O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort

O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort. Johann Rist* (1607-1667). This extraordinary and magnificent hymn was first published in Johann Risten himlischer Lieder (‘Das Vierdte Zehn’, 4th part, Lüneburg, 1642). It had sixteen 8-line stanzas, entitled ‘Ernstliche Betrachtung/ Der unenlichen Ewigkeit’ (‘A serious contemplation of unending Eternity’). It appeared in German hymn books until recent times, usually in shortened form, omitting stanzas 4 (‘Was acht’ ich Wasser, Feur und Schwerdt’), 7 (‘Ligt einer krank und ruhet gleich’), 8 (‘Ach was ist das? Der höllen Pein’) and 12 (‘Die Marter bleibet immerdar’). It is not found in EG, these being less spectacular times. English translations (for a list, see...

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