BWV 194 Höchsterwünschtes Freudenfest

Dedication of an Organ; also Trinity.

Poet unknown; PT (Leipzig, 1723); Facs: Neumann T, p. 387 (only title page preserved); PT of First Part (Leipzig, 1731); Facs: Neumann T, p. 446.

6. Johann Heermann, verses 6 and 7 of "Treuer Gott, ich muß dir klagen," 1630 (Fischer-Tümpel, I, #347); 12. Paul Gerhardt, verses 9 and 10 of "Wach auf, mein Herz, und singe," 1647 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #380), to the melody of "Nun lasst uns Gott dem Herren," 1587.

2 November 1723, Störmtal near Leipzig; 4 June 1724, ?16 June 1726 and 20 May 1731, Leipzig (First Part only); Parody: <--- BWV 194a.

BG 29; NBA I/31.


First Part

1. Chorus (S, A, T, B)

O most lovely feast of joy,
Which the Lord for his great glory
In constructed sanctuaries
Lets us gladly celebrate.
O most lovely feast of joy!

2. Recit. (B)

Unending mighty God, ah, turn thyself
To us, to thine elected, to thy people,
And to the prayers of thy servants!
Ah, let us thee
Through our most fervent singing
Our lips' oblation offer!
We dedicate our sincere hearts to thee,
Our altar's thanks.
Thou, whom no house, no temple keeps,
For thou no end or limit hast,
May thou this house thy favor give, and make thy countenance
A faithful throne of grace, a light of joy.

3. Aria (B)

What the Highest's light hath filled
Never shall in night be veiled,
What the Highest's holy nature
For his dwelling shall have chosen
Never shall in night be veiled,
What the Highest's light hath filled.

4. Recit. (S)

How could from thee, thou highest countenance,
When thine unending brilliant light
Into the dark foundations seeth,
A house thy favor find?
For creeping vanity doth here from ev'ry side come in.
Where're thy majesty doth enter,
There must the house be pure
And of this guest be worthy found.
Here human skill is vain,
So let thine eye stand ever open(1)
And fall with grace upon us;
And we will then with holy joy to thee
Our bullocks and our sacrifice of singing,
Before thy throne be laying
And lift to thee our hopes devotedly.

5. Aria (S)

Help, God, that we this achieve,
And thy fire into us come,
That it also at this moment,
As in Isaiah's mouth then,(2)
Its effective pow'r receive
And us hallowed to thee bring.

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

Holy Ghost enthroned in heaven,
Equal God eternally
With the Father and the Son both,
Of the troubled hope and joy!
All the faith which I possess
Hast thou in me set aflame;
Over me with mercy govern,
Never let thy mercy falter.

Send thy help now down upon me,
O thou noble bosom guest!
And the good work bring completion
Where thou its beginning hast.
Blow in me the spark alive
Till, when once my course is run,
I the chosen may resemble
And the goal of faith accomplish.

Second Part

7. Recit. (T)

Ye holy ones, be joyful now,
Haste, hasten, this your God to honor:
Your hearts be now exalted
To God's own glorious realm,
From where he now o'er thee,
Thou holy dwelling, watcheth
And to himself the heart made pure
From this earth's vanity he draweth.
A rank which truly blest is named
Beholds here Father, Son, and Ghost.
Come forth, ye souls which God inspireth!
Ye will now choose the finest portion;
The world can give you no refreshment,
Ye can in God alone live blest and in contentment.

8. Aria (T)

The Highest's presence here alone
Can of our joy the fountain be.
Now vanish, world and all thy pomp,
In God is our contentment found!

9. Recit. (B, S)

(B)
In truth can man to God ascend in heaven?

(S)
One's faith can the creator's ear draw to him.

(B)
It often is too weak a bond.

(S)
God leads himself and firms the hand of faith,
Its purpose to accomplish.

(B)
But how, then, when the flesh's weakness would lose courage?

(S)
The Highest's pow'r proves mighty in the feeble.

(B)
The world will surely scorn them.

(S)
Who doth God's grace possess despiseth all such scorn.

(B)
Besides this what could they be lacking!

(S)
Their only wish, their all is found in God.

(B)
God is invisible and distant:

(S)
'Tis good that this our faith doth teach us
To see one's God within the spirit.

(B)
Their flesh doth hold them captive.

(S)
The Highest's grace increaseth all their longing,
For he doth build the place where they his glory see.

(Both)
Because he faith doth now reward
And with us dwell,
With us his very children,
Thus shall the world and mortal state our gladness not diminish.

10. Aria (S, B)

Oh, how good for us it is
That now God a house hath chos'n!

    Taste and witness now as well,
    God is gracious unto you.(3)
    Pour out all your hearts to him,
    Here before God's throne and house!

11. Recit. (B)

And so come forth, thou holy congregation,
Prepare thyself for holy joy!
God dwells not only in each human breast,
He buildeth here his house.
Come forth and arm yourselves with spirit and with gifts,
That he in both thine heart and in this house take pleasure!

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

Say "yes" to my endeavors,
And help me best to counsel;
To outset, midst and finish,
Ah Lord, dispense thy favor!

Thy blessing pour upon me,
My heart be now thy shelter,
Thy word be now my portion,
Till I to heaven journey!


1. Cf. 1 Kg. 8:29.

2. Cf. Is. 6:6-7.

3. Cf. Ps. 34:9.


© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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