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O Jesu Christ, mein schönstes Licht.--(Goed. 200.)

[Love of Christ.]

Cf. Koch IV, 402, VIII, 294. Included in the 5th ed., Berlin, 1653, and the Frankfurt ed., 1656, of Crü. Praxis, in 16 stanzas of 9 lines; thence in Wackernagel: no. 45; Bachmann: no. 73; Unv. L. S.: 1851, no. 771. This is one of the finest hymns on the Love of Christ. It is founded on Prayer V of Class II in Johann Arndt's Paradiszgärtlein, 1612.143143This hymn led Philipp Friedrich Hiller to think of turning all of these prayers in the Paradiszgärtlein into hymns. The result was his work entitled "Arndt's Paradiszgärtlein . . . in teutsche Lieder," Nürnberg (no date given). The book is in four parts and contains 301 hymns, 297 being founded on Arndt and 4 original.

English Versions:

(A.) Wesley.

1. Jesus, Thy boundless love to me.

A full and very fine translation by J. Wesley in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739 (P. Works, 1868-72, vol. I, p. 138).144144[Cf. Collection of Hymns, #373.] In the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1780, it was reduced to 9 stanzas.

Centos of the Wesley version are:

(1.) O Love, how cheering is Thy ray. (Stanza III.)

Bk. of Hymns, Boston, U. S. A., 1848.

(2.) My Savior, Thou Thy love to me. (Stanza V.)

Moravian H. Bk., 1789.

(3.) More hard than marble is my heart. (Stanza VI.)

American Sabbath H. Bk., 1858.

(4.) O draw me, Savior, after Thee. (Stanza IX.)

Snepp's Songs of G. and G. Pennsylvania Luth. Ch. Bk., 1868.

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(5.) O draw me, Father, after Thee. (Stanza IX altered.)

Bk. of Hymns, Boston, U. S. A., 1848. Amer. Unitarian H. Bk., 1869.

(6.) Still nigh me, O my Savior stand.

This stanza is taken from a hymn "Peace, doubting heart, my God's I am," by C. Wesley. To this is added in Snepp's Songs of G. and G., stanzas XII, XIV, XVI, and in J. L. Porter's Collection, 1876, stanzas XII, XV, XVI, of this translation of J. Wesley.

(7.) Thou Friend of Sinners! Who hast bought.

This is stanzas V, IV, XVI, rewritten by E. Osler and published in the Mitre H. Bk., 1836.

(B.) Other English versions:

1. O Christ, my sweetest Life and Light.

In the Suppl. to German Psal., ed. 1765, p. 29, and the Moravian H. Bk., 1754 (and with slight change in the ed. of 1789, and 1849), viz: In the 1746 ed. in part II there appear as a separate hymn stanzas V-VII, beginning "Thou cam'st in love to my relief." In the 1789, and 1849 ed., it begins "O Christ, my only Life and Light."

2. O Jesus Christ! my fairest Light.

J. Kelly, 1867, p. 122.

3. O Christ, my Light, my gracious Savior.

In the Moravian H. Bk., 1886.

Selected Stanzas:

In the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754 (author's name not given).

1. O Christ my sweetest Life and Light!
Whose loving Condescension
Embraces me by day and night
Beyond my comprehension:
Lord! grant me to return thy Love
With due and true devotion,
    That my notion
Of Mercy may improve
With ev'ry thought and motion.

J. Wesley, 1739, in the 1754 ed., Part I, of the Moravian Hymn Book.

1. Jesu, thy boundless Love to me
No thought can reach, no tongue declare:
O knit my thankful heart to Thee
And reign without a rival there.
Thine wholly, thine alone I am:
Be thou alone my constant Flame.

J. Wesley, 1739, in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory, 1872. It is stanza 2 of a hymn beginning "Still nigh me, O my Savior stand" in Snepp, and Gerhardt's stanza XII: "Was ists, o Schönster, dasz ich nicht / In deiner Liebe habe?" etc.

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Stanza 1. What in Thy love possess I not?
My star by night, my sun by day;
My spring of life, when parched with drought,
My wine to cheer, my bread to stay,
My strength, my shield, my safe abode,
My robe before the throne of God!

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