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malt with most
nd, it ainst
that ius and Paulus Antonius, who had been invited thither
from Leipsic, where they began to be suspected of pietism. Theļi Though lew pretended to treat either with indignation or
contempt the intentions and purpose of these good men,
which indeed none could despise without affecting to apt be pear the enemy of practical religion and virtue, yet many s the
eminent divines, and more especially the professors and pastors of Wittemberg, were of opinion, that, in the execution of this laudable purpose, several maxims were adopted, and certain measures employed, that were prejudicial to
the truth, and also detrimental to the interests of the church. ir br
Hence they looked on themselves as obliged to proceed in br publicly, first against Spener, in the year 1695, and afterance
ward against his disciples and adherents, as the inventers and promoters of erroneous and dangerous opinions. These debates are of a recent date; so that those who are desirous of knowing more particularly how far the principles of equity, moderation, and candour influenced the con
duct and directed the proceedings of the contending parect of ties, may easily receive a satisfactory information.
xxx. These debates turned upon a variety of points ;
and therefore the matter of them cannot be com- the subject of vere ! prehended under any one general head. If we these deinates.
consider them indeed in relation to their origin, and the circumstances that gave rise to them, we shall then be able to reduce them to some fixed principles. It is well known that those who had the advancement of piety most zealously at heart, were possessed of a notion, that no order of men contributed more to retard its progress than the clergy, whose peculiar vocation it was to inculcate and promote it. Looking upon this as the root of the evil, it was but natural that their plans of reformation should begin here; and, accordingly, they laid it down as an essential principle, that none should be admitted into the ministry, but such as had received a proper education, were distinguished by their wisdom and sanctity of manners, and had hearts filled with divine love. Hence they proposed, in the first place, a thorough reformation of the schools of divinity; and they explained clearly enough what they meant by this reformation, which consisted in the following points; that the systematical theology, which reigned in the academies, and was composed of intricate and disputable doctrines, and obscure and unusual forms of expression, should
in his arios
be totally abolished; that polemical divinity, which com-
The second great object that employed the zeal and at-
ms ed, d: ith on TV, IV. be
eir -ful the ax al
de. ere. ng ul.
with pious sentiments, and to excite in them holy resolutions; but also produced another maxim, which was a lasting source of controversy and debate, viz. " That no person, that was not himself a model of piety and divine love, was qualified to be a public teacher of piety, or a guide to others in the way of salvation.” This opinion was considered by many as derogatory from the power and efficacy of the word of God, which cannot be deprived of its divine influence by the vices of its ministers; and as a sort of revival of the long exploded errors of the Donatists ; and what rendered it peculiarly liable to an interpretation of this nature was, the imprudence of some pietists, who inculcated and explained it, without those restrictions that were necessary to render it unexceptionable. Hence arose endless and intricate debates concerning the following questions : “Whether the religious knowledge acquired by a wicked man can be termed theology;" “whether a vicious person can, in effect, attain to a true knowledge of religion ;” “how far the office and ministry of an impious ecclesiastic can be pronounced salutary and efficacious;" " whether a licentious and ungodly man cannot be susceptible of illumination ?" and other questions of. a like nature.
XXXI. These revivers of declining piety went yet further. In order to render the ministry of their pastors as successful as possible in rousing men from their indolence, and in stemming the torrent of corruption and immorality, they judged two things indispensably necessary. The first was, to suppress entirely, in the course of public instruction, and more especially in that delivered from the pulpit, certain maxims and phrases which the corruption of men leads them frequently to interpret in a manner favourable to the indulgence of their passions. Such, in the judgment of the pietists, were the following propositions: “no man is able to attain to that perfection which the divine law requires ; good works are not necessary to salvation; in the act of justification, on the part of man, faith alone is concerned, without good works.” Many however were apprehensive that, by the suppression of these propositions, . truth itself must suffer deeply; and that the Christian religion, deprived thus of its peculiar doctrines, would be exposed, naked and defenceless, to the attacks of its adversaries. The second step they took, in order to give efficacy
at tes che
to their plans of reformation, was to form new rules of life
Thus, dancing, pantomimes, public
anc he the dit
n These debates were first collected, and also needlessly multiplied, by Schelgvigius, in his Synopsis Controversiarum sub pietatis prætextu molarum, which was published in the year 1701, in Svo. The reader will also find the arguments, used by the contending parties in this dispute, judiciously summed up in two different works of Langius, the one entitled, Antibarbarus ; and the other the Middleway; the former composed in Latin, the latter in German. See also the Timotheus Verinus of Val. Ern. Loscherus.
pense of truib.
that the lenity and indulgence shown by these people to persons whose opinions were erroneous, and whose errors were, by no means, of an indifferent nature, irritated their adversaries to a very high degree, and made many suspect, that the pietists laid a much greater stress upon practice than upon belief, and separating what ought ever to be inseparably joined together, held virtuous manners in higher esteem than religious truth. Amidst the prodigious numbers that appeared in these controversies, it was not at all surprising, if the variety of their characters, capacities, and views, be duly considered, that some were chargeable with imprudence, others with intemperate zeal, and that many, to avoid what they looked upon as unlawful, fell injudiciously into the opposite extreme.
XXXII. The other class of pietists already mentioned, whose reforming views extended so far as to change the system of doctrine and the form of These restor ecclesiastical government that were established in giro endere the Lutheran church, comprehended persons of present theater various characters and different ways of thinking. Some of them were totally destitute of reason and judgment; their errors were the reveries of a disordered brain ; and they were rather to be considered as lunatics than as heretics. Others were less extravagant, and tempered the singular notions, they had derived from reading or meditation, with a certain mixture of the important truths and doctrines of religion. We shall mention but a few persons of this class, and those only who are distinguished from the rest by their superior merit and reputation.
Among these was Godfrey Arnold, a native of Saxony, a man of extensive reading, tolerable parts, and richly endowed with that natural and unaffected eloquence, which is so wonderfully adapted to touch and to persuade. This man disturbed the tranquillity of the church toward the conclusion of this century, by a variety of theological productions, that were full of new and singular opinions; and more especially by his Ecclesiastical History, which he had the assurance to impose upon the public, as a work composed with candour and impartiality. His natural complexion was dark, melancholy, and austere ; and these seeds of fanaticism were so expanded and nourished by the perusal of the mystic writers, that the flame of enthusiasm was kindled in his breast, and broke forth in his conduct