BWV 115 Mache dich, mein Geist, bereit

Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Johann Burchard Freystein, verse 1 of the hymn, 1697, to the chorale melody "Straf mich nicht in deinem Zorn" ("Punish me not in thy wrath"), 1681; 2. based on verse 2; 3. based on verses 3-6; 4. the first two lines verbatim, the rest based on verse 7; 5. based on verses 8 and 9; 6. verse 10 of the hymn.

5 November 1724, Leipzig.

BG 24; NBA I/26.


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

Get thyself, my soul, prepared,
Watching, begging, praying,
Lest thou let the evil day
Unforeseen o'ertake thee.
For in truth
Satan's guile
Often to the righteous
With temptation cometh.

2. Aria (A)

Ah slumbering spirit, what? Still at thy rest?
Arouse thyself now!

    For well may damnation thee sudden awaken
    And, if thou not watchest,
    In slumber of lasting perdition obscure thee.

3. Recit. (B)

God, who for this thy soul doth watch,
Hath loathing for the night of sin;
He sendeth thee his gracious light
And wants for all these blessings,
Which he so richly thee assures,
Alone the open eyes of spirit.
In Satan's craft there is no end
Of charm to snare the sinner;
If thou dost break the bond of grace,
Thou shalt salvation ne'er discover.
The whole wide world and all its members
Are nought but untrue brothers;
Yet doth thy flesh and blood from them
Seek nought but flattery.

4. Aria (S)

Pray though even now as well,
Even in thy waking!(1)

    Beg now in thy grievous guilt
    That thy Judge with thee forbear,
    That he thee from sin set free
    And unspotted render.

5. Recit. (T)

He yearneth after all our crying
He bends his gracious ear to us;
When foes respond to all our woe with gladness,
We shall triumph within his might:
For this his Son, in whom we ask it,
Us strength and courage sends
And will advance to be our Helper.

6. Chorale [Verse 10] (S, A, T, B)

Therefore let us ever be
Watching, begging, praying,
Since our fear, need, and great dread
Press on ever nearer;
For the day
Is not far
When our God will judge us
And the world demolish.


1. These two lines are taken verbatim from verse 7 of the hymn.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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