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sort of authority; it had no powers delegated to it, either by the respective civil and ecclesiastical governments, or by the popular voice; it was not, therefore, properly speaking, a Synod (Kirchentag), but a free, i. e. a self-constituted assembly. It was, indeed, stated at one of the convivial meetings which formed part of the proceedings, and in connexion with a toast in honour of the King of Prussia, that His Majesty had been apprised by a deputation of their intention to convene such an assembly, and solicited to patronize it; but the King replied, that it was out of his power to take any official steps in furtherance of it; at the same time he intimated, that he implored upon it every blessing from on High, as it was the Lord's battle they were going to fight. The whole movement, therefore, is to be considered in the light of a spontaneous effort made by the leading men of the Protestant communions, to meet the emergency arising out of the political condition of Germany. It was set on foot by a public manifesto, to which were attached the signatures of forty-nine of the most distinguished Protestant divines from all parts of Germany, inviting "all the friends of the Evangelic Church, clerical and lay, who acknowledge the basis of the Evangelic confessions," to a " preliminary free conference," to be held on the 21st September and following days, at Wittenberg, with a view to "take fraternal counsel on the position of the Evangelic Church at the present juncture." Among the names affixed to this manifesto, are several with which our readers are already familiar, such as, Superintendent Dr. Grossmann, of Leipzig; Dr. Grüneisen, of Stuttgardt, Court Chaplain; Dr. Hengstenberg, of Berlin; Dr. Lücke, of Göttingen; Superintendent Nielsen, of Schleswig; Dr. Nitsch, of Berlin; Consistorial Councillor Dr. Snethlage, of Berlin. The above will be sufficient to show the character of the movement. A sub-committee appointed by the original projectors of the scheme had drawn up an outline of the objects, which are as follows:
"1. The Evangelic Communions of Germany combine together in a Church Confederation.
"2. The Evangelic Confederation is not a Union of the Evangelic Communions, but a revival, adapted to these times, of the Corpus Evangelicorum of a former period.
"3. Each Evangelic Communion comprehended in the Confederation remains perfectly independent of the Confederation, as regards its relation to the State, its government, and its internal arrangements, touching matters of faith, worship, and discipline.
"4. The object of the Evangelic Confederation is :—
"a. To exhibit the substantial Unity of the Evangelic Church; to cultivate inter-communion and brotherly love.
"b. To bear a common testimony against all that is unevangelical.
"c. To assist each other by mutual help and counsel.
"d. To arbitrate in case of disputes arising between Churches comprehended in the Confederation.
66 e. To guard and to defend the rights and immunities which the fundamental law of the Empire, and the constitutions of the individual States, award to the Evangelic Churches.
"f. To aid by advice and succour isolated Evangelic congregations in and out of Germany.
g. To form and preserve alliances with all the Evangelic Churches throughout Europe, and all over the world.
"5. The Church Confederation is called into life by an Evangelical Church Assembly of Germany, to be held annually, composed of deputies from all the Churches comprehended in the Confederation."
The result of this invitation was that about five hundred persons were collected together at Wittenberg, on the day named; by far the greater proportion of whom were clergymen and academic divines. The sittings took place in a classic locality, in the nave of the Castle Church (Schlosskirche), beneath which the bones of Luther repose. The other parts of the Church were filled with a crowd of spectators, attracted by the novelty of the scene, and the deeply interesting nature of the proceedings at so critical a moment. In order fully to appreciate the tone of the discussion, it is necessary to bear in mind, that the parties assembled were in accordance with the terms of the invitation-of what may, by comparison at least, be termed the orthodox party, and that they had every inducement to merge their minor differences in the sense of their common danger. The majority were members of the United Church of Prussia; besides these there were Lutherans and members of the Reformed Church from those parts of Germany where no union has been effected; the rigid dissentient Lutherans of Prussia had absented themselves-indeed they were at the very same time holding a Synod of their own at Breslau,-but the Moravians were represented by one of their bishops. The following are the more interesting por tions of the discussion :
C. R. Müller, from Halle, animadverted in strong terms on the resolution of the Frankfort Constituent Assembly on the subject of religion',
1 See the Articles of the Imperial Constitution voted by the Frankfort Assembly, which bear upon religion, in our last Number, pp. 245, 246. They have been quite recently modified, and now stand thus :
"Sect. 14. Every German has complete liberty of belief and of conscience. Nobody is obliged to make known his religious convictions.
"Sect. 15. All Germans are unfettered in their common exercise of religion, both domestic and public. Crimes and misdemeanours committed in the use of this liberty will be punished according to law.
"Sect. 16. The enjoyment of civil and political rights shall in no wise be measured or cut short by any body's religious confession. His confession may not obstruct a person in the fulfilment of his political duties.
Every religious community regulates and administers its own affairs independently, but remains subject to the general laws of the State. No religious community enjoys any privileges before another. There is to be no Statechurch. New religious communities may be formed; no acknowledgment of their confession by the State is required.
"Sect. 18. Nobody shall be forced to any church act or ceremony.
"Sect. 19. The formula of oaths shall in future be this-As God shall help me' (So wahr mir Gott helfe).
"Sect. 20. The civil validity of marriage depends only on the transaction of the
which, he observed, went farther in the non-recognition of any difference between truth and error, than even the constitution of the United States and the principles of Robespierre, who insisted, at least, on belief in a Supreme Being.
C. R. Sack, from Magdeburg, dwelt on the necessity of applying some further test than membership of the United Church of Prussia, expressing his fear that the United Church was, in fact, a common sewer, into which the unbelieving elements from both the other Churches, the Lutheran and the Reformed, were drained off. He proposed that the doctrine of the atonement once for all and absolutely made, the doctrine of justification as connected with regeneration, and the introduction of a temperate system of Church discipline, should constitute that test; and if this were adopted, then he proposed that the members of the three bodies named should enjoy perfect inter-communion, so as to render the members of any of them equally admissible to the Holy Eucharist in all the three.
Mr. Kunze, of Berlin, (one of the Prussian Clergy who paid a visit to this country a few years ago) spoke with great freedom, and pointed out the illusory nature of their proceedings. It was all very well for them to meet, to discuss, and to pass resolutions; but they should remember that they had not the public at their back to bear them out in the position which they took. Only about one per cent. of the population were on their side; the remaining ninety-nine per cent. had openly joined their enemies. Considering the insignificance of the support which they could reckon upon from the people, and the absence of all power by delegation from any constituted authority, he suggested that it was useless to talk of a Church Confederation. All they could do was to set on foot an association of individuals like-minded with themselves, who would stand in the breach in the hour of danger.
Superintendent Seegemund called attention to the fatal effects of a superficial union while the difference between the Lutherans and the Reformed continued to exist; observing that unless the sense of the term "Evangelic" was accurately defined, the "United" Church was not unlikely to become the Church of anti-Christ.
President v. Gerlach, from Magdeburg, thought they were yielding too soon to a sense of alarm. He attached no value to the fundamental principles voted by the Frankfort Assembly; they were mere theoretical propositions which had no form or validity as yet. They should not be hasty to accept the position which the democracy designed that the Church should occupy, as a fait accompli. The King was bound to defend the rights and the government of the Church; he was not at liberty to fling the reins into the dirt; and it was for them not to desert him, but to stand by him in the conflict. Whatever reforms might be necessary in the Church, must be undertaken on the existing basis, and the revolutionary spirit which would sweep away the whole existing
civil act; the wedding at church can take place only after the civil act has been performed. Difference of religion shall be no legal impediment to marriage.
"Sect. 21. The registers of births, marriages, and deaths (Standesbücher), shall be kept by the civil authorities."
Church, and transfer her rights to the wild opinions afloat among the populace, must be resisted.
The second President, Stahl, in summing up, defended the proposed confederation against the objections which had been raised. He insisted, in proof of the necessity of a federal plan, on the fact of a conflict existing between those who wished to promote the union, and those who adhered to the distinctive principles of their respective confessions of faith. The attempt to get rid of this conflict by preserving their confessions within the union, he declared to be a failure. The result was, that the "United" Church, and its Ecclesiastical authorities, had in fact no confession of faith at all, which they were bound to uphold to the exclusion of all contrary doctrines. Hence it would have been impossible for the Prussian State Church to have maintained itself, even if there had been no revolution. In addition to this cause of embarrassment, they had now to expect the withdrawal of all support from the State, and it was therefore for them to consider what under the circumstances ought to be done. The speaker then advocated the plan of a confederation, in contradistinction to a union. The three churches, the Lutheran, the Reformed, and the United, were to retain their distinctive characters and their separate existence, and enter into a federal compact of mutual recognition. A mere Evangelical alliance embracing individuals, was inadequate to the want for union which was felt by all; but a confederation of Churches would answer every needful purpose. To contemplate a union comprehending all the Churches, would be going too far; they had their several divine missions and must maintain their ground. As for the want of legitimate authority in the Assembly, he conceived that there was a spiritual representation which was more real than even an express delegation in writing. There was no intention of giving force of law to their resolutions. All that was contemplated was the adoption of certain propositions to be laid before the authorities in the form of suggestions.
The question was then put, and it was unanimously resolved that the formation of a Church Confederation was both to be desired and to be recommended. The details of the plan was next discussed at great length, and ultimately it was agreed to petition the different Sovereigns and ecclesiastical authorities of Germany to take the necessary steps for the delegation of duly authorized representatives of the different Churches, with a view to the definitive formation of the proposed Church Confederation by a future assembly, under the following provisions:
"1. That the deputies should consist, in equal numbers, of clergy and laity.
2. That the representation should not be regulated according to numbers, but according to the distinct existence of the various bodies to be comprehended as separate Churches, within the German territory. "3. That the theological faculties of the Universities, and the department of ecclesiastical law, should be properly represented.
"4. That the representatives should be chosen by the actually existing VOL. X.-NO. XX.-DEC. 1848.
organs of Church-government, with the concurrence, as far as possible, of the congregations."
The business of the Assembly having been concluded, and a general committee and a sub-committee appointed for carrying out the views and resolutions of this first meeting; a kind of profession of faith was made, and a covenant for co-operation and mutual assistance entered into, in the form of questions and unanimous responses; the profession of faith being in the form of St. Peter's confession, "Lord, we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Several other subjects were incidentally discussed. Among these was the necessity of organizing a Home Mission, which was powerfully advocated by Wichern, the director of the Rauhe Haus, a sort of refuge for the destitute and penitentiary, at Hamburg, As the statements made by him, which produced a deep impression upon the assembly, throw great light upon the social and religious condition of Germany, and as many of his observations may find an application elsewhere, we shall give the substance of his discourse somewhat more in detail ;—
'He expressed his regret that his exertions in the cause of the Home Mission should be considered in some quarters as hostile to the Church ; on which account some felt surprised that he should urge the Church Confederation to take up the subject. For his part, he was firmly persuaded that the Church must take the Home Mission into its own hands. At present it was a labour of affliction, because there was in the Church a prejudice against it; and without the Church the Home Mission could not come into efficient operation. He wished that the assembly would, by declaring itself favourable to it, remove this drawback upon a work which, if countenanced by the Church, could not fail to have the blessing of God."
Having been invited by the assembly at once to develop his views more fully, he continued: "It was a great mistake to suppose that the object of a Home Mission was confined to the salvation of the poor; it concerned the salvation of the rich quite as much, He viewed the field of the Home Mission as co-extensive with baptism, taking baptism in the sense attached to it by Luther. But among those that had been baptized, there were some in a perfectly heathenish state, a fact attested by the recent revolution, and that in Germany even more than in France. It was true that the operations of the Home Mission must run parallel to a great extent with the parochial care of the poor: but they must extend much further. The Germans were to this day, to the number of hundreds of thousands, a nomad people. He would only instance the numberless travelling operatives, the railway labourers, &c. &c. The operatives had no other home than the beer-shop, their guild was the only society to which they belonged. For what took place in their gatherings he should refer them to his published descriptions; the mention of those things was not fit for a mixed assembly. The most fearful orgies of Paganism were surpassed by the scenes in question. Ever since the time of Charles V. it had been the object of