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322

CHRISTIAN JOY IN DEATH.

Was traurest du, mein Angesicht

8,7,8,7,4,4,7

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My face, why should’st thou troubled be

When thou of death art hearing?

Know it, it cannot injure thee,

Contemplate it, ne’er fearing.

When thou dost know

Death, all its woe

Will soon be disappearing.

From the old serpent’s face first tear

The mask he is assuming,

And lo! no poison more is there,

’Tis harmless through the coming

Of Christ to save,

Who to the grave

Went down, death thus o’ercoming.

Thou, Lord, didst break our foe’s great pow’r,

His sting thus from him taking,

The butt of scorn he’s evermore,

No mischief can be making.

Thy precious blood

Damps his hot mood,

His ardour’s him forsaking.

’Twas sin that was the sting of death,

And on to dying drove us,

For ever done away sin hath

Our Saviour, who did love us.

Its pow’r and might

Is broken quite,

Though it to grief may move us.

Now sin is dead, God’s anger’s turn’d,

He’s reconcil’d; the Saviour

Hath borne the curse our debts had earn’d,

Restor’d us to God’s favour.

Who was our foe

Our friend is now,

Is full of grace for ever.

It cannot be, if Thou’rt my friend,

That Thou would’st kill me ever;

Thy Father’s heart can ne’er intend

To death me to deliver,

And who is e’er

Thy child and heir

By ill is injur’d never.

But Thou, O Father! doest well

When trials sore are grieving,

When misery the life doth fill,

The waves around us heaving,

That us Thy hand

To Fatherland

Brings, from the floods relieving.

When from the angry skies storms break,

And mountains quake before them,

The thunder of Thy wrath doth shake

The hills, and pealeth o’er them,

Then dost Thou come

And takest home

Thine own, Thou carest for them.

When rage around our enemies,

Our injury are seeking,

When lions, wolves, and bears arise,

Their vengeance on us wreaking,

Thou tak’st Thy sheep,

Dost safely keep

Them near Thee, comfort speaking.

And if the world treats evilly

Him who to Thee is cleaving,

Thou sayest, “Come to me, my son!

Come, from me be receiving

Love, pleasure, joy,

That never cloy,

That I for aye am giving.”

And angel hosts then joyfully

Descend, and round us hover,

And tend the soul so carefully;

And when life’s course is over

To God on high

It peacefully

Goes with them ’neath their cover.

The Lord His bride meets joyfully

And saith, “Now welcome ever,

I have espousèd thee to me,

To all mine own come hither!

Whom I ’fore thee

Have brought to me,

From yon world did deliver.

“Thou true and faithful wast in heart,

Wast ne’er asham’d to own me,

And now receivest thou thy part,

With crown of joy I crown thee.

Thy part am I,

Eternally

Beside me I enthrone thee.

“Of thine eyes now I dry the flood,

Thy bitter tears am stilling;

Here turn’d is to thy highest good,

The grief thou once wert feeling;

Of thy grief’s sea

No one shall be

Here save with rapture telling.

“All my belov’d ones clothe I here

In pure white linen ever,

With joy in heaven they appear,

Here envy felt is never.

Here is no death,

No cross nor scath,

Good friends at all can sever.”

O God! why should the thought of death

With terror make me shiver?

’Tis he who’ll from the yoke beneath

Of mis’ry me deliver.

From torture He

Will set me free,

I can regret it never.

For death is the Red Sea to me,

Through which on dry land ever

Thine Israel, so dear to Thee,

Pass to the land of favour,

Where milk and wine

Flow ever in

Full streams that cease shall never.

It is heav’n’s golden door to me,

The fiery car God sendeth,

Wherein my spirit speedily

To th’ angel choir ascendeth,

When God shall say

“Thy working day

Of life below now endeth.”

O sweetest joy, O blessèd rest!

To all true-hearted given,

Come, let mine eyes by Thee be press’d,

In peace take me to heaven.

May I roam there

’Mong pastures fair

Where day ne’er knoweth even.

What fails us here, there will He give,

Full measure to us bringing,

Our grateful songs shall He receive,

From loving hearts up-springing.

And there shall I

Too, willingly

Song after song be singing.

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