Imágenes de páginas

end, by showing the origin and progress of the Church of the Brethren, and the true state of their case. - The Author, who departed this life in 1777, was so kind as to undertake some emendations from papers and observations put into his hands for the use of this Tranfiation. But it pleased God to take him to , himself before he had completed it. However, it hath been in several places corrected and amended, agreeably to his intentions and to authentic documents.

The Author himself candidly acknowledges, that this Work is not a complete history of the Church of the Brethren. It is no more than an esay, and indeed the very first of the kind which has been compiled, to oblige and serve some candid historians, who desired it, and others who wished to see a true and connected account of each congregation and mission of the Brethren.My plan of brevity confined me to the chief. events of the Church, without descending to many transactions of individuals. But as the late Count Zinzendorf has been a principal character in the renewed Church of the Brethren, I could not avoid taking notice of many of his transactions, lo far as they had any influence on the affairs of that Church ; although we hope to see them fet in a more clear and full light in the Memoirs of his Life *. But yet I have related every thing, touching him, as well as every other incident and transaction of the Brethren, as concisely as possible. With respect to such events only, as have given rise to particularly remarkable revolutions in the affairs of the Brethren, I have been more full and circumftantial.'-The Author, after a serious, but simple declaration of his having written nothing but what his conscience witnessed to the truth of, makes an honest concession with respect to the imperfections and weaknesses of those men, who were made the instruments of erecting anew the Church of the Brethren... They were men (says he), and the work could not be conducted without mistakes. A reader who loves the truth will not expect to read the faults, yea crimes, which the adversaries or slanderers have unjustly laid to their charge, with a refutation of them. This is a History, and no Apology., What is actually true, I would not conceal; but have candidly and uprightly, pointed out the mistakes and errors of my brethren, who have also, with an open and bonelt heart, pointed out to me many mistakes which had hitherto been unknown to myself.?

. There Memoirs of the Life of Count Zinzendorf have been printed in Germany in eight volumes, two of which have been traofa lated and published in English. (The Editor.)


P 2

This History is divided into two capital Parts, viz. the Ancient and Modern state of the Church of the Brethren. Each of these parts is fubdivided into chapters and sections, for the fake of order and perspicuity. The first part includes four general heads, viz. The state of the Christian religion in Bohemia, from its first reception there by the preaching of two Greek monks, Cyrillus and Methodius, about the year 890, until the formation of a particular Church of the Brethren in the year 1457, of which church John Huss, and, after him, the renowned Ziska, laid a foundation ; the former by his preaching, and the latter by his valour. The second division of this ancient department of the History, treats of the extension and perfecution of the Church of the Brethren, and carries on their history to the reformation of Luther. The next chapter gives an account of the negotiations of the Brethren with the reformers and their fucceffors; and the increase of their society in Pruffia and Poland. The fourth chapter relates a variety of events which succeeded the great emigration into Poland and Pruffia, and the state of the Brethren in Bohemia and Moravia after their return, when they obtained security under the Emperor Maximilian II. This part of the history brings us to their difperfion in 1627.

At the conclusion of this first division of the present Work, the Author gives us a list of the names of the Boheinian, Mo. ravian, and Polish bifhops of the Unity of the Brethren, according to the order of their succeísion, from the year 1467 to the revival of their church in a later period. The last that is commemorated in this catalogue is David Nitschmann, a very diftinguished character in the History of the Modern Church of the Brethren, who was confecrated bishop in 1735 by Jablonfky, at Berlin; and it was from the venerable David that Count Zinzendorf received his episcopal authority.

The second part of this History is divided into ten chapters, and treats very copiously of the state of the Moravian Church, from the renewal of the Unity of the Brethren in 1727, to the general fynod held at Marienbourn in 1769.-In this divifion of the Work, we have a particular account of the firft efta, blishment of the Society at Herrnhutt; of Count Zinzendorf's commissions to Pennsylvania and England; of the orders and regulations of the Church of the Brethren ; the ministrations and labours, miffions and persecutions, of the moft distinguished leaders of this sect: together with a variety of incidental reflections that were suggested by the various subjects of this elaborate Work.

The present church of the Moravians may ascribe its reftoraţion, in a great measure, to the industry of one Christian David.


At Goerlitz, where he had worked at his trade as a carpenter, he had received fome religious impressions from the fermons and conversation of two pious ministers of that place, which laid a foundation for that zeal which actuated his future conduct.

In 1717, he visited the small remnant of the ancient Church of the Unity, that had preserved themselves free from the corruptions of other Protestant churches, and had formed a fociety for religious exercises in a little village in Moravia. He found their fituation à precarious one; and as they were willing to emigrate, in order to find some secure settlement in a Protestant country, he, after some time, found means to recommend them to the patronage of Count Zinzendorf, then nearly of age, and just returned from his travels. "To this Nobleman (Tays our Author), whose grandfather had left Auftria for the fake of the gospel, and who, even in the tenth year of his age, had formed a resolution of becoming a preacher of the gospel, though for the present, in compliance with the will of his relations, he was obliged to alter it, was Christian David led, in the year 1721, by an especial direction of divine Providence, to folicit a reception of some Moravian families. He obtained for answer, that they might come whenever they pleased : he Thould endeavour to provide for them in such places, where their emigration should be attended with no disturbances. Upon this intelligence, the two brothers (descendents of the ancient Brethren of the Unity), Augustin and Jacob Neiser, cutlers by trade, with their wives and children, and three or four more of the same family, set out on their journey on the Wednesday in Whitsun-week 1722 ; and under the guidance of Christian David, arrived without any molestation at the house of the Rev. Mr. Schaefer at Goerlitz. Having been entertained there for a week, Christian David and the two Neiffers were sent with a letter of recommendation to Mr. Marche, a tutor in the Count's family at Grofs Hendersdorf. This gentleman presented them to the Count's grandmother, Lady De Gersdorf.' The fpot fixed upon for the residence of these people was Hutberg, in Upper Lufatia, near Zittau. To this place they were directed by Mr. Heitz, master of the Count's household. This gentleman, in a letter to the Count, recites the great objections which the emigrants made against settling in a fpot fo desolate as that which had been allotted for their refidence. But thefe objections were over ruled; and Mr. Heitz, from some fecret premonition of the future eminence of Hutberg, 'vowed to the Lord, that he would, in his name, build the first house for them on that very spot where, with many tears, he was offering up his fupplications on their account,' The old lady of Hennersdorf approved of this measure ; and when the Morayians arrived at the farm-house, in the vicinity of this spot,

P 3

[ocr errors]


• The sent the poor strangers a cow, that they might be furnished with milk for their little children, and ordered Mr. Heitz to shew them the trees to be cut down for their building.'Both Mr. Marche and Christian David approved of this allot

• The former encouraged them; and upon one of their women's objecting~" Where they were to get water in the wilderness ?" he replied, “ If ye believe, ye shall see the glory of God in this desert-place." Christian David striking his carpenter's axe into the tree in the same spot, uttered these words, “ Here hath the sparrow found a house, and the swallow a neft for herself-even thy altars, O Lord of Hofts !” Thus the timber being appointed them, they, on the 17th of June, felled the first tree for the first house in Herrnhut. 6. They are now (Mr. Heitz writes to the Count at Dresden) full of courage and chearfulness, intending, even before winter, to build a house for themselves, and to do all the carpenter's work themfelves, without the affistance of any other person.". ". And this they effected (says our Author) amidst all poverty and weakness of body; for they were obliged to put up with very spare and low food.-Nor could Christian David, Mr. Marche, and the Rev. Mr. Schaefer, refrain, upon occafion, to intimate hopes of the increase and flourishing state of this place at some future time, Christian David showed those friends who came to see the building, the future streets of the City; and the last, in his sermon preached at the induction of the Rev. Mr. Rothe on the 8th of August, made use of these words, “ God will set up a light on this hill, which shall shine through the whole country.'

On the 7th of October they entered their first house; and about Martinmas Mr. Heitz delivered a discourse, at the dedication of it, from Is. Ixii. 6, 7. All preient were much affected; and Christian David concluded with a prayer, and the hymn, Jerusalem, God's city thau, &c.

. The name of Herrnhut tock its rise from the master of the household, who concluded his report to the Count on the 8th of July with these words :-“ God hath given Mr. Marche great courage to engage in this work. May he bless it according to his loving kindness, and grant that your Excellency may build a city on the hill called the Hutberg [i. e. Watch Hill], which may not only stand under the guardianship and watch of the Lord, but where even all the inhabitants may Itand on the watch of the Lord (DES HERRNHUT), so that they may not hold their peace day, nor night.” But yet this name was not current till 1724, when the minifter, by occasion of praying at church for a pregnant woman, publicly made use of the appellation Herrnhut. * These (says our Author) were the small beginnings of that household, which afterwards, like the grain


of mustard-seed (Mark xiv. 31, 32.), became a tree, in whoke branches many thousands of Christians and Heathens have found a secure habitation, and a salutary paftime for their souls.'

The various revolutions which took place at Herrnhut, and every circumstance that more particularly concerned the establithment and increase of the Moravian Church there, are related in the present history with sufficient minuteness. We thall conclude this Article with an account of the visit with which

Herrabut was honoured by the Emperor Joseph II. the 30th June 1766, on his way from Saxony to Bohemia. His Imperial Majesty was pleased to take a view of the choir-houses, ceconomies, manufactories, and several handicraft businesses, to be present at the usual congregation meeting, and to take a night's lodging at Herrnhut. He enquired of the Brethren, and particularly of Count Henry xxviii Reuss, very minutely into all the inward and outward regulations of the congregation, and fignified his fatisfaction of what he saw and heard ; and after some years was pleased to take notice of it again to Count Henry at Prague, in the most gracious terms.'

This History, we doubt not, will be a very valuable acquifition to the Brethren; and we think all cand d Christians, though not of their society, may read many parts of it with mucb edification. The Author discovers a pious disposition, and seems totally superior to those bigotted and selfish principles which generally actuate the zealots of a party.

Art. VII. The Life of Mr. Thomas Firmin, Citizen of London. By

Joseph Cornish, Paitor of the Church of Proteitant Diffenters at
Colyton, in the County of Devon. Izmo. 2 s. bound.' Johnson.
IOGRAPHY affords, in common with general history, an

[ocr errors]

it has peculiar advantages. It furnishes examples for our conduct in the private walks of life; it displays, in the lives of good men, the amiable character of -virtue ; and shews human nature in its best forms. Whereas the history of empires, and of the world, introduces us into the cabinet of ambitious and wicked ftatesmen, or leads us into fields of carnage and flaughter, where we meet with nothing but what excites, or ought to excite, detestation and horror.

Among the names which reflect honour on their species, that of Mr. Firmin, for real worth and extensive usefulness, yields scarcely to any. His life has hitherto been exhibited only in

arge biographical works, or in memoirs of him published soon after his death, which are now rarely to be met with : whoever has seen them, we apprehend, will think with Mr. Cornish, that PA


« AnteriorContinuar »