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Mownward, by the British organized, alle Sociely hle Societies of
which were formed in rapid succession, from the year 1812 and downward, by the pious efforts of Mr. Pinkerton and Mr. Steinkopf, both agents of the British and Foreign Bible Society. Before the close of 1814, were organized, the Prussian Bible Society, already mentioned, the Würtemberg Bible Society, the Hanoverian Bible Society, the Dresden Bible Society, the Bible Societies of Cleves, Osnabrük, Kængsseldt, Nassau-Homburg, Frankfort, New Wied and Wied-Runsel. There was also a Bible Society formed as early as 1806 by some pious Roman Catholics in Raiisbon, Bavaria.] Thus the spiritual restoration of Germany commenced; and the first means which God close to employ was HIS OWN WORD.
The disseinination of the word of God was soon followed by the calamities of war, which had the effect to lead many minds to serious reflection. It was doubtless during those seasons of public distress, when neither property nor life was in any way secure, when a thousand worldly hopes and prospects were blaşted, when sword and fire pervaded the land, that many a careless sinver first thought on God, eternity and himself. The evident display of the presence and power of God in the great events of 1814-15, when the mightiest empire on the continent was crushed, produced a surprising effect, and spread an awe, a solemnity and a joy over delivered Germany, such as she had never before experienced. Many individuals, in all classes of society, date from that period their first religious impressions, and their hope in Christ.
During the march of the allied armies to France, there were very favorable appearances among the soldiers, particularly those of Prussia and Saxony. Many of them were found carrying their New Testaments or Bibles, and their prayer books, and hymn books with them in their knapsacks. They met together, without distinction of rank, for religious conversation, prayer and singing, whenever they had an opportunity. This was the more surprising, since the Prussian armies had been as much distinguished for impiety, as for shrewdness and bravery, ever since the time of Frederic II. The religious excitement, for which the minds of people had been gradually prepared by the circulation of the Bible, and the reports, appeals and addresses of the various Bible Societies, now spread rapidly over Germany. In the kingdom of Würtemberg, where Storr, Flatt and Süsskind resided and labored, it kindled up on every side. From a want, however, of experienced men to direct it, the cause was exceedingly injured by the superstitious and visionary views and hopes in which many good people, especially young Christians, indulged. The Würtembergians seem universally prone to fanciful notions. They are the boldest Millenarians probably on the globe. In the year 1801, a considerable number of pigus people emigrated from Würtemberg to Palestine, expect
ing, like some of the Jews, the Lord's visible appearace there. They were influenced to do so by a book, published the year before by a very pious minister and useful man, whose labors had been greatly blessed, but who was unfortunately addicted to such speculations. In 1817, if I remeniber right, a still larger number of people set out froin the same country, with a view to reside on Mount Caucasus until the Lord's appearing. On account of some persecutions which they experienced, they thought they were the woman spoken of in Revelations xii, 1., being clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet; and they considered this journey to Caucasus as the removal of that woman into the wilderness, to be nourished there a time, times, and a half time. Many of them have since been miserably destroyed, or carried away captive by the Tshirkassians and sold into Persia, of whom a few have been retnoved by the Russian government. The rest may, in the providence of God, become missionaries among the Tshirkassians and Persians : a purpose for which, I doubt not, they would be willing to be sold.
Ano:her interesting period was the great jubilee of the Reformation, celebrated in Germany, and in other parts of Protestant Europe. It was on this occasion that the pious and fearless Harms, pastor at Kiel,* published a new edition of the celebrated Theses of Luther, with appropriate remarks. This was truly a seasonable effort. The attempt of some to bring it into contempt was vain; the time had gone by when such a thing could be done. Men of weight and influence awoke to the subject, so as to alarm the most sanguine Rationalists. From that time until 1824, Protestant Europe enjoyed more revivals than it ever did before. The stillness with which they proceeded, and the neglect with which they were regarded by the editors of public papers, made it impossible to get any definite information respecting them. The most that is known was obtained by private correspondence, or from travelling Christians, or in some other private way.
About this time there was a powerful commotion in the Roman Catholic parts of Bavaria. Several Roman Catholic clergymen were converted, and proclaimed the Gospel with a purity and boldness which alarmed the higher ecclesiastical authorities of the Roman Catholic church, and roused up a persecution against them. Several of these preachers were put into prison. Some of them, when released, left their country, drawing after them great numbers, and afterwards became Protestant preachers in Prussia and Würtemberg. In the German parts of Switzerland, similar events took place, though at a later period. A Roman Catholic preacher and pastor of a church, t
ant Eur piel, which by the ediinformation res
of the Room which alarme claimed the man Catholie
* Soe Spirit of the Pilgrims, vol. I, p. 25,
+ Mr. Henboeser,
dif this kind mselves with minister, that a calir beloved him
(to relate but one instance,) was ejected from office by bis bishop, on account of his alleged Lutheran preaching. He joined publicly the Protestant church, and printed an apology, written with much ability and good feeling, in which he stated the reasons of his change to the people of his late charge. Another Roman Catholic priest was now sent to supply his place among them. With him they were soon disgusted, and voted that he be requested to leave them. And since their beloved pastor was not to be obtained, they voted that a call should be given to another pious Protestant minister, and that they would, as a body, connect themselves wiib the Protestant church. Several instances of this kind might be adduced, but time will not perinit. I cannot dismiss this part of the subject without remarking that these revivals, in most cases, labored under serious difficulties. They were generally conducted by men who had just been awakened themselves, and who, of course, were nearly destitute of experience. Extravagances, therefore, might be expected. Religion was so much unknown, and so new to those who experienced it, that they felt themselves transported, at once, into the Millennium. The difference between their feelings after indulging a hope, and those which they had before, and which they saw that the world around them still had, was so very great, that their expectations, as to what was yet to come, often rose extravagantly high. The growing opposition and persecution which they, in many instances, experienced, and the universal contempt which they had to bear, led numbers not only to pray for the inmediate coming of the kingdom of God, but to hope and look for it, with more impatience than they ought to have done.
But I hasten to my third topic, on which I have but a few words to say. As to theological controversies in Germany, they are manisesily drawing near their close. The catastrophe will and must be, that the Rationalists give up the Bible, deny its inspiration, and virtually call Christ a deceiver. Reason, that is, their reason, is the test of religious truth. They prosessedly give up the hope of proving their tenets from the Scriptures. On conparing what Germany was fifteen years ago, with what it is now, there is much reason for gratitude and hope. It is like the daybreak just before the rising sun. But the sun is not yet risen. Some Christians are to be found in almost every Protestant city or place, but generally they are sew. The church has many and powerful enemies, and their activity and success would be alarming, were they not manifestly on the decline. I may be por nitted to mention the name of one, who is not yet known in America, Dr. Dinter, formerly president of a seminary for the education of school-teachers at Dresden, and now a member of the consistory of Prussia, and also of that body which superintends and guides all the schools of that kingdom. This man is a thorough, shrewd and active Rationalist. He is wholly devoted to the superintendence of schools, and to the publicatiou of books to assist the school-teachers in their duties. In 1825, be published an edition of the New Testament, with notes and binis for schoolteachers; and he is now printing the Old Testament, which was completed last year as far as Job. This Bible is intended for school-teachers, not, as he expressly says, for schools. His notes and hints are calculated, in the best possible manner, to make the school-teachers and their children Rationalists and unbelievers before they are aware of it. There is not a doctrine of revelation but what is expressed in form, admitted and defended in appearance, and devied and ridiculed by inference, or perhaps in some other place, in plain words. And yet, on account of the ability with which the work is composed, and the exertions which he makes, thirty tholisand copies have been scattered rapidly over Germany, and are now in the bands of about as many schoolteachers, exerting their poisonous influence over as many schools. Dinter is remarkable for his activity and disinterestedness, which renders his influence the more powerful. He lives unmarried, in order to give bimself wholly to his work. Poor himself, he educates in his house, at his own expense, a number of indigent boys, with whom he reads the Latin and Greek classics. Besides his many and pressing duties, he knits stockings for himself and other poor people; for he cannot be a moinent without doing sometbing. From the income of his publications, he devotes yearly about four hundred and twenty six dollars to the education of poor children, and to other benevolent purposes. Hence, it his piety is called in question, be proudly answers, “Let my office, my house, and my life prove my piety.” This man is a searful enemy of the church.
There is one more alarning circumstance, which I cannot omit. Revivals of religion have comparatively ceased in Germany. Light is therefore spreading but slowly, and not as could be wisied, or as was expected a few years ago. There is more prayer needed among Christians, more faith, more humility, and more separation frorn the world. Germany needs one shock more in order to be recovered, and it will very likely receive it within a few years. The church there is not to be overcome. The prayers of pious generations past will yet be heard, and will prevail. And the work wbich God began some twenty years ago, and has carried on till now in spite of all opposition, he will doubtless complete, to the joy of his people, and to his own glory.
To the Editor of the Christian Examiner and Theological
(Continued from page 24.) III. It appears from this controversy, that in bis first attempt to show that the most approved Calvinistic writers taught the doctrine of infant danination, ibe reviewer failed entirely.
1. The quotation from Calvin, “ Iterum quæro," &c., so much relied on, does neither leach nor imply the actual damnation of infants. It is immaterial bow Jeremy Taylor or others have understood the passage. We bave ibe text and context, and both forbid the interpretation wbich teaches actual infant damnation. Admonished, bowever, by the various interpretations given of this passage by ren of unquestioned learning and skill in the languages, differing from the reviewer, fiom me, and from one another, I must retract the opinion that the passage is a singularly plain one. It gives me pleasure, ivo, to be able to reiract ihe insinuation, sincerely entertained at the time it was made, of sinister management in this transaction. The reviewer will accept my thanks, also, for setting me right with respect to the point of the argument to which Calvin is replying, which is, as he says, “Whether it was DECREED that Adam should perish by bis defection." Uncommitted, therefore, by my own or any other interpretation, I have examined the text and context anew, and am convinced, and expect 10 convince the reviewer, that, whatever Calvin may have believed, and taught in other places, on the subject of infant damnation, he did not intend to teach it, and does not teach it, in this passage. In the first place, the question in debale had no reserence to the actual damnation of any one, adults or infants. It was not whether Adam actually perished eternally; nor whether predestination shows itself in the actual damnation of all his posterily; nor whether “all men by the fault of one” are " eternally and forever cut off froin salvation ;" nor whether all mankind, by the fault of one, are given over to eternal damnation ; por whether tot gentes unà cum liberis eorum infantibus, “so many nations, with their infant children ”-are actually damned. Neither this, nor any of the preceding sentences, have any reserence to actual, eternal punishment. The whole of this phraseology is employed to express, simply and only, the effect of the fall on Adam, and on his posterity, in itself considered, provided there had been no merciful interposition of a Mediator, and an atonement, and a renovating Spirit. It expresses what we understand to be the meaning of Eph. ii. 3. “And were by nature children of wrath,” i. e. born depraved, and under a sentence of just condemnation to eternal death. It was from this text espe