Paul Gerhardt’s Will and Testament to His Son, Paul Friedrich:
After reaching my 70th year and truly having the joyful hope that my loving and gracious God will in a short time deliver me from this world and lead me into a much better life than I have had so far on this earth, I thank God for all His kindness and faithfulness which He has given me. Then...I will awaken to see my precious Lord Jesus Christ in whom I have believed. To my only son whom I am leaving behind, I will bestow on him very little worldly goods, but at the same time an honest name of which he will never need to be ashamed. My son knows that, from childhood, I gave him to the Lord that he might become a servant and preacher of God’s holy Word. He should stay with that and not be concerned if he has only a few good days. Because our loving God knows the solution and can change the outer distress to inward joy of the heart and happiness of the spirit.
In your life…follow the wishes and commands of your God:
- Never do anything bad in the hope that it will not be discovered, because nothing is ever woven so fine that it will not be found out.
- Do not let yourself be provoked to anger outside of your office and profession. If you notice your anger inflamed, keep a profound silence and do not say one word until you have prayerfully gone through the Ten Commandments.
- Be ashamed of the carnal sinful lusts and if you, someday, come to such years that you can get married, then marry with God’s wisdom and good advice from pious, faithful, and intelligent people.
- Do good to people, even if they do not reward you immediately, because what man does not reward has been rewarded long ago by the Creator of heaven and earth when He created you, when He gave His loving Son, and when He took you upon Himself as His child and heir at your conversion.
- Avoid covetousness like hell; be satisfied with what you have, with what you acquired with honor and a good conscience, even if it is not much. If our loving God should shower you with much more, then entreat Him that He may guard you against the loathsome misuses of temporal goods.
To sum it all up: Pray diligently, study what is honorable, live peacefully, serve honestly, and remain steadfast in your faith and confession. Someday you will also die and leave this world willingly, happily, and blessedly. Amen.