BWV 113 Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Bartholomäus Ringwaldt, verse 1 of the hymn, 1599 (Wackernagel, IV, #1523); 2. verse 2; 3. based on verse 3; 4. verse 4, slightly modified, with interpolated recitative; 5-7. based on verses 5, 6 and 7; 8. verse 8 of the hymn.

20 August 1724, Leipzig.

BG 24; NBA I/20.

1. Chorus [Verse 1] (S, A, T, B)

Lord Jesus Christ, thou highest good,
Thou wellspring of all mercy,
O see how I within my heart
With sorrows am sore laden
And bear the pangs of many darts,
Which in my conscience endlessly
Oppress this wretched sinner.

2. Chorale [Verse 2] (A)

Have mercy on me in such grief,
This weight lift from my bosom,
Since thou for it hast paid in full
Upon death's tree of sorrow,
That I may not with grievous woe
Amidst my sins to ruin go,
Nor evermore lose courage.

3. Aria (B)

In truth, when I before me see(1)
The wrongs I unto God committed,
How daily I've him sore offended,
I'm vexed by trembling, fear and pain.
I know my heart would now be broken,
If me thy word no hope did promised.

4. Chorale [Verse 4] and Recit. (B)

But now thy healing word assures,
Within me sweetly singing,
That this my breast,
Which once did nought but anguish know,
Shall find again new strength and courage.
My sorrow-laden heart
Perceiveth now, the many tears of pain now past,
The radiant beams of Jesus' eyes of mercy;
His word to me hath so much comfort brought,
That once again my heart doth laugh
As though it would be dancing.
How blest is now my spirit!
My conscience, faint and fearful, can me no longer torture,
Since now God all his grace hath pledged,
Who soon the faithful and the righteous
Shall heaven's manna feed,
If we but with remorseful souls
Draw nigh to Jesus' presence.

5. Aria (T)

Jesus sinners doth accept:
Soothing word of life and comfort!

    He gives to all their soul's true peace
    And calls with comfort to each one:
    Thy sin is thee forgiven.

6. Recit. (T)

The Savior sinners doth accept:
How lovely to mine ears this sentence ringeth!
He calls: Come unto me,
All ye who labor and are burdened,(2)
Come to the wellspring of all mercy,
For I have chosen you as my companions!
Upon this word I would to thee
Come forth just like the contrite taxman
And with a humble heart "God grant me mercy!" beg thee.(3)
Ah, comfort this my foolish mind
And make me through the blood which thou hast poured
From all my sins now clean,
And I will follow David(4) and Manasseh,(5)
When I like them
Have e'er in love and trust
Within mine arms of faith embraced thee
And shall a child of heaven be.

7. Aria (S, A)

Ah Lord, my God, forgive me still,(6)
For all I've done to stir thine anger,
And break the heavy yoke of sin
Which Satan now hath laid upon me,
So that my heart may rest contented
And to thy praise and fame henceforth
Be to thy word
With childlike faith and trust obedient.

8. Chorale [Verse 8] (S, A, T, B)

Firm me with thine own Spirit's joy,
Heal me with thine own wounding,
Wash me with thine own sweat of death
At my last hour's coming;
And take me then, when thou dost please,
Sincere in faith hence from the world
Unto thy chosen people!

1. This line is taken verbatim from verse 3.

2. Cf. Mt. 11:29.

3. Cf. Lk. 18:13.

4. Cf. 2 Sam. 12:13.

5. Cf. 2 Chr. 33:12-13.

6. This line is taken verbatim from verse 7.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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