On wings of faith, ye thoughts, fly hence

Representative Text

On wings of faith, ye thoughts, fly hence,
Roam o'er Eternity's vast field,
Surpass the bounds of time and sense,
And rise to Him, who hath revealed
That He is Love: there pause, and awestruck view
That ancient love with every morning new!

Ere earth's foundations yet were laid,
Or heaven's fair roof was spread abroad,
Ere man a living soul was made,
Love stirred within the heart of God;
Love filled the long futurity with good,
And grace to help at need beside her stood.

'Twas Love whose counsel gave to me
True life in Christ Thy only son,
Whom Thou hast made our Way to Thee,
From whom all grace flows ever down;
Whose sacrifice can make us pure and whole,
And bless and hallow all our inmost soul.

'Twas Love, that long ere time began,
That precious name of child bestowed;
That opened Heaven on earth to man,
And called us sinners sons of God;
Whose gracious promptings move the Father's hand,
That on the page of life our names may stand!

Ah happy hours, whene'er upsprings
My soul to yon Eternal Source,
Whence the glad river downward sings,
Watering with goodness all my course,
So that each passing day anew I prove
How tender and how true my Father's love!

For what am I? At His command
The million creatures of His power
Start to life on sea and land;
Oh why should God such blessings shower
On me, who am a leaf that fadeth fast,
A little shifting dust before the blast!

I am not worthy, Lord, that Thou
Shouldst such compassion on me show;
That He who made the world should bow
To cheer with love a wretch so low.
O Father, I would utterly resign
Myself to Thee; take me, and make me Thine.

When strength and heart grow faint and sad,
From battling long with heavy pain,
Thy smile shines forth to make me glad,
Thou crownest me with joy again;
Then I behold Thy Spirit's wondrous power,
Whose work is mightiest in our weakest hour.

Forth from Thy rich and bounteous store
Life's common blessings daily flow;
More than we dare to ask, far more
That we deserve, dost Thou bestow.
My heart dissolves in tears of thankfulness,
To see how true Thy care, how quick to bless.

Nor here alone: hope pierces far
Through all the shades of earth and time;
Faith mounts beyond the farthest star,
Yon shining heights she loves to climb,
And gazing on eternity behold
The promised land, our heritage of old.

Can I with loveless heart receive
Tokens of love that never cease?
Can I be thankless still, and grieve
Him who is all my joy and peace?
Ah Friend of Man, were I to turn from Thee,
Myself were sure my own worst enemy.

Could I but honour Thee aright,
Noble and sweet my song should be,
That earth and heaven should learn Thy might,
And what my God hath done for me.
There is no music sweet as is Thy name,
No joy so deep as pondering o'er Thy fame.

O heart redeemed! thou think'st it long
Till the appointed hour be come,
When thou shalt join the angels' song
To that Fair Love that brought thee home.
Have patience, heart; time hurries fast away,
Soon shalt thou reach the one Eternal Day.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #52

Author: Johann Gottfried Hermann

Herrmann, Johann Gottfried, D.D., son of Gottfried Herrmann, pastor at Altjessnitz, near Bitterfeld, Saxony, was born at Altjessnitz, Oct. 12, 1707. After studying at the University of Leipzig (M.A. in 1731), he was appointed in 1731 diaconus at Ranis, near Neustadt on the Orla; in 1734 diaconus at Pegau, near Leipzig; in 1738 superintendent at Plauen; and in 1746 chief Court preacher at Dresden, and oberconsistorialrath. He died at Dresden, July 30, 1791 (Koch, v. 503-505). The only hymn by him translated into English appeared in the Privilegirte neue und vollständige Voigtländische Gesang Buch, Plauen, 1742, which he edited while Superintendent at Plauen. It is: Gent hin, ihr glaubigen Gedanken. The Love of God. A fine hymn, founded on… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: On wings of faith, ye thoughts, fly hence
German Title: Geht hin ihr gläubigen Gedanken
Author: Johann Gottfried Hermann (1747)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



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Lyra Germanica #121


Lyra Germanica #52

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Lyra Germanica #S1-52

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