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which the great charm was an intensely glowing earnestness, turning masses of statistics into life, kindling all argument into passion, and throwing ont, unconscious of their brightness, dazzling gleams of poetry in its rapid track, soon mastered the whole assembly. As he laid open the depths of Satan which existed in Germany, in the form of social disorganization, all-pervading immorality, contempt of religious observances, and infidel conspiracies against the very idea of a God, his audience stood aghast at the brink of the gulf on which they stood. As he narrated examples of the power of self-sacrificing Christian love, in the manifold forms of home-mission labour, the opposite feelings of hope and emulation returned ; and when, recapitulating all the varieties of such exertion already scattered over Germany, and with a creative hand, sketching others as yet non-existent, he appealed to the Confederation to take these under its wing, and to find in them its true impulse and rallying point of union, the impression was overwhelming, and the whole multitude started to their feet, and, with uplifted hands, solemnly bound themselves to make the “Inner-Mission” the business of the Confederation, and the work of their life. Arrangements were made without delay for the carrying on of the work of the Inner-mission in connexion with the scheme of Church-union ; and though it was judged advisable that the two associations should be formally distinct, and be managed by different committees, the leading men in the one were nominated to office in the other, and their annual meetings arranged to be held together.
We have dwelt thus long upon the Wittenberg Conference, because the whole subsequent religious life of Germany has run in the channel thus dng out, and is really incapable of being understood without the knowledge of its source. Almost all that is interesting and hopeful has been connected either with the Church Confederation or the Inner-Mission; and hence a few details must be added respecting the progress of these kindred operations. Since 1848, three meetings of the Church Confederation have been held, with evidently growing interest in the mere act of assembly, though the contemplated union is perhaps more remote than ever. The meeting in 1849 at Wittenberg fell short of the first in excitement, but surpassed it in numbers, being attended by about 700 persons. It took up the ecclesiastical questions that had lain over from the former year; such as, the relation of the Church to the School—the separation of Church and State—the rights of the people to Church-representation--and the evils of union without Confessions of Faith. On all these points interesting debates took place; a spirit of conciliation prevailed ; and, though the differences of the three Confessions gave birth to very conflicting views--the Lutherans Conferences of Stuttgardt and Elberfeld. 289 opposing all popular influence, and going farther than the rest in denouncing the separation of the Church from the State the bond of peace was not only unbroken but undisturbed. Only one individual, Pastor Bonnet of Frankfort, contended for the separation of Church and State ; the rest were divided into what would be called in this country, the Erastian and nonErastian theories.
The next Conference, in the autumn of 1850, at Stuttgardt, was invested with peculiar interest as having been held in the capital of the kingdom of Würtemberg, that part of the country where religious life had suffered less than elsewhere, either from rationalism or revolution, and which has been justly called the Scotland of Germany. The attendance rose to 2000 members, chiefly from the South ; and the proceedings were of a peculiarly cheerful and exhilarating character. The North and South, lately in violent antagonism respecting leadership in the Empire, here shook hands; and the more cold and critical theology of the former, learned to appreciate the deep and somewhat mystic experience of the latter. The chief topics of public discussion were two; the duty of civil obedience, especially on the part of the clergy, in which Dr. Dorner distinguished himself by a manly assertion of the most liberal principles, with especial reference to the case of the Schleswig-Holstein clergy, against the more slavish views of Dr. Stahl; and the question of Lord'sday observance, which, amidst much theoretical difference as to its grounds, was unanimously recommended as indispensable to personal or national religion, and an address agreed upon by the Conference to the governments and people of Germany, urging them to the long-neglected duty of Sabbath-sanctification. The last Conference, that of September 1851, in Elberfeld, of which the programme stands at the head of this Article, had the great advantage, like the Stuttgardt meeting, of being surrounded by an atmosphere of living piety in that Hourishing town, long blessed with the ministrations of two of the most eloquent men in Germany, and two of the leading spirits in the Church Confederation, Dr. Krummacher and Dr. Sander. It afforded perhaps a better mixture of all the elements of the Church-union than any foregoing assemblage, though the Reformed predominated, gathered from Westphalia and the banks of the Rhine. Two long and instructive discussions took place one on the gymnasial system of education and its urgent need of religious improvement—the other on the relation of lay-agency to the pastoral office, which shewed, on the whole, a spirit of concession by the high Lutherans to the growing necessities of the InnerMission. Two less animated debates arose on the constitution of district synods, and the right of the congregations to the use of the
Reformation Catechisms, in both of which sound decisions were given in favour of popular influence and the guarding of reformation principles. A harmonious and brotherly conversation on the state of the candidates or licentiates, who amount to upwards of 6000 in all Germany, and unhappily have no settled rights or opportunities of usefulness, made up the roll of the Assembly's business. Through this whole Conference there breathed a fine devotional spirit-an earnest interest in the topics brought forward—and a manly respect for diversity of view and practice; so that a spectator might well rejoice to see the impress of the first days of Wittenberg still brightly legible.
In summing up the present state of the Church Confederation, it must be acknowledged that it has made exceedingly small way, in any direct sense, towards an incorporating Church-union for all Germany. There are not only three confessions to be united, there are 39 states, all differing more or less in internal Church order, and none acknowledging the clergy of its neighbours. The ecclesiastical authorities that have been applied to, with a view to promote the objects of the Confederation, have mostly ob-. served a cold silence, while some have answered unfavourably; and the universities, to which also the appeal has been sent, have generally followed the same procedure. Moreover, the Confederation has not found such favour with the Lutheran Church as with the Reformed and the United ; and not a few of the former have openly taken the field against it, as a presumptuous and self-constituted claimant of ecclesiastical power. If to all this it be added that the growing reaction in the State indisposes men to organic change in the Church, it is easy to see that little short of a fresh revolution will break down the barriers in the way of a universal Church for Germany. Nevertheless, it is obvious that a great step is every year taken indirectly to this happy result. The Conference, though far from being so bold an assertor of religious liberty as we should desire to see it, yet by the very act of holding its annual meeting, independently of State permission, asserts the right of the Church to spontaneous union when she shall see fit, without State hindrance. The happy concord already effected in the Conference of such extremes as the Hengstenberg party and the disciples of Schleiermacher, shews the softening influence of such convocations. The habit of deciding common topics together, almost necessitates the final transition, sooner or later, of this consultative assembly into a regular synod. And the spectacle so novel and full of interest of a Nitzsch and a Tholuck from the chair sitting side by side with a Krummacher or a Sander from the pulpit-a Treviranus from Bremen supporting a Kápff from Stuttgardt-a Schmieder from Wittenberg encountering a Fliedner from Kaiserswerth-a theorist like Lehnerdt
urging on a man of action like Wichern; while, as in the late Assembly, nobles, privy-counsellors, and even Prussian ministers of instruction look on well pleased ; and (not less important!) crowds of students and unplaced theologians—the hope of the future-catch the impulse;. all this is an augury that the day of a visible union of all the Churches of the Reformation in Germany is nearer than some believe. Let the Church only keep clear of the reactionary tendencies of the State, and she has nothing to fear. In the midst of order she is on the way to independence; if involved in convulsion, the foundation of union already rises above the waves.
Meanwhile, contemporaneously with the movements of the Confederation, the Inner-Mission has been advancing with still more decisive progress. Candidate Wichern, liberated from time to time from his engagement near Hamburg, and honoured with a Doctor's degree, (which his attainments as a thinker and liberal scholar, not to speak of his classical German, well support,) has been employed for the last three years in making occasional journeys in its behalf, in addressing public meetings, where he has always left behind him something of his own ardent spirit, and in editing a magazine (Fliegende Blätter) expressly devoted to the business of the Inner-Mission. He has also been the presiding genius in the Central Committee, which has its seat in Hamburg and Berlin, and which has given shape and direction to the entire movement. The measures of this body, which consists of some of the most influential names in Germany among the clergy, nobility, counsellors of state, professors, and mercantile men, have been marked by great wisdom as well as zeal. This Committee, ever keeping before them the revival of religion within the Church, and the recovery of its nominal or apostate members to the faith of the gospel, have not complicated their labours by efforts directed to the Roman Catholics. Nor have they limited themselves within the Protestant pale to the poor and the outcast, the orphan and the prisoner, but have extended their regards to the profligacy of the higher classes-to the unbelief of the clergy-to the want of religion in schools—to the non-existence of a Christian literature to the desecration of the Lord's day—to the neglect of family religion, and many other kindredevils, which a “ Home Mission," in the English sense of the word, does not suggest, and the attempt to meet which gives the German institution a strikingly original character. Hence, as treading more closely on the peculiar province of the ministers of the gospel
, and the existing Church authorities, they have always sought their co-operation ; and while freely employing all disposable lay-activity at their command, they have not been willing to bring it into collision with clerical intolerance. They have strenuously opposed the idea that the separate activities of the Inner-Mission, thus affiliated to the Church, should be disjoined from each other ; but have constantly acted on the principle, that all
, from the highest to the lowest, should be regarded as parts of one great system of remedial operations devoted to the rescue of a whole people from unbelief and error, vice and misery in all their forms, as these at this day afflict Germany, and furnishing one grand unbroken manifestation of the energy of the gospel, and of the living unity of the Christian body in faith and love. At the same time they have not aspired to anything so sublimely impossible as the management of the entire Inner-Mission of the country by one directing board, but have contented themselves with calling local associations into existence, and attaching those which previously had a footing to the general cause, without in either case assuming the slightest control of measures or disposal of funds ; and they have found their own immediate sphere in the maintenance of correspondence-the origination of enterprises in which the whole lay body shares, such as itinerant preaching, the training of agents for the service, and the support of German evangelists among their expatriated countrymen—and though last not least, the arranging of business for the Annual Congress, when all the scattered details of exertion are presented in one view, and all questions of common concern are decided.
From the labours of this Central Committee and its affiliated societies, a mighty impulse has been given to the reformation of religion in the entire German fatherland. From sixty to seventy of these societies exist in sixteen different states of Germany, and the number of agents and correspondents engaged in helping on the work amounts to nearly two hundred. Not only general societies for the Inner-Mission, but separate establishments, such as orphan-asylums, houses of refuge, deaconesses' institutions, &c., have been called into birth or quickened into new life ; and it is in contemplation to train fifty labourers in these and kindred normal schools for the work of the mission, under the superintendence of the Central Committee. Other details might be given : but it is enough to say, that while the funds at the disposal of the direction in question are as yet but small, the amount of local effort called into play, in the form both of pecuniary donation, and still more of personal self-denying activity, has been immense; and that already a visible check has been given to the infidelity, the Sabbath-desecration, the neglect of worship, and the prevalence of anarchy, with its fostering poverty and crime, that were fast bringing the German nation to the verge of ruin. Probably a fifth, perhaps even a fourth, of the entire Protestant clergy of Germany