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The Old Time Gospel:     Select Hymns of Martin Luther

Back to the Hymns

Select Hymns of Martin Luther
(1483-1546)

All Praise to Thee, Eternal God

1. All praise to Thee, eternal God,
Who, clothed in garb of flesh and blood,
Dost take a manger for Thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.
Hallelujah!

2. Once did the skies before Thee bow;
A virgin's arms contain Thee now,
While angels, who in Thee rejoice,
Now listen for Thine infant voice.
Hallelujah!

3. A little Child, Thou art our Guest
That weary ones in Thee may rest;
Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth
That we may rise to heaven from earth.
Hallelujah!

4. Thou comest in the darksome night
To make us children of the light,
To make us in the realms divine,
Like Thine own angels, round Thee shine.
Hallelujah!

5. All this for us Thy love hath done;
By This to Thee our love is won;
For this our joyful songs we raise
And shout our thanks in ceaseless praise.
Hallelujah!

Hymn #80 from The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal.
Text: John 1:14
Author: Martin Luther, 1524, cento
Translated by: unknown, 1858
Titled: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Based on Latin sequence, 11th century, German, st. 1, 1370

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"Christ Jesus Lay in Death's Strong Bands"

1. Christ Jesus lay in death's strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God's right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah!
Hallelujah!

2. No son of man could conquer Death,
Such mischief sin had wrought us,
For innocence dwelt not on earth,
And therefore Death had brought us
Into thraldom from of old
And ever grew more strong and bold
And kept us in his bondage. Hallelujah!

3. But Jesus Christ, God's only Son,
To our low state descended,
The cause of Death He has undone,
His power forever ended,
Ruined all his right and claim
And left him nothing but the name,--
His sting is lost forever.
Hallelujah!

4. It was a strange and dreadful strife
When Life and Death contended;
The victory remained with Life,
The reign of Death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
That Death is swallowed up by Death,
His sting is lost forever.
Hallelujah!

5. Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
Whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree--
So strong His love!--to save us.
See, His blood doth mark our door;
Faith points to it, Death passes o'er,
And Satan cannot harm us.
Hallelujah!

6. So let us keep the festival
Whereto the Lord invites us;
Christ is himself the Joy of all,
The Sun that warms and lights us.
By His grace He doth impart
Eternal sunshine to the heart;
The night of sin is ended.
Hallelujah!

7. Then let us feast this Easter Day
On Christ, the Bread of heaven;
The Word of Grace hath purged away
The old and evil leaven.
Christ alone our souls will feed,
He is our meat and drink indeed;
Faith lives upon no other.
Hallelujah!

Hymn #195 from The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Acts 2:24
Author: Martin Luther, 1524, cento
Translated by: Richard Massic, 1854, alt.
Titled: Christ lag in Todesbanden
Tune: Latin melody, c. 1100

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"We All Believe in One True God"

1. We all believe in one true God,
Who created earth and heaven,
The Father, who to us in love
Hath the right of children given.
He both soul and body feedeth,
All we need He doth provide us;
He through snares and perils leadeth,
Watching that no harm betide us.
He careth for us day and night,
All things are governed by His might.

2. We all believe in Jesus Christ,
His own Son, our Lord, possessing
An equal Godhead, throne, and might,
Source of every grace and blessing.
Born of Mary, virgin mother,
By the power of the Spirit,
Made true man, our elder Brother,
That the lost might life inherit;
Was crucified for sinful men
And raised by God to life again.

3. We all confess the Holy Ghost,
Who sweet grace and comfort giveth
And with the Father and the Son
In eternal glory liveth;
Who the Church, His own creation,
Keeps in unity of spirit.
Here forgiveness and salvation
Daily come through Jesus' merit.
All flesh shall rise, and we shall be
In bliss with God eternally. Amen.

TLH #251, first tune
Text: Nicene Creed
Author: Martin Luther, 1525
Translated by: composite
Titled: Wir glauben all' an einen Gott

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"From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee"

1. From depths of woe I cry to Thee,
Lord, hear me, I implore Thee.
Bend down Thy gracious ear to me,
My prayer let come before Thee.
If Thou rememberest each misdeed,
If each should have its rightful meed,
Who may abide Thy presence?

2. Thy love and grace alone avail
To blot out my transgression;
The best and holiest deeds must fail
To break sin's dread oppression.
Before Thee none can boasting stand,
But all must fear Thy strict demand
And live alone by mercy.

3. Therefore my hope is in the Lord
And not in mine own merit;
It rests upon His faithful Word
To them of contrite spirit
That He is merciful and just;
This is my comfort and my trust.
His help I wait with patience.

4. And though it tarry till the night
And till the morning waken,
My heart shall never doubt His might
Nor count itself forsaken.
Do thus, O ye of Israel's seed,
Ye of the Spirit born indeed;
Wait for your God's appearing.

5. Though great our sins and sore our woes,
His grace much more aboundeth;
His helping love no limit knows,
Our utmost need it soundeth.
Our shepherd good and true is He,
Who will at last His Israel free
From all their sin and sorrow.

Title: #329 from The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 130
Author: Martin Luther
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir
Tune: Aus tiefer Not
1st Published in: Johann Walther's "Gesangbuechlein"
Town: Wittenberg, 1524

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"Flung to the Heedless Winds"

1. Flung to the heedless winds
Or on the waters cast,
The martyrs' ashes, watched,
Shall gathered be at last.
And from that scattered dust,
Around us and abroad,
Shall spring a plenteous seed
Of witnesses for God.

2. The Father hath received
Their latest living breath,
And vain is Satan's boast
Of victory in their death.
Still, still, though dead, they speak,
And, trumpet-tongued, proclaim
To many a wakening land
The one availing Name.

Hymn #259 from the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Acts 7: 59
Author: Martin Luther, 1523 st. 9
Translated by: John A. Messenger, 1843
Titled: Ein neues Lied wir heben an
Tune: Denby
Composer: Charles J. Dale, 1904

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"A Mighty Fortress is Our God"

1. A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing;
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On Earth is not his equal.

2. Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing;
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

3. And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim --
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure,
On little word shall fell him.

4. That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth.
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Though Him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom us forever.

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"From Heaven Above to Earth I Come"

1. "From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:

2. "To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
This little child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all the earth.

3. "This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
Who in all need shall aid afford;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free.

4. "He will on you the gifts bestow
Prepared by God for all below,
That in His kingdom, bright and fair,
You may with us His glory share.

5. "These are the tokens ye shall mark:
The swaddling-clothes and manger dark;
There ye shall find the Infant laid
By whom the heavens and earth were made."

6. Now let us all with gladsome cheer
Go with the shepherds and draw near
To see the precious gift of God,
Who hath His own dear Son bestowed.

7. Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes!
What is it in yon manger lies?
Who is this child, so young and fair?
The blessed Christ-child lieth there.

8. Welcome to earth, Thou noble Guest,
Through whom the sinful world is blest!
Thou com'st to share my misery;
What thanks shall I return to Thee?

9. Ah, Lord, who hast created all,
How weak art Thou, how poor and small,
That Thou dost choose Thine infant bed
Where humble cattle lately fed!

10. Were earth a thousand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
It yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.

11. For velvets soft and silken stuff
Thou hast but hay and straw so rough,
Whereon Thou, King, so rich and great,
As 'twere Thy heaven, art throned in state.

12. And thus, dear Lord, it pleaseth Thee
To make this truth quite plain to me,
That all the world's wealth, honor, might,
Are naught and worthless in Thy sight.

13. Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

14. My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle-song:

15. Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto us His Son hath given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.

Notes:
#85 in _The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal_
Text: Luke 2: 1-18
Author: Martin Luther, 1535
Tune: Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1855, alt.
1st published in: "Geistliche Lieder" Leipzig, 1539

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"May God Bestow on Us His Grace"

1. May God bestow on us His grace,
With blessings rich provide us,
And may the brightness of His face
To life eternal guide us
That we His saving health may know,
His gracious will and pleasure,
And also to the heathen show
Christ's riches without measure
And unto God convert them.

2. Thine over all shall be the praise
And thanks of every nation,
And all the world with joy shall raise
The voice of exultation;
For Thou shalt judge the earth, O Lord,
Nor suffer sin to flourish;
Thy people's pasture is Thy Word
Their souls to feed and nourish,
In righteous paths to keep them.

3. Oh, let the people praise Thy worth,
In all good works increasing;
The land shall plenteous fruit bring forth,
Thy Word is rich in blessing.
May God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit bless us!
Let all theworld praise Him alone,
Let solemn awe possess us.
Now let our hearts say, Amen.

Notes:
500 from Handbook to the The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 67
Author: Martin Luther, 1524
Translated by: Richard Massie, 1851, alt.
Titled: Es woll' uns Gott genadig sein
Tune: Es woll' uns Gott genadig sein
1st Published in: Deutsch Kirchenamt, Strassburg, 1525

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"We Now Implore God the Holy Ghost"

1. We now implore the Holy Ghost
For the true faith, which we need the most,
That in our last moments He may befriend us
And, as homeward we journey, attend us.
Lord, have mercy.

2. Shine in our hearts, O most precious Light,
That we Jesus Christ may know aright,
Clinging to our Savior, whose blood hath bought us.
Who again to our homeland hath brought us.
Lord, have mercy.

3. Thou sacred Love, grace on us bestow,
Set our hearts with heavenly fire aglow
That with hearts united we love each other,
Of one mind, in peace with every brother.
Lord, have mercy!

4. Thou highest Comfort in every need,
Grant that neither shame nor death we heed,
That e'en then our courage may never fail us
When the Foe shall accuse and assail us.
Lord, have mercy!

Notes:
231 from The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: John 16: 13
Author: unknown, stanza 1
Author: Martin Luther, stanzas 2-4, 1524
Translated by: composite
Titled: Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist
Tune: Nun bitten wir
Sacred melody, c. 1100

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"Isaiah, Mighty Seer, in Days of Old"

1. Isaiah, mighty seer, in days of old
The Lord of all in Spirit did behold
High on a lofty throne, in splendor bright,
With flowing train that filled the Temple quite.

2. Above the throne were stately seraphim,
Six wings had they, these messengers of Him.
With twain they veiled their faces, as was meet,
With twain in reverent awe they hid their feet,
And with the other twain aloft they soared,
One to the other called and praised the Lord:

"Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!
Holy is God, the Lord of Sabaoth!

Behold, His glory filleth all the earth!"
The beams and lintels trembled at the cry,
And clouds of smoke enwrapped the throne on high.

Notes:
249 from The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Is. 6: 1-4
Author: Martin Luther, 1526
Translated by: composite
Titled: Jessia, dem Propheten, das gescha
Tune: Jessia, dem Propheten
Composer: Martin Luther, 1526

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"O Lord, Look Down from Heaven, Behold"

1. O Lord, look down from heaven, behold
And let Thy pity waken:
How few are we within Thy Fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on every hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o'ertaken.

2. With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error's maze astounded.

3. May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us
Who proudly say: "Now, where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master."

4. Therefore saith God, "I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people's cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending."

5. As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So through God's Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

6. Thy truth defend, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of their way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our Salvation.

Notes:
260 for the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 12
Author: Martin Luther, 1523
Translated by: composite
Titled: Ach Gott vom Himmel, sieh darein
Tune: Ach Gott vom Himmel
1st Published in: "Enchiridion"
Town: Erfurt, 1524

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"Our Father, Thou in Heaven Above"

1. Our Father, Thou in heaven above,
Who biddest us to dwell in love,
As brethren of one family,
To cry in every need to Thee,
Teach us no thoughtless word to say,
But from our inmost heart to pray.

2. Thy name be hallowed. Help us, Lord,
In purity to keep Thy Word,
That to the glory of thy name
We walk before Thee free from blame.
Let no false doctrine us pervert;
All poor, deluded souls convert.

3. Thy kingdom come. Thine let it be
In time and in eternity.
Let Thy good Spirit e'er be nigh
Our hearts with graces to supply.
Break Satan's power, defeat his rage;
Preserve Thy Church from age to age.

4. Thy gracious will on earth be done
As 'tis in heaven before Thy throne;
Obedience in our weal and woe
And patience in all grief bestow.
Curb flesh and blood and every ill
That sets itself against Thy will.

5. Give us this day our daily bread
And let us all be clothed and fed.
From war and strife be our Defense,
From famine and from pestilence,
That we may live in godly peace,
Free from all care and avarice.

6. Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore,
Remove from us their burden sore,
As we their trespasses forgive
Who by offenses us do grieve.
Thus let us dwell in charity
And serve our brother willingly.

7. Into temptation lead us not.
When evil foes against us plot
And vex our souls on every hand,
Oh, give us strength that we may stand
Firm in the faith, a well-armed host,
Through comfort of the Holy Ghost!

8. From evil, Lord, deliver us;
The times and days are perilous.
Redeem us from eternal death,
And when we yield our dying breath,
Console us, grant us calm release,
And take our souls to Thee in peace.

9. Amen, that is, So shall it be.
Confirm our faith and hope in Thee
That we may doubt not, but believe
What here we ask we shall receive.
Thus in Thy name and at Thy word
We say: Amen. Oh, hear us, Lord! Amen.

Notes:
458 from the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Matt. 6:9 ff.
Author: Martin Luther
Translated by: composite
Titled: Vater unser im Himmelreich
Tune: Vater unser
1st Published in: "Geistliche Lieder"
Town: Leipzig, 1539

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"If God Had Not Been on Our Side"

1. If God had not been on our side
And had not come to aid us,
The foes with all their power and pride
Would surely have dismayed us;
For we, His flock, would have to fear
The threat of men both far and near
Who rise in might against us.

2. Their furious wrath, did God permit,
Would surely have consumed us
And as a deep and yawning pit
With life and limb entombed us.
Like men o'er whom dark waters roll
Their wrath would have engulfed our soul
And, like a flood, o'erwhelmed us.

3. Blest be the Lord, who foiledtheir threat
That they could not devour us;
Our souls, like birds, escaped their net,
They could not overpower us.
The snare is boken--we are free!
Our help is ever, Lord, in Thee,
Who madest earth and heaven.

Notes:
267 from the Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 124
Author: Martin Luther, 1524
Translated by: composite
Titled: War' Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit
Tune: War' Gott nicht mit uns
1st Published in: "Gesangbuch"
Town: Wittenberg, 1537

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"In Peace and Joy I Now Depart"

1. In peace and joy I now depart
At God's disposing;
For full of comfort is my heart,
Soft reposing.
So the Lord hath promised me,
And death is but a slumber.

2. 'Tis Christ that wrought this work for me,
My faithful Savior,
Whom Thou hast made mine eyes to see
By Thy favor.
Now I know He is my Life,
My Help in need and dying.

3. Him Thou hast unto all set forth
Their great Salvation
And to His kingdom called the earth,
Every nation,
By Thy dear and wholesome Word,
In every place resounding.

4. He is the Hope and saving Light
Of lands benighted;
By Him are they who dwelt in night
Fed and lighted.
He is Israel's Praise and Bliss,
Their Joy, Reward, and Glory.

Notes:
Text: Luke 2:29-32
Author: Martin Luther, 1524
Titled: Mit Fried' und Freud' ich fahr' dahin
Translated by: Leonard W. Bacon, 1884, alt.
1st appeared in: Geistliches Gesangbuchlein
Wittenberg, 1524

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"Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice"

1. Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice,
With exultation springing,
And, with united heart and voice,
And holy rapture singing,
Proclaim the wonders God hath done,
How His right arm the victory won;
Right dearly it hath cost him.

2. Fast bound in Satan's chains I lay.
Death brooded darkly o'er me.
Sin was my torment night and day.
In sin my mother bore me.
Yea, deep and deeper still I fell.
Life had become a living hell,
So firmly sin possessed me.

3. My own good works availed me naught,
No merit they attaining.
Free will against God's judgment fought,
Dead to all good remaining.
My fears increased till sheer despair
Left naught but death to be my share.
The pains of hell I suffered.

4. But God beheld my wretched state
Before the world's foundation.
And, mindful of His mercies great,
He planned my soul's salvation.
A father's heart He turned to me,
Sought my redemption fervently.
He gave His dearest Treasure.

5. He spoke to His beloved Son:
'Tis time to have compassion.
Then go, bright Jewel of My crown,
And bring to man salvation;
From sin and sorrow set him free.
Slay bitter death for him that he
May live with Thee forever.

6. This Son obeyed His Father's will,
Was born of virgin mother.
And God's good pleasure to fulfil,
He came to be my Brother.
No garb of pomp or power He wore,
A servant's form, like mine, He bore,
To lead the devil captive.

7. To me He spake: Hold fast to Me,
I am thy Rock and Castle;
Thy ransom I Myself will be,
For thee I strive and wrestle;
For I am with thess, I am thine,
And evermore thou shalt be mine.
The foe shall not divide us.

8. The foe shall shed my precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving.
All this I suffer for thy good
Be steadfast and believing.
Life shall from death the victory win.
My innocence shall bear thy sin;
So art thou blest forever.

9. Now to My Father I depart,
The Holy Spirit sending
And heavenly wisdom to impart
My help to thee extending.
He shall in trouble comfort thee,
Teach thee to know and follow Me,
And in all truth shall guide thee.

10. What I have done and taught, teach thou,
My ways forsake thou never.
So shall My kingdom flourish now
And God be praised forever.
Take heed lest men with base alloy
The heavenly treasure should destroy.
This counsel I bequeath thee.

Written in 1523, this was Martin Luther's First Hymn, Richard Massie, Translator.
Text Transcribed From The Handbook to the Lutheran Hymnal, pp. 277-8.

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"Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word"

1. Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the Kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.

2. Lord Jesus Christ, Thy power make known,
For Thou art Lord of lords alone;
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.

3. O Comforter of priceless worth.
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.

Notes:
TLH #261
Text: John 8: 31
Author: Martin Luther, 1541
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Titled: Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort
Tune: Erhalt uns, Herr
1st Published in: Geistliche Lieder
Town: Wittenberg, 1543

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"O Lord, We Praise Thee"

1. O Lord, we praise Thee, bless Thee, and adore Thee,
In thanksgiving bow before Thee.
Thou with Thy body and Thy blood didst nourish
Our weak souls that they may flouish:
O Lord, have mercy!
May Thy body, Lord, born of Mary,
That our sins and sorrows did carry,
And Thy blood for us plead
In all trial, fear, and need:
O Lord, have mercy!

2. Thy holy body into death was given,
Life to win for us in heaven.
No greater love than this to Thee could bind us;
May this feast thereof remind us!
O Lord, have mercy!
Lord, Thy kindness did so constrain Thee
That Thy blood should bless and sustain me.
All our debt Thou hast paid;
Peace with God once more is made:
O Lord, have mercy.

3. May God bestow on us His grace and favor
To please Him with our behavior
And live as brethren here in love and union
Nor repent this blest Communion!
O Lord, have mercy!
Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us;
Grant that heavenly-minded He make us;
Give Thy Church, Lord, to see
Days of peace and unity:
O Lord, have mercy!

Notes:
313 from The Handbook to The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Ps. 118: 1
Author: unknown, c. 1400, St. 1
Author: Martin Luther, 1524, St. 2 & 3
Translated by: composite
Titled: Gott sei gelobet und gebenedeiet
Tune: Gott sei gelobet
German melody, c. 1400

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© 1999 The Old Time Gospel Ministry
"When to seek God has become life and to glorify God has become self, then you have truly found God."