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POETRY-2d Cor. iv, 16
NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS.
“W, H. I.”_"N. H, W.”- Poetry by “ A. T, G.”_"A Connaught Curate"
A Munster Curate,” to be inserted. We shall not have space for “ Politelos in our next Number.
“Celebs,” the article on “Regeneration, and on University Preaching," are under consideration.
We think it unnecessary to insert Thidens's Query. We can scarcely believe that one who views Popery as an apostacy, can hesitate as to the duty of refusing his assistance to its extension, or that he can regard it as indifferent to contribute to the erection of an edifice, where idolatrous rites are celebrated, and erroneous doctrines preached. We would certainly not “ give Father Philemy the Pound."
The life of the laborious and pious Francke is one of the most interesting pieces of biography, as well as one of the most useful subjects of contemplation that Protestantism presents. As a minisz ter of the gospel, a teacher of theology, a Christian philanthropist, few names rank higher, and few examples are better calculated to correct many prevailing errors of the present day, to excite to ministerial exertion, or to encourage under undeserved reproach. The following sketch has been made from a French periodical work, and if the Editor of the Christian Examiner thinks with his correspondent, he will give it insertion in his pages.
LUTHER had accomplished the Reformation, by establishing the doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ, which he had recognized to be the fundamental doctrine of the Scriptures, and thus bringing back the church of his time to the standard of primitive Christianity; but the divines who succeeded to the Reformers in Germany, towards the end of the sixteenth, and beginning of the seventeenth centuries, instead of being animated by their spirit, and seeking the advancement of the kingdom of God, by preaching, as they had done, the great truths of the Gospel, occupied themselves in questions of detail, and spent their lives in discussing the unimportant points of controversy that were excited in the bosom of their own church, or were still carried on with the Romanists. Possessing a cold and lifeless orthodoxy, they maintained, indeed, the doctrines of Luther with a zeal sufficiently fervent, but they neglected to apply as Luther did, their doctrines to practice. Polemics took such possession of theology, that in the most ceļebrated universities, all studies were directed to controversy, the Scriptures as a text book were neglected, and so little was their importance felt, that Olearius could not succeed in establishing a course of Scripture
interpretation in Leipsic, and the learned Carpzovius, having commenced to lecture on the prophet Isaiah, was forced to limit his course to the first chapter for want of auditors. The clergy who had studied at such universities, instead of preaching that word “which is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder the soul and spirit," carried into their pulpits scholastic discussions without importance or fruit, and their congregations perished for want of spiritual food.
This state of things could not last, and a remedy was found. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century George Calixtus,t a professor at Helmstadt began to occupy himself about a reformation
* A very interesting account of the state of theological science in Germany, subsequent to the Reformation, may be seen in Pusey's “ Historical Enquiries into the Probable Causes of the Rationalist Character, lately predominant in the Theology of Germany. The statement in the text is fully borne out by Mr. Pusey. He extracts the following account of the preparatory and professional course of study from Spener’s “ pia desideria."
“ In the seminaries, for the most part, Latin alone is taught; Greek extremely seldom ; Hebrew not at all : persous come to the universities without having an idea of the nature of Theology, which is considered a mere matter of memory; hence all prayer, all meditation, all attention to a holy life, is wanting. Philosophy is a dry scholastical assemblage of formulas ; to it is most time devoted. Philology is almost unknown. Many Theologians do not understand the New Testament in Greek. The most important Theological science is thetik (doctrinal Theology in its confined sense); scriptural grounds for the doctrines are not deemed necessary. Scriptural interpretation is learnt after entering on the office of preacher, in order to write the expository part of the sermon, which contains a mere dialectical explanation. Next to thetik is polemic, the most important science, though it is melancholy to contend against error when one knows not the truth.....Ethics are not taught at all ; homiletic consists only in a philosophical schematism, how a sermon is logically to be arranged.
“That the clergy needed an entire reformation, and so much the more, in that their defects were not acknowledged ; that many of them were whollystrangers to earnest piety, conceiving that every thing was comprised in skill in religions disputation ; that much foreign useless matter, many needless nice. ties, had been introdnced into theology ; whence many theologians, when they attained an office, could make no use of what they had learnt; that it was necessary to study holy Scripture with much more diligence than had been hitherto done, to put a due limit to religious controversies, and to educate and form future ministers upon an entirely new plan, reminding them, that much more depended upon a pious life than upon their diligence and study ; lastly, that sermons should be made more useful." No wonder that H. Müller should speak against the four dumb church-idols, the font, the pulpit, the confessional, and the communion-table; or that the result should be that described by the truly pious, able, and learned Joh. Gerhard, “ that the most diligent churchgoers were guilty of the most reckless practices; but if one did not admit them to be good Christians, they threatened an action for libel, and whoever recon)mended earnest Christianity, was termed Pharisee, Weigelian, and Rosecrucian."
Spener himself mentions, that he knew theologians, who during a six years? course of study at universities, had not heard a single exposition of any biblical book.” Pusey 46-49, 32.
+ George Calixtus, an eminent Lutheran divine, born in 1586 at Sleswick in Holstein, and made professor at Helmstadt in consequence of his success in controversy with the Jesuit Trovrianus, was one of the most eminent men of bis day, and as usual at that period, one of the most violently censured. To this his own unguarded language contributed ; and his comprehensive views of the mode of studying and teaching theology were not more opposed to the narrow
in theological studies. About the same period, a spirit of religious anxiety began to manifest itself among the laity, who finding no substantial assistance in the sermons that were usually preached, endeavoured by their own exertions to supply the want of pastoral instruction, and for want of information had occasionally fallen into error, or adopted injurious and unscriptural opinions. A similar spirit appeared among the clergy, and such men as Arndt, Gerhard, Andreæ, and others, animated by the true spirit of the Gospel, began to preach its truth with simplicity, and soon collected round them, all who felt the importance of religion. These excellent men prepared the way for a more important revolution, but it was reserved for Spener to divest theology of merely scholastic disputations, and to bring it back to the sacred Scriptures. He evinced that to be a theologian, the student must draw bis doctrine from the Bible, and to preach the Gospel with success, must have felt its power in his own heart. He censured the stile of preaching, fashionable in his day, and sustained that preachers should never mount the pulpit to exhibit their talents, but by simple and intelligible discourses to convince the people of the great truths of Christianity, the corruption of human nature, the redemption that is in Jesus, and the sanctification to which believers are called. Nor did he confine his exertions to theological students; he directed his attention to all professing Christians, and endeavoured to make them feel the inportance of their situation, by bringing strongly before them the privileges of the people of God, the priesthood to which Christians are called, who, hy their union with Christ their high priest and mediator, can freely approach to God by him, and a present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto him." Among the means most effectual for extending this evangelical feeling, may be mentioned, the establishment of different societies at Frankfort, upder the name of Pious Associations, (“ Collegia Pietatis,”) where individuals met for prayerand religious conversation, and by the means of which he hoped to leven* the mass of German Society. At Berlin, too, his influence was particularly felt, owing to the share he took in
conceptions of his contemporaries, than his aoxiety to promote Christian charity to their bigotry and virulence. In the violence of religious controversy, that charity was too generally forgotten, and Calixtus, for bining the possibility of salvation being extended to iiomanists and Calvanists, was accused of indiller: ence to the truth, and his followers called Syncratists, as if they wished to unite and mix together all religions. He has been virtually acquitted by mien of high talent who have estimated the controversy, but that acquittal was of little avail against prejudice. Calovius after Calixtus death, refused to use the term • beatus Calixtus,' alleging that he must on the same ground speak of B. Bellarmine, B. Calvinus, B. Socinus, &c.; and at Wittenberg, in a dramatic piece, Calixtus vvas represented as a fiend with horns and claws. Bussuet speaks very higbly of Calixtus as a controvertialist.
A hope not entirely without accomplishment; the meetings were generally approved. In the Articles of Smalcald (111. Th. Art. 4) it is said, • Brotherly conferences out of the word of God, aniong the people, are a valuable aid to Christia, advancement:' and Carpzovius declared, with reference to these times, 'The advantages of these meetings cannot be told, especially when