Scripture Verse

Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Psalm 90:1


Paul Gerhardt (1607–1676)

Words: Paul Ger­hardt (1607–1676) (Herr Gott, du bist ja für und für). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by John Kel­ly, Paul Ger­hardt’s Spi­ri­tu­al Songs (Lon­don: Al­ex­an­der Stra­han, 1867), pages 312–16, alt. Of Death and Dy­ing.

Music: O Je­su Christ, du höchst­es Gut Jo­hann Crü­ger, 1658 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Johann Crüger (1598–1662)


Lord God! Thou art for ev­er­more
Thy peo­ple’s ha­bi­ta­tion,
And Thou ex­ist­ence hadst be­fore
Was laid the earth’s foun­da­tion!
Ere yet the hills be­gan to be
Thou lived’st in eter­ni­ty,
Of all things the be­gin­ning!

Thou let­test all the crowds of men
Through death’s dark por­tals wan­der,
And bid­dest them return again,
Those oth­ers fol­low yon­der.
With Thee a thou­sand years are aye
Like watch of night or yes­ter­day
When it is gone for ev­er.

Thou let­test the base hosts of men
E’en as a stream be flow­ing,
And as a ship up­on the main
That fa­vor­ing winds are blow­ing,
And as a sleep and dream of night
That when men wake at morn­ing light
They can no more re­mem­ber.

We’re like an herb that ear­ly dies,
Or grass in fields that grow­eth,
That in the morn­ing flour­ish­es,
Ere night the mow­er mow­eth.
So ’tis with man: he blooms to­day,
Tomorrow he is borne away
If but a breath doth touch him!

Because Thy wrath ’gainst us doth glow,
Lord! we so ear­ly van­ish,
And for our sins Thou lay’st us low,
And from Thy face dost ban­ish.
Our sins Thou sett’st be­fore Thine eyes,
Then doth Thine in­dig­na­tion rise
In Thine heart ev­er ho­ly!

This fire it is con­sumes in all
Our bones the mar­row ev­er;
And hence it is that great or small
From death es­cap­eth ne­ver.
And hence our days are pass­ing o’er
Like tales that oft be­guile an hour
And that are soon for­got­ten.

And scarce­ly doth our life on earth
To seven­ty years last ev­en;
And what are all our la­bors worth
If four-score years be giv­en?
What is the sum of all our gain
From youth to age, but toil and pain,
Heart-sor­row and vex­ation?

We’re ever toil­ing full of care,
And ere we do be­think us
To stop our work, lo! death is there,
Into the grave to sink us.
And speed­ily we pass away,
Yet of their end none ev­er stay
To think, nor of God’s an­ger.

O teach us, Lord! to think each day
Upon this earth’s af­flict­ion,
That when we think on death we may
Grow wis­er by re­flect­ion.
Ah! turn on us again Thy face
And be at peace, O God of grace!
With Thy re­bel­lious child­ren.

And ear­ly with Thy mer­cy free
Be soul and body fil­ling,
And late and ear­ly, Lord, may we
Thy glo­ri­ous praise be tell­ing.
O chief­est joy! our hearts now cheer,
And once more give us good times here,
The days have been so ev­il.

We’ve borne the cross these wea­ry years,
Now let Thy sun be shin­ing,
Vouchsafe us laugh­ter af­ter tears,
And plea­sure after pin­ing.
And ever­more, O Lord! make known
Thy works of won­der to Thine own,
Thine hon­or to Thy child­ren.

Be Thou our faith­ful friend and God,
Establish us for ev­er!
And when we err from wis­dom’s road
Give pe­ni­tence and fa­vor!
Turn Thou our hearts again to Thee,
May all our works es­tab­lished be,
Crown all we do with bless­ing!