier use. The tune name derives from Luther's German incipit: “Vater unser im Himmelreich….” Because VATER UNSE…

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