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From A 1754 Moravian Church Hymnal: The ‘Faith, Hope & Love’ Triptych

Engraving II from the French translation of David Crantz’s ‘Brève et fidèle exposition de l’origine, de la doctrine, des constitutions, usages et cérémonies ecclésiastiques de l’église de l’Unité des Frères, connus sous le nom de Frères de Bohème et de Moravie…Par un auteur impartial, ami de la vérité‘. 1758.

Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow him!


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA are 3 hymns excerpted from a 1754 Moravian Church hymnal. They form a triptych, each devoted to one of the theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Love. These, now widely forgotten, precious gems display an in-depth ethical system, with the antinomic opposition of qualities & defects, vices & virtues, ‘in situation’, within the hymns’ narrative. This gives them a lasting impression-even after singing or reading them-and is for us of an universal appeal, as we can all relate their emulating content into our own life’s struggles. Our texts show a close connection with John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim Progress’, written earlier in 1678 and regarded as one of the most influential works of theological fiction in English literature and a progenitor of the narrative aspect of Christian media. They also display features close the English Behmenist theosophical school, with works by  members such a Jane Leade, John Pordage or Thomas Bromley: Wording, style, power of images, all share signs of a ‘Living Experience‘. Excerpts are from ‘A collection of Hymns of the children of God in all ages, from the beginning till now. In two parts. Designed chiefly for the use of the congregations in Union with the Brethren’s Church‘. London, 1754.  For a better understanding of the texts and their inner dynamics, we have edited them prose-like so to give a better view of the whole architecture. For the individual hymns, in their original column appearance and for the numerous bible references, please scroll down after the main edited texts. They are number 150, 151 & 152, covering pages 98 to 107 of part II.


Introduction-The Prayer Watch

The Moravian Church, or the Moravian Brethren, formally the ‘Unitas Fratrum’-Latin for ‘Unity of the Brethren’-is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in Christianity, dating back to the Bohemian Reformation of the 15th century and the Unity of the Brethren  founded in the Kingdom of Bohemia, sixty years before Luther’s Reformation. A important group of exiles fled from Moravia to Saxony (part of today’s Germany) in 1722 to escape the Counter-Reformation, founding on May 12th 1727-by signing what is known as a ‘brotherly agreement’-the Christian community of ‘Herrnhut’, in English, ‘the Lord’s Watch‘. It became known in German as the ‘Herrnhuter Brüdergemeine’: the ‘Unity of Brethren of Herrnhut’.

This newly formed group of Christians, established many of its long lasting characteristic features, such as the ‘daily watchword‘, the practice of having a Biblical text as a shared daily “Watchword” with the text supplemented by hymn verses. The Old Testament texts are chosen by lot and a New Testament text is then added.  Then, it began on August 12, 1727, what is known as ‘a prayer watch‘, conducting the very first all-night prayer meeting. The group decided to follow up with continuous prayer vigils. They designated a place of prayer in the village, and they prayed in groups of two or three for one-hour increments. There are 168 one-hour time slots in a week. The Moravians filled all 168-hour time slots with two to three people per hour. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, two to three people were always praying in the place of prayer. This around the clock prayer meeting went on for 110 years! It has been revived many times since then, most notably during the first worldwide Synod of the Moravian Church in 1957; since, there has been Moravians around the world praying for their church and the world, every minute of every day.


Hymn 150

The Watch,

and first, Faith.

1. Important words I have to tell! King Solomon, since he acquired consummate victory over Hell, is to his royal Couch retired: And thereon he to rest permits that Man by-blood-restored Spirit, (called Christ’s Love, pleasant for delights) who does believe his Death and Merit. But lest the devil might through his inveterate spite (Whom God’s deep wisdom spares) seek entry to hinder this repose, therefore, around Love’s House an Host of valiant ones stand centry.

2. To guard the Camp of Solomon, threescore are confiant upon duty. But as the Fiend, who’d storm Love’s throne, is Legion called, intent on booty; the Prince of the little Strength has chose to give three strenuous heroes order, by holy valor to oppose the forces of the Prince of murder: Faith and his company, Love and her Family, Hope and her hosts all in alliance, are linked around the bed where Solomon is laid. Rush in, who dares, to bid defiance.

3. Faith‘s on his guard, left Unbelief or Superstition rob the spirit of, what is among treasures is the chief, the Lamb’s Blood and its bloody merit. When that, just what he sees, admits, and this all whether truth or fiction, according to Wild Fancy’s fits: Faith credits what is hid from Vision, and saith, soon as he can, ‘I will go with this Man!‘ would flesh to join in the same quarters? Strong resolution quells its courage, and repels and human scheme with chains he tortures.

4.Who’d be so near the eternal Fire?‘ saith Desperation, it is voracious, all badness it devours entire: False Comfort‘s bottom is audacious; ‘About Sin I take little thought, God’s Mercy must be apprehended; and if I am wanting yet in aught, I am to others prayers commended.’ Forth steps the Power blest which draws the genuine rest out of the Savior’s wounds, and steady its eyes to the Cross rears, should sin even press so fierce that the poor tent to bend be ready.

5. In Adam is the soul quite dead, and knows not of the spirit’s motion; empathic speeches can indeed raise in the veins a saint  commotion; but the Heart remains dead as a stone; flesh and its works is miserable, flames not, though it seems, as if it shone, but smokes, and is intolerable. Thus dead is every bone, until Grace’s Wind hath blown upon them, and they from their deadness awake in Jesus’ Form, and kill the bestial swarm which round dead Adam roves in madness.

6. Then Faith brings Righteousness of Life, one of his  powers of weight undoubted. Nature’s remains were the strife of moral Soberness never routed; but opens scarce the Child of light His eyes in spirit, in his measure, but all now seems extremely slight, which flesh and blood esteemed a Pleasure. He will no enemy bear, who does as such appear; and if a Foe to fly chooses, but by degrees would rise, he must crawl in Disguise, else dasheth him the power in pieces.

7. Presumption is the first false friend! He tells the soul, whom sly he flatters, she’s good enough, and may depend and lean on some praise-worthy Matters. But Spirit of Poverty does rush upon him, guards Sanctification, Pride’s skull he merciless does crush; as likewise that simulation, which dressed like Poverty, is mean Effeminacy to spare herself, by self love moved, thence clad in humble plight: True Poverty does fight, yet in the Arms of her Beloved.

8. Faith’s fixed strong power stands by her side. Directly, and with bread and weapons, victory and booty does provide the Warrior, so that no want happens. This power is called Prayer: it does pant strongly without intermission towered his couch, who the soul all knows; it gives Faith’s Chain its due cohesion. The Foe lays here a snare, and fain would have the Prayer from wonted fervency abated: And if this don’t succeed, He does to babbling lead, by Christ and us abhorred and hated.

9. Now the courageous lion straight moves on, keeps hourly watching constant: Proves Laziness an heavy weight He throws her headlong in an instant; yet keeps out all Inquietude, which some, for want of better knowing, mistake to watchful Fortitude. He likes soft breezes gently blowing: is danger feared? he stands and lends to Faith his hands Omnipotence by Prayer to vanquish; should this say, ‘let me go!’, the Hero won’t do so; For can one hold? who would relinquish!

10. This hour is sometimes critical; through laziness the Hands no longer are lifted up, Self-will withal Reasons, forsooth, would make Grace stronger: but  this Agony views Christ in Faith, and if his warlike trumpets rattle, then she keeps the Heroic Path; her nostril love the smell of battle: the Fiend is seized with fright, and quickly put to flight: Attempts his weakness are betraying, as he to yield don’t care, He fights and beats the air, when there’s no enemy worth slaying.

11. With Wrestling, Patience joins and links,  which waits till the King’s help appeareth, just as in love he proper thinks; till then in fight she persevereth: she conquers sullen Peevishness, which , is not helped with expedition, is tired of life and spiritless: hates too a listless Resignation, to whom it is the same whether it overcame or lost; for those it is not notorious when one shall win the day, yet that Fight is mad play, which don’t at last turn out victorious.

12. The more to Rest the spirit tends, in gentle fires case-hardened growing, and of its flames not many spends, lest it should want, by much bestowing, the nearer is to laying hold Faith’s Hand arrived, which now extended and reaching after Life, does bold, and in a moment apprehend it. Though Flesh and blood sometimes takes courage, that it seems to grasp, it grasps an empty vision, and soon gives up the toil of it must wait a while; it hath no strength for close cohesion.

13. Together with the taking hold, the genuine  Strength gets its existence. Faith’s champion all of them can bold and safe rely on its assistance; for here it is but a word and blow; she cuts away without compassion the very last detaining Claw that would presume to keep possession. All self-sprung Bravery is rooted totally: if it would mimick Power, it faileth, and strengthless tumbles down with scorn it is looked upon; but true Power lasteth and prevaileth.

14. The Power lays on by Thought a curse, it will no feebleness be pleading: the Breaker here must shew his force, whose Steps we afterwards proceed in all gulfs are filled, all rocks destroyed, all is pulled down, which elevated, reared its proud head; the foe’s annoyed, and all his troops are dissipated. Here Nature is quite foiled, her track and path is spoiled; by Stunning are the enemies frightened; but when this is forgot, they form a crafty plot, flesh is with reasoning soon united.

15. Victory can now raise its head of Faith’s so cheerful Armour-bearers; the approaching combat makes him glad. he likes to join the camp of heroes: he smell the war far-off, doth feel quite bold, when most, as struck with thunder, do quake; loves Bruises in his Heel, for then he splits the sculls asunder. When nature must despair blind reason beats the air in combat with mere shades laborious; he sets his banner up amidst the hostile troop, he comes, looks on, and is victorious.

16. Look up, O soul! And with the power of Conquerors see thyself surrounded; here, here is Zion’s Strength and tower, here is the Foe stopped and confounded. Who would now not be industrious? Who would not pitch his tent? who would tarry? And not let in the King, and those that are employed his shields to carry? Thou, whom we Bridegroom claim, thou for us slaughtered lamb, now from thy toil recovered Lion! Take, take our souls to Thee, thy Strength around us be; our loyalty thou can rely on.

Engraving XI from the French translation of David Crantz’s ‘Brève et fidèle exposition de l’origine, de la doctrine, des constitutions, usages et cérémonies ecclésiastiques de l’église de l’Unité des Frères, connus sous le nom de Frères de Bohème et de Moravie…Par un auteur impartial, ami de la vérité’. 1758.


Hymn 151


1.  Rise, valiant man of Solomon? Where are you, Keeper of his chamber? But, who would ask thus? You are watching on, Heroic ardour knows no slumber. The Experience of Faith dauntless powers we’ve learnt to know in noble manner; and love’s own champion, from their towers, invite us likewise to their banner; where are ye others then, the King his loyal Men, Hope‘s Helmet round your temples wearing? Your motto strikes the eye: ‘The Lord’s sword here and I‘, His fiery vessels each is bearing.

2. Soon as the heroes sound the alarm and spread their conquering flames about them. The unmasked appearing hostile swarm are out to shameful flight, they rout them: the Prudence of the righteous, does craft’s cunning views abortive render; and Wisdom, in all places, knows to be her joyful play’s defender: if Servile Minds too near presumes to approach, to her it is like a slave to cringe compelled; and bold Audaciousness, which counterfeits Hope’s dress, is by its speech found out, and quelled.

3. The Enmity against God, appears like furious devil enraged and frightened, at Hope disdainfully she sneers, her sword is Doubt, and hatred spiteful her shield: but her Antagonist is too deep sunk into quiet blessed a sootish devil must assist if she’d not straight be dispossessed; he mimicks a sick sheep, though really he’s Death’s Sleep: but God’s life-giving Peace is stronger, it does that foaming beast, and this that dreams, resist, till crucified they breathe no longer.

4. False Cheerfulness, that nauseous sight, (boldly supposing, thought ill grounded, that one’s past danger) is too light, unbridled, and will not be  bounded; roams to and fro unsteadily, and won’t come night to holy Gladness, which soon could get the mastery; therefore the world’s affected Sadness, which many souls ensnares, in borrowed dress appears, ‘Light’s Children are not sad and moaning‘, replies, with smiling face, the Spirit of Joyfulness; ‘Go, set the careless crew a groaning.’

5. The slavish enemy Avarice comes crawling side-ways, scorn all pleasure, no wanton lust can him entice, He’s all for laying up more Treasure. ‘For this I know a remedy‘, saith careless mind, ‘I am not pained i live content, and if I see I want a thing, it is soon obtained‘: ‘you err, poor souls‘, replies the True Contentedness, who gets nough here, will there be need: ‘I take, that I may have; He that once to me gave, to give still more is ever ready‘.

6.Thus I would have it’, saith Self-Will, (the fifth in rank) with lowering forehead; objections against the Method still He makes, till feeble heads are wearied; and Laziness, which sight and frets pitying dear Self before it worketh, saith: ‘O! What trouble here one gets! Without, perhaps, a lion lurketh; i might of the toil repent, therefore I’ll be content. ‘ True Resignation, this rejecting, saith: ‘ I go on and grow, and rest, because I know that on Truth’s credit i am acting.’

7. Lightness, a silly Talker says: ‘If it is by pain must be obtained, as I don’t love adventurous plays, I’ll have the advantage first explained‘: ‘Advantage!’ cries an errant Knight, who’s name named the ‘Spurious Joy of Spirit, that Shine, that Joy, that glorious Light! Oh! all the world I’d not take for it‘: but the Heart’s sincere Desire Christ’s Knight, saith: ‘It is solid Joy I want, it is Christ for whom I pant, for without all things are bitter.’

8. The Power which in her own strength works, saith: ‘For this reason I’ve exerted myself; I want the Turks, the Gentiles and the Jews to be converted. This would be pleasant to the King; I love to toil and do my duty‘: here, Idleness laughs at the thing, and saith: ‘Go then and fetch thy booty.’ To both replies the man who is doing what he can: ‘What grace hath wrought, grace will defend it; i shun no Pain nor sweat, yet my King’s Will I wait, then i put forth my strength and spend it.’

9.Since thou the sovereign’s Pleasure knowest’, saith Curiosity, ‘detect it: who are they that do praise him most? Where are the greatest things effected?’ And Ignorance saith: ‘As for me, I have no great desire of knowing; I hope it will all come seasonably, I can’t help much with all my doing’: ‘We’, saith an hoary Head, ‘inured to dust and sweat, Experience called, we do not slumber (he speaks with Countenance), we walk on in the Light, and tell of Zion’s Towers the numbers.’

10.Which way then?‘, saith Stupidity, ‘What do you mean by telling Towers? Such offices are not for me, I have no strong intellectual powers’: ‘most of that watch at Zion’s port, ought, in my judgement, to be wiser, but few are of the genuine sort’, saith Self-conceit, that proud Despiser. Wisdom heats the dispute, but will not confute; she is by nought disturbed or pained; all dangers she descries with watchful eyes, that all she hath may be maintained.

11.Who knows what here or there is done! And what may be the Consequences! That Bridge i will not venture on’, saith Reason, ‘under false pretenses; Imprudence is too venturesome, makes others too courageous, to dangerous things too near they come, their efforts are disadvantageous.’ But Foresight, who is a man who never missed his Plan, saith: ‘Let the Souls be unmolested, if faithfulness they shew; and what they are to do, will by their Leader be suggested.’

12. Grace beckons oft with friendly Ray, but then a wandering power’s distraction leads from her home the soul away; and Fancy, seized with stupefaction, shuts up her eyes, then seems to see a bright Cloud, grasps it, and deluded, mistakes it for reality; yeah, would for such on souls obtrude it. But real Inliness, knows even in ancient days, (called Selab in the Psalms), he vieweth the Seed, and thrives it up, until it yields a Crop, and the soul gets what it pursueth.

13. A valiant hero stands just by, who’s to triomphal joys no stranger, he views the World with careless eye, leans on his God, and dreads no danger; his name is Intrepidity; to  wavering, his opponent power, that is ever acting cowardly, he grants no steps to Salem‘s bower: and to Temerity insults Hope’s constancy, yet her pretended courage flutters: for when the dauntless guard looks at her somewhat hard, as thunder-struck she quakes and totters.

14. The Thoughtlessness about the Affairs, (another dreamer) can affect it, that by some Soldiers unawares, their Sovereign’s Orders are neglected; when others stretch their powers of Mind, that of the Affairs they miss not any, then blows Confusion‘s whirling wind, that they take in at once too many. Then steps Reflection forth, a Prince of greatest worth; he bids the soul beware of wandering; then, by degrees, he brings into her mind all Things, and weighty matters she is pondering.

15. In various shapes appears the Foe, who strives to counterwork the Saviour; where lulling souls to Sleep won’t do, he keeps their eyes unshut for ever. Then quickly enters Restlessness, with thousands frightful fancies teasing; for this, too soon is found redress by one whose name is vain Appeasing. ‘There is nought to fear‘, he saith, ‘as yet I see no death’. A fearless Lion now keeps station. Called Soul’s Peace, if the world were from its center hurled, unmoved he’d wait a new creation.

16. When now the Fiend his craft employs. With care forsooth for others hurries those whom in millenary Joys for want of present ones, he buries; yeah, blinds more trifling souls with Lust, as false as dangerous, and takes measures to sooth the thereby ruined host with Dreams of future Lusts and pleasures. Then there is a Love’s right hand quite near the Port does stand Hope’s friend, whom no joy transitory, but real Pleasures feed, He called, and is indeed, the Fore-taste of eternal Glory.

Engraving XIV from the French translation of David Crantz’s ‘Brève et fidèle exposition de l’origine, de la doctrine, des constitutions, usages et cérémonies ecclésiastiques de l’église de l’Unité des Frères, connus sous le nom de Frères de Bohème et de Moravie…Par un auteur impartial, ami de la vérité’. 1758.


Hymn 152


1.Take thy repose, thou tender heart! Sink deep into the Love of Jesus; allis an unpleasant tedious smart, if Love’s commotion do not seize us‘. A faithful soul saith cheerfully, ‘thou knowest i am quite at your disposal; thou thou shouldn’t even complain of me, yea, seem to question my right Spousal. Yet, Saviour, Oh! avert that Danger, when the heart is led by strange Infatuations, and in a spurious Light, and false heroic flight, does talk of love, without Foundation.’

2. But who’s a judge, unless he taste! Hence squeamish souls find no true pleasure, nor relish in that Fruit repast. which others pant for beyond measure. The soul that once hath tasted Christ cannot a day his absence suffer; the wicked one, of this apprized, does his deceitful Juices offer to those former souls, and treats them with his strengthless Sweets, they has suck their fill from these poor juices; but that dull Appetite can never taste aright that Fruit, which thriving strength produces.

3. The soul with Love’s pure Zeal inspired, casts at her Bridegroom tender glances; her very inmost powers fired, to meet him, swiftly she advances; so that in cold Indifference the Foe can’t keep us (for our Lover sets on us with Love‘s Vehemence, and does his beauteous Form discover), nor can his Cunning raise in us such mimick Blaze, as he does oft attempt to kindle, but which, as it is fanned by Self‘s unhallowed hand, of course must into nothing dwindle.

4. Love’s zeal brings Faithfulness sincere, the Faithfulness towards our Lover, which moveth on in Faith’s career, but all her Steps she watcheth over. The Fiend leads such a faithful heart, who he can’t lull to lazy slumber, to by-ways rough, and with false smart he tries the careful Mind to incumber: into the thoughts he brings an heap of needless Things; so that by all Care nough is effected: The unfaithful heart regard Christ’s Work now as too hard, and then, as not worthwhile, neglect it.

5. Who’d faithful be, with listening Ear, he must Christ’s Voice attend; Love’s pointing to Silence, that the soul may hear more loud the Whisper of the Anointing: But the enemy does here contrive to make the soul neglect her function. That she remained inwardly perceive the tender Touch of gentle Unction; on many things intent, to none she’s right attent: or else he shews her figures painted, at which some Looks she steals, and if some warmth she feels, with glittering rays she is inchanted.

6. A soul which Life obtained has, sees, by the Light’s irradiation, that she is nothing, though Christ’s Grace speak often in her commendation, When now the Fiend cannot effect, that we be fed with selfish Pleasures, and which a secret Pride reflect on our good things; then he takes measure to insinuate the thought that even what Christ has wrought within us, should not be regarded, because the spirit has but a faint willingness, the Flesh through weakness is retarded.

7. Left by the Loving gentleness, the tender soul might be inspired with a most faithful willingness, (for our hearts are so struck and fired by our dear bridegroom’s Fervency, that it seems cruelly ungrateful if we don’t love him tenderly): So hardens Satan, ever hateful, the soft part of the soul that she is nor warm nor cool, from Sight and Feeling half-estranged; or else he does elude Faith’s noble Fortitude, and into silly whining change it.

8. To the inmost Tender-heartedness toward all our Fellow Men Love moves us, which, as we feel abounding Grace in all our own defects, behoves us: if now the Fiend cannot prevent our being  touched when souls must perish, (we are to the poor benevolent and glad the Brotherhood to cherish) ; then he does try to raise a Spurious Tenderness, which, over-kind, even winks at Evil, and flatters everyone, that soul might be undone, rather that we’d be tough uncivil.

9. Our own and our dear brethren’s smart, which in this Vale of tears hath pressed us, hath struck so deep into our heart, that, although many a Foe distressed us, yet with soft Meekness we could bear their using us unkind or cruel: here sin would have us be severe, and for revenge brings odious fuel. And if this won’t succeed then would it us mislead to pardon those that did abuse us, not from impulse sincere of Meekness, but for Fear they would yet more unkindly use us.

10. To itself returns the bridal Heart and amidst it’s Love it is very cautious, that through the enemy’s craft and art nought cleave to it that Strange and nauseous; the Hearth does keep itself quite clear from Lust of the Eye and Flesh blanditious; which try to make base Sin appear Beauteous to fight, to taste delicious: but here must Fretfulness be watched with careful eyes. Which, in all sorts of garments clothed, attempts our minds to ensnare (if we do not beware), that good and bad alike are loathed.

11. Heart-Purity, that blessed lot, which those, that are in closest union with their chaste bridegroom knit, have got, forsakes with Joy Sin’s vile dominion. If now the Foe of holiness can’t hurt the soul by his rehearsing so many dangerous images, which her to take Offense are forcing; then he does cunningly this other method try, to make even every thing suspected; so we won’t hear nor see, even though it needful be; and thus our duty is neglected.

12. True faithfulness wills, that we part with all our things, and that with pleasure, and then prefer the Saviour’s Heart to heaven and earth, and all their treasure. If Sin miscarries in its view, to wrap us up in Admiration of our own-selves, of what we do, our strength and virtuous conversation; yet then possibly the Heart, and ear, and eye, let go all, even the best Reflections, so that at last we’re blind, from what things it was, our mind was bid to draw off its affection.

13. Love craves the whole Heart, for its sake we must give up our every treasure; we cannot of the Crown partake, unless we kiss the Cross with pleasure, and thus with open arms receive all smart, distress and tribulations, so that the Saviour hath free leave to his death likeliness us to fashion. If Satan with vile art cannot persuade the heart to bargain for some Mitigation; then widens he the path, that, in false Flight of Faith, Souls venture too far from their station.

14. Right inward must the soul remain and suck the Love’s Breasts for her nutrition, retiring so from Lust as Pain, to soft Composure’s sweet fruition. If now the Enemy finds that those ignoble Objects will not suit us. which to our Bridegroom he had oppose, who is so exquisitely beauteous: then does he try his might, to cause a gloomy night if possible, our eyes to cover, that we in Shadows dull, can’t see the beautiful, and gracious Face of our Soul’s Lover.

15. But, when by all his ways at length he can’t from Grace decoy or fright us, nor, from possessing Life and strength, to endless vague Desire incite us, (in which a man may toil, till spent and over-tired, his spirit failing, he thinks in drooping Languishment) then are the Warriors powers prevailing through Christ, their glorious Chief; then, free from care and grief, on pure and unmixed Pleasures feeding, warmed by the Bridegroom’s fires, the Bridal-Heart retires, to calm repose, all thought exceeding.

Engraving XII from the French translation of David Crantz’s ‘Brève et fidèle exposition de l’origine, de la doctrine, des constitutions, usages et cérémonies ecclésiastiques de l’église de l’Unité des Frères, connus sous le nom de Frères de Bohème et de Moravie…Par un auteur impartial, ami de la vérité’. 1758.















for Engravings



More about the Moravian Church:
From A 1754 Moravian Church Hymnal: The ‘Faith, Hope & Love’ Triptych

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