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Ghost through our prayer, and the imposition of hands. It had only a symbolical meaning, like baptism itself. It was an emblem of the grace communicated by prayer; and since all Christians have need of grace, it was conferred on all. Further, the prayer cannot be regarded from any point of view as a clerical act; it is the expression of the Christian feeling of the whole assembly; hence it follows that the imposition of hands could not have possessed, any more than the prayer which constituted its moral and essential part, a sacerdotal character. It was given in the name of the church. Tertullian acknowledged that the laity had a right to baptize; they, therefore, had also the right of imposition of hands. Meanwhile we do not deny that the imposition of hands may have had a special application when received by deacons or presbyters. It marked in a solemn manner their entrance upon their office, according to a usage borrowed from the synagogue for the new rabbis. But between the church's imposition of hands and that of the synagogue, there was the same difference as between the two institutions. It was, in fine, the prayer of the church which gave its value to the outward act; the church took an active and definite part in the consecration of the man who was destined to be her minister and representative. The person set apart seems, moreover, to have been called upon, from apostolic times, to make an explicit profession of his faith before the church; whích, since its responsibility was concerned, had a right to know exactly the doctrine taught by its messengers. The outward act was so little regarded as communicating a sacred and indelible character, that the same man could receive the imposition of hands on several occasions. This fact, which is incontestable, absolutely excludes every superstitious idea.
Conclusion. Thus, to sum up our observations, the ecclesiastical offices did not, during this second period, any more than in the first, constitute a new priesthood. They were not instituted directly by God in the way o authority, but were created one after the other, according to the manifest necessities of the Church. They are not of immediate divine institution, like the ancient priesthood, but they flow from heavenly inspiration, and are agreeable to the will of God. It is at all times necessary to be on our guard against the thought, that if the churches of the apostolic age possess a democratic organization they allow their liberty to degenerate into license. Revealed truth exercises in them a true authority. Paul speaks in his name the firm and energetic language of a representative of Jesus Christ. He does not impose the truth; if the churches reject it he has no means of forcing them to submit to its rule. But he declares that in rejecting his teaching, it is not him they reject, but God himself, and he proves it. He desires also that this truth, accepted in the churches, should abide, to be to them a touchstone by which to recognise heresy.
If there is no outward organized authority in the Christianity of the first century, there is for all that an effective authority. Let us acknowledge, besides, that
if each church has its own peculiar life and distinct physiognomy, there is nothing in the primitive ecclesiastical organization to condemn an ulterior federation of churches amongst themselves, and a synodal government, provided it can be reconciled with the liberty of the separate congregations. We are only bound to affirm that, in point of fact, this government did not exist in the first century. But the Church has the right, and it is sometimes her duty, to modify her organization in the course of time; to depart, in more than one respect, so far as details are concerned, from the type of the apostolic churches, on condition of not discarding the general principles of their constitution. For these principles are immortal, and are based on absolute truths.
Wichern and tke "Ynner Mission' of Germany.
BY PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D.
The most distinguished representative of practical Christianity in Germany, who converts the ideas of modern evangelical theology into deeds of charity, and goes forth from his study to the lanes of public life, the dens of misery, and the hells of vice, to do the work of the merciful Samaritan, and, as far as in him lies, to reclaim society to the gospel of peace is Dr. Wichern.
We do not hesitate to pronounce Dr. Wichern one of the greatest and best men of the age. He stands foremost in the ranks of Christian philanthropists on the Continent of Europe, and, since the death of Chalmers, we know of no English or American divine who equals him in fervour of spirit, and incessant activity of love to God and to fallen man. His name will ever be identified with the noble work of Inner Mission, and the regeneration of German Protestantism. History will assign him a place by the side of Vincent de Paul, the father of the Sisters of Charity, Augustus Hermann Francke, the founder of the Orphan House at Halle, William Wilberforce, the emancipator of slaves, and other truly great men, who, filled with the love of Christ and generous sympathy for their suffering brethren, went about doing good, and became practical reformers and benefactors of the race.
The Rev. Dr. Wichern was born at Hamburg, in 1808, and is therefore now in the prime of life-although his grey hair gives him already a venerable appearance. He studied at Berlin under Schleiermacher and Neander, and still holds these teachers in grateful remembrance. He is a well-educated divine, of strictly evangelical, and yet truly liberal and comprehensive views, an earnest Christian, a dignified and accomplished, yet plain and unostentatious gentleman. He has an eminently practical genius, great power of organization, untiring energy, fiery and commanding eloquence. Even before he
had completed his studies he felt a strong desire to devote himself to works of charity, in a free, untrammeled way. He has since amply proved to the world that this is his peculiar mission.
Destitute of worldly means, but full of faith in God, like Francke, he founded, in 1833, near the village of Horn, about three miles from Hamburg, a vagrant school, under the characteristic name of the Rauhe Haus. It was, at first, an old broken-down farm-house; but it has grown since to be one of the most important and interesting benevolent institutions in the world. An English traveller calls it the · House among the Flowers,” which is true, both in a literal and spiritual sense ; and an American tourist, Brace, in his ‘Home Life in Germany' (p. 96), states it as his impression, on a visit in the year 1850, that the friend of man, searching anxiously for what man has done for his suffering fellows, may look far in both Continents, before he finds an institution so benevolent, so practical, and so truly Christian as the Hamburgh Rough House.'
This noble establishment is a large garden full of trees, walks, flowers, vegetables, and adjoining corn-fields, with several small, but comfortable, wood-houses, and a neat, quiet chapel. It embraces various workshops for shoe-making, tailoring, spinning, baking, &c.; a commercial agency (Agentur) for the sale of the articles made by the boys; a printing and publishing department; a lithograph and wood engraving shop, and a book bindery--all in very energetic and successful operation. Many excellent tracts and books are annually issued from the institution, also a monthly periodical, under the title * Fliegende Blätter,' which is, at the same time, the organ of the central committee of the German Church Diet for Inner Mission. The children are divided into families, each about twelve in number, and controlled by an overseur, with two assistants. These overseers are generally theological students, who prepare themselves here for pastoral usefulness. Many of them have already gone out to superintend similar institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Russia, established on the plan of the Rough House. The general management is, of course, in the hands of Wichern, who is universally respected and beloved, as a spiritual father.
And who should not venerate the man who, from the most disinterested motives, picks up the orphan, the homeless, the outcast, from the filth and squalor, the dark cellars and vicious corners of Hamburg and other cities, to rescue them from temporal and eternal ruin, to transform them into useful men and pious Christians! He succeeded in some most desperate cases, with boys of whom the very devil seemed to have taken full possession. In this work he has gathered a rare amount of psychological knowledge and spiritual experience.
How strange! Dr. Wichern is one of the purest men; and yet he has a rare familiarity with the history and statistics of vice. He knows all about the horrible mysteries of society in such cities as Hamburg-one of the most corrupt in Germany-Berlin, Paris, and London.' He spent once several weeks in visiting, with the assistance of the police-officers, the ill-famed quarters of England's capital, in close neighbourhood to the magnificent palaces of Regent-street and Westminster, and he told me he nowhere witnessed such appalling scenes of misery and wretchedness. What prompted him to acquire such knowledge was no idle curiosity, nor a morbid taste, but the love of Christ, who came to save sinners, and to seek that which was lost. He turns his large experience to the best account in his Rough House, which, for many wicked boys and girls, has become the birthplace of a new life, devoted to the service of God and the benefit of
I shall not easily forget the beautiful days I spent with this servant of Christ at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, under the hospitable roof of Dr. Varrentrapp, during the sessions of the seventh Evangelical Church Diet in September, 1854 ; the subsequent excursion we took to the Taunus mountain ; the trip on the lovely Rhine; the visit to Dr. von Bethmann Hollweg, the noble patron of every Christian work, on his mediæval castle, Rheineck; and the last hours at Bonn, where we parted at the house of his friend, Professor Perthes, never to meet again, perhaps, on this earth. But I look back with equal interest to my first interview with him at the Rough House, in 1841, when he was yet little known, and that under the modest title, • Candidate for the holy ministry. I had then just graduated at Berlin as 'Licentiate,' and published a juvenile book on the 'Sin against the Holy Ghost,' in which he felt deeply interested on account of the subject. But I soon found out that he knew much more about it than I. We made an excursion to the worthy pastor Gurlitt in a neighbouring village, who had written an essay on the same topic. We conversed on the mysteries of sin and grace. He opened to me an awful abyss of human corruption, and gave me a horrifying account of two youths under his charge, who, although not over fifteen and eighteen years of age, had reached, apparently, the extreme of wicked rebellion against God, and come nearer the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost than anything I ever heard before, even Spiera's case hardly excepted, whose tale does 'harrow up the soul and freeze the blood. Ever since, I followed his history with lively interest, and was greatly rejoiced to hear, a few years afterwards, and in a far distant land, that • Candidat’ Wichern was crowned with the highest academic honour, not for any learned work, but for his labours of love, and that he became the acknowledged leader of a powerful movement, which extends almost as far as the German name.
The year 1848, the year of bright hopes and gloomy disappointments; of noble deeds and dark crimes; the year which laid open the hidden diseases of European society, in Church and State; brought Wichern on the public stage, and gave to his ideas and plans of reform a national importance. He has a heart for German unitý and liberty, and laments the political and religious dissensions of his fatherland. lle deeply sympathizes with the sufferings and destitu
tion of the people, and follows even, with an eye of compassion, the thousands of his countrymen who leave their native home in discontent, to the extreme East, and extreme West, there to perish, alas ! only too often in the cities of Constantinople, Paris, London, and New York, from want of the bread of life. He knows, mureover, that mere political reforms and reactions can effect no real cure of the many evils which produced, as their natural fruit, the gigantic emigration and the late revolution. He sees that a moral regeneration of society is necessary, and especially works of Christian philanthropy, which will relieve the sufferings of the poor and destitute, destroy the envy and jealousy of the lower against the higher ranks, and recommend Christianity to the great masses, now so fearfully alienated from it.
'For fifteen years,' he said in his first speech on the subject of Inner Mission, at the first meeting of the Church Diet, on Luther's grave,- for fifteen years past, the thought and hope has animated me with growing vigour and clearness, that our fatherland, the heart of Europe, might yet produce from its bosom a society and confederation of faith and love, offering itself as a sacrifice to the Church and the country—a society endowed with the resources of learning, the wisdom of statesmanship, the power of political and ecclesiastical government, and with the spirit of the eternal mercy of God, from which alone can proceed the salvation of nations. This hope appeared to most men a mere phantom. In Germany as it then was, this seed could not take root. The cover must first be removed from the eyes of all. This the hand of God has done in 1848: the abyss lies open, the ground is plowed and ready to receive the divine seed of a faith working by love, that it may grow up and unfold its glory. A day of God, a day of salvation for our church in our dear fatherland, has arisen with the revolutionary events. It will be known and felt that the Evangelical Church can and must become a church of the people (Volks Kirche), by penetrating the whole nation with the whole power of the gospel, and a new life-breath of God. If the Church is to become the fountain of the Christian life of the nation, it must, in its confederated capacity, make the work of Inner Mission its own.'
Our readers are already informed about the meaning of Inner Mission. It refers to domestic heathenism, which has crept into German Protestantism to such a fearful extent, and its labours to reclaim it to living Christianity. It comprehends, in one organic whole, the various efforts already commenced before by separate societies—but now carried on with more system and vigour – for the temporal and spiritual benefit of the poor, the sick, the widow, the orphan, the stranger, the emigrant, the prisoner, the travelling journeyman; the distribution of good books and tracts; the supply of destitute charges with the means of the gospel; the founding of Young Men's Christian Associations; the arrangement of courses of lectures on instructive and useful topics, to mixed audiences in large