|Title||A mighty fortress is our God`|
|Orig. Key||C Major|
|Meter||8 7 8 7 66 66 7|
|1st Line||A mighty fortress is our God|
<midifile title="A mighty Fortress is our God (mid)">http://www.hymnopedia.com/images/7/75/A_mighty_Fortress_is_our_God.mid</midifile>
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A mighty fortress is our God
- reference(s): Ps.46
- stanza(s) 3: 1 Pet. 5:8
See PHH 468 for a brief history of the original text and tune. This English translation of Luther's German text is by Frederick H. Hedge (b. Cambridge, MA, 1805; d. Cambridge, 1890); it was published in Furness's Gems of German Verse (1852) and in Hymns for the Church of Christ (1853), a hymnal edited by Hedge and Frederick Huntington. Hedge's translation, which closely follows Luther's words, is the one usually found in North American hymnals.
Hedge was a precocious child who read Latin and Greek classics at an early age. Between the ages of twelve and sixteen he was in Germany, where he studied German literature. Educated at Harvard University and Divinity School, he became a Unitarian minister in 1829. Hedge served congregations in Maine, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, and taught church history at Harvard Divinity School (1857-1876) and German literature at Harvard University (1872-1884). A respected transcendentalist and a famous German scholar, he published the monumental Prose Writers of Germany 0848). His original hymns and translations were published in Hymns for the Church of Christ (1853), which he compiled with F. Dan Huntington. He is remembered primarily for his translation of Luther's famous hymn.
Stanzas 1-3 of the original text were inspired by Psalm 46; stanza 4 arose directly from Luther's persecution experience. The text expresses trust in God's protection amidst the battle that Christians wage against the devil. "Earthly powers" in stanza four undoubtedly referred to the Roman Catholic authorities of Luther's day, but modern Christians may identity other "powers" that oppose the rule of Christ. The closing line of the text provides much comfort: "God's truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever!"
See PHH 468.
- A mighty fortress is our God,
A sword and shield victorious,
Who breaks the cruel oppressor's rod
And wins salvation glorious.
The old satanic foe
Has sworn to work us wor!
With craft and dreadful might
He arms himself to fight.
On earth he has no equal.
- No strength of ours can match his might!
We would be lost, rejected.
But now a champion comes to fight,
Whom God alone elected.
You ask who this may be?
The Lord of hosts is he!
Christ Jesus, mighty Lord,
God's only Son, adored.
He holds the field victorious.
- Though hordes of devils fill the land
All threatn'ing to devour us,
We tremble not, unmoved we stand;
They cannot overpow'r us.
Let this world's tyrant rage;
In battle we'll engage
His might is doomed to fail;
God's judgement must prevail!
One little word subdues him.
- God's Word forever shall abide,
No thanks to foes, who fear it;
For God, our Lord, fights by our side
With weapons of the Spirit.
Were they to take our house,
Goods, honor, child, or spouse,
Though life be wrenched away,
They cannot win the day.
The Kingdom's ours forever!
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