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-- MEMOIR OF COUNT ZINZENDORF.
(With a Portrait.) To all who attach value to those larger developments of ecclesiastical history which are afforded by the biographies of individuals eminent for their personal piety, or the influence exerted by them at some particular period, in some particular portion either of the already-planted vineyard of the Lord, or of the wilderness-world which has to be reclaimed, cultivated, and enclosed, or, it may be, for both,—the history of Count Zinzendorf, for all these reasons, cannot be otherwise than highly interesting. To a very large class of our own readers this interest will be increased by the remembrance of German influence upon incipient Methodism. Mr. Wesley's journey to America was connected with the most eventful circumstances. He was most desirous to do the will of God, but as yet he knew it very imperfectly. He had studied the writings of the ascetics, both of the Roman and of the Anglican Church, and was deeply imbued with their spirit; but he saw not the Gospel in its simplicity as taught by St. Paul and St. John. He was better acquainted with the instructions of Kempis and of Jeremy Taylor,' than with those which taught the way of God more clearly and more perfectly. Not knowing the righteousness of faith, he went about to establish his own
Vol. XI. Second Series. R
righteousness. He did not see that this is religion, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” And if he had seen it, he did not see how this love was to be obtained by individual man. He did not understand the doctrine, that the benefits of the work of Christ without us, are to be apprehended by the faith which can only be exercised by a humble, penitent, and contrite heart, and thus to open the way to the work of the Spirit within us, in which, by the manifestation of the love of a sin-pardoning God, we are brought ourselves to love God, which love is the principle and fountain of all evangelical holiness. He neither understood the doctrines of justification and regeneration, nor had he yet experienced the blessings which those terms indicate. The doctrines were brought before him by the Germans who were on board the vessel in which he made his passage to Georgia, and were recommended to his notice by that mental peace and power which, instrumentally, they had communicated. Carefully did he search the Scriptures; and at length finding that “these things were so,” he sought and obtained the blessing for himself. It was then that he became the reformer and restorer of religion ; in point of fact, as well as in point of doctrine, the continuator of the Lutheran Reformation. The anguish of Luther's soul, experienced before he dreamt of any reform in the church, was experienced during his search for peace of conscience, and power over sin ; and he only found relief when he was brought to seek and find forgiveness of sins, through faith in Christ, from God which justifieth the ungodly. Lutheranism, at first, chiefly (far from exclusively) consisted of the bold assertion and defence of the doctrine ; but more was wanted, even the explicit, earnest, and practical maintenance of the doctrine to be believed, as leading to the blessing to be enjoyed. Methodism is the development of this principle, the fruit of this teaching; and is thus the providential continuation and advance of the great Lutheran revival,-the medium of connexion, by the wonder-working hand of God, being the temporary association of the English seekers of salvation with those Germans of whom they were the fellowvoyagers, who had been taught the way of peace, and were actually then walking in it. Mr. Wesley was de eply im
pressed by their general behaviour, and more especially by their conduct in rough weather, when danger was apprehended. He found himself full of fear, while they were full of peace ; and, on inquiry, they told him that they were not afraid to die, because they knew, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, that they were reconciled to God. The doctrine, thus brought before him by these pious Germans, he sought for in the only standard he acknowledged, holy Scripture; and because he found it there, he believed it; and when he himself experienced it, he preached it. After this change in his religious experience, he visited Germany, and by intercourse with Count Zinzendorf, and other members of the Moravian Church, at Hernhuth, was encouraged to pursue the path on which he had entered. Subsequently he not only stated the truths he had thus embraced with more clearness, precision, and arrangement, than had been done either by Luther, or the Anglican Reformers; but likewise made provision both for their practical operation, and for their perpetuity, by connecting them with a regular and scriptural form of ministry and church-order. And still, in the channel of Wesleyan Methodism, flows the stream of the great Lutheran Reformation. What is called Methodism, that is, spiritual religion, connected with personal justification by faith, and flowing from it, is, in its nature, the direct antagonist of Popery, or, the system of primary externalism in religion, whether connected with the Roman See, or in separation from it.
On the whole, therefore, we believe that our readers will thank us for giving them the portrait of Count Zinzendorf, and supplying them briefly with some information concerning this celebrated man.
Nicholas Louis, (German, Ludwig,) Count and Lord of Zinzendorf and Pottendorf, was born at Dresden, May 26th, 1700. The pious Dr. Spener, who was then labouring zealously and successfully for the revival of evangelical Christianity in the Lutheran Church, was one of his sponsors at baptism. George Louis, his father, was one of the chief Ministers of the Saxon Court, a devoted man, much attached to Dr. Spener. His mother, also, was a learned and pious lady. His father died soon after his birth ; and four years
subsequently, his mother marrying again, he was placed under the care of his grandmother, with whom he continued till he was ten years old. This venerable lady was a holy Christian, who constantly laboured to imbue his mind with divine truth, and to lead him, while yet young, to choose his father's God as his God. Nor was she unsuccessful. The seed then sown produced the fruits which characterized and adorned his afterlife.
The design of his friends was to prepare him for engaging in affairs of the State. His capacity promised to be large, but his disposition was violent. At times, also, he was irascible and impetuous. His chief inclinations, however, were towards religion. In very early youth strong inward temptations frequently assailed him; but he repented by covenant engagements with his Saviour, saying, “Be thou mine, dear Saviour,* and I will be thine.”
At school, even while prosecuting his studies, the same tendencies were observable. He was sent to Halle, in August, 1710, and placed under the care of the celebrated Professor Franké. Here he continued six years; and under the influence of the Pietism which governed the institution, his own religious feelings were increased. His fundamental idea even then was, what he expressed on a subsequent occasion, “ The most needful thing is the profession of true faith in the heart, which, according to Luther's expression, changes and regenerates the heart, mind, and all the powers." Among the scholars he found several who were like-minded with himself: these he formed into a society, having certain rules, which they bound themselves to observe, and of which the object was to promote in themselves the knowledge and love of God, and to make them useful to others in furthering their salvation. Their attention also was directed to the spread of the
* We are not sure whether some of the errors, in language at least, into which the Count fell in subsequent life, did not originate in the causes which prompted this familiarity of address to Him, who, if he has condescended to become our brother, is likewise our Lord and God. Some of the mystic writers and religionists of that day often employed it; but it is carefully to be avoided, as being not only wrong in itself, but the indication and cause of error, and, often, of serious evil.