O God From Thee Doth Wisdom Flow

O God! from Thee doth wisdom flow,
All I can do Thou well dost know;
If Thine own grace doth not sustain,
Then all my labour is in vain.

As shapen in iniquity,
No good by nature can I see;
My heart can never serve Thee right,
In folly it is sunken quite.

Yea, Saviour! I’m too mean and small
To treat Thy law and claims at all;
What for my neighbour’s good may be,
Is hid from and unknown to me,

My life is very short and weak,
A thread, a passing wind may break;
The splendour that the world doth prize
Is vain and worthless in mine eyes.

If earth with all its gifts would dow’r,
And give me honour, fame, and pow’r,
And did I not enjoy Thy light,
Then were I nought, ’twere deepest night.

What use, though much we’ve learned here,
If first we do not learn Thy fear,
And ne’er to serve Thee right attain?
It is more loss to us than gain.

The knowledge men themselves attain
May easily mislead again;
And when our art hath done its best,
On all sides obstacles arrest.

How many ruin now the soul
Through craft, as did Ahithophel,
And come, through ignorance of Thee,
And through their wit, to misery.

O God, my Father! lend an ear,
My supplication deign to hear;
Far from me may such folly be;
A better mind, Lord! give to me.

Give me the Wisdom from above
Thou giv’st to all who truly love,
The wisdom that before Thy throne
For ever shineth in their crown.

I love her lovely face so bright,
She is my joy and heart’s delight,
The fairest is that holdeth me,
Mine eyes she pleaseth wondrously.

She’s noble, and of rarest worth,
From Thee, Most High! derives her birth;
She’s like the Monarch of the day,
Rich gifts and virtues her array.

Her words are sweet and comfort well,
When grief our eyes with tears doth fill;
When ‘neath affliction’s rod we smart,
‘Tis she revives the drooping heart.

She’s full of grace and majesty,
Preserves us from mortality;
Who earnestly to get her strives,
E’en when he’s dying, still he lives.

She’s the Creator’s counsellor,
In deeds and words excels in pow’r;
Through her the blind world knows and sees
What God in heav’n above decrees.

What mortal knows His Maker’s mind?
Who is he that could ever find
The counsel out God hath decreed,
The way wherein He’d have us tread?

The soul upon the earth doth live,
Its heavy burdens sorely grieve,
The faculties distracted be,
From error here are not set free.

What God doth who can e’er explore,
And say what He rejoiceth o’er?
Unless Thou who dost ever live
Dost Thine own wisdom to us give.

Then send her from Thy heav’nly throne,
And give her to Thine handmaid’s son;
Her bountifully, Lord! impart
To the poor dwelling of my heart.

Command her to abide with me,
And my companion aye to be;
Whene’er I labour, may she e’er
Me help my heavy load to bear.

May I be taught by her wise hand
To know and rightly understand
That I to Thee alone may cleave,
According to Thy will may live.

And give to me ability,
To truth may I still open be,
That sour of sweet I never make,
Nor darkness for the light may take.

To Thy word give desire and love,
And true to duty may I prove;
To pious souls join’d may I be,
Take counsel with them constantly.

And may I gladly every man,
By deed and counsel when I can,
To guide and succour ready be,
In truth and in sincerity.

So that in ev’rything I do,
In Thy love I may ever grow;
For who to wisdom doth not give
Himself, unlov’d by Thee must live.

Paul Gerhardt’s Spiritual Songs,