The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Put Thou Thy Trust In God

For the New Year

Words: "D. A. Thrupp"
This is error. Translation was by John Wesley. See below.

Music: "St. Michael" from Day's Psalter
Meter: S.M.

Source: Mary Palmer and John Farmer, eds., Church Sunday School Hymn-Book (London: Church of England Sunday-School Institute, 1892), p. 281, #283.

1. Put thou thy trust in God,
In duty's path go on;
Walk in His strength with faith and hope,
So shall thy work be done.

2. Commit thy ways to Him,
Thy works into His hands,
And rest on His unchanging word,
Who heaven and earth commands.

3. Though years on years roll on,
His covenant shall endure;
Though clouds and darkness hide His path,
The promised grace is sure.

4. Through waves and clouds and storms,
His power will clear thy way:
Wait thou His time; the darkest night
Shall end in brightest day.

Sheet Music "St. Michael" from Day's Psalter from Mary Palmer and John Farmer, eds., Church Sunday School Hymn-Book (London: Church of England Sunday-School Institute, 1892), p. 281, #283.

Note:

This source erroneously attributes authorship to Dorothy Anne Thrupp. The true author of this translation was John Wesley. The original of this version appeared in Wm. J. Hall, ed., Psalms and Hymns adapted to the Services of the Church of England  (London: Henry Wix, 1836), #77; it was also called The Mitre Hymn Book. The rendition in the Church Sunday School Hymn-Book was exceptionally accurate when compared to the version in the Hall hymnal; most others widely vary Wesley's text.

This was a translation of Paul Gerhardt's "Befiehl du deine Wege." In 1899, Theodore Brown Hewitt listed 18 translations of Gerhardt's original. At p. 115, Hewitt wrote that this was “a very free but spirited rendering ... by J. Wesley in his Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739.... Wesley has here caught, far more successfully than any other, the real ring and spirit of Gerhardt. His translation has been included in many hymn books and collections, and has come into very extended use, but generally abridged.” See: Paul Gerhardt as a Hymn Writer and His Influence on English Hymnody (Yale University Press, 1918), pp. 115-7.

Hewitt also wrote that the original in Hymns and Sacred Poems was eight stanzas of eight lines, beginning with "Commit Thou All Thy Griefs," but with numerous variants including this version, "Put Thou Thy Trust In God."

I have been unable to locate a copy of Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739. However, this hymn was reprinted as 16 stanzas of four lines in George Osborn, ed., The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley. Volume 1. (London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1868), pp. 125-128.

Trust in Providence. From the German [Paul Gerhardt] 141–44”

1. Commit thou all thy griefs
And ways into His hands;
To His sure truth and tender care,
Who earth and heaven commands.

2. Who points the clouds their course,
Whom winds and seas obey;
He shall direct thy wandering feet,
He shall prepare thy way.

3. Thou on the Lord rely,
So safe shalt thou go on;
Fix on his work thy steadfast eye,
So shall thy work be done.

4. No profit canst thou gain
By self-consuming care;
To Him commend thy cause, His ear
Attends the softest prayer.

5. Thy everlasting truth,
Father, Thy ceaseless love
Sees all Thy children’s wants, and knows
What best for each will prove.

6. And whatsoe'er thou will'st,
Thou dost, O King of kings;
What thy unerring wisdom chose
Thy power to being brings.

7. Thou every where hast way,
And all things serve Thy might;
Thy every act pure blessing is,
Thy path unsullied light.

8. When Thou arisest, Lord,
What shall Thy work withstand?
When all Thy children want thou givest,
Who, who shall stay Thy hand?

9. Give to the winds thy fears;
Hope, and be undismayed;
God hears thy sighs, and counts thy tears,
God shall lift up thy head.

10. Thro’ waves and clouds and storms
He gently clears thy way;
Wait thou his time, so shall this night
Soon end in joyous day.

11. Still heavy is thy heart?
Still sink thy spirits down?
Cast off the weight, let fear depart,
And every care be gone.

12. What though thou rulest not?
Yet heaven and earth and hell
Proclaim, God sitteth on the throne
And ruleth all things well!

13. Leave to his sovereign sway
To choose and to command;
So shalt thou wond'ring own, His way
How wise, how strong His hand.

14. Far, far above thy thought
His counsel shall appear,
When fully he the work hath wrought,
That caused thy needless fear.

15. Thou seest our weakness, Lord,
Our hearts are known to Thee;
O lift Thou up the sinking hand,
Confirm the feeble knee!

16. Let us in life, in death,
Thy steadfast truth declare,
And publish with our latest breath
Thy love and guardian care!

It was also noted:

The well-known hymn of Paul Gerhardt, “Befiehl du deine Wege,” has been previous translated, (in part at least,) and published in [John Christian] Jacobi's “Psalmodia Germanica.” Since 1739 at least three other English translations of it have appeared. But for tenderness and solemnity combined none can compare with that of Wesley. Compare Watson's “Life of Wesley,” Works, vol. v., p. 301; and “Wesleyan-Methodist Magazine” for 1867, p. 215.

Volume 1 of The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley can be found at Google Books.

The version in "Psalmodia Germanica" is found on pp. 38-39, beginning:

Commit thy Ways and Goings,
     And all that grieves thy Soul,
To him, whose wisest Doings
     Rule all without Controul:
He makes the Times and Seasons
     Revolve from Year to Year,
And knows Ways, Mans, and Reasons,
     When Help shall best appear.

The version in The Poetical Works corresponds almost exactly with the PDF reproduction of Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, at Duke Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition. In that PDF, there was also a footnote to the title of this hymn that reads:

Source: Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, ed. Das Gesang-Buch 141 der Gemeine in Herrn-Huth (Halle: Wäysenhaus, 1737), 36–37 (#34, by Paul Gerhardt). Wesley’s translation was republished in George Whitefield’s Continuation of the Rev. Mr. Whitefield’s Journal, after his Arrival in Georgia to a Few Days after his Second Return thither from Philadelphia (London: William Strahan, 1741), 56–58.

The writings of both Charles and John Wesley can be found at this comprehensive site. The Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739, can be found in John Wesley’s poetry and hymn collections. The Duke Center should be the first stop for scholars of the Reverends Wesley.

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