Konig, Samuel

Konig, Samuel celebrated in the annals of Swiss pietism, was born at Gergensee, in the canton of Berne, about 1670. He studied at Berne and Zurich, and afterwards made a journey to Holland and England, as was customary in those days. He evinced great zeal and talents in the Oriental languages, which were then much studied by the Protestants, and was considered by his followers as a first-class Orientalist. He was also noted for his participation in the mystic tendencies of his day, and after studying Petersen's chiliastic expositions, became himself a zealous partisan of the doctrine of the Millennium. After his return to Berne he was ordained, and appointed at first preacher in the hospital attached to the Church of the Holy Ghost. About the same time Spener's pietism was beginning to gain adherents in Berne, especially through the efforts of Lutz (Lucius). Konig, who at first held aloof, was gradually drawn into connection with them, and thus became identified with the development of pietism in Berne. Here, as elsewhere, pietism was strenuously opposed by the orthodox party in the Church, who, on April 3,1698, appointed a special committee to proceed against "Quakerism, unlawful assemblies, and doctrinal schisms." In August of the same year the upper council appointed a committee on religion, for the purpose of ascertaining all about pietism (in Berne), and reporting thereon to the council. Konig was several times summoned before this committee, and courageously defended his views on these occasions on chiliasm, as also his sermons. in which he insisted with peculiar force on the necessity of repentance and of regeneration. Among his theological opponents the most distinguished were the professors of theology, Wyss and Nudorf. Konig was finally ejected and exiled, the pietists were persecuted, and the so-called " association oath" was instituted, July, 1699, with a view to prevent separation. To these measures were added a strict censorship of books, and the prohibition of religious reunions. Konig retired to Herborn, but was soon driven out from that place also, and went to the county of Sayn-Wittgenstein, the general refuge of all pietists and illuminati. In 1700 he went to Halle, where he gained many adherents, and afterwards to Magdeburg, where he found congenial spirits, especially in Petersen and his wife, Johanna Eleonora von Merlau, Nik. von Rodt, and Fellenberg. Finally he returned to active life as pastor of a French Church in Budingen. Here he resided eighteen years, during which he wrote a number of works. In 1730 he returned to Berne, and secured an appointment as professor of modern languages and mathematics in the university. -He continued to hold religious meetings, and travelled occasionally in the interest of pietism, but, having attempted to establish meetings for mutual edification at Basel (in 1732), he was expelled from the city. Konig died May 30, 1750. His principal works are, Betrachtung d. inwendigen Reichs Gottes, wie es im Herzen d. Menschen aucerichtet wird (Basel, 1734):-Theologia Mystica (Berne, 1736). See F. Trechsel, Samuel Konig u. dl. Pietismus in Berne (Berner Taschenbuch, 1852); Schicgel, Kirchezugeschichte d. 18ten Jahrhunderts, ii (1), 367 sq.; Schuler, Thaten und Sitten d. Eidlgenossen, 3:268 sq.; Hurst's Hagenbach, C/I. Hist. 181h and 19th Cent. i, 179, 183.

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