Nicolas Von Hof

Nicolas Von Hof (NICOLAUS A CURIA), better known as Nicolaus Decius, a contemporary of Luther, was, like him, first a monk in connection with the Romish Church. From 1.519 to 1522 he was prior of the monastery at Steterburg, in Wolfenbuttel In July, 1522, he left his position, because he had joined in. the Reformation, and went to Brunswick, where Gottschalk Cruse or Crusius, a personal friend of Luther, especially attracted him by his evangelical preaching. For a time Nicolas occupied himself as a schoolmaster at Brunswick, but in 1523 he became a Lutheran pastor at Stettin, where he died, March 21, 1541. He is best known as the author of two hymns, which are still in use in the German Church, and have also been translated into English. The one, the most celebrated of his hymns, is his "Allein Gott in der Hoh' sei Ehr," said to be a free rendering of the old hymnus angelicus, "Gloria in excelsis Deo," which in its Greek version, Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ, had very early come into use in the Eastern Church as. the "great doxology," and was introduced into the Latin Church about the year 360 by St. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers (q.v.). The German version was published in 1529, and was designed to take the place of the Latin "Gloria." An English translation is to be found in the Moravian Hymn-book, No. 165, where it is erroneously ascribed to Selnecker (" To God on high all glory be"). The other hymn, a very popular communion hymn, is his "O Lamm Gottes unschuldig," based on Joh 1:29, and founded on the ancient Latin hymn, "Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis." lit is translated in Jacobi's Psalmodia Germanica, 1:16 ("O Lamb of God, our Savior") (London, 1722), and by Porter in Schaff's Christ in Song, p. 583. See Koch, Gesch. d. deutschen Kirchenliedes, 1:419 sq.; Theologisches Universal-Lexikon, s.v. Decius; Miller, Singers and Songs of the Church (London, 1869), p. 38; Herzog, Real- Encyklopadie, 19:402; Deutsche Zeitschrift fir christl. Wissenschaft u. christl. Leben (published by Schneider, Berlin, 1856); Knapp. Evangelischer Liederschatz, p. 1327, s.v. (B. P.)

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