« 이전계속 »
Progress of Revival. 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 kindred evils, 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 Dawn of a New Reformation.
sympathize with this movement, and in some parts of Germany, such as Westphalia, Rhenish Prussia, and Würtemberg, the proportion is vastly greater. The most eminent of the theological professors and directors of seminaries, with most sections of the serious-minded clergy, readily forward it, and even the high Lutherans, whose scruples about lay-agency keep them aloof, have been stirred up to engage in the same work on their own principles. Though the fortunes of this enterprise, which is evidently the work of God, do not depend on one man, much is to be hoped from the future labours of Dr. Wichern. His annual speeches at the Congress have lost nothing of the spirit and power of his first memorable appearance. At the second Conference in Wittenberg, and also in Stuttgardt, he furnished the most masterly review of the whole field of labour, going over it in the one case geographically, in the other according to its different departments, and branding alike his facts and his appeals on every heart. And this year at Elberfeld, after a graceful tribute to England, from which he had just returned, full of light and impulse derived from the study of our own great “ Inner-Mission” in London, he soared into a new region, and astonished those who regarded him as a man of one idea, though a wide-embracing one, by developing with incomparable vigour and eloquence an original aspect of the “Inner-Mission," as not so much the fruit of a revolutionary necessity, as a revival and carrying out of the unfinished work of the Reformation. The pleading was to a German audience irresistible; and as he closed his fervent oration, in which he had found again and displayed to view all his own favourite plans as on foot in times of Luther, and asked, Where was the United German Church that should stand forth before the world to take up and consummate the long-neglected and frustrated schemes of the Reformer?—the whole assembly rose, and by a solemn vow pledged themselves, as they had done before, amid indescribable excitement, to live and die in the service of the Ir ner-Mission.
The rapid sketch which has been given suggests many anticipations as to the future development of German Christianity. We shall leave time, however, to take its own course, convinced that we have made good the expression of our confidence that a new stage in the progress of evangelical religion has been entered upon in Germany. Two of the greatest evils that oppressed the German Churches have disappeared-isolation from each other, and aversion to practice. Union and labour have come together; and the great work of Christianizing the German people, so long neglected while theologians were reducing to their lowest terms the fractional differences between Luther and Calvin, or evolving theories of the universe, with the Bible
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
NORTH BRITISH REVIEW.
ART. I.—The Works of John Milton. A New Edition.
London, Pickering, 1851.
We do not know how far our readers may share the feeling, but we confess to an occasional sense of irritation at that necessity which we seem to be under, in these latter times, of perpetually naming and referring to some five or six dead men, the acknowledged glories of the literature of the past. Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Burns, Goethe-shall we never be able to pass an agreeable intellectual evening without calling one or another of these names to our aid, never be able to indite a paper of thirty pages without requiring the printer to put one or another of these names more than once into type ? Are subjects for thought and talk so scarce round about us that we must for ever weave our best conversations out of the matter of these suggestive memories; or are we such timid sailors on the great sea of innumerable things as not to know how to quit the neighbourhood of these familiar bays and shores? The evil, if it be such, daily increases. Not only do we never have done with naming and alluding to those well-remembered few; but we shall never have done, it would also appear, with writing and reading express commentations on their lives and works. Perpetually, on opening a new number of a Review, we find a new essay on Goethe or on Byron; perpetually, on glancing at a new sheet of advertisements, we see announced some new volume of literary portraits, done by a cisatlantic or a transatlantic pen. Is this but a passing phase of our literary activity, a fashion recommended by the example of one or two eminent contemporary writers that one could name, and destined to run its course and cease? We do not know; we only note the fact, and confess again that the
VOL. XVI. NO. XXXII.