Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in His ways. For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Psalm 128:1–3
Words: Paul Gerhardt (Wie schön ists doch, Herr Jesu Christ, im Stande heilger Ehe). First published in Ebeling’s edition of his Geistliche Andachten Vierte Dutzet, 1666, number 38. Translated from German to English by John Kelly, Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs (London: Alexander Strahan, 1867), pages 307–11:
Song of Consolation for Married Christians.
If you know where to get a good photo of Kelly (head & shoulders, at least 200×300 pixels),
Oh, Jesus Christ! how bright and fair
The state of holy marriage where
Thy blessing rich is given!
What gracious gifts Thou dost bestow,
What streams of blessing ever flow
Down from Thy holy Heaven,
When they true stay
To Thee ever, leave Thee never,
Whose troth plighted,
In one life have been united.
When man and wife are mated well,
In harmony together dwell,
Are faithful to each other,
The streams of bliss flow constantly;
What bliss of angels is on high
From hence may we discover;
No storm, no worm
Can destroy it, can e’er gnaw it,
What God giveth
To the pair that in Him liveth.
He giveth of His grace the boon,
And in its bosom late and soon
His own beloved He keepeth;
His arms He daily spreadeth o’er,
Guards as a father by His power,
Us and our house, nor sleepeth,
Still we must be
Here and thither roaming ever,
Till He gives us
Pious homes, and thus relieves us.
The husband’s like a goodly tree
Whose branches spread so fair and free;
The wife a vine that giveth
Much fruit, and nurtures what it bears;
Whose fruit increaseth with the years,
Fruit that remains and liveth.
Jewel, all hail!
Husband’s treasure! house’s pleasure!
Crown of honor!
On His throne God thinketh on her.
O wife! the Lord hath chosen thee
That from thy womb brought forth should be
The folk His church that buildeth;
His wondrous work goes on for aye,
The mighty word His mouth doth say,
What thou beholdest, yieldeth;
Sons fair stand there,
Daughters sitting, working, knitting,
And with art time wisely winning.
Be of good cheer, it was not we
Who first this order did decree,
It was a higher Father,
Who loved and loveth us for aye,
And from whose lips when grieved each day
We friendly counsel gather;
Good end He’ll send,
What we’re doing and pursuing,
Wise and happy issue giving.
A time will come, it cannot fail,
When we ’neath trials sore shall quail,
And tears be freely flowing;
To him who bears it patiently,
By God’s grace shall his sorrow be
Turned into joy o’erflowing;
Toil now, wait thou,
He arriveth who rest giveth,
Who can ever
Banish care and soon deliver.
Come hither, then, my king so blessed!
In trials guide, in pain give rest,
In anxious times relieving!
To Thee we shall ascribe the praise,
Our hearts and voices we shall raise
In one loud song, thanks giving,
Till we with Thee
Ever dwelling, and fulfilling,
They will ever,
Thy name cease to praise shall never.