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Who seeks in weakness an excuse

Representative Text

Who seeks in weakness an excuse,
His sins will vanquish never;
Unless he heart and mind renews,
He is deceived for ever.
The strait and narrow way,
That shines to perfect day,
He hath not found, hath never trod;
Little he knows, I ween,
What prayer and conflict mean
To one who hath the light of God.

In what the world calls weakness lurks
The very strength of evil,
Full mightily it helps the works
Of our great foe the devil.
Awake, my soul, awake,
Thy refuge quickly take
With Him, the Almighty, who can save;
One look from Christ thy Lord
Can sever every cord
That binds thee now, a wretched slave.

Know, the first step in Christian lore
Is to depart from sin;
True faith will leave the world no more
A place thy heart within.
Thy Saviour's Spirit first
The heavy bonds must burst,
Wherein Death bound thee in thy need;
Then the freed spirit know
What strength He gives to those
Who with their Lord are risen indeed.

And why Thy Spirit, Lord, began
Help Thou with inner might!
Earth has no better gift for man
Than strength and love of right.
Oh make Thy followers just
Who look to Thee in trust,
Thy strength and justice let us know;
Our souls through Thee would wear
The power of grace, most fair
Of all the jewels faith can show.

Strong Son of God, break down Thy foes,
So shall we conquer ours;
Strong in the might from Thee that flows,
We mourn not lack of powers,
E'er since that from above,
The witness of Thy love
Thy Spirit cam, and doth abide
With us, dispelling fear
And falsehood, that we here
May fight and conquer on Thy side.

Give strength, whene'er our strength must fail;
Give strength the flesh to curb;
Give strength when craft and sin prevail
To weaken and disturb.
The world doth lay her snares
To catch us unawares,
Give strength to sweep them all away;
So in our utmost need,
And when death comes indeed,
Thy strength shall be our perfect stay.

Source: Lyra Germanica: The Christian Year #63

Author: Bernard Walther Marperger

(no biographical information available about Bernard Walther Marperger.) 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: Who seeks in weakness an excuse
German Title: Wer sich auf seiner Schwachkeit steurt
Author: Bernard Walther Marperger (1713)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1855)
Language: English



Instances (1 - 3 of 3)
Page Scan

Hymns of the Church Militant #287

Page Scan

Lyra Germanica #149


Lyra Germanica #63

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