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Herr Gott, du bist ja fuer und fuer



Lord God! Thou art for evermore

Thy people’s habitation,

And Thou existence hadst before

Was laid the earth’s foundation!

Ere yet the hills began to be

Thou lived’st in eternity,

Of all things the beginning!

Thou lettest all the crowds of men

Through death’s dark portals wander,

And biddest them return again,

Those others follow yonder.

With Thee a thousand years are aye

Like watch of night or yesterday

When it is gone for ever.

Thou lettest the base hosts of men

E’en as a stream be flowing,

And as a ship upon the main

That fav’ring winds are blowing,

And as a sleep and dream of night

That when men wake at morning light

They can no more remember.

We’re like an herb that early dies,

Or grass in fields that groweth,

That in the morning flourishes,

Ere night the mower moweth.

So is’t with man: he blooms to-day,

To-morrow he is borne away

If but a breath doth touch him!

Because Thy wrath ’gainst us doth glow,

Lord! we so early vanish,

And for our sins Thou lay’st us low,

And from Thy face dost banish.

Our sins Thou sett’st before Thine eyes,

Then doth Thine indignation rise

In Thine heart ever holy!

This fire it is consumes in all

Our bones the marrow ever;

And hence it is that great or small

From death escapeth never.

And hence our days are passing o’er

Like tales that oft beguile an hour

And that are soon forgotten.

And scarcely doth our life on earth

To seventy years last even;

And what are all our labours worth

If four-score years be given.

What is the sum of all our gain

From youth to age, but toil and pain,

Heart-sorrow and vexation?

We’re ever toiling full of care,

And ere we do bethink us

To stop our work, lo! death is there,

Into the grave to sink us.

And speedily we pass away,

Yet of their end none ever stay

To think, nor of God’s anger.

O teach us, Lord! to think each day

Upon this earth’s affliction,

That when we think on death we may

Grow wiser by reflection.

Ah! turn on us again Thy face

And be at peace, O God of grace!

With Thy rebellious children.

And early with Thy mercy free

Be soul and body filling,

And late and early, Lord, may we

Thy glorious praise be telling.

O chiefest joy! our hearts now cheer,

And once more give us good times here,

The days have been so evil.

We’ve borne the cross these weary years,

Now let Thy sun be shining,

Vouchsafe us laughter after tears,

And pleasure after pining.

And evermore, O Lord! make known

Thy works of wonder to Thine own,

Thine honour to Thy children.

Be Thou our faithful friend and God,

Establish us for ever!

And when we err from wisdom’s road

Give penitence and favour!

Turn Thou our hearts again to Thee,

May all our works establish’d be,

Crown all we do with blessing!

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