Hans Adolph Brorson

Brorson's Childhood and Youth

Hans Adolph Brorson came from Schleswig, the border province between Denmark and Germany which for centuries has constituted a battleground between the two countries and cost the Danes so much in blood and tears. His family was old in the district and presented an unbroken line of substantial farmers until his grandfather, Broder Pedersen, broke it by studying for the ministry and becoming pastor at Randrup, a small country parish on the west coast of the province.

Broder Pedersen remained at Randrup till his death in 1646, and was then succeeded by his son, Broder Brodersen, a young man only twenty-three years old, who shortly before his installation had married Catherine Margaret Clausen, a daughter of the manager of Trojborg manor, the estate to which the church at Randrup belonged. Catherine Clausen bore her husband three sons, Nicolaj Brodersen, born July 23, 1690, Broder Brodersen, born September 12, 1692, and Hans Adolph Brodersen—or Brorson—as his name was later written—born June 20, 1694.

Broder Brodersen was a quiet, serious-minded man, anxious to give his boys the best possible training for life. Although his income was small, he managed somehow to provide private tutors for them. Both he and his wife were earnest Christians, and the fine example of their own lives was no doubt of greater value to their boys than the formal instruction they received from hired teachers. Thus an early biographer of the Brorsons writes: “Their good parents earnestly instructed their boys in all that was good, but especially in the fear and knowledge of God. Knowing that a good example is more productive of good than the best precept, they were not content with merely teaching them what is good, but strove earnestly to live so that their own daily lives might present a worthy pattern for their sons to follow.”

Broder Brodersen was not granted the privilege of seeing his sons attain their honored manhood. He died in 1704, when the eldest of them was fourteen and the youngest only ten years old. Upon realizing that he must leave them, he is said to have comforted himself with the words of Kingo:

If for my children I

Would weep and sorrow

And every moment cry:

Who shall tomorrow

With needful counsel, home and care provide them?

The Lord still reigns above,

He will with changeless love

Sustain and guide them.

Nor was the faith of the dying pastor put to shame. A year after his death, his widow married his successor in the pastorate, Pastor Ole Holbeck, who proved himself a most excellent stepfather to his adopted sons.

Reverend Holbeck personally taught the boys until Nicolaj, and a year later, Broder and Hans Adolph were prepared to enter the Latin school at Ribe. This old and once famous school was then in a state of decay. The town itself had declined from a proud city, a favored residence of kings and nobles, to an insignificant village of about fifteen hundred inhabitants. Of its former glory only a few old buildings and, especially, the beautiful cathedral still remained. And the Latin school had shared the fate of the city. Its once fine buildings were decaying; its faculty, which in former times included some of the best known savants of the country, was poorly paid and poorly equipped; and the number of its students had shrunk from about 1200 to less than a score. Only the course of study remained unchanged from the Middle Ages. Latin and religion were still the main subjects of instruction. It mattered little if the student could neither speak nor write Danish correctly, but he must be able to define the finest points in a Latin grammar of more than 1200 pages. Attendance at religious services was compulsory; but the services were cold and spiritless, offering little attraction to an adolescent youth.

The boys completed their course at Ribe and entered the university of Copenhagen, Nicolaj in the fall of 1710 and the younger brothers a year later. But the change offered them little improvement. The whole country suffered from a severe spiritual decline. Signs of an awakening were here and there, but not at the university where Lutheran orthodoxy still maintained its undisputed reign of more than a hundred years, though it had now become more dry and spiritless than ever.

The brothers all intended to prepare for the ministry. But after two years Nicolaj for various reasons left the University of Copenhagen to complete his course at the University of Kiel. Broder remained at Copenhagen, completing his course there in the spring of 1715. Hans Adolph studied for three years more and, even then, failed to complete his course.

Hans Adolph Brorson

Hans Adolph Brorson

It was a period of transition and spiritual unrest. The spiritual revival now clearly discernible throughout the country had at last reached the university. For the first time in many years the prevailing orthodoxy with its settled answers to every question of faith and conduct was meeting an effective challenge. Many turned definitely away from religion, seeking in other fields such as history, philosophy and especially the natural sciences for a more adequate answer to their problems than religion appeared to offer. Others searched for a solution of their difficulty in new approaches to the old faith. The result was a spiritual confusion such as often precedes the dawn of a new awakening. And Brorson appears to have been caught in it. His failure to complete his course was by no means caused by indolence. He had, on the contrary, broadened his studies to include a number of subjects foreign to his course, and he had worked so hard that he had seriously impaired his health. But he had lost his direction, and also, for the time being, all interest in theology.

It was, therefore, as a somewhat spiritually confused and physically broken young man that he gave up his studies and returned to his home at Randrup. His brothers were already well started upon their conspicuously successful careers, while he was still drifting, confused and uncertain, a failure, as some no doubt would call him. His good stepfather, nevertheless, received him with the utmost kindness. If he harbored any disappointment in him, he does not appear to have shown it. His stepson remained with him for about a year, assisting him with whatever he could, and had then so far recovered that he was able to accept a position as tutor in the family of his maternal uncle, Nicolaj Clausen, at Løgum Kloster.

Løgum Kloster had once been a large and powerful institution and a center of great historic events. The magnificent building of the cloister itself had been turned into a county courthouse, at which Nicolaj Clausen served as county president, but the splendid old church of the cloister still remained, serving as the parish church. In these interesting surroundings and in the quiet family circle of his uncle, Brorson made further progress toward normal health. But his full recovery came only after a sincere spiritual awakening in 1720.

The strong revival movement that was sweeping the country and displacing the old orthodoxy, was engendered by the German Pietist movement, entering Denmark through Slesvig. The two conceptions of Christianity differed, it has been said, only in their emphasis. Orthodoxy emphasized doctrine and Pietism, life. Both conceptions were one-sided. If orthodoxy had resulted in a lifeless formalism, Pietism soon lost its effectiveness in a sentimental subjectivism. Its neglect of sound doctrine eventually gave birth to Rationalism. But for the moment Pietism appeared to supply what orthodoxy lacked: an urgent call to Christians to live what they professed to believe.

A number of the early leaders of the movement in Denmark lived in the neighborhood of Løgum Kloster, and were personally known to Brorson. But whether or not any of these leaders was instrumental in his awakening is now unknown. One of his contemporaries simply states that “Brorson at this time sought to employ his solitude in a closer walk with God in Christ and, in so doing, received a perfect assurance of the Lord's faithfulness to those that trust in Him.” Thus whatever influence neighboring Pietists may have contributed to the great change in his life, the change itself seems to have been brought about through his own Jacob-like struggle with God. And it was a complete change. If he had formerly been troubled by many things, he henceforth evinced but one desire to know Christ and to be known by Him.

A first fruit of his awakening was an eager desire to enter the ministry. He was offered a position as rector of a Latin school, but his stepfather's death, just as he was considering the offer, caused him to refuse the appointment and instead to apply for the pastorate at Randrup. His application granted, he at once hastened back to the university to finish his formerly uncompleted course and obtain his degree. Having accomplished this in the fall of the same year, on April 6, 1722, he was ordained to the ministry together with his brother, Broder Brorson, who had resigned a position as rector of a Latin school to become pastor at Mjolden, a parish adjoining Randrup. As his brother, Nicolaj Brorson, shortly before had accepted the pastorate of another adjoining parish, the three brothers thus enjoyed the unusual privilege of living and working together in the same neighborhood.

The eight years that Brorson spent at Randrup where his father and grandfather had worked before him were probably the happiest in his life. The parish is located in a low, treeless plain bordering the North Sea. Its climate, except for a few months of summer, is raw and blustery. In stormy weather the sea frequently floods its lower fields, causing severe losses in crops, stocks and even in human life. Thus Brorson's stepfather died from a cold caught during a flight from a flood that threatened the parsonage. The severe climate and constant threat of the sea, however, fosters a hardy race. From this region the Jutes together with their neighbors, the Angles and Saxons, once set out to conquer and settle the British Isles. And the hardihood of the old sea-rovers was not wholly lost in their descendants when Brorson settled among them, although it had long been directed into other and more peaceful channels.

The parsonage in which the Brorsons lived stood on a low ridge, rising gently above its surroundings and affording a splendid view over far reaches of fields, meadows and the ever changing sea. The view was especially beautiful in early summer when wild flowers carpeted the meadows in a profusion of colors, countless birds soared and sang above the meadows and shoals of fish played in the reed bordered streams. It was without doubt this scene that inspired the splendid hymn “Arise, All Things that God Hath Made.”

Brorson was happy to return to Randrup. The parish was just then the center of all that was dearest to him in this world. His beloved mother still lived there, his brothers were close neighbors, and he brought with him his young wife, Catherine Clausen, whom he had married a few days before his installation.

Nicolaj and Broder Brorson had, like him, joined the Pietist movement, and the three brothers, therefore, could work together in complete harmony for the spiritual revival of their parishes. And they did not spare themselves. Both separately and cooperatively, they labored zealously to increase church attendance, revive family devotions, encourage Bible reading and hymn singing, and minimize the many worldly and doubtful amusements that, then as now, caused many Christians to fall. They also began to hold private assemblies in the homes, a work for which they were bitterly condemned by many and severely reprimanded by the authorities. It could not be expected, of course, that a work so devoted to the furtherance of a new conception of the Christian life would be tolerated without opposition. But their work, nevertheless, was blest with abundant fruit, both in their own parishes and throughout neighboring districts. Churches were refilled with worshippers, family altars rebuilt, and a new song was born in thousands of homes. People expressed their love for the three brothers by naming them “The Rare Three-Leafed Clover from Randrup.” It is said that the revival inspired by the Brorsons even now, more than two hundred years later, is plainly evident in the spiritual life of the district.

Thus the years passed fruitfully for the young pastor at Randrup. He rejoiced in his home, his work and the warm devotion of his people. It came, therefore, as a signal disappointment to all that he was the first to break the happy circle by accepting a call as assistant pastor at Christ church in Tønder, a small city a few miles south of Randrup.

Brorson's Swan-Song

The Pietist movement, new and numerically small when the Brorsons aligned themselves with it, made such sweeping progress that within a few years it became the most powerful movement within the Danish church. And in 1739, it ascended the throne in the persons of King Christian VI and his consort, Queen Sophia Magdalene of Kulmbach, an event of great significance to the fortunes of the Brorsons.

In Denmark the king is officially the head of the church. At the time of Brorson all church appointments belonged to him, and King Christian VI, if he had so wanted, could thus have filled all vacancies with adherents of the movement in which he sincerely believed. He was, however, no fanatic. Earnestly concerned, as he no doubt was, to further the spiritual welfare of his subjects, his only desire was to supply all church positions at his disposal with good and able men. And as such the Brorsons were recommended to him by his old tutor and adviser in church affairs, John Herman Schraeder. On this recommendation, he successively invited the brothers to preach at court. Their impression upon him was so favorable that within a few years he appointed Nicolaj to become pastor of Nicolaj church in Copenhagen, one of the largest churches in the capital, Broder to become Provost of the cathedral at Ribe and, two years later, Bishop of Aalborg, and Hans Adolph to succeed his brother at Ribe and, four years later, to become bishop of that large and historically famous bishopric. Thus the brothers in a few years had been elevated from obscurity to leading positions within their church.

Contemporaries express highly different estimates of Brorson as a bishop. While praised by some, he is severely criticized by others as unfit both by ability and temperament for the high office he occupied. This last estimate now is generally held to be unjust and, to some extent at least, inspired by jealousy of his quick rise to fame and by antagonism to his pietistic views. A close examination of church records and his official correspondence proves him to have been both efficient in the administration of his office and moderate in his dealings with others. He was by all accounts an eloquent and effective speaker. Although Ribe was a small city, its large cathedral was usually crowded whenever it was known that Brorson would conduct the service. People came from far away to hear him. And his preaching at home and on his frequent visits to all parts of his large bishopric bore fruit in a signal quickening of the Christian life in many of the parishes under his charge. He was, we are told, as happy as a child when he found pastors and their people working faithfully together for the upbuilding of the kingdom. But his own zeal caused him to look for the same earnestness in others. And he was usually stern and, at times, implacable, in his judgment of neglect and slothfulness, especially in the pastors.

His private life was by all accounts exceptionally pure and simple, a true expression of his sincere faith and earnest piety. A domestic, who for many years served in his home has furnished us with a most interesting account of his home life. Brorson, she testifies, was an exceptionally kind and friendly man, always gentle and considerate in his dealing with others except when they had provoked him by some gross neglect or inattention to right and duty. He was generous to a fault toward others, but very frugal, even parsimonious in his home and in his personal habits. Only at Christmas or on other special occasion would he urge his household to spare nothing. He was a ceaseless and industrious worker, giving close personal attention to the multiple duties of his important position and office. His daily life bore eloquent witness of his sincere piety. When at home, no matter how busy, he always gathered his whole household for daily devotions. Music constituted his sole diversion. He enjoyed an evening spent in playing and singing with his family and servants. If he chanced to hear a popular song with a pleasing tune, he often adopted it to his own words, and sang it in the family circle. Many of the hymns in his Swan-Song are said to have been composed and sung in that way.

His life was rich in trials and suffering. His first wife died just as he was preparing to go to Copenhagen for his consecration as a bishop, and the loss affected him so deeply that only the pleading of his friends prevented him from resigning the office. He later married a most excellent woman, Johanne Riese, but could never forget the wife of his youth. Several of his children preceded him in death, some of them while still in their infancy, and others in the prime of their youth. His own health was always delicate and he passed through several severe illnesses from which his recovery was considered miraculous. His heaviest cross was, perhaps, the hopeless insanity of his first-born son, who throughout his life had to be confined to a locked and barred room as a hopeless and dangerous lunatic. A visitor in the bishop's palace, it is related, once remarked: “You speak so often about sorrows and trials, Bishop Brorson, but you have your ample income and live comfortably in this fine mansion, so how can you know about these things?” Without answering, Brorson beckoned his visitor to follow him to the graveyard where he showed him the grave of his wife and several of his children, and into the palace where he showed him the sad spectacle of his insane son. Then the visitor understood that position and material comfort are no guaranty against sorrow.

A very sensitive man, Brorson was often deeply afflicted by his trials, but though cast down, he was not downcast. The words of his own beloved hymn, “Whatever I am called to bear, I must in patience suffer,” no doubt express his own attitude toward the burdens of his life. His trials engendered in him, however, an intense yearning for release, especially during his later years. The hymns of his Swan-Song  are eloquent testimonies of his desire to depart and be at home with God.

With the passing years his health became progressively poorer and his weakening body less able to support the strain of his exacting office. He would listen to no plea for relaxation, however, until his decreasing strength clearly made it impossible for him to continue. Even then he refused to rest and planned to publish a series of weekly sermons that he might thus continue to speak to his people. But his strength waned so quickly that he was able to complete only one of the sermons.

On May 29, 1764, he begged a government official to complete a case before him at his earliest convenience “for I am now seventy years old, feeble, bedridden and praying for release from this unhappy world.” Only a day later, his illness took a grave turn for the worse. He sank into a stupor that lasted until dusk when he awoke and said clearly, “My Jesus is praying for me in heaven. I see it by faith and am anxious to go. Come quickly, my Lord, and take me home!” He lingered until the morning of June 3, when he passed away peacefully just as the great bells of the cathedral announced the morning service.

Several fine memorials have been raised to his memory, among them an excellent statue at the entrance to the cathedral at Ribe, and a tablet on the inside wall of the building right beside a similar remembrance of Hans Tausen, the leader of the Danish reformation and a former bishop of the diocese. But the finest memorial was raised to him by his son through the publication of Hans Adolph Brorson's Swan-Song , a collection of hymns and songs selected from his unpublished writings.

The songs of the Swan-Song  were evidently written for the poet's own consolation and diversion. They are of very different types and merit, and a number of them might without loss have been left out of the collection. A few of them stand unexcelled, however, for beauty, sentiment and poetic excellence. There are songs of patience such as the inimitable:

Her vil ties, her vil bies,

Her vil bies, o svage Sind.

Vist skal du hente, kun ved at vente,

Kun ved at vente, vor Sommer ind.

Her vil ties, her vil bies,

Her vil bies, o svage Sind.

which one can hardly transfer to another language without marring its tender beauty. And there are songs of yearning such as the greatly favored,

O Holy Ghost, my spirit

With yearning longs to see

Jerusalem

That precious gem,

Where I shall soon inherit

The home prepared for me.

But O the stormy waters!

How shall I find my way

Mid hidden shoals,

Where darkness rolls,

And join thy sons and daughters

Who dwell in thee for aye.

Lord, strengthen my assurance

Of dwelling soon with Thee,

That I may brave

The threatening wave

With firm and calm endurance;

Thyself my pilot be.

And there is “The Great White Host”, most beloved of all Brorson's hymns, which Dr. Ryden, a Swedish-American Hymnologist, calls the most popular Scandinavian hymn in the English language. Several English translations of this song are available. The translation presented below is from the new English hymnal of the Danish Lutheran churches in America.

Behold the mighty, whiterobed band [1]

Like thousand snowclad mountains stand

With waving palms

And swelling psalms

Above at God's right hand.

These are the heroes brave that came

Through tribulation, war and flame

And in the flood

Of Jesus' blood

Were cleansed from sin and shame.

Now with the ransomed, heavenly Throng

They praise the Lord in every tongue,

And anthems swell

Where God doth dwell

Amidst the angels' song.

They braved the world's contempt and might,

But see them now in glory bright

With golden crowns,

In priestly gowns

Before the throne of light.

The world oft weighed them with dismay.

And tears would flow without allay,

But there above

The Saviour's love

Has wiped their tears away.

Theirs is henceforth the Sabbath rest,

The Paschal banquet of the blest,

Where fountains play

And Christ for aye

Is host as well as guest.

All hail to you, blest heroes, then!

A thousand fold is now your gain

That ye stood fast

Unto the last

And did your goal attain.

Ye spurned all worldly joy and fame,

And harvest now in Jesus' name

What ye have sown

With tears unknown

Mid angels' glad acclaim.

Lift up your voice, wave high your palm,

Compass the heavens with your psalm:

All glory be

Eternally

To God and to the Lamb.

Brorson's hymns were received with immediate favor. The Rare Clenod of Faith  passed through six editions before the death of its author, and a new church hymnal published in 1740 contained ninety of his hymns. Pietism swept the country and adopted Brorson as its poet. But its reign was surprisingly short. King Christian VI died in 1746, and the new king, a luxury-loving worldling, showed little interest in religion and none at all in Pietism. Under his influence the movement quickly waned. During the latter part of the eighteenth century it was overpowered by a wave of religious rationalism which engulfed the greater part of the intellectual classes and the younger clergy. The intelligentsia adopted Voltaire and Rousseau as their prophets and talked endlessly of the new age of enlightenment in which religion was to be shorn of its mysteries and people were to be delivered from the bonds of superstition.

In such an atmosphere the old hymns and, least of all, Brorson's hymns with their mystic contemplation of the Saviour's blood and wounds could not survive. The leading spirits in the movement demanded a new hymnal that expressed the spirit of the new age. The preparation of such a book was undertaken by a committee of popular writers, many of whom openly mocked Evangelical Christianity. Their work was published under the title The Evangelical Christian Hymnal , a peculiar name for a book which, as has been justly said, was neither Evangelical nor Christian. The compilers had eliminated many of the finest hymns of Kingo and Brorson and ruthlessly altered others so that they were irrecognizable. To compensate for this loss, a great number of “poetically perfect hymns” by newer writers—nearly all of whom have happily been forgotten—were adopted.

But while would-be leaders discarded or mutilated the old hymns and, with a zeal worthy of a better cause, sought to force their new songs upon the congregations, many of these clung tenaciously to their old hymnal and stoutly refused to accept the new. In places the controversy even developed into a singing contest, with the congregations singing the numbers from the old hymnal and the deacons from the new. And these contests were, of course, expressive of an even greater controversy than the choice of hymns. They represented the struggle between pastors, working for the spread of the new gospel, and congregations still clinging to the old. With the highest authorities actively supporting the new movement, the result of the contest was, however, a foregone conclusion. The new enlightenment triumphed, and thousands of Evangelical Christians became homeless in their own church.

During the subsequent period of triumphant Rationalism, groups of Evangelical laymen began to hold private assemblies in their own homes and to provide for their own spiritual nourishment by reading Luther's sermons and singing the old hymns. In these assemblies Brorson's hymns retained their favor until a new Evangelical awakening during the middle part of the nineteenth century produced a new appreciation of the old hymns and restored them to their rightful place in the worship of the church. And the songs of the Sweet Singer of Pietism have, perhaps, never enjoyed a greater favor in his church than they do today.

[1]Another translation: “Like thousand mountains brightly crowned” by S. D. Rodholm in “World of Song”.

The Singer of Pietism

The city of Tønder, when Brorson located there, had about two thousand inhabitants. At one time it had belonged to the German Dukes of Gottorp, and it was still largely German speaking. Its splendid church had three pastors, two of whom preached in German and the third, Brorson, in Danish.

The parish Pastor, Johan Herman Schraeder, was an outstanding and highly respected man. Born at Hamburg in 1684, he had in his younger days served as a tutor for the children of King Frederick IV, Princess Charlotte Amalia and Prince Christian, now reigning as King Christian VI.

Pastor Schraeder was a zealous Pietist and a leader of the Pietist movement in Tønder and its neighboring territory. Like the Brorsons he sought to encourage family devotions, Bible reading and, especially, hymn singing. People are said to have become so interested in the latter that they brought their hymnals with them to work so that they might sing from them during lunch hours. He himself was a noted hymnwriter and hymn collector, who, shortly after Brorson became his assistant, published a German hymnal, containing no less than 1157 hymns.

Schraeder, we are told, had been personally active in inducing Brorson to leave his beloved Randrup and accept the call to Tønder. As Brorson was known as an ardent Pietist, Schraeder's interest in bringing him to Tønder may have originated in a natural wish to secure a congenial co-worker, but it may also have sprung from an acquaintance with his work as a hymnwriter. For although there is no direct evidence that any of Brorson's hymns were written at Randrup, a number of circumstances make it highly probable that some of them were composed there and that Schraeder was acquainted with them. Such a mutual interest also helps to explain why Brorson should leave his fruitful work at Randrup for an inferior position in a new field. It is certain that the change brought him no outward advantages, and his position as a Danish pastor in a largely German speaking community must have presented certain unavoidable difficulties.

Although Brorson to our knowledge took no part in the endless contest between German and Danish, his personal preference was, no doubt, for the latter. It is thus significant that, although he must have been about equally familiar with both languages, he did not write a single hymn in German. He showed no ill will toward his German speaking compatriots, however, and worked harmoniously with his German speaking co-workers. But this strongly German atmosphere does constitute a peculiar setting for one of the greatest hymnwriters of the Danish church.

The congregation at Tønder had formed the peculiar custom of singing in German—even at the Danish service. It is self-evident, however, that such a custom could not be satisfactory to Brorson. He was a Pietist with the fervent longing of that movement for a real spiritual communion with his fellow Christians. But a custom that compelled the pastor and his congregation to speak in different tongues was, of necessity, a hindrance to the consummation of such a desire. And now Christmas was drawing near, that joyful season which Brorson, as his hymns prove, loved so well and must heartily have desired to share with his hearers, a desire which this mixture of tongues to a certain extent, made impossible. He and his congregation had to be one in language before they could wholly be one in spirit.

And so, shortly before the great festival in 1732, he published a small and unpretentious booklet entitled: Some Christmas Hymns, Composed to the Honor of God, the Edification of Christian Souls and, in Particular, of My Beloved Congregation during the Approaching Joyful Christmastide, Humbly and Hastily Written by Hans Adolph Brorson .

This simple appearing booklet at once places Brorson among the great hymnwriters of the Christian church. It contains ten hymns, seven of which are for the Christmas season. Nearly every one of them is now counted among the classics of Danish hymnody.

Brorson seems at once to have reached the height of his ability as a hymnwriter. His Christmas hymns present an intensity of sentiment, a mastery of form and a perfection of poetical skill that he rarely attained in his later work. They are frankly lyrical. Unlike his great English contemporary, Isaac Watts, who held that a hymn should not be a lyrical poem and deliberately reduced the poetical quality of his work, Brorson believed that a Christian should use “all his thought and skill to magnify the grace of God”. The opinion of an English literary critic “that hymns cannot be considered as poetry” is disproved by Brorson's work. Some of his hymns contain poetry of the highest merit. Their phrasing is in parts extremely lyrical, utilizing to the fullest extent the softness and flexibility that is supposed to be an outstanding characteristic of the Danish tongue; their metres are most skillfully blended and their rhymes exceedingly varied. His masterly use of what was often considered an inconsequential appendage to poetry is extraordinarily skillful. Thus he frequently chooses a harsh or a soft rhyme to emphasize the predominating sentiment of his verse.

Brorson is without doubt the most lyrical of all Danish hymnwriters. Literary critics have rated some of his hymns with the finest lyrics in the Danish language. Yet his poetry seldom degenerates to a mere form. His fervid lyrical style usually serves as an admirable vehicle for the warm religious sentiment of his song.

In their warm spirit and fervid style Brorson's hymns in some ways strikingly resemble the work of his great English contemporaries, the Wesleys. Nor is this similarity a mere chance. The Wesleys, as we know, were strongly influenced first by the Moravians and later by the German Pietists. Besides a number of Moravian hymns, John Wesley also translated several hymns from the hymnbook compiled by the well-known Pietist, Johan Freylinghausen. The fervid style and varied metres of these hymns introduced a new type of church song into the English and American churches. But Freylinghausen's Gesang-Buch  also formed the basis of the hymnal compiled by Johan Herman Schraeder from which Brorson chose most of the originals of his translations. Thus both he and the Wesleys in a measure drew their inspiration from the same source. The Danish poet and his English contemporaries worked independently and mediated their inspiration in their own way, but the resemblance of their work is unmistakable. In poetical merit, however, the work of Brorson far excels that of the Wesleys. But his Christmas hymns also surpass most earlier Danish hymns and even the greater part of his own later work.

One's first impression of the booklet that so greatly has enriched the Christmas festival of Denmark and Norway, is likely to be disappointing. At the time of Brorson the festival was frequently desecrated by a ceaseless round of worldly amusements. People attended the festival services of the church and spent the remainder of the season in a whirl of secular and far from innocent pleasures. With his Pietistic views Brorson naturally deplored such a misuse of the season. And his first hymn, therefore, sounds an earnest call to cease these unseemly pleasures and to use the festival in a Christian way.

Cast out all worldly pleasure

This blessed Christmastide,

And seek the boundless treasure

That Jesus doth provide.

But although such a warning may have been timely, then as now, it hardly expresses the real Christmas spirit. In the next hymn, however, he at once strikes the true festival note in one of the most triumphant Christmas anthems in the Danish or any other language.

This blessed Christmastide we will,

With heart and mind rejoicing,

Employ our every thought and skill,

God's grace and honor voicing.

In Him that in the manger lay

We will with all our might today

Exult in heart and spirit,

And hail Him as our Lord and King

Till earth's remotest bounds shall ring

With praises of His merit.

A little Child of Jesse's stem,

And Son of God in heaven,

To earth from heaven's glory came

And was for sinners given.

It so distressed His loving heart

To see the world from God depart

And in transgression languish,

That He forsook His home above

And came to earth in tender love

To bear our grief and anguish.

Therefore we hymn His praises here

And though we are but lowly,

Our loud hosannas everywhere

Shall voice His mercy holy.

The tent of God is now with man,

And He will dwell with us again

When in His name assembling.

And we shall shout His name anew

Till hell itself must listen to

Our Christmas song with trembling.

And though our song of joy be fraught

With strains of lamentation,

The burden of our cross shall not

Subdue our jubilation.

For when the heart is most distressed,

The harp of joy is tuned so best

Its chords of joy are ringing,

And broken hearts best comprehend

The boundless joy our Lord and Friend

This Christmas day is bringing.

Hallelujah, our strife is o'er!

Who would henceforth with sadness

Repine and weep in sorrow sore

This blessed day of gladness.

Rejoice, rejoice, ye saints on earth,

And sing the wonders of His birth

Whose glory none can measure.

Hallelujah, the Lord is mine,

And I am now by grace divine

The heir of all His treasure!

Equally fine but more quietly contemplative is the next hymn in the collection which takes us right to the focal point of Christmas worship, the stable at Bethlehem.

My heart remains in wonder

Before that lowly bed

Within the stable yonder

Where Christ, my Lord, was laid.

My faith finds there its treasure,

My soul its pure delight,

Its joy beyond all measure,

The Lord of Christmas night.

But Oh! my heart is riven

With grief and sore dismay

To see the Lord of heaven

Must rest on straw and hay,

That He whom angels offer

Their worship and acclaim

From sinful man must suffer

Such scorn, neglect and shame.

Why should not castles royal

Before Him open stand,

And kings, as servants loyal,

Obey His least command?

Why came He not in splendor

Arrayed in robes of light

And called the world to render

Its homage to His might?

The sparrow finds a gable

Where it may build its nest,

The oxen know a stable

For shelter, food and rest;

Must then my Lord and Savior

A homeless stranger be,

Denied the simplest favor

His lowly creatures see.

O come, my Lord, I pray Thee,

And be my honored guest.

I will in love array Thee

A home within my breast.

It cannot be a stranger

To Thee, who made it free.

Thou shalt find there a manger

Warmed by my love to Thee.

Far different from this song of quiet contemplation is the searching hymn that follows it.

How do we exalt the Father

That He sent His Son to earth.

Many with indifference gather

At His gift of boundless worth.

This is followed by another hymn of praise.

Lift up your voice once more

The Savior to adore.

Let all unite in spirit

And praise the grace and merit

Of Jesus Christ, the Holy,

Our joy and glory solely.

And then comes “The Fairest of Roses”, which a distinguished critic calls “one of the most perfect lyrics in the Danish language”. This hymn is inspired by a text from the Song of Songs “I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley”. It is written as an allegory, a somewhat subdued form of expression that in this case serves admirably to convey an impression of restrained fire. Its style is reminiscent of the folk songs, with the first stanza introducing the general theme of the song, the appearance of the rose, that is, of the Savior in a lost and indifferent world. The remainder of the verses are naturally divided into three parts: a description of the dying world in which God causes the rose to appear, a lament over the world's indifference to the gift which it should have received with joy and gratitude, and a glowing declaration of what the rose means to the poet himself.

Many chapters have been written about the poetic excellencies of this hymn, such as the perfect balance of its parts, the admirable treatment of the contrast between the rose and the thorns, and the skillful choice of rhymes to underscore the predominating sentiment of each verse. But some of these excellencies have no doubt been lost in the translation and can be appreciated only by a study of the original. English translations of the hymn have been made by German-, Swedish-, and Norwegian-American writers, indicating its wide popularity. The following is but another attempt to produce a more adequate rendering of this beautiful song.

Now found is the fairest of roses,

Midst briars it sweetly reposes.

My Jesus, unsullied and holy,

Abode among sinners most lowly.

Since man his Creator deserted,

And wholly His image perverted,

The world like a desert was lying,

And all in transgressions were dying.

But God, as His promises granted,

A rose in the desert hath planted,

Which now with its sweetness endoweth

The race that in sinfulness groweth.

All people should now with sweet savor

Give praise unto God for His favor;

But many have ne'er comprehended

The rose to the world hath descended.

Ye sinners as vile in behavior

As thorns in the crown of the Savior,

Why are ye so prideful in spirit,

Content with your self-righteous merit?

O seek ye the places more lowly,

And weep before Jesus, the Holy,

Then come ye His likeness the nearest;

The rose in the valley grows fairest.

My Jesus, Thou ever remainest

My wonderful rose who sustainest

My heart in the fullness of pleasure;

Thy sweetness alone I will treasure.

The world may of all things bereave me,

Its thorns may assail and aggrieve me,

The foe may great anguish engender:

My rose I will never surrender.

The last Christmas hymn of the collection is printed under the heading: “A Little Hymn for the Children”, and is composed from the text “Have ye not read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise”. Said to be the oldest children's hymn in Danish, it is still one of the finest. It is written as a processional. The children come hastening on to Bethlehem to find the new-born Lord and offer Him their homage. One almost hears their pattering feet and happy voices as they rush forward singing:

Here come Thy little ones, O Lord,

To Thee in Bethlehem adored.

Enlighten now our heart and mind

That we the way to Thee may find.

We hasten with a song to greet

And kneel before Thee at Thy feet.

O blessed hour, O sacred night,

When Thou wert born, our soul's Delight!

Be welcome from Thy heavenly home

Unto this vale of tears and gloom,

Where man to Thee no honor gave

But stable, manger, cross and grave.

But Jesus, oh! how can it be

That but so few will think of Thee

And of that tender, wondrous love

Which drew Thee to us from above?

O draw us little children near

To Thee, our Friend and Brother dear,

That each of us so heartily

In faith and love may cling to Thee.

Let not the world lead us astray

That we our Christian faith betray,

But grant that all our longings be

Directed always unto Thee.

Then shall the happy day once come

When we shall gather in Thy home

And join the angels' joyful throng

In praising Thee with triumph song.

We gather now about Thee close

Like leaves around the budding rose,

O grant us, Savior, that we may

Thus cluster round Thy throne for aye.

His Christmas hymns were so well received that Brorson was encouraged to continue his writing. During the following year he published no less than five collections bearing the titles: Some Advent Hymns Some Passion Hymns Some Easter Hymns Some Pentecost Hymns , and Hymns for the Minor Festivals . All of these hymns were likewise kindly received and therefore he continued to send out new collections, publishing during the following years a whole series of hymns on various phases of Christian faith and life. In 1739, all these hymns were collected into one volume and published under the title: The Rare Clenod of Faith .

This now famous book contains in all 67 original and 216 translated hymns. The arrangement of the hymns follows in the main the order of the Lutheran catechism, covering not only every division but almost every subdivision of the book. Brorson, it appears, must have written his hymns after a preconceived plan, a rather unusual method for a hymnwriter to follow.

The Rare Clenod of Faith  fails as a whole to maintain the high standard of the Christmas hymns. Although the language, as in all that Brorson wrote, is pure and melodious, the poetic flight and fresh sentiment of his earlier work is lacking to some extent in the latter part of the collection. One reason for this is thought to be that Brorson, on locating at Tønder, had come into closer contact with the more extreme views of Pietism. The imprint of that movement, at least, is more distinct upon his later than upon his earlier work. The great preponderance of his translated over his original hymns also affects the spirit of the collection. He was not always fortunate in the selection of the original material for his translations. Some of these express the excessive Pietistic contemplation of the Savior's blood and wounds; others are rhymed sermons rather than songs of praise.

Despite these defects, The Rare Clenod of Faith , still ranks with the great books of hymnody. It contains a wealth of hymns that will never die. Even the less successful of its compositions present a true Evangelical message, a message that, at times, sounds a stern call to awake and “shake off that sinful sleep before to you is closed the open door” and, at others, pleads softly for a closer walk with God, a deeper understanding of His ways and a firmer trust in His grace. There are many strings on Brorson's harp, but they all sound a note of vital faith.

Judging Brorson's original hymns to be far superior to his translations, some have deplored that he should have spent so much of his time in transferring the work of others. And it is, no doubt, true that his original hymns are as a whole superior to his translations. But many of these are so fine that their elimination would now appear like an irreplaceable loss to Danish hymnody. The constant love with which many of them have been used for more than two hundred years should silence the claim that a translated hymn must of necessity be less valuable than an original. A considerable number of the originals of Brorson's most favored translations have long been forgotten.

As a translator Brorson is usually quite faithful to the originals, following them as closely as the differences in language and mode of expression permit. He is not slavishly bound, however, to his text. His constant aim is to reproduce his text in a pure and idiomatic Danish. And as his own poetic skill in most cases was superior to that of the original writer, his translations are often greatly superior to their originals in poetical merit.

Although the translation of a translation of necessity presents a very unreliable yard-stick of a man's work, the following translation of Brorson's version of the well-known German hymn, “Ich Will Dich Lieben, Meine Starke” may at least indicate the nature of his work as a translator.

Thee will I love, my strength, my Treasure;

My heart in Thee finds peace and joy.

Thee will I love in fullest measure,

And in Thy cause my life employ.

Thee will I love and serve alone.

Lord, take me as Thine own.

Thee will I love, my Life Eternal,

My Guide and Shepherd on Life's way.

Thou leadest me to pastures vernal,

And to the light of endless day.

Thee will I love, Whose blood was spilt

To cleanse my soul from guilt.

Long, long wert Thou to me a stranger,

Though Thou didst love me first of all,

I strayed afar in sin and danger

And heeded not Thy loving call

Until I found that peace of heart

Thou canst alone impart.

Lord, cast not out Thy child, returning

A wanderer, naked and forlorn.

The tempting world, I sought with yearning,

Had naught to give but grief and scorn.

In Thee alone for all its grief

My heart now finds relief.

Thee will I love and worship ever,

My Lord, my God and Brother dear!

Must every earthly tie I sever

And naught but sorrow suffer here,

Thee will I love, my Lord divine;

O Jesus, call me Thine.

Equally characteristic of his work is his translation of the less-known but appealing German hymn “Der Schmale Weg Ist Breit Genug zum Leben”.

The narrow way is wide enough to heaven

For those who walk straight-forward and with care

And take each step with watchfulness and prayer.

When we are by the Spirit driven,

The narrow way is wide enough to heaven.

The way of God is full of grace and beauty

For those who unto Him in faith have turned

And have His way with love and ardor learned.

When we accept His call and duty,

The way of God is full of grace and beauty.

The yoke of God is not too hard to carry

For those who love His blessed will and way

And shall their carnal pride in meekness slay.

When we with Him in faith will tarry,

The yoke of God is not too hard to carry.

O Jesus, help me Thy blest way to follow.

Thou knowest best my weak and fainting heart

And must not let me from Thy way depart.

I shall Thy name with praises hallow,

If Thou wilt help me Thy blest way to follow.

But fine as many of his translations are, Brorson's main claim to fame must rest, of course, upon his original compositions. These are of varying merit. His Christmas hymns were followed by a number of hymns for the festivals of the church year. While some of these are excellent, others are merely rhymed meditations upon the meaning of the season and lack the freshness of his Christmas anthems. The triumphant Easter hymn given below belongs to the finest of the group.

Christians, who with sorrow

On this Easter morrow

Watch the Savior's tomb,

Banish all your sadness,

On this day of gladness

Joy must vanquish gloom.

Christ this hour

With mighty power

Crushed the foe who would detain Him;

Nothing could restrain Him.

Rise, ye feeble-hearted,

Who have pined and smarted,

Vexed by sin and dread.

He has burst the prison

And with might arisen,

Jesus, Who was dead.

And His bride

For whom He died,

He from sin and death now raises;

Hail Him then with praises.

When our sins aggrieve us,

Jesus will receive us,

All our debt He paid.

We, who were transgressors

Are now blest possessors

Of His grace and aid.

When in death

He gave His breath

To the cruel foe He yielded

That we should be shielded.

Earth! where are thy wonders!

Hell! where are thy thunders!

Death, where is thy sting!

Jesus rose victorious,

Reigns in heaven glorious

As our Lord and King.

Him, the Lord,

Who did accord

Us so great a joy and favor,

We will praise forever.

Brorson's other hymns are too numerous to permit a more than cursory review. Beginning with the subject of creation, he wrote a number of excellent hymns on the work and providence of God. Best known among these is the hymn given below, which is said to have so pleased the king that he chose its author to become bishop. The hymn is thought to have been written while Brorson was still at Randrup. But whether this be so or not, it is evidently inspired by the natural scenery of that locality.

Arise, all things that God hath made [1]

And praise His name and glory;

Great is the least His hand arrayed,

And tells a wondrous story.

Would all the kings of earth display

Their utmost pomp and power,

They could not make a leaflet stay

And grow upon a flower.

How could the wisdom I compass

To show the grace and wonder

Of but the smallest blade of grass

On which the mind would ponder.

What shall I say when I admire

The verdant meadows blooming,

And listen to the joyful choir

Of birds above them zooming.

What shall I say when I descry

Deep in the restless ocean

The myriad creatures passing by

In swift and ceaseless motion.

What shall I say when I behold

The stars in countless numbers

Display their light and charm untold

While nature sweetly slumbers.

What shall I say when I ascend

To Him Who made creation,

And see the angel host attend

His throne with adoration.

What shall I say—vain are my words

And humble my opinion!

Great is Thy wisdom, Lord of lords,

Thy glory and dominion!

Lift up your voice with one accord

Now, every tribe and nation:

Hallelujah, great is our Lord

And wondrous His creation!

The Pietist movement is known for its fervid glorification of the Savior, and particularly of His blood and wounds, a glorification which at times appears objectionable because of the too-familiar and realistic terms in which it is expressed. Brorson did not wholly escape the excesses of the movement in this respect, especially in his translations. In his original hymns the excesses are less apparent. However faithful he might be to the movement he possessed a wholesome restraint which, when he was not following others, caused him to moderate its most inappropriate extravagances. What can be more reverent than this beautiful tribute to the Savior:

Jesus, name of wondrous grace,

Fount of mercy and salvation,

First fruit of the new creation,

Weary sinners' resting place,

Banner of the faith victorious,

Anchor of our hope and love,

Guide us in Thy footsteps glorious,

Bear us to Thy home above.

Or more expressive than this jubilant hymn of adoration:

O Thou blest Immanuel!

What exceeding joy from heaven

Hast Thou caused in me to dwell

By Thy life for sinners given.

Thou hast broke the bands at last

Which my yearning soul held fast.

In Thine arms I find relief,

Soon Thy home I shall inherit,

Sin and sorrow, death and grief

Nevermore shall vex my spirit.

For Thy word confirms the pledge

Of my lasting heritage.

Lord, my praise ascends to Thee

For these days of joy and sorrow;

They shall end in jubilee

On that blest eternal morrow

When the Sun of Paradise

Shall for me in splendor rise.

Rise in joyful faith, my soul!

Banish all thy grief and sadness.

Strong the stream of life shall roll

Through my heart with constant gladness.

Jesus, Who mine anguish bore,

Be now praised for evermore.

Most beautiful is also his hymn to the Lamb of God, translated by Pastor D. G. M. Bach.

I see Thee stand, O Lamb of God,

On Zion's mountain peak.

But Oh the way that Thou hast trod,

So long, so hard, so bleak!

What Thou didst suffer for our woe,

No man can ever know.

Though Brorson made a number of excellent translations of hymns to the Spirit such as the beautiful, “Come, Rains from the Heavens, to Strengthen and Nourish the Languishing Field,” he wrote no outstanding Pentecost hymns of his own composition. It remained for Grundtvig to supply the Danish church with a wealth of unexcelled hymns on the Holy Ghost.

Aside from his Christmas hymns, Brorson's greatest contribution to hymnody is perhaps his revival hymns, a type in which the Lutheran church is rather poor. The special message of the Pietist movement was an earnest call to awake, and Brorson repeated that call with an appealing insistence and earnestness. The word of God has been sown, but where are its fruits?

O Father, may Thy word prevail

Against the power of Hell!

Behold the vineyard Thou hast tilled

With thorns and thistles filled.

'Tis true, the plants are there,

But ah, how weak and rare,

How slight the power and evidence

Of word and sacraments.

It is, therefore, time for all Christians to awake.

Awaken from your idle dreaming!

Ye lukewarm Christians, now arise.

Behold, the light from heaven streaming

Proclaims the day of mercy flies.

Throw off that sinful sleep before

To you is closed the open door.

Many are heedless, taking no thought of the day when all shall appear before the judgment of God. Such people should arouse themselves and prepare for the rendering of their account.

O heart, prepare to give account

Of all thy sore transgression.

To God, of grace and love the Fount,

Make thou a full confession.

What hast thou done these many years

The Lord hath thee afforded.

Nothing but sin and earthly cares

Is in God's book recorded.

He realizes that many continue in their sin because of ignorance, and with these he pleads so softly:

If thou but knew the life that thou are leading

In sin and shame is Satan's tyranny,

Thou wouldest kneel and with the Lord be pleading

That He thy soul from bondage would set free.

Oh, how the Saviour would rejoice

If thou today should'st listen to His voice!

And the day of salvation is now at hand.

O, seek the Lord today,

Today He hath salvation.

Approach Him while He may

Still hear thy supplication.

Repent and seek His grace

While yet His call doth sound,

Yea turn to Him thy face

While still He may be found.

Orthodoxy had instilled a formal, but often spiritless faith. Pietism aimed to awaken the great mass of formal believers to a new life, a living and active faith. This is strongly expressed in the very popular hymn below.

The faith that Christ embraces [2]

And purifies the hearts

The faith that boldly faces

The devil's fiery darts,

That faith is strong and must

Withstand the world's temptation

And in all tribulation,

In Christ, the Saviour, trust.

The faith that knows no struggle

Against the power of sin,

The faith that sounds no bugle

To waken, fight and win,

That faith is dead and vain,

Its sacred name disgracing,

And impotent when facing

The devil's mighty reign.

A Christian wears his armor

To wage the war of faith

Against the crafty charmer,

His foe in life and death.

With Jesus he must stand

Undaunted and victorious,

If he would win his glorious

Reward at God's right hand.

It is a comfort pleasing

In our embattled life,

To feel our strength increasing

In trying days of strife.

And as our days shall be

The Lord will help accord us

And with His gifts reward us

When striving faithfully.

O Lord, my hope most fervent,

My refuge in all woe,

I will hence be Thy servant

Through all my days below.

Let come whatever may,

I will exalt Thee ever,

And ask no other favor

Than live with Thee for aye.

Although Brorson knew that—

The cost is greater than at first expected

To be in God's unbounded gifts perfected.

he holds that

It does not cost too hard a strife

To be a Christian, pure and heaven-minded,—

But a Christian must be steadfast and persevering, as he admonishes himself and others in the following very popular hymn. The translation is by Pastor P. C. Paulsen.

Stand fast, my soul, stand fast

In Christ, thy Saviour!

Lose not the war at last

By faint behaviour.

It is of no avail

That thou hast known Him

If when thy foes assail,

Thou shalt His banner fail,

And thus disown Him.

To brandish high thy sword,

With calm assurance,

And face the devil's horde

With brave endurance,

Is meet and well begun,

And merits praising.

But from the strife to run,

When blows thy courage stun,

Is most disgracing.

Let Satan rave and rage

By hosts attended,

The war for Christ I wage

Until it's ended.

When leaning on His arm

With firm reliance,

I need not take alarm,

To me can come no harm

From Hell's defiance.

When Jesus' love I see,

It me constraineth,

So that from carnal glee

My soul abstaineth.

When heaven to me is dear,

Its joys attractive,

Of hell I have no fear,

For Christ, my Lord, is near,

In battle active.

In just a little while

The strife is ended,

And I from Satan's guile

For aye defended.

Then I, where all is well,

In heaven's glory,

Among the saints shall dwell,

And with rejoicing tell

Salvation's story.

Therefore children of God should rejoice.

Children of God, born again by His Spirit,

Never ye cease in His name to rejoice;

Jesus believing and saved by His merit,

Come we to Him with a jubilant voice.

But even a child of God must not expect to escape from the common trials and perils of life. God promises assistance but not exemption to those who love Him. In the following striking hymn, Brorson vividly pictures both the trials and the comfort of a child of God.

I walk in danger everywhere,[3]

The thought must never leave me,

That Satan watches to ensnare

And with his guile deceive me.

His cunning pitfalls may

Make me an easy prey

Unless I guard myself with care;

I walk in danger everywhere.

I walk through trials everywhere;

The world no help can offer.

The burdens I am called to bear

I must with patience suffer;

Though often I discern

No place where I may turn

When clouds surround me far and near;

Death walks beside me everywhere.

Death walks besides me everywhere;

Its shadows oft appall me.

I know not when the hour is here

When God from earth shall call me.

A moment's failing breath,

And I am cold in death,

Faced with eternity fore'er;

Death walks besides me everywhere.

I walk 'mongst angels everywhere;

They are my sure defenders;

The hordes of hell in vain prepare

Against such strong contenders.

All doubts and fears must flee,

With angels guarding me;

No foe can harm me in their care;

I walk 'mongst angels everywhere.

I walk with Jesus everywhere;

His goodness never fails me.

I rest beneath His shielding care

When trouble sore assails me.

And by His footsteps led,

My path I safely tread.

Despite all ills my foes prepare:

I walk with Jesus everywhere.

I walk to heaven everywhere,

Preparing for the morrow

When God shall hear my anxious prayer

And banish all my sorrow.

Be quiet then, my soul,

Press onward to thy goal.

All carnal pleasures thou forswear,

And walk to heaven everywhere.

Unlike Kingo and Grundtvig, Brorson wrote no outstanding hymns on the sacraments. Pietism was in the main a revival movement and placed no special emphasis on the means of grace. And although Brorson remained a loyal son of the established church, he wrote his finest hymns on those phases of Christianity most earnestly emphasized by the movement to which he belonged. While this is only what could be expected, it indicates both his strength and limitation as a hymnwriter. He was above all the sweet singer of Pietism.

The hymns of Brorson that appeared during his lifetime were all written within the space of four years. In that brief period he composed a volume of songs that rank with the finest in the Christian church, and just as he might have been expected to produce his finest work, he discontinued his effort. The hymns of the Swan-Song —which we shall discuss later—though written for his own edification, indicate what he might have attained if he had continued to write for publication. His reason for thus putting aside the lyre, which for a little while he had played so appealingly, is unknown. Some have suggested that he wrote his hymns according to a preconceived plan, which, when completed, he felt no inclination to enlarge; others have surmised that the new and ardent duties, bestowed upon him about this time, deprived him of the leisure to write. But as Brorson himself expressed no reason for his action, no one really knows why this sweet singer of Pietism so suddenly ceased to sing.

[1]Another translation with the same first line by A. M. Andersen in “Hymnal for Church and Home”.
[2]Another translation: “The faith that God believeth” by P. C. Paulsen in “Hymnal for Church and Home”.
[3]Another translation: “I walk in danger all the way” by D. G. Ristad in “Hymnal for Church and Home”.