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Divine Love

From the German.2424This translation from Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769) was made by Wesley while he was at Savannah, in 1736, and printed in “Psalms and Hymns,” 1738. The original, beginning “Verborgne Gottes Liebe du”, may be found in the Herrnhuth Collection, 1737, p. 483. That translation agrees with this, except in v. 4, where we read:Ah tear it thence, that Thou aloneMay’st reign unrivall’d Monarch there:From earthly loves I must be freeEre I can find repose in Thee. But after the ever-memorable 24th of May, 1738, Wesley knew “the way of God more perfectly;” and wrote as in the text. In a final revision for the “Large Hymn-Book,” 1780, he changed “Be” in v.2, l.4, into “Seem,” and made the closing couplet of v.8 precatory, in accordance with the two preceding, by changing “is” in the last line into “be.”

Thou hidden love of God, whose height,

Whose depth unfathom’d no man knows,

I see from far Thy beauteous light,

Inly I sigh for Thy repose.

My heart is pain’d, nor can it be

At rest, till it finds rest in Thee.2525Comp. Augustine’s Confessions, I., i.

Thy secret voice invites me still

The sweetness of Thy yoke to prove;

And fain I would but though my will

Be fix’d, yet wide my passions rove.

Yet hindrances strew all the way;

I aim at Thee, yet from Thee stray.

’Tis mercy all, that Thou hast brought

My mind to seek her peace in Thee;

Yet while I seek, but find Thee not,

No peace my wandering soul shall see.

O, when shall all my wanderings end,

And all my steps to Thee-ward tend?

Is there a thing beneath the sun

That strives with Thee my heart to share?

Ah, tear it thence, and reign alone,

The Lord of every motion there:

Then shall my heart from earth be free,

When it has found repose in Thee.

O, hide this SELF from me, that I

No more, but CHRIST in me may live!

My vile affections crucify,

Nor let one darling lust survive.

In all things nothing may I see,

Nothing desire or seek but Thee!

O LOVE, Thy sovereign aid impart,

To save me from low-thoughted care:

Chase this self-will through all my heart,

Through all its latent mazes there.

Make me Thy duteous child, that I

Ceaseless may, “Abba, Father,” cry.

Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:

Thine wholly, Thine alone I am!

Thrice happy he who views with scorn

Earth’s toys, for Thee his constant flame.

O, help, that I may never move

From the blest footsteps of Thy love!

Each moment draw from earth away

My heart, that lowly waits Thy call

Speak to my inmost soul, and say,

“I am thy Love, thy God, thy All!”

To feel Thy power, to hear Thy voice,

To taste Thy love is all my choice!

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