Lauxmann calls [this] ‘the most comforting of all the hymns that have resounded on Paulus Gerhardt’s golden lyre, sweeter to many souls than honey and the honey-comb.’ It soon spread over Germany.
It was sung in 1743, when the foundation-stones were laid of the first Lutheran church in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], and again at the opening service.
When Napoleon was bent on crushing Germany, Queen Louise of Prussia wrote in her diary at Ortelsburg, on December 5, 1806, Goethe’s lines from ‘Wilhelm Meister,’ which Carlyle renders—
Who never ate his bread in sorrow,
Who never spent the darkness hours,
Weeping and watching for the morrow,
He knows ye not, ye gloomy Powers.
To earth, this weary earth, ye bring us,
To guilt ye let us heedless go,
Then leave repentance fierce to wring us:
A moment’s guilt, an age of woe!
Then drying her tears, she went to her harpsichord and played and sang this hymn. Lauxmann writes, ‘Truly a hymn, as Luther’s Ein Feste Burg, is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
Telford, p. 294
Commit thou all thy griefs
And ways into His hands,
To His sure truth and tender care,
Who heaven and earth commands.
Who points the clouds their course,
Whom winds and seas obey,
He shall direct thy wandering feet,
He shall prepare thy way.
Thou on the Lord rely,
So safe shalt thou go on;
Fix on His work thy steadfast eye
So shall thy work be done.
No profit canst thou gain
By self consuming care;
To Him commend thy cause, His ear
Attends the softest prayer.
Thy everlasting truth,
Father, Thy ceaseless love,
Sees all Thy children’s wants, and knows
What best for each will prove.
Thou everywhere hast sway,
And all things serve Thy might;
Thy every act pure blessing is,
Thy path unsullied light.
When Thou arisest, Lord,
What shall Thy work withstand?
Whate’er Thy children want, Thou giv’st;
And who shall stay Thy hand?