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Passion Week

At the Foot of the Cross.


O Welt, sich hier dein Leben

Paul Gerhardt. 1659.

Oh, world! behold upon the tree

Thy Life is hanging now for thee,

Thy Saviour yields His dying breath;

The mighty Prince of glory now

For thee doth unresisting bow

To cruel stripes, to scorn and death.

Draw near, O world, and mark Him well;

Behold the drops of blood that tell

How sore His conflict with the foe:

And hark! how from that noble heart,

Sigh after sigh doth slowly start

From depths of yet unfathom'd woe.

Alas! my Saviour, who could dare

Bid Thee such bitter anguish bear,

What evil heart entreat Thee thus?

For Thou art good, hast wronged none,

As we and ours too oft have done,

Thou hast not sinn'd, dear Lord, like us.

I and my sins, that number more

Than yonder sands upon the shore,

Have brought to pass this agony;

'Tis I have caused the floods of woe

That now Thy dying soul o'erflow,

And those sad hearts that watch by Thee.


'Tis I to whom these pains belong,

'Tis I should suffer for my wrong,

Bound hand and foot in heavy chains;

The scourge, the fetters, whatsoe'er

Thou bearest, 'tis my soul should bear,

For she hath well deserved such pains.

Yet Thou dost even for my sake

On Thee in love the burdens take

That weigh'd my spirit to the ground:

Yes, Thou art made a curse for me,

That I might yet be blest through Thee;

My healing in Thy wounds is found.

To save me from the monster's power,

From Death that all things would devour,

Thyself into his jaws dost leap;

My death Thou takest thus away,

And buriest in Thy grave for aye,

O love most strangely true and deep!

From henceforth there is nought of mine

But I would seek to make it Thine,

Since all myself to Thee I owe.

Whate'er my utmost powers can do,

To Thee to render service true,

Here at Thy feet I lay it low.

Ah! little have I, Lord, to give,

So poor, so base the life I live,

But yet, till soul and body part,


This one thing I will do for Thee--

The woe, the death endured for me,

I'll cherish in my inmost heart.

Thy cross shall be before my sight,

My hope, my joy, by day and night,

Whate'er I do, where'er I rove;

And, gazing, I will gather thence

The form of spotless innocence,

The seal of faultless truth and love.

And from Thy sorrows will I learn

How fiercely doth God's anger burn,

How terribly His thunders roll,

How sorely this our loving God

Can smite with His avenging rod,

How deep His floods o'erwhelm the soul.

And I will study to adorn

My heart with meekness under scorn,

With gentle patience in distress,

With faithful love, that yearning cleaves

To those o'er whom to death it grieves,

Whose sins its very soul oppress.

When evil tongues with stinging blame

Would cast dishonour on my name,

I'll curb the passions that upstart;

And take injustice patiently,

And pardon, as Thou pardon'st me,

With an ungrudging generous heart.


And I will nail me to Thy cross,

And learn to count all things but dross

Wherein the flesh doth pleasure take;

Whate'er is hateful in Thine eyes,

With all the strength that in me lies,

Will I cast from me and forsake.

Thy heavy groans, Thy bitter sighs,

The tears that from Thy dying eyes

Were shed when Thou wast sore oppress'd,

Shall be with me, when at the last

Myself on Thee I wholly cast,

And enter with Thee into rest.

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