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Christian Contentment

O my soul, why dost thou grieve

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

Representative Text

O my soul, why dost thou grieve,
Why dost mourn so bitterly,
That more freely God doth give
Gifts to others than to thee?
In thy God delight thy heart,
He’s the good enduring part.

Of the human race have none
In this world to be a right,
All, yea each created one,
But a guest is for a night.
God in His house Lord is still,
Gifts divideth as He will.

Know, thou art not therefore here,
That thou should’st possess the earth;
Look thou up to heav’n so clear,
There’s thy gold of priceless worth,
There is honour, there is joy,
Without envy or alloy!

Great the folly his who grieves
For a little vanity,
When God to him freely gives
Treasures of eternity.
Is the handredweight thy gain?
Thou canst then despise the grain.

All thy fair possessions see,
That are valued by thy heart,
None of them can go with thee
When from earth thou must depart.
Thou must leave them here below,
When death’s door thou passest through.

The soul’s nourishment, God’s grace,
And the Saviour’s precious blood,
Ne’er through time in worth decrease,
But remain for ever good.
Earthly goods must pass away,
Soul-goods never can decay.

Still art thou so blind, alas!
Thinking—but all erringly,
Eyes hast thou, but in the glass
Of the word thou dost not see.
Child of man! fix there thine eyes,
For it is a peerless prize.

Count thy fingers every one,
And thine other members o’er,
They are precious, they’re thine own,
Lov’d by thee than treasure more,
Gold could never from thee buy
E’en the least, though men should try.

Search and ask thine inmost heart,
’Twill instruct thee what of good
Daily falleth to thy part,
By God’s bounteous hand bestow’d;
Than the sand upon the shore
More, and yet desir’st thou more!

Did thy Heav’nly Father see
That it would be for thy good,
What desires so eagerly
Thy misguided flesh and blood,
He would ne’er thee joyless leave,
But would of His bounty give.

God to thee is full of love,
Faithful and sincere is He,
When thou wishest aught, He’d prove
Of what kind thy wish may be:
If ’tis good, He will bestow,
If ’tis ill, He’ll answer—no.

Meanwhile doth His Spirit give
Manna to thy fainting heart,
Food by which the angels live,
Grace to deck thee doth impart,
For His portion chooseth thee,
Thou shalt share salvation free.

Look then to thy God above,
Sad and troubled countenance!
Cease to sigh, faith’s virtue prove,
By thy clear and joyous glance!
While thy sky is overcast
By affliction, hold it fast!

And as Heav’n’s adopted son,
Thy rebellious will restrain;
Touch thy harp, let ’fore God’s throne
Grateful songs resound again.
More at all times doth God give
Than thou’rt worthy to receive.

Live thou ever in God’s fear,
As thou journeyest to heav’n,
Take whate’er befalls thee here
As a gift in wisdom giv’n.
Are they evil days, thou’lt see
God and Heav’n endure for thee.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs, 1867

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt (b. Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany, 1607; d. Lubben, Germany, 1676), famous author of Lutheran evangelical hymns, studied theology and hymnody at the University of Wittenberg and then was a tutor in Berlin, where he became friends with Johann Crüger. He served the Lutheran parish of Mittenwalde near Berlin (1651-1657) and the great St. Nicholas' Church in Berlin (1657-1666). Friederich William, the Calvinist elector, had issued an edict that forbade the various Protestant groups to fight each other. Although Gerhardt did not want strife between the churches, he refused to comply with the edict because he thought it opposed the Lutheran "Formula of Concord," which con­demned some Calvinist doctrines. Consequently, he was r… 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: O my soul, why dost thou grieve
Title: Christian Contentment
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1929.


Instances (1 - 1 of 1)

Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #35

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