Dear Christians, let us now rejoice,
And dance in joyous measure;
That, of good cheer, and with one voice,
We sing in love and pleasure
Of what to us our God hath shown,
And the sweet wonder he hath done:
Full dearly hath he bought it!
Forlorn and lost in death I lay
A captive to the devil;
My sin lay heavy, night and day,
For I was born in evil.
I fell but deeper for my strife
There was no good in all my life,
For sin had all-possessed me.
My good works they were worthless quite,
A mock was all my merit;
My free will hates God's judging light,
To all good dead and buried.
Me to despair my anguish drove,
Down unto death my soul did shove:
I must be plunged in hell-fire!
Then God was sorry on his throne
To see such torment rend me;
His tender mercy he thought on,
And his good help would send me.
He turned to me his father-heart:
Ah, then was His no easy part;
His very best it cost him!
To his dear son he said: Go down;
Things go in piteous fashion;
Go thou, my heart's exalted crown,
Be the poor man's salvation.
Lift him from out sin's scorn and scathe;
Strangle for him that cruel Death,
And take him to live with thee.
The son he heard obediently;
And, by a maiden mother,
Pure, tender--down he came to me,
For he must be my brother!
Concealed he brought his strength enorm,
And went about in my poor form,
Meaning to catch the devil.
He said unto me: Hold by me,
Thy matters I will settle;
I give myself all up for thee,
And I will fight thy battle.
For I am thine, and thou art mine,
And my house also shall be thine;
The enemy shall not part us.
Like water he will shed my blood,
Of life my heart bereaving;
All this I suffer for thy good--
That hold with firm believing;
My Life shall swallow up that Death;
My innocence bears thy sins, He saith,
So henceforth thou art happy.
To heaven unto my Father high,
From this life I am going;
But there thy master still am I,
My spirit on thee bestowing,
Whose comfort shall thy trouble quell,
And teach thy heart to know me well,
Thee into all truth guiding.
What I have done, what I have said,
Thou must go doing, teaching;
That so the kingdom of God may spread,
To His praise all men reaching.
But take heed what men bid thee do--
That will corrupt the treasure true:
With this last word I leave thee. Amen.