Of the Last Day

Representative Text

The time is very near
When, Lord, Thou wilt be here
The signs whereof Thou’st spoken
Thine advent should betoken,
We’ve seen them oft fulfilling
In number beyond telling.

What shall I do then, Lord?
But rest upon Thy word,
The promise Thou hast given
That Thou wilt come from heaven,
Me from the grave deliver
And from all woe for ever.

Ah! Jesus Christ, how fair
Wilt be my portion there!
The welcome Thou’lt address me,
Thy glances, how they’ll bless me,
When I the earth forsaking,
My flight to Thee am taking.

Ah! what will be the word
Thou’lt speak, my Shepherd Lord!
What will be then Thy greeting,
Me and my brethren meeting?
Thy members Thou wilt own us,
And near Thyself enthrone us.

And in that blessèd hour,
How shall I have the pow’r
Mine eyelids dry of keeping,
How tears of joy from weeping
Refrain, that flowing over
My cheeks, like floods would cover?

And what a beauteous light
Will from Thy face so bright
Beam on me, then in heaven,
When sight of Thee is given,
Thy goodness then me filling,
Joy will my breast be swelling.

I’ll see then and adore
Thy body bruisèd sore,
Whereon our faith is founded,
The prints of nails that wounded
Thy hands and feet be greeting,
Thy gaze with rapture meeting.

Thou, Lord, alone dost know
The joys so pure that flow
In life’s unfailing river
In paradise for ever,
Thou can’st portray, and show them:
By faith alone I know them.

What I’ve believ’d stands sure,
Remaineth aye secure;
My part the wealth surpasseth;
The richest here amasseth;
All other wealth decayeth
My portion ever stayeth.

My God, my fairest Part!
How will my bounding heart
With joy be overflowing,
Praise evermore renewing,
When through the door of heaven
By Thee is entrance given?

Thou’lt say, “Come, taste and see,
Oh! child, belov’d by me,
Come, taste the gifts so precious
I and my Father gracious
Have to bestow, come hither,
In pleasure bask for ever.”

Alas! thou world so poor!
Of wealth, what is thy store?
Mean is it to be holden,
Compar’d with all the golden
Crowns and thrones Jesus placeth
For whom He loves and graceth.

Here is the angel’s home,
Bless’d spirits hither come,
Here nought is heard but singing,
Nought seen but joy up-springing,
No cross, no death, no sorrow,
No parting on the morrow.

Hold! hold! my sense so weak!
What dost thou think and speak,
What’s fathomless, art sounding?
What’s measureless, art bounding?
Here must man’s wit be bending
The eloquent be ending.

Lord! I delight in Thee,
Thou ne’er shalt go from me,
Thy hand in bounty giveth
More than my heart conceiveth,
Or I can e’er be counting,
So high Thy mercy’s mounting.

How sad, O Lord, am I,
Until I from on high
See Thee in glory hither
Come, Thine own to deliver,
Wert Thou but now revealing
Thyself! my wish fulfilling!

The time is known to Thee;
It best becometh me
To be prepar’d for going,
And all things so be doing,
That every moment even
My heart may be in Heaven.

This grant, Lord, and me bless.
That so Thy truth and grace
May keep me ever waking,
That Thy day not o’ertaking
Me unawares, affright me,
But may, O Lord! delight me.

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: The time is very near
Title: Of the Last Day
German Title: Die Zeit ist nunmehr nah
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Translator: J. Kelly (1867)
Meter: 6.6.7.7.7.7
Language: English
Publication Date: 1867
Copyright: This text in in the public domain in the United States because it was published before 1923.

Instances

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Text

Paul Gerhardt's Spiritual Songs #74

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