Gerhardt, Paul, a distinguished Lutheran minister, and, next to Luther, the most popular hymn writer of Germany, was born in Saxony March 12, 1607. He matriculated as a student at the University of Wittenberg January 2, 1628, and seems to have resided in Wittenberg until 1642 or 1643, when he went to Berlin, where he became a tutor in the family of the advocate, Andreas Barthold, whose daughter he married in 1655. In the meantime he had begun to preach, and on November 18, 1651, he was ordained as chief pastor at Mittenwalde, near Berlin. Several of his hymns were published in 1653 in the Berlin Hymn Book, and later in other collections in Brandenburg and Saxony; and became at once very popular with the people. In 1657 he was appointed to the large and influential Church of St. Nicholas, in Berlin, where he preached to large crowds and was happy and useful in his ministry until ejected in 1666 by the edict of the Elector Frederick William, which was designed to make all preaching conform to the Reformed (Calvinistic) faith, and to which edict Gerhardt, believing in an unlimited atonement, refused to conform. As a consequence he was ejected and suffered many and great hardships. In 1669 he was appointed archdeacon of Lubben, in Saxony. He died June 7, 1676. His hymns number only one hundred and twenty-three, of which number about fifty are in common use.
Commit thou all thy griefs 435
Give to the winds thy fears 437
Holy Ghost, dispel our sadness 192
Jesus, thy boundless love to me 333
O sacred Head, now wounded 151