the theologian who worked with Chemnitz.
Mrs. Ichabod and I sing this together in German. Gerhardt is probably the greatest hymn writer of all time. He lost his pulpit for resisting Reformed doctrine.
Here is the HTML link, in case the embedded video flakes out at the end, as it does for us.
Literal translation for prep school graduates:
Lobet den Herren alle, die ihn ehren
All Praise the Lord, All Who Honor Him.
1. Lobet den Herren alle, die ihn ehren; lasst uns mit Freuden seinem Namen singen und Preis und Dank zu seinem Altar bringen. Lobet den Herren!
All praise the Lord, who honor Him; let us sing his name with joy and bring praise and thanks to His altar. All praise the Lord.
2. Der unser Leben, das er uns gegeben, in dieser Nacht so väterlich bedecket / und aus dem Schlaf uns fröhlich auferwecket: Lobet den Herren!
He who our life has given, in this night has covered us so fatherly and wakes us joyfully from sleep, All praise the Lord.
3. Dass unsre Sinnen / wir noch brauchen können / und Händ und Füße, Zung und Lippen regen, das haben wir zu danken seinem Segen. Lobet den Herren!
That we can use our senses, move our hands and feet, tongue and lips, we owe His blessing. All praise the Lord.
4. Dass Feuerflammen / uns nicht allzusammen / mit unsern Häusern unversehns gefressen, das macht's, dass wir in seinem Schoß gesessen. Lobet den Herren!
The flames of fire will not devour our homes, He wills that we sit in His castle. All praise the Lord.
5. Dass Dieb und Räuber / unser Gut und Leiber / nicht angetast' und grausamlich verletzet, dawider hat sein Engel sich gesetzet. Lobet den Herren!
That thief and robber, our goods and life cannot take, for His angel has been appointed. All praise the Lord.
6. O treuer Hüter, Brunnen aller Güter, ach lass doch ferner über unser Leben / bei Tag und Nacht dein Hut und Güte schweben. Lobet den Herren!
O faithful Guardain, wellspring of all goodness, by day and night Your Guard and Goodness hover. All praise the Lord.
7. Gib, dass wir heute, Herr, durch dein Geleite / auf unsern Wegen unverhindert gehen / und überall in deiner Gnade stehen. Lobet den Herren!
Give us that we today, Lord, through Your escorts, go on our way unhindered and remain in Your grace. All praise the Lord.
8. Treib unsern Willen, dein Wort zu erfüllen; lehr uns verrichten heilige Geschäfte, und wo wir schwach sind, da gib du uns Kräfte. Lobet den Herren!
Strengthen our will to fulfill Your Word; teach us holy ways; and where we are weak, there give us strength. All praise the Lord.
9. Richt unsre Herzen, dass wir ja nicht scherzen / mit deinen Strafen, sondern fromm zu werden / vor deiner Zukunft uns bemühn auf Erden. Lobet den Herren!
Direct our hearts, that we do not trifle with Your judgments, but remain pious before Your future reign on earth. All praise the Lord.
10. Herr, du wirst kommen / und all deine Frommen, die sich bekehren, gnädig dahin bringen, da alle Engel ewig, ewig singen: >Lobet den Herren!<
Lord, you will soon come, and all Your believers, those who are converted, bring them in with grace, where all the angels, always always sing out, All praise the Lord.
Paul Gerhardt 1607-1676
Vers 1: Psalm 103, 21-22
Vers 8: 2. Korinther 12, 9-10
Vers 10: Offenbarung 22, 12
Paul Gerhardt's Testament
Paul Gerhardt prepared his "testament" his 70th birthday for his son. It offers insight into this important Lutheran writer of many great chorales..
Now that I have reached the 70th year of my life and also have the joyful hope that my dear, holy God will soon rescue me out of this world and lead me into a better life than I have had until now on earth, I thank Him especially for all His kindness and faithfulness which, from my motherâ?Ts womb until the present hour, He has shown me in body and soul and in all that He has given me. Besides this, I ask Him from the bottom of my heart that when my hour comes He would grant me a happy departure, take my soul into His fatherly hands, and give my body a peaceful rest in the ground until the dear Last Day, when I, with all of my [family] who have been before me and also may remain after me, will reawake and behold my dear Lord Jesus Christ face to face, in whom I have believed but have not yet seen. To my only son whom I am leaving behind I leave few earthly goods, but with them I leave him an honorable name of which he will not have to be ashamed.
My son knows that from his tender childhood I have given him to the Lord my God as His possession, that he is to become a servant and preacher of His holy Word. He is to remain now in this and not turn away from it, even if he has only few good days in it. For the good Lord knows how to handle it and how sufficiently to replace external troubles with internal happiness of the heart and joy of the spirit.
Study holy theologiam in pure schools and at unfalsified universities and beware of the syncretists [those who mix religions or confessions], for they seek what is temporal and are faithful to neither God nor men. In your common life do not follow evil company but rather the will and command of your God. Especially: (1) Do nothing evil in the hope that it will remain secret, for nothing is spun so small that it is not seen in the light of day. (2) Outside of your office and vocation do not become angry. If you notice that anger has heated you up, remain still and speak not so much as a word until you have first prayed the Ten Commandments and the Christian Creed silently. (3) Be ashamed of the lusts of the flesh, and when you one day come to the years in which you can marry, then marry with God and with the good advice of pious, faithful, and sensible people. (4) Do good to people even if they have nothing with which to repay you, for the Creator of heaven and earth has long since repaid what humans cannot repay: when He created you, when He gave you His beloved Son, and when He accepted you in Holy Baptism as His child and heir. (5) Flee from greed as from hell. Be satisfied with what you have earned with honor and a good conscience, even if it is not all too much. But if the good Lord gives you something more, ask Him to preserve you from the burdensome misuse of temporal goods.
In summary: Pray diligently, study something honorable, live peacefully, serve honestly, and remain unmoved in your faith and confessing. If you do this, you too will one day die and depart from this world willingly, joyfully, and blessedly. Amen.