BWV 2 Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh darein

Second Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Martin Luther, verse 1 of the hymn, based on Ps. 12, 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #3); 2-5. based on verses 2-5; 6. verse 6 of the hymn.

18 June 1724, Leipzig.

BG 1; NBA I/16.


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

Ah God, from heaven look on us
And grant us yet thy mercy!
How few are found thy saints to be,
Forsaken are we wretches;
Thy word is not upheld as true,
And faith is also now quite dead
Among all mankind's children.

2. Recit. (T)

They teach a vain and false deceit,(1)
Which is to God and all his truth opposed;
And what the willful mind conceiveth,
---O sorrow which the church so sorely vexeth---
That must usurp the Bible's place.
The one now chooseth this, the other that,
And reason's foolishness is their full scope.
They are just like the tombs of dead men,
Which, though they may be outward fair,
Mere stench and mould contain within them
And all uncleanness show when opened.(2)

3. Aria (A)
God, blot out all teachings
Which thy word pervert now!

    Check, indeed, all heresy
    And all the rabble spirits;
    For they speak out free of dread
    Gainst him who seeks to rule us!

4. Recit. (B)

The wretched are confused,(3)
Their sighing "Ah," their anxious mourning
Amidst such cross and woe,
Through which the foe to godly souls deal torture,
Doth now the gracious ear of God Almighty reach.
To this saith God: I must their helper be!
I have their weeping heard,
Salvation's rosy morn,
The purest truth's own radiant sunshine bright
Shall them with newfound strength,
The source of life and hope,
Refreshen and make glad.
I will take pity on their suff'ring,
My healing word shall strength be to the wretched.

5. Aria (T)

The fire doth make the silver pure,
The cross the word's great truth revealeth.

    Therefore a Christian must unceasing
    His cross and woe with patience bear.

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

That(4) wouldst thou, God, untainted keep
Before this wicked people;
And us into thy care commend,
Lest it in us be twisted.
The godless crowd doth us surround,
In whom such wanton people are
Within thy folk exalted.



1. This line is verbatim from the hymn.

2. Cf. Mt. 23:27.

3. This line is verbatim from the hymn.

4. I.e., the "word."

© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose


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