Paul Gerhardt (1601-1676)

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Hymns #55, 274, 339, Appendix 36.
Paul Gerhardt was born on March 12, 1606 (or 1607) in a little town of Saxony called Grāfinhainichen, son of the burgomaster. In his early years the “Thirty Years’ War” raged in Germany. He was a scholar at Wittenberg in 1628. The exact time and circumstances of his conversion to God are not known at this time. His faithful walk in the Christian pathway speaks loudly of the One to Whom he belonged. He was in charge of a work in Berlin (being a Lutheran) from which he was unjustly detached by the king. He had married Anna Bertholdt, daughter of a lawyer for whom he worked as a tutor. He was over fifty when this took place. Driven from Berlin his wife accompanied him. They journeyed on foot the weary and footsore miles. Coming to an inn they spent the night, but while there two men came to ask for him, and his wife feared some new calamity. But these men came with a request that they settle in Merseburg under the protection and support of Duke Christian. He then showed his wife a hymn which he had composed earlier in the evening:
“Commit thou all thy griefs and ways
Into His hands,
To His sure truth and tender care, Who earth
And heaven commands.” etc.
This same confidence in the Lord is expressed in #55 in the Little Flock. He also celebrates the Lord’s love, goodness and salvation in #274 and 339. In the Appendix #36 is very practical and heart-warming to our souls.
His wife went home to glory first, in 1668, and he lived on here below until 1676. He then went to be with Christ, his only son being present; and as he came to the end he repeated part of one of his hymns:
“Death has no power to kill,
But from many a dreaded ill
Bears his spirit away, opens you bright path
That glows with light of perfect day.”
Thus he has gone “to meet the Savior, His glorious face to see.”