PORST, JOHANN: German Pietist and hymnologist; b. at Oberkotzau (28 m. n.e. of Bayreuth), Dec. 11, 1668; d. at Berlin Jan. 10, 1728. After completing his education at the University of Leipsic, he became private tutor at Neustadt-on-the-Aisch in 1692. Becoming deeply interested in the writings of Spener (q.v.), three years later he removed to Berlin, where he attended the lectures of the distinguished Pietist. In 1698 he was called to be pastor of Malchow and Hohen-Schönhausen near Berlin, and six years later he became second preacher at the Friederich-Werdersche und Dorotheenstädtische Kirche, in both positions remaining true to the principles of Spener, and being a forerunner of certain later tendencies of the Innere Mission. In 1709 he became the chaplain of Sophie Louise, the second wife of Frederick I., and the king invited him in 1713 to become provost of Berlin. After some hesitation, Porst accepted, and became at the same time senior of the Berlin clergy and inspector of the Gray Friars Gymnasium.
Porst's independent literary work was inferior in value to his practical activity as preacher and pastor. Although twenty-four books of his have been enumerated, many of these were only sermons, and others excerpts from larger works written by himself. He devoted much energy to the collecting and editing of edicts and enactments in the interests of church government. At the same time, he wrote several larger works, especially the Theologia practica regenitorum (Halle, 1743), and Theologia viatorum practica (1755), both ascetic treatises conspicuously Pietistic in tendency. Porst is best known, however, for the hymnal, prepared originally for Berlin but later used throughout Brandenburg, which is one of the chief repositories of hymns breathing the Pietism of Spener and the earlier Halle school. The hymnal first appeared anonymously with the title Geistliche liebliche Lieder (Berlin, 1708), containing 420 hymns. A second edition, with 840 hymns, including a special rubric "on the hope of Zion," pertaining to hymns of Chiliastic import, was issued as the Nun vermehrtes geistreiches Gesangbuch (1711). The third edition, Geistliche und liebliche Lieder (1713), Porst issued in his own name. It contained 906 hymns. The latest revision was that of J. F. Bachmann, of the edition of 1728 (1855; last edition, 1901) from which sixty-two hymns of a false subjectivity were dropped, and an appendix containing 210 earlier or later good hymns was affixed.