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Ich will von meiner Missethat

Louisa Henrietta, Electress of Brandenburg

trans. by Catherine Winkworth, 1869

I will return unto the Lord

From all my evil ways;

O God, do Thou Thy help afford,

Teach me to seek Thy face,

Thy Holy Spirit's strength impart

Who can anew create my heart,

Deny me not this grace.


For man sees not his wretched plight

Till Thy touch make him see;

Without Thy Spirit's inner light

All blind and dead is he,

Biassed in sense and will and deed;

O Father, let me now be freed

From this great misery!

Lord, knock in mercy at my door,

And all that I have done

Against Thee, do Thou set before

This heart, till it is won

To mourn that it was e'er so weak,

And in my grief adown this cheek

Hot tears of sorrow run.

For of thy gifts, ah! what a wealth

Hast Thou on me bestowed;

To Thee I owe my life and health,

My cup hath overflowed;

Than food and raiment Thou dost grant

So much besides, that no real want

Hath darkened my abode.

And Thou in Christ hast rescued me

From out of death's dark flood,

Thou dost not leave my soul to be

In lack of any good;

And lest I dwell in careless ease,

Forgetting Him who gave me these,

Betimes I feel Thy rod.


Have I then striven as sure I ought,

To love Thee and obey?

Ah no! this heart and conscience fraught

With grief, full truly say

I have forgot Thee, and they mourn

With deep remorse and anguish torn

For Sin's long easy sway.

Till now in false security

My conscience slept, and said,

"There yet is time enough for thee;

God is not stern," it said;

"So strict account He doth not keep,

The Shepherd's patience with His sheep

Not soon is spent and fled."

But suddenly that sleep was broke,

And now my heart will break;

Thy voice in mighty thunders spoke,

Thy lightnings made me quake;

I see the realms of death and hell

Advance in power I cannot quell

My soul their prey to make.

Ah Jesu Christ! our mighty Rock,

I flee alone to Thee,

Within Thy clefts from every shock

O hide and shelter me!

O Lamb of God, didst Thou not bear

All sins of men and e'en my share

Upon the fatal tree?

Then with Thy Father intercede,

That He no more should think

Of all my sins, each evil deed

That makes me quail and shrink.

Ah let the burden of my guilt,

For which such precious blood was spilt,

Beneath the ocean sink!


And henceforth will I day by day,

With strenuous ceaseless care,

From all false pleasures turn away,

And rather all things bear

Than willingly to sin give place:

Dear Lord, give Thou Thy strength and grace

To do as I declare!

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