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BERLIN PASTORAL CONFERENCE-CHURCH AND STATE-CIVIL MARRIAGE-OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY-RELIGIOUS ANNIVERSARIES.
Berlin, July, 1859.
In taking a view of this year's Pastoral Conference, matters of importance present themselves which must lead thoughtful men to an earnest consideration of the question, What will become of Protestantism, if certain hierarchical tendencies attain their full growth? Will they succeed in extirpating Evangelical life from the country, or will they at length issue in a separation from the Protestant Church and a passing over to Rome? As these questions are of common interest, a satisfactory report must try to give a full and clear idea of those meetings in which these tendencies were represented, so as to enable the reader to answer the questions for himself. There are three questions which in this view fall under consideration: the relation of Church and State, the marriage law, and the ministerial office. The first of these topics was handled by Dr. Stahl, the second by the Rev. Dr. Liebetrut, of Witbrietzen, a village near Potsdam, and the third by Dr. Stahl and Dr. Krummacher, of Potsdam. Mindful of the rule to avoid personalities in matters of principle, one is constrained to touch upon them when the persons concerned themselves do so, and especially when such allusions relate to the consistency of those who stand high in authority. "I owe to you," said Dr. Stahl, "an explanation of my conduct ten years ago, when, under the then existing circumstances, I submitted a motion to the First Chamber in favour of optional marriage." He wished the meeting not to consider that conduct as at variance with his present feelings and the course he was adopting now. When he advocated civil marriage he had felt it his duty to take all the care he could of the liberty of the clergy, and so to choose the least of two evils. But he had very | soon become aware of his error committed on the 5th October, 1849; for on the 12th of the following December, he recanted it, and declared his motion null and void. Now, when the liberty of the clergy is secured by law, nobody would expect him again to become a visionary.
Perfectly acknowledging this uprightness of Professor Stahl, as we do, we want a great deal of consistency to enable us to put confidence in his doings. According to his own statement, he adopted a course of
expediency and not of principle when he
CHURCH AND STATE.
The Chairman (Dr. Stahl occupied the chair the first day) briefly alluded to some measures of Government, such as the ordinance of the Oberkirchenrath on re-marrying persons divorced; the measure of M. von Bethmann-Hollweg, Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs, exempting the children of Dissenters from a compulsory attendance on established (or, as Dr. Stahl chose to call them "Christian") schools; and the admission of Jewish representatives to the meetings of their respective districts in which secular matters are regulated. At these meetings the possessors of large estates have a right to attend; and in the course of the present century, here and there Jews have become owners, and have consequently acquired the right; and this has been admitted by the present Government. All this, according to Dr. Stahl, is a diminution of the Christian character and strength of the State. The influence of these innovations must be all the greater the more they fall in with the libertinism of the present age; for, as he argued, they involve the separation of the State from the Church, and were contrary to the intentions of the Government, and must lead to bad results. The mighty power of Revolution had found an ally; and as the most extreme sects had given birth to religious liberty, we might live to see religious liberty striking up a brotherly union with
EUROPEAN INTELLIGENCE. Italian Carbonarism. Under these circum- | than at present they possess, and that by stances it was necessary that Christian increasing ecclesiastical authority and upinstitutions (such as the above-mentioned) holding what he calls Christian institutions should be protected and strengthened. It is incontestable, however, that the primiThe learned professor did not wish that tive Church was based on other principles anybody should form his opinion upon these when individual and congregational faith his general views, but he deemed it reason- and life were the foundation stone of all its able to draw attention to the writings of habits, manners, and institutions. I should some authors who were of the same mind like to review in this place Dr. Stahl's with him, and to recommend them.
latest work, The Lutheran Church and the He afterwards spoke of
Union, to show what are his opinions in CIVIL MARRIAGE,
relation to the Romish Church; I must, which, notwithstanding all reasons alleged however, postpone this, since it would to the contrary, he considered as in truth a require much time and space. principal result of 1789. Optional marriage The other discourse on the marriage bore this signature in a less degree than question was delivered by Dr. Krummacher, oblig civil marriage, but still it bore of Potsdam, the following day. He took for it, and was a proof of the indifference his subject 1 Cor. vii. 10–17, with the of Government. It was not to be refused design of showing the reasons both for and because it was contrary to the good man- against the ecclesiastical interpretation and ners of our old provinces, but because in application of the passage. That he might the end it would spoil them. He would not be suspected of sympathising with a not, however, object to civil marriage in certain party—that of Stahl—the reverend cases of necessity, such as when divorced speaker said he would simply lay before the persons desired to marry again, and on meeting the result of careful and impartial account either of scriptural doctrine or investigation, and that it was not his intenecclesiastical statutes, could not obtain a tion to provoke public declarations or proclergyman to marry them; on the suppo- tests. sition, however, that the causes of divorce Before I give you a sketch of Dr. were restrained. But Dr. Stahl, after this Krummacher's exposition, let me remind concession, again fell into inconsistency: the reader of the real meaning of the matriThe doctrine of matrimony he represented monial standard. When the Apostle comas a holy and inviolable dogma, and main- mands, in the Lord's name, Let not the tained that the Government which, in wife depart from her husband,” he must be relation to it, opposed the Church, offended understood to mean that since Christian against God's commandments. He did not believers must be supposed to be able to mean that the Church should exercise fulfil God's command, in Christian character mediæval authority over the State, but will be found the faithful accomplishment Government ought not to go so far in assert- of marriage, the real substance of which is ing its independence as to trespass against mutual love in peace—"God hath called us Divine law. He further declared that he to peace.” Divorce, therefore, is simply an could not go with those who claimed civil | impossibility among real Christians. They marriage on the ground of civil liberty; can and must realise the inviolableness of conflicts of this kind did not often occur, the matrimonial bond. On the other hand, and, when they did, they were occasioned it is true that real matrimony, bound up by not by the Church, but by the State, and love in peace, cannot exist among absolute the State ought to settle them. Drawing unbelievers. But it can exist if one party to a close, he exhorted the clergy to submit is a believer, and the other party allows to the actual state of things, which was the fulfilment of the missionary work transitional, and to protect Christian insti. towards him or herself.
The Apostle, tutions, for he who succeeded in doing this, therefore, says, “ If the unbelieving," abwould be crowned both by history and in horring Christianity, and with it a Christian the last day with eternal honours.
husband, “depart, let her depart.” In of the effect produced by this discourse such a case, there would be the total want nothing can be stated, since no discussion of that congruity of souls without which took place. But it is sufficiently clear true matrimony is unimaginable. that Dr. Stahl does not belong to what we Our German Reformers inferred from the call the Evangelical party, and that his passage in question two grounds of divorce speech was intended to give the clerical -adultery and wilful, or, as it is called, body more weight in their congregations | malicious desertion; and some kirchen
EUROPEAN INTELLIGENCE. ordnungen (ecclesiastical decrees) have hitherto been considered zealous for that adopted this interpretation. But Dr. way, felt it their duty to oppose them. As, Richter, the well-known author of Ecclesi- however, no resolutions were adopted, a astical Law, in his Contributions to the practical result cannot be shown. MeanHistory of Divorce Law in the Protestant while, the Cabinet's order of February Church (Berlin, 1858), has shown by his- 10, and the subsequent ordinance of the torical arguments that it was not the doc- Oberkirchenrath, of which you are already trine of the Protestant Church of Germany, informed, will constitute the ecclesiastical but merely a doctrine within her, that these rule in matters of marriage. two grounds of divorce should form the The historical observations in relation to rule of practice, and the celebrated jurist the proves that other reasons of divorce are also
OFFICE OF THE MINISTRY, recognised—as, for example, madness com- made by the Rev. Dr. Liebetrut, would be bined with fury and ill-treatment.
at once completely appreciable by you if I Dr. Krummacher not only tried to vin- could suppose you to be conversant with dicate to the Reformation and ecclesiastical the books referred to and praised by him. practice these two grounds exclusively, but for the authors of them are clergymen went so far as to assert, contrary to the surcharged with priestly dignity, and lookReformers, that St. Paul, as well as the ing complacently on Popish institutions, if Lord Jesus Christ, knew only of one reason not longing after them, such as Pastor of divorce, namely, adultery, while the Re- Löhe, in Bavaria, who, a year or two ago, formers were mistaken in asserting two. He as you related in your journal, administered denied that the second ground could be to some of his flock when dying the rite of drawn from the passage on which his dis- extreme unction. We must be thankful to course was founded, and maintained that Dr. Liebetrut for the sorrow he expressed St. Paul's doctrine was the same as our that the Protestant ministry of the last Lord's, and his exposition was intended to century should have been so far sunk in establish this. Besides which, he said, the the depths of rationalistic errors as to have term “unbeliever" could not be applied in lost the feeling of Christian duty, but we our day, as no baptized Christian could be cannot join him in his commendation of compared with heathens, or be called simply men like Löhe, Münchmeyer, in Hanover, an unbeliever; he had only lost the grace and Kliefoth, in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, bestowed upon him through the sacrament nor in his censure of the late Professor Dr. of baptism.
Höfling, at Erlangen-a godly man, whom The inference from Dr. Krummacher's he dared to call a visionary. Was itexposition was, that adultery is the only I would ask—a mere production of his ground of divorce; and that re-marriage fancy when Dr. Höfling, in his excellent should be refused to persons divorced for book entitled Principles of Church Constiany other reason. You will be curious to tution, said that the Church was not a proknow to what feelings this gave rise, when duction merely of the Holy Spirit, but the assembly was going to enter upon the needed also the ministry; while no faithful discussion.
minister can fulfil his duty without the A remarkable scene was now displayed. Holy Spirit, it is equally true that special Immediately Dr. Krummacher had closed ministers derive their existence from the his remarks, the Lutheran pastor Knak congregations ? Dr. Liebetrut declared it intoned Luther's hymn, Ein feste Burg ist to be most dangerous to mix up the idea of unser Gott, at the verse beginning Das wort the Church with that of the congregation, sie sollen lassen stahn. Another stout old and added that Dr. Höfling, in avoiding the Lutheran, the Rev. Consistorial Councillor Charybdis of Romanism, had fallen into the Appahn, of Magdeburg, exclaimed, "Hence- Scylla of the other extreme. This latter forth no persons at all who have been was, at the present time, more to be feared divorced are to be married again." The than the former; and the Divine origin of Rev. Superintendent Riemschneider joined Church and ministry was therefore to be him in saying, “ Persons divorced must re- most strenuously maintained. Often as he main as they are, single." And Mr. Knak alluded, however, to the principles of the was of the same opinion. But, happily, German Reformation, he forgot the words these three stood alone; they made the of Luther, “that in every pastor's stick trefoil of ultra-Lutheranism. Other Lu- there was a pope." I should still fail to therans, as the Rev. Mr. Orth and the Rev. do justice to Dr. Liebetrut if I did not add Mr. Steffann, with some others who had that his discourse was in some parts pene. EUROPEAN INTELLIGENCE. trated with Evangelical views, which are a Bunyans, Wesleys, Franekes, Speners, Zinwall between him and Romanism.
zendorfs—all of them men belonging to the You will be surprised to hear that country militia. If the Pastoral Aid SoGeneral Superintendent Dr. Büchsel, who ciety laid to heart what Dr. Hoffmann spoke the day before, expressed principles preached, they ought to have dissolved and feelings diametrically opposed to those themselves immediately after Divine serof Dr. Liebetrut. He dwelt in so forcible a vice, and have placed their work in the manner upon ministers being faithful to hands of well-trained Churchmen. The their calling, that I should be happy could society supports eleven ministers. I send you every word. He desired that they The Society for Promoting the Gospel should possess a great deal of that pietism among the Jews celebrated its anniversary which is denounced by the high and dry, if the following day, in the Luisenstadt Church, their office is not to degenerate into a mere when the Rev. Mr. Strehle preached an function of police, and their internal life Evangelical sermon. The report was preinto dead orthodoxy. He uttered not a word sented by the missionary, Mr. Krüzer, to of High-Churchism, and was as becomes whom another missionary is to be added a Superintendent- General in a Protestant this year. Six Jews were baptized during Church, thoroughly simple-minded and the past year, of whom the society entertains Evangelical. Perhaps it must be attributed the persuasion that they are truly converted. to this address, that in the discussion which The meeting of the Society for Promoting followed Dr. Liebetrut's exposition, not much Evangelical Missions among the Heathen sympathy was shown to his views. took place in the evening, and excited the
To this account of our Pastoral Conference highest interest. The chairman of the I must yet subjoin a brief notice of some Committee, President Dr. Gotze, in openother
ing the meeting, made some statements not RELIGIOUS ANNIVERSARIES.
indeed of a very cheering nature, to the The Evangelical Pastoral Aid Society effect that some eighteen of the 235 auxiassembled in Trinity Church on the 20th liary societies had not given any sign of June, when the Rev. Dr. Hoffmann, of life during the past year, while the others Halle, preached. It was a high-going ser- had displayed a good spirit, and had been mon, and it is hard to say whether or not very useful. It is intended to extend the it was designed to dissolve the society, for present missionary field, which is Africa. much of it was directed against Christian The plan was explained by Mr. Wallbaum, associations. He compared them to irregular the Principal of the Missionary Seminary. troops (freischaaren), and treated them as the result of inquiry, he stated that almost contemptuously. King Frederic Wil- the district west of Port Natal liam III. said he did well to call to arms deemed the best suited to the design they the country militia, in time of need (1813), contemplated. Mr. Prietsch, one of their the land wanted those irregular troops ; but missionaries, who had resided for some what hare they achieved ? Nothing at all. years in South Africa, had told them about It was our Guards that gained the victory the character of the negroes and the success in the battle fields of Gross Beeren, Görschen, obtained among them by Mr. Alison, the Donnewitz, and not the militia. Poor Dr. Wesleyan missionary. Mr. Prietsch conHoffmann, go and study Prussian history, firmed the statements and declared himself and learn that it was just the country ready to take the lead in this new entermilitia, " those miserable boys," as Napo- prise. As no objection was made to the leon called them, when comparing them proposal, the chairman thought it was the with the regular French armies, who will of God that they should go to work, knocked down his stately soldiers with the which will accordingly be done. The rebutt end of their muskets when their powder ceipts of the society amount to some 53,000 was spent or was no longer of any use thalers, 20,000 of which are contributed by because of the rain. Rome had regular the Auxiliary Societies. The balance is troops enough spread over the world, but about 12,000. The society support at the could not maintain its empire when a Cape, in British Caffraria, the republic of humble monk, who had never been Orange, and Port Natal, twenty-six labourers trained as a regular soldier, lighted at eleven stations. The congregations the torch of truth and vindicated the amount to 862, the communicants to 466. Word of God. Christians, laid asleep by The Divine service of the society was held well-bred Church soldiers, were recalled at St. James's Church, when the Consistorial to life, not by stiff Churchmen, but by the Councillor, Mr. Appahn, preached. The
manner, and remain, with the greatest re-
OF THE DIASPORA CHURCH WALDBREITBACH, WITH RENEWED PRAYERS FOR HELP.
To British Christians.
THE DIASPORA CHURCH AT WALDBREITBACH. Waldbreitbach, June 7, 1859. Honoured Sir, I herewith send you a report of our little Diaspora Church at Waldbreitbach, by which you will see that, by the help of God and the love of our brethren, we still go on. In full confidence we have begun to build, persuaded that God will REPORT not let us be put to shame, and that we are encouraged to this confidence you will see by the gifts which flow in to us. You, therefore, who have been our benefactor before, will not be offended if again in our need we turn to you, for you have never yet let us appeal to you in vain. We ask you to let our appeal be heard by the English people, who do so much for the kingdom of God, and are so ready to help their oppressed and scattered brethren. The work devolving on a Diaspora Church is, on many accounts, difficult; but the love of the brethren strengthens our weary hands, and it is somewhat encouraging to build a chapel, as it affords such a testimony to the unity of the Evangelical Church, which, in spite of all outward differences and separations, stands forth as a company of saints which always holds together when there is a question of extending the kingdom of God and kindling a light in a dark place. Believe me, that in this place, where nearly all are strict Romanists, the building of our house is regarded with no little astonishment, for it is a strong and clear testimony to the one Shepherd with whom there is really but one flock. But lest we should be put to shame for want of means, we request your speedy help, and beg your generous people to open their hearts and hands, and to provide in this place for the well-being of the Church and the honour of God. Especially unite your prayers with ours for this little Church, that the dew of His blessing may make it a real garden of the Lord, and that no plant may grow therein which the Gardener of the Kingdom of God need uproot. Assured of your
Gentlemen and beloved Brethren,-When we look back on the past year our hearts are filled with praise and gratitude to God, who has given us more than our prayers and desires ventured to ask, and to our brethren who, from far and near, have helped us with generous gifts. The Lord has indeed done great things for us, whereof we are glad; and our church, which is now nearly completed, is a clear proof to all who see it that God has supported us in His love.
But a parsonage and school-house cannot be built without great expense, and the church cost much more than we expected, for the materials and labour are very Therefore, with our warmest thanks, we unite our earnest entreaties for more help, that we may not stop half way and become a scoff among the people. Our accounts are
From various gifts we had, before the building was commenced, 970 r.d. 24 sgt. 7 pf.
In the years 1858 and 1859,
donations from the Gus-
Thals. Sgr. Pf.
.1,323 0 0 Gifts from benefactors. 129 24 8 Collections in various towns 691 11 3
.3,115 2 6 . 2,900 0 0
prayers and help, I greet you in a brotherly while we want 2,000 (3001)