BWV 80 Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott

Reformation Sunday.

In part, Salomo Franck, Evangelisches Andachts-Opffer ... in geistlichen Cantaten (Weimar, 1715) = BWV 80a; Facs: Neumann T, p. 278.

1. Martin Luther, verse 1 of the hymn (Wackernagel, I, #210); 2. verse 2 with interpolated aria; 5. verse 3 of the hymn; 8. verse 4 of the hymn.

31 October 1724?, Leipzig; Parody: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7 ← BWV 80a/2, 3, 4, 6, 7.

BG 18; NBA I/31.

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

A mighty fortress is our God,(1)
A sure defense and armor;
He helps us free from every need
Which us till now hath stricken.
The ancient wicked foe,
Grim now his intent,
Vast might and deceit
His cruel weapons are,
On earth is not his equal.

2. Aria (B) and Chorale [Verse 2] (S)

All that which of God is fathered(2)
Is for victory intended.

    With our own might is nothing done,
    We face so soon destruction.
    He strives for us, the righteous man,
    Whom God himself hath chosen.

Who by Christ's own bloodstained flag
In baptism swore allegiance
Wins in spirit ever more.

    Ask thou who he is?
    His name: Jesus Christ,
    The Lord of Sabaoth,
    There is no other god,
    The field is his forever.

All that which of God is fathered
Is for victory intended.

3. Recit. (B)

Consider well, O child of God, this love so mighty,
Which Jesus hath
In his own blood for thee now written;
By which he thee
For war opposing Satan's host, opposing world and error,
Enlisted thee!
Yield not within thy spirit
To Satan and his viciousness!
Let not thy heart,
Which is on earth God's heav'nly kingdom,
Become a wasteland!
Repent thy guilt with grief and pain,
That Christ's own soul to thine be firm united!

4. Aria (S)

Come in my heart's abode,
Lord Jesus, my desiring!

    Drive world and Satan out,
    And let thine image find in me new glory!
    Hence, haughty cruel sin!

5. Chorale [Verse 3] (S, A, T, B)

And though the world full devils were,
And us should seek to swallow,
Yet would not be so great our fear,
Our victory shall follow.
The prince of this world,
How grim he be stirred,
Worketh us no ill,
That is, till he be killed,
One little word can fell him.

6. Recit. (T)

So stand then under Christ's own bloodstained flag and banner,
O spirit, firm,
And trusting that thy head betrays thee not,
His triumph, yea.
E'en thee the way to gain thy crown prepareth!
March gladly on to war!
If thou but God's own word
Obey as well as hearken,
Then shall the foe be forced to leave the battle;
Thy Savior is thy shield.

7. Aria (A, T)

How blessed though are those who God hold in their voices,
More blesséd still the heart which him in faith doth hold!
Unconquered it abides, can deal the foe destruction,
And shall at last be crowned when it shall death lay low.

8. Chorale [Verse 4] (S, A, T, B)

That word they must allow to stand,
No thanks to all their efforts.
He is with us by his own plan,
With his own gifts and Spirit.
Our body let them take,
Wealth, rank, child and wife,
Let them all be lost,
And still they cannot win;
His realm must be ours ever.

1. The first line of this verse follows the translation of Henry Hedge, 1852.

2. Cf. 1 Jn. 5:4.

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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