Paul Gerhardt (b. GraEenhainichen, 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 re… Go to person page >
Wach auf, mein Herz! und singe. P. Gerhardt. [Morning.] Included in the 3rd edition, 1648, of Crüger's Praxis, as No. 1, in 10 stanzas of 4 lines. Thence in Wackernagel's edition of his Geistliche Leider, No. 99, and Bachmann's edition, No. 1. Repeated in the Crüger-Runge Gesang-Buch, 1653, No. 1, and recently in the Berlin Geistliche Lieder , ed. 1863, No. 1132. It is one of the finest and most popular of German morning hymns, and soon passed into universal use, st. viii. being a special favourite. Translated as:— My Soul, awake and tender. In full, by J. C. Jacobi, in his Psalmodia Germanica, 1720, p. 33 (1722, p, 104), repeated as No. 477 in pt. i. of the Moravian Hymn Book, 1754. In the Moravian Hymn Book, 1789, No. 744 (1886, Nos. 1158, 1159), begins "My soul awake and render," stanzas i., ii., iv., v. being from i.; v. 11. 3, 4 ; vi. 11. 1,2; x.; viii.; while stanza iii. ("Bless me this day, Lord Jesus," 1886, No. 1159), is st. iii. of No. 189, in pt. i. of the 1754. From this 1789 text st. i., iii., 11. 1, 2 ; iv. 11. 3, 4, were given in Bickersteth's Christian Psalmody, 1833.
Other translations are: (1) "Thy Thanks, my Soul, be raising," by H. J. Buckoll, 1842, p. 28. (2) " Wake, my heart, and sing His praises," by E. Massie, 1867. (3) “Awake, my heart, be singing," by J. Kelly, 1867. (4) "Wake up, my heart, elater," by N. L. Frothingham, 1870. [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]