Hymn: Thou Hidden Love of God

By Gerhard Tersteegen 1697–1769 Gerhard Tersteegen

Translated By John Wesley

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.

Thy secret voice invites me still,
      The sweetness of thy yoke to prove:
And fain I would: but tho’ my will
      Seem 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 wand’ring soul shall see;
O when shall all my wand’rings 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 ev’ry motion there;
Then shall my heart from earth be free,
When it hath 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 sov’reign aid impart,
      To save me from low-thoughted care:
Chase this self-will thro’ all my heart,
      Thro’ 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, be all my choice.

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Poet Gerhard Tersteegen 1697–1769

POET’S REGION Germany

Subjects Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Gerhard Tersteegen was born in Moers, Prussia, in 1697. His father died when he was young, and after studying the classics, Tersteegen was apprenticed to a merchant, He worked as a merchant before taking up weaving, an occupation that allowed him more time for his devotional studies and hymn writing. Self-taught in his religious studies and aligned with mystics rather than the Reform Church of Germany, Tersteegen worked as an . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Faith & Doubt, Religion, Christianity, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION Germany

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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