Paul Gerhardt (b. Gräfenheinichen, Saxony, Germany, 1607; d. Lubben, Germany, 1676), famous author of Lutheran evangelical hymns, studied theology and hymnody at the University of Wittenberg and then was a tutor in Berlin, where he became friends with Johann Crüger. He served the Lutheran parish of Mittenwalde near Berlin (1651-1657) and the great St. Nicholas' Church in Berlin (1657-1666). Friederich William, the Calvinist elector, had issued an edict that forbade the various Protestant groups to fight each other. Although Gerhardt did not want strife between the churches, he refused to comply with the edict because he thought it opposed the Lutheran "Formula of Concord," which condemned some Calvinist doctrines. Consequently, he was r… Go to person page >
*Ach! treuer Gott, barmherzigs Herz. P. Gerhardt. [Cross and Consolation.] Founded on a prayer "for patience under great trial," No. xxv. in Class iii. of J. Arndt's Paradies-gartlein, 1612. Appeared in Crüger's Praxis pietatis melica, Frankfurt, 1656, No. 381, in 16 stanzas of 7 lines, and included in many subsequent hymn-books, as recently in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen, 1851, No. 693; also in Wackernagel's edition of his Geistliche Lieder, No. 57; Bachmann's ed., No. 80.
Translations in common use:—
2. 0 faithful God! 0 pitying heart, a good translation, omitting stanzas iii., ix., xi., xiii., xv., in the 2nd Ser. 1858, of Miss Winkworth's Lyra Germanica. p. 182, and thence, in the Gilman-Schaff, Library of Religious Poetry, ed. 1883, p. 837. The translations of stanzas x., xii., xiv., xvi., beginning, "O Thou, who diedst to give us life," appear as No. 327, in Church Praise, 1883.
[Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--Excerpts from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)