Christ My Song - 144
In vain thou seekest in thyself to find - Rest in God
(Carl Johann Philipp Spitta/Richard Massie/
Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
Rest in God.
1. In vain thou seekest in thyself to find
light, life, and joy, or any lasting peace;
return to God, seek him with all thy mind,
the one true source of life and happiness.
Return to him, poor erring child of man,
where first thy being and thy life began,
let all thy longings be to him addressed,
then and then only shalt thou find true rest.
2. But ah! thou canst not go to him, for see,
a mighty wall of separation stands
built up by sin between thy God and thee;
behold, thy Saviour stretches out his hands,
and opens to thee through his precious blood
a way of peace and access to thy God:
he, who broke down that wall and sets thee free,
hath borne thy guilt and thy iniquity.
3. Lo, thy Creator gave thee life at first,
thy Saviour doth a second life bestow;
he gives thee water to assuage thy thirst,
a guide to lead thee through this vale of woe;
his Spirit giveth sight unto the blind,
peace to the heart and clearness to the mind,
new strength and motives virtue to pursue,
the love of God, and heaven itself in view.
4. Behold thee now returned to thy true rest!
Through the thin veil of time thy joyful eyes
discern the happy mansions of the blessed,
and heaven's bright walls in dim perspective rise.
In fear no longer of a Father's rod,
thou feel'st that thou art reconciled to God,
and, though thy troubles do not wholly cease,
hast a sweet foretaste of thy future bliss.
5. Then seek not here in vain a resting place,
nor in thyself expect to find repose;
such seeking only aggravates thy case,
and is embittered with a thousand woes;
such seeking wearies, but can not impart
the peace it longs for to the aching heart;
sleep may weigh down the eyes by care oppressed,
but heavy slumber is not peaceful rest.
6. Cradle an infant on the softest bed,
soothe it with songs of lullaby to rest,
more gently will it lay its little head,
more sweetly slumber on its mother's breast;
where the first draught of health and life it found,
there will its sleep be sweet, its slumber sound;
return, my soul, to God, thine only rest,
then and then only art thou truly blessed.
Richard Massie, Lyra Domestica I, 1863, 36-37.
Translated from the German Aus dir selber strebst du nur vergebens - Ruhe in Gott
of Carl Johann Philipp Spitta.