The Hymns of Martin Luther
Part 1 out of 3
Dr. Martin Luther's Deutsche Geistliche Lieder
The Hymns of Martin Luther
Set To Their Original Melodies
With an English Version
Edited by Leonard Woolsey Bacon
Assisted by Nathan H. Allen
Dr. Martin Luther's Preface to all good Hymn Books, 1543
FROM THE "EIGHT SONGS," Wittenberg, 1524.
I. - Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein. (1523)
"A Song of Thanksgiving for the great Benefits which God in
Christ has mainifested to us."
_DEAR CHRISTIANS, ONE AND ALL REJOICE._
TRANSLATION in part from R. Massie.
FIRST MELODY, 1524. Harmony by H. Schein, 1627.
SECOND MELODY from Klug's Gesangbuch, 1543. Harmony
by M. Praetorius, 1610. This choral is commonly known under
the title, "Es ist gewisslich an der Zeit," and, in a modified form,
in England and America, as "Luther's Judgment Hymn," from its
association with a hymn of W. B. Collyer, partly derived from the
German, and _not_ written by Luther.
II. - Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein.
PSALM XII - Salvum me fac, Domine.
_LOOK DOWN, O LORD, FROM HEAVEN BEHOLD._
TRANSLATION chiefly from Frances Elizabeth Cox, in
"Hymns from the German."
FIRST MELODY, 1524, is the tune of the hymn of Paul Speratus,
"Es ist das Heil uns kommen her," the singing of which under
Luther's window at Wittenberg is related to have made so deep an
impression on the Reformer. The anecdote is confirmed by the fact
that in the "Eight Songs," Luther's three version of Psalms are all
set to this tune.. Harmony by A. Haupt, 1869.
SECOND MELODY from Klug's Gesangbuch, 1543. Harmony by
Haupt, 1869. This is the tune in common use with this psalm in
III. - Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl.
PSALM XIV.-"Dixit insipiens in corde."
_THE MOUTH OF FOOLS DOTH GOD CONFESS._
TRANSLATION from R. Massie.
MELODY from Walter's Gesangbuch, 1525. Harmony by
M. Praetorius, 1610.
IV. - Aus tiefer Noth schrei' ich zu dir.
PSALM CXXX. - "De profundis clamavi."
_OUT OF THE DEEP I CRY TO THEE._
TRANSLATION by Arthur Tozer Russel.
FIRST MELODY from Walter's Gesangbuch, 1525. Harmony by
John Sebastian Bach, about 1725.
SECOND MELODY in Wolfgang Koephl's Gesangbuch, 1537,
and in George Rhau's, 1544. Harmony by A. Haupt, 1869.
FROM THE "ENCHIRIDION," Erfurt, 1524.
V. - Ein neues Lied wir heben an.
"A Song of the Two Christian Martyrs, burnt at Brussels by the
Sophists of Louvain. Which took place in the year 1522." [The
real date of the event was July 1, 1523; and the ballard gives every
token of having been inspired by the first announcement of the
story. The excellent translation of Mr. Massie has been conformed
more closely to the original in the third and fourth stanzas; also, by
a felicitous quatrain from the late Dr. C. T. Brooks, in the tenth
_BY HELP OF GOD I FAIN WOULD TELL._
TRANSLATION principally that of R. Massie.
MELODY in Walter's Gesangbuch, 1525. Harmony by
M. Praetorius, 1610.
VI. - Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.
From the Ambrosian Hymn, "Veni, Redemptor, gentium.)
_SAVIOUR OF THE HEATHEN, KNOWN._
TRANSLATION in part from R. Massie.
MELODY derived from that of the Latin hymn, in Walter's
Gesangbuch, 1525. Harmony from "The Choral Book for England,"
by Sterndale Bennett and Otto Goldschmidt, 1865.
VII. - Christum wir sollen loben schon.
(From the Latin hymn, "A solis ortus cardine.")
_NOW PRAISE WE CHRIST, THE HOLY ONE._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
MELODY that of the Latin hymn. Harmony by M. Praetorius, 1609.
VIII. - Gelobet sei'st du, Jesu Christ.
_ALL PRAISE TO JESUS' HALLOWED NAME._
TRANSLATION chiefly by R. Massie.
ANCIENT GERMAN CHURCH MELODY. Harmony by
A. Haupt, 1869.
IX. - Christ lag in Todesbanden.
"Christ ist erstanden."-Gebessert.
_CHRIST WAS LAID IN DEATH'S STRONG BANDS._
MELODY derived from that of the older German hymn. Harmony by
Bennett and Goldschmitt, 1865.
X. - Komm, Gott Schoepfer, heiliger Geist.
From _Veni, Creator Spiritus,_ ascribed to Charlemagne, 800.
_COME, GOD CREATOR, HOLY GHOST._
MELODY of the eighth century. Harmony by John Sebastian Bach.
XI. - Jesus Christus unser Heiland.
_JESUS CHRIST, WHO CAME TO SAVE._
MELODY first published by Klug, 1543, and Bapst, 1545. Harmony
after John Sebastian Bach.
XII. - Komm, heiliger Geist, Herre Gott.
_"Veni, Sancte Spiritus,_ gebessert durch D. Martin Luther."
The first stanza translated from the Latin hymn ascribed to King
Robert of France (A. D. 991), is traced to a service-book of the
church in Basel, of the year 1514.
_COME, HOLY SPIRIT, LORD OUR GOD._
TRANSLATION chiefly that of Arthur Tozer Russell.
ORIGINAL LATIN MELODY. Harmony after Erythraeus, 1609.
XIII. - Diess sind die heil'gen zehn Gebot'.
The Ten Commandments.
_THAT MEN A GODLY LIFE MIGHT LIVE._
TRANSLATION chiefly by R. Massie.
XIV. - Jesus Christus unser Heiland.
Translated from "Jesus Christus, nostra salus," hymn of
_CHRIST, WHO FREED OUR SOULS FROM DANGER._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
MELODY in Walter, 1525. Harmony in Von Tucher, 1848.
XV. - Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet.
_MAY GOD BE PRAISED HENCEFORTH AND BLEST
TRANSLATION by R. Massie, amended.
MELODY from some older one, 1525. Harmony by H. Schein, 1627.
XVI. - Es wollt' uns Gott genaedig sein.
Psalm LXVII. - Deus miseratur nostri.
_MAY GOD UNTO US GRACIOUS BE._
TRANSLATION by Arthur Tozer Russell.
MELODY in Koephl, Strassburg, 1538. Harmony, by A. Haupt, 1869.
XVII. - Wohl dem, der in Gottesfurcht steht.
Psalm CXXVIII.- Beati omnes qui timent Dominum.
_HAPPY THE MAN WHO FEARETH GOD._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
FIRST MELODY, of 1525. Harmony by Gesius, 1605.
SECOND MELODY, of 1537. Harmony by Landgraf Moritz, 1612.
XVIII. - Mitten wir im Leben sind.
The first stanza from _Media vita in morte sumus._ Notker, A.D. 912.
_THOUGH IN MIDST OF LIFE WE BE._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
Melody (_not_ from the Latin), 1525. Harmony by Erythraeus, 1608.
XIX. - Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist.
The first stanza from an ancient German hymn.
_NOW PRAY WE ALL GOD, THE COMFORTER._
TRANSLATION by Arthur Tozer Russell.
Melody, 1525. Harmony by A. Haupt, 1869.
XX. - Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin.
The Song Of Simeon: Nunc Dimittis.
_IN PEACE AND JOY I NOW DEPART._
MELODY, 1525. Harmony by M. Praetorius, 1610.
XXI. - Mensch, willt du leben seliglich.
The Ten Commandments, abridged.
_WILT THOU, O MAN, LIVE HAPPILY._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie, adapted.
Melody, 1525. Harmony by H. Schein, 1627.
XXII. - Gott der Vater wohn' uns bei.
An ancient Litany-hymn of the German churches, much used in
Passion-week and in the processions before Ascension-day by
Luther "gebessert und christlich corrigyret."
_GOD, THE FATHER, WITH US STAY._
ANCIENT GERMAN MELODY. Harmony by Landgraf Moritz, 1612.
XXIII. - Wir glauben All' an einen Gott.
The Creed. "Das deutsche patrem."
_WE ALL BELIEVE IN ONE TRUE GOD._
MELODY, 1525. Harmony from an ancient source.
XXIV. - Waer' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit.
Psalm CXXIV. - Nisi quia Dominus.
_HAD GOD NOT COME, MAY ISRAEL SAY._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
MELODY, 1525. Harmony by M. Praetorius, 1610.
FROM THE GERMAN MASS, 1526.
XXV. - Jesaia, dem Propheten, das geschah.
Isaiah VI, 1-4. The German Sanctus.
_THESE THINGS THE SEER ISAIAH DID BEFALL_
MELODY, 1526. Harmony by Erythraeus, 1608.
IN "FORM UND ORDNUNG GEISTLICHER GESANG,"
XXVI. - Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott.
Psalm XLVI. - Deus refugium noster et virtus.
-STRONG TOWER AND REFUGE IS OUR GOD.-
MELODY, 1529. Harmony by [nothing printed here].
IN A COLLECTION OF "GEISTLICHE LIEDER,"
XXVII. - Berleih' uns Frieden gnaediglich.
Da pacem Domine.
_IN THESE OUR DAYS SO PERILOUS._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie, amended.
MELODY, 1533? 1543. Harmony by Erythraeus, 1608.
XXVIII. - Herr Gott, dich loben wir.
Te Deum Laudamus.
_LORD GOD, THY PRAISE WE SING._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie, amended.
MELODY derived from the Latin. Harmony by Landgraf
FROM JOSEPH KLUG'S GESANGSBUCH, 1535?
XXIX. Von Himmel hoch da komm ich her.
"A Children's Christmas Song of the little child Jesus, taken
from the second chapter of Luke, by Dr. Martin Luther." Said
to have written by him for his little son Hans.
_FROM HEAVEN ABOVE TO EARTH I CAME._
TRANSLATION from Miss Winkworth, amended.
MELODY, 1535? 1543. Harmony by [nothing printed here].
XXX. - Sie ist mir lieb, die werthe Magd.
A song concerning the Holy Christian Church - Revelation xii, 1-6.
_DEAR IS TO ME THE HOLY MAID._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
MELODY in Babst, 1545. Harmony by M. Praetorius, 1610.
IN KOEPHL'S GESANGBUCH, Strassburg, 1535? 1538?
XXXI. - Vater unser im Himmelreich.
The Lord's Prayer paraphrased.
_OUR FATHER, THOU IN HEAVEN ABOVE._
TRANSLATION by C. Winkworth, in "Choral Book for
Melody, 1535? Harmony by A. Haupt, 1869.
[In Winterfeld's edition of Luther's hymns, Leipzig, 1840, may
be found a fac-simile of Luther's autograph draft of this
paraphrase, including the cancelled draft of a tune for it.]
IN KLUG'S GESANGBUCH, 1543.
XXXII. - Von Himmel kam der Engel schaar.
A shorter Christmas Song.
_TO SHEPHERDS, AS THEY WATCHED BY NIGHT._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
XXXIII. - Erhalt' uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort.
"A children's song, to be sung against the two arch-enemies
of Christ and his Holy Church, the Pope and the Turks."
_LORD, KEEP US IN THY WORD AND WORK._
MELODY, 1543. Harmony by W. Sterndale Bennett, 1865.
XXXIV. - Christ, unser Herr, zum Jordan kam.
A Spiritual Song concerning our Holy Baptism.
_TO JORDAN CAME OUR LORD THE CHRIST._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie, amended.
MELODY, 1525 first adapted to "Es wollt' uns Gott
genaedig sein," supposed to be derived from an old secular
melody. Harmony by A. Haupt, 1869.
XXXV. - Was fuercht'st du, Feind Herodes, sehr?
_Herodes hostis impie_ by Sedelius in the 5th century.
_WHY, HEROD, UNRELENTING FOE._
TRANSLATION by R. Massie.
_HARMONY by_ M. Praetorius, 1609.
XXXVI. - Der du bist drei in Einigkeit.
An imitation from the Gregorian hymn, _O Lux
TRANSLATION adapted from R. Massie.
ORIGINAL LATIN MELODY. Harmony in von Tucher, 18--.
A fit motto for the history of the Reformation would be
those words out of the history of the Day of Pentecost, "How
hear we, every man in our own tongue wherein we were
born....the wonderful works of God!" The ruling thought of the
pre-reformation period was not more the maintenance of one
Holy Roman Church than of one Holy Roman Empire, each of which
was to comprehend all Christendom. The language of the Roman
Church and Empire was the sacred language in comparison with
which the languages of men's common speech were reckoned
common and unclean. The coming-in of the Reformation was the
awakening of individual life, by enforcing the sense of each
man's direct responsibility to God; but it was equally the
quickening of a true national life. In the light of the new
era, the realization of the promise of the oneness of the
Church was no longer to be sought in the universal dominance
of a hierarchical corporation; nor was the "mystery"
proclaimed by Paul, that "the nations were fellow-heirs and of
one body," to be fulfilled in the subjugation of all nations
to a central potentate. According to the spirit of the
Reformation, the One Church was to be, not a corporation, but
a communion - the communion of saints; and the unity of mankind,
in its many nations, was to be a unity of the spirit in the
bond of mutual peace.
The two great works of Martin Luther were those by which
he gave to the common people a vernacular Bible and vernacular
worship, that through the one, God might speak directly to the
people; and in the other, the people might speak directly to
God. Luther's Bible and Luther's Hymns gave life not only to
the churches of the Reformation, but to German nationality and
the German language.Concerning the hymns of Luther the words of several
notable writers are on record, and are worthy to be prefixed
to the volume of them.
Says Spangenberg, yet in Luther's life-time, in his
Preface to the _Cithara Lutheri_, 1545:
"One must certainly let this be true, and remain true,
that among all Mastersingers from the days of the Apostles
until now, Luther is and always will be the best and most
accomplished; in whose hymns and songs one does not find a
vain or needless word. All flows and falls in the sweetest and
neatest manner, full of spirit and doctrine, so that his every
word gives outright a sermon of his own, or at least a
singular reminiscence. There is nothing forced, nothing
foisted in or patched up, nothing fragmentary. The rhymes are
easy and good, the words choice and proper, the meaning clear
and intelligible, the melodies lovely and hearty, and _in
summa_ all is so rare and majestic, so full of pith and power,
so cheering and comforting, that, in sooth, you will not find
his equal, much less his master."1
The following words have often been quoted from Samuel
"Luther did as much for the Reformation by his hymns as
by his translation of the Bible. In Germany the hymns are
known by heart by every peasant; they advise, they argue from
the hymns, and every soul in the church praises God like a
Christian, with words which are natural and yet sacred to his
A striking passage in an article by Heine in the _Revue
des Deux Mondes_ for March, 1834, is transcribed by Michelet
in his Life of Luther:
"Not less remarkable, not less significant than his prose
works, are Luther's poems, those stirring songs which, as it
were, escaped from him in the very midst of his combats and
his necessities like a flower making its way from between
rough stones, or a moonbeam gleaming amid dark clouds. Luther
loved music; indeed, he wrote treatises on the art.
Accordingly his versification is highly harmonious, so that he
may be called the Swan of Eisleben. Not that he is by any means
gentle or swan-like in the songs which he composed for the purpose
of exciting the courage of the people. In these he is fervent, fierce.
The hymn which he composed on his way to Worms, and which he
and his companion chanted as they entered that city, 2 is a regular
war-song. The old cathedral trembled when it heard these novel
sounds. The very rooks flew from their nests in the towers. That
hymn, the Marseillaise of the Reformation, has preserved to this
day its potent spell over German hearts."
The words of Thomas Carlyle are not less emphatic, while
they penetrate deeper into the secret of the power of Luther's
"The great Reformer's love of music and poetry, it has
often been remarked, is one of the most significant features
in his character. But indeed if every great man is
intrinsically a poet, an idealist, with more or less
completeness of utterance, which of all our great men, in
these modern ages, had such an endowment in that kind as
Luther? He it was, emphatically, who stood based on the
spiritual world of man, and only by the footing and power he
had obtained there, could work such changes on the material
world. As a participant and dispenser of divine influence, he
shows himself among human affairs a true connecting medium and
visible messenger between heaven and earth, a man, therefore,
not only permitted to enter the sphere of poetry, but to dwell
in the purest centre thereof, perhaps the most inspired of all
teachers since the Apostles. Unhappily or happily, Luther's
poetic feeling did not so much learn to express itself in fit
words, that take captive every ear, as in fit actions,
wherein, truly under still more impressive manifestations, the
spirit of spheral melody resides and still audibly addresses
us. In his written poems, we find little save that strength of
on 'whose words,' it has been said, 'were half-battles'3-
little of that still harmony and blending softness of union
which is the last perfection of strength - less of it than even
his conduct manifested. With words he had not learned to make
music - it was by deeds of love or heroic valor that he spoke
freely. Nevertheless, though in imperfect articulation, the
same voice, if we listen well, is to be heard also in his
writings, in his poems. The one entitled _Ein' Feste Burg_,
universally regarded as the best, jars upon our ears; yet
there is something in it like the sound of Alpine avalanches,
or the first murmur of earthquakes, in the very vastness of
which dissonance a higher unison is revealed to us. Luther
wrote this song in times of blackest threatenings, which,
however, could in no sense become a time of despair. In these
tones, rugged and broken as they are, do we hear the accents
of that summoned man, who answered his friends' warning not to
enter Worms, in this wise: - 'Were there as many devils in Worms
as these tile roofs, I would on'; of him who, alone in that
assemblage before all emperors and principalities and powers,
spoke forth these final and forever memorable words, - 'It is
neither safe nor prudent to do aught against conscience. Till
such time as either by proofs from holy Scripture, or by fair
reason or argument, I have been confuted and convicted, I
cannot and will not recant. Here I stand - I cannot do
otherwise - God be my help, Amen.' It is evident enough that to
this man all popes, cardinals, emperors, devils, all hosts and
nations were but weak, weak as the forest with all its strong
trees might be to the smallest spark of electric fire."
In a very different style of language, but in a like strain of
eulogy, writes Dr. Merle d'Aubigne, in the third volume of his
History of the Reformation: "The church was no longer composed
of priests and monks; it was now the congregation of believers.
All were to take part in worship, and the chanting of the clergy was
to be succeeded by the psalmody of the people. Luther, accordingly,
in translating the psalms, thought of adapting them to be sung
by the church. Thus a taste for music was diffused throughout
the nation. From Luther's time, the people sang; the Bible
inspired their songs. Poetry received the same impulse. In
celebrating the praises of God, the people could not confine
themselves to mere translations of ancient anthems. The souls
of Luther and of several of his contemporaries, elevated by
their faith to thoughts the most sublime, excited to
enthusiasm by the struggles and dangers by which the church at
its birth was unceasingly threatened, inspired by the poetic
genius of the Old Testament and by the faith of the New, ere
long gave vent to their feelings in hymns, in which all that
is most heavenly in poetry and music was combined and blended.
Hence the revival, in the sixteenth century, of _hymns_ such
as in the first century used to cheer the martyrs in their
sufferings. We have seen Luther, in 1523, employing it to
celebrate the martyrs at Brussels; other children of the
Reformation followed his footsteps; hymns were multiplied;
they spread rapidly among the people, and powerfully
contributed to rouse it from sleep."
It is not difficult to come approximately at the order of
composition of Luther's hymns. The earliest hymn-book of the
Reformation - if not the earliest of all printed hymn-books - was
published at Wittenberg in 1524, and contained _eight_ hymns,
four of them from the pen of Luther himself; of the other four
not less than three were by Paul Speratus, and one of these
three, the hymn _Es ist das Heil_, which caused Luther such
delight when sung beneath his window by a wanderer from
Prussia.4 Three of Luther's contributions to this little book
were versions of Psalms - the xii, xiv, and cxxx - and the fourth
was that touching utterance of personal religious experience,
_Nun fruet euch, lieben Christen g'mein_. But the critics can
hardly be mistaken in assigning as early a date to the ballad
of the Martyrs of Brussels. Their martyrdom took place July 1,
1523, and the "_New Song_" must have been inspired by the
story as it was first brought to Wittenberg, although it is
not found in print until the _Enchiridion_, which followed the
_Eight Hymns_, later in the same year, from the press of
Erfurt, and contained fourteen of Luther's hymns beside the
four already published.
In the hymn-book published in 1525 by the composer
Walter, Luther's friend, were six more of the Luther hymns.
And in 1526 appeared the "German Mass and Order of Divine
Service," containing "the German Sanctus," a versification of
Isaiah vi. Of the remaining eleven, six appeared first in the
successive editions of Joseph Klug's hymn-book, Wittenberg,
1535 and 1543.It is appropriate to the commemorative character of the
present edition that in it the hymns should be disposed in
The TUNES which are here printed with the hymns of Luther
are of those which were set to them during his lifetime. Some
of them, like the hymns to which they were set, are derived
from the more ancient hymnody of the German and Latin
churches. Others, as the tunes _Vom Himmel hoch, Ach Gott vom
Himmel_, and _Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam_, are
conjectured to have been originally secular airs. But that
many of the tunes that appeared simultaneously and in
connection with Luther's hymns were original with Luther
himself, there seems no good reason to doubt. Luther's
singular delight and proficiency in music are certified by a
hundred contemporary testimonies. His enthusiasm for it
overflows in his Letters and his Table Talk. He loved to
surround himself with accomplished musicians, with whom he
would practise the intricate motets of the masters of that
age; and his critical remarks on their several styles are on
record. At least one autograph document proves him to have
been a composer of melodies to his own words: one may see,
appended to von Winterfeld's fine quarto edition of Luther's
hymns (Leipzig, 1840) a fac-simile of the original draft of
_Vater Unser_, with a melody sketched upon a staff of five
lines, and then cancelled, evidently by hand practised in
musical notation. But perhaps the most direct testimony to his
actual work as a composer is found in a letter from the
composer John Walter, capellmeister to the Elector of Saxony,
written in his old age for the express purpose of embodying
his reminiscences of his illustrious friend as a church-musician.
"It is to my certain knowledge," writes Walter, "that
that holy man of God, Luther, prophet and apostle to the
German nation, took great delight in music, both in choral and
in figural composition. With whom I have passed many a
delightful hour in singing; and oftentimes have seen the dear
man wax so happy and merry in heart over the singing as that
it was well-nigh impossible to weary or content him therewithal.
And his discourse concerning music was most noble.
"Some forty years ago, when he would set up the German
Mass at Wittenberg, he wrote to the Elector of Saxony and Duke
Johannsen, of illustrious memory, begging to invite to
Wittenberg the old musician Conrad Rupff and myself, to
consult with him as to the character and the proper notation
of the Eight Tones; and he finally himself decided to
appropriate the Eighth Tone to the Epistle and the Sixth Tone
to the Gospel, speaking on this wise: Our Lord Christ is a
good Friend, and his words are full of love; so we will take
the Sixth Tone for the Gospel. And since Saint Paul is a very
earnest apostle we will set the Eighth Tone to the Epistle. So
he himself made the notes over the Epistles, and the Gospels,
and the Words of Institution of the true Body and Blood of
Christ, and sung them over to me to get my judgment thereon.
He kept me three weeks long at Wittenberg, to write out the
notes over some of the Gospels and Epistles, until the first
German Mass was sung in the parish church. And I must needs
stay to hear it, and take with me a copy of the Mass to Torgau
and present it to His Grace the Elector from Doctor Luther.
"Furthermore, he gave orders to re-establish the Vespers,
which in many places were fallen into disuse, with short plain
choral hymns for the students and boys; withal, that the
charity-scholars, collecting their bread, should sing from
door to door Latin Hymns, Anthems and Responses, appropriate
to the season. It was no satisfaction to him that the scholars
should sing in the streets nothing but German songs....The
most profitable songs for the common multitude are the plain
psalms and hymns, both Luther's and the earlier ones; but the
Latin songs are useful for the learned and for students. We
see, and hear, and clearly apprehend how the Holy Ghost
himself wrought not only in the authors of the Latin hymns,
but also in Luther, who in our time has had the chief part
both in writing the German choral hymns, and in setting them
to tunes; as may be seen, among others in the German Sanctus
(_Jesaia dem Propheten das geschah_) how masterly and well he
has fitted all the notes to the text, according to the just
accent and concent. At the time, I was moved by His Grace to
put the question how or where he had got this composition, or
this instruction; whereupon the dear man laughed at my
simplicity, and said: I learned this of the poet Virgil, who
has the power so artfully to adapt his verses and his words to
the story he is telling; in like manner must Music govern all
its notes and melodies by the text."5
It seems superfluous to add to this testimony the word of
Sleidan, the nearly contemporary historian, who says expressly
concerning "_Ein' feste Burg_" that Luther made for it a tune
singularly suited to the words, and adapted to stir the heart.6
If ever there were hymn and tune that told their own story of
a common and simultaneous origin, without need of confirmation
by external evidence, it is these.
To an extent quite without parallel in the history of
music, the power of Luther's tunes, as well as of his words, is
manifest after three centuries, over the masters of the art, as well as
over the common people. Peculiarly is thistrue of the great song
_Ein' feste Burg_, which Heine not vainly predicted would again be
heard in Europe in like manner as of old. The composers of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries practised their elaborate artifices
upon it. The supreme genius of Sebastian Bach made it the subject
of study.7 And in our own times it has been used with conspicuous
effect in Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony, in an overture by
Raff, in the noble_Festouverture_ of Nicolai, and in Wagner's
Kaisermarsch; and is introduced with recurring emphasis in
Meyerbeer's masterpiece of The Huguenots.
It is needless to say that the materials of this Birth-
day Edition of Luther's Hymns and Tunes have been prepared in
profusion by the diligence of German scholars. But very
thankful acknowledgments are also due to English translators,
who have made this work possible within the very scanty time
allotted to it. Full credit is given in the table of contents
for the help derived from these various translators. But the
exigencies of this volume were peculiarly sever, inasmuch as
the translation was to be printed over against the original,
and also under the music. Not even Mr. Richard Massie's
careful work would always bear this double test; so that I
have found myself compelled, in most cases, to give up the
attempt to follow any translation exactly; and in some
instances have reluctantly attempted a wholly new version.
The whole credit of the musical editorship belongs to my
accomplished associate, Mr. Nathan H. Allen, without whose
ready resource and earnest labor the work would have been
impossible within the limits of time necessarily prescribed.
In the choice of harmonies for these ancient tunes, he has
wisely preferred, in general, the arrangements of the older
masters. The critical musician will see, and will not
complain, that the original modal structure of the melodies is
sometimes affected by the harmonic treatment.
And now the proper conclusion to this Introduction,
which, like the rest of the volume, is in so slight a degree
the work of the editor, is to add the successive prefaces from
the pen of Luther which accompanied successive hymn-books
published during his life-time and under his supervision.
LEONARD WOOLSEY BACON
1 Quoted in the _Christian Examiner_, 1860, p. 240; transcribed
2 The popular impression that the hymn "Ein' feste Burg" was
produced in these circumstances is due, doubtless, to a
parallel in the third stanza, to the famous saying imputed to
Luther on the eve of the Diet of Worms: "I'll go, be there as
many devils in the city as there be tiles on the roofs." The
time of its composition was in the year 1529, just before the
Diet of Augsburg. If not written in his temporary refuge, the
noble "Burg" or "Festung" of Coburg, it must often have been
sung there by him; and it was sung, says Merle d'Aubigne,
"during the Diet, not only at Augsburg, but in all the
churches of Saxony."
3 This much-quoted phrase is from Richter. It is reported as an
expression of Melanchthon, looking on Luther's picture, _"
Fulmina erant singula verba tua."_
4 Merle d'Aubigne, History of the Reformation, Vol. III.
5 This interesting and characteristic document was printed
first in the _Syntagma Musicum_ of Michael Praetorius, many of
whose harmonies are to be found in this volume. It has been
repeatedly copied since. I take it from Rambach, "Ueber D.
Martin Luthers Verdienst um den Kirchengesang, oder
Darstellung desjenigen was er als Liturg, als Liederdichter
und Tonsetzer zur Verbesserung des oeffentlichen
Gottesdienstes geleistet hat. Hamburg, 1813."
6 Quoted in Rambach, p. 215.
7 In more than one of his cantatas, especially that for the
Luther's First Preface.
To the _"Geystliche Gsangbuechlin, Erstlich zu Wittenberg, und
volgend durch Peter schoeffern getruckt, im jar_ m. d. xxv.
Autore Ioanne Walthero."
That it is good, and pleasing to God, for us to sing
spiritual songs is, I think, a truth whereof no Christian can
be ignorant; since not only the example of the prophets and
kings of the Old Testament (who praised God with singing and
music, poesy and all kind of stringed instruments) but also
the like practice of all Christendom from the beginning,
especially in respect to psalms, is well known to every one:
yea, St. Paul doth also appoint the same (I Cor. xiv.) and
command the Colossians, in the third chapter, to sing
spiritual songs and psalms from the heart unto the Lord, that
thereby the word of God and Christian doctrine be in every way
furthered and practiced.
Accordingly, to make a good beginning and to encourage
others who can do it better, I have myself, with some others,
put together a few hymns, in order to bring into full play the
blessed Gospel, which by God's grace hath again risen: that we
may boast, as Moses doth in his song (Exodus xv.) that Christ
is become our praise and our song, and that, whether we sing
or speak, we may not know anything save Christ our Saviour, as
St. Paul saith (I Cor. ii).
These songs have been set in four parts, for no other
reason than because I wished to provide our young people (who
both will and ought to be instructed in music and other
sciences) with something whereby they might rid themselves of
amorous and carnal songs, and in their stead learn something
wholesome, and so apply themselves to what is good with
pleasure, as becometh the young.
Beside this, I am not of opinion that all sciences should
be beaten down and made to cease by the Gospel, as some
fanatics pretend; but I would fain see all the arts, and music
in particular, used in the service of Him who hath given and
Therefore I entreat every pious Christian to give a
favorable reception to these hymns, and to help forward my
undertaking, according as God hath given him more or less
ability. The world is, alas, not so mindful and diligent to
train and teach our poor youth, but that we ought to be
forward in promoting the same. God grant us his grace. Amen.
Luther's Second Preface.
To the Funeral Hymns: _"Christliche Geseng, Lateinisch und
Deudsch, zum Begrebnis. Wittemberg,_ Anno m. d. xlii."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.
St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians, that they should
not sorrow for the dead as others who have no hope, but should
comfort one another with God's word, as they who have a sure
hope of life and of the resurrection of the dead.
For that they should sorrow who have no hope is not to be
wondered at, nor indeed are they to be blamed for it, since,
being shut out from the faith of Christ, they must either
regard and love the present life only, and be loth to lose it,
or after this life look for everlasting death and the wrath of
God in hell, and be unwilling to go thither.
But we Christians who from all this have been redeemed by
the precious blood of the Son of God, should exercise and wont
ourselves in faith to despise death, to look on it as a deep,
sound, sweet sleep, the coffin no other than the bosom of our
Lord Christ, or paradise, the grave nought but a soft couch of
rest; as indeed it is in the sight of God, as he saith in St.
John, xi., "our friend Lazarus sleepeth;" Matthew ix., "the
maid is not dead but sleepeth."
In like manner also St. Paul, I Cor. xv., doth put out of
sight the unlovely aspect of death in our perishing body, and
bring forward nought but the lovely and delightsome view of
life, when he saith: "It is sown in corruption; it is raised
in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor (that is, in a
loathsome and vile form); it is raised in glory: it is sown in
weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it
is raised a spiritual body."
Accordingly have we, in our churches, abolished, done
away, and out-and-out made an end of the popish horrors, such
as wakes, masses for the soul, obsequies, purgatory, and all
other mummeries for the dead, and will no longer have our
churches turned into wailing-places and houses of mourning,
but, as the primitive Fathers called them, "Cemeteries," that
is, resting and sleeping places.
We sing, withal, beside our dead and over their graves,
no dirges nor lamentations, but comforting songs of the
forgiveness of sins, of rest, sleep, live and resurrection of
the departed believers, for the strengthening of our faith,
and the stirring up of the people to a true devotion.
For it is meet and right to give care and honor to the
burial of the dead, in a manner worthy of that blessed article
of our creed, the resurrection of the dead, and to the spite
of that dreadful enemy, death, who doth so shamefully and
continually prey upon us, in every horrid way and shape.
Accordingly, as we read, the holy patriarchs, Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and the rest, kept their burials with
great pomp, and ordered them with much diligence; and
afterwards the kings of Judah held splendid ceremonials over
the dead, with costly incense of all manner of precious herbs,
thereby to hide the offense and shame of death, and
acknowledge and glorify the resurrection of the dead, and so
to comfort the weak in faith and the sorrowful.
In like manner, even down to this present, have
Christians ever been wont to do honorably by the bodies and
the graves of the dead, decorating them, singing beside them
and adorning them with monuments. Of all importance is that
doctrine of the resurrection, that we be firmly grounded
therein; for it is our lasting, blessed, eternal comfort and
joy, against death, hell, the devil and all sorrow of heart.
As a good example of what should be used for this end, we
have taken the sweet music or melodies which under popish rule
are in use at wakes, funerals and masses for the dead, some of
which we have printed in this little book; and it is in our
thought, as time shall serve, to add others to them, or have
this done by more competent hands. But we have set other words
thereto, such as shall adorn our doctrine of the resurrection,
not that of purgatory with its pains and expiations, whereby
the dead may neither sleep nor rest. The notes and melodies
are of great price; it were pity to let them perish; but the
words to them were unchristian and uncouth, so let these perish.
It is just as in other matters they do greatly excel us,
having splendid rites of worship, magnificent convents and
abbeys; but the preachings and doctrines heard therein do for
the most part serve the devil and dishonor God; who
nevertheless is Lord and God over all the earth, and should
have of everything the fairest, best and noblest.
Likewise have they costly shrines of gold and silver, and
images set with gems and jewels; but within are dead men's
bones, as foul and corrupt as in any charnel-house. So also
have they costly vestments, chasubles, palliums, copes, hoods,
mitres, but what are they that be clothed therewithal? slow-
bellies, evil wolves, godless swine, persecuting and dishonoring
the word of God.Just in the same way have they much noble music,
especially in the abbeys and parish churches, used to adorn
most vile, idolatrous words. Wherefore we have undressed these
idolatrous, lifeless, crazy words, stripping off the noble
music, and putting it upon the living and holy word of God,
wherewith to sing, praise and honor the same, that so the
beautiful ornament of music, brought back to its right use,
may serve its blessed Maker and his Christian people; so that
he shall be praised and glorified, and that we by his holy
word impressed upon the heart with sweet songs, be builded up
and confirmed in the faith. Hereunto help us God the Father,
Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Yet is it not our purpose that these precise notes be
sung in all the churches. Let each church keep its own notes
according to its book and use. For I myself do not listen with
pleasure in cases where the notes to a hymn or a _respon-
sorium_ have been changed, and it is sung amongst us in
a different way from what I have been used to from my youth.
The main point is the correcting of the words, not of the music.
[Then follow selections of Scripture recommended as suitable
Luther's Third Preface.
To the Hymn-book printed at Wittenberg by Joseph Klug, 1543.
There are certain who, by their additions to our hymns,
have clearly shown that they far excel me in this matter, and
may well be called my masters. But some, on the other hand,
have added little of value. And inasmuch as I see that there
is no limit to this perpetual amending by every one
indiscriminately according to his own liking, so that the
earliest of our hymns are more perverted the more they are
printed, I am fearful that it will fare with this little book
as it has ever fared with good books, that through tampering
by incompetent hands it may get to be so overlaid and spoiled
that the good will be lost out of it, and nothing be kept in
use but the worthless.
We see in the first chapter of St. Luke that in the
beginning every one wanted to write a gospel, until among the
multitude of gospels the true Gospel was well-nigh lost. So
has it been with the works of St. Jerome and St. Augustine,
and with many other books. In short, there will always be
tares sown among the wheat.
In order as far as may be to avoid this evil, I have once
more revised this book, and put our own hymns in order by
themselves with name attached, which formerly I would not do
for reputation's sake, but am now constrained to do by
necessity, lest strange and unsuitable songs come to be sold
under our name. After these, are arranged the others, such as
we deem good and useful.
I beg and beseech all who prize God's pure word that
henceforth without our knowledge and consent no further
additions or alterations be made in this book of ours; and
that when it is amended without our knowledge, it be fully
understood to be not our book published at Wittenberg. Every
man can for himself make his own hymn-book, and leave this of
ours alone without additions; as we here beg, beseech and
testify. For we like to keep our coin up to our own standard,
debarring no man from making better for himself. Now let God's
name alone be praised, and our name not sought. Amen.
Luther's Fourth Preface
To Valentine Bapst's Hymn-book, Leipzig, 1545.
The xcvi Psalm saith: "Sing to the Lord a new song; sing
to the Lord, all the earth." The service of God in the old
dispensation, under the law of Moses, was hard and wearisome.
Many and divers sacrifices had men to offer, of all that they
possessed, both in house and in field, which the people, being
idle and covetous, did grudgingly or for some temporal
advantage; as the prophet Malachi saith, chap. i., "who is
there even among you that would shut the doors for naught?
neither do ye kindle fires on my altars for naught." But where
there is such an idle and grudging heart there can be no
singing, or at least no singing of any good. Cheerful and
merry must we be in heart and mind, when we would sing.
Therefore hath God suffered such idle and grudging service to
perish, as he saith further: "I have no pleasure in you, saith
the Lord of Hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your
hand: for from the rising of the sun even to the going down of
the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in
every place incense shall be offered in my name and a pure
offering; for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith
the Lord of Hosts."
So that now in the New Testament there is a better
service, whereof the psalm speaketh: "Sing to the Lord a new
song; sing to the Lord all the earth." For God hath made our
heart and mind joyful through his dear Son whom he hath given
for us to redeem us from sin, death and the devil. Who
earnestly believes this cannot but sing and speak thereof with
joy and delight, that others also may hear and come. But whoso
will not speak and sing thereof, it is a sign that he doth not
believe it, and doth not belong to the cheerful New Testament
but to the dull and joyless Old Testament.
Therefore it is well done on the part of the printers
that they are diligent to print good hymns, and make them
agreeable to the people with all sorts of embellishments, that
they may be won to this joy in believing and gladly sing of
it. And inasmuch as this edition of Valtin Bapst [Pope] is
prepared in fine style, God grant that it may bring great hurt
and damage to that Roman _Bapst_ who by his accursed,
intolerable and abominable ordinances has brought nothing into
the world but wailing, mourning and misery. Amen.
I must give notice that the song which is sung at funerals,
"Nun lasst uns den Leib begraben,"
which bears my name is not mine, and my name is henceforth not
to stand with it. Not that I reject it, for I like it very
much, and it was made by a good poet, Johannes Weis* by name,
only a little visionary about the Sacrament; but I will not
appropriate to myself another man's work.
Also in the _De Profundis_, read thus:
Des muss _dich_ fuerchten jedermann.
Either by mistake or of purpose this is printed in most books
Des muss _sich_ fuerchten jedermann.
_Ut timearis_. The Hebrew reading is as in Matthew xv.: "In
vain do they fear me teaching doctrines of men." See also
Psalms xiv. and liii.: "They call not on the Lord; there
feared they where no fear was." That is, they may have much
show of humiliation and bowing and bending in worship where I
will have no worship. Accordingly this is the meaning in the
place: Since forgiveness of sins is nowhere else to be found
but only with thee, so must they let go all idolatry, and
come with a willing heart bowing and bending before thee,
creeping up to the cross, and have thee alone in honor, and
take refuge in thee, and serve thee, as living by thy grace
and not by their own righteousness, etc.
*Luther's mistake for _Michael Weysse_, author of a Moravian
hymn-book of 1531.
A Preface to All Good Hymn-Books.
By Dr. Martin Luther.
From Joseph Klug's Hymn-Book, Wittenberg, 1543.
_Lady Musick Speaketh._
Of all the joys that are on earth
Is none more dear nor higher worth,
Than what in my sweet songs is found
And instruments of various sound.
Where friends and comrades sing in tune,
All evil passions vanish soon;
Hate, anger, envy, cannot stay,
All gloom and heartache melt away;
The lust of wealth, the cares that cling,
Are all forgotten while we sing.
Freely we take our joy herein,
For this sweet pleasure is no sin,
But pleaseth God far more, we know,
Than any joys the world can show;
The Devil's work it doth impede,
And hinders many a deadly deed.
Se fared it with King Saul of old;
When David struck his harp of gold,
So sweet and clear its tones rang out,
Saul's murderous thoughts were put to rout.
The heart grows still when I am heard,
And opens to God's Truth and Word;
So are we by Elisha taught,
Who on the harp the Spirit sought.
The best time of the year is mine,
When all the little birds combine
To sing until the earth and air
Are filled with sweet sounds everywhere;
And most the tender nightingale
Makes joyful every wood and dale,
Singing her love-song o'er and o'er,
For which we thank her evermore.
But yet more thanks are due from us
To the dear Lord who made her thus,
A singer apt to touch the heart,
Mistress of all my dearest art.
To God she sings by night and day,
Unwearied, praising Him alway;
Him I, too, laud in every song,
To whom all thanks and praise belong.
_Translation by_ CATHARINE WINKWORTH.
A Warning by Dr. Martin Luther.
Viel falscher Meister itzt Lieder tichten
Sihe dich fuer und lern sie recht richten
Wo Gott hin bawet sein Kirch und sein wort
Da will der Cenfel sein mit trug und mord.
_Wittenberg,_ 1543; _Leipzig,_ 1545
False masters now abound, who songs indite;
Beware of them, and learn to judge them right:
Where God builds up his Church and Word, hard by
Satan is found with murder and a lie.
_Translation by_ R. MASSIE
I. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein.
Dear Christians, one and all rejoice.
_A Song of Thanksgiving for the great Benefits
which God in Christ has mainifested to us._
FIRST MELODY, _Wittenberg,_ 1524. _Harmony by_
H. SCHEIN, 1627. SECOND MELODY, _Wittenberg,_
1535. _Harmony by_ M. PRAETORIUS, 1610.
1. Dear Christians, one and all rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And with united heart and voice
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God hath done,
How his right arm the victory won;
Right dearly it hath cost him.
2. Fast bound in Satan's chains I lay,
Death brooded darkly o'er me;
Sin was my torment night and day,
Therein my mother bore me.
Deeper and deeper still I fell,
Life was become a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.
3. My good works could avail me naught,
For they with sin were stained;
Free-will against God's judgment fought,
And dead to good remained.
Grief drove me to despair, and I
Had nothing left me but to die,
To hell I fast was sinking.
4. God saw, in his eternal grace,
My sorrow out of measure;
He thought upon his tenderness-
To save was his good pleasure.
He turn'd to me a Father's heart-
Not small the cost - to heal my smart
He have his best and dearest.
5. He spake to his beloved Son:
'Tis time to take compassion;
Then go, bright jewel of my crown,
And bring to man salvation;
From sin and sorrow set him free,
Slay bitter death for him, that he
May live with thee forever.
6. The Son delighted to obey,
And born of Virgin mother,
Awhile on this low earth did stay
That he might be my brother.
His mighty power he hidden bore,
A servant's form like mine he wore,
To bind the devil captive.
7. To me he spake: cling fast to me,
Thou'lt win a triumph worthy;
I wholly give myself for thee;
I strive and wrestle for thee;
For I am thine, thou mine also;
And where I am thou art. The foe
Shall never more divide us.
8. For he shall shed my precious blood,
Me of my life bereaving;
All this I suffer for thy good;
Be steadfast and believing.
My life from death the day shall win,
My righteousness shall bear thy sin,
So art thou blest forever.
9. Now to my Father I depart,
From earth to heaven ascending;
Thence heavenly wisdom to impart,
The Holy Spirit sending.
He shall in trouble comfort thee,
Teach thee to know and follow me,
And to the truth conduct thee.
10. What I have done and taught, do thou
To do and teach endeavor;
So shall my kingdom flourish now,
And God be praised forever.
Take heed lest men with base alloy
The heavenly treasure should destroy.
This counsel I bequeath thee.
1. Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein,
Und lasst uns froehlich springen,
Dass wir getrost und all in ein
Mit Lust und Liebe singen:
Was Gott an uns gewendet hat,
Und seine suesse Wunderthat,
Gar theur hat er's erworben.
2. Dem Teufel ich gefangen lag,
Im Tod war ich verloren,
Mein' Suend' mich quaelet Nacht und Tag,
Darin war ich geboren,
Ich fiel auch immer tiefer d'rein,
Es war kein gut's am Leben mein,
Die Suend' hat mich besessen.
3. Mein' gute Werk' die galten nicht,
Es war mit ihm verdorben;
Der frei Will' hasset Gottes G'richt,
Er war zum Gut'n erstorben;
Die Angst mich zu verzweifeln trieb,
Dass nichts denn Sterben bei mir blieb,
Zur Hoelle musst ich sinken.
4. Da jammert's Gott in Ewigkeit
Mein Elend ueber Massen,
Er dacht' an sein' Barmherzigkeit,
Er wollt' mir helfen lassen;
Er wandt' zu mir das Vaterherz,
Es war bei ihm fuerwahr kein Scherz,
Er liess sein Bestes kosten.
5. Er sprach zu seinem lieben Sohn:
Die Zeit ist hier zu 'rbarmen,
Fahr' hin mein's Herzens werthe Kron'
Und sei das Heil dem Armen,
Und hilf ihm aus der Suenden Noth,
Erwuerg' fuer ihn den bittern Tod
Und lass' ihn mit dir leben.
6. Der Sohn dem Vater g'horsam ward,
Er kam zu mir auf Erden,
Von einer Jungfrau rein und zart,
Er sollt' mein Bruder werden.
Gar heimlich fuehrt er sein' Gewalt,
Er ging in meiner armen G'stalt,
Den Teufel wollt' er fangen.
7. Er sprach zu mir: halt' dich an mich,
Es soll dir jetzt gelingen,
Ich geb' mich selber ganz fuer dich,
Da will ich fuer dich ringen;
Denn ich bin dein und du bist mein,
Und wo ich bleib', da sollst du sein,
Uns soll der Feind nicht scheiden.
8. Vergiessen wird er mir mein Blut,
Dazu mein Leben rauben,
Das leid' ich alles dir zu gut,
Das halt' mit festem Glauben.
Den Tod vorschlingt das Leben mein,
Mein' Unschuld traegt die Suende dein,
Da bist du selig worden.
9. Gen Himmel zu dem Vater mein
Fahr' ich von diesem Leben,
Da will ich sein der Meister dein,
Den Geist will ich dir geben,
Der dich in Truebniss troesten soll
Und lehren mich erkennen wohl,
Und in der Wahrheit leiten.
10. Was ich gethan hab' und gelehrt,
Das sollst du thun und lehren,
Damit das Reich Gott's werd' gemehrt
Zu Lob' und seinen Ehren;
Und huet' dich vor der Menschen G'sats,
Davon verdirbt der edle Schatz,
Das lass' ich dir zur Letze.
II. Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein.
Look down, O Lord, from Heaven behold.
Psalm XII. -_"Salvum me fac, Domine."_
FIRST MELODY, _Wittenberg,_ 1524. _Harmony by_
A. HAUPT, 1869.
SECOND MELODY, _Wittenberg,_ 1543. _Harmony by_
A. HAUPT, 1869.
1. Look down, O Lord, from heaven behold,
And let thy pity waken!
How few the flock within thy fold,
Neglected and forsaken!
Almost thou'lt seek for faith in vain,
And those who should thy truth maintain
Thy Word from us have taken.
2. With frauds which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On thy pure doctrine grounded;
And, whilst they gleam with outward show,
They lead thy people to and fro,
In error's maze astounded.
3. God surely will uproot all those
With vain deceits who store us,
With haughty tongue who God oppose,
And say, "Who'll stand before us?
By right or might we will prevail;
What we determine cannot fail,
For who can lord it o'er us?"
4. For this, saith God, I will arise,
These wolves my flock are rending;
I've heard my people's bitter sighs
To heaven my throne ascending:
Now will I up, and set at rest
Each weary soul by fraud opprest,
The poor with might defending.
5. The silver seven times tried is pure
From all adulteration;
So, through God's word, shall men endure
Each trial and temptation:
Its worth gleams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.
6. Thy truth thou wilt preserve, O Lord,
From this vile generation;
Make us to lean upon thy word,
With calm anticipation.
The wicked walk on every side
When, 'mid thy flock, the vile abide
In power and exaltation.
1. Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh' darein
Und lass' dich des erbarmen,
Wie wenig sind der Heil'gen dein,
Verlassen sind wir Armen:
Dein Wort man laesst nicht haben wahr,
Der Glaub' ist auch verloschen gar
Bei allen Menschenkindern.
2. Sie lehren eitel falsche List,
Was eigen Witz erfindet,
Ihr Herz nicht eines Sinnes ist
n Gottes Wort gegruendet;
Der waehlet dies, der Ander das,
Sie trennen uns ohn' alle Maas
Und gleissen schoen von aussen.
3. Gott woll' ausrotten alle Lahr,
Die falschen Schein uns lehren;
Dazu ihr' Zung' stolz offenbar
Spricht: Trotz, wer will's uns wehren?
Wir haben Recht und Macht allein,
Was wir setzen das gilt gemein,
Wer ist der uns soll meistern?
4. Darum spricht Gott, Ich muss auf sein,
Die Armen sind verstoeret,
Ihr Seufzen dringt zu mir herein,
Ich hab' ihr' Klag' erhoeret.
Mein heilsam Wort soll auf dem Plan,
Getrost und frisch sie greifen an
Und sein die Kraft der Armen.
5. Das Silber durch's Feuer siebenmal
Bewaehrt, wird lauter funden:
Am Gottes Wort man warten soll
Desgleichen alle Stunden:
Es will durch's Kreuz bewaehret sein,
Da wird sein' Kraft erkannt und Schein
Und leucht't stark in die Lande.
6. Das wollst du, Gott, bewahren rein
Fuer deisem argen G'schlechte,
Und lass uns dir befohlen sein,
Das sich's in uns nicht flechte,
Der gottlos' Hauf' sich umher findt,
Wo diese lose Leute sind
In deinem Volk erhaben.
III. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl.
The Mouth of Fools doth God confess.
PSALM XIV.-_"Dixit insipiens in corde suo, Non est Deus."_
MELODY, _Wittenberg,_ 1525. _Harmony by_
M. PRAETORIUS, 1610.
1. The mouth of fools doth God confess,
But while their lips draw nigh him
Their heart is full of wickedness,
And all their deeds deny him.
Corrupt are they, and every one
Abominable deeds hath done;
There is not one well-doer.
The Lord looked down from his high tower
On all mankind below him,
To see if any owned his power,
And truly sought to know him;
Who all their understanding bent
To search his holy word, intent
To do his will in earnest.
3. But none there was who walked with God,
For all aside had slidden,
Delusive paths of folly trod,
And followed lusts forbidden;
Not one there was who practiced good,
And yet they deemed, in haughty mood,
Their deeds must surely please him.
4. How long, by folly blindly led,
Will ye oppress the needy,
And eat my people up like bread?
So fierce are ye, and greedy!
n God they put no trust at all,
Nor will on him in trouble call,
But be their own providers.
5. Therefore their heart is never still,
A falling leaf dismays them;
God is with him who doth his will,
Who trusts him and obeys Him;
But ye the poor man's hope despise,
And laugh at him, e'en when he cries,
That God is his sure comfort.
6. Who shall to Israel's outcast race
From Zion bring salvation?
God will himself at length show grace,
And loose the captive nation;
That will he do by Christ their King;
Let Jacob then be glad and sing,
And Israel be joyful.
1. Es spricht der Unweisen Mund wohl:
Den rechten Gott wir meinen;
Doch ist ihr Herz Unglaubens voll,
Mit That sie ihn verneinen.
Ihr Wesen ist verderbet zwar,
Fuer Gott ist es ein Graeuel gar,
Es thut ihr'r Keiner kein gut.
2. Gott selbst vom Himmel sah herab
Auf aller Menschen Kinder,
Zu schauen sie er fich begab,
Ob er Jemand wird finden,
Der sein'n Verstand gerichtet haett
Mit Ernst, nach Gottes Worten thaet
Und fragt nach seinem Willen.
3. Da war Niemand auf rechter Bahn,
Sie war'n all' ausgeschritten;
Ein Jeder ging nach seinem Wahn
Und hielt verlor'ne Sitten.
Es that ihm Keiner doch kein gut,
Wie wohl gar viel betrog der Muth,
Ihr Thun sollt' Gott gefallen.
4. Wie lang wollen unwissend sein
Die solche Mueh aufladen,
Und fressen dafuer das Volk mein
Und naehr'n sich mit sei'm Schaden?
Es steht ihr Trauen nicht auf Gott,
Sie rufen ihm nicht in der Noth,
Sie woll'n sich selbst versorgen.
5. Darum ist ihr Herz nimmer still
Und steht allzeit in Forchten;
Gott bei den Frommen bleiben will,
Dem sie mit Glauben g'horchen.
Ihr aber schmaeht des Armen Rath,
Und hoehnet alles, was er sagt,
Dass Gott sein Trost ist worden.
6. Wer soll Israel dem Armen
Zu Zion Heil erlangen?
Gott wird sich sein's Volk's erbarmen
Und loesen, sie gefangen.
Das wird er thun durch seinen Sohn,
Davon wird Jakob Wonne ha'n
Und Israel sich freuen.
IV. Aus tiefer Noth schrei' ich zu dir.
Out of the deep I cry to thee.
PSALM CXXX.-_"De profundis clamavi ad te."_
FIRST MELODY, 1525. _Harmonized by_ JOH. SEB. BACH.
SECOND MELODY, 1544. _Harmonized by_ A. HAUPT, 1869.
1. Out of the deep I cry to thee;
O Lord God, hear my crying:
Incline thy gracious ear to me,
With prayer to thee applying.
For if thou fix thy searching eye
On all sin and iniquity,
Who, Lord, can stand before thee?
2. But love and grace with thee prevail,
O God, our sins forgiving;
The holiest deeds can naught avail
Of all before thee living.
Before thee none can boast him clear;
Therefore must each thy judgment fear,
And live on thy compassion.
3. For this, my hope in God shall rest,
Naught building on my merit;
My heart confides, of him possest,
His goodness stays my spirit.
His precious word assureth me;
My solace, my sure rock is he,
Whereon my soul abideth.
4. And though I wait the livelong night
And till the morn returneth,
My heart undoubting trusts his might
Nor in impatience mourneth.
Born of his Spirit, Israel
In the right way thus fareth well,
And on his God reposeth.
5. What though our sins are manifold?
Supreme his mercy reigneth;
No limit can his hand withhold,
Where evil most obtaineth.
He the good Shepherd is alone,
Who Israel will redeem and won,
Forgiving all transgression.
1.Aus tiefer Noth schrei' ich zu dir,
Herr Gott, erhoer' mein Rufen,
Dein gnaedig' Ohren kehr zu mir,
Und meiner Bitt' sie oeffnen.
Denn so du willst das sehen an,
Was Suend' und Unrecht ist gethan,
Wer kann, Herr, vor dir bleiben?
2. Bei dir gilt nichts denn Gnad' und Gunst
Die Suende zu vergeben.
Es ist doch unser Thun umsonst,
Auch in dem besten Leben.
Vor dir Niemand sich ruehmen kann,
Des muss dich fuerchten Jedermann
Und deiner Gnade Ieben.
3. Darum auf Gott will hoffen ich,
Auf mein Verdienst nicht bauen,
Auf ihn mein Herz soll lassen sich,
Und seiner Guete trauen,
Die mir zusagt sein werthes Wort,
Das ist mein Trost und treuer Hort,
Des will ich allzeit harren.
4. Und ob es waehrt bis in die Nacht
Und wieder an den Morgen,
Doch soll mein Herz an Gottes Macht
Verzweifeln nicht noch sorgen,
So thu' Israel rechter Art,
Der aus dem Geist erzeuget ward,
Und seines Gott's erharre.
5. Ob bei uns ist der Suenden viel,
Bei Gott ist viel mehr Gnaden;
Sein' Hand zu helfen hat kein Ziel,
Wie gross auch sei der Schaden.
Er ist allein der gute Hirt,
Der Israel erloe en wird
Aus seinen Suenden allen.
V. Ein neues Lied wir heben an.
By help of God I fain would tell.
A Song of the Two Christian Martyrs burnt at Brussels by
the Sophists of Louvain in the year MDXXII [July 1, 1523].
MELODY, 1525. _Harmony by_ M. PRAETORIUS, 1610.
1. By help of God I fain would tell
A new and wondrous story,
And sing a marvel that befell
To his great praise and glory.
At Brussels in the Netherlands
He hath his banner lifted,
To show his wonders by the hands
Of two youths, highly gifted
With rich and heavenly graces.
2. One of these youths was called John,
And Henry was the other;
Rich in the grace of God was one,
A Christian true his brother.
For God's dear Word they shed their blood,
And from the world departed
Like bold and pious sons of God;
Faithful and lion-hearted,
They won the crown of martyrs.
3. The old Arch-fiend did them immure,
To terrify them seeking;
They bade them God's dear Word abjure,
And fain would stop their speaking.
From Louvain many Sophists came,
Deep versed in human learning,
God's Spirit foiled them at their game
Their pride to folly turning.
They could not but be losers.
4. They spake them fair, they spake them foul,
Their sharp devices trying.
Like rocks stood firm each brave young soul
The Sophists' art defying.
The enemy waxed fierce in hate,
And for their life-blood thirsted;
He fumed and chafed that one so great
Should by two babes be worsted,
And straightway sought to burn them.
5. Their monkish garb from them they take,
And gown of ordination;
The youths a cheerful Amen spake,
And showed no hesitation.
They thanked their God that by his aid
They now had been denuded
Of Satan's mock and masquerade,
Whereby he had deluded
The world with false pretences.
6. Thus by the power of grace they were
True priests of God's own making,
Who offered up themselves e'en there,
Christ's holy orders taking;
Dead to the world, they cast aside
Hypocrisy's sour leaven,
That penitent and justified
They might go clean to heaven,
And leave all monkish follies.
7. They then were told that they must read
A note which was dictated;
They straightway wrote their fate and creed,
And not one jot abated.
Now mark their heresy! "We must
In God be firm believers;
In mortal men not put our trust,
For they are all deceivers;"
For this they must be burned!
8. Two fires were lit; the youths were brought,
But all were seized with wonder
To see them set the flames at naught,
And stood as struck with thunder.
With joy they came in sight of all,
And sang aloud God's praises;
The Sophists' courage waxed small
Before such wondrous traces
Of God's almighty finger.
9. The scandal they repent, and would
Right gladly gloss it over;
They dare not boast their deed of blood,
But seek the stain to cover.
They feel the shame within their breast,
And charge therewith each other;
But now the Spirit cannot rest,
For Abel 'gainst his brother
Doth cry aloud for vengeance.
10. Their ashes will not rest; would-wide
They fly through every nation.
No cave nor grave, no turn nor tide,
Can hide th'abomination.
The voices which with cruel hands
They put to silence living,
Are heard, though dead, throughout all lands
Their testimony giving,
And loud hosannas singing.
11. From lies to lies they still proceed,
And feign forthwith a story
To color o'er the murderous deed;
Their conscience pricks them sorely.
These saints of God e'en after death
They slandered, and asserted
The youths had with their latest breath
Confessed and been converted,
Their heresy renouncing.
12. Then let them still go on and lie,
They cannot win a blessing;
And let us thank God heartily,
His Word again possessing.
Summer is even at our door,
The winter now has vanished,
The tender flowerets spring once more,
And he, who winter banished,
Will send a happy summer.
1. Ein neues Lied wir heben an,
Das walt' Gott unser Herre,
Zu singen was Gott hat gethan
Zu seinem Lob und Ehre.
Zu Bruessel in dem Niederland
Wohl durch zween junge Knaben
Hat er sein Wunder g'macht bekannt,
Die er mit seinen Gaben
So reichlich hat gezieret.
2. Der Erst' recht wohl Johannes heisst,
So reich an Gottes Hulden;
Sein Bruder Heinrich nach dem Geist,
Ein rechter Christ ohn' Schulden.
Von dieser Welt geschieden sind,
Sie ha'n die Kron' erworben,
Recht wie die frommen Gottes Kind
Fuer sein Wort sind gestorben,
Sein' Maert'rer sind sie worden.
3. Der alte Feind sie fangen liess,
Erschreckt sie lang mit Draeuen,
Das Wort Gott man sie lenken hiess,
Mit List auch wollt' sie taeuben,
Von Loewen der Sophisten viel,
Mit ihrer Kunst verloren,
Versammelt er zu diesem Spiel;
Der Geist sie macht zu Thoren,
Sie konnten nichts gewinnen.
4. Sie sungen suess, sie sungen sau'r,
Versuchten manche Listen;
Die Knaben standen wie ein' Mau'r,
Veracht'ten die Sophisten.
Den alten Feind das sehr verdross,
Dass er war ueberwunden
Von solchen Jungen, er so gross;
Er ward voll Zorn von Stunden,
Gedacht' sie zu verbrennen.
5. Sie raubten ihn'n das Klosterkleid,
Die Weih' sie ihn'n auch nahmen;
Die Knaben waren des bereit,
Sie sprachen froehlich: Amen!
Sie dankten ihrem Vater, Gott,
Dass sie los sollten werden
Des Teufels Larvenspiel und Spott,
Darin durch falsche Berden
Die Welt er gar betreuget.
6. Da schickt Gott durch sein Gnad' also,
Dass sie recht Priester worden:
Sich selbst ihm mussten opfern da
Und geh'n im Christen Orden,
Der Welt ganz abgestorben sein,
Die Heuchelei ablegen,
Zum Himmel kommen frei und rein,
Die Moencherei ausfegen
Und Menschen Tand hie lassen.
7. Man schrieb ihn'n fuer ein Brieflein klein,
Das hiess man sie selbst lesen,
Die Stueck' sie zeigten alle drein,
Was ihr Glaub' war gewesen.
Der huechste Irrthum dieser war:
Man muss allein Gott glauben,
Der Mensch leugt und treugt immerdar,
Dem soll man nichts vertrauen;
Dess mussten sie verbrennen.
8. Zwei grosse Feur sie zuend'ten an,
Die Knaben sie her brachten,
Es nahm gross Wunder Jedermann,
Dass sie solch' Pein veracht'ten,
Mit Freuden sie sich gaben drein,
Mit Gottes Lob und Singen,
Der Muth ward den Sophisten klein
Fuer diesen neuen Dingen,
Da sich Gott liess so merken.
9. Der Schimpf sie nun gereuet hat,
Sie wollten's gern schoen machen;
Sie thuern nicht ruehmen sich der That
Sie bergen fast die Sachen,
Die Schand' im Herzen beisset sie
Und klagen's ihr'n Genossen,
Doch kann der Geist nicht schweigen hie:
Des Habels Blut vergossen,
Es muss den Kain melden.
10. Die Aschen will nicht lassen ab,
Sie staeubt in allen Landen;
Hie hilft kein Bach, Loch, Grub' noch Grab,
Sie macht den Feind zu Schanden.
Die er im Leben durch den Mord
Zu schweigen hat gedrungen,
Die muss er todt an allem Ort
Mit aller Stimm' und Zungen
Gar froehlich lassen singen.
11. Noch lassen sie ihr Luegen nicht,
Den grossen Mord zu schmuecken,
Sie gehen fuer ein falsch Gedicht,
Ihr G'wissen thut sie druecken,
Die Heil'gen Gott's auch nach dem Tod
Von ihn'n gelaestert werden,
Sie sagen: in der lessten Noth
Die Knaben noch auf Erden
Sich sollen ha'n umkehret.
12. Die lass man luegen immerhin,
Sie haben's keinen Frommen,
Wir sollen danken Gott darin,
Sein Wort ist wiederkommen.
Der Sommer ist hart fuer der Thuer
Der Winter ist vergangen,
Die zarten Bluemlein geh'n herfuer:
Der das hat angefangen,
Der wird es wohl vollenden.
VI. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.
Saviour of the heathen, known.
_From the Ambrosian Christmas Hymn, "Veni,
_Melody derived from the Ambrosian original, 1525.
Harmony from "The Choral Book for England," by_
WM. STERNDALE BENNETT _and_ OTTO
1. Saviour of the heathen, known
As the promised virgin's Son;
Come thou wonder of the earth,
God ordained thee such a birth.
2. Not of flesh and blood the son,
Offspring of the Holy One,
Born of Mary ever-blest,
God in flesh is manifest.
3. Cherished is the Holy Child
By the mother undefiled;
In the virgin, full of grace,
God has made his dwelling-place.
4. Lo! he comes! the Lord of all
Leaves his bright and royal hall;
God and man, with giant force,
Hastening to run his course.
5. To the Father whence he came
He returns with brighter fame;
Down to hell he goes alone,
Then ascends to God's high throne.
6. Thou, the Father's equal, win
Victory in the flesh o'er sin;
So shall man, though weak and frail;
By the indwelling God prevail.
7. On thy lowly manger night
Sheds a pure unwonted light;
Darkness must not enter here,
Faith abides in sunshine clear.
8. Praise be to the Father done,
Praise be to the only Son,
Praises to the Spirit be,
Now and to eternity.
1. Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,
Der Jungfrauen Kind erkannt,
Dass sich wunder alle Welt,
Gott solch' Geburt ihm bestellt.
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