Thou Art a Man

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 2
From the German of " Paul Gerhardt."
Thou art a man! this, known to thee,
Why strivest thou beyond thy strength?
What God designs alone shall be,
His work and word fulfilled at length.
Wisdom and wit thou dost combine
A thousand cares to claim as thine,
Thinking of what may happen thee,
Before thy course completed be.
It is in vain, thou can'st indeed,
Not by thy over-anxious thought,
Divert the purposes decreed;
Not one hair's-breadth can'st vary aught.
Thy sorrow serves, when once distressed,
Only to rob of proper rest,
Plunges thy soul, in woe and pain,
Short'ning the days which might remain.
Wilt thou perform what God delights,
And thus thy soul's true good increase?
Roll all thy care, as He invites,
On Him who only can give peace.
Place all thy need in God's own hands,
'Tis only He who understands
A happy issue how to send:
To Him thy life and. ways commend.
Who looked on thee when close concealed
Thou wast within thy mother's womb?
Ere that thy soul, to life revealed,
Reposed as dormant in the tomb.
Who watched thee then with constant care
What could thy might accomplish there,
'Twas strength Divine, with blessings rife,
That fashioned thee and gave thee life.
Say whence thine eye and vision came,
Whose power defined thy bones within?
What artist's skill contrived thy frame,
And covered it with beauteous skin.
Who placed thy veins so neatly laid,
So orderly to each conveyed,
Thy limbs arrayed in comely grace,
Who gave to every part its place?
Where was thine heart, thy will, thy mind,
When heaven's curtain opened wide,
Who form'd the land? the sea defined?
And the remotest bound beside?
Who brought the sun and moon to view,
The herbage, tree, and creature too?
Bid them thy pleasure to fulfill,
Obey thy heart's desire and will I
Lift up thine head and look around,
Gaze well beneath, behold above!
See how God's hand is ever found,
And ever manifest His love!
Before thy being, God did care
Both food and clothing to prepare,
To meet thy need the milk should be,
Ere that thou cam'st, all there for thee.
The garments which should swathe thy form,
Thy cradle, chamber, and thy rest,
The roof to shelter thee from storm,
Ere folded on thy mother's breast,
Before thine eyes had seen the light,
Or gazed around with vision bright,
Or knew what in the world might be,
Were all things fore-prepared for thee.
And yet thou wilt be led by sight,
Guided by that which thou dost see,
And trust alone in the vain light,
Which manifests itself to thee.
What thou beginnest thou wilt own,
As clear and right, and that alone,
What fathomless to sense appears,
Occasions in thee endless fears.
Now mark it well, how all thy schemes,
And cherish'd longings came to naught,.
Thy fondest wish and brightest dreams,
Were oft with disappointment fraught.
And then again events took place
Which human skill could never trace,
Or sense or reason ere devise,
To fill thy heart with such surprise.
How oft wast thou in deepest need,
Through thine own will and wish ensnared,
Thy blinded mind had death, indeed,
Instead of life for thee prepared;
It would have cost thee sad remorse,
Had but thy God allowed the course
In which thy purpose sought to run,
And left thee ruined and undone.
But He whose love no thought can bound,
Our sorrow into gladness turns,
Maketh that right which we confound,
Though all our folly He discerns.
His inward love constrains Him so
To us poor sinners here below,
That with a tender Father's care,
His children His compassion share.
And oh I how oft He holds His peace,
Yet doing all for our true gain,
Though the poor heart will never cease
To sit in grief and anxious pain.
Looks here and there, and nothing finds,
Will see, and yet the darkness blinds,
Would fain escape into the day,
Attempts, but cannot find the way.
But God pursues His counsels deep,
In His wise way His end performs,
Hushes the boisterous winds to sleep,
Guides to the port, away from storms.
And bye and bye, when all is done,
The battle over, victory won,
Then man beholds Who ruled throughout,
His purposes to bring about.
Therefore, dear heart, fresh courage take,
Nor fret thyself with anxious care,
God has a heart ever awake,
And will what's best for thee prepare.
He wont forget—believe, and learn,
His inward bowels to thee yearn,
He calls thee by endearing names,
Thy very need His love inflames.
He burns and glows with truth and grace,
And thou can'st therefore well suppose,
How strength with strength He can replace;
Though oft we mar our own repose,
Taking such weight of carking care
As well might drive us to despair,
As if it was, beyond debate,
He followed us with scorn and hate.
Put far from thee at once the thought,
Nor yield to grief, which robs thy peace,
Whate'er He does is what He ought,
Though it no present joys increase.
That which thy Father, God, doth see
For thee most good, alone shall be,
What does His mind and will content,
No human power may prevent.
Do as a child, and quiet be,
Within thy loving Father's arms,
Beseech His fostering care for thee,
His mercy which thy bosom warms.
So will He by His Spirit lead
In ways unknown to thee indeed,
But thy well-ordered conflicts o'er!
Bring thee where sorrows are no more.
" Our business it is to treasure up the Word; it is the Spirit's to bring it forth out of the store-house, and to apply it. Have you renewed your strength, to-day, out of God's word? How know you what fiery darts Satan may aim at you? Or what will be needed to quench them? One little text, held as God's own word, is oft a panoply against infidelity in the day of battle."
" What a difference it makes which side the Jordan one lives! How different the climate, fruit, prospects, etc. When once the Jordan is crossed, then, too, 'tis the Lord's battles, and not one's own."
I, SAW, in the right hand of Him
Who sat upon the throne in Heaven,
A volume writ without, within,
And closely seals—the seals were seven.
A mighty angel loudly cried,
"Who is of worth to take the book,
" Unloose the seals, unroll it wide,
" And on its hidden pages look?"
But there was none in heaven, or earth,
Or underneath to fix upon,
Who could be deem'd to be of worth
To take the book, or look thereon.
Then wept I much, in grief of soul,
To think there could be found no man.
Of worth sufficient to unroll
The volume, or its writing scan.
" Weep not," an Elder said, "nor wail;
"The Lion of Judah's royal house,
" The Root of David, shall prevail
" To ope the book, the seals unloose."
Then I beheld, and saw appear,
Amidst the Throne, amidst the Four,
Amidst the Elders gather'd there,
A wondrous sight, unseen before.
As though it had been slain, there stood
A Lamb, seven-horned and seven-eyed;
Eyes, the seven spirits of our God,
Sent forth throughout earth's boundaries wide.
Then came the Lamb, and straightway took,
Of Him that sat upon the throne,
From His right hand the seven-seal'd book,
To make its hidden contents known.
And when the mystic book was ta'en,
Elders and living creatures all,
Before the Lamb that had been slain,
With one accord did prostrate fall.
Harps had they all of music rare,
And golden vials of perfume,
Whose odor was the earnest prayer
Of saints from out this world of gloom.
They sang a new and thrilling strain-
" Worthy art Thou the book to take,
"And loose the seals, for Thou vast slain
" A sacrifice for sinners' sake.
" And hast redeem'd us by Thy blood
" From every country, people, tongue,
" And made us kings and priests to God,
" And we shall reign on earth ere long."
Then I beheld, and heard the sound
Of thousands upon thousands more;
Yea, countless angels gather'd round
The Throne, the Elders, and the Four.
Saying, as they the voice upheave,
" Worthy the Lamb that once was slain,
"Power, riches, wisdom, to receive,
"And honor, glory, blessing gain!"
And all the spacious heavens contain,
And all on earth, and all beneath,
And all within the vasty main,
Yea, every creature that hath breath,
Heard I with one accordant tone,
Say, "Blessing, honor, glory, power,
" To Him that sits upon the Throne,
”And to' the Lamb for evermore!"
"Amen!" the living creatures say;
Amen!" a confirmation gives;
And prostrate Elders worship pay
To Him who ever, ever lives.