“A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” (438) was written by Pastor Paul Gerhardt, based on St. John 1.29 and Isaiah 53.4-7, and borne out of his suffering in this world, combined with being persecuted for proclaiming the Gospel – “a theologian sifted in Satan’s sieve.”
Once described as “the masterpiece of all Passion hymns,” it is descended to us in quite a truncated form. Originally in 10 stanzas, Lutheran Service Book includes only stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 10. The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) also included stanzas 6 and 9:
From morn to eve my theme shall be
Thy mercy’s wondrous measure;
To sacrifice myself for Thee
Shall be my aim and pleasure.
My stream of life shall ever be
A current flowing ceaselessly,
Thy constant praise outpouring.
I’ll treasure in my memory,
O Lord, all Thou hast done for me,
Thy gracious love adoring.
Of death I am no more afraid,
New life from Thee is flowing;
Thy cross affords me cooling shade
When noonday’s sun is glowing.
When by my grief I am opprest,
On Thee my weary soul shall rest
Serenely as on pillows.
Thou art my Anchor when by woe
My bark is driven to and fro
On trouble’s surging billows.
But you would have to go all way back to the 1912 Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book with Tunes to get the whole hymn (stanzas 4, 5, 7, 8):
Thou lay’st Him, Love, upon the cross,
With nails and spear Him bruising
Thou slay’st Him as a lamb, His loss
From soul and body oozing;
From body ‘tis the crimson flood
Of precious sacrificial blood,
From soul, the strength of anguish.
My gain it is: sweet Lamb to Thee
What can I give whose love to me
For me doth make Thee languish?
Lord, all my life I’ll cleave to Thee,
Thy love fore’er beholding,
Thee ever, as Thou ever me,
With loving arms enfolding.
Yea, Thou shalt be my Beacon-light
To guide me safe through death’s dark night,
And cheer my heart in sorrow;
Henceforth myself and all that’s mine
To Thee, my Savior, I consign,
From whom all things I borrow.
Enlarge, my heart’s own shrine, and swell,
To thee shall now be given
A treasure that doth far excel
The worth of earth and heaven.
Away with the Arabian gold,
With treasures of an earthly mold!
I’ve found a better jewel.
My priceless treasure, Lord, my God,
Is Thy most holy, precious blood,
Which flowed from wounds so cruel.
This treasure ever I’ll employ,
This every aid shall yield me;
In sorrow it shall be my joy,
In conflict it shall shield me;
In joy, the music of my feast,
And when all else has lost its zest,
This manna still shall feed me;
In thirst my drink; in want my food;
My company in solitude,