A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still

And though they take our life,

Goods, honor, children, wife,

Yet is their profit small;

These things shall vanish all:

The City of God remaineth

Martin Luther, A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still

When Luther wrote these things the Pope had issued a bull providing absolution to any who would take his life, goods, honor, children, wife etc. These were not pieties written from a  place of comfort and safety such as a modern, western Christian enjoys.

The rest of the hymn demonstrates faith that Christ’s church will prevail though hell (through the agency of Antichrist Rome) furiously assail it.

A safe stronghold our God is still,
a trusty shield and weapon;
he’ll keep us clear from all the ill
that hath us now o’ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
hath risen with purpose fell;
strong mail of craft and power
he weareth in this hour;
on earth is not his fellow.

With force of arms we nothing can,
full soon were we down-ridden;
but for us fights the proper Man,
whom God himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is his name,
the Lord Sabaoth’s Son;
he, and no other one,
shall conquer in the battle.

And were this world all devils o’er,
and watching to devour us,
we lay it not to heart so sore;
nor they can overpower us.
And let the prince of ill
look grim as e’er he will,
he harms us not a whit;
for why?–his doom is writ;
a word shall quickly slay him.

God’s word, for all their craft and force,
one moment will not linger,
but, spite of hell, shall have its course;
’tis written by his finger.
And though they take our life,
goods, honor, children, wife,
yet is their profit small;
these things shall vanish all:
the City of God remaineth!

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