“The days of our years are threescore…and ten.” Psalm 90:10
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Words: Johann Georg Albinus, 1652 (Alle Menschen mnssen sterben). Stanzas 1-4, 6 & 7 translated from German to English by Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.; translator of stanza 6 is unknown. Albinus wrote this hymn for the funeral of Paul von Henssberg, a Leipzig merchant, and was sung from broadsheets, June 1, 1652.
All men living are but mortal,
Yea, all flesh must fade as grass;
Only through death’s gloomy portal
To eternal life we pass.
This frail body here must perish
Ere the heav’nly love joys it cherish,
Ere it gain the free reward
For the ransomed of the Lord.
Therefore, when my God doth choose it,
Willingly I’ll yield my life
Nor will grieve that I should lose it,
For with sorrows it was rife.
In my dear Redeemer’s merit
Peace hath found my troubled spirit,
And in death my comfort this:
Jesus’ death my source of bliss.
Jesus for my sake descended
My salvation to obtain;
Death and hell for me are ended,
Peace and hope are now my gain;
Yea, with joy I leave earth’s sadness
For the home of heav’nly gladness,
Where I shall forever see
God, the Holy Trinity.
There is joy beyond our telling,
Where so many saints have gone;
Thousands, thousands, there are dwelling,
Worshiping before the throne,
There the seraphim are shining,
Evermore in chorus joining:
“Holy, holy, holy Lord!
Triune God, for aye adored!”
Patriarchs of sacred story
And the prophets there are found;
The apostles, too, in glory
On twelve seats are there enthroned,
All the saints that have ascended
Age on age, through time extended,
There in blissful concert sing
Hallelujahs to their King.
O Jerusalem, how glorious
Dost thou shine, thou city fair!
Lo, I hear the tone victorious
Ever sweetly sounding there.
Oh, the bliss that there surprises!
Lo, the sun of morn now rises,
And the breaking day I see
That shall never end for me.
Yea, I see what here was told me,
See that wondrous glory shine,
Feel the spotless robes enfold me,
Know a golden crown is mine,
Thus before the throne so glorious
Now I stand a soul victorious,
Gazing on that joy for aye
That shall never pass away.