Friday, 18 May 2012

A Prayer for These Times: Keep Us Ever True To Thee

I came across the following lines while reading Robert Preus's The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism last night and thought it would make a good prayer for these times (also, preachers, relevant to this Sunday's Gospel, I would think) :

And ever is there something new
Devised to change Thy doctrines true;
Lord Jesus! as Thou still dost reign,
These vain, presumptuous minds restrain;

And as the cause and glory, Lord,
Are Thine, not ours, do Thou afford
Us help and strength and constancy,
And keep us ever true to Thee.

They are hymn stanzas by Nikolaus Selnecker, but I'm yet to find the full hymn (perhaps a reader knows it? maybe it appeared in this translation in a 20th C. hymnal of the Missouri Synod or Preus's old "little Norwegian synod" Update - hymn found!). I've known of Selnecker to date only as one of the authors of the Formula of Concord and an early representative of Lutheran orthodoxy, but he was evidently a hymn writer and church musician as well. From Wiki: "Nikolaus Selnecker (or Selneccer) (December 5, 1532, Hersbruck – May 24, 1592, Leipzig) was a German musician and theologian. He is now known mainly as a hymn writer. He is also known as one of the principal authors of the Formula of Concord along with Jakob Andreä and Martin Chemnitz.
At a young age he was an organist in Nuremberg. He studied under Melanchthon at the University of Wittenberg, graduating M. A. in 1554. Later he was a court preacher and musician at Dresden."

Georg Mylius, a Wittenberg professor, had this to say about him at his funeral, “He was not a weathervane or a rubberneck on the doctrine of the Christian religion, nor was he a reed, which the wind blows here and there, nor a man in impressible clothing, who would let himself be moved to all changes in religious matters for the sake of lordly favor and worldly glory, but he has remained true and faithful to a simply known and confessed truth during his lifetime and continues till his death.”
Diberlius. Realencyklopaedie. P.187, courtesy the biography at Studium Excitare.


Paul McCain said...

Hi Mark, it is beautiful hymn and one that our dear Sasse was fond of quoting. Here is the full text:

"Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide"
by Nikolaus Selnecker, 1532-1592
Translated by composite

1. Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide,
For round us falls the eventide;
Nor let Thy Word, that heavenly light,
For us be ever veiled in night.

2. In these last days of sore distress
Grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness
That pure we keep, till life is spent,
Thy holy Word and Sacrament.

3. Lord Jesus, help, Thy Church uphold,
For we are sluggish, thoughtless, cold.
Oh, prosper well Thy Word of grace
And spread its truth in every place!

4. Oh, keep us in Thy Word, we pray;
The guile and rage of Satan stay!
Oh, may Thy mercy never cease!
Give concord, patience, courage, peace.

5. O God, how sin's dread works abound!
Throughout the earth no rest is found,
And falsehood's spirit wide has spread,
And error boldly rears its head.

6. The haughty spirits, Lord, restrain
Who o'er Thy Church with might would reign
And always set forth something new,
Devised to change Thy doctrine true.

7. And since the cause and glory, Lord,
Are Thine, not ours, to us afford
Thy help and strength and constancy.
With all our heart we trust in Thee.

8. A trusty weapon is Thy Word,
Thy Church's buckler, shield and sword.
Oh, let us in its power confide
That we may seek no other guide!

9. Oh, grant that in Thy holy Word
We here may live and die, dear Lord;
And when our journey endeth here,
Receive us into glory there.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #292
Text: Luke 24:29
Author: Nikolaus Selnecker et al., 1611
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Ach bleib bei uns, Herr Jesu Christ"
Tune: "Ach bleib bei uns"
1st Published in: Geistliche Lieder
Town: Leipzig,1589

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