Scripture Verse

I came forth to meet Thee, diligently to seek Thy face. Proverbs 7:15


Paul Gerhardt (1607–1676)

Words: Paul Ger­hardt, in D. M. Lu­thers und an­der­er vor­neh­men geist­reich­en und ge­lehr­ten Män­ner geist­liche Lied­er und Psalm­en, by Chris­toph Run­ge (Ber­lin: 1653) (Wie soll ich dich emp­fang­en). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ca­the­rine Wink­worth, Cho­rale Book for Eng­land, 1863.

Music: Kings­fold, Eng­lish tune, ar­ranged by Ralph Vaugh­an Will­iams, 1906 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958)


How shall I meet Thee? How my heart
Receive her Lord aright?
Desire of all the earth Thou art!
My hope, my sole de­light!
Kindle the lamp, Thou Lord, alone,
Half-dying in my breast,
And make Thy gra­cious plea­sure known
How I may greet Thee best.

Her bud­ding boughs and fair­est palms
Thy Zion strews around;
And songs of praise and sweet­est psalms
From my glad heart shall sound.
My de­sert soul breaks forth in flow­ers,
Rejoicing in Thy fame;
And puts forth all her sleep­ing pow­ers,
To hon­or Je­sus’ name.

In hea­vy bonds I lang­uished long,
Thou com’st to set me free;
The scorn of ev­ery mock­ing tongue—
Thou com’st to hon­or me.
A hea­ven­ly crown wilt Thou be­stow,
And gifts of price­less worth,
That van­ish not as here be­low
The fad­ing wealth of earth.

Naught, naught, dear Lord, has pow­er to move
Thee from Thy right­ful place,
Save that most strange and bless­èd love
Wherewith Thou dost em­brace
This wea­ry world and all her woe,
Her load of grief and ill
And sor­row, more than man can know—
Thy love is deep­er still.

O write this pro­mise in your hearts,
Ye sor­row­ful, on whom
Fall thick­en­ing cares, while joy de­parts
And dark­er grows your gloom.
Despair not, for your help is near,
He stand­eth at the door
Who best can com­fort you and cheer,
He comes, nor stay­eth more.

Nor vex your souls with care, nor grieve
And la­bor long­er thus,
As though your arm could ought achieve,
And bring Him down to us.
He comes, He comes with rea­dy will
By pi­ty moved alone,
To soothe our ev­ery grief and ill,
For all to Him are known.

Nor ye, O sin­ners, shrink aside,
Afraid to see His face,
Your dark­est sins our Lord will hide
Beneath His pi­ty­ing grace.
He comes, He comes, to save from sin,
And all its pangs as­suage,
And for the sons of God to win
Their pro­per he­ri­tage.

Why heed ye then the craft and noise,
The fu­ry of His foes?
Lo, in a breath the Lord de­stroys
All who His rule op­pose.
He comes, He comes, as king to reign!
And earth­ly pow­ers may band
Against Him, yet they strive in vain,
His might may none with­stand.

He comes to judge the earth, and ye
Who mocked Him, feel His wrath;
But they who loved and sought Him see
His light o’er all their path.
O Sun of Right­eous­ness! arise,
And guide us on our way
To yon fair man­sion in the skies
Of joy­ous cloud­less day.