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elderly at the time they were called to be Christ's disciples. But this appears a mistake; for Peter, the oldest of them, had a mother-in-law, (who could wait upon them) (the rest were probably at that time unmarried ;) and Peter may be supposed to have been born after our Saviour, who addresses all his disciples as their superior in age (rekvía.) They appear to have been plain, uncultivated persons, not indeed of an uncivilized stamp, but of a homely, blunt, and rather rough character. We may suppose so from Peter's beginning to attack the multitude with his sword, and from his imprecations shortly after. Probably at the beginning of his course he was a character not very unlike one of our honest Hamburg watermen. Hence it is no wonder that these disciples got so often into faults, which their Master as constantly rebuked. But it is a wonder that our blessed Lord should have improved them as he did in so short a time, though he still rebukes their backwardness in this respect.
“ Luke xii. 37. Verily I say unto you, that he will gird himself, and make them sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.' This promise I regard as the greatest of any in the Bible; and I take the words in a kind of literal meaning, that is, as a bridegroom on his wedding-day scruples not to wait upon his guests, and to converse in affectionate familiarity with them all, so will Jesus act in the world to come, when the marriage of the Lamb is come.
“ 1 Thess. iv. 13. As Scripture was given principally for believers, it speaks of their resurrection expressly, and of the resurrection of the unjust only by the way.
6. Acts xvi. 21. The world has been always ready enough to embrace the doctrines of philosophers. But the doctrines of the gospel contain what is revolting and mortifying to the pride of our corrupt nature; this very peculiarity, however, is one internal evidence of their divine origin.
“ One peculiarity which always attends evangelical truth is, that all who cordially embrace it, in whatever age or nation, bring forth the same fruits of the Spirit, and have the same conflicts, trials, and experiences.
" There was a wide difference between the condition of the Corinthian church and that of the Colossians. The former had been favoured with many gracious gifts (xaplouara) and superior knowledge, by which they became 'puffed up' (terumwuévol). For this rising of the flesh, the apostle pricks them again and again,
many of them to more humility and natural christian
simplicity. The Colossians, on the contrary, appear to have been very rude in knowledge; he, therefore, much insists upon knowledge itself (éniyvwoiv) through the whole of his epistle to them. With the Corinthians there were mountains and hills to be brought low; but with the Colossians, there were vallies to be filled.”
HIS REMARKS UPON THE CHURCH OF THE UNITED BRETHREN,
In the last year but one of his life, he published these remarks, entitled a “Sketch of the Church of the United Brethren," having had for several years a variety of official communications with that church. This was the only one of his publications that was designed, not for framing any thing new in doctrinal or practical knowledge, but to express his opinion upon what was already framed to hand, but which at that time appeared to need the amendments it suggested. As it was occasioned by passing circumstances, it has been variously misunderstood; though, in truth, it was one of the most important and beneficial works of his life. We will, therefore, here particularly notice how it originated, and what was the effect of it.
It is well known, that Count Nicolas Lewis von Zinzendorf, about the year 1722, granted a settlement upon his estate at Berthelsdorf to a few pious refugees from Moravia and Bohemia, members of the church of the Brethren in those countries, a church which for ages had weathered the storms of persecution, by which, however, it had now become almost annihilated. The new little settlement, to which the brethren gave the name of Herrnhut,* may be regarded as the parent scion from which have sprung
all those other communities of the Brethren, that have spread abroad, and proved so great a blessing to various parts of the world. To its first handful of colonists were soon added other refugees, alike driven by violent oppression from their native homes in Moravia and Bohemia; and their number was still augmented by persons from various countries, who had become dissatisfied more or less with the views and discipline of their respective churches, and whom one common desire of christian liberty had thus brought together. But as no civil, much less any religious, community can enjoy in a state of anarchy the blessings of order and prosperity, they of course found it necessary
to deliberate at once upon having common fixed
• The watch of the Lord.
principles, rules, and regulations for discipline. A considerable majority of the settlers having belonged to the church of Moravia, where they had been accustomed to a discipline more personally scrutinizing than that of any other protestant community, desired permission to continue the same in their new settlement; and as the other settlers were dissatisfied with their own respective churches, not from any indifference to religion, but from being disposed to a more inward, serious, and - lively exercise of it, there was no hindrance to their becoming thus far delighted with the views of their Moravian brethren. But it was not so easy to bring about unanimity in doctrine. For though the members of the new community, with very few exceptions, were all protestants, yet with respect to the protestant denominations to which they belonged, they consisted of Moravians, Lutherans, and Reformed; and these distinctions were subdivided by the private and peculiar sentiments of many among them. Hence the easiest means of their coalescence, allowing for the impossibility of a multitude seeing exactly alike in every thing, was to have a leader, of sufficient character and influence to mould them, by little and little, after a plan of his own, which should not be decidedly opposed to either of the Confessions subscribed at the peace of Westphalia ; as otherwise it could expect no toleration even from our protestant churches. Such a leader did Providence give them in the benevolent nobleman who had so kindly afforded them a place of shelter. Count Zinzendorf, from his early youth, had ardently desired to become active for the advancement of the kingdom of God; and was endued with such abilities and dispositions, as would not admit of his spending his life in occupations merely secular, much less of his confining it to the common benevolence of a fatherly nobleman among
his tenants and dependants. His really noble spirit required a larger sphere of signal and active service for the kingdom of God. The occasion was now presented to him, the Herrnhut community having invited and chosen him to preside over them. This was in the year 1727; and he resolved cheerfully to devote to their welfare the rest of his life. He had already been the chief manager of their temporal concerns; but his religious exertions among them had been only those of a private man; and he had appointed the Berthelsdorf pastor, Rothe, to officiate as their minister. In 1733 he invited also the assistance of Mr. Steinhofer, a Würtemberg clergyman, whose acquaintance he had made on a tour through that country. This was the first occasion
of the Count's intercourse with the church of Würtemberg. But as Steinhofer wished that his own engagement at Herrnhut might not hinder his returning at any time to officiate in his native land, the Count thought it expedient to get the Würtemberg church to recognize that at Herrnhut as a sister community; which he hoped would also be serviceable to it on many other accounts; therefore he went to Tübingen, and presented through Mr. Steinhofer to the Theological Faculty the following inquiry :" Whether the brethren of the Moravian church at Herrnhut, as agreeing with the Confessions of the protestant church, might be allowed to consider themselves as in ecclesiastical union with the evangelical church of Würtemberg, though they should retain their own well known form of discipline, as it had been established among them for three centuries ?" Now, as it was unknown in Würtemberg that many members of the Herrnhut community varied at that time from the doctrinal system of the protestant church, (for the subsequent assimilation of their religious opinions had hardly yet begun to work,) the Theological Faculty felt it the less necessary to hesitate in giving their assent, especially as the Count had gained the hearts of all by his amiable and conciliatory conduct. Bilfinger then drew the
reply in such favourable terms, that the Count reckoned at once upon finding the church of Würtemberg an affectionate and thorough-going patroness of his little community. Upon this occasion it was, that Bengel became personally acquainted with him on the third of April, 1733. Mr. Oetinger, who had been a pupil of Bengel, had related to the Count at Herrnhut much respecting his former tutor, as well as about Bengel's apocalyptical system, and had prevailed with the Count to go with him to Denkendorf upon a visit to Bengel. Here Bengel laid before the Count in a connected manner his views upon prophecy, and particularly upon the Apocalypse.* The Count, at first, so admired all, that he even called Bengel the prophet of the age ; but found himself f afterwards so hard pressed by some of Bengel's particular representations and remarks, that he discontinued the conversation ; though, had he gone with Bengel farther into the subject, he might have found some important respects in which both parties were agreed. For they were very closely assimilated in many things. Both loved God from their
* See Spangenberg's Life of Zinzendorf; p. 791. + See Oetinger's work, entitled, “ Conversations between John Conrad Dippel and Count Zinzendorf in the Invisible World;" p. 5.