Balthasar Hübmaier/Hymn

 

A FORGOTTEN HYMN OF HÜBMAIER'S


Much of the earliest Anabaptist literature is in the form of hymns, often crude in expression and halting in metre, but full of spiritual fervour. It would be surprising if so fertile a writer as Hübmaier had contributed nothing to this sort of literature; and still stranger, if he did write hymns, that none of them should be preserved. As a matter of fact, several of the old Anabaptist documents contain a hymn that is attributed to Hübmaier. It is not unknown, being printed in full, but anonymously, in Wackernagel's great collection,[1] vol. iii., p. 126 sq. The title there given is, "Ein preiss lied göttlichs worts" (A song in praise of God's word). As to the authorship, the editor contents himself with remarking that the hymn has been attributed without satisfactory reason to Erasmus Alber. Beck, Hoschek, and Loserth agree that the hymn is undoubtedly Hübmaier's. The text is herewith reprinted from Wackernagel, with a metrical translation, in which the attempt has been made to follow the original as closely as the exigencies of English versification would admit—at any rate, to represent fairly the spirit of the original.

Frewt euch, frewt euch in diser zeyt,
jr werden Christen alle!
Wann yetz in allen landen weyt
Gots wort her dringt mit schalle.
Est ist kein man, ders weren kan,
das habt ir wol vernummen,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
den bösen als den frummen.

Adam, Adam, du alter greysz,
wie hat es dir ergangen?
Nach deynem fall im Paradeysz
hast du von Got empfangen
Sein Götlich wort genummen an,
vnd bist dadurch erhalten,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
den jungen als den alten.

Noe, Noe, du Gottes man!
Got hat dich auszerkoren,
Das du seyn wort hast gnummen an,
hat er zu dir geschworen,
Mit wasser nit ertrincken lan,
wolt von seim zorn abweichen,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
den armen als den reichen.

Abraham, Abraham geb gut bescheyd:
er glaubet Got, seim Herren,
Das ward jm zelt zur grechtigkeyt,
seyn samen wolt er meren.
Also hat Gott den allen than,
die seinem wort vertrawen,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
den die darauff thünd bawen.

 

Loth, Loth, ein frumm Gotförchtig man,
Got thet jm zwen Engel senden,
Hiesz jn ausz Sodom zihen than
und solt sich nicht vmbwenden:
Alsbald hüb Gott zu regnen an
mit schwefel und mit feüre,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
kumbt vns allen zu steüre.

David, David, ein küng und herr,
ein man nach Gottes willen,
Hat angenummen Gottes leer,
darumb seyn wort erfüllet:
Ausz seinem stamm Got globet an,
wolt er geboren werden,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
jm himel vnd auff erden.

Jesus Christus, Marie son,
vom heyligen geyst empfangen,
Was all Propheten gsaget hon
ist als an jm ergangen:
Das hat Got als durch jn gethan,
vnd spricht "den solt jr hören!"
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
den sol wir loben vnd ehren.

Nun hört, nun hört vnd mercket mit fleysz
was vns fürter beschreiben
Im Testament auff newe weisz,
darinn sie thün verleiben,
Was vormals ye gesaget ward
von Christo vnserm herren:
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
vnd wirt sich allzeyt meren.

 

Mattheus Leui Euangelist,
ein man vom Zoll berüffen,
Der erste Cantzler worden ist,
lernet allein zu suchen
Disen Heilandt, der selber spricht
"kumpt, jr betrübten alle!"
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
mit pracht vnd grossem schalle.

Marcus, Marcus der ander ist,
der auch reichlich auszpreytet
Mirackel grosz von disem Christ,
damit er hat geleytet
Zum glauben bracht, das der allein
gerecht vnd frumm thüt machen,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
sie waynen oder lachen.

Lucas auch in die ordnung tritt,
grosz wunderthatt vns zeyget,
Zu schreiben ausz ist er der drit,
wie hoch vns Gott sey geneyget,
Das er vns schickt von hymel herab
seyn Son freundtlich lest locken,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
wer das nicht glaubt, müsz pocken.

Johannes, Johannes, der Jüngling schon,
ist auch der vierdte worden,
Das Wort er fürt in gleichem thon,
lert vns den Christen orden
Mit glaub vnd lieb beweysen recht
vnd sunst anders nicht suchen,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
es hilfft kein scharrn noch puchen.

 

Saulus, Paulus, erweltes fasz,
ist erst der rechte keren,
Der vns erregt den neid vnd hasz,
darnon so zornig werden
Die welt vnd jr grosz hoffgesind,
die also toben vnd wüten:
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
vor den wirdt ers behüten.

O Paul, O Paul, was richstu an
mit deinem theüren schreiben?
Menschlich vernunfft hoch sichtest an,
wilt ire werck vertreiben,
Allein den glauben richten auff,
der sols alles auszrichten,
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
wie wol sie es vernichten.

Petrus, Judas vnd Jacobus
folgen auch diser lere,
Das sie vns lernen rew vnd büsz
durch Christum vnsern Herren,
Auff den sie all vns weysen thon:
on jn wirt nit geholffen!
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
vor Löwen, Beren vnd Wolffen.

Ach mensch, ach mensch, nu schick dich drein
lasz deinen dunckel faren
Und glaub der schrifft vnd worten sein,
damit du mögst bewaren
Dein gwissen vnd auch all dein thon
trewlich darauff verlassen:
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
zeygt vns den weg vnd strassen.

 

O Jhesu Christ, du Gottes son,
las vns nit von dir weychen!
Das vns nit werd ein böser lon,
so menschen leer her streychen
Mit schöner gestalt vnd wüterichs gwalt
zu tilgen deynen namen;
Dann Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan
von nun vnd ewig, Amen.

Lobt Gott, lobt Gott in eynigkeyt,
jr Christen all gemeyne!
Das er seyn wort hatt auszgepreyt,
das ist seyn werck alleyne.
Keins menschen wan nicht helffen kan,
wie hoch er sey mit namen,
Dan Gottes wort bleybt ewig stan,
Nun singen wir fröhlich, Amen!

Rejoice, rejoice, ye Christians all,
And break forth into singing!
Since far and wide on every side
The word of God is ringing.
And well we know, no human foe
Our souls from Christ can sever;
For to the base, and men of grace,
God's word stands sure for ever.

O Adam, Adam, first of men,
What future did fate send you?
After your fall in Paradise
How did your God befriend you?
His holy word from him you heard,
That word which faileth never,
To tend'rest age, to hoary sage,
God's word stands sure for ever.

O Noah, Noah, man of God,
Thy God hath thee selected
And sworn to thee an oath, since thou
His word hast not rejected:
"With flood again to drown all men
My wrath shall hasten never";
To swollen pelf, to want itself,
God's word stands sure for ever.

And Abraham believed his God,
And so, for his devotion,
His faith became his righteousness,
His seed like sands of ocean.
Thus has God done for every one,
Who trust him perish never;
To every one who builds thereon
God's word stands sure for ever.

 

And Lot, devout, God-fearing man,
Two angels came to find him,
And lead him out from Sodom safe,
Nor should he look behind him.
God's fiery flood therein withstood
No living thing whatever;
All men, like Lot, must pay their scot,
God's word stands sure for ever.

O David, David, king and lord,
A man of God's own choosing,
God's truth he hid within his heart
Beyond all fear of losing.
From David's seed Christ should proceed,
He swore who changeth never;
In heaven and on earth the same
God's word stands sure for ever.

Jesus the Christ, of Mary born
And of the Holy Spirit,
What all the prophets promisèd
We shall in him inherit.
"Hear him," the call of God to all,
To save us his endeavour;
To him all praise and honour raise—
God's word stands sure for ever.

Now hear, now hear, and mark with care
What else for us is written,
And learn from his new Covenant
What more to do we're bidden.
And what of old has been foretold
Of Christ our Lord and Saviour;
To latest hour, in vaster power,
God's word stands sure for ever.

 

Matthew, the first evangelist,
From Roman service taken,
Has now become chief counsellor
And has his sins forsaken;
Hears Jesus call, who says to all,
"Follow with best endeavour."
In ample fame, always the same,
God's word stands sure for ever.

And Mark, yes, Mark, the second is,
And richly he has taught us
The knowledge of that mighty power
Wherewith our Lord has brought us
To faith in God, to which is owed
All goodness whatsoever;
For all men's tears, for all men's jeers,
God's word stands sure for ever.

Luke also follows in the train
And tells the gospel story:
The wondrous works of Christ, and how
From heaven the God of glory
To men undone has sent his Son
That men might perish never;
Believe we must, or bite the dust,
God's word stands sure for ever.

And John, the fourth evangelist,
A youth of wondrous beauty,
Reveals to us the Word divine
And teaches us our duty.
With faith and love your calling prove
And seek no other lever;
It gives no aid to hoe or spade,
But God's word stands for ever.

 

And Saul, God's chosen vessel he,
His early sin repented:
He stormed and strove against the saints
As if he were demented.
In vain the age 'gainst us shall rage,
Our souls from Christ to sever;
In time of ill our stronghold still,
God's word stands sure for ever.

O Paul, O Paul, what fruit of all
Thy writings in their season!
The truth thou hast declared shall stand
Against all human reason.
Sin is o'erthrown by faith alone,
And, though the great and clever
Were all employed to make it void,
God's word stands sure for ever.

And Peter, Jude, and James, all three
Do follow in this teaching;
Repentance and confession they
Through Christ our Lord are preaching
In him men must put all their trust,
Or they shall see God never;
The wolf may tear, the lion, bear,—
God's word stands sure for ever.

Ah, man, blind man, now hear the word,
Make sure your state and calling;
Believe the Scripture is the power
By which we're kept from falling.
Your valued lore at once give o'er,
Renounce your vain endeavour;
This shows the way, no longer stray,
God's word stands sure for ever.

 

O Jesus Christ, thou Son of God,
Let us not lack thy favour,
For what shall be our just reward
If the salt shall lose its savour?
With angry flame to efface thy name
In vain shall men endeavour;
Not for a day, the same for aye,
God's word stands sure for ever.

Praise God, praise God in unity,
Ye Christian people sweetly,
That he his word has spread abroad—
His word, his work completely.
No human hand can him withstand,
No name how high soever;
And sing we then our glad Amen!
God's word stands sure for ever.


  1. Das Deutsche Kirchenlied, three vols., Leipzig, 1870.