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Two tendencies impeded the peaceful and progressive development of the Reformation in the latter half of the seventeenth century—the spirit of growing insubordination, or excessive use of the right of free enquiry, and the lapse, on the other hand, into a hardened dogmatism, limiting the area of free debate in utter contradiction of this principle, the right of private judgment, which is the raison d’être of Protestantism. The dialectical process involved, in these antagonistic tendencies became a disintegrating force, threatening internal dissolution. In England, the strife of political parties, closely connected with the conflict between the sacerdotal theory of ecdesiastidsm and the Puritanical theory of doctrinal exclusiveness, intensified religious passions. In Germany, the prostration which followed the Thirty Years’ War together with the stifling effects of governmental repression—a strict application of the jus reformandi of the territorial sovereign (Landesherr)—often in league with clerical domination, retarded the progress of intellectual and spiritual religion. Two movements, both talcing their rise in Holland, then the home of a virile and tolerant Protestantism, came into existence to counteract these two tendencies—Latitudinarianism in England, and Pietism in Germany.

The former was an attempt to bring about agreement in essentials, while dealing gently with, or passing over, minor differences. The latter sought to rouse the religious world from lethargy and the torpor of formalism. Previous attempts of Roman Catholic and Protestant divines to define doctrine with a view to putting an end to controversy, at the Council of Trent and at the Synod of Dort, in the Formula Concordiae, and in the Thirty-nine Articles, conceived as “articles of peace,” and in the Westminster and Helvetic Confessions of Faith, had failed in their object. It was then that a small number of divines and laymen, wearied and saddened by the deadening effects of the new scholasticism, tried to introduce “ sweet reasonableness ” into theological discussion; while others thought they had found a more excellent way in the intuitive religion of the heart, and in the simplest and most primitive forms of faith, more or less independent of external ordinances and a “form of words.” These, an inconsiderable body as to numbers, but conscious of the support of many inarticulate sympathisers, tried to lessen the virulence of the rabies theologorum—Lutherans and Reformers, Jansenists and Jesuits, Calvinists and Arminians, Puritans and Anglicans—all fiercely contending with one another. At the same time efforts were made by authority, as for example in the “Charitable Conference” at Thorn (1645), convened by Wladislaw, King of Poland, in the Synod of Charenton (1631), suggested by Louis XIV, and through the “Peace of the Church,” brought about by Clement IX in order to put an end to the Jansenist trouble. Other, but equally futile, attempts at reunion were also made by eminent churchmen and statesmen such as Richelieu and Bossuet, or initiated by Princes such as Landgrave William VI of Hesse, who arranged for a friendly discussion between Lutherans and Reformers at Cassel (1661); or, earlier still, by James I, who attempted, through the instrumentality of Peter du Moulin, a divine renowned among the French Reformers, and at the Hampton Court Conference (1604), to bring about a compromise between Puritans and Episcopalians. The same fate attended the efforts of the broad-minded Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg, who granted full liberty of conscience to his subjects, and later by the Great Elector, who also tried to put an end to the mutual recriminations of Lutherans and Calvinists.

Religious equality and the toleration of minorities were not fully secured by the Peace of Westphalia; and the rights acquired by the Protestants were often abridged by the arbitrary acts of Catholic Princes, who aided and abetted the efforts of the Jesuits to bring about conversions, often by methods of persuasion, which differed little from persecution. In the Palatinate, where a Catholic dynasty had succeeded, the persecution of the Protestants was only averted by threats of reprisals on the part of Prussia. In Electoral Saxony, where Frederick Augustus became a convert to Rome with a view to obtaining the Crown of Poland, it would have led to similar results, but for the determination of his Lutheran subjects. In Salzburg the Archbishop, Count Firmian, in 1729, attempted a forced reconversion of the body of loyal “Evangelical Catholics.” Thereupon a hundred of their elders, at dawn one Sunday morning in a defile of the Schwarzach, took an oath on the Host and on consecrated salt, vowing in the name of the Holy Trinity that they would stand by each other in sorrow and misfortune and remain true to the Evangelical faith. In defiance of the Corpus Evangelicorum (the body of Protestant representatives at the permanent Diet of Ratisbon who were responsible for the upholding of Protestant rights and privileges) might often prevailed over right; and in this particular case the sufferers only escaped by a patent of emigration. In Hungary few of the magnates were able to resist the temptation of retaining their court and state appointments aa the price of returning to the dominant religion, and the ordinary Protestant citizens were exposed to innumerable vexations; while in other parts of the Habsburg dominions the persecuted Protestants found it necessary to seek an asylum from persecution in Transylvania.

Jesuits and their converts.—Calixtus.

Throughout the German Empire, moreover, many nobles and men of superior culture began to be captivated by the zeal and by the controversial skill of the Roman emissaries, to whom the progress of historical and patristic studies had given a temporary advantage. Some potentates, like Henry IV in France would not lose a crown for a mass and became Catholics from wise policy, or cunning statecraft. Others again, like the accomplished Queen Christina of Sweden, the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus, the patron and disciple of Descartes, the correspondent of Pascal and Spinoza, turned away from the narrow-minded bigotry of her Protestant court-preachers to seek refuge in the Roman communion, as the more flexible, if not the more liberal system of religion. John Frederick of Hanover, intellectually the most distinguished of the Brunswick-Lüneburg Dukes, and the first among them to patronise Leibniz, was converted to Romanism through the enthusiasm of Count Rantzau, himself a distinguished convert. The conversion of his kinsman, Antony Ulric of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, belongs to a later date (1710), and followed on that of his niece, who became the consort of the future Emperor Charles VI. Not a few Princes were drawn towards Rome by the natural affinity between state absolutism and ecclesiastical concentration, agreeing with the Jesuits that obedience is the only remedy against dissidency and insubordination to authority in Church and State. The main cause of the defection of the mass of the people in Protestant countries was the moral decadence and mental decrepitude of the clergy, together with the repellent effect of their dry disquisitions in the pulpit, accompanied by frigid forms of worship. The primary object of the Pietists, therefore, was to infuse a fresh spirit of religious fervour, and to bring into use forms of faith and worship better calculated to satisfy the craving for Innerlichkeit (depth of soul) in devotion and the desire to face the profounder questions which gather round religion. Thus it was that mystic Pietism found its way from the Netherlands into Germany, its carriers being the German students frequenting the then famous Dutch Universities, while the University of Helmstedt, the solitary oasis of intellectual freedom in Germany at this time, produced in Calixtus (who died in 1656), the noble-minded precursor of a new era, whose effort, however, to liberalise theology only produced fierce opposition, though it paved the way for the work of later reformers.

In England, also, the liberalising influence of the Dutch Remonstrants had its effect on the Latitudinarians. John Hales had heard with admiration the defence of Episcopius at the Synod of Dort. But the movement in England formed part of the general progress of thought, and was accompanied by a determined national resistance to the advances of resurgent Romanism and the general dislike of hierarchical pretensions in the Anglican Church. Here much need existed for the moderating influence of a middle party like that of the Latitudinarians, who, though they with the rest regarded theology as the “empress of the sciences,” were under the influence of the philosophical speculations of the time, and formed their own opinions on a broader basis, able to stand aside and view with impartial calm the storm of religious disputation, then at its full height. They tried to find a middle way between extreme Anglicanism and intolerant Puritanism, between the advocates of repressive tyranny and revolutionary fanaticism, between the retrograde advocates of authority and the clamorous partisans of independence, each side appealing to Scripture and antiquity, and neither willing to grant to others the right they claimed for themselves. The Latitudinarians addressed themselves to the task of pacification by lifting up the still, small voice of reason to quell the storm of religious passions. Bound together by similar views and sentiments, but working independently of each other, they took their stand on the ground of rational theology. They dwelt on the claims of Christian morality rather than on the importance of purity of doctrine; they preferred the evidence of righteous conduct to the test of correct convictions, asserting the supremacy of reason, yet without impugning the claims of revelation. Their principal aim was a larger comprehension in the charitable spirit of enlightened, though cautious, moderation.


Their first leader was Lord Falkland, the honoured friend of Clarendon, the associate of Ben Jonson, Cowley, D’Avenant, Carew and Suckling. He was also the presiding genius of the Convivium theologicum; and some of its members, meeting under his hospitable roof, at a subsequent period became the leaders of the Latitudinarian school of divines. Born of a mother who had been under Jesuit influence, but educated at Trinity College, Dublin, then under the provostship of Ussher, he owed his Protestant views to the spirit of ecclesiastical liberalism prevailing there at this time. After a short stay in Holland, where he met Grotius, and a somewhat chequered career, he returned and settled down in his own country seat at Great Tew, to give himself up to learned leisure and his favourite literary pursuits. It was here that Chillingworth wrote his chief work, in consultation with his friends, and, it has been even surmised, in cooperation with Falkland himself. When the war between the King and Parliament broke out, Falkland, from a romantic sense of loyalty, took side with his royal master, and joined the army as a volunteer with the Earl of Essex. We are told by Clarendon, that “from the entrance into this unnatural war his natural cheerfulness and vivacity grew clouded, and a kind of sadness and dejection of spirit stole over him which he had never been used to.” Equally distasteful to his mind were the contentions in Parliament, where he was equally opposed to the “root and branch” party, who tried to exclude the Bishops from the House of Lords or abolish the Order altogether, and to the exaggerated view of its sacredness entertained by its extreme defenders. Throughout his parliamentary career his plea was for justice tempered by mercy, with reverence for the law and unwillingness to permit any breach of it for reasons of State. He hazarded his life in a war which he abhorred, and fell in battle when he was only thirty-four years old. Thus this “little man” with a great soul passed away prematurely, “the martyr of lucidity of mind and largeness of temper,” leaving behind him as a legacy the example of a true Catholicity avoiding the falsehood of extremes, firmly holding on to faith without abjuring reason, and thus opening a new era in religious thought.

Chillingworth's Religion of Protestants.

The “immortal” Chillingworth had, like his friend Falkland, been under Jesuit influence; he had, moreover, been brought into personal contact with members of the Order, and had succumbed to their superior skill of fence. Himself considered “the readiest and nimblest disputant” at the University, he met his match in one John Fisher (whose real name was Perse or Percey), one of the seminary priests, who worked with much zeal among Oxford undergraduates at this time, and was by him induced to enter the Church of Rome. But, on being sent for further instruction to the college at Douay, he there became a “doubting papist,” and, partly through the persuasion of Laud, his godfather, returned to the English Church. Chillingworth reentered the University to complete a work on free enquiry into religion, and later resorted to the library at Tew, rich in patristic and controversial divinity, to collect materials. Thus equipped, he wrote his well-known treatise entitled The Religion of Protestants a Safe Way to Salvation; or an Answer to a Book entitled Mercy and Truth, or Charity maintained by Catholics. It met with the full approval of the King and Laud, but with little favour from the Puritans. For, though a defender of Protestantism, Chillingworth had little in common with them, as, by natural disposition or by training, he was entirely opposed to their intolerant conceptions of religion. He was one of the earliest objectors to the “damnatory clauses” of the Athanasian Creed, and considered subscription to the Articles of Religion “an imposition on men’s conscience,” though ultimately he accepted them as “articles of peace.” Attached to the royal cause, he joined the King’s forces and was present at the siege of Gloucester, where he invented some engines for storming the place. He followed Lord Hopton into Sussex, where he was shut up with the garrison in Arundel Castle. Here, out of health and spirits, he was taken prisoner and conveyed to Chichester, partly through the kind intervention of Francis Cheynell, a former Fellow of Merton, and a “rigid, zealous, Presbyterian,” who, in his eagerness to convert Chillingworth, embittered his last moments by his importunate visits. At Chichester, Chillingworth died, and was buried in the cloisters of the cathedral by men of his own persuasion; for it was only just “that malignants should carry malignants to their graves,” to use the words of Cheynell, who met them “with Master Chillingworth’s book in my hand,” and cast it into the grave, with a commendatory prayer, of which it will suffice to quote part: “Get thee gone, thou cursed book, which hast seduced so many precious souls! Get thee gone, thou corrupt rotten book! Earth to Earth, and dust to dust! ”

But his work has survived by the elevated dignity of its style, as the outcome of a singularly bright and massive intellect possessed of a firm grasp of the subject and a forceful firmness in conducting the argument from beginning to end. Chillingworth is fair, even magnanimous, towards his opponents, and in the statement of his own case lucid, though, by reason of his eager impetuosity, his sentences are at times involved. A manly naturalness irradiating its pages raises the book far above the average of similar controversial writings of that day. Briefly stated, the argument rests on the infallibility of the Bible as against the infallibility of the Church, and on the right of each individual reader to interpret it independently of ecclesiastical authority, the book being in the end its own interpreter. Thus, amid the clatter of controversies and the tumult raised by the “warrior with confused noise and garments rolled in blood,” a voice is here raised, calm and clear in its declaration that “Protestants are inexcusable if they did offer violence to other men’s consciences.”

John Hales a typical Latitudinarian.

“The ever memorable John Hales of Eton” differed from his two younger friends by not taking a prominent part in public affairs. He was a retiring scholar, a student of Shakespeare, taking an honoured place in Suckling’s “session of poets,” renowned as a “subtle disputer” and eloquent preacher, and, as such, selected to pronounce the funeral oration on the founder of the Bodleian Library. A man of well-balanced judgment, not tied to any party views, a lover of peace detesting “the brawls grown from religion”, John Hales is a typical Latitudinarian, gifted with acuteness of intellect, a most delicate perception of the proportion of things, and a profound spiritual insight, viewing the current of religious partisanship from the elevated standpoint of a candid observer rather than from that of a chief actor in the turmoil of political and religious warfare. As a royalist, he suffered with the rest and was deprived of his emoluments, severed from his friends and books, and exposed to indigence in his old age. Yet he remained throughput unsoured by misfortune, retaining a genial and humane kindliness, full of charity towards others. He “would often say that he would renounce the religion of the Church of England tomorrow, if it obliged him to believe that any other Christian should be damned, and that nobody would conclude another man to be damned who did not wish him so.” He shows that pride and passion rather than conscience are the cause of religious pntagonism, that heresy and schism are scarecrows to frighten the unwary, while sectaries are reminded that “communion” is “the strength and good-of all society, sacred and civil.” Hales is quick in detecting the weak points in an argument and the flaws in hasty assumptions. As to the claims of antiquity, he justly points out that the age of opinions does not add to their value. As to the plea of the universal acceptance of truth, quod ab omnibus, he shows, like his contemporary Pascal, that the power of majorities consists in their number, not their reason—“there are more which run against the truth than with it.” In short, John Hales is a religious critic, devout, but not dogmatic; rational, but without rashness; liberal, but opposed to licence; a lover of simplicity in religious belief, yet at the same time a rare example of philosophical breadth; in his mental attitude maintaining a singularly calm steadfastness in the whirlpool of theological and political unrest.

Jeremy Taylor and The Liberty of Prophesying.

Ten years lie between the publication of Chillingworth’s work and The Liberty of Prophesying, by Jeremy Taylor; and many and far-reaching events had occurred in the interval which account for the differences in their style and method, apart from differences in personal disposition and mental characteristics. The triumph of Puritanism, its split into two parties, the submergence of the moderate section by the violence of the revolutionary current, the displacement of the Presbyterians by the Independents, and the multiplication of sects, leading to greater diversity of religious opinion, furnished the psychological moment for the appearance of such a work as Taylor’s, which was intended to secure intellectual freedom from spiritual tyranny. He takes up the same ground as his two predecessors, but rests his argument, not only on the uncertainty of tradition and the inconsistency of the Fathers, as weakening their authority, but also on the fallibility of reason in the interpretation of the Bible, thence deducing the duty of agreeing to differ. His aim is not only reconciliation, but reconstruction on a wider basis. His position is near to that of a sceptical eclectic; hence the dread with which the saintly Saunderson regards his “novelties.” Jeremy Taylor is not a controversialist pure and simple; he is a casuist in his Ductor Dubitantium, with its “ subtilties and spiriosities,” a rhetorician rather than a reasoner: for his style is full of redundancy and prolixity, though less so in this work than in some of his other writings. He is a Pietist in his several collections of meditations, especially in The Golden Grove, so called in honour of his friend, the Earl of Carbery, at whose seat bearing this name he found hospitality. He is a promoter of saintly living and dying, a guide of souls, turning them away from arid disputation to mystical communion with God; “there is no cure for us, but piety and charity.” He is a literary churchman rather than a logical divine. His chivalrous defence of episcopacy and somewhat inconclusive dissuasion from Romanism are ineffective, but not so much as has been surmised, on account of a sense of insecurity as to his own stand­point, or of his “critical insensibility.” He is less uncompromising than his predecessors, because he is more humanely sympathetic in his attitude towards those in error. While unanimity is impossible, and doctrinal uniformity has proved ineffective, and “no man is a heretic against his will,” the unity of the spirit is insisted upon as essential, and Taylor could unite all in the bond of peace and of all virtues. “I thought it might not misbecome my duty and endeavours to plead for peace and charity and forgiveness and permissions mutual; although I had reason to believe that such is the iniquity of men, and they so indisposed to receive such impresses, that I had as good plough the sands, or till the air.”

Stillingfleet's Irenicon.

A very different mind from Jeremy Taylor’s was that of Edward Stillingfleet, though they are frequently mentioned together as men of similar views and aims. Both are animated by the same catholicity of spirit; but, whereas Stillingfleet is distinguished by greater intellectual penetration and polemical adroitness, Jeremy Taylor excels by the ardour of his earnest affectionateness and meditative mental detachment. He also shows greater consistency in adhering to his liberal principles with the changing times. But, with the development of events in the Restoration period, both alike display the same tendency to lean on the State for the restraint of sectarian fanaticism and ecclesiastical intolerance. The Irenicon was published in 1659 and republished in 1662, the year in which the Act of Uniformity was passed, with the first motto on its title-page, “Let your moderation be known to all men.” At this time, and more especially among the younger clergy, an earnest desire was felt for a compromise between the religious parties; and Stillingfleet was still a young man when he wrote the book. In it he builds up an argument on the basis of the insecurity of tradition and authority like his predecessors, but takes a step further in the direction of Latitudinarianism by emphasising the indifference of forms, maintaining “that the form of church government is a mere matter of prudence, regulated by the word of God.” From the composing effects of Christian prudence in the rulers of the Church he expects a termination “of our strange divisions and unchristian animosities, while we pretend to serve the Prince of Peace.” He lived to alter his tone when he had attained to episcopal rank after the Restoration. Then he became the special pleader of his own Church and Order; yet the Irenicon is the sincere expression of those principles which had been instilled into his mind by the band of Cambridge Latitudinarian divines known as the Cambridge Platonists.

The Cambridge Platonists.

These were so called because they were given to the study of Plato and Neoplatonism. With the idealist philosopher, they saw the spiritual realities behind the phenomenal world; and, imbued with the new spirit of speculation as the century advanced, they endeavoured to supply the need felt for bringing religious thought into relation with the thought of the time. Most of them were members of the Puritan College of Emmanuel, where dogmatic rigidity naturally produced a reaction.

Their leader, Benjamin Whichcote, was utterly unlike “the stiff and narrow” divines who had filled the highest places in the University during the ascendancy of the Puritan party. Burnet speaks of him as “a man of rare temper, very mild and obliging; being disgusted with the dry systematical way of those times he studied to raise those who conversed with him to a nobler set of thoughts, and to consider religion as a seed of a deiform nature.” In contrast with the “sourness and severity” of the Puritan doctrine he held up “a kind of moral divinity”; so one of its representatives, his former tutor Tuckney, complains. Two of his most distinguished pupils, Henry More and Ralph Cudworth, were well acquainted with the new philosophy and in direct correspondence with Descartes. They and others followed the prevailing tendency of the day to reconsider the criterion of truth, to seek for some new principle of certitude amid the decay of antiquated systems. From the first, they exercised considerable influence on the affairs of national life. Whichcote was in the confidence of some of the leading men of the Commonwealth, and as Provost of King’s and afternoon lecturer at Trinity Church his chief power was felt in the lecture room and the pulpit, mainly among the youth of the University, in expanding religious thought by showing its affinity with all that is noble and pure in human nature. As to religious controversy, he reminds his contemporaries that “the maintenance of truth is rather God’s charge and the continuance of charity ours”; that the “vitals of religion” are few; that “there is nothing more unnatural to religion than contentions about it.” He admits unreservedly the claims of reason: “Reason is the Divine Governor of man’s life; it is the very voice of God.”

John Smith, also a pupil of Whichcote, was a Platonist in the best sense of the word, a man of philosophic breadth, rich in thought, and possessing a marked distinction of style. For him Divinity is “the true efflux of the eternal light”—so far he platonises with Plato. “Divinity is not so well perceived by a subtile wit as by a purified sense”; here he follows Plotinus. Smith’s was a lofty and intellectual nature, passionate in its ardent love for truth, even impetuous, but kept in check by humility, patience, and “the philosophic mind.” His Select Discourses (1661) are perhaps the most important work of this Cambridge school; they are “impregnated with Divine notions.” In an age still under the sense of religious terror, his piety was free from all servile fear, and the “sour and ghastly apprehension of God.” He was equally free from that unbecoming assumption of familiarity with the Deity which was the weakness of the Pietists. They imagine, as he puts it, “that we are become heaven’s darlings as much as we are our own.” He discards a verbal basis of belief, “subtle niceties,” in formulating religious truth. The latter, he says, is better understood by unfolding itself in the purity of men’s hearts and lives, but is divinely imparted, as a revelation, by “the free influx of the divine mind upon our minds and understandings.” Henry More, in his Divine Dialogues and poems, is the type of the devout mystic—a recluse who refused the most tempting offers of preferment in favour of contemplative seclusion. His personality was singularly attractive; he was a pure idealist, regarding Christianity as “the deepest and choicest piece of philosophy.” He followed reason, but knew its limitations and fell back upon “Divine sagacity” —spiritual illumination—as antecedent to rational apprehension. He pointed out the importance of inwardness in religion, and looked on holiness as the portal admitting to divine knowledge. “God reserves his choicest secrets to the purest minds.” He was a transcendentalist, who had his occasional raptures, in contact with the spiritual world. William Law, a kindred spirit of that age, speaks of him as a Babylonish philosopher, but is deeply impressed by his profound piety. Even Hobbes, with whom he maintained friendly relations in spite of their differences of opinion, could say that, if ever he found his own opinions untenable, “he would embrace the philosophy of Dr More.”

Cudworth's Intellectual System.

Ralph Cudworth, as a thinker and a moralist, occupied a preeminent position among the Cambridge Platonists. In the sermon preached before Parliament in 1647 he was bold enough to remind his hearers that many who pull down idols in churches set them up in their own hearts, and, while they quarrelled with painted glass, made no scruple at all of entertaining many foul lusts, and committing continual idolatry with them. In the Intellectual System, a monument of massive learning and strenuous thought, he, like Henry More, attacked the materialism and fatalistic tendencies of the Leviathan, and became the advocate of a spiritual philosophy; while in his treatise on morality on “a rational basis” he sought to vindicate the immutable and eternal laws of ethics, as against the opinion of Hobbes that they are the decrees of the legislator enforced by the magistrate. He was opposed alike to the opinionative zeal of the religious bigot and to that of the scientific dogmatist. If the Cambridge Platonists “cried up reason,” as their orthodox opponents complain, More and Cudworth did so, at least, as apologists for Christianity, setting forth its reasonableness in an age of scientific discovery and free enquiry. They were philosophers in the interest of religion. Cudworth thus controverted the monism of Hobbes, the doctrine that all mutation is motion, thought included, and that motion can have no cause except motion. To this he opposed the philosophical dualism of his Intellectual System. The modem identification of the cosmos and its moving cause was still an unfamiliar idea; hence Cudworth, in his defence of theism, opposed what he considered atheism in Hobbes. It is significant of the growing antagonism to religion in the upper ranks of society at the time, that the courtiers of Charles II did all they could in the first instance to delay the issue of the Intellectual System and to destroy its reputation after it was published. The King’s patronage of Hobbes and science generally, it has been suggested, arose from the idea that these “scientific nonconformists” tended to lessen the power and authority of religion as a dominating factor in political life. In the same way his counsellors, le ministère des roués, looked upon unbridled speculation as an encouragement to moral licence.

Glanvill.—The later Latitudiriarians.

On the other hand the progress of science had its salutary effect in aiding the efforts of the Latitudinarian divines as pioneers of scientific theology—notably so in the case of Joseph Glanvill, who, though a firm believer in witchcraft, was one of the earliest members of the Royal Society. He was not one of the Cambridge Platonists, and lamented the fact of not having lived near them; but he was in full sympathy with their aims. In his work on the Vanity of Dogmatising, republished under the title Scepsis Scientifica in a considerably altered form, he speaks of opinions as “the rattles of immature intellects.” He dwells on the difficulty of finding truth, though he says also, “A good will, help'd by a good wit, can find truth anywhere”. He is in full accord with the intellectual movement of the times, speaks of Descartes as the “grand secretary of nature,” and is one of the first propounders of philosophic doubt in England. At the same time, he denies that there is any antagonism between faith and science. “To say reason opposes faith, is to scandalise both.” As to divine truths that were contained in Christ’s teaching, they “were most pure in their source, and Time could not perfect what Eternity began.” Nathanael Culverwell, the most distinguished among the lesser lights of the movement, deserves special mention as one of the earliest expositors of “physical ethics.” Quoting Lord Bacon’s saying that “all morality is nothing but a collection and bundling up of natural precepts,” he adds that moralists only “enlarge the fringe of nature’s garments.” In his conception of ethnic morality he was far in advance of his time.

Thus the way was prepared for the later Latitudinarians. These applied the principles of their predecessors to practical politics in Church and State. The most prominent among the Latitudinarians of the Revolution is Burnet, whose sincere piety, large-hearted sympathy, common sense, and courage, notwithstanding some faults, well fitted him for the task of extending liberty of thought in the Church and conciliating Nonconformity so far as possible, though political necessity compelled him to enforce strictly the laws against Roman Catholics. The appointment of Latitudinarian Bishops was the direct result of the hostile attitude of the Non-jurors. Though holding fast to episcopacy and the liturgy, the Latitudinarians were willing to tolerate other forms and some modification of subscription. Always ready to minimise the importance of differences in ceremonial, they aimed at keeping the doors of the Church “wider open,” and thought that nothing should be considered absolutely divine and unalterable in the external ordering of her system. Among them was Tillotson, conciliatory and circumspect, a pattern of “sweet reasonableness Bishop Fowler, the author of the Free Discourse between two Intimate Friends, in which he says that the design of the Gospel is to make men good, not to intoxicate their brains with notions; Bishop Patrick, a practical divine with a touch of mysticism, the author of A Brief Account of the new sect of Latitude Men, which contains a vivid description of the movement; Sheldon, one of the survivors of Falkland’s circle, considered from the first as one “born and bred” to become Archbishop of Canterbury; the laborious Tenison, a disciple, like Tillotson, of Cudworth, and, like him, one of the great preachers of the day; and Cumberland, the defender of the innate law of nature against the utilitarianism of Hobbes. All these adopted moderation as a principle of action. Their accommodation to the circumstances of the times might incur the reproach of political expediency with a touch of worldly liberalism. As the disciples of the Cambridge Platonists they failed, perhaps, in reaching the same high level of spirituality, or the same depth of intellectual penetration—they were statesmen rather than Christian philosophers. But, on the other hand, their minds were more completely emancipated from theological prepossessions, and their chief characteristic was sobriety of judgment. Their style, too, bore traces of a change under the influence of the literary movement of the times towards greater clearness, conciseness, dignity, delicacy of taste, and freedom from the last traces of controversial invective. Stating their opinions with the quiet force of moral conviction, with no less earnestness, though with greater calm and caution, they were instrumental at a critical moment of constitutional development in helping to regulate and to moderate the progress of national life in England.

Pietism in Holland: Gisbert Voet.

Pietism in Germany preceded the later Rationalism, whereas in England the Pietism of the Evangelical Revival succeeded Latitudinarianism. Pietism, taking its rise among the Calvinists in the Netherlands, where stirring political events and dangers had intensified religious excitement, thence found its way first into the adjacent countries of Germany lying between Rhine and Weser. Thence it spread in a southerly direction to the territories near the Neckar and the Main, many of the younger clergy in those parts resorting to the then famous universities in Holland. Francis Rous, the mystical Provost of Eton, had graduated in the University of Leyden; Gisbert Voet, a native of Heusden in Holland, a delegate at the Synod of Dort, and professor of theology at Utrecht from 1634 to 1676, exercised considerable influence in this way. Voet was a man of great learning, both classical and patristic, and was well versed in medieval theology. He has been called the “patron of conventicles,” that is, private assemblies for the cultivation of greater piety, and was himself a man of intense earnestness and irreproachable character. As a strict puritan, he was a severe censor of the drama, a determined opponent of gambling and all forms of amusement tending to self-indulgence. For the pleasures of the table, for example, he proposed to substitute intellectual conversation at meals on subjects connected with religion, philosophy and history. He spoke of the Church as standing in need of reforms “circa praxis pietatis et bonorum operum”; and like the mystic Wilhelm Teelinck, whom he much admired, he tried to stem the tide of secularising ethics, and to rouse the people from the torpor of religious formalism and indifference. Johann Cocceius (Koch), a native of Bremen, professor and rector at the University of Leyden, which he quitted in 1660, was not like Voet, a Calvinistic precisian, but one of the earliest representatives of the higher criticism, regarding an improved method of biblical interpretation as the first requisite of any system of religious reform. Though a man of immense erudition, he puts Leben (life) above Lehre (doctrine) and emphasises the superior importance of attending to conduct rather than correct opinions in matters of religion. He is the distinguished founder of the so-called “party, of aristocratic (theological) science”. Cocceius, in his friendly attitude towards the Cartesian philosophy, differed from Voet, who violently opposed the teaching of Descartes during his residence at Utrecht. This led to an unseemly controversy between the Voetians and Cocceians, and serves to show the close connexion between philosophy and religion at this time.

Spinoza and the Dutch Pietists.

The intellectual atmosphere of the age was impregnated by the spirit of Grotius and Spinoza, the inaugurators of the new historical method and of a naturalistic conception of cosmic law. There was a great deal, moreover, in the philosophy of Spinoza on its mystical side which attracted Pietists generally. He counted among his followers Pontiaan van Hattem of Bergen-op-Zoom and Jacob Vershoor of Flushing. There was a close connexion between his “amor intellectualis” and the “laetitia spiritualis” of the orthodox pietistic school; and he had many friends among the “Collegiants,” a small community of Remonstrant dissenters. Thus, after his excommunication by the Synagogue, it was among these that he found an asylum; and in a house occupied by them at this time some of his unpublished letters have been discovered. The common ground of Spinozism and Pietism is their cheerful quietism—the imperturbable tranquillity of the mind in its complete union with God. In this the English mystic Henry More agrees with the Dutch Pietists and Spinoza; between whom and England there are other points of connexion. He was born in the same year as Locke; one of his tutors was sent to plead the cause of the Jews in England with the great Protector; and his friend, Henry Oldenburg, a learned German, during his official residence in England became the first secretary of the Royal Society. There are also signs of the influence of Hobbes in Spinoza’s theory of civil government. The doctrine of religious liberty he had seen applied in Holland; but his Tractatus Theologiko-Politicus is the first comprehensive plea for toleration published in modern Europe. He points out that no opinions can be tolerated which are subversive of the safety of the State; but that in all other cases the State has no right to interfere with the opinions of private individuals. He was an admirer of the de Witts and the intellectual supporter of their policy. When a call came to him from the Elector Palatine Charles Lewis, brother of the Princess Elizabeth, the correspondent of Descartes, to a professorship of philosophy at Heidelberg, he refused to accept it as likely to interfere with the tranquillity of a scholar’s life—and other illustrations might be added of the independence of his noble character. In religion Spinoza is the precursor of naturalistic theism, or mystical pantheism, which identifies God with the universe; and in his attempt to spiritualise nature by his theory of the Divine immanence he provides modem scientific monism with a creed. Spinoza’s intellectual love of God springs from his monotheistic concep­tion of the Divine substance, as containing all things; and from the merging of the human with the Divine mind and will he deduces the theory of moral liberty, as the practical outcome of his philosophy of religion. From him Goethe professed to have learned the lesson of renunciation at the call of duty; and the eclectic Pietism of Holland and Germany in its more philosophical aspects is traceable, in part at least, to the same source.

Lodenstein and Labadie.

Both Voet and Cocceius had for their pupil Jodocus van Lodenstein, who has been called the first Pietist, because he gave the first impact to the movement, as a distinct form of religious life and a development of Calvinism. Its representatives were proud of the title “die Ernstigen” (the intense), or “die Feinen” (the refined), making it their aim to displace by earnestness and devotion the existing formalism and indifferentism in the Church. They tried to rekindle the fire of holy emotion and by the spirit of self-sacrifice and austere self-immolation to restore the mystical union of the soul with God. Lodenstein, who is described as a man of great dignity and modesty, goes back to Tauler and Thomas a Kempis in his attempt to effect a union between the via illuminativa and the via purgativa sive perfectiva, that is, intellectual enlightenment with moral perfection. He remained a loyal churchman to the end and served several cures with scrupulous attention to his duties, differing in this respect from Labadie, who in his person seems to have passed biogenetically (to use a scientific phrase) through all the stages of pietistic evolution, beginning his career as a devout Romanist, and ending by becoming a Protestant schismatic.

Jean de Labadie, born in 1610, the son of a Governor of Guienne, was educated by the Jesuits, and in his seventeenth year entered their Order as a novice, in opposition to his father’s wish. After a time, and in consequence of a diligent study of the Bible and the writings of St Augustine and St Bernard, he quitted the Society “by mutual consent,” and became a secular priest working under the Archbishop of Bordeaux. His talent and successes drew on himself the attention of the General of the Oratorians, and he was called to Paris as a member of this Congregation. Compelled by Jesuit intrigues to leave, he followed the invitation of the Bishop of Amiens, who appointed him to a canonry. Here, as elsewhere, he earnestly exhorted the people to study the Scriptures and to take the early Christian Church for their model. He refused to join the Jansenists; yet, again, he incurred the hostility of the Jesuits, and at their instigation Mazarin persuaded him to return to his own native province. Thither he resorted, accompanied by his associates, as St Francis was by his confraternity, and like him possessing the peculiar charm of personal attraction. After a while his position here, too, became insecure, and he found an asylum in the castle of the Vicomte de Cartets, a member of the Reformed Church. Here he applied himself to a severe study of Calvinism. He joined the Church at Montauban, and was appointed as a Protestant minister. But, becoming obnoxious to the Roman Catholics, and even to some of his congregation by reason of the rigour of his teaching, he retired temporarily to Orange. On his way to follow a call to the French Church in London, he arrived at Geneva (1659); and here he was persuaded to stay seven years, continuing his agitation against worldliness, and in his tract L'Église à part advocating the utter separation of the Church from the world. By degrees his position here, too, became untenable; and he followed a call of the Walloon Church at Middelburg in Zeeland, partly at the instigation of Anna Maria von Schuurman, “the Minerva of the seventeenth century,” a learned lady born at Cologne and settled at Utrecht, who entertained pietistic sentiments similar to his own. But the same causes which brought him into conflict with the ecclesiastical authorities elsewhere again operated here. His critical aggressiveness and impatience under discipline at last brought about, what he calls his “separation heureuse,” when with about one-third of his congregation he set up the first schismatic communion in the Reformed Church. Labadie never was in want of adherents, male and female, ladies of position in particular, fascinated by his passionate eloquence, his self-confidence, the charm of his manners, and the ease and suppleness acquired in his early Jesuit training. He was followed by them from place to place, first to Herford, where they were welcomed by the Abbess, the Princess Palatine Elizabeth; and thence to Altona, where he died. His followers settled at Wieuwerd, near Leeuwarden, in Friesland; and a remnant of them seems to have ultimately found a refuge in Maryland.

In several localities where Labadie and his followers settled they were called Quakers: partly on account of the similarity of the views and practices of the two sects, partly because Penn during his visit to Herford to the Princess Elizabeth, over whom he exercised some influence, entered into friendly relations with Labadie, with whose religious sensationalism and morose Pietism the sobriety and simplicity of Penn were, however, in strange contrast.

Some resemblances no doubt existed between Quakerism and Labadism, but there were still greater differences. The followers of both believed in the theory stated by Barclay “that the best and most certain knowledge of God, is not that which is attained by premises premised and conclusions deduced; but that which is enjoyed by conjunction of the mind of man with the Supreme Intellect.” Both were “fighters,” though the Labadists could never become a political power as did the early Quakers in England. Both were opposed to priestly assumption and ceremonial formalism; but, whale the Quakers displayed considerable acuteness in temporal concerns and political sagacity (as, for example, in their relation with James II), skilfully adapted themselves to their surroundings, gradually sobered down, and therefore survived, the Labadists, from their lack of these powers, and for other reasons already stated, died out.

Calvinistic and Lmtheran Pietism.

The Pietism of the Reformed Church in Germany differed little from the Calvinistic Pietism in Holland, from which it was derived. Theodor Untereyk at Mühlheim in the duchy of Berg speaks of himself as ploughing with the oxen of Cocceius. In his Hallelujah and other writings he approached Labadie in his views on the antagonism between God and the world. Allardin, a native of Bremen, and minister at Emden in Estst Friesland from 1666 to 1707, followed on the same lines. Joachim Neartder, rector of the Latin school under the Reformed Church at Dusseldorf, the hymnologist of the movement, in his Bundeslieder, dedicated to the merchants of Frankfort, and Nethenus, its weeping prophet, bewailing the corruptions of the Church in his Seufzendes Turteltaubchen und Zion's Thranenflagge (1676), expressed the same views. What is peculiar to this form of derived Pietism is its tendency to sectarian dissidency, because, in being transplanted from a more to a less congenial soil, it came into collision with the order and discipline of the Reformed Church of Germany, and the authority of the “godly prince” as “summus Episcopus.” Friedrich Adolf Lampe, however, the solid and scholarly disciple of Voet and Cocceius, is an exception. He was a voluminous writer; and, although, like the rest, severe in his animadversions against “burgerliches Christenthum” (middle-class Christianity), he loved to dwell on the more attractive aspects of Christianity, on the love, rather than the sovereignty, of God, and on filial affection as contrasted with the “timor filialis” of Calvinistic theology. Of Calvinistic Pietism generally it must be said that in its appeals to the imagination, the emotions, and the will, rather than to reason, in its chiliastic dreams, and in its comparative neglect of the practical aspects of religion, it failed to produce results in proportion to its efforts; much force was dissipated in negative criticism of the existing conditions in the Church and the world, which lessened its reforming influence, while from lack of cohesion among its members it failed to secure its own continuity.

In the Lutheran Church, where the feeling of corporate union was stronger, Pietism was kept more strictly within the bounds of orthodoxy and the Formula Concordiae. Here lay influence and the feminine elements were weaker, and clericalism was proportionately stronger. Here, too, we note a more pronounced tendency to return to the theosophical mysticism of Jacob Boehme as well as to the asceticism of St Bernard. Thus Pretorius, an orthodox Lutheran ecclesiastic, compares the Pietist meditating in retirement to the lily of the valley. In this development of contemplative Pietism we see Lutheran Church reformers like Johann Arndt, with the pietistic hymnologists under his influence, and the Jesuit Friedrich, von Spee (or Spe), approaching each other. This remarkable man was one of the few, who, after the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War, helped to resuscitate the intellectual and moral life of Germany. Living as he did when the rage against witches was at its height (900 of them were burned by the orders of Bishop Philip Adolf of Wurzburg between 1627 and 1629) he published a book against Hexenprozesse (trials of witches)—Cautio Criminalis (1631)—for which he is highly commended by the broad-minded Thomasius. As professor of moral philosophy at Paderbom, Spee had a great influence over the students, incurring the displeasure and suspicion of his superiors on account of his supposed dangerously liberal views. The Guldene Tugendbuch (Golden Book of Virtue) is called by Leibniz an altogether divine book, which, he says, should be in everybody’s hand. But Spee’s fame mainly rests on his poetry, the collection of poems named Trutz-Nachtigall, composed amid the solitude of hill and forest in a cloister almost changed into a ruin by the war, and bearing the impress of a deep and fervent spirit, purity of feeling, and an intense love for nature, while spiritual joyousness alternates in them with melancholy sweetness. Spee, like some of the French Quietists of the time, was “enivré de l'amour de Dieu”. But, though his language is at times soft and sensuous, even fantastic, nevertheless his poems, as a rule, are free from that irreverent tone of familiarity with the Deity which so frequently characterises pietistic poetry. He is a follower of the earlier Mystics, such as Suso; yet his own outlook on the world is not sombre, but clear and bright, with a child’s simplicity and a manly courage, with humanistic breadth and spiritual ardour, and with an earnest yearning for peace and goodwill.

Jacob Boehme and Spener.

In the same spirit, but from a somewhat different standpoint, Johann Arndt, the German Fénelon, in his Four Books on the True Christianity (1605), declared war against verbal professions of faith—Maulchristenthum—in the Lutheran Church. By his Paradisgartlein (little Eden), which, like the Imitation, still maintains its place as a book of devotion in Germany, Arndt became a light and guide in those dark days. His works and the hymns of the period (Paul Gerhardt alone wrote one hundred and twenty, some of which are still among the most popular in use) express the yearning after a greater spirituality amid the arid controversies and deadness of religion at the time. Arndt was the first among Lutherans who showed the way back to medieval devotion, adopting the language of the Canticles in describing the union of the soul with the Divine Bridegroom. This sentiment, and more than this, finds its counterpart in such hymns as that entitled Ein Liebeslied des seufzenden Turteltaubleins, which contains apostrophes like “Mein Jesulein, mein Herzelein, mem Schatzelein, mem Bruderlein, du bist ja mein” etc., etc., full of the bitter-sweet ecstatic emotionalism which marks the sancta amatoria of the period. They express a sensuous delight in dwelling on Christ’s sufferings and the agonies of the Cross, as in the well-known hymn O Haupt volt Blut und Wunden. Whatever their faults in the way of lack of reverence or dignified reticence, they reflect the higher aims and aspirations of noble souls, and form a comment on the spiritual exhaustion from which they strive to escape at a time when the spiritual life in Germany was at its lowest ebb. Blended with this is the mystical straining after spiritual perfection exemplified by Boehme and his predecessor Valentin Weigel, who thus protests against dead formalism; “Barren are the schools; barren are all forms; barren—worse than barren, these exclusive creeds, this deadly polemical letter.” A faithful follower of Lutheranism and free from the sickly sentimentalism of the pietistic poetasters, the mystical shoemaker of Gorlitz displays the freshness of a vigorous and ingenious mind cast in a speculative mould; but, undisciplined by literary culture—he only read the Bible and Paracelsus—he loses himself in confusion of thought and incoherence of expression. In his Aurora—where, as the name suggests, Boehme describes the dawn of his inner illumination—he represents life as a fuliginous striving after perfection, a warfare between light and darkness, and between good and evil: God himself is a manifestation of these opposites. William Law, the scholarly mystic, was also a follower of Boehme; and his influence on the Wesleys formed a connecting link between the religious revivalists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The most prominent promoter of Pietism in the Lutheran Church was Philip Jacob Spener, whose plastic nature, wide sympathies, and power of assimilation specially fitted him for the task. Occupying a leading position as a preacher in Frankfort, Leipzig, and Berlin successively, he maintained throughout the sober-minded and correct attitude of a loyal churchman. At the same time he was lenient, perhaps too lenient, towards those whose enthusiasm carried them too far. An admirer, if not a follower, of Arndt, he dwells in his Pia desideria on the unsatisfactory state of the Church; but, as a Church reformer, he avoids the opposite extremes of worldliness and escape from the world (Weltflucht), and tries to raise the moral tone of Christian society by educational methods. In his Klagen uber das verdorbene Christenthum, Missbrauch und Gebrauch (1684) he dwells on the weaker side of Church life in his day, but objects to the epithet “Babylon” as by some applied to it. He favours the establishment of Collegia pietatis, Erbauungsstunden (lessons of edification), and similar efforts for the cultivation of Christian studies, as means of self-improvement supplementary to the ordinary ministrations. He treats in the same way the Collegia philobiblica for Divinity students in the University of Leipzig as a preparatory institution to promote efficiency in their future ministerial work. If separatist tendencies resulted from all this, it was contrary to the spirit and intention of Spener, whose sole aim was a return to apostolical piety and simplicity. These ecclesiolae were to be aids, not substitutes, for the Ecclesia. Towards Boehme and his disciple Gottfried Arnold, whose Church History inspired Mosheim to emulation, Spener maintained an attitude of benevolent neutrality. Gifted with a mild cemperament rather than great force of will, possessing the tact acquired by constant intercourse with the cultured classes, and therefore apt to treat with gentle tolerance the extravagant vagaries of earnest though somewhat vulgar enthusiasts, he incurred the charge of facile self-accommodation, vagueness, and indiscriminate comprehensiveness, calculated, as was thought, to prepare the way for the indifferentism of the Aufklarung. It was left for the more powerful personality of August Hermann Francke to correct this tendency of his friend and fellow-worker.

Francke and the Halle Pietists.

Francke was a man of great force of character and determination, revered for his unfaltering faith and practical piety. He was the founder of the first orphanage in Germany and also one of the eight Magisters in Leipzig who, under Spener, were engaged in the work of academic revivalism by means of oratio, meditatio, tentatio; with a view to developing model Christians rather than sound theologians. Francke himself had passed, in a season of spiritual conflict, from doubt to faith, and set a high value on individual conversion. By natural disposition domineering, he was severe in his ascetical demands, more contentious and less compromising than Spener. Driven with Thomasius from Leipzig by the defenders of scholastic pedantry and religious formalism, he joined him in exercising a great influence upon the beginnings of the University of Halle, of which both were original professors, and imparted his own spirit to the Pietism of the Halle school. This movement in many respects resembles the Methodist revival at Oxford, as the Koethen Lieder proceeding from it correspond to the hymns of the two Wesleys. Much opposed by the orthodox party, notably by Valentin Ernst Loscher, who in his strictures speaks of Pietism as malum pietisticum, this form of Pietism after a struggle of existence for thirty years in the Lutheran Church became at last a social power among the nobility and gentry and even among a few of the reigning Princes. This temporary alliance between Pietism and despotism unhappily led to the lamentable episode of the expulsion of Christian Wolff from Halle by Frederick William I of Prussia through the instrumentality of Francke and his school. In this effort to protect the youth of the University from what they considered the baneful teaching of the Wolffian philosophy (which in the main coincided with that of Leibniz)—its determinism, and tendency to divorce morality from religion—they were ready to undo their own work of emancipating philosophical speculation from the dogmatism of the schools. It should be added, however, that they deeply regretted the success of their agitation, when they found that it led to the forcible removal of their victims from the University. Johann Conrad Dippel, “the Christian Democritus,” is one of the few among those involved in these discussions who in his writings displays the saving grace of humour. He was a man of the world, with varied experiences, and many-sided literary activities. For some time under Arnold’s influence and moving in pietistic circles, he afterwards took up an independent attitude and became a “free-thinker among the Pietists”—a radical Pietist. As such, he castigated with much critical acumen and in a piquant style both the solemn obtuseness of some of the Pietists and the unyielding pedantry of their orthodox opponents, charging both with neglecting the moral factor of religion in their disputes. In his own views he leaned towards Latitudinarianism; he was one of the earliest of his time to hold the view that the heathen may ultimately be saved, though instances of an approach to universalism are not altogether wanting among the Quietists of the seventeenth century in France and Germany. His satirical disposition entailed upon him litigation and imprisonment, and he ended as a solitary.

Among the literary productions of the movement in its later developments was the Berleburg Bible, published under the patronage of Count Casimir von Berleburg, who with his mother made their seat the centre of union for every shade of independent Pietism. This Bible in its annotations follows on the lines of Madame Guyon in a similar enterprise and dwells mainly on the conditions of the spiritual life, the soul’s illumination and purification by immediate communion with God. Another publication was the journal called the Geistliche Fama, the organ of the movement, which addressed itself to the varied crowd of Pietists, now spread in different directions, which counted among its contributors individuals belonging to every section of society: lawyers and professors, medical men—one of this profession became its editor—teachers in elementary schools, masters and journeymen of various trades, ambassadors, generals, civil servants, political agents, and peasants—just as in England the name of the Latitude men was “daily exagitated among us”, as one of them says, “in taverns and pulpits”. But what held together this body of Pietists of various denominations in Germany was a community of thought and similarity of aims, rather than anything approaching to identity of opinion; small groups, like the “Inspirationsgemeinden” (“Congregations of Inspiration”) were not even attached to any particular Church, but indulged in a kind of “Jesuscultus” of their own, while some individuals, like Johann Tennhart, who called himself “God’s chancellor,” took up a standpoint of individual independence, and all of them exhibited a strong tendency to abstain partially, or entirely, from the use of Church services and sacraments, and exhibited a studied indifference to ecclesiastical forms and ceremonies. This attitude produced an edict in Wurtemberg in 1694 warning the authorities against permitting the introduction of the writings of Poiret, Antoinette de Bourignon, Mrs Leade, Arnold, and the Petersens, members of the extreme left of pietistic enthusiasts. This was followed by another edict in 1707 designed to stop private religious meetings and compel some of the recalcitrant Pietists to quit the country. A further rescript contains prophylactic measures directed against the disintegrating influences of all such sectarian innovations and irregularities.

Wurtemberg Pietism.—Bogatzky.

Wurtemberg was called by some of the Pietists the “Augapfel Gottes” on account of its privileged position, as compared with the rest of Germany, after the Thirty Years’ War. For the duchy possessed a constitution; and the Cynosura Ecclesiastica, which formed part of it, secured coordinate rights for the Church in the Diet. The latter had considerable power in limiting the ducal authority. Here, then, constitutionalism and Pietism, introduced by Spener during his stay at Stuttgart and Tubingen (1662), were often united in opposing autocratic excesses—a union of democracy and Puritanism on a minor scale. The chief representatives of this Pietism are Beata Sturm, the Mère Angélique of Protestant Pietism—some compare her to the poor Armella of the Catholic hagiology in the seventeenth century; the noble Johann Jacob Moser, a pietist statesman, who suffered for conscience’ sake in prison, and the genial theologian Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, who, in his love of metaphysics, came into close contact with the Wolff-Leibnizian philosophy. Brought under the influence of August Gottlieb Spangenberg at Jena and Count Zinzendorf on a visit to Hermhut, he tried here to introduce his phihsophia sacra, which represents Christ as the author of the Physicum verum. His aim was to combine science with revelation, and chemistry with religion; and in so doing Oetinger lost himself in a cloud of theosophy and mysticism after the manner of Boehme and Swedenborg. In his closing days he became a legendary figure in the history of Pietism, itself then approaching the stage of spiritual exhaustion. It now deteriorated into a kind of effeminate sentimentalism, producing among its members a feeling of morbid self­depreciation, or lachrymose self-complacency, mainly expressed in religious verse, voluminous as to quantity and feeble in quality—Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky alone published three hundred and sixty-two hymns in his sixtieth year—the swan-song of Pietism in the Lutheran Church.

What little remained of force in the movement was to some extent absorbed in the Pietism of the Moravian community, which had in 1722 found an asylum in Hermhut from religious persecution in the Austrian dominions. Its members were living under strict discipline in a kind of common life, which, in its protest against the corruptions of social life and religious decadence, revived the idea of Christian socialism. Nothing resembling a community of goods existed in the Moravian settlement; but it was expected “that all inhabitants would take a voluntary share, according to their ability, in defraying the necessary public expenses, and as good citizens conform to the municipal regulations of the settlement.” It thus marks a new departure from a purely pietistic egoism to altruistic endeavour, from self-conscious and self-introspective mysticism to practical self-surrender, thus preparing the way for the secularisation of Pietism in the eighteenth century.

Thus, in tracing the two movements of Latitudinarianism and Pietism to a common source, and following their course, as determined by national character and local environment, and augmented by tributaries of thought arising out of the peculiar circumstances of the time, we perceive in their ultimate results corresponding differences.

In England the effect of Latitudinarianism was a broadening of the current of thought, which broke the power of ecclesiastical tyranny, and, with a “ depression of theology,” produced a gradual liberation of the mind, while at the same time favourably affecting the growth of political freedom and promoting a soberly ordered social life. In Germany, where governmental repression and narrow particularism hampered free development, forcing the mind to prey on itself, Pietism favoured the growth of intellectual concentration, led on to critical enquiry and religious speculation, and gradually freed itself from the trammels of Protestant scholasticism. This had the effect of quickening the sensibility of the soul-life and intensifying inward piety, producing at the same time indifference to creeds and forms of worship, and ending in Gefuhlsreligion (the religion of feeling), or in romantic mysticism, such as that of Goethe’s “Beautiful Soul,” an idealised picture of Fraulein von Klettenberg.

In their combined effect, Latitudinarianism in England and the English-speaking countries oversea, on the one hand, and Pietism in Germany and the neighbouring countries in northern and central Europe, influenced by German thought, on the other, appear as mutually supplementary movements, the one more practically, the other more ideally, affecting the course of European thought and life. Thus they succeeded in establishing the supremacy of reason and the complete autonomy of conscience, and brought about a partial recovery from religious lethargy and moral enervation. To measure accurately the force and extent of this dual movement in its ultimate effects and to assign to each its proper share is beyond our power. Streams, however deep or broad, are merged at last in the sea, blending with it and thus losing their own distinctive colouring. So it is with the two streams or tendencies discussed in the foregoing pages. They entered the ocean of general thought and feeling. They left their effect in broadening and deepening the current, as well as in raising the level and changing the complexion, of European thought and its translation into action; and their impress thus remains on that transition period which began in the latter half of the seventeenth century.