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Thou, who breakest ev'ry chain

Full Text

Thou, who breakest ev'ry chain,
Thou who still art ever near,
Thou with whom disgrace and pain
Turn to joy and heav'n e'en here;
Let Thy further judgments fall
An the Adam strong within,
Till Thy grace hath freed us all
From the prison-house of sin.

'Tis Thy Father's will towards us
Thou shouldst end Thy work at length;
Hence in Thee are centred thus
Perfect wisdom, love, and strength,
That Thou none shouldst lose of those
Whom He gave Thee, though they roam
'Wilder'd here amid their foes,
Thou shouldst bring them safely home,

Look upon our bonds, and see
How doth all creation groan
'Neath the yoke of vanity,
Make Thy full redemption known.
Still we wrestle, cry, and pray,
Held in bitter bondage fast,
Though the soul would break away
Into higher things at last.

Lord, we do not ask for rest
For the flesh, we only pray
Thou wouldA do as seems Thee best,
Ere yet comes our parting day;
But our spirit clings to Thee,
Will not, dare not, let Thee go,
Until Thou have set her free
From the bonds that cause her woe.

Ours the fault it is, we own,
We are slaves to self and sloth,
Yet oh leave us not alone
In the living death we loathe!
Crush'd beneath our burden's weight,
Crying at Thy feet we fall,
Point the path, though steep and strait,
Thou didst open once for all.

Ah how dearly were we bought
Not to serve the world or sin;
By the work that Thou hast wrought
Must Thou make us pure within,
Wholly pure and free,--in us
Be Thine image now restored:
Fill'd from out Thy fulness thus
Grace for grace on us is pour'd.

Draw us to Thy cross, O Love,
Crucify with Thee whate'er
Cannot dwell with Thee above;
Lead us to those regions fair!
Courage! long the time may seem,
Yet His day is coming fast;
We shall be like them that dream
When our freedom dawns at last.



Source: Chorale Book for England, The #111

Author: Gottfried Arnold

Arnold, Gottfried, son of Gottfried Arnold, sixth master of the Town School of Annaberg in the Saxon Harz, born at Annaberg Sept. 5, 1666. His life was varied and eventful, and although much of it had little to do with hymnody from an English point of view, yet his position in German Hymnology is such as to necessitate an extended notice, which, through pressure of space, must be (typographically) compressed. After passing through the Town School and the Gymnasium at Gera, he matriculated in 1685 at the University of Wittenberg—where he found the strictest Lutheran orthodoxy in doctrine combined with the loosest of living. Preserved by his enthusiasm for study from the grosser vices of his fellows, turning to contemplate the lives of t… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Thou, who breakest ev'ry chain
German Title: O Durchbrecher aller Bande
Author: Gottfried Arnold (1697)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English



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