Philipp Nicolai (1556-1608)

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Hymn #31.
“Hark, ‘tis the watchman’s cry;
Wake, brethren, wake!
Jesus our Lord is nigh;
Wake, brethren, wake!
Sleep is for sons of night;
Ye are children of the light;
Yours is the glory bright—
Wake, brethren, wake!”
So translated Miss Catherine Winkworth from the German of Philipp Nicolai.
Philipp Nicolai was born August 10, 1556 in Mengeringhausen, Germany. He was the son of a clergyman who devoted him “to God and the church.” He was given a thorough Lutheran education at Erfurt and Wittenburg and was noted as a preacher marked by piety. He was brought face to face with eternity about the year 1597 when a terrible pestilence was raging. Fourteen hundred persons perished, and Nicolai from his window saw the sorrowful processions pass by. This made him think seriously on death and the future state. He later wrote a book entitled “The Joy Glass of Eternal Life.” People flocked to hear the Word as preached by him and in 1601 he ministered to large audiences in Hamburg. It was in this city that he left his path of service below, on October 26, 1608. How often have we enjoyed hymn #31 (written in 1598) as it has been given out on Lord’s day morning!
“The Father, from eternity
Chose us, O Jesus Christ, in Thee –
In Thee, His well beloved.
And we, as given to Thee–Thy bride,
In Thee, Lord Jesus, can confide;
Thy love remains unmoved.
From Thee daily
Strength receiving–to Thee cleaving, Blessed Jesus!
May we all show forth Thy praises!”