Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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One more German Christmas hymn must be mentioned, Gerhard Tersteegen's "Jauchzer, ihr Himmel, frohlocket, ihr englisclien Chore." Tersteegen represents one phase of the mystical and emotional reaction against the religious formalism and indifference of the eighteenth century. In the Lutheran Church the Pietists, though they never seceded, somewhat resembled the English Methodists; the Moravians formed a separate community, while from the " Reformed " or Calvinistic Church certain circles of spiritually-minded people, who drew inspiration from the mediaeval mystics and later writers like Bohme and Madame Guyon, gathered into more or less inde­pendent groups for religious intercourse. Of these last Tersteegen is a representative singer. Here are three verses from his best known Christmas hymn :—
"Jauchzet, ihr Himmel, frohlocket, ihr englischen Chore, Singet dem Herrn, dem Heiland der Menschen, zur Ehre : Sehet doch da !
Gott will so freundlich und nah Zu den Verlornen sich kehren.
' Christ is born,' their choirs are singing,
Till the air
Everywhere Now with joy is ringing.
Hark ! a voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet,
Doth entreat, ' Flee from woe and danger 5 Brethren, come, from all doth grieve you
You are freed,
All you need I will surely give you.'
Blessed Saviour, let me find Thee !
Keep Thou me
Close to Thee, Call me not behind Thee ! Life of life, my heart Thou stillest,
Calm I rest
On Thy breast, All this void Thou fillest." 34
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