Reformers Before The Reformation -- By: Barnas Sears

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 001:3 (Aug 1844)
Article: Reformers Before The Reformation
Author: Barnas Sears

Reformers Before The Reformation

B. Sears

D. D. President of Newton Theological Institution.

Reformatoren vor der Reformation, vornehmlich in Deutschland und den Niederlanden, geschildert von Dr. C. Ullmann. Erster Band, Hamburg, 1841. Zweiter Band, 1842. [Reformers before the Reformation, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands]

The author of these volumes ranks among the best German writers of special church history. Nineteen years ago, at the early age of twenty-nine, after having gained some reputation as professor of theology at Heidelberg, he gave no doubtful indication of what he was to be, by that work with which his name is most associated in England and in this country, his life of Gregory of Nazianzum. Naturally endowed with a sound and vigorous understanding, educated both ELS S, general scholar and theologian after the best manner of his country, he early applied himself to original investigations in historical theology, and by a life of unremitted effort, has risen to a high eminence, making him an authority, in matters connected with his department of study, second to no other. No writer exhausts a subject of inquiry more than he; no one digests more perfectly the materials which his industry collects, and few present them to the reader in a more complete form or a more lucid order. His style of composition is pure and elegant, his language rich and flowing. Though a man of great liberality of feeling he is strongly attached to the lead-

ing doctrines of the reformation, and always expresses his sentiments with a dignified freedom and christian independence. There is not only an unusual elevation both in his moral and intellectual character, a largeness and breadth of views alike honorable to the philosopher and the Christian, but a beautiful symmetry in his mind, sterling good sense and correct taste, not always associated with learning and talent in the men of his country.

Ten years ago, Ullmann published his life of Johan Wessel, a work which threw a new and unexpected light upon the dark period of the history of the church in Germany immediately preceding the reformation. The volumes named at the head of this article, grew out of a revision of that work and an enlargement of the plan, so that by grouping together the history of those men whose influence was greatest in preparing the soil for Luther to cultivate, but whose services had been almost overlooked, he might exhibit a more perfect and rational view of the causes of the reformation than had yet been given to the public. We well recollect the sensation which his lectures on this subject produced in Halle, by drawing from the wells of history deeper and fresher waters than others had done be...

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