Memoir Of Count Zinzendorf. -- By: B. B. Edwards

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 003:11 (Aug 1846)
Article: Memoir Of Count Zinzendorf.
Author: B. B. Edwards


Memoir Of Count Zinzendorf.

B. B. Edwards

Professor at Andover.

The life and labors of Zinzendorf embrace an important part of the ecclesiastical history of the eighteenth century. That century may be characterized, in general, as one of mediocrity and spiritual lethargy. Religious interest in every part of Christendom languished. On the continent the power of piety both in the Lutheran and Reformed communions, had given place to forms and ceremonials. The spirit of Luther and Calvin had not wholly disappeared, but it was nowhere in the ascendant. In England and Scotland, it was a period for the most part, of latitudinarian views and practical irreligion, notwithstanding the universal assent to orthodox articles and catechisms. In this country, if we may credit historical records, the churches were in a state of melancholy degeneracy. Formality and an indiscriminate charity were stealing into those sanctuaries where the Puritans had offered spiritual worship. Yet, in almost every part of the Christian world, there were revivals of religion, of greater or less extent In the American colonies, in England, Scotland and Germany, there were many indications of the presence of the regenerating Spirit, and foretastes of better things to come. In Halle and its neighborhood, the flame of piety again shone out brightly in consequence of the labors of the Pietists. In Saxony, also, the Moravian church reasserted the claims of simple, living piety and of the primitive missionary zeal. Along with Franke, the Wesleys, Whiterield and others, Zinzendorf stands as one of the chief spiritual lights of the eighteenth century.

His life is also interesting from its missionary relations. One of the principal marks of the genuineness of the religious movement, of which Herrnhut was the centre, was its expansive character. It sought to benefit and save the most distant tribes. Its zeal seemed to be earnest in proportion to the remoteness and degradation of the objects of its love. In this it revealed its truly apostolical character, a descent from Him who established a religion that is to be necessarily aggressive and missionary until it is universal. It is this feature, doubtless, in the establishment of the United Brethren, which has essentially contributed to its per-

manence. Its object has not been so much to make proselytes, as to win souls to the Saviour. The extension of vital piety, not the endowment of a splendid church, was the aim, and has been, the effect, of Zinzendorf’s exertions.

Other points of interest in the life of the Count will be apparent in the progress of the narrative. His memoir is instructive from its developments of some of the peculiarities of German character, an...

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