Penned in 1523, Luther’s hymn elegantly reflects his interpretation of Psalm 12 and that of Jerome in the 4th c. and Ayguan in the 14th. The first strophe of the sixth stanza has as its antecedent the pure Word: “Thy Word, thou wilt preserve, O Lord, From this vile generation.”
Of this hymn Lambert references its importance to the Reformation: “This hymn, and its companion, Nun freut euch, greatly furthered the cause of the Reformation. Bunsen, 1833, says, it is ‘A cry, by the Church, for help, founded upon the Word of God, and as a protection against its contemners and corrupters.’ Its strong and passionate temper is easily estimated from Luther’s personal experiences.”
“Look down, O Lord, from heaven behold”
Salvum me fac, Domine
“Lord, Save me!”
Title: The Word of God, and the Church
The Silver seven times tried is pure
From all adulteration;
So, through God’s Word, shall men endure
Each trial and temptation:
Its worth gleams brighter through the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.
Thy truth thou wilt preserve, O Lord,
From this vile generation,
Make us to lean upon thy Word,
With calm anticipation.
The wicked walk on every side
When, ‘mid thy flock, the vile abide
In power and exaltation.
 James Franklin Lambert, Luther’s Hymns (Philadelphia: General Council Publication House, 1917), 52.
 Lambert, Luther’s Hymns, 52.