When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return. Job 16:22
Words: August H. Francke, Schrifftmässige Anweisung Recht und Gott Wolgefällig zu Beten (Halle, Germany: 1695), page 534 (Gottlob ein Schritt zur Ewigkeit). Translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica (London & New York: George Newnes & Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1855), pages 206–08.
Music: Goma Lowell Mason, 1837. Adapted by Richard W. Adams, July 23, 2019 (public domain) (🔊 pdf nwc).
Composed on his journey to Gotha after his unjust expulsion from Erfurt; as we are told in the oration delivered at his grave,in the full experience of the unspeakable consolations of the Holy Spirit.
Catherine Winkworth, 1855
Thank God that towards eternity
Another step is won!
O longing turns my heart to Thee
As time flows slowly on,
Thou Fountain whence my life is born,
Whence those rich streams of grace are drawn
That through my being run!
I count the hours, the days, the years,
That stretch in tedious line,
Until, O Life, that hour appears,
When, at Thy touch divine,
Whate’er is mortal now in me
Shall be consumed for aye in Thee,
And deathless life be mine.
So glows Thy love within this frame,
That, touched with keenest fire,
My whole soul kindles in the flame
Of one intense desire,
To be in Thee, and Thou in me,
And e’en while yet on earth to be
Still pressing closer, nigher!
Oh that I soon might Thee behold!
I count the moments o’er;
Ah come, ere yet my heart grows cold
And cannot call Thee more!
Come in Thy glory, for Thy bride
Hath girt her for the holy-tide,
And waiteth at the door.
And since Thy Spirit sheds abroad
The oil of grace in me,
And Thou art inly near me, Lord,
And I am lost in Thee,
So shines in me the living Light,
And steadfast burns my lamp and bright,
To greet Thee joyously.
Come! is the voice, then, of Thy bride,
She loudly prays Thee come!
With faithful heart she long hath cried,
Come quickly, Jesus, come!
Come, O my Bridegroom, Lamb of God,
Thou knowest I am Thine, my Lord;
Come down and take me home.
Yet be the hour that none can tell
Left wholly to Thy choice,
Although I know Thou lov’st it well,
That I with heart and voice
Should bid Thee come, and from this day
Care but to meet Thee on Thy way,
And at Thy sight rejoice!
I joy that from Thy love divine
No power can part me now,
That I may dare to call Thee mine,
My friend, my Lord, avow,
That I, O Prince of Life, shall be
Made wholly one in Heav’n with Thee,
My portion, Lord, art Thou!
And therefore do my thanks o’erflow,
That one more year is gone,
And of this time, so poor, so slow,
Another step is won;
And, with a heart that may not wait,
Toward yonder distant golden gate
I journey gladly on.
And when the wearied hands grow weak,
And wearied knees give way,
To sinking faith, O quickly speak,
And make Thine arm my stay;
That so my heart drink in new strength,
And I speed on, nor feel the length
Nor steepness of the way.
Then on, my soul, with fearless faith,
Let naught thy terror move;
Nor aught that earthly pleasure saith
E’er tempt thy steps to rove;
If slow thy course seem o’er the waste,
Mount upwards with the eagles’ haste,
On wings of tireless love.
O Jesus, all my soul hath flown
Already up to Thee,
For Thou, in whom is love alone,
Hast wholly conquered me.
Farewell ye phantoms, day and year,
Eternity is round me here,
Since, Lord, I live in Thee.