BWV 114 Ach, lieben Christen, seid getrost

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity.

Poet unknown.

1. Johannes Gigas, verse 1 of the hymn, 1561 (Wackernagel, I, #511 and IV, #257), to the chorale melody "Wo Gott, der Herr, nicht bei uns hält" (cf. BWV 178); 2-3. based freely on verse 2; 4. verse 3; 5-6. based freely on verses 4 and 5; 7. verse 6 of the hymn.

1 October 1724, Leipzig.

BG 24; NBA I/23.

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

Ah, fellow Christians, be consoled,
Why are ye so despondent!
Since now the Lord doth punish us,
Let us sincerely say it:
Chastisement have we well deserved,
This must we one and all confess,
Let no one be excepted.

2. Aria (T)

Where will within this vale of sorrow
My spirit find its refuge now?

    Alone in Jesus' hands paternal
    Will I in weakness seek my refuge;
    I know no other place to go.(1)

3. Recit. (B)

O sinner, bear with patient heart
What thou through thine own fault
Upon thyself hast summoned!
Injustice dost thou drink
Like water to thyself,
And this, thy thirsting after sin,
Is for corruption here
And will lead thee to death.
For pride did long ago eat of forbidden fruit,
To be God's equal;
How oft thou risest up with proud and pompous bearing,
And must be humbled in thy turn!
Go forth, make ready now thy heart
That it may death and grave not fear,
Then comest thou through blesséd dying
Forth from thy sin's corrupt condition
To innocence and majesty.

4. Chorale [Verse 3] (S)

No fruit the grain of wheat will bear
Unless to earth it falleth;(2)
So must as well our earthly flesh
Be changed to dust and ashes,
Before it gain that majesty
Which thou, Lord Christ, for us hast made
Through thy path to the Father.

5. Aria (S)

Thou shalt, O death, make me no longer anxious.
If I through thee my freedom just accomplish,
Then I, indeed, one day must death endure.

    With Simeon will I in peace then journey,
    My Savior shall within the grave protect me
    And summon me at last transformed and pure.

6. Recit. (T)

Till then be mindful of thy spirit
And give it to theSavior's care;
Return thy body and thy limbs to
God, who himself did give them to thee.
He cares and tends.
And thus will his own love's great might
In death and life be manifest.

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

In waking or in slumbering
We are, indeed, God's children;
In Christ baptism we received,
Who can gainst Satan save us.
Through Adam to us cometh death,
But Christ frees us from eve'ry need.
For this we praise the Master.

1. Literally: "Else I know neither out nor in."

2. Cf. Jn. 12:24.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

Back to top