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BY THE EDITOR.
doing their daily work, and we will not BEGINNINGS OF THE REFORMED fail of good citizens, and through them our political life will at least be preserved from utter corruption. The lesson is not far-fetched nor startling, it appears even commonplace, but it is none the less true, that the promotion of private virtue and the formation of good individual character, are the true supporters of public virtue and political integrity. And so we close our remarks on political degeneracy-AND ITS
THE SILENT SEARCHERS.
When the darkness of night has fallen,
An army of silent searchers
From the dusky shadows creep; And over the quiet meadows
Or amid the waving treees,
They wander about with their tiny lamps
And this army of silent searchers,
Has driven away the night.
For an ancient legend tells us
That once, when the fairy king
Was called from the oak and pine.
And when, by the imps of darkness,
At the close of a dreary day;
With the flash of the magic light.
Would you see the magical army?
And near the maple tree,
And down in the river-damp,
The fire-flies search till the morning,
-Henry Ripley Dorr.
The Defence of the Catechism.
The Heidelberg Catechism is so mild and pacific in its general character that we can hardly realize how its publication could have given the signal for one of the most violent conflicts in the history of the church. No doubt its authors did not expect their work to be received without question, but the fierceness of the attacks which it invoked must have far exceeded their anticipations. The Roman Catholics were of course its bitter enemies. The Council of Trent, which had been in session for many years, was just coming to a close. Though ostensibly called to restore peace to the church it had but served to intensify the existing bitterness. It had been entirely under Jesuit influence; the Protestants had not been heard, and the anathemas by which they were condemned were unexampled in their violence. It has been said that nobody can curse like the pope," and the council certainly adequately expressed the papal sentiments.
It is not impossible that the publication of these anathemas may have some influence on the elector Frederick, in inducing him to insist on the insertion, in the second edition of the catechism, of the celebrated 80th question, in which the mass is declared to be " an accursed idolatry." Compared with the decrees. of the council this was a moderate statement. It did not curse individual opponents, as the Roman Catholice had done, but was at most a very emphatic assertion of the grounds which had induced Protestants to reject the mass. The Roman church had to some extent recovered from the first shock caused by the attacks of the Reformers, and the leaders were now ready to renew the conflict. They had, however, been held back to some extent, by the treaty of Augsburg which recognized the existen of Protestantism in the German Empire. If now it could be made to appear that the Reformed church did not hold to the Augsburg confession, and was thus ex
cluded from the terms of the peace, it might be crushed without hesitation, and Protestantism would be made to suffer greatly without being afforded an opportunity for retaliation. The fact that the Heidelberg catechism had, in unmistakable language declared the universal sentiment of Protestants with reference to the mass, was enough to exasperate the Romanists to employ all possible means for its suppression.
would kindly inform you that we have never been greatly troubled to know what Zwingli and Calvin wrote, and have not read their books. . . . If it is Zwinglianism and Calvinism to suppose that the elements in the Lord's Supper are mere signs, and that the body and blood of Christ are not present, or received, we beg to inform you that this is not our view of the subject and that we are unjustly suspected of holding it, inasmuch as the true and living presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord's Supper is in our churches preached, taught, and believed. That you may not suppose that our words and deeds do not agree we would inform you, that we require of our ministers and theologians to offer the following testimony concerning the Lord's Supper, namely:
The extreme Lutheran party was hardly less violent. Hesshusius, the controversialist whom Frederick had expelled from Heidelberg, saw his opportunity, and at his instigation the pulpits of northern Germany rang with denunciations. The catechism was charged with teaching doctrines contrary to the Augsburg confession, especially with reference to the person of Christ and the Lord's Supper, and the emperor and That we do not therein receive bread princes were adjured to employ and wine alone, as holy, divine signs and the sword of secular power for the de- seals (as the Holy Scriptures as well as struction of heresy. Several princes the Augsburg confession and the Apology united in an address to the elector Frede- call them); nor that we receive only rick, in which they not only accused him the merits of Jesus Christ alone nor His of having renounced the Augsburg Divinity alone, but the Lord Christ confession, but warned him that "Zwin- wholly and completely, true God and glianism and Calvinism is a seditious man, His real body and real blood which spirit (spiritus seditiosus) which wherever was broken and shed for us upon the it breaks out seeks to control the govern- cross-also all His merits, benefits, heavment, and causes disturbances not only enly treasures, blessings, and eternal life with foreign powers but among the sub-truly, without all deception and not ject people.
In describing a storm it is in vain to attempt to speak of every single blast. The elector's troubles rapidly accumulated. Even his household was divided, and his eldest son Louis, who ruled the Upper Palatinate as his father's representative, took sides with the extreme Lutheran party. All this opposition how ever only served to fortify Frederick in his position; he proceeded to remove pictures and crucifixes from the churches, and introduced the Calvinistic form of church government, which many of the German princes regarded as treason to the privileges of their order. In reply to the accusations brought against him, he calmly asserted his faithful adherence to the Augsburg confession. With regard to the question of the real presence, his declarations were clear and decided. Thus he says in his reply to the princes; who had accused him of Zwinglianism and Calvinism : "We
in me e fancy, but substantially, re ipsa, by the power and effect of the Holy Spirit; and all this is given and presented to us by the Lord Himself, through faith, as the meat and drink of our souls; and also that we thereby have complete communion with Christ, becoming true members of His blessed body, so that He lives and remains in us and we in Him forever.
It might seem to the modern reader as though this strong confession ought to have satisfied Frederick's opponents that he believed in the doctrine of the real presence, but it was far from having this effect. "What is it after all," they inquired, "but a Calvinistic confession? Does it not represent the humanity of Christ as conveyed by the Holy Spirit, through faith, as the meat and drink of our souls?" The confession was objectionable to the extremists because it did explicitly declare that Christ's humanity is present in the sacrament "under the
form of bread and wine," being thus orally received by unbelievers as well as believers. On the other hand there was a more moderate Lutheran party which was willing to accept Frederick's confession as substantially in accordance with the Augsburg confession, and it was owing in great measure to their silent influence and support that the elector was able to sustain himself during these dark and trying hours.
THE SECOND HELVETIC CONFESSION.
meeting of the diet, and Frederick was cited to appear.
This citation was a very serious matter. It was well known that the majority of the princes proposed to exclude the elector from the terms of the treaty of Augsburg, which would have deprived him of his government, and perhaps even have cost his life. His brother, Richard of Simmern, warned him of the danger of attending the diet, but he exclaimed: "I believe that God who has brought me to a knowledge of His Gospel still reigns, and if it should cost my blood, I which I could not sufficiently thank Him would regard martyrdom as an honor for
Immediately after the publication of the Heidelberg Catechism Olevianus had sent a copy of the book to Bullinger, ac-in time or eternity. companied by a letter in which he said: If there is any good in this book we owe a great part of it to you and to other noble spirits in Switzerland." In reply Bullinger said: "I regard this as the best catechism that has ever been written. May God crown it with His blessing. These intimate relations between Switzer; land and the Palatinate continued, and when Frederick found himself in trouble he wrote to Bullinger, requesting him to prepare a full confession of the doctrines of the R-formed church. This confession, which was published by Frederick in 1566, was primarily intended to serve as a defense against those who said that
the Reformed churches were at variance
among themselves; but it actually be came a bond which united the church of the Palatinate with those of Switzerland and France. In this way Henry Bullinger was not only instrumental in uniting the followers of Calvin with those of Zwingli, but succeeded in bringing the church of Frederick III into the same communion.
THE DIET OF AUGSBURG.
The diet met in Augsburg on the 23d of March 1566. The emperor and emtinue, and were welcomed with extraorpress appeared with a magnificent redinary festivities. At the beginning of the meeting the Protestant delegates held in which they determined to prepare an what might now be called a "caucus," address to the emperor, demanding same time resolved not to allow Frederick greater religious liberty; but they at the satisfactorily explain his views concernto sign the petition unless he should first ing the Lord's Supper. Several princes even insisted that he must sign what was designed to be an "iron clad " confession, to the effect that "the real body and blood are actually present in the sacrament under the form of bread and wine, and are offered and received with the visible elements; that the aforesaid true body and blood are not only spiritually but corporeally presented and received, so that through the communion of His flesh and blood Christ dwells in us corporeally; and also that Christ is not only in us spiritually through His love but also by natural communion."*
A few days after these proceedings Frederick arrived, and it soon became evident that his presence was producing a reaction. Those who had never before seen him were impressed by his evident sincerity, and this favorable impression was heightened by several eloquent sermons preached by his chaplain.
The emperor Maximilian II, who had ascended the throne in 1564, was a man of extraordinary ability. Though a Catholic he was more liberal than any of his predecessors, and he was even supposed to be secretly inclined to Protestantism. He had addressed a friendly warning to the elector Frederick immediately after the publication of the Heidelberg Catechism, but seemed disinclined to carry matters further. The importunity of the German princes, however, finally induced him to call a 2, p. 120.
The elector quietly but firmly declined to sign any new confessions, insisting
* Heppe's History of German Protestantism,
that he had done as much as could justly resolved "that he was in full accordance be expected by declaring his adherence with the confession in the article of to the confession of Augsburg. He also justification by faith, which had caused entered a formal protest against being the schism in the church, and in many tried for his faith until the Saxon the other articles, but that he did not fully ologians and those of Würtemberg had accept the article concerning the Lord's come to an agreement among themselves. Supper. As, however, he had indicated His danger was, however, by no means his willingness to yield to proofs taken at an end; and at one time it was cur- from the word of God, they would in rently reported in Heidelberg that the due time seek to convince him of his elector had been arrested and executed. error. In the mean time the princes On the 14th of May the emperor pro- had no desire to oppress the Elector of posed a decree commanding Frederick the Palatinate, or others, in Germany or to abstain from introducing "Calvinistic in foreign lands, who might vary from novelties," and requiring him to restore the confession in one or more articles, to the Roman church the property of and thus to increase the sufferings of the certain convents which had been alien-conf ssors of Christ. ated by the civil power. During the This action of the diet had been endiscussion of this measure the elector tirely unexpected. Frederick returned was required to absent himself from the to Heidelberg and was received with assembly; but after its adoption he re- great rejoicing, and was now permitted entered the hall followed by his favorite to proceed unmolested in his work of son John Casimir, whom he called his Reformation. The sacramental controspiritual armor-bearer," the latter car-versy was, however, by no means rying the Bible and the Augsburg con- cluded. In the Lutheran church, fession. On this occasion he offered his especially, it continued to rage with memorable defense of which the follow-great violence, until finally a number ing is a brief extract: "I am still of the of German princes followed the example opinion that in matters of faith I have of Frederick and with many of their but a single master who is the King of people formally passed over to the Rekings and Lord of lords; therefore I am formed church. not troubled about my head, but about my soul which is in the hands of God who created it.. I have never read Calvin's works, and therefore do not know whether you are right in calling me a Calvinist, but I confess that my catechism contains the substance of my faith; it is so fortified with proofs from the Scriptures that it cannot be refuted. Finally, I am comforted by the a-surance that my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has given un'o me and all believers this blessed promise, that all we lose here for His name's sake will be restored to us a hundred fold in the world to come.
FREDERICK'S LATER YEARS.
The Elector of the Palatinate was now known as Frederick the Pious, and he well deserved his honorable title. In his efforts for the upbuilding of the church he was indefatigable. The University of Heidelberg flourished as it had never done before, and was withal pervaded by an earnest Christian spirit. The oppressed and persecuted Protestants of foreign countries found in him a friend and protector. When the Reformed people of the Netherlands fled from the murderous tyranny of the Duke of Alva, The effect was the elector's defense and settled by thousands in the lower was very great. At its conclusion Au- Rhine provinces of Germany, Frederick gustus of Saxony put his hand on his not only relieved their necessities but shoulder and said: "Fritz, thou art sent his court-preacher Dathenus to ormore pious than the whole of us!" The ganize them into churches. After the margrave of Baden also said to the dreadful massacre of St. Bartholomew princes at the close of the session: "Why he sent an army, under the command trouble ye the elector? He has more of his favorite son John Casimir, to aid piety than all of us together." When the persecuted Huguenots. Another of the emperor finally inquired whether his sons lost his life in battle in the NeFrederick was to be regarded as stand- therlands, but the father consoled himing under the Augsburg confession it was zelf with the thought that he had died
on the field of honor in defense of God and of religion. Gradually the Elector came to occupy a sort of paternal position with reference to the whole Reformed church, and his influence was felt in distant lands. Even Queen Elizabeth consulted him with reference to the affairs of the church of England.
During Frederick's later years his chief source of sorrow was the continued alienation of his eldest son, Louis, who was still violent in his opposition to the Reformed church, and even refused to see his father on his death-bed, though the latter earnestly requested it. The last days of the pious elector were, how ever, exceedingly edifying. Το the friends who gathered around his dying bed he said: "I have lived long enough for you and the Church; I am now called to a better life. I have done for the Church all I could, but my power ⚫ was limited. God, who can do all things, and who cared for His Church before I was born, liveth and reigneth in Heaven still, and will not forsake us; nor will He suffer those prayers and tears which I have offered up in this chamber upon my knees for my successor and the Church, to be without a blessing." Then addressing his court-preacher he said: "The Lord may call me hence whenever it pleaseth Him; my conscience is at peace with the Lord Jesus Christ whom I have served with all my heart. I have been permitted to see that in all my churches and schools the people have been led away from men and directed to Christ alone." And again he exclaimed: "I have been detained here long enough through the prayers of God's people; it is now time that I should be gathered into the true rest with my Saviour. Then he requested his pastor to read the 31st Psalm and the 17th chapter of John, and after praying audibly and fervently he gently fell asleep in the Lord. His death occurred on the 26th of October, 1576.
AFTER FREDERICK'S DEATH.
Louis VI. assumed the government immediately after his father's death. He immediately dismissed the Reformed professors, and introduced a strictly Lutheran church-order. Pastors were required to subscribe to the new order or to leave the country. Many of these says
Von Alpen "submitted for the sake of their wives and children," but others found a refuge at the court of Prince John Casimir, who ruled over several provinces. This state of affairs continued for about seven years, when Louis suddenly died, leaving an infant son, in whose name John Casimir assumed the government. The young prince was brought up in the Reformed church, and so it happened that the latter was for many years the established church in the Palatinate. The lines between the confessions had now been drawn, and Reformed and Lutheran churches existed side by side. The struggle was not yet over, but there was a season of rest.
The books in explanation and in defense of the Heidelberg Catechism, written during this period, and subsequently, are almost innumerable. The most celebrated and valuable of these is the commentary bearing the name of Ursinus, first printed at Heidelberg in 1591, of which an English version has been published in this country by Rev. Dr. G. W. Williard. This great work was, however, really prepared by the distinguished theologian David Pareus, who gathered the notes taken by students from the lectures of Ursinus, and moulded them into a complete whole; and mus therefore, be regarded as sharing in th honor of having produced it.
Among later expositions of the catechism we have found none so valuable as John D'Outrein's "Golden Jewel," first published in Dutch in 1719. We have a German translation, edited by F. A. Lampe, which once belonged to Rev. John Christopher Gobrecht, one of the patriarchs of the Reformed church in the United States. It is a volume of nearly twelve hundred pages. Though it contains some minor p-culiarities of doctrine it is still of great practical value, and we regret to say that we know of no English translation.
The defense of the Heidelberg catechism was everywhere conducted with self-sacrificing devotion, and thousands of men and women have shed their blood in its behalf. Though often attacked it is so thoroughly grounded in the Word of God that it can never be refuted. The Reformed church everywhere regard it as a precious legacy, and we trust it will be venerated to the latest generation.