The words of the German song “Auf dem Lamm ruht meine Seele” (translated as “On the Lamb our souls are resting,” but commonly known as the hymn “In the Cross of Christ I glory” in English) were written through an experience that changed the life of the author.
As a student in Bonn, Julius Anton von Poseck stood among the spectators who waited eagerly for the great procession on August 15, 1848 on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Cologne Cathedral. For some reason, he left his good vantage point, which was taken over right away by a young girl. Immediately afterwards, a large stone fell from the cathedral’s facade, killing the young girl on the spot.
This shook Julius Anton von Poseck so much that he immediately went home, fell to his knees, and cried out: “O God, why was I spared, and why did another person have to die?” This experience led to his conversion. His sister persuaded him to listen to the sermons of Pastor Krafft in Düsseldorf, and after a short time, he came to a complete certainty of salvation.
The words of the song “On the Lamb Our Souls are resting, what His love no tongue can say; All our sins, so great, so many, in His blood are washed away” lay on his heart when he stood at a church in Essen-Werde in 1850. There, he had seen a lamb carved in stone at the top of the tower. It was explained to him that many years ago, when a roofer had repaired the tower roof, the hook on which his ladder hung broke off. However, during the terrible fall down below, he miraculously fell onto a small sheep grazing on the lawn below. The sheep was crushed by the falling man, but he escaped with his life. In gratitude for his protection, he had the lamb carved in stone and mounted in the masonry of the tower.
The image of how his life had been spared when he was a student, since someone had died in his place at the Cologne Cathedral, brought these words of thanksgiving and adoration from his heart for the King of heaven and earth, who had borne the punishment of his sins there on the cross as the Lamb of God. Through Jesus’ death, he too was granted forgiveness, salvation, and deliverance.
On the Lamb our souls are resting,
What His love no tongue can say;
All our sins, so great, so many,
In His blood are washed away.
Sweetest rest and peace have filled us,
Sweeter praise than tongue can tell;
God is satisfied with Jesus,
We are satisfied as well.
Conscience now no more condemns us,
For His own most precious blood
Once for all has washed and cleansed us,
Cleansed us in the eyes of God.
Filled with this sweet peace forever,
On we go, through strife and care,
Till we find that peace around us
In the Lamb’s high glory there.