What shall I, a sinner, do?

Representative Text

What shall I, a sinner, do?
Whither shall I turn for aid?
Conscience waking brings to view
Sins that make me sore afraid.
This my confidence shall be,
Jesus, I will cleave to Thee.

True, I have transgress'd Thy will,
Oft have grieved Thee by my sin,
Yet I know Thou lov'st me still,
For I hear Thy voice within;
Then, though sin accuses me,
Jesus, I will cleave to Thee.

Here the Christians oft must bear
Many a cross and bitter smart
If their lot in this I share,
Shall I waver or depart?
Loyal still my heart shall be,
Jesus, still I cleave to Thee.

Well I know this life of ours
Is but as a fleeting dream;
Round us darkness ever lowers,
Death is nearer than we deem;
Who knows what to-day may see?
Jesus, I will cleave to Thee.

If I die, I do but cease
Sooner from this toil and care,
And I rest in perfect peace
In the grave, since Thou wert there;
There Thy light shall comfort me,
There too I will cleave to Thee.

Then, Lord Jesu, Thou art mine,
Till Thou bring me to that place
Where I shall for ever shine
In Thy light, and see Thy face:
Blessed will that haven be!
Jesus, I will cleave to Thee.

Source: Chorale Book for England, The #110

Author: Johann Flitner

Flitner, Johann, was born Nov. 1, 1618, at Suhl, Saxony, where his father was an ironmaster. After studying theology at Wittenberg, Jena, Leipzig, and Rostock, he became in 1644 precentor, and in 1646 diaconus at Grimmen, near Greifswald. On the outbreak of the first Prusso-Swedish war he was forced to flee to Stralsund, but returned to Grimmen in May, 1660. At the death of his senior in 1664, he ought, according to custom, to have been appointed town preacher, but was passed over not only then but also in 1673 and 1676, when the post again became vacant. The outbreak of the second Prusso-Swedish war, immediately after this third disappointment, forced him again to flee to Stralsund, where he died Jan. 7, 1678 (Koch, ii. 442-445; Mohnike's… 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: What shall I, a sinner, do?
German Title: Ach was soll ich S√ľnder machen
Author: Johann Flitner (1661)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English
Refrain First Line: Jesus, I will cling to thee



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
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Chorale Book for England, The #110

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The Christian Hymnal: a selection of psalms and hymns with music, for use in public worship #159

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