Roos, Magnus Friedrich

Roos, Magnus Friedrich, the last of the series of clergymen in Wirtemberg who during the 18th century promoted the independent development of Pietism (q.v.), and exercised an important influence over the clergy and churches of Wurtemberg against the rationalistic and other movements of North Germany. He was born at Sullz-on-the-Neckar, Sept. 6, 1727, passed through the schools of Wurtemberg in regular course, and in 1749 became vicar at Owen. After filling various ministerial stations in Tubingen, Stuttgart, etc., he was made pastor at Lustnau, near Tubingen, in 17(67, where he was brought into contact with the notabilities and students of the university, and sought to benefit the latter by the delivery of private lectures on Biblical theology. In 1784 he was appointed to the prelature of Anhausen, which gave him a seat in the district government, and in 1787 he was promoted to a place in the national diet, which diverted his attention largely towards political affairs. He preached his last sermon to his people on Christmas day, 1802, and died March 19, 1803.

Roos was emphatically a man of one book — the Bible. He was not the representative of any scientific idea in theology, nor a rhetorician who attached importance to the elegancies of style. His theology was contained in the sentences of the Bible, so that nothing is left for the theologian to perform beyond condensing what is there expanded, collecting what is scattered, and converting the whole directly into faith and life. As a dogmatist he simply brought together the doctrines of Scripture, holding that they require no elaboration in order to appear as a faultless whole. As an expositor and polemic he displayed an utter incapacity to appreciate difficulties, and accepted all the statements of the Bible with unquestioning faith; and in that one of his works which partakes most largely of a scientific character, the Fundamenta Psychologioe Sacroe (Tubingen, 1769; Stuttgart, 1857), he simply gathered from the Scriptures every passage in which a psychological term occurs, and given the specific and general meaning of the terms and phrases so obtained. He held that the truth was fully and appropriately given in the Bible, and therefore did not attempt a thorough system of psychology. He also gave attention to the times in which he lived and to the impending future, taking the Apocalypse for his guide and following the interpretations of Bengel (q.v.), though without accepting the dates of that scholar for the end of the world (e.g. 1836), and without placing implicit reliance on the results of his investigations.

The writings of Roos were very numerous, and have no importance for our times. The principal ones are the Fundam. Psychol. Sacr., already cited: — a devotional manual entitled Hausbuch (1790, 2d ed.), which was largely used, and a practical work entitled Christliche Gedanken v. d. Verschiedenheit und Eigkeit d. Kinder Gottes (1st ed. 1764; new [3d] ed. 1850).

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