Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

A Little Flower Embodies the Wisdom that was Forever with God

David Kriebel (1787-1849), one of the best known of the Schwenkfelder frakturists, created the above flower-filled illuminated manuscript on or about June 1,1806, and chose to include an accompanying reference to flowers “Ein Blümlein ist die Weißheit” or “A little flower embodies the wisdom” from the first Schwenkfelder Hymnal ever printed in America (1762).[1] The words are from line one of verse eleven of Hymn 115 EIN Blum ist auf der Heyde...[2] and initially seem to have been almost an afterthought, squeezed in at the very bottom on either side of a woven basket that holds the floral centerpiece of the work. Yet, they are a major component of the entire concept of this Fraktur. Translated the text reads:

The first of June. A little flower embodies the wisdom
that was forever with God; came forth in Christ as man: Its
strength vanquishes death. In the Year 1806. [3]

Susanna Hübner (1750-1818), another renowned Schwenkfelder frakturist, lived with her brother Abraham (also a frakturist) and his family on the old homestead in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, Pa. after their father’s death, and made illuminated manuscripts on various occasions for all of his children. We know precisely when she made the following New Years Greeting for her nephew Jacob Hübner for she wrote in pencil on the verso of the manuscript: “Geschrieben Ein Tausend Acht Hundert Zehn vor Jacob Hübner. Zum Neuen Jahr. von Susanna Hübner” or “Written in 1810 for Jacob Hübner. [To be given] for New Years [1811].”

She, too, chose verses from Hymn 115 of the Schwenkfelder Neu=Eingerichtetes Gesang=Buch of 1762, namely seven, eight, nine, as well as all of verse eleven to enhance her floral New Year Greeting of 1811 to Jacob.   Translated they read:

[Hymn] 115 Mel. O Generous God upon the Throne (43)

“A little Flower blooms upon the Meadows…”

[7.] Thus spoke the bride in the Song of Songs: My beloved is handsome. The noble grains of green grass, the flavorful marjoram shall I conceal between my breasts and carry upon my bosom. They will sweeten all malodors and awaken a great strength within me, everlasting joy and desire.

[8.] The flower is planted within the Holy City of God wherein it dwells and spreads its delightful scent. Like the Palm-oil tree and cypresses it has grown tall, and sat upon the throne of God. Who can measure its greatness? He who believes builds securely thereon.

[Within the heart] Partake of your joys and desires remembering that you must one day die.

[9.] As it stood in Jericho, the most beautiful of all the rose shoots blossomed far more beautifully than all the rest. Its odor is delightfully sweet like flowing honey, the scent of which flows into the heart of the believer. The blossom is full of strength.

[11.] A little flower embodies the wisdom that was forever with God; came forth in Christ as man: Its strength vanquishes death. It is like the seasonal grapes that bring joy to my grieved heart. No one will ever rob from me that which I grasped for in faith believing, neither now nor in eternity.[4]

The Schwenkfelder hymnal printed in America in 1762 is organized into two main parts, one dealing with the Trinity, and the other with God’s creation, and man’s relationship to His Sovereign King. Its editor Rev. Christopher Schultz took great care and time to annotate the hymn verses with Biblical references so that those who sang these texts would know the sources on which they were based.

Hymn 115 is one of four hymns found in Part I, Section XVIII that features songs about Jesus’ childhood, and growing up; His humanity; and His experiences at age twelve in the temple. [5] Rev. Schultz includes two citations that clearly point us to the identity of the “The little flower that embodies wisdom,” namely Hebrews 8:1 which describes the high priest or Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Majesty of Creation, and Proverbs 8:22-30 where it is implied that it is Jesus who was not only with God before anything ever was but shall ever be the delight of His Father throughout eternity. It’s when we take a look at all of Hymn 115’s verses and annotations, however, that we acknowledge how intimately familiar David Kriebel and Susanna Hübner must have been with the symbolic associations between the floral references and the Jesus-God-Man, and that the images of the flowers in their illuminated manuscripts were intended as a personification thereof.

[Hymn] 115. Mel. O Generous God upon the Throne (43)

[1.] “A little flower blooms upon the meadows, Jesus my Savior, Jesus my Savior. I have my joy in Him, and would like to be with Him. I wish to secure Him in my heart, and always have Him abide there. My wish: to leave everything on Earth behind; wander the narrow paths. My whole being yearns for Him. *Ps. 45, 3.

*Ps. 45, 3. [Psalm 45:3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. KJV]

2. The flower for which I long has no equal upon the earth*. Jesus, My God and Savior up above in the Kingdom of Heaven: In Him the flower reigns. The living sap flows from Him, and is glorified in God. Solomon in all his glory was never so powerful. *Apoc 5,12.

*Apoc 5, 12. [Revelations 5:12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. KJV]

3. He sings in the Song of Songs: I am a Rose in the field, entirely encircled by thorns. Since I am now risen,+ I am placed upon God’s* throne. My bridegroom came to me: Here all will be brought low, but as I adorn and array them, they shall triumph in my power.

*Phil. 2, 9 [Phillippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:…KJV]

+ Joh 12, 32 [John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.KJV]

4. Just like grass or a flower, all must perish: All flesh must die. Alone the glory will remain that arose in the Word* of God, and shall remain forever. It is my desire to attain this. He who wants to rejoice with Him there will carry the cross and sorrow here.

*1 Pet. 1, 24,25. [1 Peter 1:24-25 24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. KJV]

Esa. 11, 1. [Isaiah 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:…KJV]

5. If I now sacrifice my life through death with Him on the cross, He will give me His kingdom, and eternal life with God. For this I want to strive, O most beloved Savior mine. I want to bring my sacrifice, and through death attain life so that I might be with You.

6. I can’t reach heaven on my own: Therefore, I want to join You. To You I direct my plea: Have mercy on me, Jesus, my Savior and God! Be with the poor, and save me, poor one, from sin, hell, and death.

7.Thus spoke the bride in the Song of Songs: My beloved is handsome. The noble grains of green grass, the flavorful marjoram shall I conceal between my breasts and carry upon my bosom. They will sweeten all malodors and awaken a great strength within me, everlasting joy and desire.

8. The flower is planted within the Holy City of God wherein it dwells and spreads its delightful scent. Like the Palm-oil tree and cypresses it has grown tall, and sat upon the throne of God. Who can measure its greatness? He who believes builds securely thereon.

*Cant. 1,3. [Song of Solomon 1:3 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. KJV]

[Within the heart] Partake of your joys and desires remembering that you must one day die.

9. As it stood in Jericho, the most beautiful of all the rose shoots blossomed far more beautifully than all the rest. Its odor is delightfully sweet like flowing honey, the scent of which flows into the heart of the believer. The blossom is full of strength.*1 Joh. 2, 27.

1 Joh. 2, 27. [1 John 2:27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. KJV].

10. The priest, exalted and wise, is like a beautiful rose, which in paradise has grown great within God; like a lily that has grown tall upon the water. His mercy is generous and plentiful. His power knows no end or direction. Strengthen us o Lord Jesus Christ!
*Hebr. 8,1

*Hebr. 8,1 [Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;…KJV]

11. A little flower embodies the wisdom that was forever with God; came forth in Christ as man: Its strength vanquishes death. It is like the seasonal grapes that bring joy to my grieved heart. No one will ever rob from me that which I grasped for in faith believing, neither now nor in eternity. * Prov. 8, 22=30

* Prov. 8, 22=30. [Proverbs 8:22-30 22 The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; KJV] [6]


ENDNOTES
[1] Neu-eingerichtetes Gesang-Buch….Germantown, Pa.: gedruckt bey Christoph Saur, auf Kosten vereinigter Freunden, Hymn 115, line 1, verse 11, p. 78.

[2] EIN Blum ist auf der Heyde or A Little Flower Blooms Upon the Meadows.

[3] D 1ten Junÿ | Ein Blümlein ist | die Weisheit, die E= | wig ware beÿ Gott, | Ging auf in Christi |Menschheit, ihr krafft | vertreibt den Tode… | Im Jahr 1806

[4] [Hymn] 115 Mel. O reicher GOtt im T.[hrone] (43)
EIn* Blum ist auf der Heyde…

[7.] Mein Geliebter ist schöne; die | Braut im Hoh’nlied sprach, der Edel | Spica grüne, Der Marjan wolgeschmack, | in Busen will ichs stecken, tragen auf | meiner Brust, all’n Gestanck soll’s + in mir ein Krafft erwecken, Ewige | Freud und Lust. + abschrecken,

[8.] Die Blum ist eingesetzet, in Heil’ger | Gottes Stadt: Da ihr Geruch ergetzet: Da=| rinnen Wohnung hat, wie Palm=oel=Baum, | Cypressen ist sie hoch g’wachsen auf in Thron | Gott’s eingesessen. Wer kan ihr Krafft er= | messen? Der Glaub sich baut fest drauf.

[Within the heart] Bey aller | deiner freud und Lust | Gedencke daß du | sterben must

[9.] Wie zu Jericho g’standen, Die | Schönsten Rosen=Stock=all Blumen macht’s | zu schanden, wenns ihre Blum ausstreckt, Der | Geruch ist gar süsse, lieblich wie Honig | Safft; ihr G’ruch thut sich ergiessen, ins | Gläubig Hertz einfliessen, die Blum | ist voller Krafft.

[11.] Ein Blümlein ist die Weißheit | Die Ewig war beÿ Gott, ging auf in Chri= |sti Menschheit: ihr Krafft vertreibt Den | Tod. Sie is wie zeitig Trauben, die mein | krankes Hertz erfreut, Ergriff ich Die im | Glauben es wirds mirs niemand Rauben, | jetzt noch in Ewigkeit.

[5] Part 1, Section VIII reads in German: Von der Jugend, und Gewächse Christi, An seiner H. Menschheit, und seiner Offenbahrung im zwölften Jahr

[6] [Hymn] 115. [Mel. O reicher GOtt im T[hrone] [Melody] (43)

[1] EIN Blum ist auf der Heyde, Jesus, der HErre mein :/: in Ihm hab’ ich mein Freude, wollte gern bey Ihm seyn. Will Ihn in mein Hertz fassen, und stets behalten drin: Auf Erd alles verlassen; wandeln die enge Strassen: Nach Ihm steht all mein Sinn. *Ps. 45, 3.

2. Die Blum so ich begehre, hat nicht auf Erd Ihr* gleich; Jesus, mein GOtt und HErre, droben im Himmelreich; darin die Blum regiret: Von Ihm geht aus der Safft: In GOtt glorificiret. Also war nicht gezieret, Salomo an der Krafft. *Apoc 5, 12.

3.Im hohen Lied Er singet: Ich bin ein Ros’ im Feld; mit Dornen gantz umringet: Nun in Gotts * Thron gestellt; da Ich bin aufgestiegen: + Mein Gespons zu mir fuhr. Hie wirds auch niederliegen: Doch in meiner Krafft siegen, wenn Ich sie schmück und zier.
*Phil. 2, 9
+ Joh 12, 32

4. Sonst mus alles verderben, wie Graß oder ein Blum: Alles Fleisch muß absterben; und bleibt allein der Ruhm, dem* Wort GOttes aufgangen; und bleibt in Ewigkeit. Nach dem thut mich verlangen: Wer dort mit Ihm will prangen, trag hie vor Creutz und Leid.
*1 Pet. 1, 24,25.
Esa. 11, 1

5. Opffer ich jetzt mein Leben, mit Ihm in Creutz und Tod, Sein Reich will Er mir geben, Ewig zu seyn bey GOtt. Darnach, so will ich ringen, O liebster HErre mein! Mein Opffer will ich bringen: Vom Tod ins Leben dringen, daß ich bey Dir mög seyn.

6. Den Himmel zu erlangen, vermag ich selber nicht: Drum will ich Dir anhangen; zu Dir noch thun mein Bitt: Du wollest dich erbarmen, JEsu, mein Herr und GOtt! umfahen mit den Armen, und erlösen mich Armen, von Sünd, auch Höll und Tod.

7. Mein Geliebter ist schöne, die Braut im Hoh’nlied sprach; der edel Spica grüne, der Marjan wolgeschmack. In Busen will ichs stecken, tragen auf meiner Brust; all’n Gestanck soll’s abschrecken: In mir ein Krafft erwecken; ewige Freud und Lust.

8. Die Blum ist eingesetzet, in heil’ger GOttes Stadt; da Ihr Geruch ergetzet: Darinnen Wohnung hat. Wie Palm=Oel=Baum, Cypresse, ist sie hoch g’wachsen auf; in Thron GOtts eingesessen. Wer kann Ihr Krafft ermessen? Der Glaub sich bau’t fest drauf. *Cant. 1,3.

9. Wie zu Jericho g’standen, die schönsten Rosen=Stöck: All Blumen macht’s zu schanden, wenn’s Ihre Blum austreckt. Der Geruch ist gar süsse, lieblich wie Honig=Safft. [78] Ihr G’ruch thut sich ergiessen, ins gläubig Hertz einfliessen. Die Blum ist voller Krafft. * 1 Joh. 2, 27.

10. Der Priester, hoch und Weise, ist wie ein schöne Ros’; der in dem Paradeise in GOtt ist worden groß; wie am Wasser ein Lilie, hoch aufgewachsen ist. Sein Gnad ist reich und viele, Sein Krafft ohn End und Ziele. Stärch uns, Herr JEsu Christ! *Hebr. 8, 1

11. Ein Blümlein ist die Weißheit, die ewig war bey GOtt; ging auf in Christi Menschheit: Ihr Krafft vertreibt den Tod. Sie ist wie zeitig Trauben, die mein kranck’s Hertz erfreut. Ergreiff ich die im Glauben, es wird mir’s niemand rauben, jetzt noch in Ewigkeit. * Prov. 8, 22=30.


SOURCES

Dennis Moyer. Fraktur Writings and Folk Art Drawings of the Schwenkfelder Library Collection. Kutztown, Pa.: Pennsylvania German Society, 1997, 85; Fig. 4-83: 117.

Neu-eingerichtetes Gesang-Buch, in sich haltende eine Sammlung mehrenteils alter schöner lehr=reicher und erbaulicher Lieder…Germantown: gedruckt bey Christoph Saur, auf Kosten vereinigter Freunden. 1762, p. 78. Accessed 11/1/2016 http://bit.ly/2gGF5yC.

Rev. Christopher Schultz. Historische Anmerkungen [1750-1789]. Manuscript housed at the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center, Pennsburg, Pa. [Schultz kept the historical commentary up to 1775].

Allen Anders Seipt. Schwenkfelder Hymnology and the Sources of the First Schwenkfelder Hymn-Book Printed in America. Philadelphia: Americana Germanica Press, 1909, 96-110.

John Joseph Stoudt. Early Pennsylvania Arts and Crafts. New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1964,
Fig. 306: 307-310; Fig. 341: 345.

Philipp Wackernagel. Das deutsche Kirchenlied…5ter Band. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1877.


Winterthur Research Fellow, Moravian and Pennsylvania Dutch Material Culture, 2016-2017

Every year Winterthur provides fellowships to a select group of scholars for research 
in their chosen areas of study in social and cultural history, including material culture, architecture, decorative arts, design, consumer culture, garden and landscape studies, Shaker studies, travel and tourism, the Atlantic World, and objects in literature. ~ Winterthur Research Program  Thanks to a short-term research fellowship at Winterthur I have been able to study rare books in the Winterthur Museum Library Collection of Printed Books and Periodicals; objects in the Winterthur Museum Collection; and manuscripts in the Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera.  All has contributed to my research for a book in progress Heavenly Fraktur: How Fraktur Influenced Pennsylvania German and Moravian Material Culture. This blog post is based on that research. My sincere thank you to all at Winterthur who have made this fellowship possible.


My thanks also to Dave Luz, Candace Perry, Dr. Allen Viehmeyer, and Hunt Schenkel of the Schwenkfelder Library & Bob Wood and Bill Dayley of the Goschenhoppen Historians.

A Little Flower Embodies the Wisdom that was Forever with God Blog Post including transcriptions; translations; and photo images © 2016 Del-Louise Moyer.