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Most of the hymns under the last two divisions of this series are popular in Protestant Germany in the truest sense of the word, to be found in the well-worn hymn-books of every cottage home, or heard as the village funeral passes on to the "court of peace." It will be observed that one of the hymns for the burial of the dead bears the name of Michael Weiss, and that some others are designated as belonging to the Bohemian Brethren. These are productions of that ancient Church which vii existed in Bohemia from the first introduction of Christianity into that country by two Greek monks of the eighth century. In the eleventh century it formed itself into a separate community, distinguished from the Roman Church in Bohemia, among other things, by the celebration of public worship, according to the native ritual and in the vulgar tongue. After suffering bitter persecutions under various Popes, in one of which John Huss was burnt in 1415, in 1453 its remaining members, including men of all classes, withdrew to a district assigned to them on the borders of Silesia and Moravia, where we find them, fifty years later, numbering about two hundred congregations, under the name of Brethren or United Brethren. But here too fierce persecutions followed them; their countrymen were incited from the pulpits to hunt them down like wild beasts; and in 1508, despairing of peace at home, they sent out four messengers to search whether anywhere a Christian people might be found, serving Christ truly, into whose communion they might ask admission. One of these brethren went to Russia, one to Greece, one to Bulgaria, and one to Palestine and Egypt; but they all returned unsuccessful, no such Christian people had they found. Two more viii were then sent to the Waldenses in France and Italy, but they too brought back nothing but admonitions to patience and steadfastness. The Brethren therefore remained in their own country, and occupied themselves in printing the Bible, no fewer than three editions having been publishied in Bohemian before the Reformation. The dawn of that great event filled them with joy, and in 1522 they sent two messengers to Luther to greet him and ask his advice, one of whom was Michael Weiss. In 1531 Michael Weiss published the hymns of the Bohemian Brethren translated into German, with the addition of several of his own. They passed through many editions, and some of them were introduced into Luther's hymn-book. They have great warmth of feeling, and directness of expression, (often with intricate metres,) and are marked by frequent pathetic reference to the troubles of this Church, and by a strong sense of the living union of Christians with each other and their Head. The subsequent settlement of the small remnant of this Church on Count Zinzendorf's estates in Saxony, and its rapid growth and spread into other countries are well known. That the spirit of Christian poetry still lives among them in modern times is proved ix by the names of Zinzendorf, Christian Gregor, L. von Hayn, Spangenberg, and Albertini.11See Bunsen's larger Gesangbuch, and Sketch of the History of the Church of the United Brethren by James Montgomery.


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