31 January 2007

Not an improvement

I've always loved singing TLH #292, st. 6:

The haughty spirits, Lord, retrain,
Who o'er Thy church with might would reign
And always set forth something new
Devised to change Thy doctrine true.

LSB #585, st. 5 lacks a bit:

Restrain, O Lord, the human pride
That seeks to thrust Your Word aside
Or with some man-made thoughts or things
Would dim the words Your Spirit sings.

We've lost the demonic element that resides in the "new" that seeks to displace the "true doctrine." Now, I've not checked the German, but it seems a weakening of the TLH version with its "Wir bleiben beim Alten!"


viekerhaus said...


We should indeed both check the German on this, but I wouldn't necessarily read TLH's "haughty spirits" as referring to the demonic--certainly not exclusively. Put in the context of Sellnecker's 16th-century Germany, this line could be read as being aimed at the prideful spirit embodied in the abuses of bishops, and most profoundly, the papacy--reigning over the church with "might" and devising new doctrines that diminish Christ and the Gospel.

IOW, such a prideful spirit usually takes action in the church through people--indeed, even people who would claim the holy name of Christ.



viekerhaus said...

Here's the German:

Den stolzen Geistern wehre doch,
Die sich mit G'walt erheben hoch
Und bringen stets was Neues her,
Zu fäelschn deine rechte Lehr'.


William Weedon said...


Don't you think that TLH skates closer to the German on that? I agree that the primary referent to "Geistern" here is the pope and crew, but the choice of that word clearly implies the demonic to my ear auf Deutsch. Of course, I'm no native speaker!

viekerhaus said...

I think the TLH does skate closer to the German. I guess it's that I've always been fond of the LW rendering. I guess you've been fond of the TLH rendering.

Oh, well . . . let's get this one right in the NEXT hymnal, okay?!


William Weedon said...

Me genoito! I don't even want to think about another hymnal and can't believe it could interest you either! Let's just be glad with what we have. In pointing out one disappointment, I was not meaning to discount in any way the countless joys - I am still delighting in the Abendmahl returning to Niccolai's piece!

Paul T. McCain said...

I wish we could have a new hymnal every two years. That would be just about right.

Chaz said...

One thing about McCain... you can always trust the pimp to be a pimp. ;-)