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23

Innocents Day

Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.

Matt. 18:3

8,8,8,8

O liebe Seele könnt'st du werden

Gerhard Tersteegen. 1731.

trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1855

Dear Soul, couldst thou become a child

While yet on earth, meek, undefiled,

Then God Himself were ever near,

And Paradise around thee here.

A child cares nought for gold or treasure,

Nor fame nor glory yield him pleasure;

In perfect trust, he asketh not

If rich or poor shall be his lot.

Little he recks of dignity,

Nor prince nor monarch feareth he;

Strange that a child so weak and small

Is oft the boldest of us all!

He hath not skill to utter lies,

His very soul is in his eyes;

Single his aim in all, and true,

And apt to praise what others do.

24

No questions dark his spirit vex,

No faithless doubts his soul perplex,

Simply from day to day he lives,

Content with that the present gives.

Scarce can he stand alone, far less

Would roam abroad in loneliness;

Fast clinging to his mother still,

She bears and leads him at her will.

He will not stay to pause and choose,

His father's guidance e'er refuse,

Thinks not of danger, fears no harm,

Wrapt in obedience' holy calm.

For strange concerns he careth nought;

What others do, although were wrought

Before his eyes the worst offence,

Stains not his tranquil innocence.

His dearest work, his best delight,

Is, lying in his mother's sight,

To gaze for ever on her face,

And nestle in her fond embrace.

O childhood's innocence! the voice

Of thy deep wisdom is my choice!

Who hath thy lore is truly wise,

And precious in our Father's eyes.

25

Spirit of childhood! loved of God,

By Jesu's Spirit now bestowed!

How often have I longed for thee;

O Jesus, form Thyself in me!

And help me to become a child

While yet on earth, meek, undefiled,

That I may find God always near,

And Paradise around me here.

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