God is our refuge in distress, Our strong defense and armor

Representative Text

I. God is our Refuge in Distress,
Our string Defence and Armour,
He's present, when we're comfortless,
In Storms he is our Harbour;
Th' infernal Enemy
Look! how enrag'd is he!
He now exerts his Force
To stop the Gospel-Course;
Who can withstand the Tyrant?

II. All human Power is but dust;
Our Strength an idle Story:
The Valiant Man, in whom we trust,
Is CHRIST, the Son of Glory.
He is the Conquerour,
Vested with sov'reign Pow'r.
The Lord both Great and Good,
The only living god,
Gains us the Field of Battle.

III. If all the Devl's shou'd wage the War,
In Order to destroy us,
They should not once put us in Fear;
The Vict'ry wou'd be joyous.
We dare the Prince of Hell;
With Fury let him swell;
He cannot hurt one Hair;
We shall escape the Snare;
CHRIST"S single Word can rout him.

IV. His Word puts all our Foes to Flight;
With Shame they are confounded;
For CHRIST instructs our Hands to fight;
His Spirit is unbounded:
Tho' we shou'd lose our Lives,
Fame, Children, Goods and Wives,
Destroy Hell what it can,
'Twill find but little Gain,
God's Kingdom is our Portion.

Source: Psalmodia Germanica: or, The German Psalmody: translated from the high Dutch together with their proper tunes and thorough bass (2nd ed., corr. and enl.) #138

Translator: Johann Christian Jacobi

Jacobi, John Christian, a native of Germany, was born in 1670, and appointed Keeper of the Royal German Chapel, St. James's Palace, London, about 1708. He held that post for 42 years, and died Dec. 14, 1750. He was buried in the Church of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. His publications included :— (1) A Collection of Divine Hymns, Translated from the High Dutch. Together with their Proper Tunes and Thorough Bass. London: Printed and Sold by J. Young, in St. Paul’s Churchyard; . . . 1720. This edition contains 15 hymns. Two years later this collection, with a few changes in the text and much enlarged, was republished as (2) Psalmodia Germanica; or a Specimen of Divine Hymns. Translated from the High Dutch. Together with their Proper Tunes… Go to person page >

Author: Martin Luther

Luther, Martin, born at Eisleben, Nov. 10, 1483; entered the University of Erfurt, 1501 (B.A. 1502, M.A.. 1503); became an Augustinian monk, 1505; ordained priest, 1507; appointed Professor at the University of Wittenberg, 1508, and in 1512 D.D.; published his 95 Theses, 1517; and burnt the Papal Bull which had condemned them, 1520; attended the Diet of Worms, 1521; translated the Bible into German, 1521-34; and died at Eisleben, Feb. 18, 1546. The details of his life and of his work as a reformer are accessible to English readers in a great variety of forms. Luther had a huge influence on German hymnody. i. Hymn Books. 1. Ellich cristlich lider Lobgesang un Psalm. Wittenberg, 1524. [Hamburg Library.] This contains 8 German h… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: God is our refuge in distress, Our strong defense and armor
German Title: Ein' feste burg ist unser Gott
Author: Martin Luther
Translator: Johann Christian Jacobi
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain



The original rhythms of EIN FESTE BURG (see 469) had already reached their familiar isorhythmic (all equal rhythms) shape by the time of Johann S. Bach (PHH 7) in the eighteenth century. The harmonization is taken from his Cantata 80. Many organ and choral works are based on this chorale, including…

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Instances (1 - 2 of 2)

Die Union Choral Harmonie #d56

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Psalmodia Germanica #138

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