BWV 165 O heilges Geist- und Wasserbad


Salomo Franck, Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer ... in geistlichen Cantaten (Weimar, 1715); Facs: Neumann T, p. 279.

6. Ludwig Helmbold, verse 5 of "Nun laßt uns Gott, dem Herren," 1575 (Wackernagel, IV, #932).

16 June 1715, Weimar; again 4 June 1724?, Leipzig.

BG 33; NBA I/15.

1. Aria (S)

O Holy Spirit's water bath,(1)
Which to God's kingdom doth admit us
And in the book of life inscribe us!
O stream, which every evil deed
Through its most wond'rous power drowneth
And new life unto us bestoweth!
O Holy Spirit's water bath!

2. Recit. (B)

The sin-begotten birth of Adam's curséd offspring
Hath spawned the wrath of God, both death and utter ruin.
For that which of the flesh is born
Is nought but flesh, by sin contaminated,
Polluted and infected.
The Christian, though, how blest!
Within the Spirit's bathing water
He's made a child of grace and blessing.
He clads himself in Christ
And in his guiltless silken whiteness;
He is in Christ's own blood, the purple robe of glory,
Within baptism dressed.(2)

3. Aria (A)

Jesus, who for love most mighty
In baptism hath assured me
Life, salvation, blessedness,
Help me for this to be joyful
And renew this bond of mercy
In the whole of my life’s span.

4. Recit. (B)

I have, in truth, O bridegroom of my soul,
For thou new birth didst give me,
To thee sworn ever to be faithful,
O holy lamb of God;
Yet I’ve, alas, baptism’s bond oft broken
And not fulfilled what I did promise;
Have mercy, Jesus, thou,
Be gracious unto me!
Forgive me all the sins committed,
Thou know’st, my God, how painfully I suffer
The ancient serpent’s sting,
Whose sinful bane corrupts my soul and body;
Help that I, faithful ever, choose thee,
O blood-red serpent’s form,
Now on the cross exalted,
Which every pain doth still
And me restore when all my strength hath vanished.

5. Aria (T)
Jesus, of my death the death,
Let this through my lifetime
And in my last hour’s need
‘For mine eyes to hover:
Thou my healing serpent art
For the sinful poison.
Jesus, heal my soul and spirit,
Let me life discover!

6. Chorale (S,A,T,B)
His word, baptism, supper
Help counter every mishap;
In faith the Holy Spirit
In this to trust doth teach us.

1. The sense of this line is that the sacred bath consists of Spirit and of water. It is most awkward to translate within its metrical limitations.

2. Cf. Gal. 3:27.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

Back to top