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Ist Gott für mich, so trete.--(Goed. 229.)

[Trust in God.]

Based on Romans, VIII, 31-39. Cf. Kock, IV, 457. Included in Crü. Praxis, 1656, no. 330; thence in Wackernagel: no. 63; Unv. L. S.: no. 418. Lauxmann, in Koch, VIII, 408, quotes Langbecker: "This heroic hymn of Gerhardt's is worthy to be placed side by side with Luther's 'Ein' feste Burg.'"

The poem was written undoubtedly at the time when the Elector, Frederick William of Brandenburg, Gerhardt's sovereign, threatened with his severe displeasure those of the Lutheran clergy who would not sign a declaration200200Cf. p. 4. binding them not to say anything publicly against the Reformed party. To this, most probably, the words of the thirteenth stanza refer,

Kein Zorn der groszen Fürsten
Soll mir ein Hindrung sein.

This hymn, springing from a heart full of faith and courage, has gone into the hearts of many, especially the tried and afflicted, cheering and encouraging them in the struggles of faith. The third stanza in particular has often been made a blessing:

Der Grund, da ich mich gründe,
Ist Christus und sein Blut; . . .

A pious watchman in Berlin who, when calling the hours of the night, used to sing suitable verses, once sang these lines before the house of a shoemaker, who with some friends, just then assembled late at night, was in danger of leaving the Church and setting up a self-righteous sect. The well-known words, coming so unexpectedly, had the desired effect, the shoemaker declaring to his friends, "As for me, I will rest upon that 127 ground of Jesus and his blood, and not seek any other master." The final stanza:

Mein Herze geht in Springen
Und kann nicht traurig sein. . . .

has been the dying song of many a believing Christian.

English Versions:
1. If God be on my side.

A good translation omitting stanzas IV-VI, by Miss Winkworth in her Lyra Ger., 1855, p. 130. Included, abridged, in Holy Song, 1869, and the Evang. Hyl., 1880, N. Y.

Centos from this translation are:

(a) "If Jesus be my friend" (stanza I, line 5), in the Andover Sabbath H. Bk., 1858; Hatfield's Church Book, 1872, etc.

(b) "Since Jesus is my friend" (stanza I, line 5 altered), in Robinson's Songs for the Sanctuary, N. Y., 1865; Laudes Domini, 1884, etc.

(c) "Here I can firmly rest" (stanza II), in the Andover Sabbath H. Bk., 1858; Pennsylvanian Lutheran Church Book, 1868.

2. If God Himself be for me.

A good translation omitting stanzas IV-VI, X, by R. Massie in his Lyra Domestica, 1864, p. 110; from this are varying centos, e. g. Laudes Domini, 1884, no. 378 beginning: "I build on this foundation" (stanza III).

3. Is God for me? I fear not.

A free but spirited version, omitting stanzas V, XI, XII, by Mrs. Bevan in her Songs of Eternal Life, 1858, p. 39. This version was repeated and abridged in Snepp's Songs of Grace and Glory. In Reid's Praise Book, 1872, it appears as three hymns, the first as above; (2) "There is no condemnation" (stanza VI), and (3) "In heaven is mine inheritance" (stanza X).

4. Is God for me? t'oppose me.

In full, by J. Kelly, 1867, p. 208. The Ohio Luth. Hyl. includes a part of this version, i. e. the translation of stanzas III, XIV, XV, beginning "My Faith securely buildeth."

5. Is God for me? what is it.

J. C. Jacobi, 1725, p. 41 (1732, p. 139). Included in the Moravian H. Book, 1754, and altered in Bishop Ryle's Collection, 1883. In later editions it is abridged, beginning "Is God my strong salvation?"

6. The world may rise against me round.

Also "The world may fall beneath my feet," translations of stanzas I and XIII, by Mrs. Stanley Carr in her translation of Wildenhahn's Paul Gerhardt, 1845 (1856, p. 173).

7. If Christ is mine, then all is mine.

A hymn of three stanzas in M. W. Stryker's Church Praise Book, 1884, no. 485, marked "Benjamin Beddome 1776." Another cento is given in Bishop Ryle's Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1883, p. 71.

"If God is mine, then present things."


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