Spitta, Carl Johann Philipp, D.D., was born Aug. 1, 1801, at Hannover, where his father, Lebrecht Wilhelm Gottfried Spitta, was then living, as bookkeeper and teacher of the French language. In his eleventh year Spitta fell into a severe illness, which lasted for four years, and so threw him back that his mother (the father died in 1805) abandoned the idea of a professional career, and apprenticed him to a watchmaker. This occupation did not prove at all congenial to him, but he would not confess his dislike, and his family were ignorant of it till an old friend, who was trying to comfort him after the death of a younger brother, discovered his true feelings. The younger brother had been preparing for ordination, and so Carl was now invited… Go to person page >
O hochbeglückte Seele. C. J. P. Spitta. [Christian Service.] A fine hymn for Lay Helpers and all workers in Christ's service. First published in his Psalter und Harfe, Pirna, 1833, p. 78, in 7 stanzas of 8 lines, entitled "The Servant of the Lord." Included in the Leipzig Gesang-Buch, 1844, No. 395. Translated as:—
1. How blessed, from the bonds of sin. A free translaton of stanzas i., ii., vi., vii., by Miss Borthwick, in Hymns from the Land of Luther, 1st Ser., 1854, p. 66 (1884, p. 67). This version has attained considerable popularity, and is found in a number of the leading hymnals of Great Britain, e.g. Hymns Ancient & Modern, 1875; the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Church Hymns , 1871; Free Church Hymn Book, 1882, &c.; and in America in the Episcopal Hymns for Church & Home, 1860; Boardman's Selection, 1861, &c.
2. The man is highly blessed. In full, by R. Massie, in his Lyra Domestica , 1860, p. 76. His translations of stanzas iii., iv., vi., vii. beginning "God sancti¬fies and blesses," are included in the Book of Common Praise , 1863, and G. S. Jellicoe's Collection, 1867.
Other translations are, (l) "O Soul, how blest (blest truly,") by the Hon. S. E. Maxwell, 1857, p. 101. (2) "Thrice happy he who serveth." by Miss Burlingham, in the British Herald , Aug. 1865, p. 119. (3) "O highly blessed servant," by Lady Durand, 1873. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)