Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Hymn of the week 3

Gerhard Tersteegen was born in 1697 at Moers, Germany the name is al­most un­i­ver­sal­ly shown as the Germanised 'Tersteegen', though his real name was Dutch: Gerrit ter Steegen. His fa­ther aband­oned his mother, and Gerhard grew up in po­ver­ty. He want­ed to stu­dy the­ol­o­gy, but could not af­ford an ed­u­ca­tion, so he went into com­merce in­stead and first worked in Mülheim an der Ruhr (next to Moers and Duisburg, in the Ruhr area). He pre­ferred the sol­i­tary life, so gave up his sales job and worked as a weav­er, knit­ting rib­bons, study­ing at home in cloister-like asce­ti­cism and reading the­o­lo­gic­al books. He be­came an out­stand­ing lay the­o­lo­gian, lay pas­tor and mys­tic of the Pro­test­ant Pietist move­ment. From 1728 he was an itin­er­ant preach­er in the Pro­test­ant Erweck­ungs­be­weg­ung (spir­i­tu­al awak­en­ing move­ment) in the Niederrhein re­gion, and hosted home wor­ship and pray­er meet­ings. Tersteegen was one of two most fa­mous 18th Century German hymn writ­ers (the other was Neander). Be­gin­ning in 1729, he edit­ed his fa­mous book Geist­lich­es Blum­en­gärt­lein in­ni­ger Seelen (Spir­i­tu­al Flow­er Garden for Ardent Souls), a collection of hymns, spir­i­tu­al lyr­ics and epigrams.
A Christian History Instititue article begins by asking if God's love be hidden? Then says 'There were five terrible years after Tersteegen became a Christian when he had no sense of God whatever. He came close to despair.' It then describes his life story - schooling, apprentice shopkeeper, frequent illnesses, conversion, devotion, hermit-like existence and piety. It goes on 'His lifestyle embarrassed his well-to-do family, who came to the point they would not even mention his name. When he fell gravely ill, they left him unattended. It was after this that darkness closed around him. For five years he had no impression of God and even began to doubt his existence. Yet he wrote hymns of faith. But mere words were not able to ease his troubled mind. Yet one day God drew so close to Tersteegen that the sorrowing man knew absolute peace. From then until his death, (April 3, 1769), Tersteegen taught others. Anyone could see that the spiritual world was real to him. Hundreds of the poor and farmers gathered daily at his home to hear him speak. He also traveled throughout the region, preaching. While at peace inwardly, he seldom had a moment's peace outwardly, for there were always people clamouring for his spiritual advice.' Clearly somewhat eccentric (he even wrote a dedication of himself to Christ in his own blood) he was clearly a godly man.
This translation by John Wesley has six verse here though we only sang the four in our hymn book on Sunday (1,4,5,6).


Thou hidden Love of God, whose height,
Whose depth unfathomed no one knows,
I see from far Thy beauteous light,
And inly sigh for Thy repose;
My heart is pained, nor can it be
At rest, till it finds rest in Thee.
Thy secret voice invites me still
The sweetness of Thy yoke to prove;

And fain I would; but though my will
Seems fixed, yet wide my passions rove;
Yet hindrances strew all the way;
I aim at Thee, yet from Thee stray.
’Tis mercy all that Thou has brought
My mind to seek its peace in Thee;
Yet while I seek, but find Thee not,
No peace my wandering soul shall see.

O when shall all my wanderings end,
And all my steps to Theeward tend?
Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with Thee my heart to share?
Ah, tear it thence and reign alone,
The Lord of every motion there;
Then shall my heart from earth be free,
When it hath found repose in Thee.

O hide this self from me, that I
No more, but Christ in me, may live!
My vile affections crucify,
Nor let one darling lust survive
In all things nothing may I see,
Nothing desire or seek, but Thee!
O Love, Thy sovereign aid impart
To save me from low thoughted care;

Chase this self will from all my heart,
From all its hidden mazes there;
Make me Thy duteous child that I
Ceaseless may “Abba, Father” cry.
Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:
Thine wholly, Thine alone I am!
Thrice happy he who views with scorn
Earth’s toys, for Thee his constant Flame;

O help that I may never move
From the blest footsteps of Thy love!
Each moment draw from earth away
My heart that lowly waits Thy call;
Speak to my inmost soul and say,
“I am thy love, thy God, thy all!”
To feel Thy power, to hear Thy voice,
To taste Thy love, be all my choice.

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