Out of the depths I cry to Thee, O Lord. Psalm 130:1
Words: Martin Luther, 1523 (Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir). Translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica, 1862, pages 69–70, and, in updated form, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, number 40.
[This] is a version of Psalm cxxx, which Luther called a Pauline Psalm, and greatly loved. He took special pains with his version. It was sung on May 9, 1525, at the funeral of Friedrich the Wise, in the Court Church at Wittenberg.
The people of Halle sang it with tears in their eyes as the great Reformer’s coffin passed through their city on the way to the grave at Wittenberg. It is woven into the religious life of Germany.
In 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Luther’s heart was often sore troubled, but he would say, ‘Come, let us defy the devil and praise God by singing a hymn.’ Then he would begin, ‘Out of the depths I cry to Thee.’ It was sung at his funeral.
Telford, p. 307
Out of the depths I cry to Thee;
Lord, hear me, I implore Thee!
Bend down Thy gracious ear to me;
I lay my sins before Thee.
If Thou rememberest each misdeed,
If each should have its rightful meed,
Who may abide Thy presence?
Thou grantest pardon through Thy love;
Thy grace alone availeth;
Our works could ne’er our guilt remove;
Yea, e’en the best life faileth.
For none may boast himself of aught,
But must confess Thy grace hath wrought
Whate’er in him is worthy.
And thus my hope is in the Lord,
And not in my own merit;
I rest upon His faithful Word
To them of contrite spirit.
That He is merciful and just,
Here is my comfort and my trust;
His help I wait with patience.
And though it tarry till the night,
And round till morning waken,
My heart shall ne’er mistrust His might,
Nor count itself forsaken.
Do thus, O ye of Israel’s seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed,
Wait for our God’s appearing.
Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth;
Our kind and faithful Shepherd, He
Who shall at last set Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow.