Chemnitz (Properly Von Kemnitz), Martin

Chemnitz (Properly Von Kemnitz), Martin, an eminent German theologian, was born at Treuenbritzen, in Brandenburg, Nov. 9, 1522. His parents designed him for an artisan, but he took kindly to no trade, and a distant relative (Niemann) called him to Magdeburg (1539), where he spent three years preparing for the University. He was compelled by want of money to become a teacher at Kalbe in 1542, and at Wrietzen in 1544; studied mathematics and astrology at Wittenberg in 1545-47; was made rector at Königsberg, Prussia, in 1548, and two years afterwards became librarian of duke Albrecht. He now turned his attention to theology, and became a thorough student of the Bible and the fathers. In the controversy on the doctrine of justification he took part against Osiander; but the controversy so annoyed him that, in 1552, much against the will of the duke, he left Königsberg. He immediately after began the scientific study of dogmatics at Wittenberg, attaching himself closely to Melancthon, and lecturing in the University. He became preacher at Brunswick in 1554, and also delivered lectures there on theology, which gained great celebrity, and were published after his death by Polykarp Lyser (Frankfurt, 1591, 3 vols. 8vo, and often). His work, entitled Theologiae Jesuitarum prcecipua capita (Greifsw. 1562), involved him in a controversy with the Roman Catholics, and led to his writing the Examen concilii Tridentini (Greifsw. 15651573, 4 vols.; Frankf. 1707, fol.), which is still a classical work on the subject. After the death of Melancthon he showed himself a zealous Lutheran, and in 1566 became associated with Mörlin in the preparation of the Corpus doctrince Prutenicum, designed as the symbolical text-book of Prussia. In 1567, having become superintendent of Brunswick, he prepared the Confession of the Church of Lower Saxony. From 1574 he exerted himself, with Jacob Andrea, to induce the churches of Saxony and Suabia to adopt the Formula Concordiae (q.v.), in the preparation of which he had taken a leading part. He devoted himself almost exclusively to this work, took with Andrea a leading part in all the meetings that were held on the subject, and obtained the admiration of his contemporaries as well by the prudence and firmness of his conduct as by the depth and extent of his knowledge. He resigned his charge in 1585, and died April 8, 1586. Besides the above- named works, he wrote also Repetitio sance doctrine de vera prcsentia corporis et sanguinis Domini in cena sacra (Leipzig, 1561): — Die führnehmsten Hauptstücke der christlichen Lehre (Wolfenb. 1569): — De duabus in Christo naturis (Jena, 1570): — Harmonia evangeliorum, completed by Leyser and Gerhard (Hamburg, 1704, 3 vols. fol.). Chemnitz has been pronounced the "first great theologian produced by the Reformation." Schenkel (in Herzog, cited below) says that it was more from the force of circumstances than from his own theological tendencies that he appeared to be a leader of the Lutheranparty." On his Christology, see Dorner, Person of Christ, div. 2, vol. 2:198 sq. See also Lentz, Dr. Martin Kemnitz (Gotha, 1866); Hachfeld, M. Chemnitz (Leipz. 1867).

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