My Jesus, if the Seraphim

Representative Text

My Jesus, if the Seraphim,
The burning host that near Thee stand,
Before Thy Majesty are dim,
And veil their face at Thy command,
How shall these mortal eyes, now clouded
And dim with evil's hateful night,
Endure to meet the bliss of light
In which Thy throne is aye enshrouded?

Yet grant the eye of faith, O Lord,
To pierce within the Holy Place,
For I am saved and Thou adored,
If I am quicken'd by Thy grace.
Behold, O King, my soul is bending
In lowly love before Thy throne,
Oh say, "I choose thee for mine own,
With faithful love thy course befriending."

Have mercy, Lord of love, for long
My spirit for Thy mercy sighs,
My inmost soul hath found a tongue,
"Be merciful, O God," she cries!
I know Thou wilt not bid me leave Thee.
Thou canst not show Thyself a foe
To one for whom Thou bar'st such woe,
Whore lost estate so sore could grieve Thee.

Then let Thy wisdom, be my guide,
Nor take Thy light from me away,
Thy grace be ever at my side,
That from Thy path I may not stray;
But feeling that Thy hand is o'er me,
In steadfast faith my course fulfil,
And keep Thy word, and do Thy will,
Thy love within, Thy heaven before me!

Reach down and arm me with Thy hand,
And strengthen me with inner might,
That I through faith may strive and stand
Though craft and force against me fight;
That so may through me and within me
The kingdom of Thy love be spread,
That honours Thee, our glorious Head,
And once a crown of light shall win me.

To Thee I rise in faith on high,
O bend Thou down in love to me!
Let nothing rob me of this joy,
That all my soul is fill'd with Thee;
As long as here I live, yea longer,
Thee will I honour, fear, and love,
For when this heart hath ceas'd to move
Than Death itself Thy Love is stronger.

Source: Chorale Book for England, The #67

Author: Wolfgang Christoph Dessler

Dessler, Wolfgang Christoph, son of Nicolaus Dessler, jeweller, at Nürnberg, was born at Nürnberg, Feb. 11, 1660. His father wished him to become a goldsmith, but, as he was not physically suited for this, he was permitted to begin the study of theology at the University of Altdorf. His poverty and bodily weakness forced him to leave before completing his course, and, returning to Nurnberg, he supported himself there as a proof reader. Becoming acquainted with Erasmus Finx or Francisci, then residing in Nürnberg, he was employed by Finx as his amanuensis, and at his request translated many foreign religious works into German. In 1705 he was appointed Conrector of the School of the Holy Ghost at Nürnberg, where he laboured with zeal and… Go to person page >

Translator: Catherine Winkworth

Catherine Winkworth (b. Holborn, London, England, 1827; d. Monnetier, Savoy, France, 1878) is well known for her English translations of German hymns; her translations were polished and yet remained close to the original. Educated initially by her mother, she lived with relatives in Dresden, Germany, in 1845, where she acquired her knowledge of German and interest in German hymnody. After residing near Manchester until 1862, she moved to Clifton, near Bristol. A pioneer in promoting women's rights, Winkworth put much of her energy into the encouragement of higher education for women. She translated a large number of German hymn texts from hymnals owned by a friend, Baron Bunsen. Though often altered, these translations continue to be used i… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: My Jesus, if the Seraphim
German Title: Mein Jesu, dem die Seraphinen
Author: Wolfgang Christoph Dessler (1692)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


Mein Jesu dem die Seraphinen. [Ascension.] Founded on Jeremiah x. 7. First published 1692, as above, p. 348, along with Meditation xii., which is entitled "Christ's kingly and unapproachable glory.” Thence as No. 278 in Freylinghausen's Gesang-Buch, 1704, and recently as No. 422 in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, in 8 stanzas of 8 lines. Translated as:—
My Jesus, if the seraphim, a good and full translation " by Miss Winkworth in the 2nd series of her Lyra Germanica, 1858, p. 50; and thence, unaltered, in Schaff's Christ in Song, 1869, p. 342. In her Choral Book for England, 1863, No. 67, stanzas iv., vii., were omitted, and the rest altered in metre ; and thence as No. 141 in J. L. Porter's Collection, 1876.
Other translations are: (i) “O Jesu! 'fore whose radiation," by J. Gambold, as No. 623 in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754 (1886, No. 312). (2) "My Saviour, whom in heavenly places," in J. Sheppard's Foreign Sacred Lyre, 1857, p. 78.

--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)



Instances (1 - 5 of 5)
TextPage Scan

Chorale Book for England, The #67

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Christ in Song #342

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Lyra Germanica #S2-26

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Offices of Worship and Hymns #992

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The Liturgy and the Offices of Worship and Hymns of the American Province of the Unitas Fratrum, or the Moravian Church #992

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