Before Your Throne I Now Appear

”Before Your Throne I Now Appear” is a chorale written by Johann Sebastian Bach. It is known as his deathbed chorale because some said he wrote it just before he died. This isn’t far from the truth. It seems an earlier form of the chorale existed. But having suffered a stroke that left him blind, Bach spent some of his last hours revising this chorale to reflect what was happening in his soul.

The music is placid and full of acceptance. Yet there are touches of of regret and supplication. The mood is decidedly repentant and grateful.

Below are several verses from the chorale. (See the whole text here). I also appreciate this recording by The Canadian Brass.

1. Before Thy throne I now appear,
O Lord, bow down Thy gracious ear
To me, and cast not from Thy face
Thy sinful child that sues for grace.

2. Thou Father of eternity,
Thine image hast impressed on me;
In Thee I am, and live, and move,
Nor can exist without Thy love.

5. Thou hast redeemed me, Son of God,
Hast shed for me Thy precious blood,
The Law for my sake hast fulfilled,
And thus Thy Father’s wrath hast stilled.

8. God, Holy Spirit, Pow’r divine!
Thou workest in this heart of mine;
Naught can be counted good in me,
But what proceeds alone from Thee.

9. Through Thee, I now my God adore,
And call Him Father evermore;
Through Thee, His Word and Sacrament
I love and hold, till life is spent.

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