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Christian Singers Of Germany by Catherine Winkworth

Nicholas Selnecker

The career of Nicholas Selnecker, on the other hand, affords an example of that discord and persecution among the Protestants of which we have spoken. He was a cultivated, agreeable, and very able man, springing from one of the oldest families of Nuremberg, who prided themselves on their culture. As a boy, his remarkable musical gifts and personal beauty attracted the notice of Ferdinand, King of Rome, and his Italian confessor; and they laid a plan for having the boy kidnapped and carried to Spain. Fortunately his father discovered it in time to have him secretly conveyed to Wittenberg, where he was boarded in the house of Melancthon. As a man, the highest offices in the Lutheran Church were open to him, and he was distinguished by several of the Evangelical sovereigns. But he had an acute, and singularly just and candid mind, which inclined him to decided but moderate views, and hence he became a constant mark for attack to the extreme partisans on both sides. He was incessantly involved in controversy; he was seven times banished from Saxony -- whenever, in fact, the ultra-Calvinistic party got the upper hand -- and was seven times implored to return; while he was turned out of Jena and Brunswick for being too lenient to the Calvinists. So the life that might have been rich in value and usefulness was almost wasted in fruitless disputes and struggles, which were full of suffering to a man who loved peace, and was keenly alive to the dangers of disunion. He died in 1592, at the age of sixty-two. Being a great lover of church-music, he devoted much time and attention to the improvement of the German liturgy, and himself wrote several hymns, of which only two short ones can be quoted here. The first is still commonly used at the close of evening worship: --
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