Posted by: rcottrill | September 28, 2010

Today in 1859 – Karl Spitta Died

Karl Johann Philipp Spitta, the son of a book-keeper and French teacher, was originally apprenticed to a watchmaker, but, disliking the occupation, he dropped out. After a deep spiritual experience in his twenties, he dedicated his life to the Lord, studied theology, and was eventually ordained to the Lutheran ministry. He served as a pastor and a prison chaplain.

Even in his youth Spitta showed an aptitude for writing, and during his life he wrote over a hundred hymns. One especially remains in common use today, O Happy Home. It would be suitable for services on either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

O happy home, where Thou art loved the dearest,
Thou loving Friend and Saviour of our race,
And where among the guests there never cometh
One who can hold such high and honoured place!

O happy home, whose little ones are given
Early to Thee, in humble faith and prayer,
To Thee, their Friend, who from the heights of heaven
Guides them, and guards with more than mother’s care!

O happy home, where each one serves Thee, lowly,
Whatever his appointed work may be,
Till every common task seems great and holy,
When it is done, O Lord, as unto Thee!

(2) None But Christ Can Satisfy (Data Missing)
This fine gospel song is found in Sankey’s Sacred Songs and Solos (#853). The tune was written by James McGranahan, whom we know. But the words are cryptically attributed to “B. E. alt.” (Hymnary.org has identified the author as Emma Frances Shuttleworth Bevan, who hardly ever put her name to any of her hymns. They offer no evidence for this.) You can see the full text and hear the tune on the Cyber Hymnal.

This testimony song seems to draw its inspiration from the words of the prophet Jeremiah to backslidden Israel. He quotes the Lord as saying, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).

O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
And found in Thee alone,
The peace, the joy I sought so long,
The bliss till now unknown.

Now none but Christ can satisfy,
None other name for me,
There’s love, and life, and lasting joy,
Lord Jesus, found in Thee.

I tried the broken cisterns, Lord,
But ah! the waters failed!
E’en as I stooped to drink they’d fled,
And mocked me as I wailed.

The pleasures lost I sadly mourned,
But never wept for Thee,
Till grace the sightless eyes received,
Thy loveliness to see.


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