Friday, December 03, 2010

Make Plain My Pathway Still

O Thou Essential Word
by Catherine Winkworth


O Thou essential Word,
Who wast from the beginning
With God, for Thou wast God;
Thou hope of all the sinning,
Chosen to save our race,
Welcome indeed Thou art,
Redeemer, Fount of grace,
To this my longing heart.

Come, self-existent Word,
And speak Thou in my spirit!
The soul where Thou art heard
Doth endless peace inherit.
Thou Light that lightenest all,
Abide through faith in me,
Nor let me from Thee fall,
And seek no guide but Thee.

Ah! what hath stirred Thy heart,
What cry hath mounted thither,
And reached Thy heavenly throne,
And drawn Thee, Savior, hither?
It was Thy wondrous love,
And my most utter need,
Made Thy compassions move,
Stronger than death indeed.

Then let me give my heart
To Him who loved me, wholly;
And live, while here I dwell,
To show His praises solely;
Yes, Jesus, form anew
This stony heart of mine,
Make it till death still true
To Thee, for ever Thine.

Let nought be left within
But what Thy hand hath planted;
Root out the weeds of sin,
And quell the foe who haunted
My soul, and set the tares;
From Thee comes nothing ill,
O save me from his snares,
Make plain my pathway still.

Thou art the Life, O Lord,
And Thou its Light art only!
Let not Thy blessèd rays
Still leave me dark and lonely.
Star of the East, arise!
Drive all my clouds away,
Till earth’s dim twilight dies
Into the perfect day!

Winkworth, one of the very small handful of hymn-translators to rival John Mason Neale in importance and quality, is here translating a German hymn by Laurentius Laurenti.

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