Savior of the Nations, Come

Tune: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

  1. Savior of the nations, come,
    Now made known the Virgin’s Son;
    Well may wonder all the earth:
    God ordained Him such a birth.

  2. Not of man’s blood, nor of flesh,
    Only of the Spirit blest,
    Is God’s Word true Man become,
    Fruit from woman’s body sprung.

  3. Though her womb the Child contained,
    Yet the Virgin pure remained;
    By this token forth was shown:
    God was there upon His throne.

  4. He went from His chamber fair,
    From His kingly hall so pure,
    God by nature, man by grace,
    On His way to run with haste.

  5. From the Father forth He came,
    And returned unto the same.
    Down to hell did He incline,
    Back then to His throne divine.

  6. Thou the Father’s equal art:
    Vict’ry in Thy flesh impart,
    That Thy strength divine, O Lord,
    Healing to our flesh afford.

  7. Shines Thy manger bright and clear,
    Night gives forth a new light there,
    Darkness cannot come therein,
    In that light doth faith remain.

  8. Praise to God the Father b’ done,
    Praise to God His only Son,
    Praise to God the Spirit be,
    E’er and to eternity.

Veni, Redemptor gentium
Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland
Martin Luther, 1524
Tr. Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2016


German Text

Tune: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Der Hymnus / Veni Redemptor gentium / Durch D. Mart. Luth. verdeutscht.

  1. Nu kom der heiden Heiland / der Jungfrawen kind erkand / Das sich wunder alle welt / Gott solch geburt im bestelt.

  2. Nicht von mans blut noch von fleisch / allein von dem heilgen Geist / ist Gotts wort worden ein mensch / und blüet ein frucht Weibs fleisch.

  3. Der Jungfraw leib schwanger ward / doch bleib keuscheit rein beward / Leucht erfür manch tugend schon / Gott da ward in seinem thron.

  4. Er gieng aus der kamer sein / dem könglichen saal so rein / Gott von art und mensch ein Helt / sein weg er zu lauffen eilt.

  5. Sein lauff kam vom Vater her / und kert wider zum Vater / Fur hinunter zu der hell / und wider zu Gottes stuel.

  6. Der du bist dem Vater gleich / für hinaus den sieg im fleisch / Das dein ewig Gotts gewalt / in uns das kranck fleisch enthalt.

  7. Dein krippen glentzt hell und klar / die nacht gibt ein neu Liecht dar / tunckel mus nicht komen drein / der glaub bleib imer im schein.

  8. Lob sey Gott dem Vater thon / Lob sey Gott seim eingen Sohn / Lob sey Gott dem heilgen Geist /
    imer und in ewigkeit / Amen.

Veni, Redemptor gentium
Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Martin Luther, 1524


Latin Text

Tune: Veni, Redemptor gentium

Hymnus Divi Amrosii

  1. Veni Redemptor gentium,
    Ostende partum Virginis,
    Miretur omne seculum,
    Talis decet partus Deum.

  2. Non ex virili semine,
    Sed mystico spiramine,
    Verbum Dei factum est caro,
    Fructusque ventris floruit.

  3. Alvus tumescit virginis,
    Claustra pudoris permanent,
    Vexilla virtutum micant,
    Versatur in templo Deus.

  4. Procedens de thalamo suo,
    Pudoris aula regia,
    Geminæ Gigas substantiæ:
    Alacris ut currat viam.

  5. Egressus eius a Patre,
    Regressus eius ad Patrem,
    Excursus usque ad inferos,
    Recursus ad sedem Dei.

  6. Æqualis æterno Patri,
    Carnis trophæo accingere,
    Infirma nostri corporis
    Virtute firmans perpetim.

  7. Præsepe iam fulget tuum,
    Lumenque nox spirat novum,
    Quod nulla nox interpolet,
    Fideque iugi luceat.

  8. Deo Patri sit gloria,
    Eiusque soli Filio,
    Cum Spiritu paracleto,
    Et nunc et in perpetuum.

Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
Source: Johann Hermann Schein, Cantional, 1645, No. 2, p. 5r


 


Martin Luther

Martin Luther, 1483–1546, portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1533


Author: Martin Luther

Wackernagel Vol. 3 No. 16

“Savior of the Nations, Come” (“Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland“) is Martin Luther’s German translation of an ancient Latin hymn written by St. Ambrose of Milan. It tended to be the first hymn listed in sixteenth-century hymnals and was traditionally sung for the first Sunday of Advent. The melody is a simplified version of the original plainchant. Though often considered to have begun with Johann Walter’s Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn, Wittenberg, 1524, the tenor line in that arrangement, while deeply beautiful, is so complex and lost in the polyphony that the melody should be said truly to originate with the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524.

"Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland," melody and first three stanzas, as they appear in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524

“Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland,” melody and first three stanzas, as they appear in the Erfurt Enchiridion, 1524

The hymn appeared as “Savior of the Heathen, Come” in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, 1927, No. 141, with the fourth stanza omitted and no translator listed. For The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, “heathen,” which had been translated from Luther’s “Heiden,” was replaced with “nations,” and the hymn was moved from the Advent section to the Christmas section, where it appears as “Savior of the Nations, Come,” No. 95. The translation there, an altered version of that by William M. Reynolds, 1860, is significantly different in some stanzas from that in the ELHB, and the fourth stanza is still missing. Further updates were added for the Lutheran Service Book, 2006, where “Savior of the Nations, Come,” No. 332, was moved back to the Advent section, and the fourth stanza was finally included. All but the first two stanzas, however, are copyright 1978 and 2006 Concordia Publishing House and so could not be used for the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book. For our text, we have provided a new translation that is faithful to Luther’s original—perhaps to a fault. The result, it is hoped, is nevertheless a complete and singable English version of Luther’s (and Ambrose’s) hymn.