The James Begg Society

The James Begg Society

Publishers of Protestant, Reformed Christian Literature

The Government of the Kingdom of Christ.— Part III.
by Rev. James Moir Porteous.
(Published in 1888.)

Chapter IV:
The Reformation.

"When Zion's bondage God turned back,
as men that dreamed were we
Then filled with laughter was our mouth,
our tongue with melody
They 'mong the heathen said,
The Lord for them great things hath wrought
The Lord hath done great things to us,
whence joy to us is brought."


W HEN the sixteenth century dawned Rome had attained the height of her ambition. Her sway was supreme. Almost the whole Church was sunk under or groaned beneath her domination. A few obscure individuals in various lands were enabled to lift up a testimony on behalf of the truth, and to reject her authority. The penalty was death. But in the face of difficulties second only to those encountered by the apostles, the yoke of Rome was broken, and subjection to Christ alone proclaimed. The true Church at length attained that which she had been sighing after for centuries. Apostolic purity in doctrine and government prevailed. This was the Reformation. The Church was re-formed, or reorganised after the divine model.

The most powerful nations and sovereigns had complained of the tyranny, extortion, profligacy, ignorance, partiality, severity of Romish agents. Reformation was longed for, not only in spiritual, but in civil matters. And yet they trusted to the sovereign power of the Papacy to rectify prevailing evils. In that supreme sovereignty they put implicit faith. Learning, with the printing press, had risen from her tomb, but ventured not to question the supremacy of the boasted viceregent of Christ. By fire and sword and lying subtlety the spirit of independence had been at length subdued. Only by a few miserable countrymen in far-off valleys hidden amidst the Alps, the remnant of a once powerful race, or in other hidden caves and dens of the earth was that supremacy now called in question. All were hushed. Freely as depravity demanded, might and did popes and prelates gratify their fondest wishes of external pomp and power, or secretly wallow in the mire of licentiousness. They could securely laugh at the threats of Louis XII to overthrow the Roman power, or of cardinals to attempt reform. Not only was the whole of the professing Church subservient; mighty monarchs counted it their highest honour to protect the Papacy, and money flowed abundantly into her treasury. Rome proclaimed — 'I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow.'

Suddenly a feeble presbyter arose, as the mouthpiece of the Word of God. The palace of the Papacy trembled and tumbled. Vast gaps in many places were visible. Desperate attempts were made to patch up the old building as formerly, but to no purpose. No sooner had the masons succeeded in getting one position, as they thought, well fixed, than another began to tremble and rush down. Even yet occasional tremblings and tumblings are experienced within this musty old palace — all telling plainly that 'in one day shall her destruction come.'


Martin Luther — in Saxony, a province of Germany — a monk and professor of theology in the University of Wittenberg, was the feeble presbyter, who stood alone on behalf of the truth in opposition to the entire Roman power. This son of a miner of Mansfield, was born at Eisleben, A.D. 1483. He publicly exposed ninety-five propositions against the sale of Papal indulgences, on the gate of the cathedral in A.D. 1517. These indulgences were artifices by which Rome enriched herself at the expense of the credulous. To complete the building of St Peter's was the grand object professed. But these indulgences gave liberty to buy off punishments of sins. Tetzel loudly solicited the Germans to expiate future, past, and present sins, for themselves and their friends, by giving him money, or rather through him to Leo X. Luther chastised his madness, and censured the pontiff for suffering the people to be diverted from Christ.

This was the commencement of a mighty war. In 1518, Cajetan, the pontifical legate, ordered the monk peremptorily to confess his error, and submit himself to the pontiff, without convincing Luther that he had erred. Luther appealed from the pontiff ill-informed to the pontiff better-informed. And when Leo X commanded all his subjects to believe that he had power to forgive sins, he appealed from the pontiff to a General Council of the Church. Afterwards Luther was prevailed upon to write to the Pope, agreeing 'to remain silent if his enemies were silent.' At length he resolved to withdraw from the Roman Church, and this he proclaimed by a noble public deed. On the 10th December 1520, Luther caused a fire to be kindled without the city. In the presence of professors, students, and a vast multitude of spectators, he took the Pope's bull condemning him, and a copy of the pontifical canon law, and, deliberately putting these into the fire, he lifted up his hands with his heart to God in the heavens, and prayed, 'May God Almighty consume this system as I thus publicly consume in this fire these documents.' From that hour the system began to be consumed, not only in Germany, but also in other lands. The rights of private judgment in religion, and of the people to a share in the government, were trumpet sounds that aroused the nations from their dormant condition. This solemn obligation and right, when felt and exercised, led to the consumption of papal and prelatic tyranny. Driven to the wall by the Pope's condemnation of his person, his doctrines, and his friends, Luther's refuge was in God. With redoubled zeal he searched the Scriptures to know His will. Philip Melancthon, and others of the wise and good joined him in the enterprise. The Spirit of God fed the flame. The spark of truth struck at Wittenberg sped on mightily, as a heath or forest fire.

Charles V of Spain, being elected Emperor, was commanded by the Pope to inflict punishment upon this detested presbyter. This was in 1519. Counselled, however, by Frederick the Wise of Saxony, to respect the rights of the Germanic churches and empire, Charles resolved to hear Luther before passing sentence upon him. Prelates having seats in the German Diets, it was not strange that Luther should be tried for such an offence before the Diet at Worms. Protected by a safe-conduct from the Emperor, Luther boldly pled his cause before the assembled nobles, declaring that he could never renounce his opinions and be reconciled to the pontiff, unless convinced by Scripture and reason that he bad erred. 'Here I stand' he declared; 'I can do no otherwise. So help me God.' On the 27th May 1521, the Diet declared that Luther and his adherents were enemies of the Roman Germanic empire. It was at this time Luther was arrested by friends in disguise, and lodged for security in the castle of Wartburg — not, perhaps, without the knowledge of the Emperor. Ten months were profitably spent in that castle in the study of the Word of God. Luther returned to Wittenberg to suppress the fanatical sect, which Carlstadt had excited to the abuse of this dawn of liberty. 'Error,' he declared, 'must first be extirpated before the objects of the errors can be removed.' This was accomplished by the translation of the Bible into German which he had effected. At the Diet of Nuremberg, in 1522, the German princes demanded a free council to deliberate on a general reformation in the Church, giving in a list of one hundred evils issuing from the Court of Rome.

On the death of Frederick, in 1525, his brother John became Elector of Saxony. Satisfied of the truth proclaimed by Luther, and knowing that either the pontiff or the truth must go, he resolved to dismiss the former from his dominions. Hence, under his direction, Luther and Melancthon drew up regulations in regard to the constitution and government of the Church. These were promulgated throughout his electorate by his deputies, while by his care pious and able teachers were appointed in the churches. Other princes and states of Germany followed the example, casting off the dominion of the Pope, and establishing the Church according to the principles they drew from the pure fount of Scripture. Of course, others of the German princes preferred the old faith of their fathers, and hence dissensions in religion could not but arise in their cabinet. Only by the troubled condition of Europe, were the patrons of the Papacy prevented from attacking by force of arms those who now openly organised and maintained the Reformed Churches.


The Diet of Spires convened in 1526. Of it, Ferdinand, the brother of the Emperor, was the president. Demand was made that confirmation should be given to the edict against Luther at Worms. This was resisted by many of the princes until a general council could be held, to examine and judge the case. This course was at length adopted, the Emperor was petitioned to call such a synod, while every prince was left at liberty to manage religious affairs in his own dominions as he judged best. This result was favourable beyond anticipation to the cause of the reformed. The old superstitions were now banished from their territories, without fear of civil punishment.

That beneficial resolution was revoked at the second Diet of Spires in 1529. All changes in the public religion were now declared to be unlawful until the meeting of a general council. The arguments of the Elector of Saxony, the Landgrave of Hesse, and others, being ineffectual, they gave in their famous 'Protest' on the 19th of April, appealing to the Emperor and a general council. Thus the term 'Protestant' was originated, which has been applied to all professors of the Reformed religion. Envoys being sent by the protesters to the Emperor, then travelling from Spain to Italy, and, as they manifested the same daring spirit, by his orders they were placed under arrest.


Three important matters followed this event. First, The friends of the Reformation endeavoured to have framed a solemn compact for self-defence; and secondly, A conference was held at Marburg. Philip of Hesse, who had brought together the meeting between Luther and Zwingle, was disappointed. The four days' disputation did not terminate as was desired, some difference still existing regarding the Lord's Supper; but this conference for a time put a period to unfounded accusations between these brethren. Thirdly, A confession of faith was prepared. The Emperor, having failed to obtain the consent of the Pope to a general council, and concluding that it would be unjust to make war on his subjects without a fair hearing, and no formula of the religion of Luther and his friends being ready for inspection, this, at the request of the Elector, was accordingly prepared, and is known as 'the Augsburg Confession.' That confession was exhibited by Bayer, the Chancellor of Saxony, in the palace of the Bishop of Augsburg on the 25th June 1530, when Charles had convened the Diet. It was eagerly listened to by all of the German princes, and some who, from ignorance, opposed, now declared their approval. The Elector of Saxony and four princes of the empire subscribed it, in testimony that it was the expression of their belief. This is still the public standard of Lutheran Protestants. It does not enter fully into Church government, but declares that the civil and ecclesiastical powers are quite distinct, and that bishops have no legislative power, that they can bind the conscience only by showing that the gospel enjoins what they inculcate.

As Augustine writes, 'We must not obey the Catholic bishops if they go astray,' contrary to Scripture. D'Aubigne acknowledges that the confession was defective in not explicitly rejecting the domination claimed by the Pope. Although presented in Latin and in German to the Emperor, he would not permit it to be read in the public Diet. He called the Protestants to hear the confutation read, which had been prepared by the priests of Rome, without allowing the Protestants to have a copy, or to discuss it. He then demanded their submission, which they declined to give. An answer was afterwards offered to that confutation, which the Emperor refused to receive. Tyrannical Rome was thus supported by tyrannical practices.

A compromise by consultations was, however, attempted. Protestant and Popish principles, like oil and water, could not be made to cohere. This failing, and toleration being refused, a severe decree was issued, admonishing all to return to the old faith, if they would not incur the vengeance of the Emperor. This caused the Protestants to enter into a defensive league in 1530 at Smalcald and Frankfort. War at length broke out in 1546. Not till 1555 was a religious peace concluded at Augsburg. After much bloodshed, those embracing the Augsburg Confession were declared free from the jurisdiction of the Pope and his prelates. Liberty was now given to all to embrace the religion which they considered accordant with the Word of God.


The Lutheran Church, thus at length securely established, yielded the supreme power to civil sovereigns; but held that, by divine right, there is no difference of rank and power amongst ministers of the Word. They, however, supposed it useful that some should hold a position superior to others. But these superintendents or bishops — for bishops in the modern sense they are not — were ordained by simple presbyters as Luther. Luther's views in this matter were at variance with all other Reformers. The great distinguishing feature of the Reformation was the restoration of sound scriptural doctrine as to the worship of God and the way of salvation by faith in Christ. This, however, could only be accomplished by overthrowing the falsely-assumed power of Prelacy and the Pope in governing the Churches. Doing this, the Church was brought back to apostolic purity and practice.

The guiding hand of God is most manifest in the Reformation, in doctrine, worship, and government. Those who accomplished that result were men of no ordinary capacity. They were richly furnished with the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. They were but men. All they did, and all they wrote, must be tested by the only standard; and yet they were very highly honoured. No body of men were more so. Therefore their testimony is worthy of high regard. Being so honoured, it may form a presumption to some that what they held was right. To all, their unanimous opinion and practice are strong confirmation of a position which we find established by the Word of God.

Luther never claimed to occupy a higher position than that of presbyter. Being fully occupied, his attention was never fully directed to the reconstruction of the scriptural system of Church government. And although simply a presbyter, Luther held that he was fully entitled to execute all the functions necessary in the Church. This scriptural truth gives a death-blow to Prelacy and Popery. He first realised that the Pope, and then that the prelates have no power to rule in the Church, either by divine or human right. Luther, by the sword of the Spirit, overthrew 'those falsely denominated bishops.' At first he misapplied the scriptural principle that all believers are priests, holding that they indiscriminately should take part in Church government.

Afterwards, he recognised the scriptural authority of a standing ministry and fixed officers, distinct from the members. In discipline he procured the assistance of lay advisers, convinced that presbyters are competent to all necessary duties.

Luther was ordained a presbyter at the age of twenty-four. For thirty years he continued to ordain other presbyters. On one or two occasions he even ordained a superintendent or sort of bishop. He was so intensely desirous for the peaceful promotion of the gospel, that he invested these men with some control over other pastors. This, however, he did, not on the ground of Scripture, but of expediency. Only presbyterial ordination was conferred. The office was not necessarily permanent. They were under the supervision of the presbyterial synod, both giving account and receiving direction. This dangerous course requires, however, to be brought to the test, and to be laid under the control of the Word of God. Luther ascribed too much discretionary power to expediency. Notwithstanding all this, his testimony was clear and decided on the equality of rank and power in the ministers of the Church. Expounding Acts xx., Luther says, — 'You see plainly that the Apostle Paul calls those alone bishops who preach the gospel to the people, and administer the sacraments, as in our times parish ministers and preachers are wont to do. These, therefore, though they preach the gospel in small villages and hamlets, yet, as faithful ministers of the Word, I believe, beyond all doubt, possess of right the title and name of bishop.'

The Articles of Smalcald, one of the Lutheran symbolical books, distinctly maintains Presbyterian principles. It sets forth that all the functions of Church government belong equally of right to all who preside over the churches, whether called pastors, presbyters, or bishops; and that, consequently, ordination by ordinary pastors is valid. Thus the Lutheran Church held that — (1.) There is no higher office than the presbyterate; and (2.) That presbyters are fully competent to the discharge of all ecclesiastical functions.

The Lutheran Church was thus consolidated by the Augsburg Confession in 1530, and by separate jurisdiction in 1552. Its peculiarity, as distinguished from the Reformed, is adherence to Luther's view of the presence of Christ in, with, or under the elements in the Lord's Supper. The civil sovereign possesses supreme power in the Church, but he is prohibited from changing at pleasure the essential principles, or from imposing what he pleases. Boards, called consistories, watch over the interests of the Church in name of the sovereign. The difference between the presbyters and the superintendents — subject to the Presbytery — is greater or less in different states, according as the scriptural polity is regarded. Everything pertaining to religious worship is performed according to the liturgy adopted in each country.

The concessions of Melancthon and others excited various contests, as also endeavours thereafter to compel the Lutherans to unite with the Reformed.

Still, while it is overlaid by Erastianism, there are some affinities in the Lutheran practice to presbyterial government. Thus — (1.) There is a representation of the people, although indirect — from a list nominated by the congregation, the consistory elected those teaching and ruling elders whom they deemed most fit for the office; and (2.) No officer, superior to a presbyter, is acknowledged. It must be remembered that the people were then emerging from a condition of ignorance, and that Luther derived most assistance from princes and magistrates. While he submitted to these arrangements, Luther unhesitatingly condemned magisterial interference with the functions of the ministry. Nothing else was possible than the consistorial system at the first, and the civil magistrate would not surrender what he had acquired. The consistories even lost much of the spiritual character which, at first, they possessed. In 1547 the Assembly of Estates at Leipsic decreed that the consistories should deal with secular as well as sacred interests. This proves the danger of acting from expediency alone.


The relative proportions of the population at the present date show the vast influence of the Reformation during the past three centuries, and the tenacity of purpose with which the Protestants have clung to the teaching and example of the Reformers. The several German States have each their own tale to tell.


the grand effort to combine the Lutheran and Reformed Churches cannot be passed over. These were united by the direction of the king, or rather of his minister, Altenstein. But this forced union was productive of very sad results — persecution, banishment, and disunion. An order of council was given in 1834 which incensed the public mind. A new agenda or directory for worship and government was issued, and the title of 'United Church' prescribed. Lutherans and Reformed were alike displeased — the former, most of all, at the abolition of that which they held to be the only scriptural communion. When the people inquired at their pastors, they were told by some that the union implied conformity of doctrine; by others, that it was only a union in the spirit of love from which questions of doctrine were excluded. It was argued by some that points of divergence were unimportant, and that the general consent was ground sufficient. The consensus, however, had not been formularised by any authorised party, and that itself was felt to be valueless so long as the Churches practically diverged. The professed spirit of love was badly illustrated, when, for the first time in Prussia, it led to imprisonment and persecution for conscience' sake. The believing part of the community were attacked, while sceptics were left undisturbed. Agitation and disruption were greatly increased by the fervent addresses and imposing appearance of Ehrenstr�m, who, to vast multitudes, denounced the introduction of false doctrine, and the deprivation of ecclesiastical possessions, under the name of brotherly love and toleration. After the death of Altenstein, there was a general conviction — First, That the attempt had been a complete failure; and, secondly, That religious convictions can neither be created nor suppressed by forced measures; thirdly, That the more vigorously these were enforced, the more resolutely would they be resisted; and, fourthly, That when confidence in ecclesiastical authority is once lost, it is not easily regained. Nevertheless, legal measures were still pressed on in support of the United Church.

A General Synod was held in 1841 at Breslau, to endeavour to allay the ferment, when negotiations were entered into between it and the civil authorities. This was denounced by Ehrenstr�m as treachery to the Lutheran Church. The enmity against the National Church had now reached its maximum. People not only withdrew from the churches, but also their children from the schools, refused to pay rates, land submitted to distraint. Regarded as destitute of historical right, every step to the recognition of the United or State Church was felt to be treason against conscience and God. At length thousands emigrated to the neighbourhood of Buffalo in the United States, overcoming every obstacle which was put in their way to prevent them. From February 1843 hundreds streamed from their loved fatherland to America, seeking, as the Pilgrim Fathers from England two hundred years before, 'freedom to worship God.' The services in the churches were deserted; the few who remained did so, because careless of God and of His Word. The cream of the people were thus driven away, because this new agenda was forced upon them, which, while retaining some of the old Lutheran expressions, modified the doctrines to a considerable extent. Concessions were at length made, and toleration so far allowed, but this only gave intensity to the feeling that the seceders had not only been deeply wronged, but that they had conquered; and they loudly proclaimed that churches and endowments belonged by right to the faithful Lutherans. The United Church received the special gratulation of the children of the world, who were satisfied with the 'banner of liberalism' which had been erected within the Church. 'A very alarming symptom,' exclaims Dr. B�chsel of Berlin, 'while the people of God were grieved at heart.' Hence, while owning that God overruled these proceedings for the promotion of a work of grace amongst those who remained, his conclusion is most worthy of note:- 'They but hinder real union, who are always haggling about words and isolated expressions, and who want to take down the old house before the new one is built. Yes, they who would weaken and undermine the old Confession of Faith before a new and comprehensive one is born, are the enemies of the good cause.' 'No power of this world, no wisdom of this world, can bind hearts truly together; this is only possible to the grace of Him who can turn them like to the water brooks. Force and diplomacy — let them come whence they will — will only bring trouble and division into the Church' ('Ministerial Exper.')

'In the PRUSSIAN STATE, the royal family belongs to the Reformed or Calvinistic faith; but all Christians enjoy the same privileges. The Protestant religion, in its two branches of Lutheran and Calvinist, predominates, and is professed by 65 per cent of the Prussian people. To the Roman Catholic Church belong 34 per cent; and to all other creeds, 2 per cent. In the provinces of Prussia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, and Saxony, the great majority are Protestants; while in Posen, Silesia, Westphalia, and Rhenish-Prussia, the Roman Catholics predominate. In the new provinces, annexed to the kingdom in 1866, the Protestants form the mass of the population. At the census, 1864, in the kingdom, as then constituted, Protestants were 60.23 per cent of (28,313,833) population; Roman Catholics, 36.81 per cent. The annexation of the new provinces, after the war of 1866, altered the proportion in favour of the Protestant ascendancy, the former kingdom of Hanover adding 1,682,777 Protestants, and only 226,009 Roman Catholics; Schleswig-Holstein and Lauenburg, 990,085 Protestants, and 1953 Roman Catholics; and Electoral Hesse, Nassau, Homburg, and Frankfort, 905,605 Protestants, and 336,075 Roman Catholics. Protestantism is otherwise spreading among the population, and Roman Catholicism decreasing. When Silesia was acquired by Prussia in 1763, the mass of the population were Roman Catholics; but at present the Protestants form the majority in the two most important provinces, the regencies of Breslau and Liegnitz.

'The Protestant Church is governed by "Consistories," or boards appointed by Government, one for each province. There are also synods in most circles and provinces, and in the old provinces only. In 1880 there were 9,146 Protestant ministers and 8,300 Roman Catholic priests. In the budget of 1886-7 the direct expenditure in evangelical churches is set down at 3,795,000 marks.

Prussia has 11 provinces, divided into 37 districts, with 24,106,847 inhabitants.

There are six celebrated universities, which, with all educational establishments, are under the control of the 'Minister of Public Instruction and Ecclesiastical Affairs.'

At Wesel, on the Lower Rhine, a conference was held in 1566, which issued in a declaration of the divine right of the eldership. Attention had been called to the matter by refugees who fled from the Netherlands during the persecutions of Alva. In 1571, a great Synod was held at Embden, when the system which continues to this day was enacted. General Synods were to meet biennially, Provisional Synods annually, and Presbyteries quarterly.

The Presbyterial system was partially introduced into Westphalia in 1588, and into the province of Nassau in 1578. The Consistorial system prevailing, Presbytery was restored to the Churches of Westphalia and the Rhenish provinces.

In BAVARIA, out of a population of 4,824,421, there are 1,328,713 Protestants, and one minister to every 1013. The Protestant Church is under a general consistory — 'Ober-Consistorium' — and four provincial consistories. Of the three universities of the kingdom, two, at Munich and W�rzburg, are Roman Catholic; and one, at Erlangen, Protestant. The Constitution guarantees complete religious liberty to all inhabitants — Protestants being eligible to all civil offices and military appointments. When the Elector Frederic III was gained to the Reformed Confession, a new policy was introduced into the Churches of the Palatinate. It was a combination of the Presbyterial and Consistorial systems. Each congregation had a presbytery composed of pastors and censors, elected by the authorities of the Church. National Councils were also appointed by the Elector, having authority over the whole Church. This Council met at Heidelberg. It was composed of three deacons and three civil councillors. There were superintendents appointed for every diocese, subject to this Council; and these superintendents, along with the minister, met in convention.

In W�RTEMBERG, the 'Evangelical Protestant' Church of W�rtemberg was formed in 1823 by a union of the Lutherans and the Calvinists, or the Reformed. In 1867, there were 1,220,199 Protestants, forming 68 per cent of the population. Six superintendents have the administration of the Church, under the King — that Church being the religion of the State. Besides seven colleges, there are four training establishments for ministers.

In SAXONY, the royal family profess the Roman Catholic religion a vast majority of the inhabitants are Protestants, who have 1400 churches. The clergy are paid out of the local rates and from endowments, the budget contribution of the State to the department of Ecclesiastical Affairs amounting to about �12,830, chiefly spent in administrative salaries. The government of the Protestant Church is under the National Consistory, presided over by the Minister of Ecclesiastical Affairs. A similar course is adopted in other States.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE, bearing date 16th April 1871, shows that all the States "form an eternal union for the protection of the realm and the care of the welfare of the German people." In PRUSSIA absolute religious liberty is guaranteed. Two-thirds of the population are Protestant, one third Roman Catholic. Thus in the census of 1880 Protestants numbered 17,633,279, or 64 per cent; Roman Catholics, 9,206,283, or 33.74 per cent.

OVER THE ENTIRE EMPIRE, by the census of 1880, the religious division stood thus:- Protestants, 28,330,967; Roman Catholics, 16,232,606; various, 78,395; Jews, 561,612; others of "no religion," 30,481; showing 62.6 per cent of Protestants, 35.9 per cent Roman Catholics, other Christians 0.2 per cent, Jews 1.2 per cent, other creeds 0.01 per cent.

The population of the German Empire in 1885 was 46,852,680.

EDUCATION is general and compulsory. Elementary schools are supported from the local rates. Of all recruits in 1884 only 1.27 per cent could neither read nor write. In East and West Prussia and Posen the percentage was from 6.58 to 8.89. In other states less than 1 per cent. In Alsace-Lorraine it was 1.29 per cent. in 1883, and 0.72 in 1884. The poorest are admitted at very low fees.

The Free Evangelical Church of Germany is one Presbytery. It has two congregations in Silesia and one in Bohemia, and meets twice a year. While it was formed by secession in 1860 from the State Church of Prussia, the Bohemian portion consists of converted Romanists.

The Bavarian "Reformed Synod of the East Rhine" uses both the Heidelberg Catechism and the Rochelle Confession. There also exists a Synod of the United Hanoverian Church.

In the Reichsgebiet of Alsace-Lorraine, annexed May 10, 1871, Roman Catholics were 81 per cent, Protestants 15 per cent.


Bohemian brethren, Hussites, or United Brethren, were known as a religious body in Moravia, a mountainous marquisate of Germany. They had conferences with Luther, Calvin, and other Reformers, but then could not agree as to Church discipline. Latterly, they adhere to the Augsburg Confession, and, as the Lutherans, they have a kind of bishops; while still maintaining that ordination by presbyters is equally valid, and that their bishops are wholly subject to the courts of the elders. Their numbers decreased, until in 1722 they were headed by Count Zinzendorf, who ultimately became their bishop. After holding religious meetings in Dresden — having a situation in the government of Saxony — he purchased an estate in Lusatia, another marquisate, the upper part of which is very mountainous. Although banished because of his views, he was allowed to return.


and energy in Germany was much promoted by what in derision has been termed Pietism. This originated with a minister at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, afterwards of Dresden, named Spener, about 1666. He instituted mutual conferences called the College of Piety, without giving countenance to the separated views of some. This active Christianity spread widely encountering the opposition of those preferring a formal and lip Christianity. In 1686 a college of Bible-lovers was formed for the exegetical study of the Scriptures, which, passing the bounds of prudence, was abolished by the faculty of Leipsic. The leaders found refuge in Brandenburg, where pietism obtained the recognition of a national church and theological representation, with Halle for its centre. It aimed at three things, the regeneration (1.) Of theology, by bringing men back to the study of Scripture as the means of true spiritual life; (2.) Of the Church by abolishing the distinction between clergy and laity, to the extent of reducing it to those who teach and care for souls and their brethren who have been or are to be instructed, so as to be fellow-workers, the members being encouraged at meetings to open their lips and edify one another; or the congregation was organised into sections, with a president, under the direction of the minister; (3.) Of morals, by earnest prosecution of a sanctified life, and more full separation from worldly conformity and everything which leads thereto. After the death of Francke, this pietism gradually degenerated in Northern Germany. But it had two vigorous offshoots, the Moravian Brotherhood along with Zinzendorf, and the school of Bengel, which is regarded as a precursor of a renovated theology. (See Dorner's Prot. Theol. iii. pp. 203-227.)

Recently many good men mourn over 'liberalistic unbelief, madness of socialism, and dissolution of family influences.' Dr. Messner, professor of theology in the university of Berlin, gives, as an illustration, this fact: — 'Of the 630,000 Protestants in Berlin, on an average only 11,900, or not quite two per cent, attend the church. Indifference toward the Church shows itself in the fact, that at only 3777 out of 23,969 funerals in all, has a clergyman been present.' Although this may be an extreme picture, and while there appeared more hopeful symptoms during the recent war, yet so much depressed are the evangelical portion of the community with the crushing load of Erastian bondage, that their hearts are mainly set upon that one deliverance: 'Our Church must be set free from State control. Let the Church have, as soon as may be, her full independence.' Then, they expect that deliverance will come from the trammels of rationalism and extremes of wickedness. In these desires and expectations, all the churches unite, praying, that by God's blessing, that great empire, now politically ascendant, will yet become as of old a centre of reformation light to Europe. The difficulty is very great. One conversant with the facts says: — 'The grand evil is the state of enslavement in which the Church lies. You meet with pious people who admit and deplore this evil, but feel powerless to amend it. Only one party, the Protestantenverein, or Union of Protestants, seems to admit the gravity of the position, and to have raised the cry for a free church. But this is a society which has Baumgarten the evangelical for one leader, and Schenkel the rationalist for another, and the Church they aim at would be so broad as to allow the denial of everything distinctively Christian. This is made quite plain by Baumgarten's recently-published letter to King William, and no hope therefore can be built on their efforts.'


The solemn publication of the personal infallibility of the Pope as binding doctrine — or, at all events, the enforcing of it on ecclesiastical persons — is opposed, more or less rigorously, in Austria and Bavaria, as well as in Switzerland and in the States now presided over by the Emperor of Germany. Prince Bismarck has dissolved the Catholic department of the Ministry. Thus has arisen the Alt-Catholic movement. Dr. D�llinger, and all the other members of the Senate of the University of Munich were chosen because anti-infallibilists. Committees are formed in various places to bring about 'that what is essential, immutable, and imperishable of the Catholic faith, be clearly distinguished from that which belongs to its historic development, and be purified from the obscurations which in the course of ages it has suffered at the hands of Papalism.' At Vienna these Old Catholics demand, 'That the priests should be elected by their parishioners, that celibacy among the clergy should be abolished, also that auricular confession, church holidays, processions, and adoration of images should cease, and that deceptions practised by relics shonld be punished by the State. One thousand members of this 'Old Catholic ' party are enrolled in Vienna.

A great conference was held at Munich in September 1871, Dr. D�llinger, Von Schulte, Hyacinthe, Reinkens, and Michelis took part, and also addressed the public. A leading priest, Manuel Agnas, and many people in Mexico have repudiated Popery since the promulgation of the dogma of infallibility These are indications of the beginning of 'the time of the end.'

The positions agreed to were -

1. That in all places where the want exists, and the fit persons to supply it are to be found, a regular cure of souls be appointed the local committee to determine the occasion. 2. We have a right to have our priests recognised by the State, so far as religious rites are conditions of civil privileges. 3. Each individual is entitled in our present emergency to apply to foreign bishops to obtain the discharge of episcopal functions. 4. We are entitled, so soon as the right moment arrives, to have a regular episcopal jurisdiction established.

In the morning, the first formal Catholic mass in defiance of the bishop was celebrated. The Town Council allowed Michelis to celebrate mass, and he did so with a congregation of seven hundred. The King and his Government intimated to the Archbishop of Munich their determination to protect Dr. D�llinger and his fellow protesters from the pains and penalties denounced against them. Notwithstanding this, the Archbishop and his subordinates have published the encyclical letter of the Pontiff.

The Chamber of Deputies (October 14), in reply to the interpellation, signed by forty-seven members of the Progress party, requesting to know what attitude the Government intended to take upon the Church question, stated that the Government reserved the right of modifying the ecclesiastical laws of the State if the Church changes its own principle on which the former connection existing between Church and State had rested. The Catholic Church had been altered by the doctrine of infallibility. The decisions of the Council were dangerous to the State. That the Government had determined to afford the fullest protection, as based upon the laws of the country, to all those Catholics belonging to the State who do not accept the dogma of infallibility, and, so far as concerns their property, to protect them in all their honestly-acquired rights and positions. The Government recognises the right of parents to bring up their children in what faith they please. Whereto shall all this tend?


Those marked * have united with the Lutherans.










1. Old Ref E. Freisland and Bentheim





2. United in Prov. of Hanover



3. Confed. of Lower Saxony



Indt. of State.

4. In the City of Bremen



City Magts.

5. Princedom of Lippe-Detmold




Consistory Detmold.

6. Lower Hesse




Consistory Cassel.

7. Westphalia





Conststory Munster.

8. Wesel


Dutch and French.

9. Rhine Provinces*




Royal Family are Members.

Consistory Coblenz.

10. Confed. Prov. Saxony





Consistory Magdeburg.

11. Pomerania



Consistory Stettin.

12. Province of Silesia



Consistory Breslau.

13. Free Ev. C. of Germany





14. Prov. Prussia





Consistory Konigsburg.

15. Prov. Brandenburg


Emp. worps. in Cath. Berlin.

Consistory Brandenburg.

16. French Coly. in Brandenburg




Directory Berlin.

17. Prov. of Posen



U. Breth. of Poloni� and Bo.

Seniorate Posen.

18. E. Bavaria





French origin.

Consistory Munich

19. Frederickshof and E. Homburg


Landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg.

20. Altona, Hamburg, Accam, &c.



21. Heidelberg *

22. Bav. Palatinate*

23. Nassau Territory*

24. G.-Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt*

25. Duchy of Anhalt*

26. G.-Duchy Saxe-Weimar*