Revesz, Emeril

Revesz, Emeril a Reformed theologian of Hungary, was born in 1826. He studied at Debreczin and Buda, and after spending some time for literary purposes in Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and Germany, became pastor of two country congregations in succession, but was removed in 1856 to Debreczin, where he labored until his death, February 13, 1881. His learning and character made him the leader in the Reformed Church of Hungary. When, on September 1, 1859, the emperor of Austria issued the famous "Patent," which was followed by the edict issued by the minister of public worship, the Protestants of Hungary felt grieved, for the object of the "Patent" and the edict was nothing less than a complete reorganization of the Reformed Church, involving the destruction of self government and the transference of ecclesiastical legislation to the civil authority. This attempt to deprive the Reformed Church of her inherent rights aroused the spirit of self-defence against the intrusion of the secular power, and Resvsz came forward with his A Protestans Eghazalkotmany, etc., i.e., Fundamental Principles of the Protestant Church Constitution According to the Statements of the Leading Reformers, Confessions, and Church Organizations (1856 ), which appeared as a reply to the order issued by the Austrian imperial cabinet. In this work he sets forth the views of the Reformers, especially Calvin, regarding the Church's inherent and indefeasible right of self-government, and delineates the organizations of the German, Swiss, French, and Scottish Reformed churches. His next production was Opinion Regarding. the Chief Points of the Hungarian Protestant Church Constitution (1857). The Hungarian Reformed Church protested against the intrusion of the secular power, and appealed to a national free synod. All who dared to speak publicly against the edict and among these was Revesz were summoned before the civil courts, and some were even committed to prison. A great deputation of Protestants was sent (January 25, 1860) to the emperor at Vienna, with a petition for the withdrawal of the "Patent" and the edict. The leading spirit in this movement was Revesz. On May 15, 1860, the "Patent" was withdrawn, and amnesty was granted to all who were suffering for their opposition to the decrees. Another struggle began when, under the new constitution, in 1868, the Hungarian parliament hurriedly passed the law for the secularization of the elementary schools. Revesz, with his usual deep and wide insight, and true Protestant instincts, stood forth to criticise and assail the law on its dangerous side. With the view of enlightening and directing public opinion, as well as vindicating the right of the Protestant Church to manage her own schools, a right secured by constitutional law, he started a scientific monthly magazine in 1870, called the Hungarian Protestant Observer (Magyar Protestans Figyelmezo). A still brighter career was reserved by Providence for the Observer in the field of polemics. The views of the German so-called "Protestant Union" found many advocates in Hungary. among the professors of divinity and ministers. The "modern," or rationalistic tendency, based on mere negations, and claiming unrestricted freedom in religion and doctrine, began to exercise its terrible influence in the professorial chairs, religious newspapers, and public meetings. After some preparatory skirmishes, the "Liberals" founded the "Hungarian Protestant Union" at Pesth, in October 1871, declaring its chief aim to be "to renew the religious-moral life in the spirit of Jesus, and to harmonize it with universal culture." This Protestant Union denied revelation, the divinity of Christ, and highly extolled Unitarianism. But when it had reached its height Revesz raised the banner of evangelicalism, and every number of his monthly review was eagerly read in both camps. The chief work by him against the negative theology appeared in a separate form, A Magyar Ooszagi Protestans Egyletrol, i.e., Confering the Hungarian Protestant Union, reprinted from the pages. of the Observer. It is an effective and conclusive defence of evangelical Protestantism. So severe was the attack on the so-called "new Reformers" that the rationalistic Unitarian Union soon lost its prestige, evangelical principles were saved, and the famous association silently dissolved. Besides the works already mentioned, Revesz published, Kalvin Elete es a Kalvinizmus, i.e., The Life of Calvin and Calvinism (Pesth, 1864). This is the first classic history of Calvin's life in Hungarian Joannes Sylvester Pannonius, a Hungarian Protestant Reformer (Debreczin, 1859): — Mathias Devay-Biro, the First Hungarian Reformer: his Life and Works (1863). In 1865 Revesz filled the chair of Church history, an office which he resigned in 1866, but a volume of general Church history is the fruit of this one year's professorship. In 1871 the Protestant faculty of theology at Vienna conferred on him the degree of doctor of theology. Revesz never accepted promotion to any of the higher positions in ecclesiastical government, wishing to remain a simple minister. For Herzog's Real-

Encyklopadie Revesz wrote in German the article on Devay and the Hungarian reformation. See Catholic Presbyterian Review, December 1881. (B.P.)

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