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Living by Christ
From the German.4949Paul Gerhardt (1606–1676) is said by one of his German biographers to have had John Arndt’s “Prayer and Paradise Garden” continually before him at the close of his life, and to have written “several hymns on its contents.” To Arndt, therefore, as its ultimate source, we must trace the invaluable hymn before us; which, as written by Gerhardt, is found in No. 23 in the Herrnhuth Collection, and on p. 304 of Knapp’s E. L.
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.
O, grant that nothing in my soul
May dwell, but Thy pure love alone:
O, may Thy love possess me whole,
My joy, my treasure, and my crown.
Strange fires far from my soul remove,
My every act, word, thought, be love.
O Love, how cheering is Thy ray!
All pain before Thy presence flies;
Care, anguish, sorrow melt away
Where’er Thy healing beams arise:
O Jesu, nothing may I see,
Nothing hear, feel, or think but Thee!
Unwearied may I this pursue,
Dauntless to the high prize aspire;
Hourly within my breast renew
This holy flame, this heavenly fire;
And day and night be all my care
To guard this sacred treasure there.
My Saviour, Thou Thy love to me
In want, in pain, in shame, hast show’d;
For me on the accursed tree
Thou pouredst forth Thy guiltless blood:
Thy wounds upon my heart impress,
Nor aught shall the loved stamp efface.
More hard than marble is my heart,
And foul with sins of deepest stain:
But Thou the mighty Saviour art,
Nor flow’d Thy cleansing blood in vain.
Ah! soften, melt this rock, and may
Thy blood wash all these stains away.
O that my heart, which open stands,
May catch each drop, that torturing pain,
Arm’d by my sins, wrung from Thy hands,
Thy feet, Thy head, Thy every vein:
That still my breast may heave with sighs,
Still tears of love o’erflow my eyes.
O that I as a little child
May follow Thee, nor ever rest
Till sweetly Thou hast pour’d Thy mild
And lowly mind into my breast.
Nor may we ever parted be
Till I become one spirit with Thee.
O, draw me, Saviour, after Thee;
So shall I run and never tire:
With gracious words still comfort me;
Be Thou my hope, my sole desire.
Free me from every weight: nor fear
Nor sin can come, if Thou art here.
My health, my light, my life, my crown,
My portion and my treasure Thou!
O, take me, seal me for Thine own;
To Thee alone my soul I bow.
Without Thee all is pain; my mind
Repose in nought but Thee can find.
Howe’er I rove, where’er I turn,
In Thee alone is all my rest.
Be Thou my flame; within me burn,
Jesu, and I in Thee am blest.
Thou art the balm of life: my soul
Is faint; O save, O make it whole!
What in Thy love possess I not?
My Star by night, my Sun by day;
My Spring of Life when parch’d with drought,
My Wine to cheer, my Bread to stay,
My Strength, my Shield, my safe Abode,
My Robe before the throne of God!
Ah, Love! Thy influence withdrawn,
What profits me that I am born?
All my delight, my joy is gone,
Nor know I peace, till Thou return.
Thee may I seek till I attain;
And never may we part again.
From all eternity with love
Unchangeable Thou hast me view’d;
Ere knew this beating heart to move,
Thy tender mercies me pursued.
Ever with me may they abide,
And close me in on every side.
Still let Thy love point out my way;
(How wondrous things Thy love hath wrought!)
Still lead me, lest I go astray,
Direct my work, inspire my thought:
And if I fall, soon may I hear
Thy voice, and know that love is near.
In suffering be Thy love my peace,
In weakness be Thy love my power;
And when the storms of life shall cease,
Jesu, in that important hour,
In death as life be Thou my guide,
And save me, who for me hast died!
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