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soldiers set fire to the town. The Gerhardt house and the church with its many records were among the four hundred buildings destroyed.
Whether Gerhardt felt the pinch of distress of the war, or hesitated to enter a field already crowded with a superabundance of young clergymen, or for what reason he stayed so long in Berlin as tutor is not known, but he was already forty-five years old when he began his first church work. In a letter of the clerical cabinet ("Geistliches Ministerium") of Berlin to the magistrate of Mittenwalde (Sept. 1651) Gerhardt was proposed as minister and he is characterized as being of "well known diligence and scholarship, of peace loving disposition and blameless life, besides being loved and esteemed by both high and low in Berlin.” Upon the successful outcome of this recommendation Gerhardt was ordained "Propst” of Mittenwalde on the 18th of November, 1651, entering his new office in December of that year. At his ordination he pledged his support especially of the Lutheran Book of Concord (Concordienformel).
The community of Mittenwalde had suffered severely in 1637 as had Gräfenhainichen from the Swedish marauders and attacks of pestilence, and Paul Gerhardt undertook his duties here with full understanding of this universal suffering, and fulfilled them with all his strength. The poems which he wrote at this time give evidence of a tender, yet strong pastoral care. He was a spiritual guide and comforter, yet in spite of his ardent work in Mittenwalde he apparently yearned for Berlin, and often returned thither to visit. On February 11th, 1655, at the age of forty-eight he married Anna Maria Barthold, daughter of Andreas Barthold and sister of Frau Fromme. Their first child, born to them in 1656, died in infancy and a memorial tablet in the church in Mittenwalde shows their grief. That same year Gerhardt accepted the deaconry at the Nicolaikirche in Berlin, and began his work in the summer of 1657. He seems to have had some hesitation about leaving Mittenwalde, because it was only “after fervent prayer and mature deliberation,” that he accepted the call to Berlin. However, without doubt he and Frau Gerhardt were glad to be again among such friends as Georg Lilius and Michael Schirmer whose tastes were so similar to their own.
When Gerhardt came to Berlin he entered a city full of sharp strife between the Lutheran and the Reformed clergy; the Great Elector was by inheritance and by education in the Netherlands where he spent four years strongly in favor of the Reformed Church. Gerhardt on the other hand
5 In Mittenwalde, 9 English miles south of Berlin, there were in the church two clerical positions, the first of which was known as the “Propstei,” since its occupant was entrusted with the supervision of the clergy of the vicinity. Propst (or Probst) is from the Latin propositus.
* Cf. p. 2.
held the security of the Lutheran faith very dear. When hostilities between the clergy began to disturb the peace, the Elector issued on the 2d of June, 1662, an edict? the purpose of which was to maintain harmony between Reformed and Lutheran clergymen. Its only effect was, however, to fan the flames of the very conflagration he sought so hard to quench. The unconciliatory spirit was encouraged from Wittenberg, too, where Theology of Controversy had reached its highest pitch through Calovius, whose advice and judgment Gerhardt prized. His inclination toward Wittenberg is seen also in various Latin poems for special occasions.
Gerhardt did not seek the quarrel, but was drawn forcibly into it; he was concerned throughout the controversy in keeping a clear conscience and preserving the confession of the Lutheran Church. In all the documents that were issued in this period between the Magistrate, the “Stände” and the Elector it is said of him that he was always pacific and conciliatory. Being a strong adherent of all the symbolic books, including the Book of Concord, he could not conscientiously sign the edict. He was accordingly dismissed. The citizens of Berlin espoused his cause and appealed to the Magistrate who testified that Gerhardt had never "scorned nor rebuked the faith of the Elector.” Also his influential patron, Mayor Zarlang, tried to reinstate him, but Gerhardt could not renounce his adherence to the Concordienformel, so in 1666 his position was filled by another. Nor on the other hand can the Elector be blamed for his stand; he wished only to have peace between the adherents of the two beliefs, and was sincere in the thought that the Concordienformel merely fomented strife.
For some years Gerhardt lived in Berlin without any position, supported by his friends in his congregation. He was, however, the victim of inevitable circumstances, for although within a few months of his resignation the edict was withdrawn, his patroness, Electress Luise Henriette, had died. All of his children had died in infancy except Paul Friedrich who survived him, and in March, 1668, his wife died who had been as strong a follower of the Lutheran Faith as he, and had encouraged him in his stand of not signing the edict. Her death was the fulfillment of a wish that "the dear Lord might soon come and release her.”
Gerhardt took into his home as housekeeper the widow of his brother-inlaw Fromme. His household was reasonably large for one in his condition,
This mandate was a renewal of the edict issued by his grandfather on Feb. 24, 1614, demanding “moderation and modesty in the pulpit.”
The attitude of the women in this time of religious strife who urged their husbands to sign the edict is satirized in the following lines :
Schreibt, liebe Herre, schreibt,
dasz Ihr in der Pfarre bleibt. °Cf. pp. 2 and 3.
a preacher without office; he speaks of three, or even of four servants, and
Kann uns doch kein Tod nicht tödten,
Gehn zur Himmelsfreuden."
Shortly before his death, in his seventieth year, he composed a sort of testament or will of a moral nature for his own Paul in which he hoped to leave little of this world's goods, but an honorable name of which his son might not be ashamed. He commends to the boy the study of theology at reputable universities and also the avoidance of the Syncretists, 11 on the ground that they aimed at temporal things and were loyal to neither God
In a memorial service to Gerhardt in 1876, a tablet was put up on the north wall of the chancel of the church at Lübben; and his portrait hung there bears this inscription:
Theologus in cribro Satanae versatus.12 The Nicolaikirche in Berlin and the other churches where he held charge have portraits of Gerhardt on their walls. Also among the many memorials to him are charitable foundations in Mittenwalde, Wittenberg and Berlin bearing his name. To these tributes the present generation, now, three centuries later, adds its praise and gratitude.
This is stanza VIII of his poem :
"Warum sollt ich mich denn grämen” (cf. Goed. 122). 11 The Syncretists sought to effect an agreement between the Reformed and Lutheran doctrines.
12 “A divine sifted in Satan's sieve." Cf. St. Luke XXII, 31.
GERHARDT'S RELATION TO EARLIER HYMNODY OF
THE MEDIAEVAL PERIOD.
HE history of hymnody in Germany up to the time of Gerhardt falls
naturally into two periods which might be called the Mediaeval Period, extending from the beginning of the eighth century to the end of the fifteenth century, and the Reformation Period covering the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries.
The Hymns used in the services of the early church in Germany were, for obvious reasons, Latin hymns, for St. Boniface, the Apostle of Germany, though of English birth, entered Germany by the way of Rome. It was a Latin Christianity which he preached and the church services were, of course, those of the Mother Church. While the general use of the Latin language was favorable to preserving the unity of the Church and facilitated literary intercourse among scholars, this circumstance prevented for a long time the free and full development of a hymnody in the vernacular. The innate love of poetry, however, produced many sacred lyrics for private devotion and caused to be made metrical translations of Latin hymns and portions of the Psalter. In the consideration of the earlier period of hymnody reference will be made to a few Latin hymns, which though not of German authorship were yet used in the religious services of the Germans and had some influence in the development of the German vernacular hymnody. And in this consideration of hymns and hymn writers it will be convenient in the main to follow the chronological order.
Probably it cannot be known what and when Latin hymns were first translated into modern languages. If the statement made by Dean Milman in a footnote of his Latin Christianity, that the hymns of Ambrose were translated into German in the ninth century, is well founded, then probably the “Deus Creator omnium" and "Aeterne rerum Conditor," which are undoubtedly by Ambrose, were among the earliest of Latin poems to be so translated.
The oldest German poet is the Benedictine monk, Otfrid of Weissenburg, who was born about the beginning of the ninth century, according to some authorities in Franconia, according to others near the Lake of Constance.
He settled as a monk and priest at Weissenburg, where he wrote and completed (about 865) his Evangelienbuch, a versified gospel history, and a most interesting work from a philological as well as a hymnological point of view. This is the earliest example of a long German poem in rhyme. Of the rhymed prayers which some on doubtful authority have ascribed to him two have been translated by Miss Winkworth, “Du himlisco trohtin" (“Thou Heavenly Lord of Light”) and “Got thir eigenhaf ist” (“God, it is thy property").
A celebrated Latin hymn of early date, which is known to have been used as early as 898, is the "Veni Creator Spiritus”; it has been constantly sung throughout Christendom at the consecration of kings and at great ecclesiastical solemnities. It has been ascribed to Charlemagne, Charles the Bald, Gregory the Great and various others.?
To this early period belongs Notker of St. Gall, called Balbulus, the "Stammerer," who was born in Switzerland about 840 and died in 912. He wrote in Latin and was the originator of a form of Latin hymnody called "sequentia” or “prosa," which, when translated into German, gave rise to the earliest German hymns with which we are acquainted. Whenever in the eucharistic service a "Hallelujah” was introduced it had been customary to prolong the last syllable and to sing on the vowel "ah" a series of elaborate passages to represent an outburst of jubilant feeling. These were termed "sequences" because they followed the "Hallelujah" and repeated its notes. They were of course without words and what Notker did was to write words for them. Notker was characterized as a man of gentle, contemplative nature and “accustomed to find spiritual and poetical suggestions in common sights and sounds.” One of the most remarkable of his sequences, “Media vita in morte sumus,” is said to have been suggested to him while observing some workmen constructing a bridge in a precipitous and most dangerous place. This sequence was long used as a battle-song; one of Luther's funeral hymns, "Mitten wir im Leben sind,” is a translation of it and portions of the Burial Service of the Church of England are taken from it. St. Gall, which was for a long time the especial seat of German religious literature, produced besides Notker several distinguished sequence-writers, presumably his pupils, Hartmann, Hermann, and Gottschalk. To Gottschalk has been ascribed the "Alleluiatic Sequence (“Cantemus cuncti") well known in England by the translation, “The strain upraise of joy and praise.'
· This latter is regarded by some authorities as from the pen of St. Gregory the Great.
? For a scholarly discussion of the authorship of this famous hymn cf. Julian: Dictionary of Hymnology, p. 1206 ff.