Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook

— Hymn Texts and Tunes —




The melody (Machs mit mir, or Eisenach) by J. H. Schein, was first printed in a little pamphlet with the hymn, “Machs mit mir, Gott, nach deiner Gut,” and later it appeared in Schein’s Cantional, Leipzig, 1645. In Schein’s Choralgesänge there are two arrangements by J. S. Bach. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Mach’s mit mir, Gott” is by Johann Hermann Schein, 1628. It is based on an older melody, set to the hymn “Ein wahrer Glaub’ Gottes Zorn stillt” in Bartholomäus Gesius’s Geistliche Deutsche Lieder, etc., Frankfurt a. d. O.,1607. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The most popular tune for this hymn is by Johann A. Freylinghausen. It appeared in his Neues Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704. Some musicians think it is a recast of Crüger’s tune by the same name “in the Freylinghausen manner”; others consider it an original melody. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody (Magdalene) is by Sir John Stainer, and was composed especially for this hymn for The revised Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1875. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The melody was written by the Danish organist and composer, Johan Christian Gebauer (b. Copenhagen, 1808; d. ibid. 1884), for the hymn “Du Herre Krist, min Frelser est.” The first four measures are repeated. Lindeman’s Koralbog has two melodies, the one being taken from Kingo’s Gradual, 1699, the other being composed by Lindeman. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Master of eager youth  183

??? This hymn is a rather free translation, if it can be called that, of one of our oldest Christian hymns, attributed to Clement of Alexandria, beginning with the line Stomion pwlwn adawn.


It was appended to the second of Clement’s great trilogy, The Tutor.

Henry M.Dexter declared that after he first translated the Greek text of Clement’s into prose, he “transfused as much of its language and spirit” as he could into the verse. This was in 1846. While he was preparing a sermon from the text Deut. 32:7: “Remember the days of old” on “Some Prominent Characteristics of the Early Christians,” he wrote the hymn in order that it might be used in the service. The hymn was first printed in The Congregationalist, December 21, 1849. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


May God be praised*  327

(See: O Lord, we praise Thee)



May God bestow on us His grace  591

Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein

Und seinen Segen geben;

Sein Antlitz uns mit hellem Schein

Erleucht’ zum ew’gen Leben,

Dass wir erkennen seine Werk’,

Und was ihm liebt auf Erden,

Und Jesus Christus Heil und Stärk’

Bekannt den Heiden werden

Und sie zu Gott bekehren.


So danken, Gott, und loben dich

Die Heiden überalle,

Und alle Welt, die freue sich

Und sing’ mit grossem Schalle,

Dass du auf Erden Richter bist

Und lässt die Sünd’ nicht walten

Dein Wort die Hut und Weide ist,

Die alles Volk erhalten.

In rechter Bahn zu wallen.


Es danke, Gott. und lobe dich

Das Volk in guten Taten;

Das Land bringt Frucht und bessert sich,

Dein Wort ist wohl geraten.

Uns segne Vater und der Sohn,

Uns segne Gott der Heil’ge Geist

Dem alle Welt die Ehre tu’,

Vor ihm sich fürchte allermeist.

Nun sprecht von Herzen: Amen!


This is Martin Luther’s Ps. 67, rewritten as a New Testament missionary hymn. It first appeared, without a tune, at the end of Luther’s Ein weise christlich Mess zuhalte, Wittenberg, and in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. The melody, “Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein” was first coupled with the text in Teutsch Kirchenamt, Strassburg, 1525. The composer is unknown. It is the first missionary hymn of Protestantism. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THE 67th Psalm furnished the inspiration for this hymn by Dr. Martin Luther. It was evidently printed in 1523-1524 in a leaflet together with “Aus tiefer Noth” (Out of the depths I cry to Thee. L. H. 273), and shortly after the text was published in Luther’s Ein weyse Christliche Messe zu halten und zum Tisch Gottis zu gehen, Wittenberg, 1524. The same year it was also published in Eyn Enchiridion; from this it passed into all the German hymnals. Klaus Mortensøn translated it into Danish and added a closing stanza (see Landst. 28). This version was used in the Malmø Hymnary of 1533 and later in the editions of H. Thomissøn, Kingo, and Pontoppidan. Landstad’s and Hauge’s versions are somewhat different. The revised hymn book of the former Norwegian Synod follows in the main Mortensøn’s translation.

In connection with this hymn the story is told from Magdeburg that one of the citizens, an old clothier, gathered people in the marketplace by singing and selling this hymn together with the companion hymn, “Out of the depths I cry to Thee.” The burgomaster had him arrested, but he was released following a demonstration of protest staged by the citizens. Two months later the people of Magdeburg put through the Reformation in their city. The hymn was sung by the army of Gustavus Adolphus on the morning of the battle of Lutzen, November 6, 1632. Both this hymn and “A Mighty Fortress is our God” were sung to the accompaniment of trumpets and kettle-drums. Ludvig Holberg relates that the hymn was sung by a child during the night before the introduction of the Reformation in Helsingør. The hymnologist, James Mearns, says that Luther remodeled the Old Testament Psalm into a New Testament missionary hymn and adds, “It was therefore fitting that it should be sung at the opening service during the dedication of the mission church in Trichinopoli, India, July 11, 1792. The service was conducted by C. F. Schwartz. “

Besides 14 English translations there are numerous versions in Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, French, Portuguese, Latin, and other languages. The version in The Lutheran Hymnary is by Richard Massie, born 1800, in Chester, England. In 1854 he published in London Martin Luther’s Spiritual Songs. His Lyra Domestica, London, 1860 and 1864, contains Spitta’s and other German hymns in English translation. He also translated many German hymns for Mercer’s Church Psalter and Hymn Book. Massie died March 11, 1887. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



Johann J. Rambach published this hymn in his Poetische Festgedanken, 1729. It was accepted in the Hannoverisches Gesang Buch, 1740, together with the tune “Mein Schoepfer, steh mir bei” by Franz Heinrich Meyer, to which is has since been wedded. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht” is found in the Darmstadt hymnal, Neuverfertigtes Gesangbuch, 1699, set to the text of the hymn beginning with that line, “Jesus I will never leave”. The composer is unknown. It has long been a popular melody.










The melody (Mendelssohn) was mainly borrowed from Mendelssohn’s Festgesang by W. H. Cummings in 1855, and has gradually taken the place of all melodies formerly used. It is said that Mendelssohn himself wished to use this melody for words other than those for which it was originally written, and that he also considered it unsuitable for a religious text. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Mendelssohn” is from the Festgesang for Male Chorus and Orchestra, composed for, and first sung at, the festival held in Leipzig, June, 1840, to celebrate the invention of printing. Dr. W. H. Cummings, organist at Waltham Abbey, adapted the tune for this hymn, 1856. In some books the tune is called St. Vincent; in others, Bethlehem.

Songs of Praise Discussed, adds this interesting comment on the tune:

“It is curious that some years previous to the publication of Dr. Cummings’s adaptation, Mendelssohn, in writing to his English publishers on the subject of an English translation of the Festgesang, said: “I must repeat the wish I already expressed in my letter to Mr.Bartholomew. I think there ought to be other words to No. 2. If the right ones are hit at, I am sure that piece will be liked very much by the singers and hearers, but it will never do to sacred words. There must be a national and merry subject found out, something to which the soldierlike and buxom motion of the piece has some relation, and the words must express something gay and popular, as the music tries to do it.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “Mendon” was introduced to American tune books by Samuel Dyer in the Supplement of Samuel Dyer’s Third Edition of Sacred Music, 1828, where the tune, called “German Air,” had one more note in each line and a different last line than the form now familiar. The omission of the additional note in the fourth edition of the book was accompanied with this comment: “It is believed that the present arrangement is the original form.” It is thought Lowell Mason altered the last line which he began using is it in his publications and that he gave it its present name. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody (Merrial) was written by Joseph Barnby, 1868. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]












The tune, known in our circles as “the Milwaukee tune,” is by August Lemke, 1849. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]





The melody (Missionary Hymn), written by the well known American church musician, Dr. Lowell Mason (b. 1792, d. 1872), is one of the very few American melodies found in the leading English hymnals. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Missionary Hymn,” also called “Heber” and “Gospel Banner,” was written for this hymn by Lowell Mason and appeared in 1829 in The Boston Handel and Haydn Society Collection, 9th edition. J. T. Lightwood says this tune will not soon be forgotten if “modern editors will leave the simple, original, but effective harmonies alone.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]






The tune “Mit Fried’ und Freud’“ appeared with the text at its first publication in 1524. The composer is unknown. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “Mitten wir im Leben sind” is from a 13th-century gradual. It was first used with Luther’s text in Johann Walther’s Gegstliche gesangk Buchleyn, Wittenberg, 1525. The melody in The Lutheran Hymnary has been associated with this hymn since the earliest German version. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns, and Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal] [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]






The melody (Dayspring) is first found in J. J. Freylinghausen’s Geistreiches Gesangbuch, 1704. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The beautiful tune “Morgenglanz der Ewigkeit” is found in Freylinghausen’s Neues geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704. It is an adaptation of Johann Rudolf Ahle’s spiritual aria “Seelchen, was ist Schönres wohl als der Höchste Gott?” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody (Morning Hymn, or Magdalene) is composed by Francois H. Barthélémon (1741-1808) for The Female Orphan’s Asylum and appeared first in 1785. Barthélémon, who was a composer and violinist in France, first came to England on a visit in 1765. Later he took up his residence there. He died in 1808. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Morning Hymn, also called “Magdalene”, and “Hippolytus,” was composed by François Hippolite Barthélémon. It was written for the Female Orphan Asylum at the request of its chaplain and was first printed in the Supplement to the Hymns and Psalms at the Asylum or House of Refuge for Female Orphans, 1785. W. Gawler, organist to the asylum, was the editor. It was headed “New Tune” and set to the words of this hymn. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “Morning Star” for the hymn “Brightest and best” also seems to be growing in popularity in our country. It was part of an anthem composed by James P. Harding, in 1892, for use at Gifford Hall Mission in London. According to Robert Guy McCutchan the tune was first used in an American hymnal when it was included in The New Psalms and Hymns, Richmond, Va., 1901, by the Presbyterian Committee of Publication. It was set to Heber’s hymn in The Methodist Hymnal, 1905, and also in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1912. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


MOSCOW* (ITALIAN HYMN)  11, 12, 202



Most ancient of all mysteries  419







The tune “Müde bin ich, geh’ zur Ruh”’ first appeared in Theodore Fliedner’s Liederbuch für Kleinkinder-Schulen, Kaiserswerth, 1842, where it was set to the famous German children’s evening song beginning with those words. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody (Munich) was first published in Meiningisches Gesangbuch, 1693; later in J. G. Störl’s Choralbuch, 1710. Mendelssohn made use of this melody in the oratorio Elijah. The melody for “O Gud, du fromme Gud,” “Ach Gott, verlass mich nicht,” “O God, Thou faithful God” (L. H. 457), is a variant of this melody. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Munich” is by an unknown composer. It appeared in the Neuvermehrtes Gesangbuch, Meiningen, 1693, where it was set to the hymn “O Gott, du frommer Gott” by Johann Heermann. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal] ?????


My course is run  528

Es ist vollbracht! Gott Lob, es ist vollbracht!

Mein Jesus nimmt mich auf!

Fahr hin, o Welt! Ihr Freunde, gute Nacht!

Ich ende meinen Lauf

Bei Jesu Kreuz mit tausend Freuden,

Ich sehne mich, von hier zu scheiden.

Es ist volltracht!


Es ist volltracht! Mein Jesus hat auf sich

Genommen meine Schuld;

Er selber hat am Krenzesstamm für mich—

O ungemeine Huld!—

Gebüsset, und in Jesu Wunden

Hab’ ich die rechte Freistadt funden.

Es ist vollbracht!


Es ist vollbracht! Hier bin ich ausser Not.

Angst und Gefahr gesetzt:

Hier speiset mich der Herr mit Himmelsbrot,

Hier bin ich hoch geschätzt;

Hier hör’ ich auf den Engelsbühnen

Den süssen Ton der Seraphinen.

Es ist vollbracht!


Es ist vollbracht! Gott Lob, es ist vollbracht!

Mein Jesus nimmt mich auf;

Fahr hin, o Welt! Ihr Freunde, gute Nacht!

Ich schliesse meinen Lauf

Und allen Jammer, der mich troffen.

Wohl mir, ich seh’ den Himmel offen.

Es ist vollbracht!


This cento is composed of Stanzas 1, 2, 4, and 7 of the hymn “Es ist vollbracht,” which is commonly attributed to Andreas Gryphius. It first appeared in Vollständiges Haus- und Kirchen-Gesangbuch, Breslau, 1726.

The translation is by August Zich and was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal in 1937. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


My faith looks up to Thee  184

HEBREWS 12:1-2. This hymn was written immediately after the author had graduated from college, and had accepted a teaching position in New York. “I gave form to what I felt, by writing the stanzas with very little effort. I recollect that I wrote with very tender emotions, and ended the last line in tears.” A short time afterwards the hymn was given to Dr. Lowell Mason for a work then to be compiled by him and Dr. T. Hastings. In 1831 that work was published as Spiritual Songs for Social Worship, etc., words and music being arranged by Thomas Hastings, of New York, and Lowell Mason, of Boston. “My faith looks up to Thee” is included in this work, in four stanzas, entitled Self Consecration, to the tune by Dr. Mason, later known as “Olivet.” The hymn has found a place in most of the modern collections in all English-speaking countries, and has been rendered into numerous languages. The Latin translation, by H. H. Macgill, begins “Fides Te mea spectat.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


My God, accept my heart this day  512

WITH my whole heart have I sought Thee: let me not wander from Thy commandments” (Ps. 119:10).

This confirmation hymn, used largely in England and America, appeared first in the author’s Hymns of the Heart, 1848. In some hymnals it begins with the second stanza of the original, “Before the cross of Him who died.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


My God, and is Thy table spread  323

COME, for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17).

“None of the hymns of Watts,” says H. L. Bennett, “can compare with this one in form, or in feeling, or in beauty of diction.” With Malachi 1:12 as a title, it was first printed in 1755 in Job Orton’s edition of Doddridge’s hymns. These were published after the author’s death. The original has six stanzas. Our edition has made use of stanzas 1, 2, and 4. The hymn is found in the abbreviated form in most hymnals, but it is used very extensively and has been translated into many languages. It has been rendered into Latin by Bingham. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


My heart is longing  61



My hope is built on nothing less  197

ORIGINALLY this hymn has as its first line “Nor earth, nor hell my soul can move.” Our version begins with the second stanza of the original. There has been much doubt as to the authorship of this hymn. Hence, Edw. Mote, at one time, sent the following explanation to The Gospel Herald: “One morning it came to my mind as I went to my labor, to write a hymn on the ‘Gracious Experience of a Christian.’ As I went up Holborn, I had the chorus:

‘On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand, All other ground is sinking sand.’

“In the day I had the first four verses completed, and wrote them off. On the Sabbath following, I met brother King, as I came out of the Lisle Street meeting—who informed me that his wife was very ill, and asked me to call and see her. I had an early tea, and called afterward. He said that it was his usual custom to sing a hymn, read a portion, and engage in prayer before he went to meeting. He looked for his hymn-book, but could find it nowhere. I said: ‘I have some verses in my pocket’; if he liked, we could sing them. We did, and his wife enjoyed them so much, that after service he asked me, as a favor, to leave a copy of them for his wife. I went home, and by the fireside composed the last two verses, wrote the whole off, and took them to sister King. As these verses so met the dying woman’s case, my attention to them was the more arrested, and I had a thousand printed for distribution. I sent one to The Spiritual Magazine, without my initials, which appeared some time after this. Brother Rees, of Crown Street, Soho, brought out an edition of hymns (1836), and this hymn was in it. David Denham introduced it with Rees’ name, and others after.—Your inserting this brief outline may in the future shield me from the charge of stealth, and be a vindication of truthfulness in my connection with the Church of God.” The hymn was written about 1834 and printed in the author’s Hymns of Praise, London, 1836, under the title, The Immutable Basis of a Sinner’s Hope. Bishop Bickersteth has called the hymn, “A grand hymn of faith.” Two stanzas are omitted in The Lutheran Hymnary. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


My inmost heart now raises  79

Aus meines Herzens Grunde

Sag’ ich dir Lob und Dank

In dieser Morgenstunde,

Dazu mein Leben lang,

O Gott, in deinem Thron,

Dir zu Preis, Lob und Ehren

Durch Christum, unsern Herren,

Dein’n eingebornen Sohn,


Dass du mich hast aus Gnaden

In der vergangnen Nacht

Vor G’fahr und allem Schaden

Behütet und bewacht.

Ich bitt’ demütiglich,

Woll’st mir mein’ Sünd’ vergeben.

Womit in diesem Leben

Ich hab’ erzürnet dich.


Du wollest auch behüten

Mich gnädig diesen Tag

Vor’s Teufels List und Wüten,

Vor Sünden und vor Schmach,

Vor Feu’r und Wassersnot,

Vor Armut und vor Schanden,

Vor Ketten und vor Banden,

Vor bösem schnellem Tod.


Dein’n Engel lass auch beiben

Und weichen nicht von mir,

Den Satan zu vertreiben,

Auf dass der bös’ Feind hier

In diesem Jammertal

Sein’ Tück’ an mir nicht übe,

Leib und Seel’ nicht betrübe

Und bring’ mich nicht zu Fall.


Gott will ich lassen raten,

Denn er all’ Ding’ vermag;

Er segne meine Taten,

Mein Vornehmen und Sach’,

Denn ich ihm heimgestellt

Mein’n Leib, mein’ Seel’, mein Leben

Und was er mir sonst geben.

Er mach’s, wie’s ihm gefällt.


Darauf so sprech’ ich Amen

Und zweifle nicht daran,

Gott wird es all’s zusammen

Sich wohlgefallen lan;

Und streck’ num aus mein’ Hand,

Greif’ an das Werk mit Freuden,

Dazu mich Gott bescheiden

In mein’m Beruf und Stand.


This hymn is by Georg Nigidius (Niege). According to Prof. P. Althaus it was first published in Creutzbuechlein, 1585—1587, at Herford, Germany. A Low German version is found in the Bremer Gesangbuch of 1589. Then in 1592 it appeared in four different publications with text variations. The hymn has long been a favorite in many circles. Gustavus Adolphus loved it, and it was often sung at matins by his soldiers.

The translation is based on that of Catherine Winkworth, Chorale Book for England, 1863. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


My life is hid in Jesus*  473

(See: For me to live is Jesus)


My Maker, be Thou nigh  513

Mein Schöpfer, steh mir bei,

Sei meines Lebens Licht!

Dein Auge leite mich,

Bis mir mein Auge bricht!

Hier leg’ ich Herz und Glieder

Vor dir zum Opfer nieder;

Bestimme meine Kräfte

Für dich und dein Geschäfte!

Du willst, dass ich der Deine sei:

Mein Schöpfer, steh mir bei!


Mein Heiland, wasche mich

Durch dein so teures Blut,

Das alle Flecken tilgt

Und lauter Wunder tut!

Schliess die verirrte Seele

In deine Wundenhöhle,

Dass sie von Zorn und Sünde

Hier wahre Freiheit finde!

Ich bin verloren ohne dich:

Mein Heiland, wasche mich!


Mein Tröster, gib mir Kraft,

Wenn sich Versuchung zeigt!

Regiere meinen Geist,

Wenn er zur Welt sich neigt!

Lehr mich den Sohn erkennen,

Ihn meinen Herrn auch nennen,

Sein Gnadenwort verstehen,

Auf seinen Wegen gehen!

Du bist, der alles Gute schafft:

Mein Tröster, gib mir Kraft!


Gott Vater, Sohn und Geist,

Dir bin ich, was ich bin.

Ach, drücke selbst dein Bild

Recht tief in meinen Sinn!

Erwähle mein Gemüte

Zum Tempel deiner Güte,

Verkläre an mir Armen

Dein gnadenreich Erbarmen!

Wohl mir, wenn du der Meine heisst:

Gott Vater, Sohn und Geist!


Johann J. Rambach published this hymn in his Poetische Festgedanken, 1729. It was accepted in the Hannoverisches Gesang Buch, 1740, together with the tune “Mein Schoepfer, steh mir bei” by Franz Heinrich Meyer, to which is has since been wedded.

The translation is by the Rev. R. E. Taylor of Melbourne, Australia, somewhat altered. It was prepared for the Australian Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1925. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


My song is love unknown  303



My soul doth magnify the Lord  47


This hymn is a free paraphrase by John Theodore Mueller of the German metrical Magnificat, “Mein’ Seel’, o Gott, muss loben dich,” for the Visitation of the Virgin Mary (Fünf auserlesene geistliche Lieder, Marburg, 1535) of unknown authorship. The translation was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal in 1940. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


My soul, now bless thy Maker!  456

Nun lob, mein’ Seel’, den Herren,

Was in mir ist, den Namen sein!

Sein’ Wohltat tut er mehren,

Vergiss es nicht, o Herze mein!

Hat dir dein Sünd’ vergeben

Und heilt dein’ Schwachheit gross,

Errett’t dein armes Leben,

Nimmt dich in seinen Schoss,

Mit rechtem Trost beschüttet,

Verjüngt dem Adler gleich.

Der Kön’g schafft Recht, behütet,

Die leiden in sein’m Reich.


Er hat uns wissen lassen

Sein herrlich Recht und sein Gericht,

Dazu sein’ Güt’ ohn’ Massen,

Es mangelt an Erbarmung nicht.

Sein’n Zorn lässt er wohl fahren,

Straft nicht nach unsrer Schuld,

Die Gnad’ tut er nicht sparen,

Den Blöden ist er hold.

Sein’ Güt’ ist hoch erhaben

Ob den’n, die fürchten ihn.

So fern der Ost vom Abend

Ist unsre Sünd’ dahin.


Wie sich ein Mann erbarmet

Über sein junge Kinderlein,

So tut der Herr uns Armen,

So wir ihn kind ich fürchten rein.

Er kennt das arm Gemächte

Und weiss, wir sind nur Staub,

Gleichwie das Gras von Rechte,

Ein’ Blum’ und fallend Laub,

Der Wind nur drüber wehet,

So ist es nimmer da:

Also der Mensch vergehet,

Sein End’, das ist ihm nah.


Die Gottesgnad’ alleine

Bleibt stet und fest in Ewigkeit

Bei seiner lieben G’meine,

Die steht in seiner Furcht bereit.

Die seinen Bund behalten.

Er herrscht im Himmelreich.

Ihr starken Engel, waltet

Seins Lobs und dient zugleich

Dem grossen Herrn zu Ehren

Und treibt sein heil’ges Wort,

Mein’ Seel’ soll auch vermehren

Sein Lob an allem Ort.


Martin Chemnitz, the great Lutheran theologian and one of the authors of the Formula of Concord, is given as authority for the statement that Johann Gramann (Graumann; Poliander) wrote this hymn in 1525, based on Ps. 103, at the request of his friend the Margrave Albrecht of Brandenburg-Ansbach, a follower of Luther’s and supporter of the Reformation. It is without question one of our most majestic and most fervent hymns of praise, one that should be in the reportory of every Lutheran congregation. A fifth stanza, evidently not by Gramann, appeared in 1555 and was added to the hymn in a number of German hymnals. It reads:


5. Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren

Gott Vater, Sohn und Heil’gem Geist!

Der woll in uns vermehren,

Was er uns aus Genad’ verheisst,

Dass wir ihm fest vertrauen,

Gänzlich uns lass’n auf ihn,

Von Herzen auf ihn bauen,

Dass uns’r Herz, Mut und Sinn

Ihm festiglich anhangen.

Drauf singen wir zur Stund:

Amen, wir werd’n’s erlangen,

Glaub’n wir aus Herzensgrund.


The hymn was used by Gustavus Adolphus on April 24, 1632, at the first restored Protestant service in Augsburg and also by the inhabitants of Osnabrück, in Westphalia, as a thanksgiving at the close of the Thirty Years’ War on October 25, 1648.

The translation is by Catherine Winkworth, slightly altered, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

GRAUMANN’S famous hymn, based upon the 103rd Psalm, was first published in Nürnberg, 1540. It also appeared in Kugelmann’s Hymnal of the same year. Martin Chemnitz relates that Graumann was requested to write this hymn in 1525 by the elector Albrecht, whose favorite Psalm was the 103rd. Chemnitz adds: “I often recollect with joy what I witnessed eight years ago, when this pious ruler lay upon his deathbed. At all devotional meetings he requested that this hymn be sung last. How he joined in the singing of the beautiful text and was cheered with the many pious thoughts which he thus gathered! On this account the hymn is especially cherished also by me.”

This hymn was sung at the Lutheran service conducted in the Church of St. Anna by Gustavus Adolphus after he had entered the city of Augsburg and restored the Augsburg Confession. It was sung with bassoon accompaniment at Osnabruck, 1648, celebrating the peace at the close of the Thirty Years’ War. The Danish-Norwegian king, Christian III (d. 1559), sang this hymn upon his deathbed and expired while singing the words, “For, as a tender father hath pity on his children here.” It has found a place in almost all Danish-Norwegian hymnals. The first Danish version was published in Hans Thomissøn’s Hymn Book of 1569. Another translation was later made by Landstad.

The first English translation was rendered by I. C. Jacobi in 1722. The version which appears in our Lutheran Hymnary is by Miss C. Winkworth and dates from the year 1863. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The melody (Naar mit Øie) is by Ludvig Lindeman. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Consolation,” also called “Naar mit Øie,” is by Ludwig M. Lindeman and appeared in 1871 in his Koralbog for den Norska Kirke, set to H. A Brorson’s hymn “Naar mit Øie, træt af Møie.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Nature with open volume stands  299









Near the cross was Mary weeping  294


THIS is commonly accepted as the most pathetic of all the hymns from the Middle Ages. It belongs, possibly, to the 13th century. It was not written for liturgical use, but it soon became very widely known. It was used by the Flagellants during the middle of the 14th century. As they marched from town to town scourging each other they sang the “Stabat mater.” During the 15th century, or somewhat earlier, it entered into a few of the missals in use. Not before 1727 was it incorporated into the Missale Romanum. It was commonly used in redactions containing ten stanzas, but more stanzas have been found. Our cento in The Lutheran Hymnary is made up of several revised and combined strophes. There are many such free renderings of the original poem. The original hymn describes the Savior’s mother in anguish beneath the cross. “Stabat mater” is based upon John 19:25; Luke 22:35; Zech. 13:6; 2 Cor. 4:10; Gal. 6:17. It is not definitely known who wrote this stirring poem, picturing to us the mother of Christ standing beneath the cross—this poem with its deep sincerity of feeling, its beautiful rhythm, and its melodious feminine rime. Jacopone di Benedetti (from Todi), who died in 1306, has commonly been mentioned as the probable author of this hymn. Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) and others have also been mentioned. It is not known that this form of verse was used earlier than 1150. The hymnologist Mone is of the opinion that the original poem was written by Pope Innocent III and later revised and enlarged by Jacopone.

… The oldest Danish translation of “Stabat mater” dates from the Middle Ages; first three lines thus:

Hoss korssens tree, mz sorg oc wee, stood christi moder, med graadzens floder, hennes søn paa korssyt hengde.

In 1777 it was revised into current Danish by B. G. Sporon: “Naglet til et Kors paa Jorden.” With a few changes this was employed by Landstad.—”Stabat mater” has been set to music by great composers, such as Palestrina, Pergolesi, Haydn, Rossini, Dvorak, etc. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]









The melody (Nicea) by J. B. Dykes was composed for the first edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861. It has much in common with the melody for “Wake, awake, for night is flying,” by Philipp Nicolai. The name “Nicea” was given to this melody in memory of the Council of Nice, where the doctrine of the Trinity was finally established. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nicaea” was written for the hymn by John B. Dykes and appeared in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861. It was named “Nicaea” because the doctrine of the Trinity was definitely estabiished as a dogma in the Church at the Council of Nicaea, 325 A. D., against the Arians. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Not all the blood of beasts  305

Isaac Watts published this hymn in the enlarged edition of his Hymns and Spirztual Songs, 1709. The text is slightly altered, chiefly in Stanza 4, Line 4, where Watts had


And hopes her guilt was there.


This change was made, with others not so happy, in the Wesleyan Hymn Book, 1875. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Not in anger, mighty God  454


THE Biblical basis for this hymn is the Sixth Psalm, by stanzas as follows: 1, “Jehovah, rebuke me not in Thine anger”; 2, “Have mercy upon me, O Jehovah; for I am withered away; O Jehovah, heal me; for my bones are troubled”; 3, “I am weary with my groaning”; 4, “Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for Jehovah hath heard the voice of my weeping”; 5, a doxology.

A special edition of this hymn was published in 1655. A number of years later it appeared in a hymn book entitled Andächtig Singender Christenmund, Wesel, 1692. The English translation of this hymn was made by Miss Winkworth and was included among the hymns in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Not what these hands have done  433

SALVATION through Christ alone.”

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:23-24).

This hymn appeared first in Hymns of Faith and Hope, second series, 1861. It contained 12 four-lined stanzas. As a rule it appears in an abbreviated form. The first line is also found thus: “Not what I feel or do” (second stanza, first line, of the original); “I bless the Christ of God” (seventh stanza, first line, of the original). It is used very extensively in these various versions. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Now are the days fulfilled  164

Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt,

Des Höchsten Sohn ist kommen

Und hat das arme Fleisch

Der Menschen angenommen.

Hier ist der Mann, der Herr,

Der Furcht und Strafe stillt,

Des Weibes Same kommt:

Nun ist die Zeit erffült.


Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt,

Der Stern aus Jakob funkelt,

Die trübe Nacht ist hin,

Die alle Welt verdunkelt.

Hier ist es, Israel,

Was du erwarten willt;

Der Zionshüter schreit:

Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt.


Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt,

Der Stab von Aaron blühet,

Worauf das alte Bild

Der heil’gen Lade siehet.

Es hat sich Rat, Kraft, Held

In armen Staub verhüllt

Und wird ein schwaches Kind:

Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt.


Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt,

Die Kindschaft ist erworben.

Was unter dem Gesetz

Und dessen Fluch verdorben,

Das hört nun weiter nicht,

Wie Zorn und Eifer brüllt.

Gott ruft den Frieden aus;

Nun ist die Zeit erfüllt.


We have been unable to trace the authorship of this hymn. It is not found in many hymnals. The Rochlitzer Gesangbuch of 1746 is one of the few that have it.

The translation is an altered form of that by Frederick W. Herzberger published in the Selah Song-Book. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Now Christ is risen!  355



Now Christ the sinless Son of God  248



Now hail the day so rich in cheer  131

Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich

Aller Kreature,

Denn Gottes Sohn vom Himmelrelch

Über die Nature

Von einer Jumgfrau ist geborn.

Maria, du bist auserkor’n,

Dass du Mutter wärest.

Was geschah so wumderlich?

Gottes Sohn vom Himmelreich,

Der ist Mensch geboren.


(For the second verse, see: To us is born a little Child.)

This hymn comes to us from the Latin “Dies est laetitiae” through the German. James Mearns thinks it is of German origin. He further states that Luther spoke of this hymn as a work of the Holy Spirit. It is found in Latin and German versions, but the author and the original text cannot be determined. The German version is given by Wackernagel as a fifteenth-century translation from the Latin. Some of the various German versions have as rnany as thirteen stanzas.

Our translation is an altered form of what was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal in 1940. The tune “Der Tag, der ist” is also at least of fifteenth-century origin. It is found in M. Vehe’s Ein neues Gesangbüchlein, Geistliche Lieder, Strassburg, 1537. It had previously appeared in the hymnbook of the Bohemian Brethren by Michael Weisse, 1531. The tune has also been set to a harvest hymn by Eleanor Farieon, in Songs of Praise, and is called “Cornfields.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Now hush your cries and shed no tear  480



Now I have found the ground wherein  499

Ich habe num den Grund gefunden,

Der meinen Anker ewig hält.

Wo anders als in Jesu Wunden?

Da lag er vor der Zeit der Welt,

Der Grund, der unbeweglich steht,

Wenn Erd’ und Himmel untergeht.


Es ist das ewige Erbarmen,

Das alles Denken übersteigt;

Es sind die offnen Liebesarme

Des, der sich zu dem Sünder neigt,

Dem allemal das Herze bricht,

Wir kommen oder kommen nicht.


Wir sollen nicht verloren werden.

Gott will, uns soll geholfen sein;

Deswegen kam der Sohn auf Erden

Und nahm hernach den Himmel ein;

Deswegen klopft er für und für

So stark an unsre Herzenstür.


O Abgrund, welcher alle Sünden

Durch Christi Tod verschlungen hat!

Das heisst die Wunde recht verbinden,

Da findet kein Verdammen statt,

Weil Christi Blut beständig schreit:

Barmherzigkeit! Barmherzigkeit!


Darein will ich mich gläubig senken,

Dem will ich mich gekost vertraun

Und, wenn mich meine Sünden kränken,

Nur bald nach Gottes Herzen schaun;

Da findet sich zu aller Zeit

Unendliche Barmherzigkeit.


Wird alles andre weggerissen,

Was Seel’ und Leib erquicken kann,

Darf ich von keinem Troste wissen

Und scheine völlig ausgetan

Ist die Errettung noch so weit;

Mir bleibet doch Barmherzigkeit.


Beginnt das Irdische zu drüken,

Ja häuft sich Kummer und Verdruss,

Dass ich mich noch in vielen Stücken

Mit eitlen Dingen mühen muss,

Darüber sich mein Geist zerstreut,

So hoff’ ich auf Barmherzigkeit.


Muss ich an meinen besten Werken,

Darinnen ich gewandelt bin,

Viel Unvollkommenheit bemerken,

So fällt wohl alles Rühmen hin;

Doch ist auch dieser Trost bereit:

Ich hoffe auf Barmherzigkeit.


Es gehe mir nach dessen Willen,

Bei dem so viel Erbarmer, ist;

Er wolle selbst mein Herze stillen,

Damit es das nur nicht vergisst;

So stehet es in Lieb’ und Leid

In, durch und auf Barmherzigkeit.


Bei diesem Grunde will ich bleiben,

Solange mich die Erde trägt;

Das will ich denken, tun und treiben,

Solange sich ein Glied bewegt.

So sing’ ich einstens höchst erfreut:

O Abgrund der Barmherzigkeit!


Johann A. Rothe is the author of this fine hymn. It was first published in Zinzendorf’s Christ-Catholische Singe- und Bet-Büchlein, 1727. The following paragraph from Julian shows that there is uncertainty as to its exact date:


In the Historische Nachricht (to the Brüder Gesang Buch, 1778), ed. 1835, p. 176, it is said to have been written for Zinzendorf’s birthday, May 26, 1728. This is probably a misprint for 1725, and the hymn, as will be seen above, was in print in 1727. Koch, II, 241, suggests that it was written in return for the hymn “Christum über alles lieben” which Zinzendorf had sent to Rothe in 1722 (in the Sammlung, 1725, No. 652, and in the Deutsche Gedichte, 1735, p. 30, marked as “on a friend’s birthday,” and dated May 12, 1722). This, if correct, would rather suggest 1723 as the date of Rothe’s hymn; only in that case Zinzendorf would almost certainly have included it in the Sammlung of 1725. Zinzendorf, it may be added, gives in his Deutsche Gedichte two other pieces written for Rothe’s birthdays, one dated 1724, for his 36th birthday (beginning “Wer von der Erde ist”), the other dated 1728, for his 40th birthday (beginning “Der du der Herzen König bist”).


It was suggested by Heb. 6:19.

The translation is composite. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS beautiful poem is one of the German hymns which is most popular, not only in Germany, but also in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, and in the English-speaking countries as well. It was first published in Zinzendorf’s Christ-Catholisches Singe- und Bet-Büchlein, 1727. It was later taken up in the hymn books of the Moravian Brethren. This circumstance gave rise to the conception that this and other hymns of Rothe were of the “Zinzendorf” type and, hence, they were not recognized and employed by the Lutherans until a later period.

The original contains 10 stanzas. It was rendered into Danish by H. A. Brorson and appeared first in Nogle Psalmer om Troens Grund, 1735. This version with a few alterations entered into Landstads Salmebog. The English translation of stanzas 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, and 10, was rendered by John Wesley, 1740, for his Wesley Hymns and Sacred Poems. Wesley’s translation was rendered in a meter different from the original. …

There are at least five other English renderings of this hymn. It is related that the well-known pastor Ludwig Hofacker, upon his installation into the office in Rielinghausen, voiced his confession in the words of the tenth stanza of this hymn (the sixth of the present version), “Fixed on this ground will I remain,” etc. “I pray to God that He will let my whole congregation find this ground.” Many incidents are related from English-speaking countries, showing how this hymn has been a source of comfort and blessing to many. Words from this hymn were heard from the lips of the pastors Edward Bickersteth and J. W. Fletcher as they lay upon their deathbeds. Skaar says that if Rothe had not written any hymns other than this one, it alone would have entitled him to rank among the best hymn-writers of the Church. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Now lay we calmly in the grave  476



Now let triumphant faith dispel  260



Now let us to the Lord lift up our hearts*  40:2



Now may He who from the dead  19

John Newton published this hymn in the Olney Hymns, 1779, to be sung “after the sermon.” It is based on Heb. 13: 20-22. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Now praise we Christ, the holy One*  267

(See: From east to west)


Now rest beneath night’s shadow  569

Nun ruhen alle Wälder,

Vieh, Menschen, Städt’ und Felder,

Es schläft die ganze Welt;

Ihr aber, meine Sinnen,

Auf, auf, ihr sollt beginnen,

Was eurem Schöpfer wohlgefällt!


Wo bist du, Sonne, blieben?

Die Nacht hat dich vertrieben,

Die Nacht, des Tages Feind.

Fahr hin! Ein’ andre Sonne,

Mein Jesus, meine Wonne,

Gar heil in meinem Herzen scheint.


Der Tag ist nun vergangen,

Die güldnen Sternlein prangen

Am blauen Himmelasaal;

So, so werd’ ich auch stehen,

Wenn mich wird heissen gehen

Mein Gott aus diesem Jammertal.


Der Leib eilt nun zur Ruhe,

Legt ab das Kleid und Schuhe,

Das Bild der Sterblichkeit;

Die zieh’ ich aus, dagegen

Wird Christus mir anlegen

Den Rock der Ehr’ und Herrlichkeit.


Breit aus die Flügel beide,

O Jesu, meine Freude,

Und nimm dein Küchlein ein!

Will Satan mich verschlingen,

So lass die Englein singen:

Dies Kind soll unverletzet sein!


Auch euch, ihr meine Lieben,

Soll heute nicht betrüben

Kein Unfall noch Gefahr.

Gott lass’ euch ruhig schlafen,

Stell’ euch die güldnen Waffen

Ums Bett und seiner Helden Schar.


This cento is from Paul Gerhardt’s famous evening hymn “Nun ruhen alle Wälder” and includes Stanzas 1 to 4, and 8 and 9, of the original. The hymn first appeared in Johann Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1648. The hymn has long been popular in the German-speaking church because of its truly childlike popular spirit, its naive simplicity of expression, its loftiness of thought, and its depth of Christian experience. During the period of Rationalism in Germany it became the object of much shallow wit, especially Stanza 1, of which it was said, How can the dead woods rest, which never are awake, and how can the world lie in slumber? We know that when one half of the world retires to sleep the other half awakes from it! However, Richter, in his Biogr. Lexikon, 1804, already pointed out that, “if to represent the earth as tired and woods and trees as sleeping is not true poetry, then Vergil (Aeneid IV, Lines 522—528) was a blockhead, for what Paul Gerhardt writes is almost a verbatim translation of those lines.”

Stanza 8 of the original, our Stanza 5, has long been used as a children’s evening prayer, as Lauxmann (Koch VIII, 194) writes:


How many a Christian soul, children mostly, but also God’s children in general, does this verse serve as their last evening prayer! It has often been the last prayer uttered on earth and in many districts of Germany is used at the close of the baptismal service to commend the dear little ones to the protection of their Lord Jesus.


The translation is composite. The omitted Stanzas 5, 6, and 7 read:


5. Head, hands, and feet reposing

Are glad the day is closing,

That work came to an end;

Cheer up, my heart, with gladness!

For God from all earth’s sadness

And from sin’s toll relief will send.


6. Ye weary limbs, now rest you,

For toil hath sore oppressed you,

And quiet sleep ye crave;

A sleep shall once o’ertake you

From which no man can wake you,

In your last narrow bed—the grave.


7. My heavy eyes are closing;

When I lie deep reposing,

Soul, body, where are ye?

To helpless sleep I yield Them,

Oh, let Thy mercy shield them,

Thou sleepless Eye, their Guardian be!

[Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS noted evening hymn appeared first in the third edition of Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1648, containing 9 stanzas. It is one of the most beautiful and beloved of all the German hymns. In a masterful manner the bodily and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, the terrestrial and the celestial are set over against each other in every stanza of the hymn. It soon gained universal favor, and as long as God’s Word and the Spirit remained in power over the hearts of men, it was one of the dearest and most commonly sung of all hymns. This union of lofty sentiment and childlike piety, simplicity, and homelike tone gives it a unique charm.

“Ever since its publication this hymn has been one of the most beloved and best known hymns of devout meditation throughout Germany. Experienced and conceived in a truly childlike and popular spirit, it unites, with a rare, naive simplicity of expression, a loftiness of thought, a depth of Christian experience, a grace of poetry, so that for this union of qualities it must rank as an enduring masterpiece among hymns” (J. Mearns, after Bunsen).

According to an old legend, Gerhardt wrote this hymn one evening upon hearing this melody resound from the church tower. One thing is certain, that in this hymn the poet has been exceptionally fortunate in striking proper chords in the popular religious consciousness. In homes where the closing hours of the day have been hallowed by prayer and devotion, this hymn has resounded from generation to generation, and in the case of many, it has become part of the never-to-be-forgotten heritage of childhood memories. Thus, in the case of the great German poet, Friedrich von Schiller, whose pious mother often sang him to sleep with this hymn. The hymnologist Söderberg says: “The noteworthy characteristic of this hymn is the sincerity and impressiveness of its diction, the deep-toned and at the same time unaffected comparisons whereby the thought is led forward from beholding the features of this temporal life into meditation upon the eternal. The truly naive poetry of this hymn has not always been understood. On the other hand, it has even been ridiculed by those who were not familiar with the childlike piety of spirit out of which it has sprung. Thus it happened that ‘Now rest beneath night’s shadow’ was made the butt of jokes and ridicule during the so-called period of ‘Illumination’ (era of rationalism). But with the faithful Christian this hymn will always retain its undying favor. It possesses something of the mild glow of the evening star, which gently breaks through the twilight of the day of life.”

Especially has the eighth stanza of the hymn (the fourth stanza of our version) been of great comfort and encouragement to thousands of souls. Lauxmann says in Koch’s history: “How many a Christian soul, children mostly, but also God’s children in general, does this verse serve as the last evening prayer. It has often been the last prayer uttered on earth.”

Among the 16 or more English centos and translations, there are three in common use. Of these, the one by Miss Winkworth, 1855, has been, with a few changes, adopted by The Lutheran Hymnary. Our version contains stanzas 1, 4, 6, 8, and 9 of the original. A Danish version by an unknown author was printed in Cassubius’ Hymn Book of 1681. A new translation was rendered by Landstad, 1843: “Nu tier alle Skove.” Another version, which follows the original more closely, was prepared by Landstad for his Kirkesalmebog. Our present version employed in The Lutheran Hymnary is based upon Bible passages as follows: No passage for stanza 1; stanza 2: Isaiah 61:10; stanza 3: Isaiah 57:2; stanza 4: Matthew 23:37; stanza 5: Psalm 91:10 and following verses. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Now sing we, now rejoice  135

1. In dulci iubilo,

Nu singet und seyt fro!

Unsers herzens wonne

Leyt in praesepio

Und leuchtet als die sonne

Matris in gremio

Alpha es et O!

Alpha es et O!


2. O Iesu, parvule,

Nach dir ist mir so we;

Tröst mir myn gemüte,

O puer optime,

Durch aller juncfrawen güte,

O princeps gloriae.

Trahe me post te!

Trahe me post te!


3. O Patris caritas!

O Nati lenitas!

Wir weren all verloren

Per nostra crimina;

So hat er uns erworben

Coelorum gaudia.

Eya, wär wir da!

Eya, wär wir da!


4. Ubi sunt gaudia?

Nirgend mer denn da,

Da die engel singen

Nova cantica

Und die schellen klingen

In Regis curia.

Eya, wär wir da!

Eya, wär wir da!


It has been claimed that this mixed-language form of a hymn marks the beginning of the German spiritual song, showing German hymning “stretching forth its head like the chick through the breaking egg-shell.” This, however, is not the case because we have many German spiritual songs that originated before and during the time of the “mixed” hymns. The macaronic was rather, as Nelle says, the result of the delight which many people took in this type. Luther is credited, by Albert F. W. Fischer, with having changed the third stanza of the macaronic to its present form. Prior to that time this stanza overemphasized the place of the Virgin in the plan of salvation. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

IN dulci jubilo” belongs to the so-called “mixed hymns,” with partly Latin, partly German text:

In dulci jubilo Nun singet und seid froh! Vnsers hertzen wonne leit in praesepio Vnd leuchtet als die sonne matris in gremio. Alpha es et o, Alpha es et o.

Hymns of this type were common in Germany towards the close of the Middle Ages. These hymns were generally of a happy and joyous vein, and they were used chiefly on occasions like Christmas and Candlemas. Among these, “In dulci jubilo” was one of the most popular. Eight versions of it have been gathered by the hymnologist Wackernagel. One of these was used in Valentin Babst’s Gesangbuch, published in 1545 with a preface written by Luther. Peter of Dresden (Peter Faulfisch), a school teacher and a follower of the Husites, has been mentioned as the author. He died in 1440, as rector in Zwickau. But strong evidence points to a more remote date. According to the hymnologist Skaar, a Zwickau manuscript dating from the fourteenth century contains a sketch of the life of the Dominican monk, Heinrich Suso, and tells the following story: “Heavenly youths came one day to Suso, and, in order to comfort him in his suffering, one of them sang this joyful song of the Christ-child, and the hymn was ‘In dulci jubilo.’” Heinrich Suso died in 1365, about 75 years before the death of Peter Faulfisch. The story shows that even as early as the close of the fourteenth century this hymn was cherished very highly, hence the conception of its heavenly origin.

This hymn has brought heavenly comfort to others besides Suso. Especially has the longing for heaven, so beautifully expressed in this hymn, struck home to many hearts. “May we praise Him there,” were the last words of the hymn-writer Ludaemilia Elisabeth as she lay upon her deathbed. As he felt death approaching, a German pastor, Berger, of Brunswick, began to sing “In dulci jubilo.” And with these words Philipp Nicolai closes his mighty hymn, “Wake, awake, for night is Hying”; third stanza:

Kein Aug hat je gespürt, Kein Ohr hat mehr gehort Solche Frewde: Des sind wir froh, io, io! Ewig in dulci iubilo.

Danish form:

In dulci jubilo sjunge Wt oc ere fro, den vort hjerte trøster, ligger i præsipio, oc klar som solen skinner matris in gremio, Alpha es et O :|: [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



Now thank we all our God  63

Nun danket alle Gott

Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen,

Der grosse Dinge tut

An uns und allen Enden,

Der uns von Mutterleib

Und Kindesbeinen an

Unzählig viel zugut

Und noch jetzund getan!


Der ewig reiche Gott

Woll uns bei unserm Leben

Ein immer fröhlich Herz

Und edlen Frieden geben

Und uns in seiner Gnad’

Erhalten fort und fort

Und uns aus aller Not

Erlösen hier und dort!

Lob, Ehr’ und Preis sei Gott

Dem Vater und dem Sohne

Und dem, der beiden gleich

Im höchsten Himmelsthrone,

Dem dreieinigen Gott,

Als es im Anfang war

Und ist und bleiben wird

Jetzund und immerdar!

This German “Te Deum” was, according to James Mearns, published in Martin Rinckart’s Jesu Hertz-Büchlein, 1663. He adds: “There does not seem any good reason for supposing that it did not appear in the first edition, 1636.” In this book the hymn was entitled “Grace” (“Tisch-Gebetlein,” i. e., a short table-prayer). The various stories told about the origin of this hymn seem to be legendary; nor was it written in thanksgiving for the Peace of Westphalia, 1648, which put an end to the Thirty Years’ War.

The first two stanzas of the hymn are evidently based on Ecclus.50:22-24: “Now, therefore, bless ye the God of all, which only doeth wondrous things everywhere, which exalteth our days from the womb and dealeth with us according to His mercy. He grant us joyfulness of heart and that peace may be in our days in Israel forever; that He would confirm His mercy with us and deliver us at His time.” The last stanza is a metrical form of the “Gloria Patri.” See also Ecclus. 39, last verse.

The translation is by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica, second series, 1858. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn appeared for the first time in Johann Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1648, and in Crüger-Runge’s Gesangbuch, 1653. It was slightly varied in the second edition of Rinkart’s Jesu Herz-Büchlein, 1663. Very likely it appeared also in the first edition of this book, Leipzig, 1636, but of this no copies are extant. It is one of the most favored hymns of the Protestant churches. It has been called the “Te Deum” of Germany and has been sung at all national festivals of thanksgiving, not only in Germany and all the north-European countries, but also in America. Since it was sung at the festivals of thanksgiving at the close of the Thirty Years’ War, many have drawn the conclusion that it was composed at that time. It was sung after the battle of Leuthen, 1757, while the army of Friedrich II was yet upon the battlefield. A soldier began the hymn, and the whole army, even the mortally wounded, joined in the singing. It was sung during the festivities in connection with the opening of the Cathedral of Cologne, August 14, 1880. It was likewise used at the laying of the cornerstone for the new parliament building in Berlin, June 9, 1884. It was sung at the thanksgiving services in England at the close of the Boer War. There are at least 12 English translations. The version in The Lutheran Hymnary (31) is by Miss Winkworth and appeared in the Lyra Germanica, 1858.

The hymn is based upon the words of the high priest Simeon, Ecclesiasticus 50:29-32: “And now let all praise God, who hath done great things, who hath glorified our days, and dealeth with us according to His loving kindness. He giveth us the joy of our heart, that we may find peace in Israel as in the days of yore, thus He lets His loving kindness remain with us, and He will redeem us in our day.” Luther’s version follows: “Nun danket alle Gott, der grosze Dinge thut an allen Enden, der uns von Mutterleib an lebendig erhält, und thut uns alles Gutes. Er gebe uns ein fröhliches Herz, und verleie immerdar Frieden zu unserer Zeit in Israel, und dass seine Gnade stets bei uns bleibe, und erlöse uns, so lange wir leben” (Sir. 50:24-26). The third stanza contains the ancient doxology, the Gloria Patri. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

Now the day is over  560

THIS hymn was written for, and sung by, the children of Horbury Bridge, and was first published in Church Tunes, February 16, 1867, and then in the Appendix to the Original Edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1868. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

Now the light has gone away  570

Frances R. Havergal wrote this evensong on October 17, 1869, at Leamington. It appeared in Songs for Little Singers, 1870. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


The melody for the above-mentioned hymn is supposed to have been composed by Hartnack Otto Konrad Zinck (1746-1832). It appeared first in Zinck’s Choralbuch, Copenhagen, 1801. This volume contained the melodies for The Evangelical Christian Hymnary. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nu rinder Solen op” is by an unknown composer. It appeared in Hartnack Otto Konrad Zinck’s Koralbog, 1801. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



Luther adopted this Pentecost stanza and added the three following. In this new form the hymn was first printed in Johann Walther’s collection for four voices: Geistliche Gesang-Büchlein, 1524, together with the melody. It has found a place in all Lutheran hymn books. Luther, who himself ordered it for use after communion, later included it among his funeral hymns. It has commonly been sung on Pentecost Day, but in many places it is used as a fixed hymn to be sung before the sermon every Sunday. The oldest Danish translation is found in the missal of 1528 and is no doubt the work of Klaus Mortensøn. This version was made use of in the first Danish-Norwegain hymn book by Guldberg. The first stanza here is as follows:

Nu bede wy then helligaandh, alt om then Christelighe thro och reth forstandh, thet oss Gud beuare och sin naade sende, nar wy hæden fare aff thetthe ellende. Kyrieleis.

In the second edition of Klaus Mortensøn’s Hymnal, 1529, there is, besides this version, also another by the minister, Arvid Pedersøn. Again, a third attempt, which is rather a free translation, appeared together with these in the Malmø Hymn Book of 1533. Grundtvig’s translation has been adopted in the new Danish hymnals. The accepted Norwegian version is by Landstad. The first stanza is always used in our Church at the ordination of ministers.

The melody is possibly as old as the first stanza of the hymn. The oldest source is a Hussite cantionale from the 15th century. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nun bitten wir” is evidently as old as the text of the first stanza and was used with Luther’s version in Walther’s hymn-book, 1524. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


NUN DANKET ALL’  32, 52, 180

The tune “Nun danket all und bringet Ehr,” also called “St. Mary Magdalene” and “Gräfenberg,” according to Zahn is by Johann Crüger and is traceable to the fifth edition of his Praxis Pietatis Melica, Berlin, 1653. In the twenty-seventh edition, 1693 of Crüger’s work, which we have before us, this tune is No. 1154. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody (Eng. title, Nun danket, or Wittenberg) is by Johann Crüger. It was used in an early edition, still to be found, of Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1647. In Crüger-Runge’s Gesangbuch, 1653, it is marked with Crüger’s initials. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nun danket alle Gott,” also called “Wittenberg,” is found in the third edition of Johann Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1648, and is very likely by Crüger himself. The hymn was sung to this tune to celebrate the Peace of Westphalia, December 10, 1648, and has since been widely used for all celebrations of praise and tbanksgiving. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


NUN FREUT EUCH  374, 378, 392

The melody is one of the oldest of Lutheran origin. It was used as a setting for Luther’s first church hymn, “Nun freut euch lieben Christen g’mein,” 1524 (L. H. 526; Landst. 9).

The melody was first published in Etlich Christlich Lieder, the so-called Achtliederbuch, 1524. It is very extensively used in Germany and in the Northern countries. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nun freut euch,” also called “Luther” and “Altdorf,” has been inseparably wedded to the hymn since its appearance with the text in 1524. It is said to have been written down by Luther from hearing it sung by a traveling artisan. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



It has not been definitely established that the melody for this hymn dates from the fourth century. It is possibly a German tune from the Middle Ages and was used by Johann Walther for Luther’s version of the Latin text. It was printed together with this hymn in the Geystliche Gesangk-Buchleyn and in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” also called “Veni Redemptor gentium,” one of the heritages of the Middle Ages, is adapted from the arrangement found in Geistliches Gesangbüchlein, Wittenberg, 1524. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


NUN LOB, MEIN SEEL  326, 456, 494

The original tune used with this hymn in 1540 was possibly written by Hans Kugelmann. This is found in The Lutheran Hymnary as the setting for Nos. 385 and 468. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The composer of the tune “Nun lob’, mein Seel’“ is unknown, although it may have been written by Dr. Gramann or by Johann Kugelmann, in whose Concentus Novi, etc., it first appeared in 1540. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]





The tune is called “Nunc Dimittis.” It was composed by Louis Bourgeois for the Genevan Psalter, 1549. It may have been an adaptation of an existing tune, as some of its phrases are reminiscent of the old German Christmas carol “Es ist ein’ Ros’ entsprungen.” In the Genevan Psalter it was set to the “Nunc Dimittis.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O bless the Lord, my soul (Montgomery)  369

THIS paraphrase, based on the 104th Psalm, appeared first in Cotterill’s Selections, 1819. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O bless the Lord, my soul (Watts)  60

Isaac Watts first published this hymn in his Psalms of David Imitated, 1719, as a metrical paraphrase of Ps. 108:1-7. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O blessed day when first was poured  157

Felix dies, quam proprio

Iesus cruore consecrat:

Felix dies, qua gestiit

Opus salutis aggredi.


Vix natus, ecce lacteum

Profundit infans sanguinem:

Libamen es hoc funeris,

Amoris hoc praeludium.


Intrans in orbem, iam Patris

Mandata promptus exequi,

Statum praeoccupat diem;

Ex qua potest fit victima.


Amore se facit reum,

Poenasque solvit innocens;

Sub lege factus legifer,

A lege nos ut eximat.


Tu, Christe, quod non est tuum

Nostro recide pectore:

Inscribe nomen, intimis

Inseribe legem cordibus.


Qui natus es de virgine,

Iesu, tibi sit gloria

Cum Patre cumque Spiritu

In sempiterna saecula. Amen.


This hymn was written by Abbé Sebastian Besnault, a priest of St. Maurice at Sens. It was published in the Sens Breviary, 1726, in seven stanzas. The omitted Stanza 5 reads:


The wound He through the Law endures

Our freedom from that Law secures;

Henceforth a holier law prevails,

That law of love, which never fails.


The translation is an altered form of the version by John Chandler, first published in his Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O blessed holy Trinity  80

O heilige Dreifaltigkeit,

O hochgelobte Einigkeit,

Gott Vater, Sohn und Heil’ger Geist,

Heut’ diesen Tag mir Beistand leist’!


Mein’ Seel’, Leib, Ehr’ und Gut bewahr’,

Dass mir kein Böses widerfahr’

Und mich der Satan nicht verletz’,

Noch mich in Schand’ und Schaden setz’!


Des Vaters Huld mich heut’ anblick’,

Des Sohnes Weisheit mich erquick’

Des Heil’gen Geistes Glanz und Schein

Erleucht’ mein’s finstern Herzens Schrein!


Mein Schöpfer, steh mir kräftig bei,

O mein Erlöser, hilf mir frei,

O Tröster wert, weich nicht von mir,

Mein Herz mit Lieb’ und Glauben zier’!


Herr, segne und behüte mich,

Erleuchte mich, Herr gnädiglich!

Herr, heb auf mich dein Angesicht

Und deinen Frieden auf mich richt!


The author of this hymn is Martin Behm, who first published it, in seven stanzas, in his Kriegesman, Das ist: Gründlicher Vnterricht, wie sich ein Christlicher Kriegsman verhalten solle, etc., Leipzig, 1593. Later, in Centuria secunda, etc., Wittenberg, 1608, the author recast the hymn in eight stanzas It is from this version that this hymn is taken, being Stanzas 1 to 5. The only change is that in Stanza 2, Line 1, Behm has “the Father’s might.”

The translation is an altered form of that by Conrad H. L. Schuette, in the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal of 1880. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O blessed home where man and wife*  189

(See: In house and home)


O blessed Sun whose splendor  531


THIS is a beautiful hymn concerning Christ, the Life and Light, Helper and Protector of the faithful throughout this life. The hymn was printed in Spitta’s Psalter und Harfe, Pirna, 1833, containing eight stanzas under the title: Life and Full Salvation in Christ. The translation is by R. Massie in his Lyra Domestica, 1860. A large number of centos or excerpts from this hymn are in common use in England and America. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O blest the house, whate’er befall  190

Wohl einem Haus, da Jesus Christ

Allein das all in allem ist!

Ja, wenn er nicht darinnen wär’.

Wie elend wär’s, wie arm und leer!


Heil, wenn sich Mann und Weib und Kind

In einem Glaubenssinn verbind’t,

Zu dienen ihrem Herrn und Gott

Nach seinem Willen und Gebot!


Heil, wenn die Eitern gläubig sind,

Und wenn sie Kind und Kindeskind

Versäumen nicht am ew’gen Glück!

Dann bleibet ihrer keins zurück.


Wohl solchem Haus! Denn es gedeiht;

Die Eltern werden hoch erfreut,

Und ihren Kindern sieht man’s an,

Wie Gott die Seinen segnen kann.


So mach’ ich denn zu dieser Stund’

Samt meinem Hause diesen Bund:

Trät’ alles Volk von Jesu fern:

Ich und mein Haus stehn bei dem Herrn!


This hymn by Christoph Carl Ludwig von Pfeil was first published in Evangelisches Gesangbuch, Memmingen, 1782, in eight stanzas. It was entitled “Delightful Picture of a House that Serves the Lord. On the Parents of Jesus.” It was written for the First Sunday after Epiphany, 1746.

This cento contains Stanzas 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8. Catherine Winkworth, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, translated this hymn, omitting Stanza 6 of the original (our third above) and combining the thoughts of Stanzas 3 and 4 into one. The omitted stanzas in her version are:


Blest where their prayers shall daily rise

As fragrant incense to the skies,

While in their lives the world is taught

That forms without the heart are naught.


Blest where the busy hands fufil

Their proper task with ready skill,

While through their different works ye see

One spirit run of unity.


The translation of Stanza 3 in the hymn, by an unknown writer, is from the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal of 1880. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

PRESUMABLY written for the First Sunday after Epiphany, 1746. This hymn was published in Pfeil’s Evangelisches Gesangbuch, Meiningen, 1782. Originally it contained eight stanzas. Miss Winkworth’s translation for her Chorale Book for England, 1863, omits the second and sixth stanzas. In the Hymnal of the Ohio Synod two stanzas of her version have been left out and a translation of the sixth stanza has been added. This is the arrangement followed in our Lutheran Hymnary. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Bread of life from heaven  266 [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

This hymn is thought to have been written by a German Jesuit of the 17th century. It has also been ascribed to Thomas Aquinas. The oldest copy that has been found is in a Roman Catholic Mainz Gesangbuch of 1661. It contains three stanzas with German and Latin text under the title: A Hymn concerning the True Bread from heaven. It is also found in Hymnia Sacra, Mainz, 1671; in the works of the hymnologist Daniel and in other collections. There are nine English translations; the version found in The Lutheran Hymnary was rendered by Philip Schaff, 1869, though somewhat changed. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Bride of Christ, rejoice!  104

Fryd dig, du Kristi Brud,

Imod din Herre Gud!

For Haanden er hani Naade,

Som dig Profeten spaade.

Hosianna, Häder og Äre

Skal denne vor Konning väre!


Gak ud af dit Paulun,

Og se et glädligt Syn:

Her rider Ärens Konning,

Gläd dig, du Zions Dronning!

Hosianna o. s. v.


Et Asen hannem bär,

Som dog en Herre er,

Hans Pral er saare ringe

Dog kan han Döden tvinge.

Hosianna o. s. v.


Sagtmodelig og god

I Sind og saa i Mod

Han Naade har at före,

Den skal hans Brud tilhöre.

Hosianna o. s. v.


Lad op dine Porte vid’,

Kristus ind til dig rid!

Han agter die at gjeste,

Din Salighed til Bedste,

Hosianna o. s. v.


Strö Grene paa hans Vei,

I Spar dine Kläder ei,

Alt Folket bäre Palmer,

Og synge aandelige Salmer!

Hosianna o. s. v.


Umyndig’ Börn og smaa

Skal gjre ligesaa,

Den ganske hele Skare

Skal synge uden Fare:

Hosianna o. s. v.


In a Contribution to the History of Danish Hymns, Brandt and Helveg make the following statement: “O Bride of Christ, rejoice,” which we have rendered from a hymnal edited in 1619, is as far back as in 1611 designated by Arrebo as an old hymn. Arrebo refers this hymn to an earlier period, and surely both the form and the melody of this hymn seem to belong rather to the pre-Reformation era.” Rudelbach is of the opinion that this hymn “most certainly belongs to the hymn-treasury of the Middle Ages,” and he repeats Arrebo’s statement. Concerning these assertions Skaar says: “‘Most certainly’ is not the right expression. It is true, Arrebo calls it an old hymn; but he had no more information than we concerning its author and designated it as ‘old,’ because he had been acquainted with this hymn and had heard it sung from his earliest youth. In regard to the internal evidence, the matter is quite different; but, everything considered, both the form and the melody of this hymn may be referred to the period of Sthen, at which time the folksong was adopted into several English hymn books and was known under the name ‘Göttingen’.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Christ, our hope, our hearts’ desire  397


AN Ascension hymn, dating from the seventh or the eighth century. It is found in three manuscripts: one from the 11th century, kept in the British Museum; one in Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, dated 1064; and one from the 11th century, preserved in St. Gall. It is also found in the old Roman breviaries of Venice, as well as in those of York, Aberdeen, and other places. The printed text may be found in many hymnological works: Daniel, Mone, Cardinal Newman, and others. The translations into English have been rendered either from the Latin original (see the opening lines in the title), or from the revised editions found in the Roman breviaries, with the first line: “Salutis humanae Sator.” The hymn was commonly used at vespers or lauda, the service of praise rendered at the close of the hour of prayer in the evening. There are upwards of 25 English translations. The present version is by John Chandler (1806-76), educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford; minister of the Church of England. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Christ, our true and only light  198

O Jesu Christe, wahres Licht,

Erleuchte, die dich kennen nicht,

Und bringe de zu deiner Herd’,

Dass ihre Seel’ auch selig werd’!


Erfüll mit deinem Gnadenschein,

Die in Irrtum verführet sein,

Auch die, so heimlich fichtet an

In ihrem Sinn ein falscher Wahn!


Und was sich sonst verlaufen hat

Von dir, das suche du mit Gnad’

Und sein verwund’t Gewissen heil,

Lass sie am Himmel haben teil!


Den Tauben öffne das Gehör,

Die Stummen richtig reden lehr’,

Die nicht bekennen wollen frei,

Was ihres Herzens Glaube sei!


Erleuchte, die da sind verblend’t,

Bring her, die sich von uns getrennt,

Versammle die zerstreuot gehn,

Mach feste die im Zweifel stehn!


So werden sie mit uns zugleich

Auf Erden und im Himmelreich,

Hier zeitlich und dort ewiglich

Für solche Gnade preisen dich.


This hymn by Johann Heermann, first published in his Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630, was one of the “Songs of Tears” in the section entitled “In the Time of the Persecution and Distress of Pious Christians.” We can understand what the author had in mind when we remember that he wrote during the dreadfal years of the Thirty Years’ War. That it is a splendid missionary hymn the contents show. It is perhaps Heermann’s most widely used hymn in the English-speaking Church. Wackernagel writes: “When we consider the many kinds of trials, sufferings of body and soui, under which many would have lost courage and given up in despair, then Heermann’s hymns will loom up before us as among the most exalted of spiritual poems. Here the cries of anguish of thousands, arising from the homes, from the streets, and from the fields of the beautiful country, have found an expression which is well-pleasing unto God; they have found the peace of prayer, through communion with the Lord.... How touchingly Heermann, in this hymn, prays for the enemies of the Church, for the weak, and for the faint-hearted! He does not desire the destruction of his enemies, but their repentance and, above all, their salvation.

The translation is an altered form of Catherine. Winkworth’s Lyra Germanica, second series, 1858. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

DEVOTI Musica Cordis, 1630, contained the original setting of this hymn under the title: Zur Zeit der Verfolgung und Drangseligkeit frommer Christen. Thränen-Lieder (Songs of tears). Wackernagel says: “When we consider the many kinds of trials, sufferings of body and soul, under which many would have lost courage and given up in despair, then Heermann’s hymns will loom up before us as among the most exalted of spiritual poems. Here the cries of anguish of thousands, arising from the homes, from the streets, and from the fields of the beautiful country, have found an expression which is well-pleasing unto God; they have found the peace of prayer, through communion with the Lord… How touchingly Heermann, in this hymn, prays for the enemies of the Church, for the weak, and for the faint-hearted (motløse). He does not desire the destruction of his enemies, but their repentance and, above all, their salvation.” Prof. Thomasius began a sermon on Missions and the Church by quoting the first stanza of this hymn. Then he continued: “My wish is, that we might have sung this hymn today, but it is not included in our hymnal, which is the case also with several other sweet and grand hymns.” (We hope that our ministers under similar circumstances will quote not only the first stanza, but the whole hymn.) The English translation used for The Lutheran Hymnary was prepared by Miss Winkworth, 1858. The Norwegian version was made by M. B. Landstad. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Christ, who art the light and day  571

Christe, qui lux es et dies,

Noctis tenebras detegis,

Lucisque lumen crederis,

Lumen beatum praedicans.


Precamur, sancte Domine,

Defende nos in hac nocte;

Sit noblis in te requies,

Quietam noctem tribue.


Ne gravis somnus inruat,

Nec hostis nos subripiat,

Nec caro illi consentiens

Nos tibi reos statuat.


Oculi somnum capiant,

Cor ad te semper vigilet,

Dextera tua protegat

Famulos, qui te diligunt.


Defensor noster aspice,

Insidiantem reprime;

Guberna tuoa famulos,

Quos sanguine mercatus es.


Memento nostri, Domine,

In isto gravi corpore;

Qui es defensor animae

Adesto nobis, Domine.


Deo Patri sit gloria

Eiusque soll Filio,

Sancto simul cum Spiritu

Nunc et per omne saeculum. Amen.


This ancient hymn dates from the sixth century or earlier. The author is unknown. It has long been a favorite and has been translated into various languages. The oldest German form appeared in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1526, “Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht,” (supposedly by Luther’s pupil and friend Erasmus Alberus, which was translated) by Miles Coverdale, in his Goostly Psalmes, 1539, “O Christ, Thou art the lyght and daye.” The translation is based on that by William J. Copeland in his Hymns for the Week, 1848. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

I AM the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). This evening hymn has also been ascribed to Ambrose, but no mention of it is made by the Benedictine authors. Some authorities claim that it was not written by Ambrose, and they point to certain irregularities in meter. But because of the position of it in Milanese tradition, we have a right to call it an Ambrosian hymn in a wider sense. Mone has it from the 8th century. In England it is found in a manuscript from 890 and in three manuscripts from the 11th century (British Museum). The hymnologist Daniel gives it from two manuscripts of the 13th century. It was also taken up in many hymnological works and in a large number of breviaries, as the Sarum and York breviaries, by Wackernagel, Cardinal Newman, and others. Among the old German translations may be mentioned “Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht,” Erfurt Enchiridion, 1526; “Christe, du bist der helle Tag,” by Erasmus Alber, 1556; mentioned as a very popular evening hymn in Württemberg “from the earliest period down to the present day.” There are at least 12 translations into English based upon the Latin original, and 5 renderings based upon the above mentioned German versions. Among the latter the oldest is that rendered by Bishop Miles Coverdale, 1539, “O Christ that art the lyght and daye.” In Gude and Godlie Ballates, 1567, the first line is written thus: “Christ, Thou art the licht, bot and the day.” The hymn was rendered into Danish even before the Reformation. It was translated, presumably by Hans Tausen, 1553: “Christe, du est baade Liuss oc Dag.” At an early date the hymn was rendered also into Swedish and Icelandic. But the hymn has won the greatest popularity in Holland, where it has been the regular evening hymn for generation upon generation, “from the earliest period down to the present time.” From Holland it was also carried to South Africa, where the missionaries have called it “the beautiful evening hymn of the natives.” Authorities are not agreed as to the age of this hymn. But St. Caesarius, born 469, Bishop of Arles from 502 (died 542), mentions in his rules for the Monastery of Arles, where his sister was abbess, a few hymns recommended for use, and among them “Christe qui lux es et dies.” According to this we must conclude that the hymn could not have been written later than the 6th century. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O come, all ye faithful  133

Adeste, fideles,

Laeti triumphantes;

Venite, venite in Bethlehem;

Natum videte

Regem Angelorum:

Venite, adoremus Dominum.


Deum de Deo;

Lumen de Lumine,

Gestant puellae viscera

Deum Verum,

Genitum, nan factum:

Venite, adoremus Dominum.


Cantet nunc hymnos,

Chorus Angelorum:

Cantet nunc aula celestium,


In excelsis Deo!

Venite, adoremus Dominum.


Ergo Qui natus

Die hodierna,

Iesu, Tibi sit gloria:

Patris Aeterni

Verbum Caro factum!

Venite, adoremus Dominum.


Most authorities place the origin of this hymn into the 17th or 18th century. There are no manuscript copies earlier than the middle of the 18th century. Though written in Latin by an unknown author, it may be of English origin, as it made its first appearance in English Roman Catholic books. It is possible, because of its great popularity in France, that it originated there and was brought thence to England. The hymn has been ascribed to St. Bonaventura, prominent scholastic teacher of the 13th century, but without historical foundation.

The hymn seems to have been composed in eight stanzas originally. The cento above contains Stanzes 1, 2, 7, and 8. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

VERY little is known concerning the date and authorship of “Adeste fideles.” It has been credited to Bonaventura, cardinal and hymnwriter (1221-1274), but it is not found in any of the editions of his works. It has been claimed that it dates from the 17th or the 18th century; that it is of French origin and thus belongs to the Latin hymnody of the French Church. And yet it has been established that it was used at an earlier date in England than in France. The hymn appears in three forms. The oldest and, presumably, the most complete contains eight stanzas and is found in the Thesaurus Animae Christianae, Mechlin (without date), and is there called a Second Sequence for Christmas, Ex Graduali Cistercienci. The English text or cento is found to be composed of stanzas 1, 2, 7, and 8! while the French versions generally employ stanzas 1, 3, 5, and 6 of the Latin. In France it was first printed in St. Omer’s Officium, 1822. It has later been included in many French hymn books, and it is said that the hymn is so well known that these books print the title only. The English text dates as far back as 1751 and is found in a manuscript bearing the title: Cantus Diversi pro Dominicis et festis per annum, copied by Rev. John Francis Wade. In 1760 the hymn was included in a church book, and in 1782 it was published in An Essay on the Church Plain Chant, London.—In the Portuguese chapel of London, where Vincent Novello was the organist, “Adeste fideles” was sung as early as 1797, and Novello mentions John Reading, organist of Winchester College, as the composer of the melody. Novello arranged the melody for church choirs, and the hymn with this stately setting became very popular in a short time. It has been established, however, that Reading did not compose the melody. This has also been called the Portuguese Hymn, and it has been claimed that a Portuguese musician, Marcas Portugal, wrote the tune. This has never been proved. In England the melody has been called “Adeste Fideles” (or Torbay), and it has always been associated with this hymn.

There are over forty English translations of “Adeste fideles.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O come, O come, Emmanuel  110

Veni, veni. Emmamuel;

Captivum solve Israel,

Qui gemit in exilio.

Privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude, gaude; Emmanuel

Nascetur pro te, Israel.


Veni, o Iesse Virgula;

Ex hostis tuos ungula,

De specu tuos tartari

Educ et antro barathri.

Gaude, gaude; Emmamuel

Nascetur pro te, Israel.


Veni, veni, o Oriens;

Solare nos adveniens;

Noctis depelle nebulas

Diresque noctis tenebras.

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel

Nascetur pro te, Israel.


Veni, Clavis Davidica;

Regna reclude caelica;

Fac iter tutum superum,

Et claude vias inferum.

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel

Nascetur pro te, Israel.


In the Medieval Church it was customary to chant the great antiphons at evensong during Advent, from December 17 to 24. Their address was to our Savior, and they reflect a joyful anticipation of His advent. They are therefore probably not of Roman origin, although they were introduced in Rome already before the 9th century. Some unknown Latin writer of the twelfth century later versified five of the great antiphons, of which four compose the Latin text above.

This hymn was put into English dress by Dr. John Mason Neale and published in his Medieval Hymns, 1851, beginning “Draw nigh, draw nigh, Emmanuel.”

Dr. Neale afterwards revised his translation for the trial copy of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1859, and the text above is his unaltered, but with the fifth stanza omitted. This stanza, without the refrain, reads:


Oh, come, oh, come, Thou Lord of might,

Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height

In ancient times didst give the Law

In cloud and majesty and awe.


Modern hymn-books do not agree as to the merits of Dr.Neale’s translation. Some use a translation by Dr. Henry Solace Coffin, president of Union Theological Seminary, New York, others that of Dr. T. A. Lacy, an Anglican theologian, who was a member of the editorial committee of the English Hymnal, 1906. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn is a versification of five different antiphones, and the stanzas were printed in Neale’s Hymni Ecclesiae, 1851. The source material was not mentioned. Later it has been found in a supplement to Psalteriolum Cantionum Catholicorum, dating from 1710. A translation by Neale was published in Mediaeval Hymns. This rendering was included in Hymns Noted, 1854. There are several English revisions and one in the German: “Nun sende, Herr, uns deinen Sohn,” found in a Trier hymn book, from 1846-1847. A note in this volume states that this hymn dates from a München hymnary published in 1586. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



O darkest woe!  332

O Traurigkeit,

O Herzeleid!

Ist das nicht zu beklagen?

Gott des Vaters einig Kind

Wird ins Grab getragen.


O grosse Not!

Gott aelbst ist tot,

Am Kreuz ist er gestorben,

Hat dadurch das Himmelreich

Uns aus Lieb’ erworben.


O Menschenkind,

Nur deine Sünd’

Hat dieses angerichtet,

Da du durch die Missetat

Warest ganz vernichtet.


Dein Bräutigam,

Das Gotteslamm,

Liegt hier mit Blut beflossen,

Welches er ganz mildiglich

Hat für durch vergossen.


O süsser Mund,

O Glaubensgrund,

Wie bist du doch zerschlagen!

Alles, was auf Erden lebt,

Muss dich ja beklagen.


O selig ist

Zu aller Frist,

Der dieses recht bedenket,

Wie der Herr der Herrlichkeit

Wird ins Grab gesenket!


O Jesu, du

Mein’ Hilf’ und Ruh’,

Ich bitte dich mit Tränen:

Hilf, dass ich mich bis ins Grab

Nach dir möge sehnen!


The first stanza of this hymn for the burial of our Lord is anonymous and is first found in the Würzburger Gesangbuch (Roman Catholic), 1628. Johann Rist added seven stanzas and published the hymn in the Erste Zehen of his Himmlische Lieder, Lüneburg, 1641. He wrote: “The first stanza of this funeral hymn, along with its devotional melody, came accidentally into my hands. As I was greatly pleased with it, I added the other seven as they stand here.” The omitted Stanza 6 reads:


O lieblich Bild,

Schön zart und mild,

Du Söhnlein der Jungfrauen,

Niemand kann dein heisses Blut

Sonder Reu’ anschauen.


The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, except Stanza 2, which is a composite. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

HIMMLISCHE LIEDER, Lüneburg, 1641, contained this hymn of eight stanzas under the heading Klägliches Grablied über die trauriche Begräbnisz Jesu Christi, am stillen Freitag zu singen. The author gives the following explanation: “The first stanza of this funeral hymn together with its touching melody came into my possession by chance. It appealed to me very much and, since I could not obtain the remaining stanzas, I have added the seven stanzas as they are found here.” The first stanza appeared in a Roman Catholic hymn (containing seven stanzas), published in the Würtzburg Hymn Book, 1628.—Rist’s hymn with its classical melody became very popular throughout Germany and has entered into most of the hymn books in common use. The English translation by Miss C. Winkworth dates from 1863 and contains stanzas 1, 3-5, 7, and 8. This has been employed in The Lutheran Hymnary. The first translation into Scandinavian was rendered by B. K. Aegidius. A later Norwegian rendering, with a ninth stanza added, was made by Landstad. … “The popularity of this hymn was greatly aided by the plaintive melody which appeared with the original hymn in 1628” (J. Mearns). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The tune “O dass ich tausend” is not to be confused with the tune of the same name by Joharn B. König. This tune is by Kornelius Heinrich Dretzel, who edited Des evangelischen Zions Musikalische Harmonie Nürnberg, 1731, in which this tune appeared. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody is by Johann Balthazar Koenig (born 1691, in Waltershausen von Gotha, and died 1758, in Frankfurt am Main). In the latter place he served as music director and published in 1738 a large collection of chorals: Deutscher Liederschatz. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte” is very likely by Johann Balthasar König, published in his Harmonischer Liederschatz, Frankfurt, 1738, where it was set to Angelus Silesius’s hymn “Ach sagt mir nichts von Gold und Schätzen.” It has practically become wedded to Mentzer’s hymn. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O day full of grace  401


THIS old Christian “day hymn” belongs “to the old hymns used in the Church of Rome; hymns which were preserved partly by copies, but especially by oral tradition from generation to generation. The oldest and most venerable of all the Nordic hymns is permeated in a wonderful manner with the light from that supernal day, which is not recognized by the men of the world who cling to earthly things, but which can only be perceived by the spiritual eye of simple and innocent faith” (Söderberg). The hymn was adopted into many Lutheran hymn books of the Northern countries, but, independently of this “authorized” version, another popular form of the hymn maintained itself for many centuries in the current tradition of the people. The Swedish hymnologist, L. Högmarck, relates m his work of 1736 that “mycket enfaldigt gammalt folk, hvar gång thet siunger denna psalmen, wid slutet deraf tillägger således”:

Thenna wisan hon är nu quadin, hon är icke lång,

Hon är nu snart kommen til enda. Hon är af Sanct Johan beskrifwen en gång,

At til oss paa jorden nedsenda.

Ho thenna wisan quäder och gifwer act ther uppå,

Hans mål skal få en god enda.

The hymnologist Rudelbach says concerning this hymn: “This old Christian day hymn is a festival hymn and at the same time a ‘day hymn’; the birth and the cross of our Lord greet each other; His resurrection and eternal power are felt like a breath of light through the whole hymn; and the reverent morning and evening meditation lays effective emphasis upon those holy thoughts to which the Christian must continually return.”

The oldest copy of this hymn is Swedish. A manuscript in the old fashioned hand writing of the monks is kept in the university library of Upsala in Sweden. It dates, apparently, from the year 1450. Söderberg calls this the oldest Swedish hymn. It is not yet possible to determine whether the original was written in Swedish or in Danish. It was first printed in Danish, 15 69, in Hans Thomissøn’s Hymn Book. It bears the title Den gamle christelige Dagvise, which proves that it was a well known hymn from an earlier period. While the Swedish version contains prayers to the Virgin Mary, these have been eliminated in Thomissøn’s book. The Protestant hymn writers have always in their treatment of Medieval hymns rewritten them in the Lutheran spirit and given them a free rendering. “They have, so to speak, smelted and refined them, and recast them in the true Reformation spirit, so that they shine forth in pure evangelical light, as they are sung by the congregation at services or in the devotional meeting of the quiet home circle” (Heggtveit).

Thomissøn’s redaction of this hymn has been copied in most of the private editions of the old Danish hymn books. It is entered as No. 1 in En ny og fuldkommen dansk Salmebog, indeholdende 1010 Salmer, 1709. A Swedish translation has also been adopted into the later Swedish hymnals.

At the millennial celebration, 1826, commemorating the introduction of Christianity into Denmark Grundtvig published a version of this hymn containing 12 stanzas, entitled “Den signede Dag med Fryd vi ser.” In Festsalmer, 1850, he published a version containing seven stanzas. Landstad employed this in his Pentecost hymn (Landst. 434), while he has used the “day hymn” following Thomissøn’s version in its place among the morning hymns (Landst. 604). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



O day of rest and gladness  485

THIS is the day which Jehovah hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).

This hymn for Sunday is given first place in Wordsworth’s Holy Year, 1862. The original of six stanzas has been abbreviated in most hymn books. In a few collections stanzas 5 and 6 are listed as a separate hymn. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O dearest Jesus  292

Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen,

Dass man ein solch scharf Urteil hat gesprochen?

Was ist die Schuld? In was für Missetaten

Bist du geraten?


Du wirst verspeit, geschlagen und verhöhnet,

Gegeisselt und mit Dornen scharf gekrönet,

Mit Essig, als man dich ans Kreuz gehenket,

Wirst du getränket.


Was ist die Ursach’ aller solcher Plagen?

Ach, meine Sünden haben dich geschlagen!

Ich, ach Herr Jesu, habe dies verschuldet,

Was du erduldet.


Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!

Der gute Hirte leidet für die Schafe,

Die Schuld bezahlt der Herre, der Gerechte,

Für seine Knechte.


Der Fromme stirbt, so recht und richtig wandelt;

Der Böse lebt, so wider Gott misshandelt;

Der Mensch verwirkt den Tod und ist entgangen,

Gott wird gefangen.


Ich war von Fuss auf voller Schand’ und Sünden,

Bis zu dem Scheitel war nichts Gut’s zu finden;

Dafür hätt’ ich dort in der Hölle müssen

Ewiglich büssen.


O grosse Lieb’, o Lieb’ ohn’ alle Masse,

Die dich gebracht auf diese Marterstrasse!

Ich lebte mit der Welt in Lust und Freuden,

Und du musst leiden.


Ach, grosser König, gross zu allen Zeiten,

Wie kann ich g’nugsam solche Treu’ ausbreiten!

Kein menschlich Herze mag sich dies ausdenken,

Was dir zu schenken.


Ich kann’s mit meinen Sinnen nicht erreichen,

Mit was doch dein Erbarmen zu vergleichen;

Wie kann ich dir denn deine Liebestaten

Im Werk erstatten?


Doch ist noch etwas, das dir angenehme:

Wenn dich des Fleisches Lüste dämpf’ und zähme,

Dass sie aufs neu’ mein Herze nicht entzünden

Mit alten Sünden.


Weil aber dies nicht steht in eignen Kräften,

Dem Kreuze die Begierden anzuheften,

So gib mir deinen Geist, der mich regiere,

Zum Guten führe!


Alsdann so werd’ ich deine Huld betrachten,

Aus Lieb’ zu dir die Welt für nichts erachten.

Ich werde mich bemühen, deinen Willen

Stets zu erfüllen.


Ich werde dir zu Ehren alles wagen,

Kein Kreuz nicht achten, keine Schmach noch Plagen,

Nichts von Verfolgung, nichts von Todesschmerzen

Nehmen zu Herzen.


Dies alles, ob’s für schlecht zwar ist zu schätzen,

Wirst du es doch nicht gar beiseitesetzen.

In Gnaden wirst du dies von mir annehmen,

Mich nicht beschämen.


Wenn dort, Herr Jesu, wird vor deinem Throne

Auf meinem Haupte stehn die Ehrenkrone,

Da will ich dir, wenn alles wird wohl klingen,

Lob und Dank singen.


This beautiful and thoughtful hymn by Johann Heermann first appeared in his Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630. It is entitled “The Cause of the bitter sufferings of Jesus Christ and consolation from His love and grace. From Augustine.” It is based on the so-called Meditations of St.Augustine, chapter VII. This, however, is not an original work of Augustine, but rather a medieval compilation from various Church Fathers, including Augustine, Gregory the Great and Anselm of Canterbury. Chapter VII is by Anselm. The hymn is written in the Sapphic meter. However, the English translation does not always conform as well as it might.

The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

BASED upon Augustine’s Manuale (see No. 297), under the heading: The Cause of the Bitter Sufferings of Jesus Christ, and the Comfort of His Love and Grace. By Augustine. The words, however, upon which this hymn is based were not Augustine’s, but they come from St. Anselm, bishop of Canterbury (d. 1109). The original setting for this hymn contained 15 stanzas and was printed in Heermann’s Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630. It is used very extensively in Germany, and has been translated into English at least 11 times. It was not included in Landstad’s Hymn Book. The English translation adopted by [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O DU LIEBE  199, 222, 240

The tune “O du Liebe meiner Liebe,” also called “Cassel” and “Lucerne,” is from Johann Thommen’s Erbaulicher Musikalischer Christenschatz, Basel, 1745, set to a German hymn of unknown authorship, beginning with the same line. It was already in use among the Moravian Brethren at Herrnhut before that date. Thommen calls it a Herrnhut tune. Among them it was called “O gesegnetes Regieren.” It is supposed to have been a folk-tune originally, used with a popular song, beginning “Sollen nun die grünen Jahre.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody employed with this hymn was first published in Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704, as a setting for the famous hymn, “O Durchbrecher aller Bande,” by Gottfried Arnold. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O Durchbrecher” is from Johann Freylinghausen’s Neues geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704, where it was set to Gottfried Arnold’s hymn “O Durchbrecher aller Bande.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O enter, Lord, Thy temple  400

Zeuch ein zu meinen Toren,

Sei meines Herzens Gast,

Der du, da ich geboren,

Mich neugeboren hast,

O hochgeliebter Geist

Des Vater und des Sohnes,

Mit beiden gleichen Thrones,

Mit beiden gleich gepreist!


Zeuch ein, lass mich empfinden

Und schmecken deine Kraft,

Die Kraft, die uns von Sünden

Hilf’ und Errettung schafft!

Entsünd’ge meinen Sinn,

Dass ich mit reinem Geiste

Dir Ehr’ und Dienste leiste,

Die ich dir schuldig bin!


Du bist das heil’ge Öle,

Dadurch gesalbet ist

Mein Leib und meine Seele

Dem Herren Jesu Christ

Zum wahren Eigentum,

Zum Priester und Propheten,

Zum König, den in Nöten

Gott schützt im Helligtum.


Du bist ein Geist, der lehret,

Wie man recht beten soll;

Dein Beten wird erhöret,

Dein Singen klinget wohl;

Es steigt zum Himmel an,

Es steigt und lässt nicht abe,

Bis der geholfen habe,

Der allen helfen kann.


Du bist ein Geist der Freuden,

Vom Trauern hältst du nichts.

Erleuchtest uns im Leiden

Mit deines Trostes Licht.

Ach ja, wie manches Mal

Hast du mit süssen Worten

Mir aufgetan die Pforten

Zum güldnen Freudensaal!


Du bist ein Geist der Liebe,

Ein Freund der Freundlichkeit,

Willst nicht, dass uns betrübe

Zorn, Zank, Hass, Neid und Streit.

Der Feindschaft bist du feind,

Willst, dass durch Liebesflammen

Sich wieder tun zusammen,

Die voller Zwietracht seind.


Richt unser ganzes Leben

Allzeit nach deinem Sinn,

Und wenn wir’s sollen geben

In’s Todes Hände hin,

Wenn’s mit uns hier wird aus,

So hilf uns fröhlich sterben

Und nach dem Tod ererben

Des ew’gen Lebens Haus!


Paul Gerhardt first pubiished this Pentecost hymn of sixteen stanzas in the Crüger-Runge Gesang Buch, 1653, in a selection of twelve stanzas. Few German hymns carried the complete text, as some of the stanzas were no longer applicable to the times. We have it before us, at this writing, in Geistlicher Liederschatz, Berlin, second edition, 1840, Samuel Elsner, publisher. From this complete form it is very evident that Gerhardt wrote the hymn during the Thirty Years’ War. Stanzas 9,10, and 12 of the complete version are a fervent prayer for peace and for repentance.


9. Thou art the true, the only Source

Whence concord comes to men:

Oh, that Thy power may have free course

And bring us peace again!

Oh, hear and stem this mighty flood

That o’er us death amd sorrow spreads!

Alas! each day afresh it sheds

Like water human blood.


10. And let our nation learn to know

What and how deep our sin;

Nay, let God’s judgments come if so

A fire be lit within

The hearts that loved themselves to please.

In bitter shame now let them burn

And, loving Thee, repentant spurn

Their selfish worldly ease.


12. Arise and make an end to all

Our heartache and our pain;

The wandering flock and lost recall

And grant them joy again.

To peace and wealth the lands restore,

Wasted with fire or plague or sword;

Come to Thy ruined churches, Lord,

And bid them bloom once more.


What an eloquent plea, certainly very timely for our day!

The cento above includes Stanzas 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 16.

The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. Her version in that collection was a recast of her translation in Lyra Germanica, first series, 1855, from which the three stanzas quoted above are taken. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

CRUEGER-RUNGE’S Gesangbuch, 1653, brought out twelve stanzas of this hymn. This contained stanzas 1-8, 12, 13, 14, and 16, of the complete original. Ebeling’s edition of Gerhardt’s hymns (1666-67) added the fifteenth, and J. H. Feustking’s edition of the same, 1707, included stanzas 9-11. It is thought that the hymn was written during the Thirty Years’ War, and that the stanzas especially referring to the horrors of that period were omitted later. (Notes on P. Gerhardt may be found in Vol. I, No. 157.) The first Danish translation followed Ebeling’s edition and thus contains thirteen stanzas. This rendering is by H. A. Brorson and appeared in Nogle Himmelfarts- og Pindsesalmer, 1734. Landstad divided the hymn into two parts, namely, No. 263, consisting of stanzas 1-3, 5, 6, and 12; and No. 564: “Kom du, Guds Aand, som lader,” composed of stanzas 7, 8, 10, 11, and 13. Our English version is by Miss Winkworth for her Chorale Book for England, 1863, following an earlier translation from 1855. This consists of stanzas 1, 2, 5-8, 14, and 16. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O faithful God, thanks be to Thee  522

Wir danken dir, o treuer Gott,

Dass du uns hilfst aus Sündennot.

Vergitst uns alle Schuld und Fehl

Unn hilfest uns an Leib und Seel’.


Durch’s Beicht’gers Mund sprichst du: Mein Kind,

Dir alle Sünd’ vergeben sind.

Geh in Fried hin, sünd’ge nicht mehr

Und allweg’ dich zu mir bekehr!


Dir sei Dank für solch gnadig Herz,

Der du selbst heilest allen Schmerz

Durchs teure Blut des Herren Christ,

Welch’s für all’ Sünd’ Vergossen ist.


Gib uns dein’n Geist, gib Fried’ und Freud’

Von nun an bis in Ewigkeit!

Dein Wort und heilig Sakrament

Erhalt bei uns bis an das End’.


This hymn by Nikolaus Selnecker appeared in Drey Predigten, etc., Heinrichstadt’ 1572. The hymn was one of six in that volume on the Catechism. It was entitled “How one may find comfort in the blessed absolution.”

The translation is composite.



O Father, may Thy Word prevail  215


THIS hymn appeared in Svanesang, a number of songs written by H. A. Brorson in the latter part of his life and published after his death (1765). Landstad’s Hymnal of 1869 is the first church hymn book that brought this hymn before the public. It was included in Hauge’s Hymnal, which was authorized for use in 1873. Before that time the hymn was popular at religious meetings. Our English version was made by Rev. G. T. Rygh, 1908. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O for a faith that will not shrink  364

AND the apostles said unto the Lord: Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). “O for a faith that will not shrink” was first published in the author’s Psalms and Hymns for Public and Private Use, 1831, under the title: The Power of Faith. It is extensively used, especially in America. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O gladsome Light, O Grace  572

FwV ilaron agiaV doxhV,

Aqanatou PatroV ouraniou,

Agiou, makaroV,

Ihsou Criste,

ElqonteV epi thn hliou dusin,

IdonteV fwV esperinon,

Umnoumen Patera kai Uion

Kai Agion Pneuma Qeon.

Axion se en pasi kairoiV

Umneisqai fwnaiV osiaiV,

Uie Qeou,

Zwhn o didouV,

Dio o kosmoV se doxazei.


This is one of our oldest Christian hymns and is dated c. 200. “Master of eager youth”, a paraphrase of a hymn ascribed to St. Clement of Alexandria, is perhaps older. St. Basil of Caesarea quotes this hymn in the fourth century and states that it is of ancient tradition. In the Eastern churches this “Candlelight Hymn” is still used as an evening hymn. Its text, however, is very appropriate also for Christmas. We may, in fact call it the oldest Christmas hymn of the Church, excluding, of course, the Gloria in excelsis of the angels.

The English text, published in the Yattenden Hymnal in 1895, is by Robert Bridges, poet laureate of England. He had written it for his congregation at Yattenden, where he lived and worked as superintendent of music. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O God of God, O Light of light  170

THIS hymn was written for John Goss’ melody (Peterborough), published in Mercer’s Church Psalter and Hymn Book for the music festival of the Sheffield Choirs, April 16, 1883. It was printed in the festival pamphlet. In 1884 it was included in Horder’s Congregational Hymns and later in other hymnals. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O God of mercy, God of might  458

THIS hymn was written in 1877. It was first published in Church of England Hymn Book, 1880.

The Gospel lesson for the 13th Sunday after Trinity, The Good Samaritan, furnishes the Scriptural basis for this hymn. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O God, our help in ages past  160

LORD, Thou hast been our refuge from generation to generation” (Ps. 90:1). This hymn appeared as the first part of Watts’ paraphrase upon the 90th Psalm.

It was published in his Psalms of David, 1719. The original contained nine stanzas. The fourth, sixth, and eighth are commonly omitted. It is considered to be one of the best hymns in English hymn-literature and ranks as the finest hymn-paraphrase written by Isaac Watts. It has been translated into many languages, among others, into Latin. “O God, our help in ages past” is one of the most popular hymns throughout the English-speaking countries. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O God, our Lord, Your holy Word  549

O Herre Gott, dein göttlich Wort

Ist lang verdunkelt blieben,

Bis durch dein’ Gnad’ uns ist gesagt,

Was Paulus hat geschrieben

Und andere Apostel mehr

Aw dein’m göttlichen Munde;

Des danken wir mit Fleiss, dass wir

Erlebet hab’n die Stunde.


Willst du nun fein gut Christe sein,

So musst du erstlich glauben:

Setz dein Vertraum—darauf fest bau

Hoffnung und Lieb’ im Glauben!—

Allein auf Christ zu aller Frist,

Dein’n Nächsten lieb daneben;

Das G’wissen frei, rein Herz dabei

Kein’ Kreatur kann geben.


Allein, Herr, du musst solches tun

Doch ganz aus lauter Gnaden;

Wer sich des tröst’t, der ist erlöst,

Und kamm ihm niemand schaden.

Ob wollten gleich Papst, Kaiser, Reich

Sie und dein Wort vertreiben,

Ist doch ihr’ Macht geg’n dich nichts g’acht’t,

Sie werden’s lassen bleiben.


Gott ist mein Herr, so bin ich der,

Dem Sterben kommt zugute,

Weil du uns hast aus aller Last

Erlöst mit deinem Blute.

Das dank’ ich dir, drum wirst du mir

Nach dein’r Verheissung geben,

Was ich dich bitt’; versag mir’s nicht

Im Tod und auch im Leben!


This cento is from a hymn by an unknown author, which first appeared in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1527. Fischer calls it one of the most esteemed Hymns of the Reformation period. Martin Luther gave the hymn a place in his Geistliche Lieder auffs new gebessert, Wittenberg (J. Klug), 1529. For a time the hymn was attributed to the great Reformer; but it is not from his pen. The cento includes Stanzas 1, 3, 4, and 7 of the original eight stanzas. Our translation, a very free rendering of these stanzas, was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal in 1939.

Wilhelm Nelle writes: “Like Luther’s ‘Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort’ this hymn was forbidden by the authorities, pastors were deposed from office for having it sung, in short, it has a history of battle and victory as the best hymn of Luther.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O God, Thou faithful God  470

O Gott, du frommer Gott,

Du Brunnquell guter Gaben,

Ohn’ den nichts ist, was ist,

Von dem wir alles haben:

Gesunden Leib gib mir,

Und dass in solchem Leib

Ein’ unverletzte Seel’

Und rein Gewissen bleib’.


Gib, dass ich tu’ mit Fleiss,

Was mir zu tun gebühret,

Wozu mich dein Befehl

In meinem Stande führet!

Gib, dass ich’s tue bald,

Zu der Zeit, da ich soll,

Und wenn ich’s tu’, so gib,

Dass es gerate wohl!


Hilf, dass ich rede stets,

Womit ich kann bestehen,

Lass kein unnützes Wort

Aus meinem Munde gehen;

Und wenn in meinem Amt

Ich reden soll und muss,

So gib den Worten Kraft

Und Nachdruck ohn’ Verdruss!


Find’t sich Gefährlichkeit,

So lass mich nicht verzagen;

Gib einen Heldenmut,

Das Kreuz hilf selber tragen!

Gib, dass ich meinen Feind

Mit Sanftmut überwind’

Und, wenn ich Rats bedarf,

Auch guten Rat erfind’!


Lass mich mit jedermann

In Fried’ uns Freundschaft leben,

Soweit es christlich ist.

Willst du mir etwas geben

An Reichtum, Gut und Geld,

So gib auch dies dabei,

Dass von unrechtem Gut

Nichb untermenget sei!


Soll ich aus dieser Welt

Mein Leben höher bringen,

Durch manchen sauern Tritt

Hindurch ins Alter dringen,

So gib Geduld. Vor Sünd’

Und Schanden mich bewahr’,

Auf dass ich tragen mag

Mit Ehren graues Haar!


Lass mich an meinem End’

Auf Christi Tod abscheiden,

Die Seele nimm zu dir

Hinaut zu deinen Freuden,

Dem Leib ein Räumlein gönn

Bei frommer Christen Grab,

Auf dass er seine Ruh’

An ihrer Seite hab’.


Wenn du an jenem Tag

Die Toten wirst aufwecken,

So tu auch deine Hand

Zu meinem Grab ausstrecken;

Lass hören deine Stimm’

Und meinen Leib weck auf

Und führ ihn schön verklärt

Zum auserwählten Hauf’!


Johann Heermann first published this hymn in his Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630, entitled “A Daily Prayer.” Fischer says:


It is one of the poet’s most widely used and signally blessed hymns and has been not unjustly called his Master Song. If it is somewhat “homebaked,” yet it is excellent, nourishing bread. It gives a training in practical Christianity and specially strikes three notes—godly living, patient suffering, and happy dying.


The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth in her Lyra Germanica, second series, 1858. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

SÖDERBERG says: “Heermann’s hymn poems are characterized by a deep and firm assurance which through every adversity beholds the gracious providence of God; by an unflinching confidence in the power of the atoning death of Christ; and by a sincere feeling of guilt and the need of repentance.” The first named characteristic is especially the dominant note of this hymn.

“O God, Thou faithful God” appeared in Heermann’s Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630, under the title A Daily Prayer. This hymn is found in the section containing A Few Prayers and Meditations.

It is commonly accepted that these were written (1623-30) during Heermann’s most severe tribulations. One author says: “This is one of Heermann’s best hymns. It has been a source of blessing and encouragement to many. If some of it is ‘homemade,’ it is splendid and nourishing food It sets up the three fundamental principles: holy living, patience in tribulation, and joy in death.” Or, as Bishop Skaar has expressed it: “It shows us the life of a Christian; in its origin, in its progress, and in its consummation: to have a true faith, live godly, suffer patiently, and be blessed in death.”

On December 5, 1757, about 30,000 Prussians under Frederick the Great were pitted against 90,000 Austrians near Leuthen in Silesia. As the battle opened, a group of the Prussian soldiers began to sing the second stanza of this hymn. One of the officers asked the king if he should stop the singing. “No,” he replied, “with such men God will today grant me the victory.” And following the complete defeat of the Austrians, King Frederick exclaimed: “O my God! what a power there is in religion!”

Our English translation was rendered by Miss Winkworth in her Lyra Germanica, second series, 1858. It was translated into the Norwegian by Birgitte Kaas (1682-1761). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



This melody from Meiningen Gesangbuch, 1693, was first used for Heermann’s hymn “O Gott, du frommer Gott,” later also for S. Franck’s “Ach Gott, verlass mich nicht.” [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O Gott, Du Frommer Gott,” also called “Munich,” is by an unknown composer. It appeared in the Neuvermehrtes Gesangbuch, Meiningen, 1693. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O happy day when we shall stand  590


THIS hymn was written for the general convention of the Norwegian Mission Society, July 6th and 7th, 1846. It was written and published by W. A. Wexels in Nogle Missionssalmer. It was sung for the first time as the closing hymn of the morning service in Our Savior’s Church, Christiania, July 6, 1846. Since that time scarcely a mission service has been conducted where this hymn has not been used (Skaar). It has passed into general church use by being included in the supplement to the Evangelical Christian Hymn Book, Christiania, 1853. From that time and on it has been one of the most favored and most extensively used hymns of the Norwegian Lutheran Church. The English translation employed in The Lutheran Hymnary is by the Rev. George Taylor Rygh, 1908. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]






The tune “O Heilige Dreifaltigkeit” is by Nikolaus Herman, dated 1560. The melody was originally composed by Nikolaus Herman for the hymn “Wer hie für Gott will sein gerecht” and published in his Sontags Euangelia uber das gantze Jar, etc., Wittenberg, 1560. But since the hymn itself was little used, Herman transferred it to “Freut euch, ihr Christen alle gleich” in 1562. After that it was published in a number of other collections and there set to different texts, until Johann Statzel set it to “O (Du) Heilige Dreifaltigkeit” in his Harfen- und Psalterspiel, Stuttgart, 1744. The last union of tune and text seems to have passed into common use. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “O Herre Gott,” inseparably wedded to this hymn, appeared with the original text as above. The composer is unknown. It has all the characteristics of a folk-tune and is said to have been used with secular songs in the first decades of the 16th century.

Wilhelm Nelle writes: “Like Luther’s ‘Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort’ (see Hymn No. 261) this hymn was forbidden by the authorities, pastors were deposed from office for having it sung, in short, it has a history of battle and victory as the best hymn of Luther.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Holy Ghost, Thou gift divine  26


RINGWALDT’s present hymn appeared in his Evangelia, auf alle Sontag und Fest durchs gantze Jahr, the preface of which was written November 28, 1581. The hymn is based upon John 15:26-27, 16:1-4, the Gospel lesson for the 6th Sunday after Easter: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall bear witness of me: and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” The original hymn contained eight stanzas. The third and fourth stanzas are omitted in Christliche Andachts-Flamme, published, Riga, 1679, and the second and fifth have been condensed into one. In this form the hymn has entered into our hymn books. The Danish translation was rendered by Søren Jonaesen, 1693. This version is found in all the leading Danish and Norwegian hymn books. Our present English translation was made by Rev. O. H. Smeby, 1911. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Holy Spirit, enter in  27

O Heil’ger Geist, kehr bei uns ein

Und lass uns deine Wohnung sein,

O komm, du Herzenssonne!

Du Himmelslicht, lass deinen Schein

Bei uns und in uns käftig sein

Zu steter Freud’ und Wonne,

Dass wir in dir

Recht zu leben uns ergeben

Und mit Beten

Oft deshalben vor dich treten.


Gib Kraft und Nachdruck deinem Wort,

Lass es wie Feuer immerfort

In unsern Herzen brennen,

Dass wir Gott Vater, seinen Sohn,

Dich, beider Geist, in einem Thron

Für wahren Gott bekennen,

Bleibe, treibe

Und behüte das Gemüte,

Dass wir gläuben

Und im Glauben standhaft bleiben!


Du Quell, draus alle Weisheit fleusst,

Die sich in fromme Seelen geusst,

Lass deinen Trost uns hören,

Dass wir in Glaubenseinigkeit

Auch können alle Christenheit

Dein wahres Zeugnis lehren!

Höre, lehre,

Herz und Sinnen zu gewinnen,

Dich zu preisen,

Gut’s dem Nähsten zu erweisen!


Steh uns stets bei mit deinem Rat

Und führ uns selbst den rechten Pfad,

Die wir den Weg nicht wissen!

Gib uns Beständigkeit, dass wir

Getreu dir bleiben für und für,

Wenn wir nun leiden müssen!

Schaue, baue,

Was zerrissen und geflissen,

Dir zu trauen

Und auf dich allein zu bauen!


Lass uns dein’ edle Balsamkraft

Empfinden und zur Ritterschaft

Dadurch gestärket werden,

Auf dass wir unter deinem Schutz

Begegnen aller Feinde Trutz,

Solang wir sind auf Erden!

Lass dich reichlich

Auf uns nieder, dass wir wieder

Trost empfinden,

Alles Unglück überwinden!


Du starker Fels und Lebenshort,

Lass uns dein himmelsüsses Wort

In unsern Herzen brennen,

Dass wir uns mögen nimmermehr

Von deiner weisheitreichen Lehr’

Und reinen Liebe trennen!

Fliesse, giesse

Deine Güte ins Gemüte,

Dass wir können

Christum unsern Heiland nennen!


Du süsser Himmelstau, lass dich

In unsre Herzen kräftiglich

Und schenk uns deine Liebe,

Dass unser Simn verbunden sei

Dem Nächsten stets mit Liebestreu’

Und sich darinnen übe!

Kein Neid, kein Streit

Dich betrübe, Fried’ und Liebe

Müssen schweben;

Fried’ und Freude wirst du geben!


Gib, dass in reiner Heiligkeit

Wir führen unsre Lebenszeit,

Sei unsres Geistes Stärke,

Dass uns forthin sei unbewusst

Die Eitelkeit, des Fleisches Lust

Und seine toten Werke!

Rühre, führe

Unser Sinnen und Beginnen

Von der Erden,

Dass wir Himmelserben werden!


Michael Schirmer first published this hymn, in 1640, in Johann Crüger’s Newes vollkömmliches Gesangbuch, Berlin, 1640, in seven stanzas, the third stanza being a recast of Stanza 7 of Johann Heermann’s “Wir wissen nicht Herr Zebaoth.” In the Hanoverian Gesangbuch, Lüneburg, 1659, the hymn appeared much altered, the fifth stanza, in a recast, becoming Stanza 2. To this version later hymn-books added Schirmer’s original fifth stanza and thus formed a hymn of eight stanzas, as above.

The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth, in her Chorale Book for England, 1863.

THIS hymn was first published in J. Crüger’s Newes vollkömliches Gesangbuch, Berlin, 1640, entitled Another short hymn for Whitsuntide. It is a beautiful New Testament paraphrase of Isaiah 11:2: “And the Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah.” The English translation was furnished by Miss Winkworth, 1863, and others. The Danish translation was rendered by Søren Jonæsen (1656-1717), one of the foremost in rank and popularity among the Danish translators of German hymns. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Holy Spirit, grant us grace  25

Gott Heil’ger Geist, hilf uns mit Grund

Auf Jesum Christum schauen,

Damit wir in der letzten Stund’

Auf seine Wunden bauen,

Die er für uns nach Gottes Rat

Am heil’gen Kreuz empfangen hat

Zu Tilgung unsrer Sünden.


Durchs Wort in unsre Herzen schein

Und tu uns neu gebären,

Dass wir als Gottes Kinder rein

Vom bösen Wandel kehren

Und in dir bringen Früchte gut,

So viel, als unser blöder Mut

In diesem Fleisch kann tragen.


In Sterbensnöten bei uns steh

Und hilf uns Wohl verscheiden,

Dass wir fein sanft aus allem Weh

Hinfahren zu den Freuden,

Die uns der fromme Vater wert

Aus lauter Gnade hat beschert

In Christo, seinem Sohne.


This hymn, by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt, appeared in his Euangelia, auff alle Sontag, etc., Frankfurt a. d. O.,1581.

The translation is by Oluf H. Smeby 1909. It appeared in The Lutheran Hymnary 1913. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

RINGWALDT, the author, has placed this hymn immediately after the Gospel hymn on Trinity Sunday. It is found in many older German hymnals, but has hardly enjoyed the recognition which has been accorded Sören Jonassön’s translation by the Danish and Norwegian churches, where it has been in constant use in school and church work. It has been the first hymn taught to the child, and has formed a part of the last sigh of many a dying believer (Skaar). Jonassön’s translation from 1693 entered unchanged into Kingo’s, Guldberg’s, Landstad’s, and Hauge’s editions, and, following this same translation, it appears in The Lutheran Hymnary, the English version by Rev. O. H. Smeby. (The Norwegian-American translators who had a share in the preparation of The Lutheran Hymnary will be treated of later). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O how beautiful the sky*  120



O how blest are ye whose toils are ended  526

O wie selig seid ihr doch, ihr Frommen,

Die ihr durch den Tod zu Gott gekommen!

Ihr seid entgangen

Aller Not, die uns noch hält gefangen.


Muss man hier doch wie im Kerker leben

Und in Sorgen, Furcht und Schrecken schweben.

Was wir hier kennen,

Ist nur Müh’ und Herzeleid zu nennen.


Ihr hingegen ruht in eurer Kammer

Sicher und befreit von allem Jammer;

Kein Kreuz und Leiden

Ist euch hinderlich in euren Freuden.


Christus wischet ab all eure Tränen,

Habt das schon, wonach wir uns erst sehnen;

Euch wird gesungen,

Was in keines Ohr allhier gedrungen.


Ach wer wollte denn nicht gerne sterben

Und den Himmel für die Welt ererben?

Wer wollt’ hier bleiben,

Sich den Jammer länger lassen treiben?


Komm, o Christe, komm, uns auszuspannen;

Lös uns auf und führ uns bald von dannen!

Bei dir, o Sonne,

Ist der frommen Seelen Freud’ und Wonne.


This hymn of Simon Dach was first published in a broadsheet, printed at Danzig in 1635, with a musical setting by Johann Stobäus, as a memorial to Job Lepner, burgomaster of Königsberg Altstadt, who died May 9, 1635. It appeared in Bernhard Derschow’s hymnal Auserlesene Geistreiche Lieder, etc., Königsberg, 1639.

The translation first appeared in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Poets and Poetry of Europe, with introductions and biographical notices (C. S. Francis and Company, New York, 1845) under the title “Blessed Are the Dead” From a biography of Longfellow by Francis H. Underwood (James R. Osgood and Co., Boston, 1882) we learn that Longfellow worked two years on The Poets and Poetry of Europe, assisted by Prof. C. C. Felton.

The alterations were made in the following lines. Longfellow has, Stanza 3, Lines 3 and 4:


No cross nor trial

Hinders your enjoyments with denial. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

AND I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them” (Rev. 14:13).

“And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).

It is evident that this hymn was written in 1635 for the funeral of Hiob Lepner, the burgomaster of Königsberg. The first imprint of the hymn, with musical setting by J. Stobaeus, Danzig, 1635, bore the title: Musikalisches Ehrengedächtniss, in honor of H. Lepner, burgomaster of Königsberg, Altstadt, who died May 9, 1635. This original print is found in the library of the University of Königsberg. In 1639 it was included in B. Derschau’s Gesangbuch, Königsberg. In 1650 the hymn entered into The New Prussian Hymn Book and was soon taken into universal use. By 1723 it had been translated even into the Malabarian dialect. It is related that the famous superintendent, J. A. Hochstetter, of Bebenhausen, near Tübingen, shortly before his death, 1720, brought his nearest relatives to the family lot in the cemetery, where he pointed out his own resting place, spoke to them about the everlasting life, and requested them to sing this hymn (and also “Christus der ist mein Leben,” No. 583). Our present English version is by H. W. Longfellow, about 1846. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



O how great is Thy compassion  460

Ach, wie gross ist deine Gnade,

Du getreues Vaterherz,

Dass dich unsre Not und Schmerz,

Dass dich aller Menschen Schade

Hat erbarmet väterlich,

Uns zu helfen ewiglich!


Du hast uns so hoch geliebet,

Dass der Mensch soll aller Pein

Frei und ewig selig sein,

Dass dein Sohn sich selbst hingibet

Und beruft uns allzumal

Zu dem grossen Abendmahl.


Ja, dein werter Geist bezeuget

Durch die Tauf’ und Abendmahl

Unser Heil im Himmelssaal,

Der die Herzen zu dir neiget,

Weil er uns den Glauben schenkt,

Dass uns Höll’ und Tod nicht kränkt.


Weil die Wahrheit nicht kann lügen,

Will ich dir vertrauen fest,

Weil du keinen nicht verlässt;

Weil dein Wort nicht kann betrügen,

Bleibt mir meine Seligkeit

Unverrückt in Ewigkeit.


Lob sei dir für deine Gnade,

Du getreues Vaterherz,

Dass dich meine Not und Schmerz,

Dass dich auch mein Seelenschade

Hat erbarmt so väterlich;

Drum lob’ ich dich ewiglich.


Johann Olearius wrote this hymn for the Second Sunday after Trinity (Gospel: Luke 14:16-24). It appeared in his Geistliche Singe-Kunst, Leipzig, 1671.

The translation is by August Crull, altered.


O how holy is this place  28

THIS hymn was translated into English in 1911 by A. Ramsey. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O how shall I receive Thee  94

Wie soll ich dich empfangen,

Und wie begegn’ ich dir,

O aller Welt Verlangen,

O meiner Seele Zier?

O Jesu, Jesu, setze

Mir selbst die Fackel bei,

Damit, was dich ergötze

Mir kund und wissend sei.


Dein Zion streut dir Palmen

Und grüne Zweige hin.

Und ich will dir in Psalmen

Ermuntern meinen Sinn.

Mein Herze soll dir grünen

In stetem Lob und Preis

Und deinem Namen dienen,

So gut es kann und weiss.


Ich lag in schweren Banden,

Du kommst und machst mich los;

Ich stund in Spott und Schanden,

Du kommst und machst mich gross

Und hebst mich hoch zu Ehren

Und schenkst mir grosses Gut,

Das sich nicht lässt verzehren,

Wie irdisch Reichtum tut.


Nichts, nichts hat dich getrieben

Zu mir vom Himmelszelt

Als das geliebte Lieben,

Damit du alle Welt

In ihren tausend Plagen

Und grossen Jammerlast,

Die kein Mund aus kann sagen,

So fest umfangen hast.


Das schreib dir in dein Herze,

Du hochbetrübtes Heer,

Bei denen Gram und Schmerze

Sich häuft je mehr und mehr.

Seid unverzagt! Ihr habet

Die Hilfe vor der Tür;

Der eure Herzen labet

Und tröstet, steht allhier.


Ihr dürft euch nicht bemühen

Noch sorgen Tag und Nacht,

Wie ihr ihn wollet ziehen

Mit eures Armes Macht;

Er kommt, er kommt mit Willen,

Ist voller Lieb’ und Lust,

All’ Angst und Not zu stillen

Die ihm an euch bewusst.


Auch dürft ihr nicht erschrecken

Vor eurer Sündenschuld.

Nein, Jesus will sie decken

Mit seiner Lieb’ und Huld.

Er kommt, er kommt den Sündern

Zu Trost und wahrem Heil,

Schafft, dass bei Gottes Kindern

Verbleib’ ihr Erb’ und Teil.


Was fragt ihr nach dem Schreien

Der Feind’ und ihrer Tück’?

Ihr Herr wird sie zerstreuen

In einem Augenblick.

Er kommt, er kommt ein König,

Dem wahrlich alle Feind’

Auf Erden viel zu wenig

Zum Widerst;mde seind.


Er kommt zum Weltgerichte,

Zum Fluch dem, der ihm flucht;

Mit Gnad’ und suessem Lichte

Dem, der ihn liebt und sucht.

Ach komm, ach komm, o Sonne,

Und hol uns allzumal

Zum ew’gen Licht und Wonne

In deinen Freudensaal!


This great Advent hymn by Paul Gerhardt was first published in the Crüger-Runge Gesangbuch, Berlin, 1653, in ten stanzas. The composite translation, based on Catherine Winkworth’s (Chorale Book for England, 1863), omits Stanza 3:


What hast Thou left ungranted

To give me glad relief?

When soul and body panted

In utmost depth of grief,

In deepest degradation,

Devoid of joy and peace,

Then, Thou, my soul’s Salvation,

Didst come to bring release.


The hymn, one of Gerhardt’s finest productions, may have been written long before its first publication, perhapse during the terrors of the Thirty Years’ War. Based on Matt. 21: 1-9, the Gospel for the first Sunday in Advent, it is undoubtedly one of our best Advent hymns. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn was first published in Crüger-Runge’s Gesangbuch, Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen, 1653; ten verses are based on Matt. 21:1-9, the Gospel lesson for the First Sunday in Advent. This is one of Gerhardt’s most beautiful hymns and possibly the best Advent hymn in the German language. Kock, the hymnologist, believes it was composed during the stress of the Thirty Years’ War. There are eight English translations. Ours in The Lutheran Hymnary is by A. T. Russell (see No. 26). It was rendered into Danish by H. A. Brorson and was published in a group of Advent hymns in 1733. In 1740 it appeared in Pontoppidan’s Hymnal. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The tune “O Jesu Christ, dein Kripplein” is by Johann Crüger and appeared with the text in 1653.




The tune “O Jesu Christe, wahre Licht”, also called “O Jesu Christ, mein’s” is not to be confused with “Herr Jesu Christ, mein’s.” This tune is by an unknown composer and first appeared in the Nürnberg hymnal Nürnbergisches Gesangbuch, 1676. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Jesus Christ, all praise to Thee  136

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Dass du Mensch geboren bist

Von einer Jungfrau, das ist wahr;

Des freuet sich der Engel Schar.



Den aller Welt Kreis nie beschloss,

Der liegt in Marien Schoss;

Er ist ein Kindlein worden klein,

Der alle Ding’ erhält allein.



Der Sohn des Vaters, Gott von Art,

Ein Gast in der Welt hier ward

Und führt uns aus dem Jammertal,

Er macht uns Erben in sein’m Saal.



Das ew’ge Licht geht da herein,

Gibt der Welt ein’n neuen Schein;

Es leucht’t wohl mitten in der Nacht

Und uns des Lichtes Kinder macht.



Das hat er alles uns getan,

Sein’ gross’ Lieb’ zu zeigen an.

Des freu’ sich alle Christenheit

Und dank’ ihm des in Ewigkeit.



This hymn may be a translation of the eleventh-century Latin sequence:


“Grates nunc omnes reddamus Domino Deo, qui sua nativitate nos liberavit de diabolica potestate.

“Huic oportet, ut canamus cum angeiis semper: Gloria in excelsis.”


A German first stanza, probably written in the district of Celle, is dated 1370. This stanza and “Christ is Arisen” (Hymn No. 187) and “Now Do We Pray God the Holy Ghost” (Hymn No. 231) were the three hymns which the German people were permitted to sing in German at Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost as sequence hymns during the late Middle Ages. To this stanza Martin Luther added six more of his own, ending each stanza with a Kyrieleis, and published the hymn on a broadsheet in Wittenberg with the title “Ain Deütsch hymnus oder lobsang auff Weyhenacht.” This broadsheet very likely was distributed for Christmas of 1523. The hymn was then also included in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. We believe we are justified in saying that this hymn is the first Christmas hymn of the Reformation and thus the first of the many Christmas hymns and carols of Protestantism that have enriched our treasury of Christian song during the past four hundred years. Bach used this hymn and its tune in his Choralkantate for Christmas Day. In his Christmas Oratorio he also used one of the stanzas, the sixth of the German text. The translation appeared in the American Sabbath Hymn Book, 1854, by an unknown writer.

The cento contains Stanzas 1, 3, 5, 4, and 7 of the original German. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

O JESUS Christ, all praise to Thee,” is based upon an old Latin sequence from the eleventh century:

1. Grates nunc omnes reddamus Domino Deo, Qui sua nativitate nos liberavit de diabolica potestate.

2. Huic oportet ut canamus cum angelis semper Gloria in excelsis.

It is found in a manuscript from the twelfth century in München and also in the British Museum It has been credited both to Gregory the Great and to Notker Balbulus. The oldest German version is found in a manuscript dated 1370, in the Royal Library of Copenhagen. The German and Latin stanzas, however, have very little in common. This German sequence was extensively used in the Middle Ages. To this old Christmas stanza Luther added six original stanzas, which to some extent resemble a Latin hymn by Fortunatus. It was printed in sheet form in Wittenberg and later included in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524. It appeared in Walther’s Hymn Book, which was published during the same year, and extensively used in the early Lutheran Church. This book furnishes the oldest source for the melody of this hymn. The melody is composed in the old Mixo-Lydian mode. The first English translation was rendered by Bishop Miles Coverdale: “Now blessed be Thou, Christ Jesu,” 1539. There are at least eleven English versions. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Jesus Christ, Thy manger is  161

O Jesu Christ,

Dein Kripplein ist

Mein Paradies, da meine Seele weidet!

Hier ist der Ort,

Hier liegt das Wort

Mit unserm Fleisch persönlich angekleidet.


Dem Meer und Wind

Gehorsam sind

Gibt sich zum Dienst und wird ein Knecht der Sünder.

Du, Gottes Sohn,

Wirst Erd’ und Ton,

Gering und schwach wie wir und unsre Kinder.


Sein Licht und Heil

Macht alles heil;

Der Himmelsschatz bringt allen Schaden wieder.

Der Freudenquell


Schlägt Teufel, Höll’ und all ihr Reich danieder.


Drum, frommer Christ,

Wer du auch bist,

Sei gutes Muts und lass dich nicht betrüben!

Weil Gottes Kind

Dich ihm verbind’t

So kann’s nicht anders sein, Gott muss dich lieben.


Gedenke doch,

Wie herrlich hoch

Er über allen Jammer dich geführet!

Der Engel Heer

Ist selbst nicht mehr

Als eben du mit Seligkeit gezieret.


Lass aller Welt

Ihr Gut und Geld

Und siehe nur, dass dieser Schatz dir bleibe!

Wer den hier fest

Hält und nicht lässt,

Den ehrt und krönt er dort an Seel’ und Leibe.


This hymn by Paul Gerhardt and its tune by Johann Crüger first appeared in Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1653, under the title “At the Manger in Bethlehem “ There were fifteen stanzas, of which our cento includes Stanzas 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 15. These stanzas emphasize the incarnation; the mystery of godliness— God manifest in the flesh; the redemption through Christ; our comfort in His grace; the glory that is ours; the resolution to abide in the true faith to the end.

The translation is composite and was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal.



O Jesus, at Your altar now  324



O Jesus, blessed Lord, to Thee  325

O Jesu, søde Jesu, dig

Ske Hjertens Tak evindelig,

Som med dit eget Kjød og Blod

Saa kjærlig mig bespise lod!


Bryd ud, min Sjæl, med Tak, og sig

O hvor er Jeg nu bleven rig!

Min Jesus imit Hjerte bor,

Tak, tak, hvad er min Glæde stor!


This hymn by Thomas Kingo was first published in En Ny Kirke-Psalme-Bog, Vinterparten, 1689, headed “Thanksgiving after the Lord’s Supper.”

The translation by Arthur J. Mason is dated 1889. It was contributed by him to the Supplement to the revised edition of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1889. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

O JESUS, blessed Lord, to Thee” was first published 1689 in En Ny Kirke-PsalmeBog (Vinterparten) under the title En anden Taksigelse effter Alterens Sacramentes annammelse (Thanksgiving after the Lord’s Supper). This hymn has found a place in the hymnals of Kingo, Pontoppidan, Guldberg, and Hauge, and it is the only one of Kingo’s hymns which has been given a place in Hymns ancient and Modern. The present translation is by A. J. Mason, born 1851, known in England as a prominent hymn writer, preacher, and theological professor. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Jesus, King most wonderful  278

Iesu, Rex admirabilis

Et Triumphator nobilis,

Dulcedo ineffabilis

Totus Desiderabilis,


Quando cor nostrum visitas,

Tunc lucet ei veritas,

Mundi vilescit vanitas,

Et intus fervet caritas.


Iesu, Dulcedo cordium,

Fons vitae, Lumen mentium,

Excedis omne gaudium

Et omne desiderium.


Iesum omnes agnoscite,

Amorem eius poscite,

Iesum ardenter quaerite,

Quaerendo inardescite.


Te nostra, Iesu, vox sonet,

Nostri te mores exprimant,

Te corda nostra diligant

Et nunc et in perpetuum.


This hymn is from the same poem as Hymn No. 350. The cento begins “Iesu, Rex admirabilis.” For further comments on the origin and on the translation see under that hymn. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

O JESUS! King most wonderful” is a cento formed from passages in the hymn “Jesu dulcis memoria.” (See Vol. I, No. 154.) The sixth stanza furnishes the beginning for the present hymn. The translation, by E. Caswall, is found in his Lyra Catholica, 1849. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Jesus, Lamb of God, Thou art  271

O Lämmlein Gottes, Jesu Christ,

Der du mein Trost und Leben bist,

Ich armer Sünder komm’ zu dir

Und bring’ viel Missetat mit mir.


Ach Gott, ich hab’ gesündigt sehr

Und mir gemacht ein’ Bürde schwer;

Doch bitt’ ich, woll’st mir gnädig sein

Und nehmen weg all’ Schuld und Pein,


Wie Sankt Johann’s der Täufer mich

Dies alles legen heisst auf dich,

Denn du sei’st da vom Himmelszelt

Zu helfen mir und aller Welt.


Forthin wili lch gern bessern mich,

Dein’m Wort gehorchen williglich.

Drum, o Herr bleib allzeit bei mir

Und nimm mich endlich gar zu dir!


This hymn was written for St. John the Baptist’s Day by Bartholomäus Helder. It appeared in the Cantionale Sacrum, Gotha, 1646. It is based on John 1:29.

The translation by August Crull appeared in the Ohio Lutheran Hymnal, 1880. The translation has been somewhat altered.



O Jesus, Lord of heavenly grace  487


A BEAUTIFUL morning hymn, sung to the Holy Trinity and especially to Christ as the Light of the World. A fervent prayer is attached to the hymn praying for God’s gracious help and protection during the day. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The melody was possibly composed by Decius himself. It was first printed in Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen, Magdeburg, 1540, and was entered in the Christliche Kirchen-Ordnung, Erfurt, 1542. Many authorities, however, are inclined to believe that the melody dates from an earlier period, probably as ancient as the hymn itself. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O Lamm Gottes, unschuldig” is based on an ancient Gregorian setting for the Agnus Dei and may have been arranged for this hymn by Nikolaus Decius. It is first found in Christliche Kirchen Ordnung. Fur arme ungeschickte Pfarrherrn gestelt, etc., Erfurt, 1542. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Light of God’s most wondrous love  399

O Lue fra Guds Kjærlighed.

O Visdom fra det Høie.

Som faldt paa dine Vidner ned,

Oplys vor Troes Øie!

Om Ordets Lys vi samles her,

Viis oa, at Kristi Lofte er

Et evigt Ja og Amen!

O himmelfarne Frelsere,

Vi vente din Forjættelse,

Velsign os allesammen!


This hymn of one stanza by Birgitte K. Boye was first published in Guldberg’ s Hymn Book, 1778. It is to be sung “on Pentecost Day before the reading of the Gospel from the pulpit.” The direction has in mind the ancient custom that, according to Luther’s own suggestion, the text for the day would be the Gospel. After the pastor has delivered the introduction of the sermon and read the text, the congregation rises and sings this stanza.

The translation is by George T. Rygh, 1908, slightly altered. It appeared in The Lutheran Hymnary, 1913. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn was first printed in Guldberg’s Hymn Book of 1778, “To be sung on Pentecost Day before the reading of the Gospel, from the pulpit.” The English translation was rendered by G. T. Rygh, 1908. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



O little flock, fear not the foe  375

Verzage nicht, du Häuflein klein,

Obschon die Feinde willens sein,

Dich gänzlich zu verstören,

Und suchen deinen Untergang,

Davon dir wird recht angst und bang;

Es wird nicht lange währen.


Dich tröste nur, dass deine Sach’

Ist Gottes, dem befiehl die Rach’

Und lass allein ihn walten!

Er wird durch seinen Gideon,

Den er wohl weiss, dir helfen schon,

Dich und sein Wort erhalten.


So wahr Gott Gott ist und sein Wort,

Muss Teufel, Welt und Höllenpfort’,

Und was dem will anhangen,

Endlich werden zu Hohn und Spott;

Gott ist mit uns und wir mit Gott,

Den Sieg woll’n wir erlangen!


Amen, das hilf, Herr Jesu Christ,

Dieweil du unser Schutzherr bist,

Hilf uns durch deinen Namen:

So wollen wir, deine Gemein’,

Dich loben und dir dankbar sein

Und fröhlich singen Amen.


Although this hymn, specifically Stanzas 1 to 3, has been attributed to three men: King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, Jacob Fabricius, and Johann Michael Altenburg, it is now quite generaliy ascribed to the last-named.

The oldest record of the hymn is in two pamphlets, both published at Leipzig, one very likely in 1632, the other in 1633. In the form as above, except for an additional stanza, the hymn first appeared in the Leipzig Gesang Buch, 1638, where it is entitled “A Soul-rejoicing hymn of Consolation upon the watchword—God with us—used by the Evangelical army in the battle of Leipzig, 7th Sept., 1631, composed by M. Johann Altenburg, pastor at Gross Sömmern in Düringen.” It is in five stanzas, the first three ascribed to Altenburg, the last two marked as “Additamentum Ignoti.”

The use of this hymn in the famous battle of Lützen, where the great Swedish king lost his life, is thus described in Julian:


It was on the morning of the 16 Nov., 1632, that the Catholic army under Wallenstein and the Evangelical under Gustavus Adolphus stood over against each other at Lützen ready to strike. As the morning dawned, Gustavus Adolphus summoned his court preacher Fabricius and commanded him, as also the army chaplains of all the other regiments, to hold a service of prayer. During the service the whole host sang the pious king’s battle hymn “Verzage nicht, du Häuflein klein.” He himself was on his knees and prayed fervently. Meantime a thick mist had descended, which hid the fatal field, so that nothing could be distinguished. When the host had now been set in battle array, he gave them as watchword for the fight the saying, “God with us,” mounted his horse, drew his sword, and rode along the lines of the army to encourage the soldiers for the battle. First, however, he commanded the tunes Ein’ feste Burg and Es woll’ uns Gott genädig sein to be played by the kettledruns and trumpets, and the soldiers joined as with one voice. The mist now began to disappear, and the sun shone through. Then, after a short prayer, he cried out: “Now will we set to, please God,” and immediately after, very loud, “Jesu, Jesu, Jesu, help me today to fight for the honor of Thy holy name.” Then he attacked the enemy at full speed, defended only by a leathern gorget. “God is my harness,” he had said to the servant who wished to put on his armor. The conflict was hot and bloody. About 11 o’clock in the forenoon the fatal bullet struck him, and he sank, dying, from his horse, with the words “My God, my God!” Till twilight came on, the fight raged and was doubtful. But at length the Evangelical host obtained the victory, as it had prophetically sung at dawn.


The translation, slightly altered, is by Catherine Winkworth and first appeared in her Lyra Germanica, 1855. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

JAMES MEARNS says: “Concerning the authorship of this hymn three different theories have been advanced, namely, first:that the hymn was written by Gustavus Adolphus; secondly, that the ideas were furnished by Gustavus Adolphus and were given metrical form by his army chaplain, Dr. Fabricius; thirdly, that the hymn was composed by J. M. Altenburg. The only foundation for the first theory lies in the circumstance that several old hymnals have called it The Martial Hymn of Gustavus Adolphus. The second theory is advanced in a hymnological work by Mohnike, but has very little foundation.” The hymn was first printed in Epicedion, Leipzig (minus date, but very likely 1632), with the following title: Königlicher Schwanengesang so ihre Majest. vor dem Lützenschen Treffen inniglichen zu Gott gesungen. It also appeared in Blutige Siegs-Crone, Leipzig, 1633, with a similar title. In both these issues it appeared in three stanzas and without the author’s name. In J. Clauder’s Psalmodiae Novae, 1636, it has two added stanzas, but no authorship is given. But in Jeremias Weber’s Leipziger Gesangbuch, 1638, the hymn has this title: a soul-refreshing and comforting hymn, based upon the war-cry, “God with us,” Sung by the Evangelical army in the Battle of Leipzig, September 7, 1631, composed by Johann Altenburg, Chaplain of Gross Sommern, Thüringen. The hymn has also here five stanzas. But only the first three stanzas are credited to Altenburg. The last two stanzas bear the note: “Additamentum ignoti.” None of the contemporary writers have questioned the correctness of this designation. The hymn has been called Gustavus Adolphus’ Swan Song. The following description by Dr. Koch explains how this happened: It was early morn, November 6th. The Catholics under Wallenstein and the Protestants under Gustavus Adolphus were drawn up in battle array upon the plain near Lützen. At daybreak the king called the chaplain, Dr. Fabricius, and ordered the soldiers together for worship. The whole army joined the pious king in singing this hymn: “Verzage nicht, du Häuflein klein.” The king lay upon his knees in fervent prayer. A dense fog covered the plain. As the ranks were drawn for the attack, he ordered the musicians to play the hymn “A mighty fortress is our God,” and “May God bestow on us His grace” (Landst. 28), which hymns the army sang with great spirit. The king mounted his horse, drew his sword and rode back and forth in front of the lines, encouraging his troops. The fog lifted and the sun appeared. After a short prayer the king exclaimed: “Now forward to the attack in the name of our God”; and, shortly after, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, help me today to do battle for the glory of Thy holy name.” Then with the war-cry, “God with us,” repeated by the whole army, Gustavus Adolphus galloped at the head of his troops into the battle. He did not put on his coat of mail. When a servant brought it to him, he remarked, “God is my protector.” The battle grew fierce and bloody. At about eleven o’clock in the forenoon the king was mortally wounded by a bullet. As he fell from his horse, he cried out: “My God, my God.” The battle continued and the outcome for some time was doubtful. But as the twilight of evening settled upon the field of battle the Protestants had gained the victory for which they so fervently prayed in the morning.

Johann Michael Altenburg was born 1584, in Alach, near Erfurt. Having concluded his studies he was made teacher and precentor in Erfurt. In 1608 he became pastor of Ilversgehofen and Morbach; in 1611 in Trochtelborn; in 1620 in Gross-Sommern. All these places are in the neighborhood of Erfurt. During the war he fled to Erfurt. While there he heard the news of the victory at Leipzig September 7, 1631, and wrote this hymn, which is his best known production. In 1637 he became deacon of the church of St. Augustine, and the following year, pastor of St. Andrews of Erfurt, where he died, 1640. Altenburg was also a musician and composer. Landstad’s Hymnary does not contain Altenburg’s hymn, but it has been entered into the supplement to the American edition. It has been translated by Fr. Hammerich, a Danish professor, who died 1877. This fine Norwegian translation is found in Hauge’s Hymnal, in the hymn book of the former Norwegian Synod, and in Gustav Jensen’s Utkast til revideret salmebok for den norske kirke. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O little town of Bethlehem  137

PHILLIPS BROOKS, who was pastor of Trinity Church, Boston, wrote this hymn for his Sunday school in 1868. Two years previous, on a journey through the Holy Land, Dr. Brooks had spent Christmas in Bethlehem. The hymn has become very popular and has been given a place in many hymnals both in England and in America. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O living Bread from heaven  326

Wie wohl hast du gelabet,

O liebster Jesu, deinen Gast,

Ja mich so reich begabet,

Da ich jetzt fühle Freud’ und Rast!

O wundersame Speise,

O süsser Lebenstrank!

O Lieb’smahl, das ich preise

Mit einem Lobgesang,

Indem es hat erquicket

Mein Leben, Herz und Mut!

Mein Geist, der hat erblicket

Das allerhöchste Gut.


Du hast mich jetzt geführet,

O Herr, in deinen Gnadensaal,

Daselbst hab’ ich berühret

Dein’ edle Güter allzumal;

Da hast du mir gegeben,

Gesehenket mildiglich

Das werte Brot zum Leben,

Das sehr ergötzet mich;

Du hast mir zugelassen,

Dass ich den Seelenwein

Im Glauben möchte fassen,

Und dir vermählet sein.


Ein Herz, durch Reu’ zerschlagen,

Ein Herz, das ganz zerknirsehet ist,

Das, weiss ich, wird behagen,

Mein Heiland, dir zu jeder Frist;

Du wirst es nicht verachten,

Demnach ich emsig bin,

Nach deiner Gunst zu trachten.

Nimm doch in Gnaden hin

Das Opfer meiner Zungen;

Denn billig wird jetzund

Dein teurer Ruhm besungen,

Herr Gott, durch meinen Mund.


Hilf ja, dass dies Geniessen

Des edlen Schatzes schaff’ in mir

Ein heil’ges Tränenfliessen,

Dass ich mich wende stets zu dir.

Lass mich hinfüro spüren

Kein’ andre Lieblichkeit,

Als welche pflegt zu rühren

Von dir zu dieser Zeit.

Lass mich ja nichts begehren

Als deine Lieb’ und Gunst;

Denn niemand kann entbehren

Hier deiner Lieb’ und Brunst.


Wohl mir, ich bin versehen

Mit Himmelsspeis’ und Engeltrank;

Nun will ich rüstig stehen,

Zu singen dir Lob, Ehr’ und Dank.

Ade, du Weltgetümmel,

Du bist ein eitler Tand!

Ich seufze nach dem Himmel,

Dem rechten Vaterland.

Ade, dort werd’ ich leben

Ohn’ Unglück und Verdruss;

Mein Gott, du wirst mir geben

Der Wollust Überfluss.


Johann Rist first published this hymn for Holy Communion in his collection Neuer Himmlischer Lieder Sonderbares Buch, Lüneburg, 1651, in nine stanzes. The cento omits Stanzas 3 to 6.

The translation is an altered form of that by Catherine Winkworth in her Lyra Germanica, second series, 1858. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

***** O living Bread from heaven.

Du Livsens Brød, Immanuel.—Landst. 60. [Correction from Volume 3: “O living Bread from heaven,” L. H. No. 148 is not the same hymn as Landstad No. 60, which is a translation of the German hymn, “O Lebensbrot, Herr Jesu Christ,” to be sung before the Holy Communion. “O living Bread from heaven” is a translation by Miss Winkworth of the German: “Wie wohl hast du gelabet,” printed in Rist’s Neuer Himmlischer Lieder, 1651, and is said to be a hymn of thanksgiving and praise after the reception of the Holy Communion. The translation is in the same meter as the German original.]


***** O LIVING Bread from heaven” appeared first in the fifth edition of Rist’s hymns entitled: The Pious and God-fearing Christian’s Family Devotion Set to Music, 1654, and it was based upon a prayer by Johann Arndt in his Paradis-Urtegaard (see Prayer before Communion, Landst. 1). The English translation, by Miss Winkworth, in Lyra Germanica, 1858, has been slightly changed. In Danish this hymn appeared first in Pontoppidan’s Hymnal of 1740. The Danish translator is unknown. The Danish version has the same metrical form as the original (8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 8, 7), and is sung to the melody, “O Helligaand, du Skat saa skjøn,” “Herr, wie du willt, so schicks mit mir,” “O Holy Ghost, Thou gift divine” (L. H. 380). (Teutsch Kirchenampt, 1525). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Lord, look down from heaven, behold  440

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 nicht lässt haben wahr,

Der Glaub’ ist auch verloschen gar

Bei allen Menschenkindern.


Sie lehren eitel falsche List,

Was eigner Witz erfindet;

Ihr Herz nicht eines Sinnes ist,

In Gottes Wort gegründet.

Der wählet dies, der andre das,

Sie trennen uns ohn’ alle Mass’

Und gleissen schön von aussen.


Gott woll’ ausrotten alle Lehr’r,

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?


Darum spricht Gott: Ich muss auf sein,

Die Armen sind verstöret,

Ihr Seufzen dringt zu mir herein,

Ich hab’ ihr’ Klag’ erhöret.

Mein heilsam Wort soll auf den Plan,

Getrost und frisch sie greifen an

Und sein die Kraft der Armen.


Das Silber, durchs Feu’r siebenmal

Bewährt, wird lauter funden;

Am Gotteswort man warten soll

Desgleichen alle Stunden;

Es will durchs Kreuz bewähret sein,

Da wird sein’ Kraft erkannt und Schein

Und leucht’t stark in die Lande.


Das woll’st du, Gott, bewahren rein

Vor diesem argen G’schlechte,

Und lass uns dir befohlen sein,

Dass sich’s in uns nicht flechte!

Der gottlos’ Hauf’ sich umher find’t,

Wo diese losen Leute sind

In deinem Volk erhaben.


Martin Luther wrote this metrical paraphrase of Ps. 12 in 1523 and published it in the so-called Achtliederbuch, Wittenberg, 1524. It appeared in the same year in the Erfurt Enchiridion with the tune “Ach Gott vom Himmel,” to which it has since been wedded.

The translation is a composite and was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn was printed in 1524 and is no doubt one of Luther’s oldest hymns. C. Spangenberg writes concerning it: “What a heartfelt complaint and sincere prayer, as well as a sure comfort against the false teachers and hypocrites who grieve the Church of Christ! They surely are painted in a masterly manner in all their true colors. Their cunning and defiance, whatever they have in heart or mouth, in thoughts or words, is laid bare. On the other hand God’s gracious providence, counsel and will, might and power, are described in most beautiful words; and finally the dangers threatening the Church and a plea for its protection are presented in a fervent prayer.”

“Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein” is a battle hymn expressing burning zeal, and it was employed like a two-edged sword in a unique manner and with mighty results during the time of the Reformation. Thus in Lübeck, 1529. The city council and the influential rich men of the city were Catholics. The great majority of the common people were friendly toward the Lutheran confession and demanded that a Lutheran preacher be appointed. The demand was curtly and contemptuously rejected by the aristocratic council. Then something happened which, according to reports, caused a sensation in wide circles. —”A poor, blind man went from house to house in the city singing Lutheran hymns. The city council drove him out of the city on Saturday, December 4. On the day after, which was the second Sunday in Advent, the preacher Hillebrand delivered a Catholic sermon in the church. As he closed his sermon, two boys began to sing, ‘Ach Gott, vom Himmel,’ and the large assembly joined with them and sang Luther’s hymn with such power and precision as though it had been a lesson learned and drilled at school. The incident caused great excitement and wonder; but it was a work of God’s providence, as we are told, because what the people could not accomplish by their demands, they accomplished through their singing. Whenever a Papist afterwards ascended the pulpit they listened to him, until he began to introduce mere human fancies into his exposition of the text; then the entire assembly with one voice would intone Luther’s hymn. The Catholics became so terrified over this situation that finally none of their preachers dared to ascend that pulpit, neither ministers nor monks, neither high nor low. Thus the Lutheran movement spread throughout the city until the Reformation gained a complete victory.”

Something similar happened, 1527, in Brunswick, where a learned Catholic preacher undertook through three sermons to refute “the Lutheran heresy.”— The assembly listened until he began to speak of salvation through good works. Then the preacher was literally sung out of the church.—The congregation at Frankfurt, assembled in prayer meeting, once greeted their preacher, Spener, with the fourth stanza of this hymn, which gave him great encouragement and comfort. When he, several years later, came as court preacher to Dresden, he was again pleasantly inspirited when a group of school boys met him and sang the same stanza to him.

The first Danish translation of this hymn is found in Claus Mortensen’s Salmebog, first edition, 1528. This translation was very likely rendered by Mortensen. Our latest Norwegian version is by M. B. Landstad. Our present English version was rendered by Miss Frances E. Cox, 1841. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Lord, my God, I cry to Thee  573

O Herre Gott, in meiner Not

Ruf’ ich zu dir! Du hilfest mir,

Mein Leib und Seel’ ich dir befehl’

In deine Händ’. Dein’n Engel send’,

Der mich bewahr’, wenn ich hinfahr’

Aus dieser Welt, wenn dir’s gefällt.


O Jesu Christ, gestorben bist

Am Kreuzesstamm, du Gotteslamm!

Dein’ Wunden rot in aller Not,

Dein teures Blut komm’ mir zugut,

Dein Leid’n und Sterb’n mach mich zum Erb’n

In deinem Reich, den Engeln gleich!


O Heil’ger Geist, ein Tröster heisst,

An meinem End’ dein’n Trost mir send’!

Verlass mich nicht, wenn mich anficht

Des Teufels G’walt, des Tods Gestalt!

Mein höchster Hort, nach deinem Wort

Woll’st du mir geb’n das ew’ge Leb’n!


Nikolaus Selnecker first published this hymn for the dying in his Der Psalter mit Kurtzen Summarien, etc., Leipzig, 1572, based on Ps. 116:9. He also included it in his hymnal, “Christliche Psalmen, Lieder, und Kirchengesenge, etc., Leipzig, 1578, with the following Bible references, Ps. 116:9; 56:13; 36:9.

The translation is by Catherine Winkworth, Lyra Germanica, second series. 1858, slightly altered. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THE original is based upon the 116th Psalm, the 9th verse: “I will walk before Jehovah in the land of the living.” It was first published in Der Psalter, 1572. In its older form the hymn was rendered into English by A. T. Russell for his Psalms and Hymns, 1851, as follows: “O Lord and God, I cry to Thee.” In Bunsen’s Versuch, 1833, the hymn is found in a somewhat revised form and begins “O Herre Gott, ich ruf zu dir” (O Lord, my God, I cry to Thee!). It is this latter form which through Miss Winkworth’s translation has been given a place in The Lutheran Hymnary. It appeared in Miss Winkworth’s Lyra Germanica, 1858, and in her Chorale Book for England, 1863. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Lord, our Father, shall we be confounded  213

Herr, unser Gott, lass nicht zuschanden werden

Die, so in ihren Nöten und Beschwerden

Bei Tag und Nacht auf deine Güte hoffen

Und zu dir rufen!


Mache zuschanden alle, die dich hassen.

Die sich allein auf ihre Macht verlassen!

Ach kehre dich mit Gnaden zu uns Armen,

Lass dich’s erbarmen


Und schaff uns Beistand wider unsre Feinde!

Wenn du ein Wort sprichst, werden sie bald Freunde,

Sie müssen Wehr und Waffen niederlegen,

Kein Glied mehr regen.


Wir haben niemand, dem wir uns vertrauen;

Vergebens ist’s auf Menschenhilfe bauen;

Mit dir wir wollen Taten tun und kämpfen,

Die Feinde dämpfen.


Du bist der Held, der sie kann untertreten

Und das bedrängte kieine Häuflein retten.

Wir suchen dich, wir schrein in Jesu Namen:

Hilf, Helfer! Amen.


Johann Heermann published this hymn in his Devoti Musica Cordis, Breslau, 1630.

The translation is by Catherine Winkworth in her Christian Singers of Germany, 1869, somewhat altered.



O Lord, we praise Thee  327

Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet,

Der uns selber hat gespeiset

Mit seinem Fleische und mit seinem Blute,

Das gib uns, Herr Gott, zugute!


Herr, durch deinen helligen Leichnam,

Der von deiner Mutter Maria kam,

Und das heilige Blut

Hilf uns, Herr, aus aller Not!



Der heil’ge Leichnam ist für uns gegeben

Zum Tod, dass wir dadurch leben;

Nicht grössre Güte konnt’ er uns geschenken,

Dabei wir sein soll’n gedenken.


Herr, dein’ Lieb’ so gross dich zwungen hat,

Dass dein Blut an uns gross’ Wunder tat

Und bezahlt’ unsre Schuld,

Dass uns Gott ist worden hold.



Gott geb’ uns allen seiner Gnade Segen,

Dass wir gehn auf seinen Wegen

In rechter Lieb’ und brüderlicher Treue,

Dass uns die Speis’ nicht gereue.


Herr, dein Heil’ger Geist uns nimmer lass’,

Der uns geb’ zu halten rechte Mass,

Dass dein’ arm’ Christenheit

Leb’ in Fried’ und Einigkeit!



The first stanza of this hymn is of fifteenth-century origin and was sung by the people as a post-Communion hymn during the Mass and after the Epistle on Corpus Christi Day. Martin Luther added Stanzas 2 and 3 and published the hymn in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. It has long been a favorite post-Communion hymn in the Lutheran Church.

The translation is composite and was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn appeared first in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. The first verse was taken almost intact from a medieval communion hymn. Luther added the second and third. Luther prized the old verse highly. He says concerning it, “It pleases me greatly to hear this hymn sung while the people receive the holy sacrament.” Again, “The Church, or the Christians in general, who have not received the sacrament under both forms, may be excused. They have been deceived and led astray by anti-Christ, who has permitted only the one form to be given to them. But the common belief has remained fixed and pure that Christ has instituted the sacrament, so that His body and blood shall be received by all Christians, to which fact many songs and rimes bear testimony, especially the hymn, ‘May God be praised henceforth and blest forever.’ … Through this and other similar songs which were sung in the churches during the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, or as processionals, the Church has publicly proclaimed woe and anguish upon anti-Christ and the Roman system. Through hymns of this kind the Church publicly confessed its faith, that Christ has given it both His body and His blood, and that it had the right to receive them in accordance with the express command of Christ. This is what the Church believes, confesses, and sincerely desires in this hymn.” He says further that this hymn is a pure and beautiful Christian confession, and that it proves that the laity, at the time of the composition of the hymn, received the Lord’s Supper in both forms. Its date of composition is not known; but it is certain that this communion verse was sung in the Catholic Church long after the cup was denied the laity.

The oldest version is found in a manuscript from the fifteenth century and is kept in the Franciscan cloister in Miltenberg. It reads as follows:

Got sy gelobbet vnd gebenedyet, der vns alle hait gespysset midt synen fleysch vndt synen blude, das gibbe vns lieber herre got zu gude Kyrie eleyson.

O herre dorc dynen heilgen fronlychenam, der von dyner mutter Marien quam, vnd das heilege bludt nu hillf vnss herre uss aller vnser naydt, Kyrie eleyson.

This manuscript and also some other sources have the following lines added after the fourth line:

Das heylge sacramente an unsserm lesten ende uss dess gewyten priesters hende,

which lines Luther for good reasons considered a later addition and not genuine. He takes occasion from this to warn against the spirit of popery, which lies in the expression “uss dess gewyten priesters hende,” “from the hands of the consecrated priest.” Luther says: “It is especially fitting for the laity to sing in this verse that Jesus has fed them; not the parish father or the priest, but Christ Himself.”

The English translation is by Robert [correction: Richard] Massie (See No. 29). The first Danish translation, evidently rendered by Klaus Mortensøn, appeared i Det hellige evangeliske Messe-Embede, 1528. The Norwegian version is by Landstad. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Lord, who in Thy love divine  505

This cento is taken from Christopher Wordsworth’s hymn “O Lord, Who in Thy Love Divine,” Holy Year, 1862, where it appeared in ten stanzas. Our cento is composed of Stanzas 2, 5, 9, and 10, with slight alterations. As the original hymn is hardly known anywhere today, we give it complete, with its interesting first stanza, and the original capitalization, as found in the 1863 edition of the Holy Year:


1. O Lord, Who in Thy love divine

Didst leave in heaven the Ninety-nine,

In pity for a World undone,

And gav’st Thy life to save the one,

And didst it on Thy shoulders bear

In joy to heaven, receive our prayer.


2. Thou who the night in prayer didst spend

And then Thy Twelve Apostles send;

And bidd’st us pray the Harvest’s Lord

To send forth sowers of the Word,

Hear us and these Thy servants bless

With sevenfold gifts ot holiness.


3. Look down, with gracious eye behold,

With watchful care protect Thy Fold:

Secure from hireling Shepherds keep,

Which feed themselves, and not the sheep,

And when the prowling wolf is nigh,

Forsake the flock in fear and fly.


4. O Thou, who didst at Pentecost

Send down from heaven the Holy Ghost

That He might with Thy Church abide

Forever to defend and guide,

Illuminate and strengthen, Lord,

The Preachers of Thy Holy Word.


5. May all Thy Pastors faithful be;

Not laboring for themselves, but Thee;

And may they feed with wholesome food

The sheep and lambs bought by Thy Blood;

Tending Thy flock, oh, may they prove

How dearly they the Shepherd love!


6. That which the Holy Scriptures teach

That, and that only, may they preach;

May they the true Foundation lay,

Build gold thereon, not wood or hay;

And meekly preach in days ot strife

The sermon of a holy life.


7. As ever in Thy holy Eyes,

And Stewards of Thy Mysteries,

May they the People teach to see

Not, Lord, Thy Ministers, but Thee;

To see a loving Savior’s face

Revealed in all the means of grace.


8. May they Thy Word with boldness speak

And bear with tenderness the weak;

Not seeking their own things as best,

But what may edify the rest;

With wisdom and simplicity

And, most of all, with charity.


9. Oh, may Thy People loving be,

And in Thy Pastors honor Thee,

And working with them for them pray,

And gladly Thee in them obey;

Receive the prophet of the Lord

And gain the prophet’s own reward.


10. So may we, when our work is done,

Together stand before the Throne;

And Joyful hearts and voices raise,

In one united song of praise,

With all the bright celestial Host,

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

[Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Love divine, how sweet Thou art  62

This hymn appeared in the author’s Hymns on the Great Festivals and other Occasions, 1746, in seven stanzas, also in Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1749, as number five of six hymns on Desiring to Love. Several centos of this hymn are in common use, the most popular being that in our Lutheran Hymnary, which is in very extensive use in all English-speaking countries. It is composed of stanzas 1-4. (For notes on Wesley, see Vol. II, No. 244.) [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O Love, how deep  281




The tune “O mein Jesu, ich muss sterben” is from Geistliche Volkelieder, Paderborn, 1850. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]






The tune “O quanta qualia” is found in La Feillée’s Methode du Plain-Chant, 1808, but is probably of 17th-century origin. It has its name from its use with the hymn of Pierre Abelard, “O quanta qualia sunt illa sabbata,” a hymn for Saturday evening worship. The famous scholar wrote it for the Abbey of the Paraclete at Nogent-sur-Seine, over which Héloïse presided. The original melody is not plain-song in the ancient sense. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O paschal feast, what joy is thine!  342



O rejoice, ye Christians, loudly  163

Freuet euch, ihr Christen alle!

Freue sich, wer immer kann,

Gott hat viel an uns getan.

Freuet euch mit grossem Schalle,

Dass er uns so hoch geacht’t,

Sich mit uns befreund’t gemacht.

Freude, Freude über Freude!

Christus wehret allem Leide.

Wonne, Wonne über Wonne!

Er ist die Genadensonne.


Siehe, siehe, meine Seele,

Wie dein Heiland kommt zu dir,

Brennt in Liebe für und für,

Dass er in der Krippe Höhle

Harte lieget dir zugut,

Dich zu lösen durch sein Blut.

Freude, Freude über Freude!

Christus wehret allem Leide.

Wonne, Wonne über Wonne!

Er ist die Genadensonne.


Jesu, wie soll ich dir danken?

Ich bekenne, dass von dir

Meine Seligkeit herrühr’.

O lass mich von dir nicht wanken,

Nimm mich dir zu eigen hin,

So empfindet Herz und Sinn

Freude, Freude über Freude!

Christus wehret allem Leide.

Wonne, Wonne über Wonne!

Er ist die Genadensonne.


Jesu, nimm dich deiner Glieder

Ferner in Genaden an!

Schenke, was man bitten kaan,

Zu erquicken deine Brüder;

Gib der ganzen Christenschar

Frieden und ein sel’ges Jahr.

Freude, Freude über Freude!

Christus wehret allem Leide.

Wonne, Wonne über Wonne!

Er ist die Genadensonne.


This beautiful Christmas hymn by Christian Keimann (Keymann) was publishod in A. Hammerschmidt’s Musikalische Andachten (Freiberg, Saxony) in 1646 and set to this tune, “Freuet euch, ihr Christen,” by Andreas Hammerschmidt. According to Koch it was written by Keimann for his scholars to be used at a Christmas celebration in 1645 and published at Görlitz, 1646, with the heading Der neugeborne Jesus.

Catherine Winkworth published it in her Chorale Book for England in 1863, set to Hammerschmidt’s tune. Her translation is followed throughout in the text, save in Stanza 3, Lines 2 to 6, where she departed from the definiteness of the original and wrote:


I acknowledge that from Thee

Every blessing flows for me.

Let me not forget it lightly,

But to Thee through all things cleave;

So shall heart and mind receive. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O sacred Head, now wounded  334-335

O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden,

Voll Schmerz und voller Hohn,

O Haupt, zum Spott gebunden

Mit einer Dornenkron’,

O Haupt, sonst schön gezieret

Mit höchster Ehr’ und Zier,

Jetzt aber höchst schimpfleret:

Gegrüsset sei’st du mir!


Du edles Angesichte,

Davor sonst schrickt und scheut

Das grosse Weltgewichte,

Wie bist du so bespeit!

Wie bist du so erbleichet!

Wer hat dein Augenlicht,

Dem sonst kein Licht nicht gleichet,

So schändlich zugericht’t?


Die Farbe deiner Wangen,

Der roten Lippen Pracht

Ist htn und ganz vergangen;

Des blassen Todes Macht

Hat alles hingenommen,

Hat alles hingerafft,

Und daher bist du kommen

Von deines Leibes Kraft.


Nun, was du, Herr, erduldet,

Ist alles meine Last;

Ich hab’ es selbst verschuldet,

Was du getragen hast.

Schau her, hier steh’ ich Armer,

Der Zorn verdienet hat;

Gib mir, o mein Erbarmer,

Den Anblick deiner Gnad’!


Erkenne mich, mein Hüter,

Mein Hirte, nimm mich an!

Von dir, Quell aller Güter,

Ist mir viel Gut’s getan.

Dein Mund hat mich gelabet

Mit Milch und süsser Kost;

Dein Geist hat mich begabet

Mit mancher Himmelslust.


Ich will hier bei dir stehen,

Verachte mich doch nicht!

Von dir will ich nicht gehen,

Wenn dir dein Herze bricht;

Wenn dein Haupt wird erblassen

Im letzten Todesstoss,

Alsdann will ich dich fassen

In meinen Arm und Schoss.


Ea dient zu meinen Freuden

Und kommt mir herzlich wohl,

Wenn ich in deinem Leiden,

Mein Heil, mich finden soll.

Ach, möcht’ ich, o mein Leben,

An deinem Kreuze hier

Mein Leben von mir geben,

Wie wohl geschähe mir!


Ich danke dir von Herzen,

O Jesu, liebster Freund,

Für deines Todes Schmerzen,

Da du’s so gut gemeint.

Ach gib, dass ich mich halte

Zu dir und deiner Treu’

Und, wenn ich nun erkalte,

In dir mein Ende sei!


Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden,

So scheide nicht von mir;

Wenn ich den Tod soll leiden,

So tritt du dann herfür;

Wenn mir am allerbängsten

Wird um das Herze sein,

So reiss mich aus den Ängsten

Kraft deiner Angst und Pein!


Erscheine mir zum Schilde,

Zum Trost in meinem Tod,

Und lass mich sehn dein Bilde

In deiner Kreuzesnot!

Da will ich nach dir blicken,

Da will ich glaubensvoll

Dlch fest an mein Herz drücken.

Wer so stirbt, der stirbt wohl.


SEVEN Latin hymns, ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux, were translated into German by Paul Gerhardt and published in J. Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, Frankfurt, 1656. These hymns are directed to the suffering members of Christ hanging upon the cross. The last of these hymns, as found in Crüger’s work, has the heading An das Angesicht des Herrn Jesu. The Latin original ranks high, but it is commonly conceded that Gerhardt’s rendering far surpasses it in richness of evangelical expression and in making faithful application of Scripture passages. Very soon it was accepted into almost all the Lutheran hymn books, and it is found to-day in all the leading hymn books of the world. It is sung in the Catholic Church as well as in the Lutheran and in the Reformed Churches. There are a number of versions in the English language. Some contain the whole hymn, others have omitted certain stanzas. Bunsen describes the hymn as follows: “In the spirit the faithful believer stands under the cross of the suffering Savior, and through this scene, the most gruesome and yet, at the same time, the most exalted scene in history, he is overwhelmed by the thought of its two-fold application to himself. He acknowledges his guilt, and feels that through his sins he has brought the Savior upon the cross; but he also knows that he receives the gift of grace which is the fruit of Christ’s eternal sacrifice for the world; he realizes that the best place for the Christian is beneath the cross of Christ, and he prays that, by the grace of God, he may always keep this vision before his eyes, especially in his dying hour.”

During an anniversary festival, celebrated in honor of Spangenberg, bishop of the Moravian Church, one of the speakers referred to the many things which had been accomplished for the Church, and lauded the bishop in glowing terms. Spangenberg listened for a while, but then he rose up and exclaimed:

Lo, here I fall, my Savior!

‘Tis I deserve Thy place;

Look on me with Thy favor,

Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

The last two stanzas of the hymn have been a source of comfort and strength to many in the hour of death. Among the many who have made this experience may be mentioned Ludämilia Elisabeth, the missionary K. K. Schwartz, and Ludwig Hofacker. (For notes on P. Gerhardt, see Vol. I, No. 157.) [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

This classic hymn of Paul Gerhardt’s is based on the Latin “Salve caput cruentatum,” the seventh and last of a series of poems (Rhythmica Oratio) addressed to Christ on the cross, each poem addressing itself to a separate member of the Lord’s body: the feet, the knees, the hands, the side, the breast, the heart, and the head. This series of poems is attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux. Paul Gerhardt’s hymn is a very free paraphrase of Bernard’s Latin text. It first appeared in Crüger’s Praxis Pietatis Melica, Frankfurt, 1656. The hymn has long been a favorite in Evangelical Christendom. Lauxmann, in Koch, writes:


“Bernard’s original is powerful and searching, but Gerhardt’s hymn is still more powerful and more profound, as redrawn from the deeper spring of Evangelical Lutheran Scriptural knowledge and fervency of faith.”

Recent research shows that Bernard’s authorship cannot well be maintained.


Stanza 10 is widely used as a prayer for the dying. When the great Lutheran missionary C. F. W. Schwartz, in 1798, lay dying in India’ where he had labored for half a century, his native pupils gathered around him, and sang in their own tongue the last stanzas of this hymn, Schwartz himself joining in until his breath failed in death.

The translation is a composite prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Savior, rend the heavens wide  97



O sing with exultation  365

Om Salighed og Glæde

Der nu skal synges fridt

I de forløstes Sæde

Og guds Paulaner vidt,

Thi ved Guds høire Haand

Er Kristus høit ophøiet

Ham Seier stor tilføiet,

Han Døden overvandt.


Mens han er saa i Live,

Da dø vi ingenlund,

Men skulle frelste blive,

Fortælle Guds Miskund;

Om vi end refses saa,

Vi lægges lukt i Grave,

Dog skal vi Livet have,

Udødelig opstaa.


Den Kirkesteen grundfaste,

Den Herre Jesus Krist,

De Bygningsmænd forkaste,

Men han er bleven vist

Til Hoved-Hjørnesteen

For Kirken Guds paa Jorde,

Den Gjerning Herren gjorde,

Des undres hver og een!


Dig, Jesu Krist, ske Ære,

Som kom i Herrens Navn!

Guds Folk velsignet være

Af Herrens Hus og Stavn!

Vi takke hver for sig

Den Herre overmaade,

Thi hans Miskund og Naade

Staar fast evindelig!


This hymn by Anders C. Arrebo first appeared in his Kong David’s Psalter, 1623, in seven stanzas. It was revised and shortened by M. B. Landstad for his Salmobog.

The translation is by Carl Døving, 1907, and was included in The Lutheran Hymnary, 1913. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

BASED on the 118th Psalm. Verse 1 is based on Ps. 118:15-16: “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.

“The right hand of the Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly.”

Verse 2 is based upon Ps. 118:17-18: “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. The Lord hath chastened me sore: but He hath not given me over unto death.”

Verse 3, upon Ps. 118:22-23: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing: it is marvelous in our eyes.”

Verse 4, Ps. 118:26, 28, 29. “Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord: we have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. Thou art my God and I will praise Thee: Thou art my God and I will exalt Thee. O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

This hymn appeared about 1623 in Arrebo’s Kong David’s Psalter, containing 7 verses. It was revised and shortened by Landstad. The English translation was made by Carl Døving, 1907. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O sinner, come thy sin to mourn  272



O Son of God, we wait for Thee  536


THIS hymn was printed in Liederkästlein in 1767. The thought is based on Matt. 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” The translation is by Joseph A. Seiss, in 1890. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O splendor of God’s glory bright  81

Splendor paternae gloriae,

De luce lucem proferens.

Lux lucis et Fons luminis,

Dies dierum inluminans;


Verusque sol inlabere

Micans nitore perpeti,

Iubarque sancti Spiritus

Infunde nostris sensibus.


Votis vocemus et Patrem,

Patrem perennis gloriae,

Patrem potentis gratiae

Culpam releget lubricam,


Informet actus strenuos,

Dentem retundat invidi,

Casus fideli corpore:

Donet gerendi gratiam;


Mentem gubernet et regat

Casto fideli corpore:

Fides calore ferveat,

Fraudis venena nesciat.


Christusque nobis sit cibus,

Potusque noster sit fides;

Laeti bibamus sobriam

Ebrietatem Spiritus.


Laetus dies hic transeat;

Pudor sit ut diluculum,

Fides velut meridies;

Crepusculum mens nesciat.


Aurora cursus provehit;

Aurora totus prodeat,

In Patre totus Filius,

Et totus in Verbo Pater.


Deo Patri sit gloria

Einsque soli Filio

Sancto simul cum Spiritu

Nunc et per omne saeculum. Amen.


This ancient Latin hymn is very likely from the pen of Ambrose of Milan. It is a fine morning hymn, but also a beautiful hymn to Christ as the Light of the world. It is a companion and sequel to the author’s “Aeterne rerum Conditor.”

The translation is as found in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1904. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O that I had a thousand voices  443

O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte

Und einen tausendfachen Mund,

So stimmt ich damit in die Wette

Vom allertiefsten Herzensgrund

Ein Loblied nach dem andern an

Von dem, was Gott an mir getan!


Was schweigt ihr denn, ihr meine Kräfte?

Auf, auf, braucht allen euren Fleiss

Und stehet munter im Geschäfte

Zu Gottes, meines Herren, Preis!

Mein Leib und Seele, schicke dich

Und lobe Gott herzinniglich!


Ihr grünen Blätter in den Wäldern,

Bewegt und regt euch doch mit mir!

Ihr schwanken Gräschen in den Feldern,

Ihr Blumen, lasst doch eure Zier

Zu Gottes Ruhm belebet sein

Und stimmet lieblich mit mir ein!


Ach alles, alles, was ein Leben

Und einen Odem in sich hat,

Soll sich mir zum Gehilfen geben,

Denn mein Vermögen ist zu matt

Die grossen Wunder zu erhöhn,

Die allenthalben um mich stehn.


Ich will von deiner Güte singen,

Solange sich die Zunge regt,

Ich will dir Freudenopfer bringen,

Solange sich mein Herz bewegt.

Ja, wenn der Mund wird kraftlos sein,

So stimm’ ich doch mit Seufzen ein.


Ach nimm das arme Lob auf Erden,

Mein Gott, in allen Gnaden hin!

Im Himmel soll es besser werden,

Wenn ich bei deinen Engeln bin.

Da sing’ ich dir im höhern Chor

Viel tausend Halleluja vor.


This cento from Johann Mentzer’s hymn “O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte” is composed of Stanzas 1, 3, 4, 5, 14, and 15 of the original, which first appeared in Freylinghausen’s Neues Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1704. Another cento of this hymn is the Trinity hymn No. 243, composed of Stanzas 1, 6, 7, 8, and 12.

Mentzer’s hymn is one of the finest and most popular hymns of praise that have come to us from the German.

We know nothing definite about the circumstances under which this hymn was written. Lauxmann says this hymn was written in 1704, after Mentzer’s house had burned down. But a Pastor Richter at Kemnitz, where Mentzer was pastor from 1696 on, claimed that the parsonage there had been built in the years 1696-97 and had never been destroyed by fire. However, in 1697 a farmhouse near by was demolished by lightning, and this may have given Mentzer the incentive to write the hymn, to impress the truth that the Christian has many reasons for praise and thanksgiving even in the midst of calamities that may befall him.

The composite translation is based on those by Dr. H. Mills (Horae Germanicae, 1845) and Catherine Winkworth (Lyra Germanica, 1st series, 1855). [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O that the Lord would guide my ways  441

THIS is Isaac Watts’ version of the 119th Psalm, the eleventh part. It was first published in The Psalms of David, 1719, in six stanzas and is entitled Breathing after Holiness. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

Isaac Watts first published this hymn in six stanzas in his Psalms of David Imitated, 1719. The cento omits Stanzas 2 and 3, which read:


2. Oh, send thy Spirit down to write

Thy laws upon my heart,

Nor let my tongue indulge deceit

Nor act the liar’s part.


3. From vanity turn off my eyes;

Let no corrupt design

Nor covetous desires arise

Within this soul of mine.


The alterations are in the third stanza of the cento, which originally read:


My soul hath gone too far astray,

My feet too often slip;

Yet since I’ve not forgot Thy way,

Restore Thy wandering sheep.


The Scriptural basis of the stanzas in their order is: Ps. 119: 5, 33; 119:133; 119:176; 119:35.

The tune “Evan” is by William H. Havergal, 1846, and was originally set to the poem of Robert Burns “O Thou dread power, who reign’st above.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Thou that hear’st when sinners cry  500

THIS hymn is a part of Watts’ paraphrase of the 51st Psalm, published in Psalms of David, 1719. The complete original is very seldom used, but the shortened form has found a place in numerous hymnals. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



“The popularity of this hymn was greatly aided by the plaintive melody which appeared with the original hymn in 1628” (J. Mearns). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O Traurigkeit” is also from the Würzburg Gesangbuch, 1628. The composer is unknown. Fischer and also Kümmerle give as the source of the tune the Himmlische Harmoney, etc., Meyntz (Mainz), 1628. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


O Trinity, most blessed Light  574

O Lux beata, Trinitas

Et principalis Unitas,

Iam sol recedit igneus,

Infunde lumen cordibus.


Te mane laudum carmine,

Te deprecamus vespere;

Te nostra supplex gloria

Per cuncta laudet saecula.


Deo Patri sit gloria

Eiusque soli Filio

Sancto simul cum Spiritu

Nunc et per omne saeculum.


Although this hymn has been usually ascribed to St. Ambrose, definite historical proof of his authorship is lacking. The translation is an altered form of that by John M. Neale in The Hymnal Noted, 1852. Martin Luther’s translation of the hymn beginning “Der du bist drei in Einigkeit” has frequently been used in English Lutheran hymn-books, in the translation of Richard Massie, but this version, neither in Gerrnan nor in English, reproduces as well as the present version the allusion to Ps. 16:9 which the original Latin text has in Stanza 2. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]





O watch and pray  516

“OP, vaag og bed” was first published in Nogle Psalmer om Troens Kamp og Seier, 1735.

Landstad retained ten of the original fourteen stanzas, but The Lutheran Hymnary has employed only eight. Our present English translation was rendered by the Rev. G. T. Rygh, 1908. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O WELT, ICH MUSS DICH (NUN RUHEN*)  266, 475, 569

The melody ([also known as] Innsbruck) had its origin in an old German Volkslied which is ascribed to Heinrich Isaak, one of the first group of German musicians of the polyphonic school at the close of the 15th century. This was first found in a collection of songs in four part books printed at Nürnberg in 1539, called Ein ausszug guter alter im newer Teuscher liedlein set to the poem, “Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen.” In 1598 it was set to sacred words on the same lines, “O Welt, ich muss dich lessen,” by Johann Hesse, but the melody became more famous in connection with Paul Gerhardt’s “Nun ruhen alle Wälder.” There are six settings of it in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Choralgesänge. It also appeared in Bach’s Passion according to St. Matthew.

… The melody, connected with Gerhardt’s famous hymn, “Now rest beneath night’s shadow” (L. H. 551), was originally a secular tune for the folk-song “Innsbruck, ich musz dich lessen.” This tune was composed, or possibly only arranged, by Heinrich (Henricus) Isaac, born cat 1450. Isaac was a prominent and prolific composer, living for some time in Florence (Firenze). For a time he was concert master at the court of Emperor Maximilian I. He composed 24 masses, and his Choralis Constantini embraces the complete Catholic liturgy. His music bears the mark of the German and Italian school as well as the influence of the Netherland school.—Concerning this melody, Mozart said that he would gladly give his best production in exchange for it. A similar sentiment was at one time expressed by Johann Sebastian Bach, who employed this melody in several of his compositions. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “O Welt, ich muss dich lassen” is ascribed to Heinrich Isaak. It is most commonly associated with Paul Gerhardt’s great evening hymn “Nun ruhen alle Wälder” (see Hymn No. 554). It first appeared about 1490, set to a popular folk-song, “Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The tune “O Welt, sieh hier” is by Heinrich Friese, 1703.


O what precious balm and healing  293

Jesu, deine tiefen Wunden,

Deine Qual und bittern Tod

Lass mir geben alle Stunden

Trost in Leib’s- und Seelennot!

Wenn mir fällt was Arges ein,

Lass mich denken deiner Pein,

Dass ich deine Angst und Schmerzen

Wohl erwäg’ in meinem Herzen!


Will sich gern in Wollust weiden

Mein verderbtes Fleisch und Blut,

Lass mich denken, dass dein Leiden

Löschen muss der Hölle Glut!

Dringt der Satan ein zu mir,

Hilf dass ich ihm halte für

Deiner Wunden Mal’ und Zeichen,

Dass er von mir müsse weichen!


Wenn die Welt mich will verführen

Auf die breite Sündenbahn,

Woll’st du mich also regieren,

Dass ich alsdann schaue an

Deiner Marter Zentnerlast,

Die du ausgestanden hast

Dass ich kann in Andacht bleiben,

Alle böse Lust vertreiben!


Gib für alles, was mich kränket,

Mir aus deinen Wunden Saft;

Wenn mein Herz hinein sich senket,

So gib neue Lebenskraft,

Dass mich stärk’ in allem Leid

Deines Trostes Süssigkeit,

Weil du mir das Heil erworben,

Da du bist fur mich gestorben.


Lass auf deinen Tod mich trauen,

O Mein Gott und Zuversicht!

Lass mich feste darauf bauen,

Dass den Tod ich schmecke nicht!

Deine Todesangst lass mich

Stets erquicken mächtiglich;

Herr, lass deinen Tod mir geben

Auferstehung, Heil und Leben!


This hymn by Johann Heermann first appeared in six stanzas, in the fourth edition of his Devoti Musica Cordis, etc., Leipzig and Breslau, 1644. It is entitled “Consolation from the wounds of Jesus in all manner of temptation. From the Manual of St. Augustine.” The Manuale is a medieval compilation from various church fathers. Chapter XXII, on which this hymn is based, is by Bernard of Clairvaux. The hymn has long been a favorite in the Lutheran Church. Count Ludwig von Zinzendorf called it “the crown of al1 our old hymns.”

The translation is composite. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn was first printed in Devoti Musica Cordis, Leipzig, 1644. It is based, like many of Heermann’s hymns, upon words spoken by the ancient church fathers. The passage upon which this hymn is based has been taken from Augustine’s Manuale. But this manual, or hand book, from the Middle Ages, is a collection of spiritual meditations by various authors. It should be noted that the words quoted by Skaar as being Augustine’s, have not come from him, but rather from Bernard of Clairvaux: De recordatione vulnerum et mortis Jesu Christi. In translation the meditation upon these words is rendered thus: “Concerning the remembrance of the wounds and death of Jesus Christ. When my flesh overwhelms me, I am restored again by the remembrance of the sufferings of my Lord. When the devil endeavors to ensnare me, I find refuge in the tender mercy of Christ, and He will not forsake me. When passion burns in my members, it is quenched through the remembrance of the wounds of Jesus, the Son of God. Against all adversities I find the most powerful remedy to be the wounds of Christ. In them I sleep in safety, and rest without fear. Christ has died for us. In death we find nothing so bitter but that it may be soothed and healed through the death of Christ. All my hope is founded upon the death of my Lord. His death is my merit, my refuge, my salvation, life and resurrection. My merit consists in the mercy of my Lord. I shall never lack in merit, so long as the Lord of mercy does not forsake me. The Lord’s mercy is great, therefore, my merit is great. The more powerful He is to save, the more safe am I.”

“O what precious balm and healing” is designated by Zinzendorf as “The crown of all the venerable hymns,” and the hymnologist Koch says concerning the first three stanzas: “These three stanzas, when employed by conscientious parents, pastors, and teachers, have impressed a valuable lesson upon the hearts of many young men and women, about to begin their life’s work. We find here a fervent daily prayer for protection from the allurements of sin. We are reminded of the admonition given by the old Tobias to his son upon his departure: ‘My child, remember the Lord, our God, all thy days, and do not willingly sin or transgress against His commandments’ (The Apocryphal Book of Tobit 4:8). Happy is he who lives according to this word.”

The hymn was translated into Danish by Nils Christensen Arctander, teacher at the school of Odense and vicar of Vissenberg, Fyen. It was first published by Kingo in 1689. The English translation in The Lutheran Hymnary was rendered by R. Massie, 1857. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


O wondrous type  223



O Word of God incarnate  171

FIRST printed in the Supplement to Morell and How’s Psalms and Hymns, 1867, “O Word of God incarnate” has been given a place in numerous hymnaries in England and America. It is one of How’s best hymns. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Of my life the life, O Jesus  336

(See: Christ the life of all the living)


Of the Father’s love begotten  181

Corde natus ex Parentis

Ante mundi exordium,

Alpha et a cognominatus,

Ipse fons et clausula

Omaium quae sunt, fuerunt,

Quaeque post futura sunt,

Saeculorum saeculis.


O beatus ortus ille,

Virgo cum puerpera

Edidit nostram salutem,

Feta sancto Spiritu,

Et puer, redemptor orbis,

Os sacratum protulit,

Saeculorum saeculis.


Psallat altitudo caeli,

Psallant omnes angeli;

Quidquid est virtutis usquam

Psallat in laudem Dei:

Nulla linguarum silescat,

Vox et omnis consonet,

Saeculorum saeculis.


Ecce, quem vates vetustis

Concinebant saeculis,

Quem prophetarum fideles

Paginae spoponderant,

Emicat promissus olim;

Cuncta coulaudent eum,

Sacculorum saeculis.


Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre

Hagiogue Pneumate

Hymnus, decus, laus perennis

Gratiarum actio

Honor, virtus, victoria,

Regnum aeternaliter,

Saeculorum saeculis.


This cento by the Spanish poet Aurelius Prudentius is taken from the Hymna omnis horae in his Liber Cathemerinon IX. The translation is by John M. Neale, Hymnal Noted, 1854, and Henry W. Baker, Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861. Other stanzas in their translation are the following.


After our Stanza 1:


2. At His word they were created:

He commanded, it was done:

Heaven and earth and depths of ocean

In their threefold order one;

All that grows beneath the shining

Of the moon and orbèd sun,

Evermore and evermore.


3. He is found in human fashion

Death and sorrow here to know

That the race of Adam’s children,

Doomed by Law to endless woe,

May not henceforth die and perish

In the dreadfnl gulf below,

Evermore and evermore.


After our Stanza 4:


7. Righteous Judge of souls departed,

Righteous King of them that live,

On the Father’s throne exalted,

None in might with Thee may strive

Who at last in vengeance coming

Sinners from Thy face shalt drive

Evermore and evermore.


8. Thee let old men, Thee let young men,

Thee let boys in chorus sing;

Matrons, virgins, little maidens,

With glad voices answering;

Let their guileless songs reecho

And the heart its music bring

Evermore and evermore.


The plainsong tune “Divinum mysterium,” also called “Corde natus,” found in manuscripts of the 12th century, has reached us by an interesting route. In 1580 Didrick Pedersen (Petri), a young Finlander, attended college at Rostock. In 1582 he published a collection of school and sacred songs gathered there, among them this tune. A rare copy of this old book, Piae Cantiones (Greifswald), came in 1853 into the hands of Thomas Helmore, master of the Children of the Chapels Royal in England and editor of the Hymnal Noted. He edited the tune with the present words. The earlier rhythm has been restored in the present form of the tune. The melody was in use during the 13th century, set to the hymn “Divinum mysterium.” [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Of Zion’s honor angels sing!  216






OLD 124TH  501

The tune “Old 124th” is from the Genevan Psalter, 1551. According to Love it has been a popular tune in Scotland and has remained fixed to the psalm to which it was first set. The following, by Calderwood the historian, relates how it was sung in 1582 on the return of John Durie after a temporary banishment:


John Durie cometh to Leith at night, the 3rd September. Upon Tuesday the 4th of September, as he is coming to Edinburgh, there met him at the Gallowgreen 200, but ere he came to the Netherbow their number increased to 400; but they were no sooner entered but they increased to 600 or 700, and within short space the whole street was replenished even to Saint Geiles Kirk: the number was esteemed to 2,000. At the Netherbow they took up the 124th Psalme, “Now Israel may say,” etc., and sung in such a pleasant tune in four parts, known to the most part of the people, that coming up the street all bareheaded till they entered in the Kirk, with such a great sound and majestie, that it moved both themselves and all the huge multitude of the beholders, looking out at the shots and over stairs, with admiration and astonishment; the Duke of Lennox himself beheld, and reave his beard for anger; he was more affrayed of this sight than anie thing that ever he had seene before in Scotland. When they came to the Kirk, Mr. James Lowsone made a short exhortation in the Reader’s place, to move the multitude to thankfulness. Thereafter a psalm being sung, they departed with great joy. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


OLD HUNDREDTH  44, 51, 325, 489, 545, 592

In England the melody used for this hymn has been called “Old Hundredth,” because it was used first as a setting for the 100th Psalm. This was a metrical adaptation by William Kethe, “All people that on earth do dwell,” 1561. This melody was first published in Clemens Marot’s and Theodore Beza’s French Psalter, where it appeared in 1551 as the melody for Beza’s version of the 134th Psalm. The melody was probably composed by Louis Bourgeois, who furnished the melodies for the French Psalter. It appeared in this book in a four-part arrangement by Bourgeois with the melody in the tenor, as was then the custom. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Old Hundredth” was set to Ps. 134 in the old Genevan Psalter, 1551. It was first published in England with a metrical version of Ps. 100 by Wm. Kethe. (See Hymn No. 14.) It has ever since been called “Old Hundredth” or “Old Hundred.”

We give the following brief historical sketch of the French Genevan Psalter:

Texts. —Clement Marot, French poet (1497-1544), made at different times versions of several psalms, to the number of thirty, which were collected into a volume in 1542. Before this, however, they had circulated largely in MS. and had even found favor at the court of the King of France.

Two years before this, in 1539, when John Calvin was at Strassburg, he compiled a small collection of psalms with tunes, and there are found 12 of Marot’s versions, which Calvin had got somewhere, but with a spurious text. This Strassburg book was the basis of the true Genevan Psalter, which Calvin prepared on his return to Geneva in 1542. In this the whole thirty psalms of Marot are included. Up to this time Calvin and Marot had no personal intercourse or acquaintance whatever with each other. But when Marot fled from Paris owing to the wrath of the Sorbonne and arrived at Geneva soon after Calvin, the latter got him to continue the translations. Marot then wrote 19 more, which, with the Song of Simeon, make up what is known as the “Fifty Psalms of Marot.” Marot left Geneva a year afterwards and died in 1544 at Turin. So the Genevan Psalter stood till 1551, when Calvin asked his friend Theodore Beza, who had then settled at Geneva, to continue the work. Beza added thirty-four new versions, making eighty-three in all. About 1554 he added six more, another about 1555, and the remaining sixty in 1562.

Tunes.—The tunes of the Strassburg book of 1539 were mostly German, either borrowed from local sources or some perhaps written for the occasion. Those in the Genevan book of 1542 were taken from the Strassburg book or were new. Then came the edition of 1543, with Marots new psalms and, of course, new tunes. To Bezas new psalms of 1551 and the complete edition of 1562 new tunes were also added. It should be remembered that from 1542 to 1562 alterations were made in each edition either by modification of the existing tune or by the substitution of a new one. After 1562 no change was ever made. It will thus be seen that the Genevan Psalter was a growth of twenty years and that the 150 psalms in it are of different dates, viz.:







The tunes as they appear in the final edition of 1562 are likewise of various dates, but not necessarily those of the psalms to which they belong. For instance, one psalm of 1542 might retain its original tune to the end. Another psalm of the same date might have been set to three or four tunes in succession, till set finally in 1562. In other cases the final form of a tune was not quite the same as its first.

Composers.—In those days “composing” meant “compounding.” A composer troubled himself little about originality. If his purpose was answered by piecing stock musical phrases together in a new arrangement, he did so; and very many of the older tunes were so constructed. The tune “Old Hundredth” is very likely one of these, although there is still much controversy as to its real origin.

To assign any tune in the Genevan book (1542-1562) to Guillaume Franc is utterly wrong. Franc was engaged as master of the children in St. Peter’s Church at Geneva in 1542, but there is not a trace of evidence that he had anything to do with the editing of the Psalter. He left Geneva soon afterwards and settled at Lausanne, where he did edit a psalter which was indeed printed at Geneva but was confounded with the Genevan book by writers who did not know the facts.

The Genevan Psalter contained melodies only. After it was completed in 1562, Goudimel harmonized the tunes for private use (as singing in parts was never permitted in the Reformed Church till the present century). Goudimel had nothing to do with the compiling or musical editing of that work, and in fact was not even a Protestant till about 1555. On the other hand, there is positive evidence in existence that the editor from 1545 to 1557 was Louis Bourgeois; and there is every reason to believe he edited the book from the beginning in 1542.

The number of distinct tunes in the Psalter of 1562 is 125 (two of which are those to the Decalog and Song of Simeon), so that 27 psalms are sung to tunes of other psalms. (Cp. Cowan and Love, The Music of the Church Hymnary, 1901.)

“Old Hundredth” was sometimes named “Savoy” from its use by a Huguenot congregation established in the Savoy, London, during the reign of Elizabeth. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



Lowell Mason composed the tune, in connection with the hymn “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” (See that hymn for further details.) [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]



The melody was first printed in Hans Thomissøn’s Hymn Book of 1569. It was used there as a setting for the hymn, “Om himmeriges rige, saa ville vi tale.” It is written in the Phrygian mode, but has in the course of time undergone many changes both in melody and rhythm. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

The tune “Min Själ og Aand” first appeared in Hans Thomissön’s Psalmobog, 1569, as a setting for the hymn “Om himmeriges rige, saa ville vi tale.” According to John Dahle it was written in the Phrygian mode, but has undergone many changes in the course of time. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


On Christ’s ascension I now build  392

Auf Christi Himmelfahrt allein

Ich meine Nachfahrt gründe

Und allen Zweifel, Angst und Pein

Hiermit stets überwinde;

Denn weil das Haupt im Himmel ist,

Wird seine Glieder Jesus Christ

Zur rechten Zeit nachholen.


Weil er gezogen himmelan

Und grosse Gab’ empfangen,

Mein Herz auch nur im Himmel kann,

Sonst nirgend Ruh’ erlangen;

Denn wo mein Schatz ist kommen hin,

Da ist auch stets mein Herz und Sinn,

Nach ihm mich sehr verlanget.


Ach Herr, lass diese Gnade mich

Von deiner Auffahrt spüren,

Dass mit dem wahren Glauben ich

Mög’ meine Nachfahrt zieren

Und dann einmal, wenn dir’s gefällt,

Mit Freuden scheiden aus der Welt.

Herr, höre doch mein Flehen!


Josua Wegelin first published this hymn in his Augspurger Bet Büchlein, Nürnberg, 1636. Its original German form differed from that in common use since it was recast for the Lüneburg Gesang Buch, 1661, probably by its compiler, Ernst Sonnemann. Wegelin’s first line read: “Allein auf Christi Himmelfahrt.”

The translation by William M. Czamanske was prepared for The Lutheran Hymnal in 1938. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


On Galilee’s high mountain  195



On Jordan’s bank the herald’s cry  106

THE voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make His paths straight” (Matt. 3:3; Is. 40:3).

This Advent hymn appeared first in the author’s Hymni Sacri, 1736, and was included in the Paris Breviary of the same year and was later taken up in many French breviaries. John Chandler’s popular English translation appears in our hymnary in a slightly revised form. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


On Mary, Virgin undefiled  268


THIS hymn was included in Den Danske Psalme Bog, 1569. It was wrought by Hans Thomissøn and is a revision of an old Mary-hymn, which appears to have been of Danish origin. No version antedating it has been found in any other language. In the heading Thomissøn says that this Mary-hymn “er kristelig forvendt, Jesu Christo til lov og ære” (has received a new Christian content to the glory of Jesus Christ), and in the index to his book he also mentions it as one of the “old Papistic hymns, which has been corrected and rewritten.” The closing stanza of this hymn is, in many places, sung before the confessional service. The translation in The Lutheran Hymnary is by Carl Døving, 1906. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


On my heart imprint Thine image  593, 598

Skriv dig, Jesu, paa mit Hjerte,

O min Konge og min Gud,

At ei Vellyst eller Smerte

Dig formaar at slette ud.

Denne Opskrift paa mig set:

Jesus udaf Nazaret,

Den korsfæstede, min Ære

Og min salighed skal være!


THIS is the 15th stanza of Kingo’s Passion hymn, “Bryder frem, I hule Sukke” (29 stanzas). Landstad in his hymn book has made three hymns from 12 of the stanzas in Kingo’s hymn, as follows: Landst. No. 329, No. 330 (14 and 15), and No. 335. The present stanza was translated by P. O. Strømme, 1898, here somewhat altered. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]

This stanza is the fifteenth of Thomas Kingo’s Passion hymn “Bryder frem, I hule Sukke”, which contains twenty-nine stanzas, dated 1689. Landstad, in his Salmebog, has made three hymns from twelve of Kingo’s hymns. The stanza is based on Matt. 27:37 and Luke 23:38.

The translated is an altered form of that by Peer O. Strømme, 1898. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


On what has now been sown  594

This cento is another interesting example of the manner in which some of our favorite hymns received their final form. Stanza 1 is the last stanza of John Newton’s interesting hymn entitled “Travailing in Birth for Souls. Gal. 4:19,” first published in 1779, Olney Nymns, Book II, reading:


1. What contradictions meet

In ministers’ employ!

It is a bitter sweet,

A sorrow full of joy:

No other post affords a place

For equal honor or disgrace!


2. Who can describe the pain

Which faithful preachers feel,

Constrained to speak in vain

To hearts as hard as steel?

Or who can tell the pleasures felt

When stubborn hearts begin to melt?


3. The Savior’s dying love,

The soul’s amazing worth,

Their utmost efforts move

And draw their bowels forth:

They pray and strive, their rest departs,

Till Christ be formed in sinners’ hearts.


4. If some small hope appear,

They still are not content,

But with a jealous fear,

They watch for the event:

Too oft they find their hopes deceived,

Then how their inmost souls are grieved!


5. But when their pains succeed

And from the tender blade

The ripening ears proceed,

Their toils are overpaid:

No harvest joy can equal theirs

To find the fruit of all their cares.


6. On what has now been sown,

Thy blessing, Lord, bestow;

The power is Thine alone,

To make it spring and grow:

Do Thou the gracious harvest raise,

And Thou alone shalt have the praise.


Stanzas 2 and 3 are Newton’s “Short Hymn for Close of Divine Service,” Olney Hymns, Book III, 1779. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Once He came in blessing  141

Gottes Sohn ist kommen

Uns allen zu Frommen

Hier auf diese Erden

In armen Gebärden,

Dass er uns von Sünde

Freiet’ und entbünde.


Er kommt auch noch heute

Und lehret die Leute,

Wie sie sich von Sünden

Zur Buss’ sollen wenden,

Von Irrtum und Torheit

Treten zu der Wahrheit.


Die sich sein nicht schämen

Und sein’n Dienst annehmen

Dureh ein’n rechten Glauben

Mit ganzem Vertrauen,

Denen wird er eben

Ihre Sünd’ vergeben.


Ei nun, Herre Jesu,

Schicke unser Herz zu,

Dass wir alle Stünden

Rechtgläubig erfunden,

Darinnen verseheiden

Zur ewigen Freuden.


This hymn by Johann Roh was first published in Ein Gesangbuch der Brüder inn Behemen und Merherrn, Nürnberg, 1544. There were nine stanzas. Our cento is composed of Stanzas 1, 2, 3, and 9.

Miss Catherine Winkworth’s translation in Chorale Book for England, 1863, is used unaltered. She included an additional stanza before the last one in our text (Stanza 5 of the original), which reads:


But through many a trial,

Deepest self-denial,

Long and brave endurance,

Must thou win assurance

That His own He makes thee,

And no more forsakes thee.

[Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Once in royal David’s city  139



One thing needful  182

Eins ist not, ach Herr, dies eine

Lehre mich erkennen doch!

Alles andre, wie’s auch scheine,

Ist ja nur ein schweres Joch,

Darunter das Herze sich naget und plaget

Und dennoch kein wahres Vergnügen erjaget.

Erlang, ich dies eine, das alles ersetzt,

So werd’ ich mit einem in allem ergötzt.


Seele, willst du dieses finden,

Such’s bei keiner Kreatur;

Lass, was irdisch ist, dahinten,

Schwing dich über die Natur.

Wo Gott und die Menschheit in einem vereinet,

Wo alle vollkommene Fülle erseheinet:

Da, da ist das beste, notwendigste Teil,

Mein ein und mein alles, mein seligstes Heil.


Wie Maria war beflissen

Auf des einigen Geniess,

Da sie sich zu Jesu Füssen

Voller Andacht niederliess—

Ihr Herze entbrannte, dies einzig zu hören,

Was Jesus, ihr Heiland, sie wollte belehren;

Ihr alles war gänzlich in Jesum versenkt,

Und wurde ihr alles in einem geschenkt—,


Also ist auch mein Verlangen,

Liebster Jesu, nur nach dir;

Lass mich treulich an dir hangen,

Schenke dich zu eigen mir!

Ob vid’ auch umkehrten zum grössesten Haufen,

So will ich dir dennoch in Liebe nachlaufen,

Denn dein Wort, o Jesu, ist Leben und Geist;

Was ist wohl, das man nicht in Jesu geneusst?


Aller Weisheit höchste Fülle

In dir Ja verborgen liegt.

Gib nur, dass sich auch mein Wille

Fein in solche Schranken fügt,

Worinnen die Demut und Einfalt regieret

Und mich zu der Weisheit, die himmlisch ist, führet.

Ach, wenn ich nur Jesum recht kenne und weiss,

So hab’ ich der Weisheit vollkommenen Preis.


Nichts kann ich vor Gott ja bringen

Als nur dich, mein höchstes Gut;

Jesu, es muss mir gelingen

Durch dein rosinfarbnes Blut.

Die höchste Gerechtigkeit ist mir erworben,

Da du bist am Stamme des Kreuzes gestorben;

Die Kleider des Heils ich da habe erlangt,

Worinnen mein Glaube in Ewigkeit prangt.


Drum auch, Jesu, du alleine,

Sollst mein ein und alles sein.

Prüf erfahre, wie ich’s meine,

Tilge allen Heuchelschein!

Sieh, ob ich auf bösem, betrüglichem Stege,

Und leite mich, Höchster, auf ewigem Wege!

Gib, dass ich hier alles nur achte für Kot

Und Jesum gewinne! Dies eine ist not.


Johann H. Schröder published this hymn, in ten stanzas, in the Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1697. It was entitled “One thing is needful. Luke 10:42. Jesus, who of God is made unto us Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption. 1 Cor.1:30.” The cento omits Stanzas 7 to 9, which read:


7. Let my soul, in full exemption,

Wake up in Thy likeness now;

Thou art made to me Redemption,

My Sanctification Thou.

Whatever I need for my journey to heaven,

In Thee, O my Savior, is unto me given;

Oh, let me all perishing pleasure forego,

And Thy life, O Jesus, alone let me know.


8. Where should else my hopes be centered?

Grace o’erwhelms me with its flood;

Thou my Savior, once hast entered

Holiest heaven through Thy blood.

Eternal redemption for sinners there finding,

From hell’s dark dominion my spirit unbinding,

To me perfect freedom Thy entrance has brought,

And childlike to cry, “Abba, Father,” I’m taught.


9. Christ Himself, my Shepherd, feeds me,

Peace and joy my spirit fill;

In a pasture green He leads me

Forth beside the waters still.

Oh, naught to my soul is so sweet and reviving

As thus unto Jesus alone to be living;

True happiness this, and this only, supplies,

Through faith on my Savior to fasten mine eyes.


The translation by Frances E. Cox appeared in her Sacred Hymns from the German) 1841. It has been altered for inclusion in The Lutheran Hymnal. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

AND it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said. Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:3 8-42).

This hymn was printed in Geistreiches Gesangbuch, Halle, 1697, under the title: Eins ist noth (One thing is needful, Luke 10:42). “But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).

The Biblical basis is in general as indicated above. The various stanzas follow the references in detail as follows: 1. But one thing is needful, Luke 10:42; 2. Where this is to be sought, in the Son of God, Col. 2:9; 3 and 4. How it is to be found, John 6:63 and the following; 5-9. The treasure we have in this one thing: wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. 1:30; 10. How we are to strive after it with all our soul, Ps. 139:23-24; Phil. 3:8-9. The version in The Lutheran Hymnary is a revised rendering of F. P. Daume’s translation, published in 1910. It was translated into Danish by H. A. Brorson and printed in Nogle Psalmer om Troens Grund, 1735. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The melody, composed by L. M. Lindeman for this hymn, was printed first in his Koralbog, 1871. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Open now thy gates of beauty  29-30

Tut mir auf die schöne Pforte

Fuhrt in Gottes Haus mich ein!

Ach, wie wird an diesem Orte

Meine Seele fröhlich sein!

Hier ist Gottes Angesicht,

Hier ist lauter Trost und Licht.


Herr, ich bin zu dir gekommen

Komme du nun auch zu mir!

Wo du Wohnung hast genommen,

Ist der Himmel hell vor mir.

Zeuch in meinem Herzen ein,

Lass es deinen Himmel sein!


Mache mich zum guten Lande,

Wenn dein Saatkorn auf mich fällt;

Gib mir Licht in dem Verstande,

Und was mir wird vorgestellt,

Präge du dem Herzen ein,

Lass es mir zur Frucht gedeihn.


Stark in mir den schwachen Glauben,

Lass dein teures Kleinod mir

Nimmer aus dem Herzen rauben,

Halte mir dein Wort stets für;

Ja, das sei mein Morgenstern,

Der mich fuhret zu dem Herrn!


Rede, Herr, so will ich hören,

Und dein Wille werd erfüllt!

Lass nichts meine Andacht stören,

Wenn der Brunn’ des Lebens quillt.

Speise mich mit Himmelsbrot,

Tröste mich in aller Not!


This hymn was written by Benjamin Schmolck and was first published in his Kirchen-Gefährte, 1732, in 7 stanzas and in his Klage und Reigen, 1734, entitled “The First Step into the Church” (Third Commandment). The translation by Catherine Winkworth appeared in her Chorale Book for England, 1863, No. 13; Stanzas 3 and 7 of the original were omitted, very likely because the figures of speech in these stanzas are difficult of reproduction in English. These stanzas are:


Lass in Furcht mich vor dich treten,

Heilige mir Leib und Geist,

Dass mein Singen und mein Beten

Dir ein lieblich Opfer heisst.

Heilige mir Mund und Ohr,

Zeuch das Herz zu dir empor!


Öffne mir die Lebensauen,

Dass mein Geist sich weiden kann;

Lass mir Heil vom Himmel tauen,

Zeige mir die rechte Bahn

Hier aus diesem Jammertal

Zu dem ew’gen Ehrensaal!


The Committee on The Lutheran Hymnal changed Line 6, Stanza 4, where Miss Winkworth used “polestar” for the German “Leitstern”; also Line 1, Stanza 2, where the translator had “Yes, my God,” etc.

Catherine Winkworth is one of the outstanding English translators of German hymns. John Dahle, in his Library of Christian Hymns, rightly states: “Others have reached eminent heights in certain respects. But as to faithfulness toward the original, both in respect to contents and meter, clearness of thought, and euphony of language, no one has surpassed her. Miss Winkworth has also been the most prolific of all the translators of German hymns and has done more than any other translator to make the great gems of German hymnody known in the English-speaking world. The Lutheran Hymnal has 73 of her translations in whole or in part. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn appeared for the first time in Schmolck’s Kirchen-Gefahrte, in 1732, in seven six-lined stanzas under the title: On Our Entrance into the House of God; or Presenting Ourselves before the Lord. The English translation is by Miss Winkworth, from the Chorale Book for England. The third and sixth stanzas are omitted. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



The tune “Orientis partibus” is based on a medieval French melody. It is found in a French manuscript, Office de la Circoncision, etc., Sens, by Pierre de Corbeil, archbishop of Sens (d.1222), and in a similar manuscript from Beauvais. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Our blessed Savior seven times spoke  337

Da Jesus an des Kreuzes Stamm

Der ganzen Welt Sünd’ auf sich nahm,

Sprach er in seinen Schmerzen

Noch sieben Wort’, die lasset uns

Erwägen wohl im Herzen.


Zum ersten: Vater strafe nicht

An ihnen, was mir jetzt geschicht.

Weil sie es nicht verstehen.

Vergib uns, Gott, wenn wir auch noch

Aus Irrtum was begehen!


Zum andern er des Schächers dacht’:

Fürwahr, du wirst noch vor der Nacht

In meinem Reich heut’ leben.

O Herr, nimm uns auch bald zu dir,

Die wir im Elend schweben.


Zum dritten: Deinen Sohn sieh, Weib!

Johannes, ihr zu Dienste bleib

Und sie als Mutter liebe!

Versorg, Herr, die wir lassen hier,

Dass niemand sie betrübe!


Zum vierten sagte er: Mich dürst’t!

O Jesu, grosser Lebensfürst,

Du hast Durst und Verlangen

Nach unsrer Sellgkeit; drum hilf,

Dass wir sie auch empfangen.


Zum fünften: O mein Gott, mein Gott,

Wie lässt du mich so in der Not?

Hier wirst du, Herr, verlassen,

Dass uns Gott wieder dort aufnehm’.

Den Trost lass uns wohl fassen.


Zum sechsten: Hiermit ist vollbracht

Und alles nunmehr gutgemacht.

Gib, dass wir auch durchdringen,

Und was du, Herr, uns auferlegt,

Hilf seliglich vollbringen.


Zum siebenten: Ich meine Seel’

O Gott, mein Vater, dir befehl’

Zu deinen treuen Händen.

Dies Wort sei unser letzter Wunsch,

Wenn wir das Leben enden.


Wer oft an diese Wort’ gedenkt,

Wenn seine Missetat ihn kränkt,

Der wird es wohl geniessen;

Denn er durch Gottes Gnad’ erlangt

Ein ruhiges Gewissen.


Verleih uns dies, Herr Jesu Christ,

Der du für uns gestorben bist!

Gib, dass wir deine Wunden,

Dein Leiden, Marter, Kreuz und Tod

Betrachten alle Stunden!


This hymn of pre-Reformation origin is credited to Johann Böschenstain. According to Wackernagel it first appeared in a leaflet, c. 1515, in nine stanzas beginning “Da Jesus an dem Kreutze stund.” It has erroneously been called a translation from the Latin hymn of Peter Bolandus “Stabat ad lignum crucis.” The hymn appeared in a new form in the Hanover Gesangbuch, 1646, in ten stanzas, beginning “Da Jesus an des Kreuzes Stamm.”

The translation is based on that by Frances E. Cox in her Sacred Hymns from the German, 1841. The translation of the last stanza was composed by W. Dallmann, B. H. Hemmeter, and Oscar Kaiser, in 1906, for the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1912. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Our Father, by whose name  187



Our Father, Thou in heaven above  383

Vater unser im Himmelreich,

Der du uns alle heissest gleich

Brüder sein und dich rufen an

Und willst das Beten von uns hab’n,

Gib, dass nicht bet’ allein der Mund,

Hilf, dass es geh’ von Herzensgrund!


Geheiligt werd’ der Name dein,

Dein Wort bei uns hilf halten rein,

Dass auch wir leben heiliglich,

Nach deinem Namen würdiglich.

Behüt uns, Herr, vor falscher Lehr’,

Das arm’ verführte Volk bekehr!


Es komm’ dein Reich zu dieser Zeit

Und dort hernach in Ewigkeit;

Der Heil’ge Geist uns wohne bei

Mit seinen Gaben mancherlei;

Des Satans Zorn und gross’ Gewalt

Zerbrich, vor ihm dein’ Kirch’ erhalt!


Dein Will’ gescheh, Herr Gott, zugleich

Auf Erden wie im Himmelreich;

Gib uns Geduld in Leidenszeit,

Gehorsam sein in Lieb’ und Leid;

Wehr und steur allem Fleisch und Blut,

Das wider deinen Willen tut!


Gib uns heut’ unser täglich Brot,

Und was man braucht zur Leibesnot;

B’hüt uns, Herr, vor Unfried’ und Streit,

Vor Seuchen und vor teurer Zeit,

Dass wir in gutem Frieden stehn,

Der Sorg’ und Geizes müssig gehn!


All unsre Schuld vergib uns, Herr,

Dass sie uns nicht betrübe mehr,

Wie wir auch unsern Schuldigern

Ihr’ Schuld und Fehl’ vergeben gern;

Zu dienen mach uns all’ bereit

In rechter Lieb’ und Einigkeit!


Führ uns, Herr, in Versuchung nicht;

Wenn uns der böse Geist anficht

Zur linken und zur rechten Hand,

Hilf uns tun starken Widerstand,

Im Glauben fest und wohlgerüst’t

Und durch des Heil’gen Geistes Trost.


Von allem Übel uns erlös,

Es sind die Zeit und Tage bös;

Erlös uns von dem ew’gen Tod

Und tröst uns in der letzten Not;

Bescher uns auch ein selig End’,

Nimm unsre Seel’ in deine Händ’!


Amen, das ist, es werde wahr!

Stärk unsern Glauben immerdar,

Auf dass wir ja nicht zweifeln dran,

Was wir hiermit gebeten hab’n

Auf dein Wort in dem Namen dein;

So sprechen wir das Amen fein.


Martin Luther first published this hymn in 1539. It apparently appeared originally as a broadsheet and was also included in Valten Schumann’s Geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, in the same year, together with the tune. Each stanza elaborates one of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, the doxology excepted, and the last is on the Amen. We hold this to be Luther’s finest hymn, placing it above his “Ein’ feste Burg” and his “Aus tiefer Not.” It is found in English as early as 1560 in Psalmes of David, by R. Cox, and in the 1568 edition of John Wedderburn’s Gude and Godlie Ballates. It was added to the Scottish Psalter in 1595. This is the earliest English version (by Cox or Coxe) that we have been able to find and begins with this stanza:


Our Father, which in heaven art,

And mak’st us all one brotherhood,

To call upon Thee with one heart

Our heavenly Father and our God,

Grant we pray not with lips alone,

But with our heart’s deep sigh and groan.


The translation is composite. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

THIS hymn, based upon the Lord’s Prayer, appeared in Valten Schumann’s Geistliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1539. It has the following title: Das Vater unser kurtz ausgelegt und in Gesangweise gebracht durch Doctor Mart. Luther. The hymn, however, is somewhat older than the date of publication indicates. It is mentioned in a church document of Naumburg, in 1537, and is found together with the melody in a manuscript written by Johann Walther, which, according to Luther himself, was presented to him by Walther in 1530. This manuscript is printed in Otto Kade’s Luther Codex vom Jahr 1530, Dresden, 1871. The hymnologist Fr. Spitta seeks to prove that Luther wrote it as early as 1519. Nutzhorn says: “It is recognized as one of Luther’s best hymns. It has gained great favor and is extensively used in Germany, where it has been given a place in all the Lutheran hymn books and in many Reformed and Catholic hymnals as well.”—There are at least ten English translations, of which the oldest dates from the 16th century. Our present version was rendered by Miss Winkworth for her Chorale Book for England, 1863.—It was first rendered into Danish in 1553 for Hans Tausen’s Hymn Book. This Danish translation, with a few minor changes, was adopted by the later hymnals until Guldberg’s time. Landstad prepared a very good version of the old translation. Grundtvig rendered two translations; the last one dating from the year 1854, “Gud Fader god i Himmerig,” a very free rendering. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Our Father, throned in heaven above  384

THIS hymn was published in Guthrie’s Sacred Lyrics, 1869. The three short stanzas are based on the Lord’s Prayer. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Our Lord and God, O bless this day  514

Lad denne Dag, o Herre Gud,

For os velsignet være!

Fra Naadens Favn stød ingen ud

Af disse vore Kjære!

Vi for dit Aasyn staa,

Og bede, Store, Smaa:

Se, Fader, til os ned

I al din Miskundhed,

Og lad din Aand os styrke!


Sign Ordet i de Unges Mund

Dets Kraft i Hjertet brænde,

At de vor Tro og Troens Grund

Sandfærdig maa bekjende!

Engang de bares frem,

Og du velsigned dem;

Du tog de Smaa i Favn,

De døbtes i dit Navn,

O, kjendes ved dem, Herre!


Lad dem, som fæste vil sin Pagt,

Dit Fader-Hjerte finde,

Og lad det Ja, her vorder sagt,

Dem aldrig gaa af Minde!

Men svag er doe enhver

Til Strid mod Helveds Hær,

Styrk med din Kraftes Haand

Hver ærlig Sjæl og Aand

Til Enden tro at blive!


Engang de ud fra Fædrebo

Omkring i Verden vanker,

Da väre Daab og kristen Tro

Det arme Hjertes Anker!

Vel den, som sandt faar sagt:

Jeg staar med Gud i Pagt!

Den veed sig ei forladt,

Som Haab til Gud har sat,

De Faderløses Fader.


THIS hymn is a free rendering of Bishop Brun’s “Gud Fader, Sön, og Helligaand, vi for din Throne knæle.” It appeared in five stanzas in Evangeliske Sange, Bergen, 1786. The hymn was revised for the Evangelical Christian Hymnal, 1797, and this version was made use of by Landstad. (Notes on J. N. Brun may be found under No. 46.) Our English translation is by G. T. Rygh (stanzas 1 and 4) and by C. A. Døving (stanzas 2 and 3). [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Our table now with food is spread  601

SMALL Children’s Prayer or Grace before Meals was published in Kingo’s Aandelige Sjungekors anden Part, 1689. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Our thanks and praise to Thee be given*  545

(See: Lord God, to Thee we all give praise)


Out of the deep I call  453

Henry W. Baker published this hymn in the appendix to the original edition, of Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1868. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]


Out of the depths I cry to Thee  452

Aus tiefer Not schrei’ ich zu dir.

Herr Gott erhör mein Rufen;

Dein’ gnädig’ Ohren kehr zu mir

Und meiner Bitt sie öffen!

Denn so du willst das sehen an,

Was Sünd’ und Unrecht ist getan,

Wer kann, Herr, vor dir bleiben?


Bei dir gilt nichts denn Gnad’ und Gunst,

Die Sünde zu vergeben;

Es ist doch unser Tun umsonst

Auch in dem besten Leben.

Vor dir niemand sich rühmen kann,

Des muss dich fürchten jedermann

Und deiner Gnade leben.


Darum auf Gott will hoffen ich,

Auf mein Verdienst nicht bauen;

Auf ihm mein Herz soll lassen sich

Und seiner Güte trauen,

Die mir zusagt sein wertes Wort,

Das ist mein Trost und treuer Hort,

Des will ich allzeit harren.


Und ob es währt bis in die Nacht

Und wieder an den Morgen,

Doch soll mein Herz an Gottes Macht

Verzweifeln nicht noch sorgen.

So tu’ Israel rechter Art,

Der aus dem Geist erzeuget ward

Und seines Gott’s erharre.


Ob bei uns ist der Sünden viel,

Bei Gott ist viel mehr Gnade,

Sein’ Hand zu helfen hat kein Ziel,

Wie gross auch sei der Schade.

Er ist allein der gute Hirt,

Der Israel erlösen wird

Aus seinen Sünden allen.


Martin Luther wrote this metrical paraphrase of Ps. 130 in 1523, in four stanzas, and published it in Etlich cristlich lider, Wittenberg, 1524, and in Eyn Enchiridion, Erfurt, 1524. Stanza 2 of this version was then rewritten as Stanzas 2 and 3 and an improved five-stanza form was published in Johann Walther’s Gegstliche gesangk Buchleyn, Wittenberg, 1524. It was also included in Luther’s Christliche Geseng zum Begrebnis, Wittenberg, 1542.

On May 9, 1525, this hymn was sung at the funeral of Luther’s friend and patron Frederick the Wise in the Castle Church at Wittenberg. Like Watts’s “Our God, our Help in ages past,” this hymn is very appropriate at a Christian buriaI. This hymn was also sung at Halle, in 1546, when Luther’s body was being brought from Eisleben to Wittenberg. When Luther, during the Diet of Augsburg, had to remain at Coburg, where he was constantly kept in touch with the trend of events, he frequently became very anxious about the fate of his cause. Then he would gather the servants of the castle about him and say: “Come, let us, despite the devil, sing ‘Aus tiefer Not schrei’ ich zu dir’ and thereby praise and glorify God!”

The fine tune:”Aus tiefer Not,” also called “De profundis,” “Luther’s 130th,” is possibly by Luther himself. It appeared with the five-stanza form in 1524. J. S. Bach built his cantata Aus tiefer Not schrei’ ich zu dir for the Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity on this hymn.

This hymn is considered by many to be Luther’s best production. It ranks with the finest Gerrnan psalm versions, according to Julian. [Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal]

OUT of the depths I cry to Thee,” is based upon Psalm 130 and is one of the first hymns written by Luther. There are two German redactions of this hymn, one containing five stanzas and the other four. The common opinion has been that, when he, in 1523, began the work of furnishing German hymns for the congregation, he composed this hymn of four stanzas, and that he added the fifth stanza during the following year. Later investigations, however, have brought out what seems to be a reasonable conclusion, namely, that the latter form of five stanzas based upon the Psalm of David and also containing references to “justification by faith,” as expounded in Romans, was written at an earlier period, possibly during violent spiritual struggles. while the version containing four stanzas is taken to be a later revision for church use. The shorter form was printed in Erfurt Enchiridion and in the so-called Achtliederbuch, 1524, while that of five stanzas was published in Johann Walther’s hymn collection, which appeared in Wittenberg during the same year and which Luther helped to prepare. The version containing five stanzas passed over into most of the Lutheran hymn books. The Strassburger hymn book of 1541 gives this hymn the following title: a Hymn of Prayer and Supplication concerning the Forgiveness of Sins, together with a comforting Confession of Faith and an unflinching Trust in the Grace and Goodness of God.

The hymn gained favor at once and is found in most of the leading hymn books in the Protestant countries.

When Luther, during the Diet of Augsburg, had to remain at Coburg, where he was kept informed of the trend of events, it often happened that he was on the verge of a collapse. He would then call the servants and say: “Come, let us, despite the devil, sing ‘Out of the depths I cry to Thee,’ and thereby praise and glorify God.” Many have testified concerning this hymn, how it has given them great comfort in trouble. When the pious Pastor Huber, of the church of St. Peter, Copenhagen, 1765, during his last days was visited by a friend, he was found weighed down by grief and would not be comforted. Being cheerful and glad, the following day, Huber explained that during the previous evening he had sought for something in himself which might testify to his advantage before God, but had found nothing whatsoever. It was this feeling of extreme spiritual poverty which had weighed him down with grief. But the second stanza of Luther’s hymn had come to his mind:

Thy sovereign grace and boundless love, Make Thee, O Lord, forgiving;

My purest thoughts and deeds but prove Sin in my heart is living:

None guiltless in Thy sight appear;

All who approach Thy throne must fear, and humbly trust Thy mercy.

The words of this stanza brought his thoughts back again to the source of comfort.

An incident of interest happened in Magdeburg, 1524. An old linen-weaver stood in the market place and sang this hymn to a number of interested listeners and sold copies of the hymn. He was arrested by Lubin, the burgomaster. A large number of the citizens gathered at the town hall and demanded his release, which was granted at once. (See Vol. I, under No. 29.) This has been a favorite hymn at funerals. It was included by Luther in the collection entitled, Christian Hymns in Latin and German for Use at Funerals. It was sung when the elector, Frederick the Wise, was buried in the Castle Church of Wittenberg, May 9, 1525. When Luther’s body, on the 20th of February, 1546, was brought from Eisleben to Wittenberg and the casket remained over night in the church of Halle, a large number of people gathered in the church and sang, “Out of the depths I cry to Thee.”

This hymn was translated into Danish by Claus Mortensen for his Messebog, 1528. This version was used in all the later Danish hymn books with the exception of Den evangelisk-christelige. There are over 20 English translations. The rendering found in The Lutheran Hymnary is taken from the New Congregational Hymn Book, 1859. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]


Over Kedron Jesus treadeth  295


THIS hymn “concerning the bloody sweat of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane” was printed first in En ny Kirke-Psalme-Bog (Vinterparten), 1689. It was later included in Kingo’s authorized hymn book of 1699. For this hymn Ludvig Lindeman composed one of his best church melodies. The English translation was rendered by J. Jeffrey in 1880. (For notes on Kingo, see Vol. I, No. 37.) [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



For this hymn Ludvig Lindeman composed one of his best church melodies. [Dahle, Library of Christians Hymns]



Bethany Lutheran College, located in Mankato, Minnesota, provides Christian higher education in a challenging academic environment where personal mentoring guides students to pursue knowledge, truth, and discernment for productive and fulfilling lives.