BWV 185 Barmherziges Herze der ewigen Liebe

Fourth Sunday after Trinity.

Salomo Franck, Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer (Weimar, 1715); Facs: Neumann T, p. 280

1. Johann Agricola, the melody of the hymn, 1522?/31 (Wackernagel, III, #78); 6. verse 1 of the hymn.

14 July 1715, Weimar; again 20 June 1723, Leipzig.

BG 37; NBA I/17.



1. Aria (S, T) with Instrum. Chorale

O heart filled with mercy and love everlasting,
Stir up and arouse now my spirit with thine;
So that I may practise both goodness and mercy,
O thou, flame of loving, come soften my heart.

2. Recit. (A)

Ye hearts which have yourselves
To stony cliffs perverted,
Now melt to softness mild;
Now weigh what you the Savior teacheth,
Act, act with charity
And strive while yet on earth now
To be just like the Father!
Ah! Summon not through that forbidden judgment
Almighty God to judgment's seat,
Else will his zealous wrath destroy you.
Forgive and ye will be forgiven;
Give, give within this lifetime;
Store up a principal
Which there one day
God will repay with ample store of interest.(1)
For as ye judge, so will ye be judged also.

3. Aria (A)

Be concerned within this life,
Spirit, ample seed to scatter,
So the harvest thee may gladden
In the rich eternity
Where those who good things here have planted
Gladly there the sheaves shall gather.

4. Recit. (B)

How selfishness deceives itself!
Concern thyself
First from thine eye the beam to loosen,
Then may'st thou for the mote be also troubled
Which in thy neighbor's eye is found.(2)
If now thy neighbor be not fully pure,
Remember, thou art, too, no angel;
Amend, then, thine own failings!
How can one blind man with another
Still walk the straight and narrow?
What, will they not to their great sorrow
Fall in the pit now both together?

5. Aria (B)

This is the Christian art:
But God and self discerning,
With true affection burning,
Not, when forbidden, judging,
Nor stranger's work destroying,
One's neighbor not forgetting.
With gen'rous measure measuring:
This makes with God and men goodwill,
This is the Christian art.

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

I call to thee, Lord Jesus Christ,
I pray thee, hear my crying;
Both lend me grace within this life
And let me not lose courage;
The proper path, O Lord, I seek,
Which thou didst wish to give me:
For thee living,
My neighbor serving well,
Thy word upholding justly.


1. Cf. BWV 168/3.

2. Cf. Lk. 6:41.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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