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This resounding hymn, ‘the Marseillaise of the Reformation’, is a version of Psalm 46 by Martin Luther (d.1546) and has provided strength and reassurance for the church in times of trial. The fourth verse may be a later addition. Thomas Carlyle (d.1881), born at Ecclefechan, he moved to Chelsea where he was celebrated as a writer and historian, and where he and his wife Jane were a focus of the literary set. His special interest was German literature. The tune ‘Ein’ Feste Burg’ was written by Luther and was much more rhythmic in the original, still found in Lutheran hymn books. (Source: churchofscotland.org.UK)

This is found in SS&S 0003 and Ancient and modern Hymn 183

 

 

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Lyric


1
A safe stronghold our God is still,
A trusty shield and weapon ;
He'll help us clear from all the ill
That hath us now o'er taken.
The ancient prince of hell
Hath risen with purpose fell ;
Strong mail of craft and power
He weareth in this hour,
On earth is not his fellow.

2
With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon were we down-ridden ;
But for us fights the proper Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, Who is this same ?
Christ Jesus is His name,
The Lord Sabaoth's Son ;
He, and no other one,
Shall conquer in the battle.

3
And were this world all devils o'er,
And watching to devour us,
We lay it not to heart so sore ;
Not they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
Look grim as e'er he will,
He harms us not a whit :
For why ? His doom is writ ;
A word shall quickly slay him.

4
God's word, for all their craft and force,
One moment will not linger,
But,spite of hell, shall have its course;
'Tis written by His finger.
And though they take our life,
Goods, honour, children, wife,
Yet is their profit small ;
These things shall vanish all,
The city of God remaineth.

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