The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christ the Life of the Soul

St. John the Evangelist
See: Hymns To St. John The Evangelist

Words: Sinold, 1710.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

Source: Lyra Germanica: First Series, Songs for the Household, 1855

If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
Follow thou Me.

From the Gospel

If Thou, True Life, wilt in me live,
    Consume whate'er is not of Thee;
One look of Thine more joy can give
    Than all the world can offer me.
O Jesus, be Thou mine for ever,
Nought from Thy love my heart can sever,
As Thou hast promised in Thy Word;
    O deep the joy whereof I drink,
    Whene'er my soul in Thee can sink,
And own her Bridegroom and her Lord!

O Heart, that glow'd with love and died,
    Kindle my soul with fire divine;
Lord, in the heart Thou'st won, abide,
    And all in it that is not Thine
O let me conquer and destroy,
Strong in Thy love, Thou Fount of Joy,
Nay be Thou Conqueror, Lord, in me;
    So shall I triumph o'er despair,
    O'er death itself Thy victory share,
Thus suffer, live, and die in Thee.

And let the fire within me move
    My heart to serve Thy members here;
Let me their need and trials prove,
    That I may know my love sincere
And like to Thine, Lord, pure and warm;
For when my soul hath won that form
Is likest to Thy holy mind,
    Then I shall love both friends and foes,
    And learn to grieve o'er others' woes,
Like Thee, my Pattern, true and kind.

The light and strength of Faith, oh grant,
    That I may bring forth holy fruit,
A living branch, a blooming plant,
    Fast clinking to my vine -- my root:
Thou art my Saviour, whom I trust,
My Rock, -- I build not on the dust, --
The ground of faith, eternal, sure.
    When hours of doubt o'er cloud my mind,
    Thy ready help then let me find,
Thy strength my sickening spirit cure!

And grant that Hope may never fail,
    But anchor'd safely on Thy cross,
Through Thee who art mine All, prevail
O'er every anguish, dread, and loss.
The world may build on what decays,
O Christ, my Sun of Hope, my gaze
Cares not o'er lesser lights to range;
    To Thee in love I ever cleave,
    For well I know Thou ne'er wilt leave
My soul, -- Thy love can never change.

Wouldst Thou that I should tarry here,
    I live because Thou willest it;
Or Death should suddenly appear.
    I shall not fear him, Lord, one whit,
If but Thy life still in me live,
If but Thy death me strength shall give,
When earthly life draws near its end;
    To Thee I give away my will,
    In life and death remembering still
Thou wilt my good, O truest Friend.

Note: According to Winkworth, selected from Chevalier (Christian Karl Josias) Bunsen (1791-1860), ed., Versuch eines allgemeinen Gesang und Gebetbuchs (1833).

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