Yea, As I Live, Thy Maker Saith

Tune: Vater unser im Himmelreich

Devotional Songs of Repentance and Comfort, from the Words of the Ancient Teachers of the Church.

An earnest admonition, from St. Augustine, that one should not put off repentance.

  1. “Yea, as I live,” thy Maker saith,
    “I do not wish the sinner’s death;
    Far more is this My wish and will,
    That he from sin should keep him still,
    From wickedness turn him and flee,
    And live with Me eternally.”

  2. Mark well this Word, O child of man;
    Doubt not, however great thy sin:
    Here is salvation, comfort, peace,
    Which God hath promised thee by grace,
    Confirmed through His most solemn oath;
    Blest all who their transgressions loathe!

  3. But keep thee from security;
    Think not, “There is yet time for me:
    I’ll first give way to sinful mirth;
    When I have tired of life on earth,
    Then I’ll to God converted be—
    He will be merciful to me.”

  4. ’Tis true: God’s ready with His grace
    Repenting sinners to embrace;
    Yet he who, claiming grace, hath spent
    His life in sin, with ill intent,
    And takes no care his soul to guard—
    No grace! shall then be his reward.

  5. Yes, God hath promised grace to thee:
    Christ bled and died on Calvary!
    And yet no promise did He give
    That thou till morning next shouldst live;
    That thou must die, that is revealed—
    Thine hour of death remains concealed.

  6. Today thou liv’st, today repent;
    Ere morn is come, thy life may end.
    He who today was free from dread,
    Tomorrow may lie sick, or dead.
    If thou at death repentance spurn,
    Thy soul and body there must burn

  7. Grant, O Lord Jesus, grant to me
    That I may come straightway to Thee
    And at this moment may repent
    Before swift death my life should end,
    That I this day prepare my heart,
    Be ever ready to depart.

So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott
Johann Heermann, 1630
Tr. composite (ed. Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2022)

German Text


Tune: Vater unser im Himmelreich

Andächtige Buß- und Trostlieder,
aus den Worten der alten Kirchenlehrer.

Treue Vermahnung, aus dem H. Augustino,
daß man die Buße nicht aufschieben soll.

  1. So wahr ich lebe, spricht dein Gott,
    Mir ist nicht lieb des Sünders Tod,
    Vielmehr ist dies mein Wunsch und Will,
    Daß er von Sünden halte still,
    Von seiner Bosheit kehre sich
    Und lebe mit mir ewiglich.

  2. Dies Wort bedenk, o Menschenkind,
    Verzweifle nicht in deiner Sünd;
    Hier findest du Trost, Heil und Gnad,
    Die Gott dir zugesaget hat
    Und zwar durch einen teuren Eid;
    O selig, dem die Sünd ist leid!

  3. Doch hüte dich für Sicherheit,
    Denk nicht, es ist noch gute Zeit,
    Ich will erst fröhlich sein auf Erd:
    Wenn ich des Lebens müde werd,
    Alsdenn will ich bekehren mich,
    Gott wird wohl mein erbarmen sich.

  4. Wahr ists, Gott ist wohl stets bereit
    Dem Sünder mit Barmherzigkeit;
    Doch wer auf Gnade sündigt hin,
    Fährt fort in seinem bösen Sinn
    Und seiner Seelen selbst nicht schont,
    Der wird mit Ungnad abgelohnt.

  5. Gnad hat dir zugesaget Gott
    Von wegen Christi Blut und Tod;
    Doch sagen hat er nicht gewollt,
    Ob du bis morgen leben sollt;
    Daß du mußt sterben, ist dir kund,
    Verborgen ist des Todes Stund.

  6. Heut lebst du, heut bekehre dich,
    Eh morgen kommt, kanns ändern sich.
    Wer heut ist frisch, gesund und rot,
    Ist morgen krank, ja wohl gar todt.
    So du nun stirbest ohne Buß,
    Dein Leib und Seel dort brennen muß.

  7. Hilf, o Herr Jesu, hilf du mir,
    Daß ich jetzt komme bald zu dir
    Und Buße tu den Augenblick,
    Eh mich der schnelle Tod hinrück,
    Auf daß ich heut und jederzeit
    Zu meiner Heimfahrt sei bereit.

Johann Heermann, 1630
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, No. 229

Alternate Translations

John Christian Jacobi, Psalmodia Germanica, 1725 (the following text taken from the edition of 1732):

  1. Sure as I live, thy Maker saith,
    I ne’er desire the Sinner’s Death,
    But rather that he turn betimes
    From all his former Ways and Crimes,
    With true Repentance come to Me,
    And live to all Eternity.

  2. O Man! let this Word comfort thee:
    Sink not, great as thy Sins may be:
    Lay hold on this free-offer’d Grace,
    That’s here confirm’d by Promises,
    Nay, seal’d with God’s most solemn Oath,
    They’re blest who their Transgressions loath.

  3. But hate presuming Carelessness;
    Think not, there’s Time enough for Grace;
    I’ll first partake of youthful Mirth,
    Till I’m convinc’d, how vain’s the Earth;
    Then shall my serious Thoughts begin
    To seek Forgiveness for my Sin.

  4. True, God is ready with his Grace
    Repenting Sinners to embrace;
    Yet, who runs up his Sinful Score
    On Grace, till he can find no more,
    May find, to his amazing Cost,
    Long suff’ring Mercy wholly lost.

  5. Mercy thy God has promis’d thee,
    For CHRIST his Blood and Agony;
    Yet in his Word did never say,
    That thou shouldst live another Day:
    That thou must die, he has reveal’d;
    But th’ Hour of Death lies still conceal’d.

  6. To Day thou liv’st; To Day repent,
    Lest all thy Life shou’d be misspent:
    Who’s brisk to Day; looks fair and red;
    May lie to morrow sick and dead:
    Who dies in his Impenitence,
    Will ever curse his Negligence.

  7. O blessed JESU! grant I may
    Return to thee this very Day,
    And live in constant Penitence,
    Till death repairs to call me hence,
    That I, in ev’ry Time and Place,
    Be well prepar’d to end my Race.

Alternate first stanza, from the Moravian Hymn Book:

  1. SINNERS, your Maker is your Friend.
    He calls you, to his call attend:
    “Sure as I live,” to you he saith,
    “I ne’er desire the sinner’s death,
    “But that repenting he may turn to me,
    “And live forever.” Lord, we come to thee!

Revision of the preceding, in Hymnal for Evangelical Lutheran Missions, 1905, No. 110.

  1. YEA, as I live, thy Maker saith:
    I do not wish the sinner’s death,
    But rather that he turn betimes
    From all his evil ways and crimes,
    With true repentance come to me,
    And live to all eternity.

  2. O man! this word prevail with thee,
    Despair not in iniquity,
    Lay hold on this free offered grace,
    Confirmed by surest promises,
    Nay, sealed with God’s most solemn oath.
    Blest all who their transgressions loathe!

  3. Yet, O beware! Think not, secure:
    “God’s grace I always can procure:
    I’ll first partake of youthful mirth,
    Till I’m convinced how vain this earth;
    Then shall my serious thoughts begin
    To seek God’s pardon for my sin.”

  4. True, God is ready with his grace
    Repenting sinners to embrace,
    Yet, who runs up his sinful score
    On grace, till he can find no more,
    Will learn, to his amazing cost,
    Long-suffering mercy may be lost.

  5. Mercy thy God has promised thee
    For Christ, His blood and agony,
    Yet in His Word did never say
    That thou shouldst live another day.
    That thou must die he hath revealed;
    But death’s dark hour to thee’s concealed.

  6. To-day thou liv’st, to-day repent,
    Lest all thy life should be misspent.
    Who laughs to-day, looks fair and red,
    To-morrow may be sick or dead.
    If, then, thou diest impenitent,
    Thou’lt be where flames fore’er torment.

  7. O blessed Jesus, grant I may
    Return to Thee this very day
    And live in constant penitence,
    Till death appears to call me hence,
    That I in every time and place
    Be well prepared to end my race.

The Lutheran Hymnary, 1913, No. 401, tr. Miss Hannah K. Burlingham, 1865, alt.

  1. Yea, as I live, Jehovah saith,
    I would not have the sinner’s death.
    For rather ’tis My holy will,
    That in his course he should stand still.
    Repentant sinners I forgive,
    Then let them hear, believe, and live.

  2. Think of this word, O guilty soul!
    Despair not: Christ can make thee whole,
    In Him there’s pardon, peace, and grace;
    A sure and blessed hiding-place.
    The covenant, confirmed by blood
    Doth stand upon the oath of God.

  3. O trifle not the time away!
    Say not, “I’ll come another day.”
    Say not, “I’ll have my soul’s desire,
    And turn when of the world I tire.”
    Say not, “I’ll then converted be,
    God will be merciful to me.”

  4. ’Tis true that God is rich in grace,—
    Beholding His Anointed’s face.
    The blood of Christ atoned for sin,
    He died eternal life to win;
    Yet God doth not vouchsafe to say
    That thou shalt live “another day.”

  5. Stanza omitted

  6. O hasten, sinner, to be wise!
    Nor dare God’s message to despise.
    He who this hour supplies thy breath,
    The next, may give thee o’er to death.
    And if thy sins are not forgiv’n,
    Thou’lt never, never enter heav’n.

  7. Then cry: “Lord Jesus, help Thou me,
    This very day I come to Thee!
    O give me peace, and from this hour
    Deliver me from Satan’s pow’r;
    That henceforth and eternally,
    Thyself my all in all may be!”

Edward Massie, Sacred Odes, Vol. 2, 1866, pp. 41ff.

  1. Yea, as I live, Jehovah saith,
    I would not have the sinner’s death;
    This is my pleasure, that he cease
    From sin and headstrong wickedness,
    That for his guilt he truly mourn,
    And to his Father’s house return!

  2. Think of this word, O mortal man,
    And go to Him who will and can
    Thy foulness cleanse! his word is truth,
    Confirm’d, lest one despair, by oath:
    With Him thou shalt that peace receive,
    Which none but those who taste conceive.

  3. O seek that peace in this thy day!
    Think not within thyself to say,
    “These goods were giv’n me to enjoy,
    “But when my earthly pleasures cloy,
    “Then will I turn to God and live,
    “For God is Love, and will forgive!”

  4. Yea, God is merciful and true,
    And what He saith will surely do:
    From those who sin in spite of grace
    In anger He will turn His face,
    He will not hear their bitter cry,
    When in their sins they come to die.

  5. “All sin is cleans’d in Christ’s pure Blood;”
    That promise stands for ever good.
    But doth He promise night by night
    That thou shalt see the morning light?
    That thou must one day die is sure,
    The hour of death alone obscure!

  6. To-day thou livest;—hasten home!
    Ere morning break, thy change may come;
    The cheek which blooms like dew-wash’d rose,
    May blanch and fade ere evening close.
    O shun the hardened sinner’s fate;
    Repent and fear his doom: “Too late!”

  7. O rid me, Lord, of living death!
    O wrest my heart from things beneath!
    Give me to up to hell a prey!
    Draw me to Thee without delay!
    Prepare my soul and cleanse my guilt,
    Then call me hence, whene’er Thou wilt!


Johann Heermann

Johann Heermann (1585–1647)

Author: Johann Heermann
Source: Devoti Musica Cordis, 1630, p. 1