of the chorales, is our hymn of the day for this coming Sunday, the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Pastor Nicolai wrote both text and tune as his parish was being decimated by a great plague. With no family not in mourning, he wrote a book on the joy that is ours in Christ, the joy of everlasting life, and appended to that book three poems, of which this is generally regarded as the greatest. Truly, here is a wondrous fulfillment of Samson's riddle: "Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet." When death was like a lion devouring his parish, Pr. Nicolai had the faith to see the lion as DEAD itself, and to bring forth from the lion's corpus this divine honey, this sublime text and tune. Also greatly beloved is Bach's fabulous setting of the second stanza of this hymn:
"Wake, awake, for night is flying,"
The watchmen on the heights are crying;
"Awake, Jerusalem, arise!"
Midnight hears the welcome voices
And at the thrilling cry rejoices:
"Oh, where are ye, ye virgins wise?
The Bridegroom comes, awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
With bridal care
To meet the Bridegroom, who is near!"
Zion hears the watchmen singing
And all her heart with joy is springing;
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
For her Lord comes down all glorious,
The strong in grace, in truth victorious;
Her star is ris'n, her light is come.
Now come, Thou Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God's own Son,
We enter all
The wedding hall
To eat the Supper at Thy call.
Now let all the heav'ns adore Thee,
Let saints and angels sing before Thee
With harp and cymbals' clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
Where, dwelling with the choir immortal,
We gather round Thy radiant throne.
No eye has seen the light,
No ear has heard the might
Of Thy glory!
Therefore will we
Sing hymns of praise and joy to Thee!