Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf, who was the author of Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness, was born into high aristocracy on May 26, 1700, in Dresden, Germany. He studied law for a time, and then traveled throughout Europe. In his early twenties, he inherited a large estate, where he gave refuge to a religous group that came to be known as the Moravians. Zinzendorf is considered to be the leader of this group, that eventually grew to a small settlement of about 600 people. A number of Moravian settlements were established in New England. Zinzendorf is credited with authorship of about 2,000 hymns, which were used in the Moravian Church. He died on May 9, 1760, in Herrnhut, Germany.
John Wesley was born on June 28, 1703, in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England. John and Charles Wesley are considered the founders of what is know today as the Methodist church. Whereas Charles wrote far and a way more hymns than John, John’s particular skill was in translating hymns from other languages, mostly German, into English. He began studying the German language on board the ship which carried him and his brother to Georgia in 1735. Also on the ship were 26 German Moravian colonists, and Wesley wanted to be able to talk with them and share in their worship services. John Wesley died on March 2, 1791, in London England.
William Gardiner, the author of the tune known as Germany, was born on March 15, 1770, in Leicester, England. Although he was a prominent merchant, a stocking manufacturer, he was also quite an acomplished musician, playing the piano and viola. This tune was first published in 1808, in a song book (in 6 volumes) by Gardiner entitled Sacred Melodies. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, and was acquainted with many of the classical composers of his time. William Gardiner died on November 16, 1853, in Leicester, England.