Hymn #404: Give Up Your Anxious Pains

Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) wrote this hymn of assurance and hope based on Martin Luther's translation of Psalm 37:5.  Originally the hymn had twelve stanzas, beginning "Befiehl du deine Wege."  John Wesley was the first to translate this text into English.

 

Paul Gerhardt, second only to Martin Luther as Germany's greatest hymnwriter, was born on March 12, 1607, near Wittenberg, Germany.  He was educated at the university there, and his life was influenced by the Thirty Years' War, which disrupted the normal course of existence for that entire area of Germany.

Johann Sebastian Bach (168501750) included this tune in a songbook he edited in 1736, and authorities believe it to be his work.  The tune name, ICH HALTE TREULICH STILL (or "I Remain Ever Faithful"), comes from the German text with which it appeared.

 

J.S. Bach composed a vast repertoire of church music during his career as organist and director for Lutheran churches in Leipzig.  This tune, however, was more likely intended as a personal song of devotion for use in a private setting.