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 (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: 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
Copyright: Public Domain



Instances (1 - 2 of 2)
TextPage Scan

Chorale Book for England, The #110

Page Scan

The Christian Hymnal #159

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