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N. T. The adepts in jurisprudence, who undertook,
in the last century, the revision and correction of the body of ecclesiastical law that is in force among the Lutherans, carried on their undertaking with great assiduity and spirit; and our church.go. vernment would at this day bear another aspect, if the ruling powers had judged it expedient to listen to their counsels and representations. We see, indeed, in several places, evident proofs that the directions of these great men, relating to the external form of ecclesiastical government, dis. cipline and worship, are highly respected ; and that their ideas, even of the doctrinal part of relia gion, haye been more or less adopted by many. Hence it is not at all surprising, that warm disputes have arisen between them and the rulers of the church concerning several points. The Lu, theran doctors are apprehensive that, if the senti, ments of certain of these reformers took place, religion would become entirely subservient to the purposes of civil policy, and be at length convert, ed into a mere state-machine ; and this appre. hension is not peculiar to the clergy alone, but is also entertained by some persons of piety and
candour, even among the Civilians. Intestine
XVI. The fiberty of thinking, speaking, and enemies. writing, concerning religious matters, which be
gan to prevail in the last century, was, in this, still further confirmed and augmented ; and in extended so far as to encourage boih infidels and fanatics to pour forth among the multitude, with. out restraint, all the effusions of their enthusiasm and extravagance. Accordingly we have seen, and still see, numbers of fanatics and innovators start up from time to time, and, under the influence of enthusiasm, or of a disordered brain, divulge their crude fancies and dreams among the people, by which they either delude many from the communion of the established church,
or at least occasion contests and divisions of the CE N T. most disagreeable kind. We mentioned former. ly several of these disturbers of the tranquillity of the church, to whom we may add here the notorious names of TENNHART, GICHTELIUS, UBERFELD, ROSENBACH, BREDEL, SEIZIUS, ROEMELING, and many others, who either imagined that they were divinely inspired, or, from a persuasion of their superior capacity and knowledge, set up for reformers of the doctrine and discipline of the church. Many writers drew their pens against this presumptuous and fanatical tribe ; though the greatest part of those who composed it were really below the notice of men of character, and were rather worthy of contempt than of opposition. And, indeed, it was not so in uch the force of reason and argument, as the experience of their bad success, that convinced these fanatics of their folly, and made them desist from their chimerical projects. Their attempts could not stand the trial of time and common sense; and therefore, after having made a transitory noise, they fell into oblivion. Such is the common and deserved fate of almost all the fanatic ringleaders of the deluded populace; they start up all of a sudden, and make a figure for a while ; but, generally speaking, they ruin their own cause by their imprudence or obstinacy, by their austerity or perverseness, by their licentious conduct or their intestine divisions.
XVII. Many place in this fanatical class the Herrenhuis Brethren of Herrenbut, who were first formed into ters. a religious community in the village so named, in Lusatia, by the famous Count ZINZENDORFF; and afterwards grew so numerous, that their emi.' grants were spread abroad in all the countries of Europe, reached even as far as the Indies, and formed settlements in the remotest quarters of the globę. The Herrenhutters call themselves the
CENT. descendants of the Bohemian and Moravian Bre.
ti thren, who, in the fifteenth century, threw off the
despotic yoke of Rome; animated by the zealous exhortations and heroic example of John Huss, They may, however, be said, with more propriety, to imitate the example of that famous community, than to descend from those who composed it; for it is well known, that there are very few Bohemians and Moravians in the fraternity of the Herrenhutters; and it is extremely doubiful, whether even this small number are to be considered as the posterity of the ancient Bohemian Brethren that distinguished themselves so early by their zeal for the Reformation.
If we are to give credit to the declarations of the Herrenhutters, they agree with the Lutherans in their doctrine and opinions, and only differ from them in their ecclesiastical discipline, and in those religious institutions and rules of life which form the resemblance between the Bohemian Brethren and the disciples of ZINZENDORFF. There are, indeed, many who doubt much of the truth of this declaration, and suspect that the society now under consideration, and more especially their rulers and ringleaders, speak the language of Lutheranism when they are among the Lutherans, in order to obtain their favour and indulgence; and those who have examined this matter with the most attention, represent this fraternity as composed of persons of different religions, as well as of various ranks and orders. Be that as it may, it is at least very difficult to guess the reason that induces them to live in such an entire state of separation from the Lutheran communion, and to be so ambitiously zealous in augmenting their sect, if the only difference between them and the Lutherans lies in the nature of their discipline, and in certain rites and institutions that do not belong to the effence of religion.
For the true and genuine followers of Jesus CENT.
XVIII Christ are but little concerned about the out. , ward forms of ecclesiastical government and discipline, knowing that real religion consists in faith and charity, and not in external rites and institutions (1).
(1) It is somewhat surprising to hear Dr Mosheim speak in such vague and general terms of this sect, without taking the least notice of their pernicious doctrines and their flagitious practices, that do not only disfigure the sacred truths of the Gospel, but also sap all the foundations of morality. To be persuaded of this, the reader, besides the accounts which Rimius has given of this enormous sect, will do well to consult a curious Preface, prefixed to the French translation of a Pastoral Letter against Fanaticism, addressed by Mr STINSTRA, an Anabaptist minister in Friesland, to his congregation, and published at Leyden in the year 1752. It may not be amiss to add here a passage relating to this odious community from the Bishop of GLOUCESTER's treatise, entitled, The Doctrine of Grace. The words of that great and eminent prelate are as follows : “ As purity respects practice, the Moravians give us “ little trouble If we may credit the yet unconfuted rela« tions, both in print and in MS. composed by their own mem“ bers, the participants in their most sacred mysterious rites, “ their practices in the consummation of marriage are so “ horribly, so unspeakably flagitious, that this people seems s to have no more pretence to be put into the number of “ Christian sects, than the TURLUPINS of the thirteenth cen“ tury, a vagabond crew of miscreants, who rambled over “ Italy, France, and Germany, calling themselves the Brothers “ and Sisters of the Free Spirit, who, in speculation, professed “ that species of Atheism called Pantheism, and, in practice, 6 pretended to be exempted from all the obligations of mo• rality and religion." See Doctrine of Grace, 12mo, vol. ii. p. 153. As to the doctrines of this sect, they open a door to the most licentious effects of fanaticism. Such among many others are the following, drawn from the express declarations of Count ZinZENDORFF, the head and founder of the commu. nity: That the law is not a rule of life to a believer :- That the moral law belongs only to the Jews : That a converted person cannot sin against light. But of all the singularities for which this sect is famous, the notions they entertain of the organs of generation in both sexes are the most enormously wild and extravagant. I consider (says Count ZinZENDORFF, in one of his sermons) the PARTS for distinguishing both sexes
CENT. XVIII. It was the opinion of many, that the
succours of philosophy were absolutely necessary The stateof to stem the torrent of superstition, and stop its philosophy among the growing progress, and that these alone were Lutherans. adapted to accomplish this desirable purpose.
Hence the study of philosophy, which, towards the conclusion of the last century, seemed to de. cline, was now revived, established upon a more rational footing, and pursued with uncommon assiduity aud ardour. The branch of philosophy, which is commonly known under the denominaa tion of Metaphysics, was generally preferred, as it leads to the first principles of things; and the improvements made in this important science were very considerable. These improvements were owing chiefly to the genius and penetration of the immortal LEIBNITZ, who cast a new light upon metaphysics, and gave this interesting branch of philosophy a more regular form. This science received a still greater degree of perfection from the philosophical labours of the acute and indefatigable Wolf, who reduced it into a scientific order, and gave its decisions the strength and evidence of a geometrical demon
in Christians, as the most honourable of the whole body, my Lord. and God having partly inhabited them, and partly worn thes himself. This raving secretary looks upon the conjugal act as à piece of scenery, in which the male represents Christ the husband of souls, and the female the church. The married brother (says he) knows matrimony, respects it, but does not think upon it of his own accord ; and thus the precious member of the covenant (i. e. the Penis) is so much forgot, becomes so useless, and consequently is reduced to such a natural numbne s, by not being used, that afterwards, when he is to marry, and use it, the Saviour must restore him from this deadness of body. And when an Esther by grace, and sister according to her make, gets sight of this member, her senses are shut up, and she holily perceives, that God the Son was a boy. Ye holy matrons, who as wives are about your ViceChrists, honour that precious sign with the utmost veneration. We beg the chaste reader's pardon for presenting him with this odious specimen of the horrors of the Moravian theology.