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"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" - Martin Luther, 1483-1546

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Hymn Story

This great war song of the Reformation, written by Martin Luther, has heartened many a German army going into battle, and has given courage to many a son of Germany amid the hardships of strange lands. It was sung every day by Luther and his friends. Before the battle of Leipzig, September 17, 1631, the whole army of
Martin Luther
Gustavus Adolphus sang the hymn. 

The story is still repeated by the Germans of Herkimer County, New York, of John Christian Bush, who settled there with his family of six children and founded the village of Shell s Bush.

On the afternoon of August 6, 1781, a band of Indians, led by Donald McDonald, a Scotch refugee, attacked the village. Bush, who was working in the field when they came, hurriedly assembled his people within his block-house, all except two of his children who were captured by the Indians.

All afternoon and far into the night they fought furiously, Bush's wife doing valiant service in loading the guns so that the men might never be empty-handed.

Each time the Indians attacked the door they were forced back. Once they broke down the door, but the quick-firing halted them. McDonald was wounded and dragged within the fort by the Germans, and the Indians fled. Then the patriots sang: 

"A mighty fortress is our God, 
A bulwark never failing." 

Again the Indians attacked and again were repulsed, while Bush and his victorious neighbors sang the rest of the hymn as a paean of thankfulness to God for preserving their lives in the midst of peril.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Lyrics

1 A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

4 That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.

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