BWV 168 Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort

Ninth Sunday after Trinity.

Salomo Franck, Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer ... in geistlichen Cantaten (Weimar, 1715); Facs: Neumann T, p. 281.

6. Bartholomäus Ringwaldt, verse 8 of "Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut," 1588 (Wackernagel, IV, #1523).

29 July 1725, Leipzig?

BG 33; NBA I/19.

1. Aria (B)

Make a reck'ning!(1) Thund'rous word,
Which e'en rocky cliffs split open,
Word by which my blood grows frigid!
Day of reck'ning! Soul, go forth!
Ah, thou must God make repayment
Of his blessings, life and body.
Make a reck'ning! Thund'rous word!

2. Recit. (T)

It is but borrowed wealth
That I in this my life am holding;
Soul, being, will and blood
And post and rank, all by my God are given;
They are mine to care for
And ever faithfully to manage,
From lofty hands received in trust.
Ah! Oh alas! I shake
Whenever I my conscience enter
And then in my accounts so many flaws discover!
I have both day and night
The many things which God hath lent me
Indifferently consumed!
How can I then, O righteous God, escape thee?
I cry aloud and weep:
Ye mountains, fall! Ye hill tops, cover me(2)
From God's own wrathful judgment
And from the flashing lightning of his vision!

3. Aria (T)

Principal and interest also,
These my debts, both large and small,
Must one day be reckoned up.
All for which I’m yet indebted
Is in God’s own ledger written
As in steel and adamant.

4. Recit. (B)

But yet, O frightened heart, live and despair thou not!
Step gladly ’fore the court!
And if thy conscience should convict thee,
Thou must be here constrained to silence;
Behold thy guarantor,
He hath all debts for thee erased!
 It is repaid and fully wiped away
What thou, O man, thy reck’ning art still owing;
The lamb’s own blood, O love most mighty!,
Hath all thy debt now canceled
And thee with God hath settled. It is repaid, thy balance cleared! And meanwhile,
Since thou know’st
That thou a steward art,
Thus be concerned and ever mindful
That thou make prudent use of Mammon
To benefit the poor;
Thus shalt thou, when both time and life have ended,
In heaven’s shelter rest secure.

5. Aria (S, A)

Heart, break free of Mammon’s fetters,
Hands now, scatter good abroad!
Make ye soft my dying pallet,
Build for me a solid house,
Which in heaven ever bideth
When earth’s wealth to dust is scattered.

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

So strengthen me thy Spirit’s joy,
Heal me with this thy wounding,
Wash me with this thy dying sweat
In my life's final hours;
And take me then, whene’re thou wilt,
In true believing from the world
To thine own chosen people.

1. Cf. Lk. 16:2. It is characteristic of Salomo Franck that the imagery of the cantata is drawn from the language of finance.

2. Cf. Lk. 23:30.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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