Leipsic, Colloquy of

Leipsic, Colloquy of in 1631. The disputes which occurred in the 16th century, when the two evangelical churches framed their confession of faith, had produced great bitterness between the Lutherans and Calvinists. Attempts at reconciliation had already been made by pious individuals in the 16th century, and still others in the 17th, as, for instance, by the indefatigable Scotchman Duroeus, and by Rupertus Meldenius, but with little success. It was the trial which the evangelical churches of Germany underwent during the Thirty Years' War that really first made the two sister communions forsake their former hostility. They saw that they were both standing on the brink of a precipice, and the ties which bound them to each other were strengthened. Both the authorities and the people now used their utmost efforts to secure, if not unity, yet at least peace and harmony between the two churches. In the early part of 1631, after Gustavus Adolphus, the champion of evangelical liberty, had already come to Germany, the landgrave William of Hesse and the elector Christian William of Brandenburg joined the elector George of Saxony at Leipsic, and they resolved to oppose, by main force if necessary, the carrying out of the Edict of Restitution. The landgrave William had brought with him the professor of theology Crocius and the court preacher Theophilus Neuberger; the elector Christian William was accompanied by the court preacher John Bergius. The theologians of Hesse and Brandenburg invited those of Leipsic to a conference in order to attempt a reconciliation between the evangelical churches, or, at least, to promote a better understanding between them. It was intended that this conference should be of a private character, yet with the hope that the other parts of Germany would follow the example. The Reformed party demanded only that the court preacher Matthias Hoe, of Hohenegg, should in the discussions abstain from the vehemence which distinguished his writings, and the theologians of Leipsic failed not to grant this request, with the assurance that Hoe was very gentle in conversatione. The elector George having sanctioned the plan of a private conference, the meetings commenced, March 3, at the residence of the upper court preacher, and under his presidency. They were held daily, and continued until March 23. On motion of the Reformed party the Confession of Augsburg was taken as a basis, they announcing their willingness to sign it, such as it then was in the Saxon form (published by order of the elector George, in 1628). They also thought that the princes of their different provinces were ready to do the same, without, however, undertaking to vouch for it. They stated furthermore that they would neither reject the altered edition of the Colloquy of Worms (in 1540) nor that of Regensburg (in 1541); they referred to the position taken at the convention of Naumburger in 1561, and by the Saxons in the preface to the Book of Concord. The Confession of Augsburg being thus adopted as a whole, every article was taken up separately and examined. They thus found that both parties fully coincided in the articles 5-7 and 7-28, while their differences on the articles 1 and 2 were comparatively unimportant. With regard to the 3d article, they all agreed as to the interpretation of the words, but the Saxon theologians maintained that not only the divine, but also the human nature of Christ possessed omniscience, omnipotence, etc., by virtue of the union of the two natures in his personality, and that all the glory which Christ received was only received by his human nature. The Reformed theologians, on the contrary, denied that Christ, as man, was omnipresent, or that in him the human nature had become omniscient and omnipotent. They agreed also in the 4th article, and the Reformed theologians affirmed that they did not believe Christ had come to save all men. They also agreed in the 9th article, to which they made some addition on the necessity of baptism, and on infant baptism. The 10th article, concerning the Eucharist, came up on March 7. Here they could not agree, the Reformed theologians denying the physical participation in the body and blood of Christ, and asserting a spiritual participation through faith; of unworthy communicants, they asserted that these partook only of simple bread and wine. The Reformed theologians, however, maintained that if it was impossible to agree on this point, it was at least possible for the two parties to bear charitably with each other, and to unite in opposing Romanism. The Saxons, who did not wish to bind themselves by any promises in a private conference, said that this proposition would have to be further considered in the fear of the Lord. After all the remaining articles had been agreed to, they came to the question of election, although this doctrine is not expressly presented in the Confession of Augsburg. Both Lutherans and Reformed agreed in the doctrine that only a part of mankind will be saved, the Reformed theologians basing election on the absolute will of God, and reprobation on the unbelief of man. The Lutherans, on the other hand, considered election as the result of God's prescience of the faith of the elect. The fact that the theologians of the contending churches had been brought to meet together peaceably, and to explain to each other their respective doctrines, was not without a great influence for good, although the greater hopes for the future to which it gave rise were not destined to be fulfilled. As the colloquy was a private conference, it was thought best not to give its proceedings an undue publicity, and only four copies of its protocols were published, and delivered one to each of the electors of Saxony and Brandenburg, one to the landgrave of Hesse, and one to the theological faculty of Leipsic. A full account, however, was subsequently published in England, France, Switzerland, Holland, and Sweden. The suspicions of both parties made any decided advance impossible, and resulted finally in greater estrangement of both, and in renewed attacks by the able Lutheran polemic Hoe (q.v.), of which a new and lengthy controversy was the result. See C. W. Hering, Gesch. d. Kirchlichen Unionsversuche, etc. (Lpz. 1836), 1:327 sq.; Alex. Schweizer, D. protestantischen Centraldogmen, part 2, p. 525; Kurtzer Discurs con d. z. Leipzic 1631 mense Martio angestellten Religionsvergleychung, etc. (Berlin, 1635); Niemeyer, Collectio confessionum in ecclesiis reformatis publicatarum (Lpz. 1840), p. 653 sq.; Mosheim, Eccles. Hist. book 4, cent. 17, sect. 2, pt. 2, ch. 1, § 4; Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 8:286.

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