Christ My Song - 245
Word of Life, eternal Fountain - The Word of Life
(Carl Johann Philipp Spitta/Richard Massie/
Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
The Word of Life.
1. Word of Life, eternal Fountain,
thou dost living strength impart
to the soul that truly seeks thee,
to the faint and longing heart:
so some tender flower of summer,
drooping in the noonday sun,
bends its head, to drink the waters
which beside it softly run.
2. What were earth, if thou wert absent,
but a vale of streams unfed?
What were heaven without thy presence,
but a hall untenanted?
What were life, by thee ungladdened,
but al long protracted death?
What, without thee, would be dying?
Night without the morning's breath.
3. Word of Life, 'tis thine to light us,
but 'tis thine to warn us too;
thou a glorious heaven revealest,
but bring'st also hell to view:
terribly thou wakest sinners
from their dull lethargic rest,
yet thy mercy sweetly covers
sins repented and confessed.
4. Taught by thee, we learn to tremble
at a Judge who all things weighs,
but no less to love a Father,
who bears with the child that strays;
one who gave his own belovèd
for the sin that he reproves,
who in him the sin condemneth,
yet in him the sinner loves.
5. Word of Life, to him that hears thee
thou dost promise heavenly rest;
yet by him alone who keeps thee
shall the jewel be possessed.
Ah, then! I will ever keep thee,
Word of God, the Spirit's sword;
help me here to fight and conquer,
there to reap a bright reward.
Richard Massie, Lyra Domestica I, 1863, 83-84.
Translated from the German Wort des Lebens, lautre Quelle - Das Wort des Lebens
of Carl Johann Philipp Spitta.