BWV 153 Schau, lieber Gott, wie meine Feind

The Sunday after New Year's Day.

Poet unknown.

1. David Denicke, verse 1 of the hymn, 1646 (Fischer-Tümpel, II, #383); 3. Is. 41:10; 5. Paul Gerhardt, verse 5 of "Befiehl du deine Wege," 1653 (Fischer-Tümpel, III, #435); 9. Martin Moller, verses 16-18 of "Ach Gott, wie manches Herzeleid," 1587, after Bernard of Clairvaux, "Jesu dulcis memoria" (Wackernagel, I, #38).

2 January 1724, Leipzig.

BG 32; NBA I/4.

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

Behold, dear God, how all my foes,
With whom I e’er must battle,
So cunning and so mighty are
That they with ease subdue me!
Lord, if thy grace sustain me not,
Then can the devil, flesh and world
With ease to ruin bring me.

2. Recit. (A)

My dearest God, ah, grant me yet thy mercy,
Ah, help me, help this wretch now!
I'm dwelling here midst very lions and midst serpents,
And they desire for me through rage and cruelty
With no delay
My finish to accomplish.

3. Aria [Dictum] (B)

Fear have thou none, I am with thee. Waver not, I am thy God; I strengthen thee, I also help thee through this the right hand of mine own righteousness.

4. Recit. (T)

Thou dost assure, O God, unto my soul’s repose,
Encouragement when I in sorrow lie.
Ah, yet is all my torment
From day to day is e'er increasing,
For of my foes the toll is great,
Their target is my life,
Their bows are now for me strung tight,
They aim now all their shafts for my destruction,
I shall at their own hands soon perish;
God! My distress is known to thee,
And all the world is now my den of torture;
Help, Helper, help! and rescue this my soul!

5. Chorale

And though now all the devils
Thee seek to stand against,
Yet shall there be no question
That God would e’er retreat;
What he hath undertaken
And whate’er he desires,
This must at length be finished
To his intent and aim.

6. Aria (T)

Storm then, storm, afflictions’ tempests,
Rush, ye waters, down on me!
Strike, misfortune’s fires,
Fall on me together;
Foes, disturb ye my repose,
If to me God this assure:
I am thy shield and redeemer.

7. Recit. (B)

Bear up, my heart,
Endure yet all thy pain,
And let thy cross not ever crush thee!
God will full soon
In his good time refresh thee;
Remember how his Son,
Thy Jesus, while his years were tender,
Much greater woe did suffer,
When him the raging tyrant Herod
The gravest sort of deathly peril
With murder-dealing fists did press!
He scarce was come to earth then
When he was forced to flee for safety!
So come, with Jesus comfort take
And hold to this with faith:
To ev’ryone who here with Christ must suffer
Will he his paradise apportion.

8. Aria (A)

Though I must my life’s full course
Run neath cross and sorrow’s burden,
Yet it shall in heaven end.
There is nought but jubilation,
And there, too, shall Jesus transform all my sadness
To happiest pleasure, to unceasing gladness.

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

Thus will I, while I yet have life,
The cross with gladness bear to thee;
My God, make me for it prepared,
The cross will serve me all my years!

Help me my life to meet forthright,
That I my course may run complete,
Help me to master flesh and blood,
From sin and scandal keep me free!

If thou my heart in faith keep pure,
I’ll live and die in thee alone;
Jesus, my hope, hear my desire,
O Savior mine, were I with thee!

© Copyright  Z. Philip Ambrose

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