BWV 76 Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes

Second Sunday after Trinity (later, Reformation).

Poet unknown, possibly Christian Weiss.

1. Ps. 19:1 and 3; 7. Martin Luther, verse 1 of an imitation of Ps. 67 (Wackernagel, III, #7); 14. Martin Luther, verse 3 of "Es soll uns Gott genädig sein," 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #7).

6 June 1723, Leipzig; Part One, again 31 October 1724 or 1725, Leipzig.

BG 18; NBA I/16.


Part One

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

The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament publisheth all his handiwork.
There is neither language nor speaking, for one cannot perceive their voices.

2. Recit. (T)

Himself doth God leave not unproven!
Both grace and nature to all mankind proclaim:
This, all this, did, yea, God achieve
So that the heavens waken
And soul and body have their motion.
God hath himself to you inclined
And calls through heralds passing count:
Rise, come ye to my feast of love!

3. Aria (S)

Hear, ye nations, God's voice calling,
Haste ye to his mercy's throne!

    Of all things the root and limit
    Is his one begotten Son:
    That all nature to him gather.

4. Recit. (B)

Who, though, doth hear,
When now the greatest numbers
To other gods give heed?
The ancient idols' wayward lust
Controls the human breast.
The wise are brooding foolishness,
And Belial(1) sits firm in God's own house,
For even Christians, too, from Christ are running.

5. Aria (B)

Get hence, idolatrous band!

    Though all the world be perverted,
    Will I still Christ render honor,
    He is the light of the mind.

6. Recit. (A)

Thou didst us, Lord, from ev'ry pathway
To thee call forth
When we in darkness sat amongst the heathen.
And, just as light the air
Makes radiant with new life,
Thou hast illumined and renewed us,
Yea, with thyself both nourished and refreshed us,
And thine own Spirit given,
Who dwells within our spirits ever.
Therefore, let this our pray'r most humbly come to thee:

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

May to us God his mercy show
And his salvation give us;
His face on us with radiant beams
Pour light for life eternal,
That we discern his handiwork;
And what on earth he loveth
And Jesus Christ's own healing strength
Be known to all the nations
And they to God converted!

Part Two

8. Sinfonia

9. Recit. (B)

God bless then all the faithful throng,
That they his fame and honor
Through faith and love and holiness
Make manifest and greater.
They are like heaven on earth dwelling
And must, through constant strife
With hate and with great dread,
Within this world be purifiéd.

10. Aria (T)

Hate me then, hate me full well,
O hostile race!

    Christ by faith to be embracing
    Would I all delights relinquish.

11. Recit. (B)

I feel now in my soul
How Christ to me
His love's true sweetness doth reveal
And me with manna feed,
So that amongst us here may be
The bond of loyal brothers
E'er strengthened and renewéd.

12. Aria (A)

Love, ye Christians, in your works!

    Jesus dieth for his brothers,
    Now they're dying for each other,
    For he doth them bind to this.

13. Recit. (T)

Thus ought Christianity
The love of God sing praises
And in themselves reveal it:
Until the end of time,
When heaven's righteous spirits
God and his praise are telling.

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

Let thank, O God, and give thee praise
The people in good labors;
The land bears fruit, its ways it mends,
Thy word doth thrive and prosper.
Bless us the Father and the Son,
And bless us God, the Holy Ghost,
Whom all the world should glorify,
To him pay rev'rence unexcelled
And say sincerely: Amen.


1. Hebrew, 'a thing without profit, wickedness.' In the New Testament Belial = Satan.


© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose


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