BWV 146 Wir müssen durch viel Trübsal in das Reich Gottes eingehen

Jubilate (Third Sunday after Easter).

Poet unknown.

1. Acts 14:22 (slightly altered); 8. transmitted without text; Neumann T suggests using Johann Rosenmüller or Johann Georg Albinus, verse 7 of "Alle Menschen müssen sterben," 1652 (Fischer-Tümpel, IV, #311); Wustmann supplies Gregorius Richter, verse 9 of "Lasset ab von euren Tränen," 1658 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #309).

12 May 1726 or 1728 (Dürr), or ca. 1737 (Neumann T).

BG 30; NBA I/11.


1. Sinfonia

2. Chorus [Dictum] (S, A, T, B)

We must pass through great sadness that we God's kingdom may enter.

3. Aria (A)

I would unto heaven go,
Wicked Sodom, I and thou
Are henceforth divided.

    My abiding is not here,
    For I'll live, indeed, with thee
    Nevermore at peace now.

4. Recit. (S)

Ah! Were I but in heaven now!
What threatens me not the evil world!
With weeping do I rise,
With weeping in my bed I lay me,
How treach'rous do they lie in wait!
Lord! Mark it, look at this,
They hate me so, and with no fault,
As though the world had pow'r
As well to slay me fully;
And though I live with sighing and forbear,
Forsaken and despised,
Yet doth it take in my sorrow
The greatest pleasure.
My God, this weighs me down.
Ah! Would that I,
My Jesus, e'en today
With thee in heaven were!

5. Aria (S)

I shall my tears of sorrow
With anxious bosom sow.
And still my heart's distress
To me will splendidness(1)
Upon the day of the glad harvest deliver.(2)

6. Recit. (T)

I am prepared
My cross with patience e'er to carry;
I know that all of these my torments
Won't match the splendidness
Which God unto his chosen masses
And also me will make apparent.(3)
I weep now, for the world's great tumult
At all my mourning seemeth glad.
Soon comes the time
When my heart shall rejoice;
Then shall the world without a savior weep.
Who with the foe doth strive and fight
Will have his crown then on him laid;
For God lifts no one without labor into heaven.

7. Aria (T, B)

How will I be joyful, how will I take comfort,
When all of this transient sadness is past!

    I'll gleam like the heavens, and shine like the sunlight,
    When vex shall my heavenly bliss
    No grieving, weeping, and lament.

8. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

[Ah, I have already witnessed
This enormous majesty;
Now shall I have fine adornment
In the shining robe of heav'n;
With the golden crown of honor
I shall stand before God's throne then,
And shall such great gladness see,
Which can never have an end.](4)

[For who blessed passeth thither,
Where no death will knock again,
He shall all those things obtain then
That he ever could desire.
He'll be in that stronghold sure
Where God his own dwelling hath,
He'll have in that mansion lodging
Which no misery afflicteth.](5)


1. The theme of metamorphosis from bad to good is found in each of Bach's three cantatas for Jubilate Sunday (BWV 12, 103, and 146), a theme appropriate to Acts 14:22: "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." In BWV 12/6 Regen is changed to Segen; in BWV 103/1 Traurigkeit to Freude; in the present passage Herzeleid 'heart's distress' is transformed with a play on words to Herrlichkeit 'splendidness.' Paul Gerhardt offers a pattern for this kind of word-play in the final chorale of BWV 103: Leid 'pain' is to be transformed into Freud, with ei and eu pronounced almost alike in Bach's time and region.

2. A paraphrase of Ps. 126:6.

3. Cf. Rom. 8:18.

4. The text supplied by Neumann T.

5. The text supplied by Wustmann.


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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