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IV. Growth. The G.B.'s spread rapidly in the first quarter of a century of their existence. In 1645 there were 40 churches in London; during the Commonwealth they were planted in most of the Midland and Southern counties of England; and had grown so extensively that THOMAS GRANTHAM (1634-1692), author of Christianismus Primitivus (pub. 1678, Lond.), describes a petition presented to Charles II. in 1662 as representing 20,000 G. B.'s. Increased to 30,000 in 1692, they must have been one of the most numerous as they were one of the most vigorous of the English religious bodies.
V. Decay. Several causes contributed to the rapid decline which followed. (1) They lacked organizers like George Fox and John Wesley; and not a few G. B. churches passed over to the Quakers. (2) Men of culture and ability were rare in the ministry. An educated pastorate was slighted. (3) They made their centre rural, and not metropolitan. (4) But chiefly they fell under the blight of that negative and critical spirit which nearly destroyed English Presbyterianism, enervated the Particular Baptists, Independents, and Episcopalians, and made the eighteenth century one of feeble conviction and sharp debate, of acute reasoning and practical godlessness. MATTHEW CAFFYN, one of the "messengers," and elder of Horsham in Surrey, was charged with Arianism. Discussion concerning the Person of Christ became heated and hurtful; and in 1696 a rupture took place, and a fresh body called "The General Association" was formed in repudiation of Arianism. Three years afterwards a reconciliation was effected on a seemingly orthodox basis; but it was not enduring, and in 1709 the friends of comprehension withdrew, and reorganized themselves on the "Six Principles" of Hebrews vi. 1, 2, and the declarations of the Assembly of 1663. This division lasted till 1731, when they came together again on the understanding that difference of opinion concerning the Trinity and the Person of Christ should be allowed.
VI. THE NEW CONNEXION. For the next forty years Arianism was quickly gaining sway; when in 1770 the New Connexion of G. B.'s was formed in Whitechapel, London, out of (1) ten churches containing 659 members belonging to the Assembly and located in the South; (2) five churches embracing 870 members in Leicestershire, Derbyshire, and Warwickshire, that had formed themselves on the G. B. type solely by the study of the Scriptures; and (3) a community of 69 members, which arose in a similar fashion in Yorkshire under the Methodist DAN TAYLOR, who forthwith became the leader of the New Connexion. The object of this new federation was "to revive experimental religion or primitive Christianity in faith and practice," and the basis of agreement added to the principles above named, the declaration that "our Lord Jesus Christ is God and man united in one person; or possessed of divine perfections united to human nature, in a way which we pretend not to explain, but think ourselves bound by the word of God firmly to believe." The 1600 members were 3178 in 1795; 7673 in 1820; 17,913 in 1845; 21,066 in 1870; and 26,621 in 1883. A COLLEGE, now at Nottingham (Rev. Thomas Goadby, B.A., Principal), was started in 1797 by Dan Taylor. It has two scholarships, value £40 each; a large library; thirteen students; an income of £800 per
annum; and is affiliated for classical and scientific tuition with the Nottingham University College. HOME MISSION work was started in 1811, and last year received over £2000. MISSIONS TO ORISSA, India, sprang in 1816 from the impact of the earnest spirit of the Rev. J. G. Pike (1784-1854), author of "Persuasives to Early Piety," etc., and were greatly promoted by Amos Sutton, D.D. (1802-1854), author of the hymn, "Hail, sweetest, dearest tie that binds," and originator of the missions of the Free Will Baptists of America to Northern Orissa, and of the Baptist mission to the Telegus. The Society also works in Rome. Income £8000 per annum. THE BUILDING FUND, established in 1865, has a capital of £6000. £4000 were spent on Sunday School work in 1882. THE MAGAZINE, started in 1798, has a large circulation. There are 191 churches in England, with 25,431 members and 143 ministers; in Orissa, 9 churches, 16 mission stations, 16 missionaries, 22 native ministers, 5 ministerial students, 1175 church members, and a native Christian community of 3064. In Rome there is one church of 18 members, two mission rooms, a missionary, and an evangelist.
VII. In the original body an unaggressive Arianism has gradually gained the ascendant, and for more than a century there has been a steady decline in numbers, interest, and power. Some of the churches have joined the new body; others have united with the P. B.'s; but more have become defunct. In 1801 they were reduced to 35 churches and 1300 members; in 1883 there is not half-a-score churches nor 500 members; and the only two churches that are thriving have pastors from the New Connexion, who have been accepted without any surrender of belief.
VIII. Present numbers. In England, 25,431; Orissa, 1175; Rome, 18. In America-Free Will (date from 1770), 78,000; Church of God (1830), 30,000; Free Christian Baptists of New Brunswick and Free Baptists of Nova Scotia, 14,000; Generals, of the West (1824) 13,000; Separate, 7000; The Original Free Will or G. B.'s of North Carolina, 10,000; Cumberland Free Baptists, 1000; The Goldsboro Generals, 4000. Total, over 183,000.
IX. Literature. (1) John Smyth's Confession. See B. Evans, D.D., "Early English Baptists," Lond. 1862.-(2) Leonard Busher, "Religious Peace, a Plea for Liberty of Conscience," reprinted in Dr. Underhill's Tracts on Liberty of Conscience. Lond. 1846.-(3) The Faith and Practice of Thirty Congregations. 1651. Published by Taylor, Northampton, 1881.-(4) Humble Representation and Vindication. Confessions of Faith. Hanserd Knollys Soc., p. 327. London 1854.-(5) Fenstanton Records (1644-1720). Edited by Dr. Underhill. Hanserd Knollys Soc. Lond. 1854.-(6) English General Baptists; by Adam Taylor. Lond. 1818.-(7) Do., by H. Wood. Lond. 1847.-(8) Bye-Paths of Baptist History; by J. J. Goadby. Lond. 1871.-(9) Baptists and Quakers in Northamptonshire; by J. J. Goadby. Lond. 1882. (10) Barclay's Inner Life of the Religious Societies of the Commonwealth. Lond. 1878.-(11) The English Baptists, who they are, and what they have done. Eight Lectures. Edited by J. Clifford, M.A., LL.B. Lond. 1881. JOHN CLIFFORD.
The Early Days of Hans Sachs,
THE MEISTER-SINGER OF NÜREMBERG.
HANS SACHS, the only son of Veit Sachs, an honest and industrious shoemaker of the free city of Nüremberg, was born on the 5th day of November, 1494. He was brought up to his father's trade, which had already been carried on in the family more than two hundred years. Hans had shown remarkably precocity even when a little boy, and at fourteen years of age had become a clever shoemaker, having learned all the ins and outs of his craft. His superior was not to be found in all Bavaria or Franconia. But the more the lad was convinced of his indisputable artistic skill, the more thoroughly discontented he became. He felt and confessed that he was moved by a higher and nobler impulse than that of mere rivalry in an industrial art. From day to day this halfconscious yearning grew and strengthened. He became dreamy and melancholic, and spent wasteful days and sleepless nights entirely devoted to the thought of something better, without, however, clearly defining to himself what ought to be the special object of his future pursuit.
When in this perplexed state of mind a homely citizen of Nüremberg was the means of leading him to firm decision. Leonard Nunnenbeck became the friend of Hans Sachs, and soon afterwards his teacher and adviser. He was a linen weaver. But he was not wholly employed in throwing the shuttle to and fro. Leonard also knew something about thought-weaving, and poetry-weaving, which was his favourite pastime. It was a joy to him lustily to sail and swing on the elastic waves of rhyme and verse, and over the sportive surface of strophes and antistrophes. In a word, the worthy Nunnenbeck was both a clever and distinguished meister-singer. He taught the young and eager Hans Sachs this excellent art. Heaven seemed now to have revealed to Hans that for which he had so long waited and yearned. In the pursuit of his congenial studies, the true consolation of life and rich pastures for his soul were now opened to him. There could not possibly be a more eager and unwearied scholar. Every little quarter of an hour he could spare from his joyless task of shoemaking, was expended in the zealous pursuit of the renowned art of meister singing.* He spent whole nights in his little chamber, seated at his flickering lamp, endeavouring to understand the difficult rules which the novice was first of all required to conquer. But whilst he burned and glowed with enthusiasm in his endeavours to excel in his new calling, he became more and more negligent of the work of shoemaking. He thought far more of becoming the chief of the meister singers than of the pressing claims of his handicraft. Complaints naturally arose, and old Veit Sachs, who perceived that his business was only moving at a snail's pace, became very angry with his son, and also with Nunnenbeck, his seducer-as he called him. At length, all remonstrance proving vain, he expelled Hans from his house. as an ungrateful child and a worthless workman, and bade him go and
The meister singers or master singers were a corporation of German citizens formed for the cultivation of poetry in the thirteenth century, and were the successors of the minne singers. They are said to have originated at Mayence, whence they spread to Augsberg, Nüremberg, Strasburg, and other cities. The Emperor Charles IV. incorporated them in 1878, and they attained great celebrity in the sixteenth century. They had rules like other corporations, and the members were obliged to submit to an apprenticeship.
drive his gainless trade of rhyme-smith wherever he liked, and not to venture home again until he had thoroughly determined to give it up.
Tradition says that Hans Sachs, who was then only sixteen, left home on a beautiful spring morning, with a little bundle on his back, but full of courage, and passed out of the gate of his native city, in the bosom of which he had spent so many of his youthful, yet joyless years. But these memories did not trouble him any more. The ideal of his lofty calling appeared to rise before him like the morning star. Hans Sachs pursued his pilgrimage along the banks of the Rhine, leaving no town unvisited where the art of meister singing was cultivated. But he could not live upon singing. In this he shared the lot of other wretched poets of that time. It could not be helped. Hans was obliged again to turn to shoemaking, in which he never failed whenever he felt disposed to apply himself to it. He sat on his bench the whole day sewing and hammering, and in the evening he put on his best clothes and betook himself to the singing school, where first of all he proved himself to be an eager learner and very promising scholar, then a brave practitioner, and at last was held to be as clever a master as ever composed or sang verses. A few years passed away during which Hans Sachs became celebrated throughout Germany among all the lovers of the happy art. But this glorious life of meister singing still proved as unremunerative as Hans Sachs's father predicted it would.
The youth, though justly proud of the fame he had secured, was compelled again to return to his dear native city that he might work as before in his father's house as a journeyman, and at the same time apply himself to that noble art to which he was so ardently attached. After long and tedious wanderings he reached Nüremberg late in the evening. He sought the well-known street where his father's house stood. He at first knocked gently, and then more and more loudly until at length the footsteps and the sound of a woman's voice were heard within. An upper window was then opened and an old woman presented herself, with a light in her hand, inquiring, in a scolding tone, who sought admission at so late an hour. "Good woman," replied the youth, "does not Veit Sachs the shoemaker live here ?" She only became all the more angry. "Mark this, you rogue," she cried, with passionate discontent, "Veit Sachs the shoemaker died two years ago, and neither man nor mouse belonging to his family is living in this house." It may be easily supposed how troubled poor Hans was at this news. He sank down tremulously on a stone before the door of the opposite house, hid his face in both his hands and sobbed aloud :
"O, poor Hans, whither wilt thou now turn for a night's lodging and a hospitable reception? Take courage, God helps the honest." The sorrowful fellow thought in a moment of his old master in the singing art-the weaver Nunnenbeck. He at once turned his steps thither, and soon cast himself into the arms of his old friend and patron. "Stay with me, dear son," said the old man, "and apply yourself without fear or disturbance to that noble art which has borne for you such rich and honourable fruit. At the same time trust in the counsel of God, and He will order your future in the best way possible.” Strengthened by such friendly consolation the courageous youth con