06 November 2010

Was gibst du denn, o meine Seele (st. 2)

Ever wonder why some hymns in our hymnals appear as "centos" or "abbreviated" and not in full? Is it always only to save space? Sometimes, perhaps, but sometimes not. Sometimes there are just weak stanzas of paltry (or bad) doctrinal substance—shades and shells, if we can borrow Lochner's language. They throw the conscience into doubt, and obfuscate pure doctrine. In some cases, one wonders, then, why the whole hymn is not omitted, if a part of it is patently weak, and space thereby made for other good hymns to be more fully represented. Here is one case, ELHB #345, TLH #404. See if you can guess which words and thoughts are missing:

Soul, What Return Has God, Thy Savior (st. 2)

What are those works of form external,
Which have no substance inwardly?
Mere shades, and shells without a kernel―
Begone such vain hypocrisy!
The devil after such enquires,
But God the heart alone desires.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2010.

2. Was sind die bloße aussen-Werke,
Wann sie dem Herzen unbekandt?
Nur Wolken, Spruer, Schalen, Quärke,
Weg mit dem öden Heucheltand!
Der Satan wählet solchen Schein:
Gott aber will das Herz allein.

1 comment:

rk said...

As they stand, isn't it the thought of the four verses found in TLH this?--that God desires my heart's love and affection in response to redemption in Christ, more than He desires mere works? Which is true.
While the omitted verse carries the thought one step further in that it says, or at least implies, that once God has my heart, the works are not important. Which is false.
On another note, I grant that in the TLH fourth verse, Lochner's German is not reflected very well. But, be that as it may, with the English "Whom should I give my heart's affection But Thee, who givest Thine to faith?" does not the English word "faith" have to mean here "God's faithfulness, loyalty"--God's continued faithfulness to us? Yes, nicht wahr?