Alber, Matthaeus

Alber, Matthaeus one of the leaders of the Reformation in Germany, born at Reutlingen, Dec. 4, 1495, studied at Tubingen, and was ordained priest about 1521. He received a call as preacher to his native town, where he labored so faithfully in behalf of the Reformation, that, in 1523, the people generally were favorable to it. In 1524, Alber, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the abbot of Konigsbronn, the patron of the churches of Reutlingen, was appointed by the city authorities the first pastor of the city. At the instigation of the abbot of Konigsbronn, he was summoned before the bishop of Constance, but, owing to the urgent solicitations of his friends, did not go. He was therefore put under the ban by the bishop, by Pope Leo X, and by the imperial court of Rothweil. The three decrees were simultaneously posted on all the church doors, but failed to produce any effect. Alber, with the applause of the people, proceeded undauntedly on the way of reformation. He abolished the Latin mass, introduced the use of the native language at divine service, removed the images from the churches, and got married. In December, 1524, he was summoned before the Imperial Chamber of Esslingen, where he was charged with 68 heresies, all of which he acknowledged, except the charge that he had spoken disrespectfully of the Virgin Mary. The court, after examining him three days, dismissed him unpunished. The Anabaptists, who at this time endeavored to establish themselves at Reutlingen, were prevailed upon by the sermons of Alber to leave the city. He also succeeded in keeping the citizens of Reutlingen from joining in the peasants' war. Zuingle, in a letter of November 16, 1526, endeavored to gain Alber over to his view of the Lord's Supper; but Alber, like his friend Brentz, remained on the side of Luther, with whom he became personally acquainted in Wittenberg in 1536. In 1537 Alber took part in the colloquy of Urach, when he zealously combated the use of images in the churches. In 1539 he received from the university of Tubingen the title of doctor of divinity. When the Interim was forced upon Reutlingen, he left the city on June 25, 1548, and was called by Duke Ulric as antistes (first pastor) of the collegiate church (Stiftskirche) of Stuttgart. Duke Christopher appointed him church counsellor, and, in 1563, he was made abbot of Blaubeuren. He died Dec. 2, 1570. He published several sermons, a catechism (Grundlicher Bericht des wahren Christenthumes), and a work on Providence (Vom rechten Brauch der ewigen Vorschung Gottes). See Hartmann, Matthaus Alber,

der' Reformator der Reichsstadt Reutlingen (Tubingen, 1863); Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 1, 202.

 
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