Scripture Verse

Now thanks be unto God. 2 Corinthians 2:14

Introduction

portrait
Catherine Winkworth
1827–1878

Words: Mar­tin Rink­art, cir­ca 1636 (Nun dan­ket al­le Gott). First ap­peared in Prax­is Pi­eta­tis Me­li­ca, by Jo­hann Crü­ger (Ber­lin: 1647). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ca­the­rine Wink­worth, Ly­ra Ger­man­i­ca (Lon­don & New York: George Newnes & Charles Scrib­ner’s Sons, 1855), pag­es 318–19.

Music: Nun dan­ket at­trib­ut­ed to Jo­hann Crü­ger, 1647. Har­mo­ny by Fe­lix Men­dels­sohn, 1840 (🔊 pdf nwc). Though the tune is found Crü­ger’s Prax­is Pi­eta­tis Me­li­ca, and is at­trib­ut­ed to Crü­ger, Ca­the­rine Wink­worth be­lieved Ma­rtin Rink­art wrote the tune in 1644.

portrait
Johann Crüger
1598–1662

Origin of the Hymn

Rinkart, a Lu­ther­an min­is­ter, was in Eil­en­burg, Sax­ony, dur­ing the Thir­ty Years’ War. The walled city of Eil­en­burg saw a stea­dy stream of re­fu­gees pour through its gates. The Swed­ish ar­my sur­round­ed the ci­ty, and fam­ine and plague were ram­pant.

Eight hun­dred homes were de­stroyed, and the peo­ple be­gan to per­ish. There was a tre­me­ndous strain on the pas­tors, who had to con­duct doz­ens of fun­er­als dai­ly. Fin­al­ly, the pas­tors, too, suc­cumbed, and Rink­art was the on­ly one left—do­ing 50 fun­er­als a day.

When the Swedes de­mand­ed a huge ran­som, Rink­art left the safe­ty of the walls to plead for mer­cy. The Swed­ish com­mand­er, im­pressed by his faith and cour­age, low­ered his de­mands.

Soon af­ter, the Thir­ty Years’ War end­ed, and Rink­art wrote this hymn for a grand ce­le­bra­tion ser­vice.

It is a tes­ta­ment to his faith that, af­ter such mi­se­ry, he was able to write a hymn of abid­ing trust and gra­ti­tude tow­ard God.

Lyrics

Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voic­es,
Who won­drous things has done,
In whom this world re­joic­es;
Who from our mo­thers’ arms
Has blessed us on our way
With count­less gifts of love,
And still is ours to­day.

O may this boun­te­ous God
Through all our life be near us,
With ev­er joy­ful hearts
And bless­èd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace,
And guide us when per­plexed;
And free us from all ills,
In this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God
The Fa­ther now be giv­en;
The Son and Him who reigns
With Them in high­est Hea­ven;
The one eter­nal God,
Whom earth and Hea­ven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be ev­er­more.