The Lamenting Voice of the Hidden Love
at the time when she lay in misery and forsaken and oppressed by the multitude of her enemies
Composed by one in kumber.
Pennsylvania in America 1705
Of the Wilderness of the Secret or Private Virgin Cross Love
The friend came to see Johannes in his recesses
In quiet solitude in lonesome wildernesses.
For he was deadly sick and lonesome day by day,
For joy to see his friend, he fainted quite away.
The friend embraced him with trying to relieve him,
Though ‘twas a pretty while before John could perceive him.
Johannes, says the friend, I know what troubles thee.
What make thee sick, ‘tis love, which now thou canst not see.
And since thou canst not now as formerly enjoy her,
So wilt thou now in grief and floods of tears despair.
Thou thinkst the first love last, and from the former path,
And that the Lord doth now chastise thee in His wrath.
I love, replied John, and can’t therefrom defend me.
This life-consuming fire, yet strive with doubt to mend me.
Since my unworthiness and my unfaithful wife,
The mountain of my sins still comes before my eyes.
And Oh! How can I be so bold, this Grace to do me?
That I do love deserve, or yet incline unto me.
The high and holy mind such favors me to do;
Polluted as I am should yet be gracious, too.
I, who the first love have most shamefully forsaken,
And in trying times, the right way has mistaken,
The best of all my works, with self-love chiefly (thanked?)
My then despised foe has therefore now me fixed.
How lie I here ensnared and in my grief entangled.
My soul doth wish with Job’s to be but only strangled.
I sinned have and what shall I do unto thee,
Preserver of Mankind, is there no rest for me?
So it is, replied the friend, as I have said, thou lovest
And since experience thou want, thou sadly (havest?)
Thou knows’t the hand not which thee secretly protects
Thou knows’t the Mother not, who thee in love corrects.
Since privately thou loves, to private grief thou art bidden,
Since thou seest not the sun, thou from thy self art hidden,
Yet in similitudes I’ll paint thyself to thee…,
That thy distressed soul somewhat refreshed may be.
This secret love is likened to sharp-pointed weapons,
Which inward everywhere does wound thee, as now happens,
But when out of thy self, thy lover thou shall wound,
Then will thy body be, with soul and spirit found.
The secret Jesus love is like one deeply wounded,
Whose inward bleeding flux, deep in the heart is founded.
Nothing can ease this pain and nought can give it rest,
Until it’s into the heart of its beloved pressed.
Think, said he, on the stream, which by its silent flowing
And stillness of its ebb, its depth thereby is showing.
So can the ground of love at once not (will) be seen
Until the sun’s bright beams, just over it has been.
Consider previous gold, how deep it lies infused
In the bowels of the earth and shall it once be used
So must it through the fire, its greatest heart be born
Then may it after be as crown and scepter worn.
How sweet wine must ferment, thou mayest thy self be thinking,
Before the faces can be to the bottom sinking.
How long it lies stopped up, before it springs in the glass
Before it nectar-like, the heart and mind rejoice.
Think upon thy own heart, the fountain of thy being
Its motion may be felt, but never was known by seeing.
So will the love without, be secret and unknown
But in the inward part, her sevenfold fire is blown.
Think on all kind of roots, how in the earth they flourish,
And therein seek their food, the plant and seed to nourish.
So covered groweth love, as all her fruits do show.
And is not hindred by heat, winter, frost, or snow.
Consider the sunflower, in dark and cloudy weather,
How faithfully she turns her face to her dear lover.
Until she’s pregnant grown and bears like him a seed,
Then rests she and does bow in gratitude her head.
See the sensitive plant, how if it be but touched,
It straightway sheds its seed, although the pod be couched.
It will by heaven’s dew be touched quite alone,
And only looked upon, but by the shining sun.
Consider virgin love, how chaste and clean it gloweth;
How strong yet secret still, so that person knoweth;
No, not her dear himself, she blushes her bashful face
And speechless quite she is when he doth her embrace.
How grieveth she he self, when she cannot espy him;
He soul is filled with woe, because she is not by him;
She grieves, she longs, she hopes, she fears, she frights, she faints,
And yet her only dear, unknown does cause these complaints.
Unworthy thinks she her, to be by him beloved,
Whom in esteem she hold the best that ever moved.
The more she him regards, the less she thinks of her
And her own virtues she does never think on more.
His stature’s he delight, her life is in his living,
Her love into his love, she only will be giving.
When he lives not content, her life does want its breath
Thinks she, he loves her not, she grieves herself to death.
Her only thinking is how she may please him better,
And what she sees and hears, must as his echo meet her.
How joyous springs she then, but when she does behold,
And see her self alone, she thinks herself befooled.
This grieves her heartily, that she’s become so foolish,
And that by means of love, her hopes will now grow coolish.
She now grows deadly sick; naught helps or strengthens her.
But only her dear love, if she could see him near.
Think on a mother’s state; in what a private manner
Even to herself unknown, her fruit she feedeth in her,
Her (chaste?) heart needs will hide, when she is pregnant grown,
She will in secret be, with mother’s care alone.
And to the latest hour, before she is delivered,
She gives her courage lost and from all hope is severed.
She thinkest on no joy, but trouble, fear, and pain.
But anguish, grief, and ‘plaint, is over and over again.
Think on the Lord Himself, the author of thy being,
How he near thirty years did keep from vulgar seeings,
His converse was with God, not minded by the Jews,
Nor is it yet well known, know he this time did use.
Think on his agony, the scripture only names it;
And self experience, the best of all explains it.
How in his greatest need, his Father him forsook,
To cast him down to hell, he this occasion took.
He bids thee follow him, but not to go before him
Here on the Cross and There, on his right hand adore him.
Yet forceth he no man, each one may will or no
Therefore make now thy choice, whilst thou art here below.
Why now so full of thoughts. Wilt thou yet make election?
Johann, I tell thee free, make thereof no reflection.
Thou hangest now on the cross; take care and come not down,
Hear the Jewish call, be faithful, win the Crown!
Give up thyself to God! He yet will bind the faster
Than he has ever done; Think not on thy disaster
Thy sins and follies past, since God hath given thee rest
And thinks of them no more, but only for thy best
I yet have something more I would have said to thee;
But self-love not being dead, it may some damage to thee,
I’ll spare it at this time; in what thou hast be true
So will be, when I come, thy soul and body new.
Thereon the friend did leave Johannes much relieved,
Yet in his very soul most sadly he was grieved;
His friend’s haste he could not a long while well-digest
His chief hope cut in the midst and thereby lost the best.
Yet break he forth and said, So be then inward turned
‘O sword! ‘O love! In me until this house is stormed.
‘Til thine may be raised, be instead of this my Old,
‘Til Deified my soul may therein thee behold.
Come wound me more and more,by thy love’s sacred power;
That I may find its strength and working every hour;
For killing of my strength, ‘til through the Red Sea shore
I (press) to thee, therefore come, wound me more and more.
Shine down upon my stream, that it in quiet stillness
May run both in and out, out of thy boundless fullness
That I may see in me, Thee with a radiant beam
So stand thou still, ‘o sun, and shine upon my stream.
Make me as living gold, after thou hast me urged,
From worldly vanities and through the cross me purged
The test is wanting still, which therefore makes me bold
To say, (well) farther forth, make me as living gold.
Make me as the new wine! From many noble berries,
(With?) lamb-like virtues! And by still-fermenting (series?)
‘Til all the (?) fall, and I a guest of thine
May in thy kingdom sit, make me as the new wine.
Make a new heart in me, and only in thee loving!
In sacred unity and always in thee moving!
And that it might exalt in Salem, only thee
Forever, so ‘O Lord, make a new heart in me.
So cover, thou, the root, begotten from thy fountain
And sink it deeper down, when thou shalt see it mounting
That covered it may abide, and bring its ripened fruit
In drought and wetness, too. So cover, thou, the root.
(Me?) only thy sunflower, let after thee be turning
And in the (pensive) night and darkness for the morning
Until they form in me, the Christus hath full power
Then stand I still in thee, I only thy sunflower.
(Me?), thy sensitive plant, let no false love betide me
(?) even thy angels not! But only Thine let guide me;
That I may be but thine eternally, this grant!
So am I full of fruit,I thy sensitive plant.
That when, quite stripped of all,to thee I may be turning.
With blessing I may feel thy Spirit’s (draught) above,
That unknown may remain, the pure virgin-love.
My only lover, Thee, I have for me selected!
Knowest thou it or not, how the love has me affected
But what I ask in vain, for nought I trouble me,
Since I dare not behold my only lover, Thee.
Unworthy and I quite; how can I thus deceive me?
And yet methinks thou must at last in love receive me;
‘O fye! This selfish love! Fye, proudest Hellish might,
Therefore I say with grief, Unworthy am I quite.
How like I my own wife! How love I my own living!
How can I with self-love, my self be that deceiving!
When I live not content, the love is cold as ice.
And yet I think I love! So love I my own wife.
How finely do I think, but after my own measure;
And what I see and hear, must echo to my pleasure.
How joyful spring I then? But then again I shrink,
See me, in my beloved, so finely do I think.
I shall be scorned by fools, through this my selfish loving,
However I will still in truth and hope be moving,
I will with David cry, ‘Sleepest thou ‘O God of souls!”
Save me from me, that I be not the scorn of fools.
As mother doth her fruit, so do thou secret feed me,
With manna, me unknown, upon my Pilgrim’s journey.
Guide me as thee it please, hold me as thee it suit,
Lead me still by the hand, as mother doth her fruit.
‘O center of my faith, let me remain so hidden
As thou hast done before, until thy day is bidden,
As midnight on to break! I’ll hold, as Jacob sayeth,
‘Til thou hast blessed me, ‘O center of my faith.
(Thy) fiery agony pierce through, calcine and scour
(?) reins by heart and mind. And though thou me in the hour
(If) greatest need forsakest, I may Thee glorify
And thereby still think on they fiery agony.
But Thou divinest Love! Who thy self hast begun it.
This work of love in us, so strengthen us to run it,
Perfect if quite! And let us plainly see this is
(In this way of the Cross), the Love its wilderness.