George, Prince of Anhalt

George, Prince Of Anhalt and bishop of Merseburg, was born at Dessau August 13, 1507, and educated at Leipsic. In 1525 he was made sub-deacon, and in 1526 cathedral provost at Magdeburg. When twenty-two years of age his attainments were such that he was chosen by Albert, elector of Mentz, to be one of his council, and gained his highest confidence. About this time the Reformation attracted the attention of all men, and Luther's writings concerning the difference between the law and gospel, etc., were dispersed and read everywhere. Prince George was no idle spectator. At first he diligently opposed the so-called "novelties," and devoted himself specially to the study of Church history and to the Scriptures, the better to defend the "Church." He began all his investigations with prayer. The result was that he openly embraced the doctrines of the Reformation, and renounced all connection with popery. He put down superstition and set up seminaries of learning the surest way, under God, of exterminating the errors which superstition had engendered. All, however, was done with Christian mildness, and multitudes were soon brought by divine grace to rejoice experimentally in the light of the Gospel. By 1534 Anhalt may be said to have become Lutheran. In 1545, by the persuasion of Luther, he consented to give himself to the work of the ministry, and was made bishop of Merseburg — an office full of danger and difficulty, which no worldly man would covet. He was ordained by Luther, Melancthon, and other divines August 2, 1545, in the cathedral at Merseburg. His whole time was thenceforth devoted to this holy work. Above all low ambition and revenge himself, he endeavored to remove them from others. He was a peacemaker among princes. Insults he bore with Christian magnanimity. He lived with God in his heart, and for God in his intercourse with men. Luther, Justus, Jonas, and others were his most intimate friends. As in life, so in death, he was full of resignation, faith, and love; dwelling most sweetly on the promises, especially Joh 3:16; Joh 10:27-28, and Mt 11:28. He died October 17, 1553, aged forty-six. His synodal addresses, in Latin, were published by Camerarius (1555); his German writings by Melancthon (7th edit. 1741). Melancthon wrote two elegies on his death, and Camerarius wrote his life in Latin, which was translated into German by Schubert, and published, with additions (Zerbst, 1854). — Middleton, Biog. Evang. 1:292; Beckmann, Hist. d. Furst. A nhalts, volumes 5, 6; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 5:24.

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