Words: Martin Luther, Enchiridion (Erfurt, Germany: 1524) (Christ lag in Todesbanden). Translated from German to English by Arthur T. Russell, Psalms and Hymns (Cambridge, England: John Deighton, 1851), number 104.
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Christ in the bands of death was laid,
For our transgressions given:
He rose: the way He open made
To life, the life of Heaven.
Therefore we will now rejoice,
And praise our God with thankful voice,
And raise our hallelujah! Hallelujah!
By none of all the sons of men
Could death’s dark realm be shaken:
Sin made our strength all weak and vain:
All have of guilt partaken.
Thus came death upon us all,
And bound the fallen world in thrall
Beneath his dread dominion. Hallelujah!
But Jesus Christ, God’s only Son,
Hath in our stead descended:
O’er death our Lord the victory won,
When He transgression ended.
He destroyed death’s power and claim,
And left to death an empty name:
Away his sting has taken. Hallelujah!
How great, how wondrous was the strife!
Life was by death assailèd!
But Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life,
With conquering arm prevailèd.
This of old the seers did say,
That death should make of death a prey:
So death hath scorn endurèd. Hallelujah!
This the true, the Paschal Lamb,
Assigned to us from Heaven:
His life to love’s consuming flame
Upon the cross was given.
If on us His blood appear,
Faith holds by this, though death be near:
Subdued is the destroyer! Hallelujah!
So let us keep our holy day,
High joy our hearts o’erflowing;
The Lord Himself with heavenly ray
This day on us bestowing.
He Himself our sun doth shine
Upon our hearts with grace divine:
The night of sin fast fadeth. Hallelujah