Saturday 3 November 2018

Lucidor: "O Syndig Man" a wake-up call from before 1674

Lucidor’s Wake-Up Call

Oh sinful man, safe and secure while resting,
In sin’s sleep and death’s torpor snugly nesting,
Awake, arise, for now your time is nigh,
See, God still views you kindly from on high

See, with what loving kindness God would wake you,
And to his outstretched Father’s arms would take you;
Do not delay, accept their warm embrace –
Though late, true penitence gains saving grace.

When time for mercy finally is ended
And sand in your life’s hour-glass is expended,
All is too late. Then heaven’s door’s shut tight
For all eternity – oh, dreadful plight!

Read well your heart, your abjectness berating,
Consider the eternity that’s waiting;
Think what reward awaits the godly man,
The grim revenge in store for all those damned.

What is your life? Mere smoke that soon will vanish.
What is desire? A stream time soon will banish.
What’s loveliness? A bag of worms and slime.
What’s gold, possessions? Glaury clay and grime.

What’s noble birth? a word that has no meaning.
What’s strength? In death but weakness overweening.
What’s wisdom? Art? mere figments of the mind.
What’s striving, zeal? Exertions that are blind.

What is eternity? Time without ending.
What’s Heav’n? The land to which we would be wending:
What’s God? Our solace, joy, our stronghold sure,
In death, pain, sorrow, bliss for ever more.

What is eternity? Time without buffer.
What’s Hell? A fire in which all damned souls suffer.
What’s Satan? One who tempts us unawares,
Who peace of mind, faith, e’en the soul ensnares.

My soul, consider what gift God’s bestowing:
Those who lead godly lives on earth are going
To live for ever. He himself will dry
Our many tears, and shield us by and by.

Consider though the torments grim and horrid
The godless suffer; flaming depths so torrid,
Where there is no redemption since they’re doomed,
Where they will burn, yet never be consumed.

Body and limbs – shake, shudder, quake and quiver,
Hair– stand on end; my thoughts – plunge like some river
Into the abyss, and see the torment glower
That all erodes, yet nothing will devour.

Rejoice my soul, my heart, my mind and being!
Sing out my tongue, gleam bright my eye when seeing
What sweet delights God’s saints now share, what bliss -
I shed glad tears each time I think of this!

Just think how good God is, who’d you be healing,
How evil Satan, who’d your soul be stealing:
Flee, sin! You serpent, by hot venom spurred,
Abide by God and by his Holy Word.

Take every care your lamp by nought is stricken,
and o’er your soul no devil’s dark clouds thicken;
And should you fall, rise up at once again –
With all your might, strive to become God’s friend.

Say to your God: O God of mercy, hear me!
I know too well there’s nothing to endear me!
That wrath, death, hell-fire were for me reserved
Shoulds’t Thou now judge me as I have deserved.

But were my sin a thousand times more dire,
No greater mercy would it yet require;
Upon this rock I stand unshakeably:
Steadfast in faith, my God, my trust’s in Thee!!!

To see the original, go to here. Those familiar with the hymn version may well be surprised at the gruesome and grisly parts of the original poem. The subsequent alterations are typical of church versions of such poems (Kingo in Denmark, for example), which were later deemed not to be 'salonfähig', or maybe 'Kirche-fähig'?

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