A true witness delivereth souls. Proverbs 14:25
Words: Johann J. Winkler, in Porst’s Gesangbuch, 1708, page 1133 (Sollt ich aus Furcht vor Menschenkindern). Translated from German to English by John Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739.
Music: Hamburg Lowell Mason, 1824. First published in The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection of Church Music, third edition, 1825 (🔊 pdf nwc).
Shall I, for fear of feeble man,
The Spirit’s course in me restrain?
Or, undismayed, in deed and word
Be a true witness for my Lord?
Awed by a mortal’s frown, shall I
Conceal the Word of God most high?
How then before Thee shall I dare
To stand, or how Thine anger bear?
Shall I, to soothe the unholy throng,
Soften Thy truths, and smooth my tongue,
To gain earth’s gilded toys, or flee
The cross, endured, my God, by Thee?
What then is he whose scorn I dread,
Whose wrath or hate makes me afraid?
A man! an heir of death! a slave
To sin! a bubble on the wave!
Yea, let men rage, since Thou wilt spread
Thy shadowing wings around my head;
Since in all pain Thy tender love
Will still my sure refreshment prove.
Savior of men, Thy searching eye
Doth all my inmost thoughts descry;
Doth aught on earth my wishes raise,
Or the world’s pleasures, or its praise?
The love of Christ doth me constrain
To seek the wandering souls of men;
With cries, entreaties, tears, to save,
To snatch them from the gaping grave.
For this let men revile my name.
No cross I shun, I fear no shame,
All hail, reproach, and welcome, pain!
Only Thy terrors, Lord, restrain.
My life, my blood, I here present,
If for Thy truth they may be spent,
Fulfill Thy sovereign counsel, Lord!
Thy will be done, Thy name adored!
Give me Thy strength, O God of power;
Then let winds blow, or thunders roar,
Thy faithful witness will I be:
’Tis fixed; I can do all through Thee!