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The writers perhaps the least fully represented, are Gellert, Klopstock, and others of the middle and latter half of the last century, whose productions constitute a large proportion of most of the collections made fifty or sixty years ago. But these hymns are, for the most part, either of a purely reflective or didactic character, or in very many instances are merely versions of more ancient hymns, smoothed down to a dead level of tame correctness in form, and robbed of their original fervour and strength. Gellert, however, appreciated the characteristic excellences of the ancient hymns, and his own have high merit, as lessons of Christian duty, or paraphrases of Scripture, expressed in simple, clear, and unaffected verse, sometimes with much true poetic feeling. Yet while they thus supplied a want among the hymns of his country,--which, during the last century especially, had lost that direct application to real life which makes a hymn speak to the hearts of all,--and have therefore become very popular in Germany, for the same reason they more nearly resemble what we already possess in our own language.

There is a very large school of hymn-writers springing up in Germany at the present day, whose works are distinguished by much thoughtful xi feeling and great fluency and sweetness of expression. In general, however, these hymns are suited rather to private reading, than congregational singing; the length of the lines, and the reflective tone of thought, deprive them of that strength and simple grandeur which many of the older hymns possess. Specimens are given here from Spitta, Puchta, Knapp, Hensel, and others; those hymns to which no dates are affixed being written by authors living or very recently deceased.

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