Sweetest Joy the soul can know

Full Text

1. Sweetest joy the soul can know,
Fairest light was ever shed,
Who alike in joy or woe,
Leavest none unvisited;
Spirit of the Highest God,
Lord from whom is life bestowed,
Who upholdest everything,
Hear me, hear me, while I sing!

2. For the noblest gift Thou art
That a soul e’er sought or won,
Have I wished Thee to my heart,
Then my wishing all is done;
Ah then yield Thee, nor refuse
Here to dwell, for Thou didst choose
This my heart, from e’en its birth,
For Thy temple here on earth.

3. Thou art shed like gentlest showers
From the Father and the Son,
Bringest to this earth of ours
Purest blessing from their throne;
Suffer then, O noble Guest,
That rich gift by Thee possessed,
Which Thou givest at Thy will
All my soul and flesh to fill.

4. Thou art wise, before Thee stand
Hidden things unveiled to Thee,
Countest up the grains of sand,
Fathomest the deepest sea,
And Thou knowest well how blind,
Dark and crooked is my mind;
Give me wisdom, in Thy light
Let me please my God aright.

5. Thou art holy, enterest in
Where pure hearts Thy coming wait,
But Thou fleest shame and sin,
Craft and falsehood Thou dost hate;
Wash me then, O Well of grace,
Every stain and spot efface,
Let me flee what Thou dost flee,
Grant me what Thou lov’st to see.

6. Thou art loving, hatest strife,
As a lamb of patient mood,
Calm through all our restless life,
E’en to sinners kind and good;
Grant me too this noble mind,
To be calm and true and kind,
Loving every friend or foe,
Grieving none whom Thou dost know.

7. Well contented is my heart,
If but Thou reject me not;
If but Thou wilt ne’er depart,
I am blest whate’er my lot;
Thine for ever make me now,
And to Thee, my Lord, I vow
Here and yonder to employ
Every power for Thee with joy.

8. Be my help when danger’s nigh,
When I sink hold Thou me up,
Be my life when I must die,
In the grave be Thou my hope;
Bring me when I rise again
To the land that knows no pain,
Where Thy followers from Thy stream
Drink for ever joys supreme.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #6141

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth is "the most gifted translator of any foreign sacred lyrics into our tongue, after Dr. Neale and John Wesley; and in practical services rendered, taking quality with quantity, the first of those who have laboured upon German hymns. Our knowledge of them is due to her more largely than to any or all other translators; and by her two series of Lyra Germanica, her Chorale Book, and her Christian Singers of Germany, she has laid all English-speaking Christians under lasting obligation." --Annotations of the Hymnal, Charles Hutchins, M.A., 1872… Go to person page >

Author: Paul Gerhardt

Gerhardt, Paulus, son of Christian Gerhardt, burgomaster of Gräfenhaynichen, near Wittenberg, was born at Grafenhaynichen, Mar. 12, 1607. On January 2, 1628, he matriculated at the University of Wittenberg. In the registers of St. Mary's church, Wittenberg, his name appears as a godfather, on July 13, 1641, described still as "studiosus," and he seems to have remained in Wittenberg till at least the end of April, 1642. He appears to have gone to Berlin in 1642 or 1643, and was there for some time (certainly after 1648) a tutor in the house of the advocate Andreas Barthold, whose daughter (Anna Maria, b. May 19, 1622, d. March 5, 1668) became his wife in 1655. During this period he seems to have frequently preached in Berlin. He was appoint… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Sweetest Joy the soul can know
German Title: O du allersüsste Freude
Translator: Catherine Winkworth
Author: Paul Gerhardt
Language: English

Tune

ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR (Elvey)

George J. Elvey (PHH 48) composed ST. GEORGE'S WINDSOR as a setting for James Montgomery's text "Hark! The Song of Jubilee," with which it was published in Edward H. Thorne's Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes (1858). The tune has been associated with Alford's text since publication of the hymn in th…

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