Pray without Ceasing

prayingPray without Ceasing
Johann Christoph Blumhardt
The words “pray without ceasing” are not to be understood in the way we usually think of prayer. For this would mean that we should incessantly be on our knees before God, addressing him with prayerful words. Then the statement would be in direct contradiction to the Lord’s command not to use many words when we pray.
This simply cannot be applied to the way we usually pray. For “pray without ceasing ” is too strong an expression to be translated by words like “pray frequently and diligently” or “pray as often as you possibly can.”
“Without ceasing” implies something more? It can only be understood as the turning of the human spirit toward God in prayer.
Here one can say that what should be present without ceasing is a prayerful and beseeching, supplicating attitude; one might say that there should not be a single moment when God does not find us praying to him as if we stood physically in his presence.
There is a different kind of prayer without ceasing; it is longing. Whatever you may be doing, if you long for the day of everlasting rest, do not cease praying. If you do not wish to cease praying, then do not cease your longing. Your persistent longing is your persistent voice. When love grows cold, the heart grows silent. Burning love is the outcry of the heart! If you are filled with longing all the time, you will keep crying out, and if your love perseveres, your cry will be heard without fail.”
David expresses this same thing: “To thee I lift up my eyes, O thou who art enthroned in the heavens” (Ps.123:1). Here also, he compares this raising of the eyes to the Lord our God with the way servants watch the hands of their masters and maids the hands of their mistresses, without a word being said.
This looking upward can be present in every activity and wherever we are, even in the midst of conversation, and even when our mind is occupied with the practical task of the moment. If we undertake or perform a task which separates us from God and prevents us from raising our eyes to him, we can easily lose our bearings.
Only think of the many wrong emotions – so much anger, rage, vanity, envy, pride, greediness, touchiness, as well as unnecessary worry – which would not be there if our souls were directed toward God instead of being concerned with all these things.
Indeed, there is no other rule which costs so little and needs so little effort, but which has such a significant effect on a person’s nature; “pray without ceasing!” is to be understood in the sense of good advice rather than as a veto.
How much protection and safekeeping, how much deliverance from the snares of darkness, how much redemption and response to our need could we experience as a matter of course, with no exertion on our part, if we were to stand before the Lord in prayer in every situation?
Used with permission.

Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing by Sören Kierkegaard

one thing smaller


Father in Heaven! What is a man without Thee! What is all that he knows, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if he does not know Thee! What is all his striving, could it even encompass the world, but a half-finished work if he does not know Thee: Thee the One, who art one thing and who art all! So may Thou give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may Thou grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing. Oh, Thou that giveth both the beginning and the completion, may Thou early, at the dawn of day, give to the young man the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may Thou give to the old man a renewed remembrance of his first resolution, that the first may be like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing. Alas, but this has indeed not come to pass. Something has come in between. The separation of sin lies in between. Each day, and day after day something is being placed in between: delay, blockage, interruption, delusion, corruption. So in this time of repentance may Thou give the courage once again to will one thing. True, it is an interruption of our daily tasks; we do lay down our work as though it were a day of rest, when the penitent (and it is only in a time of repentance that the heavy-laden worker may be quiet in the confession of sin) is alone before Thee in self-accusation. This is indeed an interruption. But it is an interruption that searches back into its very beginnings that it might bind up anew that which sin has separated, that in its grief it might atone for lost time, that in its anxiety it might bring to completion that which lies before it. Oh, Thou that givest both the beginning and the completion, give Thou victory in the day of need so that what neither a man’s burning wish nor his determined resolution may attain to, may be granted unto him in the sorrowing of repentance: to will only one thing.


He sends forth the Word publicly so that all may hear it, that the heart experiences it, that through faith is wrought by Christ in secret

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“Hence, all that we preachers can do is to become the mouthpieces and instruments of Christ our Lord, through whom he proclaims the Word bodily. He sends forth the Word publicly so that all may hear it, but that the heart inwardly experiences it, that is effected through faith and is wrought by Christ in secret where he perceives that it can be done according to his divine knowledge and pleasure. That is why he says: “I am the good shepherd.” And what is a good shepherd? “The good shepherd,” says Christ, “layeth down his life for the sheep; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” In this one virtue the Lord comprehends and exemplifies all others in the beautiful parable of the sheep. Sheep, you know, are most foolish and stupid animals. When we want to speak of anybody’s stupidity we say, “He is a sheep.” Nevertheless, it has this trait above all other animals, that it soon learns to heed its shepherd’s voice and will follow no one but its shepherd, and though it cannot help and keep and heal itself, nor guard itself against the wolf, but is dependent upon others, yet it always knows enough to keep close to its shepherd and look to him for help.”
-Martin Luther, sermon on John 10, Church Postils, 1523.

Pietism According to Bo Giertz by Eric R. Andrae

The influence of Bo Giertz (1905-1998) on the American scene has been such that some have even taken to calling themselves “Giertzians.” What are the marks of a “Giertzian” confession of the faith? American Lutheran scholar Clifford Ansgar Nelson noted already in 1950 that Giertz “has a profound appreciation of the high-church liturgical movement as well as of low-church evangelicalism. If one should characterize the type of piety which is most congenial to his spirit, it would be as a broad evangelical orthodoxy” (Giertz, Liturgy and Spiritual Awakening). Giertz was able uniquely to synthesize the best of pietism with the gospel-centric nature of sacramental and liturgical Lutheran orthodoxy, avoiding the pitfalls of the Reformed and of synergism. As the American audience encounters more of Giertz’s theology, however, it may indeed be struck by the pietistic elements and by the perhaps disquieting use of Lutheran language regarding conversion and faith, discipleship and worship, the place of the sacraments and the role of sanctification.


But, as Ray F. Kibler III has pointed out (“Pietism Reconsidered,” LF Winter 2009), pietism within the Swedish historical context does not always mean the same as within the American Lutheran tradition, in which it is often considered anathema. Upon closer and more objective inspection of the whole of his work and theology, one finds that Giertz indeed accomplished what he always intended and lived to do, namely follow the lead of Henric Schartau (1757-1825, chaplain at the cathedral in Lund), who apparently borrowed from the German pietists and kept what was of value but discarded anything antithetical to pure Lutheranism. Another important influence was C. O. Rosenius (1816-1868, Swedish Lutheran lay preacher; Rosenian pietism is synonymous with New Evangelicalism and contra Moravian-influenced pietism), one of the organizers of the Evangeliska Fosterland Stiftelsen as well as a founder and later editor of Pietisten, who so emphasized the atonement. Giertz took the best of the various traditions within Lutheranism and united the parts into an orthodox whole. This is why he attracted such a broad and devoted following within the church of Sweden and, through his writings, still does so today.


Giertz managed to do this in a way that was systematic, practical, accessible, pastoral, and invigorating. He ably discarded whatever of pietism or its tendencies was foreign to sound Lutheran doctrine and practice, such as diminishing the office of the ministry, emphasizing emotionalism, demoting the traditional liturgy of the church, or promoting conventicles, lay preaching, and schismatic movements. At the same time, like any good reformer, he kept that which is of value in pietism: the personal aspect of the faith, the seriousness of conversion, genuine soul care by a directly involvedSeelsorger/själasörjare, the emphasis on the proper distinction and application of law and gospel, the central place of the Word, the need for pure doctrine and true teaching, the proper role of prayer, the Christian life lived in the church and in society, the sanctified fruits of an awakened and active faith, the confession of Jesus alone as the atoner, and the declaration of Christ crucified as the true and sole source and object of saving faith. Giertz even restored baptism to its proper foundational place in relation to the ordo salutis, something which had been to a great extent lost by Schartau. “His preaching, teaching, and writing demonstrated his utmost concern for God’s Word and the people to whom it was addressed. He held firmly to the threefold heritage of the apostolic and patristic witness to the faith, the reformation confession of the faith, and the spiritual renewal in the faith. Until the end of his [ninety-three] years, he remained a vigorous leader of orthodox Lutherans in Sweden” (Ronald B. Bagnall and Glenn C. Stone, “In Memoriam: Bo Giertz, Bishop and Confessor,” LF Winter 1998). It is this, Giertz’s faithful synthesis of apparently disparate elements that, paradoxically, sounds the clarity of his confession.


According to Giertz, one is to honor and love the sacramental life and the divine proclamation, which stand fast regardless of any human thought or work. At the same time, one loves and values the personal Christian life; one partakes of the richness of this life and appropriates it. These and the above-mentioned themes are especially and specifically developed in Giertz’s Kristi Kyrka (Christ’s Church, 1939) and Kyrkofromhet (Churchly Piety, 1939). The first work depicts the objective action of God in Christ through his church; the second, the personal reception of the faith through the ordo salutis (the order of grace). Folke T. Olofsson (Rasbo, Uppsala), a noted Giertz researcher, pointed out in conversation with me that the order of grace is the subjective part of Giertz’s theology, developed to fight the charge of (objective) hyper-sacramentalism.


The concepts in Kristi Kyrka and Kyrkofromhet took literary or “enfleshed” form in the well-known The Hammer of God (appearing first in Swedish in 1941). Giertz himself in an interview said that the book was written “to describe how God works when he leads a person to the true faith in Christ… I am convinced that it was right to depict the order of grace in this way. For modern man to understand this, it is necessary to illustrate it among people of flesh and blood” (Christian Braw, I Tiden: Essayer och samtal, my translation).


As such, only by this objective delivery and resulting personal response does one then truly understand the life of the church, the life of faith, life in communion with the indestructible and imperishable body of Christ. Giertz’s confession and program is one of renewal and rebirth for the Christian and for the church, while continually proclaiming the timeless, eternal, and age-old message of salvation in the cross of Christ. For Giertz, any demand for ecclesial activity, for a new paradigm, or for reforms or renewal, must always be a demand for greater faithfulness to that Lord who has died, risen, and will return in judgment and victory. It is this future that the church awaits in hope and looks to in faith. Therefore she has no anxiety, no wish to compromise with the spirit of the current age or to test the fads at the marketplace of ideas. Giertz maintains that only as the biblical and apostolic faith enlivens today’s church and her members, as holy zeal and overwhelming joy once again inspire God’s people, will they go out, not to recruit more members or organize movements but, with prophetic truth and the Spirit’s power, to invite all to the wedding feast of the Lamb. This is what it would mean to be a “Giertzian.”


Giertz, to be sure, would eschew such a moniker for Lutheran Christians. Rather, he would point us to Jesus.


Eric R. Andræ is Campus Pastor at First Trinity Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the President of the International Giertz Society, English Language Section, and currently translating Kyrkofromhet. This essay is a revised excerpt from Eric R. Andræ, ”Bo Giertz ur ett amerikanskt perspektiv,” in Talet om korset–Guds kraft: Till hundraårsminnet av biskop Bo Giertz’ födelse, ed. Rune Imberg (Gothenburg: Församlingsförlaget, 2005), 341-343. Kristi Kyrka has been translated by Hans O. Andræ and is to be published later in 2010.

This post originally appeared at Lutheran Forum.

A Few Words on Crucified, Dead, and Risen with Christ by George Mueller



 “Crucified, Dead, and Risen with Jesus”

 An Address delivered at a Conference of Christians held on the 7th of November, 1865.


HOW may we know that we are crucified with Christ, that we have died with Him, and that we are risen with Him? Possibly some believers may not know how to settle this point. It is of the deepest moment to have a clear understanding of it. It is not by a voice from heaven, not by some powerful impression made on us in a dream or otherwise, but simply by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in Him for the salvation of our souls, that we settle the point that we are united to Him, that with Him we were crucified, that with Him we died, that with Him we are raised again, and with Him sit in heavenly places. We have simply to say to ourselves, Do I trust in Jesus for the salvation of my soul? Do I know I am a guilty, wicked sinner, deserving nothing but judgment; but do I trust, at the same time, in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of my soul? If so, then Jesus is my substitute; then Jesus died in my room and stead; then am I looked upon by God as one united with Christ; then have I been punished for my sins in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ; then was I hung, as it were, on the cross with Jesus—God having accepted Him as my substitute; then was I buried with Christ, and have been raised again with Him; then, in my Forerunner, I am seated at the right hand of God in heaven; then, as assuredly as the Lord Jesus is there, so shall I be. These are precious truths, not man’s inventions. The Book of God speaks of them again and again. The epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, and others, are full of these glorious truths. But what we need is, that they become increasingly realities to us. Not so much that we are able to speak with clearness about them, but that more and more we know their power in our hearts. We have, therefore, to say to ourselves, I am a wicked, guilty, hell-deserving sinner; and had not God, in the riches of His grace, given the Lord Jesus to die in my stead, hell must have been my portion for eternity; but it pleased God to deliver Him up for me; and since I trust in the Lord Jesus for salvation, I shall not be punished, because my blessed Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, was punished in my room and stead. Now, what follows? My sins are forgiven. Not, shall be when I die. Not, I shall find out some day that they are forgiven. But, they are forgiven—are now forgiven. By the grace of God I am as certain that my sins are forgiven as I am certain that I am speaking to you. Not because I deserve it. I am a guilty, wicked, hell-deserving sinner; but I trust in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of my soul; and God declares that all who put their trust in Him shall have forgiveness. As it is written in Acts 10:43, in reference to the Lord Jesus—“To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” I do believe in Him—that is, I do put my trust in Him, and therefore my sins are forgiven.

Now, let me affectionately press this point on you, because it is a matter of deep moment that we be assured our sins are forgiven, and habitually assured of it. Because it is just this which makes heaven certain to us—that we know God has nothing against us. The knowledge and the enjoyment of the forgiveness of our sins will keep our hearts from going out towards this present world.

To be heavenly-minded, really and truly, we must be assured our sins are forgiven; and this we know simply from the Divine testimony, that those who put their trust in Jesus have the forgiveness of their sins. But this is not all. Through faith in Jesus we are now the sons of God. We are not only reconciled, because of our Substitute and Surety, and God is well-pleased with us, but we are also the children of God, and as children we are the heirs of God, and as the heirs of God we are joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. Now this brings us to another point. If we are the children of God, if we are the heirs of God, and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, then all who believe in the Lord Jesus constitute one family. They may be scattered all over the world, may in ten thousand things differ as to the present life, and in ten thousand things have differed as to their manner of life before they were brought to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus,—may differ after their conversion as to their position in life, and in numberless ways also as to attainments in knowledge and grace; but nevertheless, as assuredly as they believe in the Lord Jesus for the salvation of their souls do they constitute one heavenly family—they are brethren. We glorify God by living as such here. In heaven we shall be together. Throughout eternity we shall be unspeakably happy, and love one another perfectly and habitually. But we are to glorify God by manifesting this love now, while on the earth, while in weakness and exposed to conflict, while the struggle is going on; now we are to be united together, and to manifest that we are one family, the heavenly family. This is the way to bring glory to God. In order to this let us keep before us “Crucified with Christ.” What does this imply? That we deserve to be crucified, that we are sinners, wicked, guilty sinners—I, and every one—all the members of the heavenly family, all sinners, and such sinners that we deserve nothing but hell. And in order that we might escape the torments of hell, the blessed Lord Jesus Christ died in our room, and became a curse that we might escape it. Where is boasting then? Who has ground for boasting? Perhaps one says, “Ah, but I have made much greater attainments in knowledge and grace than others.” But what does Paul say? “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” The child of God has nought wherein to glory but the cross of Christ. Therefore if we boast, let it be that the blessed Lord Jesus died for us guilty, hell-deserving sinners. And if we have a little more light and a little more grace than some of our fellow-believers, let us testify that it is by the grace of God we have it.

Now because we love one another we may speak freely. It has been stated, that, if we are of one mind about the foundation truths, we should agree to differ about minor points, in order that thus brotherly love may not be hindered. Allow me to say, that according to Philippians 3:15, 16, I am of a different judgment. We should not agree to differ, but should expect and pray that we and other believers may have further light given to us; yea, we should remember that the day is coming when we shall see eye to eye. In the meantime, however, we should act according to the light which the Lord has given to us already,—always seeking, at the same time, to exercise gentleness, tenderness, and forbearance towards those from whom we differ; remembering that we are what we are by the grace of God, know what we know by the grace of God, and that a man can receive nothing except it be given him from Heaven. Instead of agreeing to differ, let us agree to love one another because of Christ’s love to us. While in weakness and infirmity, let us agree to walk together, having the same precious blood of Christ to make us clean, and being of the same heavenly family.

Perhaps some present are not prepared for eternity. I cannot sit down without speaking one word to you, my fellow-sinners. I know the state in which you are, for I was once in the same state. You may be seeking for happiness,—you will not find it except you find it in Jesus. Seek it never so much and never so eagerly, you will not find it except you find it in the crucified, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus. Let me, as one who has been brought to the knowledge of Christ, tell you of the blessedness I have experienced as a disciple of Christ. Times without number might I have gone back into the world, if I had desired to do so; but so unspeakably blessed and precious have I found it for forty years to be a disciple of Christ, that, if the attractions of the world were a thousand times greater than they are, by the grace of God. I should have no desire for them. Well, then, as one who eagerly sought happiness in the present world, and never found it, and now for forty years knows the sweetness and preciousness of walking with Jesus, I affectionately beseech you to seek Him. Poor sinner! only put thy trust in Him, only depend on Him for the salvation of thy soul, and all thy sins, numberless as they are, shall be instantly forgiven; thou wilt be reconciled to God, brought into the road to heaven, and when this life is over, have eternal happiness as thy blessed portion.



Müller, G. (1876). Jehovah Magnified: Addresses (pp. 1–7). Bristol, England: The Bible and Tract Depot of the Scriptural Knowledge Institution.

Zinzendorf and the Moravians

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Count Zinzendorf was Francke’s student at Halle, and Spener’s godson. He underwent an awakening while studying, and proceeded to organize a group of refugees from Moravia into collegia pietatis within the Lutheran church. Later, they formed the basis of the re-vitalized Moravian Brethren church. This group exerted global influence, and are perhaps the main river flowing out of the churchly Pietistic movement.Properly speaking, William Carey should not be called the father of the modern missionary movement. Sixty years before Carey went out, and 150 years before Hudson Taylor went out, the Moravian Brethren began sending out their first missionaries. Their first outreach was to St. Thomas Island in the West Indies in 1732. They reached out to twelve more areas of the world within the next twenty years, and eventually sent out 2,158 missionaries within the next 150 years. The well known English social reformer, William Wilberforce wrote of the Moravians, “They are a body who have perhaps excelled all mankind in solid and unequivocal proofs of the love of Christ and ardent, active zeal in His service.”

From a research project by Dennis H. McCallum (found here).

You may also download here a separate resource, the very first issue from the Christian History Institute which was devoted to Zinzendorf and the Moravians.



Brief Overview of Pietism by F. Ernest Stoffler

While he was alive, F. Ernest Stoeffler of Temple University in Philadelphia, was the dean of American Pietist Studies. His version has Pietism starting very early in Germany, Holland and England around the same time, like Martin Brecht, the German scholar. If you can get your hands on them, his Rise of Evangelical Pietism (Leiden, 1965), is a classic and covers exhaustively what was just mentioned. It has very good material on Spener, one of the most influential Christian thinkers since Luther. Also, see German Pietism during the Eighteenth Century (Leiden, 1973), which picks up with A.H. Francke, another giant. Continental Pietism and Early American Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1976) is the third book that should be required reading.


F.E. Stoffler

Pietism has been and remains an identifiable religious orientation within the churches of the Reformation. As the name indicates, it emphasizes the life of personal piety according to the model it finds in the primitive Christian community. By doing so it has hoped to complete the Reformation, which, in the judgment of many of its adherents, has never become a movement to reform the religious life of individuals. The roots of Pietism are found, on the one hand, in the mystical spirituality of an earlier day and, on the other, in the writings of Martin Luther and John Calvin, as well as other reformers such as Caspar Schwenckfeld and the prominent Anabaptists.

It is difficult to fix precisely the boundaries of Pietism, either in terms of chronology or distribution. While scholars have associated Pietism largely with Lutheranism, it has been customary to date its beginning from the publication of Philipp Jakob Spener’s Pia desideria in 1675, two years after which his followers were referred to as “Pietists.” The present tendency, growing out of a great deal of recent research, is to expand the term so as to include what is now widely perceived as the same development within other communions, notably the Reformed, as well as Protestants who questioned the need for any kind of church affiliation because they found a lack of religious devotion and ethical urgency within the churches of the day. Under the circumstances, the classical phase of the Pietist movement should now be loosely regarded as a Protestant phenomenon of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. It is bounded, on the one hand, by the age of post-Reformation orthodoxy, to which it reacted both negatively and positively, and, on the other, by the Enlightenment, which rejected some of its insights and incorporated others. In the sense of a prominent undercurrent within the religious self-understanding of large segments of Protestantism, Pietism as a historical entity has never ceased to exist.

The basic characteristics of the movement can be most easily isolated with reference to its classical phase. Pietists of the day believed that religiousness within the Christian tradition, if it is to be meaningful, must involve the complete religious renewal of the individual believer. The experience of such a renewal need not follow any prescribed pattern, but it must consist in a conscious change of humanity’s relationship to God so as to bring certainty concerning divine forgiveness, acceptance, and continued concern. The fruit of such a renewal must become visible in the form of “piety,” that is, a life expressive of love for God and humanity and built on a vivid sense of the reality of God’s presence in all situations of life. Pietists believed that those in whom this religious perspective becomes actualized constitute an inclusive fellowship, namely the koinōnia, that was so profoundly cherished by the primitive Christian community. This fellowship was perceived to transcend every barrier of church affiliation, race, class, and nationality—even that of time. Thus Pietists characteristically addressed one another as “brother” or “sister,” terms symbolic of a common experience of profound spiritual unity. This sense of religious solidarity was enhanced by an awareness of the fact that they were called upon to live in a society that chose to adhere to a value system different from their own, though it was widely supported by the major Christian communions. Hence they often assembled in conventicles of like-minded people within local parishes. Furthermore, Pietism during its classical period centered its concept of religious authority in a biblicism set originally against the formidable but lifeless theological systems of Protestant orthodoxy. Later it was opposed to the Enlightenment attempt to reduce Christian commitment to the acceptance of a few propositions held to be rationally demonstrable. In tension between these poles, Pietists strove to restore to Protestantism a theology based on a commonsense, untortured, more-or-less literal, and basically devotional interpretation of the Bible. Lastly, Pietists hoped to reform society through the efforts of renewed individuals, thus stemming the moral decay that, in their judgment, afflicted both the churches and the body politic.

Early Pietism

The rise of Pietism is best discussed with reference to five early groupings.

Pietism’s manifestation within the Reformed territories of the Low Countries is sometimes still referred to as “Precisianism,” though it may be best to drop that designation because of the difficulty of distinguishing it conceptually from Pietism as it is here understood. Pietism within Dutch Reformed churches had certain natural affinities with Puritanism, which historically comes from the same source. It is attached to such illustrious names as Willem Teellinck (1579–1629), who may be regarded as its father; William Ames, or Amesius, as he called himself (1576–1633), who, although born and educated in England, chose to teach at the University of Franeker; and Jodocus van Lodensteyn (1620–1677). Within German Reformed territories its chief theological spokesman became Friedrich Adolph Lampe (1683–1729).

The branch of early Pietism that has received the greatest attention is the Spener-Halle type. It was strictly a Lutheran phenomenon, profoundly indebted to Johann Arndt (1555–1621) and counting among its outstanding representatives Philipp Jakob Spener (1635–1705) and August Hermann Francke (1663–1727). Although its concern encompassed men and women in all walks of life, it addressed itself especially to the nobility.

The Eighteenth Century

During the second part of the eighteenth century the face of Pietism was considerably altered by the spirit of the times. In its reaction against the Enlightenment philosophy of Christian Wolff (1679–1754), who greatly influenced continental Protestantism, Pietism was forced to align itself theologically with Protestant orthodoxy, its former antagonist, while espousing at the same time the ethical sensitivity of the Enlightenment. Interacting also with the literary movement usually referred to as Sturm und Drang, which tried to legitimize the inner human experience, the freedom of the individual vis-à-vis the accepted norms of the day, and especially the place of feeling, it tended to become sentimentalized and suspicious of rational conclusions.

In one form or another Pietism eventually reached both Switzerland and Scandinavia. By various emissaries, among them Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (1711–1787), Theodor J. Frelinghuysen (1691–1748), Michael Schlatter (1718–1790), Philip W. Otterbein (1726–1813), Peter Becker (1687–1758), and Zinzendorf, it was brought to the American colonies. Its Moravian phase strongly influenced the Wesley brothers and hence the Methodist movement in America. Thus Pietism, along with Puritanism, must now be considered one of the major religious traditions that shaped American Protestantism.

Heritage of Pietism in the Protestant Tradition

The influence of Pietism on world Protestantism has been pervasive and far-reaching. With respect to the ministry, it stressed the religious and ethical qualifications of the minister above his ecclesiastical status. In the area of Protestant worship, it greatly expanded Protestant hymnody, deemphasized ritual, and tended to make the sermon central. It helped to make religious commitment the major aim of Protestant worship. Its advocacy of the devotional reading of the Bible made the latter a book of the people and produced a large corpus of edificatory literature. It was instrumental in reorienting theological education by enthroning the concept of biblical theology and by advocating the religious formation of the whole person, which inevitably resulted in the establishment of theological seminaries for prospective clergy. Its deep concern for the plight of the poor and the sick made for a massive effort to establish homes and schools that would meet their needs, and it projected the hope of a better world brought about through the involvement of concerned Christians. Its vision of a humanity in need of the gospel of Christ made for the initiation and rapid expansion of foreign and domestic missionary enterprises. Its contribution to the rise of the ecumenical ideal is clear, as is its impact on the development of modern theology, notably through the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher and his disciples. Not to be forgotten is the fact that the chief representatives of the intellectual movement known as German Idealism grew up in a Pietist environment. Its genius is discernible also in a variety of later religious movements, such as American evangelicalism.


The first extensive historical study of Pietism was Albrecht Ritschl’s Geschichte des Pietismus, 3 vols. (Bonn, 1880–1886). Although it was an unfriendly, strongly biased treatment, it brought into focus the whole Pietist movement in both the Lutheran and Reformed communions as well as among radicals. This was followed by Paul Grünberg’s thorough and scholarly work, Philipp Jakob Spener, 3 vols. (Göttingen, 1893–1906). Subsequently there were many local histories, but only sporadic attempts to examine the general phenomenon of Pietism. There was a growing tendency to disregard Ritschl’s broad concept and to limit the study to Lutheranism, specifically to Philipp Jakob Spener and August Hermann Francke, Spener’s well-known successor at Halle.

After decades of neglect, Erich Beyreuther concentrated some of his prodigious energies upon the subject, notably upon Francke and Zinzendorf. His first volume in this effort was August Hermann Francke, 1663–1727 (Marburg, 1956). A new era of Pietism study commenced when Martin Schmidt, the outstanding Pietism scholar of the day, published the first of a series of works in the field, Das Zeitalter des Pietismus (Bremen, 1965), edited by Wilhelm Jannasch. The present very intense interest in Pietism study was given tremendous impetus when, under the leadership of Martin Schmidt and the Francke scholar Erhard Peschke, the Kommission zur Erforschung des Pietismus was founded in Germany in 1965. On the basis of its findings the concept of Pietism was once again broadened, and under its auspices a series of volumes was published under the title “Arbeiten zur Geschichte des Pietismus” (Bielefeld, 1967–), edited by Kurt Aland, Erhard Peschke, and Martin Schmidt. In 1972, it brought out the first volume, Abteilung 3: August Hermann Francke, of Texte zur Geschichte des Pietismus (Berlin, 1972), and later the first yearbook, titled Pietismus und Neuzeit (Bielefeld, 1974).

During the same period I attempted to generate interest in the study of Pietism in the English-speaking world through Rise of Evangelical Pietism (Leiden, 1965), German Pietism during the Eighteenth Century (Leiden, 1973), and Continental Pietism and Early American Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1976). In the meantime Theodore G. Tappert had translated into English and edited Spener’s Piadesideria (Philadelphia, 1964), based on Kurt Aland’s treatment of the same work. James Tanis followed with Dutch Calvinistic Pietism in the Middle Colonies (The Hague, 1967); J. Steven O’Malley with Pilgrimage of Faith: The Legacy of the Otterbeins (Metuchen, N. J., 1973); Dale W. Brown with Understanding Pietism (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1978), which is limited largely to an exposition of the views of Spener and Francke; and Gary R. Stattler with God’s Glory, Neighbor’s Good: A Brief Introduction to the Life and Writings of August Hermann Francke (Chicago, 1982).

What is Pietism?

I found this article online ten years ago and still think it is a pretty good introduction.


Advanced Information

A recurring tendency within Christian history to emphasize more the practicalities of Christian life and less the formal structures of theology or church order. Its historians discern four general traits in this tendency: (1) Its experiential character, pietists are people of the heart for whom Christian living is the fundamental concern; (2) its biblical focus, pietists are, to paraphrase John Wesley, “people of one book” who take standards and goals from the pages of Scripture; (3) its perfectionistic bent, pietists are serious about holy living and expend every effort to follow God’s law, spread the gospel, and provide aid for the needy; (4) its reforming interest, pietists usually oppose what they regard as coldness and sterility in established church forms and practices.


Spener and Francke

The German Lutheran Church at the end of the seventeenth century labored under manifold difficulties. Its work was tightly confined by the princes of Germany’s many sovereign states. Many of its ministers seemed as interested in philosophical wrangling and rhetorical ostentation as in the encouragement of their congregations. And the devastating Thirty Years War (1618 – 48), fought ostensibly over religion, had created widespread wariness about church life in general. To be sure, the picture was not entirely bleak. From Holland and Puritan England came stimulation for reform. And in German – speaking lands signs of Christian vitality remained, like the writings of Johann Arndt, whose True Christianity (1610) was a strong influence on later leaders of pietism.

But in many places these signs of life were obscured by the formalism and the insincerity of church leaders. This situation was altered by the unstinting work of Philipp Jakob Spener, known often as the father of pietism, who was called in 1666 to be the senior minister in Frankfurt am Main. There he appealed for moral reform in the city. He initiated a far – flung correspondence which eventually won him the title “spiritual counselor of all Germany.” Most importantly, he also promoted a major reform in the practical life of the churches. A sermon in 1669 mentioned the possibility of laymen meeting together, setting aside “glasses, cards, or dice,” and encouraging each other in the Christian faith. The next year Spener himself instituted such a Collegia pietatis (“pious assembly”) to meet on Wednesdays and Sundays to pray, to discuss the previous week’s sermon, and to apply passages from Scripture and devotional writings to individual lives.

Spener took a major step toward reviving the church in 1675 when he was asked to prepare a new preface for sermons by Johann Arndt. The result was the famous Pia Desideria (Pious Wishes). In simple terms this brief work examined the sources of spiritual decline in Protestant Germany and offered proposals for reform. The tract was an immediate sensation. In it Spener criticized nobles and princes for exercising unauthorized control of the church, ministers for substituting cold doctrine for warm faith, and lay people for disregarding proper Christian behavior. He called positively for a revival of the concerns of Luther and the early Reformation, even as he altered Reformation teaching slightly. For example, Spener regarded salvation more as regeneration (the new birth) than as justification (being put right with God), even though the Reformers had laid greater stress upon the latter.

Spener offered six proposals for reform in Pia Desideria which became a short summary of pietism:

  • (1) there should be “a more extensive use of the Word of God among us.” The Bible, Spener said, “must be the chief means for reforming something.”
  • (2) Spener called also for a renewal of “the spiritual priesthood,” the priesthood of all believers. Here he cited Luther’s example in urging all Christians to be active in the general work of Christian ministry.
  • (3) He appealed for the reality of Christian practice and argued that Christianity is more than a matter of simple knowledge.
  • (4) Spener then urged restraint and charity in religious controversies. He asked his readers to love and pray for unbelievers and the erring, and to adopt a moderate tone in disputes.
  • (5) Next he called for a reform in the education of ministers. Here he stressed the need for training in piety and devotion as well as in academic subjects.
  • (6) Last he implored ministers to preach edifying sermons, understandable by the people, rather than technical discourses which few were interested in or could understand.

Although these proposals constituted an agenda for reform and renewal, they also posed two difficulties which have ever been troublesome for pietism. First, many clergymen and professional theologians opposed them, some out of a concern to preserve their traditional status, but others out of a genuine fear that they would lead to rampant subjectivity and antiintellectualism. Second, some lay people took Spener’s proposals as authorization for departing from the established churches altogether, even though Spener himself rejected the separatistic conclusions drawn from his ideas.

Spener left Frankfurt for Dresden in 1686, and from there he was called to Berlin in 1691. His time in Dresden was marked by controversy, but it was not a loss, for in Dresden he met his successor, August Hermann Francke. In Berlin, Spener helped to found the University of Halle, to which Francke was called in 1692. Under Francke’s guidance the University of Halle showed what pietism could mean when put into practice. In rapid succession Francke opened his own home as a school for poor children, he founded a world – famous orphanage, he established an institute for the training of teachers, and later he helped found a publishing house, a medical clinic, and other institutions.

Francke had experienced a dramatic conversion in 1687, the source of his lifelong concern for evangelism and missions. Under his leadership Halle became the center of Protestantism’s most ambitious missionary endeavors to that time. The university established a center for Oriental languages and also encouraged efforts at translating the Bible into new languages. Francke’s missionary influence was felt directly through missionaries who went from Halle to foreign fields and indirectly through groups like the Moravians and an active Danish mission which drew inspiration from the leaders of pietism.


The Spread of Pietism

Spener and Francke inspired other varieties of German pietism. Count Nikolas von Zinzendorf, head of the renewed Moravian Church, was Spener’s godson and Francke’s pupil. Zinzendorf organized refugees from Moravia into a kind of collegia pietatis within German Lutheranism, and later shepherded this group in reviving the Bohemian Unity of the Brethren. These Moravians, as they came to be known, carried the pietistic concern for personal spirituality almost literally around the world. This was of momentous significance for the history of English – speaking Christianity when John Wesley was thrown into a company of Moravians during his voyage to Georgia in 1735. What he saw of their behavior then and what he heard of their faith after returning to England led to his own evangelical awakening.

Another group under the general influence of Spener and Francke developed pietistic concern for the Bible within German Lutheranism at Wurttemberg. Its leading figure, Johann Albrecht Bengel (1687 – 1752), represented a unique combination of scholarly expertise and devotional commitment to Scripture. Bengel did pioneering study in the text of the NT, exegeted Scripture carefully and piously, and wrote several books on the millennium.

Influences radiating from Halle, Wurttemberg, and the Moravians moved rapidly into Scandinavia. When soldiers from Sweden and Finland were captured in battle with Russia (1709), pietist commitments migrated to Siberia. Pietism exerted its influence through Wesley in England. The father of American Lutheranism, Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, was sent across the Atlantic by Francke’s son in response to requests for spiritual leadership from German immigrants. In addition, pietism also influenced the Mennonites, Moravians, Brethren, and Dutch Reformed in early America. The continuing influence of Spener, Francke, and their circle went on into the nineteenth century. A renewal of interest in Luther and his theology, the active evangelism of the Basel Mission and the Inner Mission Society of Denmark, the revivalistic activity of Norwegian Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771 – 1824), and the establishment of the Swedish Mission Covenant Church (1878) could all trace roots back to the pietism of an earlier day.


Pietistic Influences

Historians have long studied the relationship between pietism and the Enlightenment, that rationalistic and humanistic movement which flourished during the eighteenth century and which contributed to the eventual secularization of Europe. They have noted that pietism and the Enlightenment both attacked Protestant orthodoxy, that both asserted the rights of individuals, and that both were concerned about practice more than theory. The crucial historical question is whether pietistic antitraditionalism, individualism, and practicality paved the way for a non – Christian expression of these same traits in the Enlightenment. The fact that pietism remained faithful to Scripture and that its subjectivity was controlled by Christian beliefs suggests that, whatever its relationship to the Enlightenment, it was not the primary source of the latter’s skepticism or rationalism.

A further historical uncertainty surrounds the tie between pietism and the intellectual movements arising in reaction to the Enlightenment. Striking indeed is the fact that three great postenlightenment thinkers, the idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant, the literary genius Johann Wolfgang Goethe, and the romantic theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, had been exposed to pietism as youths. It is probably best to regard pietism as a movement that paralleled the Enlightenment and later European developments in its quest for personal meaning and its disdain for exhausted traditions. Yet insofar as the heart of pietism was captive to the gospel, it remained a source of distinctly Christian renewal.

Religious movements resembling pietism were active beyond Germany in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In fact, German pietism was but one chord in a symphony of variations on a common theme, the need to move beyond sterile formulas about God to a more intimate experience with him. The English Puritans of the late 1500s and 1600s exhibited this. The New England Puritan Cotton Mather, who corresponded with Francke, strove to encourage pietistic vitality in the New World. Shortly after Mather’s death the American Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s exhibited pietistic features. In England, William Law’s Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life (1728) advocated a kind of pietistic morality. And Wesley’s Methodism, with its emphasis on Scripture, its commitment to evangelism and edification, its practical social benevolence, and its evangelical ecumenicity, was pietistic to the core.

Even beyond Protestantism, pietistic elements can be seen in contemporary Roman Catholicism and Judaism. The Jansenist movement in seventeenth century France stressed the concern for heart religion that Spener also championed. The work of Baal Shem Tov (1700 – 1760) in founding the Hasidic movement in Judaism also sought to move beyond orthodox ritual to a sense of communion with God.

An overall evaluation of pietism must take into consideration the circumstances of its origin in seventeenth century Europe. Whether in its narrow German usage or its more generic sense, pietism represented a complex phenomenon. It partook of the mysticism of the late Middle Ages. It shared the commitment to Scripture and the emphasis on lay Christianity of the early Reformation. It opposed the formalism and cold orthodoxy of the theological establishment. And it was a child of its own times with its concern for authentic personal experience. It was, in one sense, the Christian answer to what has been called “the discovery of the individual” by providing a Christian form to the individualism and practical – mindedness of a Europe in transition to modern times.

In more specifically Christian terms pietism represents a significant effort to reform the Protestant heritage. Some of the fears of its earliest opponents have been partially justified. At its worst the pietistic tendency can lead to inordinate subjectivism and emotionalism; it can discourage careful scholarship; it can fragment the church through enthusiastic separatism; it can establish new codes of almost legalistic morality; and it can underrate the value of Christian traditions. On the other hand, pietism was, and continues to be, a source of powerful renewal in the church. At its best it points to the indispensability of Scripture for the Christian life; it encourages lay people in the work of Christian ministry; it stimulates concern for missions; it advances religious freedom and cooperation among believers; and it urges individuals not to rest until finding intimate fellowship with God himself.

Mark A Noll
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

A Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus; F E Stoeffler, The Rise of Evangelical Pietism, German Pietism During the Eighteenth Century, and (ed.) Continental Pietism and Early American Christianity; D W Brown, Understanding Pietism; R Lovelace, The Dynamics of Spiritual Life.


The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.

This page – – Pietism – – is at 
This subject presentation was last updated on – – 03/15/2013 15:30:58

Kinderbeten: The Origin, Unfolding, and Interpretations of the Silesian Children’s Prayer Revival


The origin of this revival came to be connected to the arrival of Swedish soldiers and their daily worship on the parade field because this was also seen providentially. Thus the prayer revival and the soldiers as an answer to prayers for liberation mutually informed one another in the minds of contemporaries. However, this was confused by the interpretation offered by Lutheran Orthodoxy. Pietists, on the other hand, warmly embraced the movement and sought to place it within an apocalyptic interpretation of history, coming closer to the original conflation of the two events. However, both interpretations failed to give appropriate significance to reports that the revival had begun in the mountains before the Swedes’ arrival. It is suggested here that prayer is the key interpretive grid. Subsequent historians have missed this interpretation largely because of their own presuppositions against divine intervention.

More here.

Greenland by James Montgomery


Oft var ek dasa, dur ek dro thilc.”
Oft was I weary when I drew thee.”



The three First Moravian Missionaries are represented as
on their Voyage to Greenland, in the year 1733.
Sketch of the descent , establishment, persecutions,
extinction and revival of the Church of the United
Brethren from the tenth to the beginning of the
eighteenth century. The origin of their Missions to
the West Indies and to Greenland,

THE moon is watching in the sky ; the stars
Are swiftly wheeling on their golden cars ;
Ocean, outstretcht with infinite expanse.
Serenely slumbers in a glorious trance ;
The tide, o’er which no troubling spirits breathe,
Reflects a cloudless firmament beneath ;
Where, poised as in the centre of a sphere,
A ship above and ship below appear ;


A double image, pictured on the deep,
The vessel o’er its shadow seems to sleep ;
Yet, like the host of heaven, that never rest,
With evanescent motion to the west,
The pageant glides through loneliness and night,
And leaves behind a rippling wake of light.

Hark ! through the calm and silence of the scene,
Slow, solemn, sweet, with many a pause between,
Celestial music swells along the air !
No ; ’tis the evening hymn of praise and prayer
From yonder deck ; where, on the stern retired,
Three humble voyagers, with looks inspired,
And hearts enkindled with a holier flame
Than ever lit to empire or to fame,
Devoutly stand : their choral accents rise
On wings of harmony beyond the skies ;
And ‘midst the songs, that Seraph-Minstrels sing,
Day without night, to their immortal King,
These simple strains, which erst Bohemian hills
Echoed to pathless woods and desert rills ;

Now heard from Shetland’s azure bound, are known
In heaven ; and He, who sits upon the throne
In human form, with mediatorial power,
Remembers Calvary, and hails the hour,
When, by the’ Almighty Father’s high decree,
The utmost north to Him shall bow the knee,
And, won by love, an untamed rebel-race
Kiss the victorious Sceptre of His grace.
Then to His eye, whose instant glance pervades
Heaven’s heights, Earth’s circle, Hell’s profoundest shades,

Is there a groupe more lovely than those three
Night-watching Pilgrims on the lonely sea ?
Or to His ear, that gathers in one sound
The voices of adoring worlds around,
Comes there a breath of more delightful praise
Than the faint notes his poor disciples raise,
Ere on the treacherous main they sink to rest,
Secure as leaning on their Master’s breast ?

They sleep; but memory wakes; and dreams array
Night in a lively masquerade of day ;
The land they seek, the land they leave behind,
Meet on mid-ocean in the plastic mind ;
One brings forsaken home and friends so nigh,
That tears in slumber swell the* unconscious eye ;
The other opens, with prophetic view,
Perils, which e’en their fathers never knew,
(Though school’d by suffering, long inured to toil,
Outcasts and exiles from their natal soil 😉
Strange scenes, strange men ; untold, untried distress ;

Pain, hardships, famine, cold, and nakedness,
Diseases ; death in every hideous form,
On shore, at sea, by fire, by flood, by storm ;
Wild beasts and wilder men : unmoved with fear,
Health, comfort, safety, life, they count not dear,
May they but hope a Saviour’s love to shew,
And warn one spirit from eternal woe ;

Nor will they faint ; nor can they strive in vain,
Since thus to live is Christ, to die is gain.
‘Tis morn : the bathing moon her lustre shrouds ;
Wide o’er the east impends an arch of clouds,
That spans the ocean ; while the infant dawn
Peeps through the portal o’er the liquid lawn,
That ruffled by an April gale appears,
Between the gloom and splendour of the spheres,
Dark-purple as the moorland-heath, when rain
Hangs in low vapours o’er the* autumnal plain :
Till the full Sun, resurgent from the flood,
Looks on the waves, and turns them into blood ;
But quickly kindling, as his beams aspire,
The lambent billows play in forms of fire.
Where is the Vessel? Shining through the light,
Like the white sea-fowl’s horizontal flight,
Yonder she wings, and skims, and cleaves her way
Through refluent foam and iridescent spray.

Lo ! on the deck, with patriarchal grace,
Heaven in his bosom opening o’er his face,
Stands CHRISTIAN DAVID; venerable name!
Bright in the records of celestial fame,
On earth obscure ; like some sequester’d star,
That rolls in its Creator’s beams afar,
Unseen by man ; till telescopic eye,
Sounding the blue abysses of the sky,
Draws forth its hidden beauty into light,
And adds a jewel to the crown of night.
Though hoary with the multitude of years,
Unshorn of strength, between his young compeers,
He towers; with faith, whose boundless glance can see

Time’s shadows brightening through eternity;
Love, God’s own love in his pure breast enshrined ;
Love, love to man the magnet of his mind ;
Sublimer schemes maturing in his thought
Than ever statesman plann’d, or warrior wrought ;
While, with rejoicing tears, and rapturous sighs,
To heaven ascends their morning sacrifice, (a)
Whence are the pilgrims ? whither would they


Greenland their port ; Moravia was their home.
Sprung from a race of martyrs ; men who bore
The cross on many a Golgotha, of yore ;
When first Sclavonian tribes the truth received,
And princes at the price of thrones believed ; (6)

(a) The names of the three first Moravian Missionaries to
Greenland were Christian David , Matthew Stack, and Christian

(6) The Church of the United Brethren (first established under
that name about the year 1460) traces its descent from the
Sclavonian branch of the Greek Church, which was spread
throughout Bohemia and Moravia, as well as the ancient Dal-
matia. The Bulgarians were once the most powerful tribe of
the Sclavic nations ; and among them the gospel was introduced
in the ninth century. See additional Note (A.) in the Ap-

When WALDO i flying from the’ apostate west, (c)
In German wilds his righteous cause confessed :
When WICKLIFFE, like a rescuing Angel, found
The dungeon, where the word of God lay bound,
Unloosed its chains, and led it by the hand,
In its own sunshine, through his native land : (d)
When Huss, the victim of perfidious foes,
To heaven upon a fiery chariot rose ;

(c) With the Waldenses, the Bohemian and Moravian Churches,
which never properly submitted to the authority of the Pope, held
intimate communion for ages: and from Stephen, the last Bishop
of the Waldenses, in 1467, the United Brethren received their
episcopacy. Almost immediately afterwards, those ancient con-
fessors of the truth were dispersed by a cruel persecution, and
Stephen himself suffered martyrdom, being burnt as a heretic at

(d) Wickliffes writings were early translated into the Bohemian
tongue, and eagerly read by the devout and persecuted people,
who never had given up the Bible in their own language, nor
consented to perform their church service in Latin. Archbishop
Sbinek; of Prague, ordered the works of Wickliffe to be burnt
by the hands of the hangman. He himself could scarcely read !

And ere he vanish’d, with a prophet’s breath,
Foretold the* immortal triumphs of his death : (e)
When ZISKA, burning with fanatic zeal,
Exchanged the Spirit’s sword for patriot steel,
And through the heart of Austria’s thick array
To Tabor’s summit stabb’d resistless way ;
But there, (as if transfigured on the spot
The world’s Redeemer stood,) his rage forgot ;
Deposed his arms and trophies in the dust,
Wept like a babe, and placed in God his

(e) It is well known that John Huss (who might be called a
disciple of our Wickliffe)> though furnished with a safe*conduct
by the emperor Sigismund, was burnt by a decree of the
council of Constance. Several sayings, predictive of retribution
to the priests, and reformation in the Church, are recorded, as
being uttered by him in his last hours. Among others ; ” A
hundred years hence,” said he, addressing his judges, ” ye shall
render an account of your doings to God and to me.” Luther
appeared at the period thus indicated.

While prostrate warriors kiss’d the hallow’d ground,
And lay, like slain, in silent ranks around : (/)
When mild GREGORIUS, in a lowlier field,
As brave a witness, as unwont to yield
As ZISKA’S self, with patient footsteps trod
A path of suffering, like the Son of God,
And nobler palms, by meek endurance won,
Than if his sword had blazed from sun to sun : (g)
Though nature fail’d him on the racking wheel,
He felt the joys which parted spirits feel ;

(/) After the martyrdom of John Huss, his followers and
countrymen took up arms for the maintenance of their civil and
religious liberties. The first and most distinguished of their leaders
was John Ziska. He seized possession of a high mountain, which
he fortified, and called Tabor. Here he and his people (who were
hence called Taborites) worshipped God according to their con-
sciences and his holy word ; while in the plains they fought and
conquered their persecutors and enemies.

(g) See Note (B.) in the Appendix, for a brief account of this
Gregory ) and an illustration of the lines that follow concerning his
trance and vision while he lay upon the rack.

Rapt into bliss from exstacy of pain,
Imagination wander’d o’er a plain :
Fair in the midst, beneath a morning sky,
A Tree its ample branches bore on high,
With fragrant bloom, and fruit delicious hung,
While birds beneath the foliage fed and sung ;
All glittering to the sun with diamond dew,
O’er sheep and kine a breezy shade it threw ;
A lovely boy, the child of hope and prayer,
With crook and shepherd’s pipe, was watching there ;
At hand three venerable forms were seen,
In simple garb, with apostolic mien,
Who mark’d the distant fields convulsed with strife,
The guardian Cherubs of that Tree of Life ;
Not arm’d like Eden’s host, with flaming brands,
Alike to friends and foes they stretch’d their hands,
In sign of peace ; and while Destruction spread
His path with carnage, welcomed all who fled :
When poor COMENIUS, with his little flock,
Escaped the wolves, and from the boundary rock,

Cast o’er Moravian hills a look of woe,
Saw the green vales expand, the waters flow,
And happier years revolving in his mind,
Caught every sound that murmur’d on the wind ;
As if his eye could never thence depart,
As if his ear were seated in his heart,
And his full soul would thence a passage break,
To leave the body, for his country’s sake ;

While on his knees he pour’d the fervent prayer,
That God would make that martyr-land his care,
And nourish in its ravaged soil a root
Of GREGOR’S Tree, to bear perennial fruit, (h)

(fi) John Amos Comenius, one of the most learned as well as
pious men of his age, was minister of the Brethren’s congregation
at Fulneck, in Moravia, from 1618 to 1627, when the Protestant
nobility and clergy being expatriated, he fled with a part of his people
through Silesia into Poland. On the summit of the mountains form-
ing the boundary, he turned his sorrowful eyes towards Bohemia and
Moravia, and kneeling down with his brethren there, implored God,
with many tears, that he would not take away the light of his holy
word from those two provinces, but preserve in them a remnant for
Himself. A remnant was saved. See Appendix , Note (C.)

His prayer was heard: that Church, through ages past,
Assail’d and rent by persecution’s blast ;
Whose sons no yoke could crush, no burthen tire,
Unawed by dungeons, tortures, sword, and fire,
(Less proof against the world’s alluring wiles,
Whose frowns have weaker terrors than its smiles ;
That Church o’erthrown, dispersed, unpeopled, dead,

Oft from the dust of ruin raised her head,
And rallying round her feet, as from their graves,
Her exiled orphans, hid in forest-caves ;
Where, midst the fastnesses of rocks and glens,
Banded like robbers, stealing from their dens,
By night they met, their holiest vows to pay,
As if their deeds were dark, and shunn’d the day ;
While Christ’s revilers, in his seamless robe,
And parted garments, flaunted round the globe ;
From east to west while priestcraft’s banners flew,
And harness’d kings his iron chariot drew :

That Church advanced, triumphant, o’er the ground,
Where all her conquering martyrs had been crown’d,
Fearless her foe’s whole malice to defy,
And worship God in liberty, or die :
For truth and conscience oft she pour’d her blood,
And firmest in the fiercest conflicts stood,
Wresting from bigotry the proud controul
Claim’d o’er the sacred empire of the soul,
Where God, the judge of all, should fill the throne,
And reign, as in his universe, alone,
‘Twas thus through centuries she rose and fell ;
At length victorious seem’d the gates of hell ;
But founded on a rock, which cannot move
The’ eternal rock of her Redeemer’s love
That Church, which Satan’s legions thought destroy’d,
Her name extinct, her place for ever void,

Alive once more, respired her native air,
But found no freedom for the voice of prayer :
Again the cowl’d oppressor clank’d his chains,
Flourish’d his scourge, and threatened bonds and pains,
(His arm enfeebled could no longer kill,
But in his heart he was a murderer still 🙂
Then CHRISTIAN DAVID, strengtheri’d from above,
Wise as the serpent, harmless as the dove ;
Bold as a lion on his Master’s part,
In zeal a seraph, and a child in heart ;
Pluck from the gripe of antiquated laws,
( Even as a mother from the felon-jaws
Of a lean wolf, that bears her babe away,
With courage beyond nature, rends the prey,)
The little remnant of that ancient race :
Far in Lusatian woods they found a place ;
There, where the sparrow builds her busy nest,
And the clime-changing swallow loves to rest,
Thine altar, God of Hosts ! there still appear
The tribes to worship, unassail’d by fear ;

Not like their fathers, vex’d from age to age
By blatant Bigotry’s insensate rage,
Abroad in every place, in every hour
Awake, alert, and ramping to devour.
No ; peaceful as the spot where Jacob slept,
And guard all night the journeying angels kept,
Herrnhut yet stands amidst her sheltered bowers ;
The Lord hath set his watch upon her towers, (j)
Soon, homes of humble form, and structure rude,
Raised sweet society in solitude :

(j) In 1721, (ninety -four years after the flight of Comenius)
the Church of the United Brethren was revived by the persecuted
refugees from Moravia (descendants of the old confessors of that
namej, who were led from time to time by Christian David,
(himself a Moravian, but educated in the Lutheran persuasion,)
to settle on an uncultivated piece of land, on an estate belonging
to Count Zinzendorf, in Lusatia. Christian David, who was
a carpenter, began the work of building a church in this wilder-
ness, by striking his axe into a tree, and exclaiming ” Here hath
the sparrow found an house, and the swaUow a nest for herself i
even thine altars, Lord God of Hosts!” They named the
settlement Herrnhut, or The Lord’s Watch.

And the lorn traveller there, at fall of night,
Could trace from distant hills the spangled light,
Which now from many a cottage window streamed,
Or in full glory round the chapel beam’d ;
While hymning voices, in the silent shade,
Music of all his soul’s affections made :
Where through the trackless wilderness erewhile,
No hospitable ray was known to smile ;
Or if a sudden splendor kindled joy,
Twas but a meteor dazzling to destroy :
While the wood echoed to the hollow owl,
The fox’s cry, or wolf’s lugubrious howl.

Unwearied as the camel, day by day,
Tracks through unwater’d wilds his doleful way,
Yet in his breast a cherish’d draught retains,
To cool the fervid current in his veins,
While from the sun’s meridian realms he brings
The gold and gems of Ethiopian Kings :
So CHRISTIAN DAVID, spending yet unspent,
On many a pilgrimage of mercy went ;

Through all their haunts his suffering brethren sought,
And safely to that land of promise brought ;
While in his bosom, on the toilsome road,
A secret well of consolation flow’d,
Fed from the fountain near the* eternal throne,
Bliss to the world unyielded and unknown.
In stillness thus the little Zion rose ;
But scarcely found those fugitives repose,
Ere to the west with pitying eyes they turn’d ;
Their love to Christ beyond the’ Atlantic burn’d.
Forth sped their messengers, content to be
Captives themselves, to cheer captivity ;
Soothe the poor Negro with fraternal smiles,
And preach deliverance in those prison-isles,
Where man’s most hateful forms of being meet,
The tyrant and the slave that licks his feet. (A:)

() In 1732, when the congregation at Herrnhut consisted of
about six hundred persons, including children, the two first mission-
aries sailed for the Danish island of St. Thomas, to preach the
gospel to the negroes ; and such was their devotion to the good

O’er Greenland next two youths in secret wept:
And where the sabbath of the dead was kept,
With pious forethought, while their hands prepare
Beds which the living and unborn shall share,
(For man so surely to the dust is brought,
His grave before his cradle may be wrought,)
They told their purpose, each o’erjoyed to find
His own idea in his brother’s mind.
For counsel in simplicity they pray’d,
And vows of ardent consecration made :
Vows heard in heaven ; from that accepted hour,
Their souls were clothed with confidence and power, (I)

work, that being told that they could not have intercourse other-
wise with the objects of their Christian compassion, they deter-
mined to sell themselves for slaves on their arrival, and work with
die blacks in the plantations. But this sacrifice was not required.
Many thousand negroes have since been truly converted in the
West Indies.

(Matthew Stack and Frederick Boenisch, two young men,
being at work together, preparing a piece of ground for a burial-
place at Herrnhut, disclosed to each other their distinct desires

Nor hope deferred could quell their heart’s desire ;
The bush once kindled grew amidst the fire ;
But ere its shoots a tree of life became,
Congenial spirits caught the* electric flame ;
And for that holy service, young and old,
Their plighted faith and willing names enrolled ;
Eager to change the rest, so lately found,
For life-long labours on barbarian ground ;
To break, through barriers of eternal ice,
A vista to the gates of Paradise ;
And light beneath the shadow of the pole
The tenfold darkness of the human soul ;

to offer themselves to the congregation as missionaries to Green-
land. They therefore became joint candidates. Considerable
delay, however, occurred ; and when it was at length determined
to attempt the preaching of the gospel there, Frederick Boenisch
being on a distant journey, Christian David was appointed to
conduct thither Matthew Stack and his cousin, Christian Stack,
who sailed from Copenhagen on the 10th of April 1733, and
landed in Ball’s River on the 20th of May following.

To man, a task more hopeless than to bless
With Indian fruits that arctic wilderness ;
With God, as possible when unbegun
As though the destined miracle were done.
Three chosen candidates at length went forth,
Heralds of mercy to the frozen north ;
Like mariners with seal’d instructions sent,
They went in faith, (as childless Abram went
To dwell by sufferance in a land, decreed
The future birthright of his promised seed,)
Unknowing whither ; unenquiring why
Their lot was cast beneath so strange a sky,
Where cloud nor star appearM, to mortal sense
Pointing the hidden path of Providence,
And all around was darkness to be felt ;
Yet in that darkness light eternal dwelt :
They knew, and ’twas enough for them to know,
The still small voice that whisper* d them to go ;
For He, who spake by that mysterious voice,
Inspired their will, and made His call their choice.

See the swift vessel bounding o’er the tide,
That wafts, with CHRISTIAN DAVID for their guide,
Two young Apostles on their joyful way
To regions in the twilight verge of day ;
Freely they quit the clime that gave them birth,
Home, kindred, friendship, all they loved on earth ;
What things were gain before, accounting loss,
And glorying in the shame, they bear the cross ;

Not as the Spaniard, on his flag unfurl’d,
A bloody omen through a Pagan world :
Not the vain image, which the Devotee
Clasps as the God of his idolatry ;

But in their hearts, to Greenland’s western shore,
That dear memorial of their Lord they bore,
Amidst the wilderness to lift the sign
Of wrath appeased by sacrifice divine ;
And bid a serpent-stung and dying race
Look on their Healer, and be saved by grace.

(This is the end of the first of five cantos. You may download Montgomery’s Greenland, and other poems here.)