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UNITAS Fratrum,




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1908, by


in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.

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The Unitas Fratrum was the first among Protestant Churches to publish a Hymn-book. It appeared in the Bohemian language, at Jungbunzlau, in Bohemia, in the year 1505, and contained versions of old Latin hymns, together with many original compositions, mostly by John Hus and Bishop Luke of Prague. The latter was its editor.* In 1531 it was followed by a German, and in 1554 by a Polish, Hymn-book. All these Collections were subsequently revised and enlarged, the Bohemian in 1561, the German in 1566, and the Polish in 1569. In this new form, they remained in use until the overthrow of the Ancient Unitas Fratrum, about the middle of the seventeenth century. The tunes, printed in full at the head of each hymn, were partly Gregorian, partly borrowed from Germany, and partly original. Many of the original ones consisted of popular melodies adapted to the uses of sanctuary.

The hymns of the Brethren were a power in the Church and the land. They gave life to public worship; they were familiarly sung in the homes of nobles and of peasants; they set forth the pure Gospel in strains that captivated thousands of hearts in the Roman Catholic Church and brought them to a knowledge of free grace in Christ Jesus.

But few copies of the old Hymn-book remain. Most of them were destroyed in the Bohemian Anti-reformation. A modern selection, however, in the German language, with the tunes prefixed, was published at Nuremberg in 1875.

The Renewed Unitas Fratrum inherited the hymnological tendency of its fathers. Soon after its resuscitation at Herrnhut, in Saxony, in 1722, several Collections of Hymns were published by Count Zinzendorf, many of them being his own productions. These, however, do not rank as Hymn-books of the Church. The first work bearing this character and title appeared in 1735. It was frequently reprinted, and was followed by twelve appendixes, containing the outgrowth of that period of sentimental fanaticism which, for a few years, disfigured the history of the Renewed Church of the Brethren. Hence, these appendixes were gradually suppressed. An entirely new Hymn-book, moreover, was issued in London in two Parts, the first in 1753, and the second in 1755. This work, generally known as the "London Hymn-book,” contained more than three thousand hymns. An abridged edition appeared simultaneously with the original, and was commonly used in public worship. In 1778 a new Collection came out, under the supervision of Christian Gregor, a distinguished hymnologist of the Church. This Hymn-book is still in use. An abridgment of it appeared in the United States in 1848, and another in Germany in 1869.

All these works were issued in the German language, and contain many hymns of the Ancient Unitas Fratrum. Among the tunes, moreover, are more than thirty of its chorals. Of the other tunes, some are original; the rest, with the exception

*Since this preface was written an earlier Hymn Book of the Brethren, published in 1501, has been discovered in the Bohemian Museum at Prague. Of its eighty-nine Bohemian hymns, at least fifteen were composed by Bishops Matthias of Kunwald and Luke of Prague.


of a few popular melodies, are borrowed from the old Roman Catholic Church and the Churches of the Reformation.


The German Hymn-book, in its various editions, formed the basis for Collections of hymns, published at various times, in the English, French, Lettonian, Esthonian, Bohemian, Greenland, Esquimaux, Negro-English, Cherokee-Indian, Delaware-Indian, and Kaffre languages.

The first English Hymn-book of the Unitas Fratrum appeared in London, in 1742, and was entitled "A Collection of Hymns, with several translations from the Hymn-book of the Moravian Brethren." It was followed, in 1746, by a Second, and in 1749 by a Third Part. In 1754 it came out in a greatly enlarged form, bearing the following title: "A Collection of Hymns of the Children of God in all ages. In two Parts. Designed chiefly for the use of the Congregations in union with the Brethren's Church." This work was edited chiefly by Bishop Gambold, on the plan of the German "London Hymn-book," and embraced eleven hundred and sixty-nine hymns, many of which were exceedingly poor translations from the German, and others objectionable on account of their extravagant phraseology. Hence, an abridgment was published, in 1769, entitled: "A Collection of Hymns, chiefly extracted from the larger Hymn-book of the Brethren's Congregations." This remained in use for twenty years, and was then superseded by the revised and greatly improved edition of 1789, called “A Collection of Hymns for the use of the Protestant Church of the United Brethren." Of this work, two revised editions appeared: the one in 1801, reprinted in 1809; and the other, in 1826.

In 1835 the Provincial Synod of the British Province of the Unitas Fratrum unanimously requested James Montgomery—a member of the Church-to subject the Hymn-book to a still further and more thorough revision. This he consented to do, and the result of his labors was laid before the Provincial Synod of 1847. That body appointed a committee to prepare a new edition, and this committee received full liberty from Montgomery to adopt, reject, or modify any of his emendations, and, at the same time, to make free use of his own compositions. Under such auspices appeared, in 1849, the "Liturgy and Hymns for the use of the Protestant Church of the United Brethren, or Unitas Fratrum," which work is still used in Great Britain.

The first English Hymn-book of the Church printed in the United States came out in Philadelphia, in 1813, at the office of Conrad Zentler. Prior to that time, Hymn-books were imported from England. It was a reprint of the edition of 1801. The edition of 1826 was also reprinted in this country, and remained in use until 1851. In that year, according to a resolution adopted by the Provincial Synod of 1849, the first original Hymn-book of the American Province of the Unitas Fratrum appeared. It was based upon the English edition of 1849, but differed from it in many respects.

The Liturgy and Hymns, herewith presented to the Church, are the result of a series of resolutions adopted by the Provincial Synods of 1864, 1867, 1868, 1870, and 1873. It has been the great aim of all those connected with this work, to bring the new Hymn-book up to the standard of modern hymnology, without destroying its Moravian character.

In accordance with synodical enactments, the Liturgy has been carefully revised, and the Services for the Festivals of the Christian Church and other special

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