Thee will I love, my Strength, my Tower

Thee will I love, my Strength, my Tower. Johannes Scheffler* (1624-1677), translated by John Wesley* (1703-1791).   Scheffler’s hymn, beginning ‘Ich will dich lieben, meine Stärke’, was published in his Heilige Seelen-lust, oder Geistliche Hirten-Lieder (Breslau, 1657). Wesley would have found it in Das Gesang-Buch der Gemeine in Herrnhut (1735), the book brought by the Moravians on the voyage to Georgia. It had eight 6-line stanzas, of which Wesley translated seven, omitting stanza 2 (‘Ich will dich lieben, o mein Leben;/ als meinen allerliebsten Freund’), perhaps because of its language of love, of which he disapproved in sacred texts. The translation dates from after the ‘conversion’...

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