Spangenberg, Cyriacus

Spangenberg, Cyriacus a German theologian in repute during the second half of the 16th century, was born June 17, 1528, at Nordhausen, where his father was then a resident pastor. He entered the University of Wittenberg with a thorough preparation as respects the ancient languages, dialectics, and rhetoric at the early age of fourteen, and graduated with honor in 1546. His father had, in the meantime, removed to Eisleben, where he filled the positions of pastor and general superintendent of the county of Mansfeld, and Cyriacus was, through his influence, immediately appointed teacher. When but twenty- two years of age (in 1550) he became the successor in the pastorate of his now deceased father, and was soon afterwards chosen by the counts of Mansfeld to be the town and court preacher as well as general dean of the county. While diligently employed in his ministerial work his zeal for a pure Lutheran orthodoxy involved him in controversies which, in the end, wholly destroyed his earthly comfort. He took an active part so early. as 1556 in the discussions of the Synod of Eisenach, at which the doctrine of George Major (q.v.) that good works are necessary to salvation was debated, violently opposing that opinion. Graver consequences for him were involved in the controversy respecting original sin which broke out in 1557 between Victorin Strigel, who taught the cooperation of the human will with divine grace in the work of conversion in a manner which contradicted Luther's doctrine of man's natural inability, and Matthias Flacius, who, as leader of the strict Lutherans, taught that the natural man cannot cooperate with God, but only resist his saving grace. Spangenberg supported the latter view; but, as the Mansfeld clergy generally were of like opinion with himself, his position was pleasant and his opportunities for successful work large and frequent. Repeated publications extended his reputation beyond the limits of his native country and brought him calls to positions in various important cities, which he declined, with the exception of an invitation to Antwerp, whither he went in October, 1566, to assist in establishing a Lutheran organization among its churches. The Flacian controversy, however, destroyed the organization thus effected, and caused a part of the Lutheran community of Antwerp to emigrate, in 1585, to Frankfort-on-the-Main. Soon after Spangenberg's return (January 1567) to Mansfeld the controversy broke out afresh. The occasion was given by the publication of a learned treatise on original sin by Wigand, professor of theology at Jena, in which he opposed the ideas of Flacius. A second work by the same author condemned, in its preface, the adherents of Flacius, and Spangenberg in particular, as heretical Manichaeans. Spangenberg replied vigorously, asserting the strict Lutheranism, rather than Manichaeanism, of the Flacian doctrine, and forbade his subordinate, Kriger, who had ventured to preach against his view, to occupy the pulpit. A colloquy was held during two days in July 1572, by order of the counts of Mansfeld. who desired to reconcile the parties, but without effect. The trouble grew to such dimensions that the ruling family was divided by it and the common people were torn into factions. The elector of Saxony, as feudal lord of the county, finally occupied the town and castle of Mansfeld with troops and dealt harshly with the supporters of Flacius. Spangenberg was compelled to flee clothed in the dress of a midwife. He tarried for a time in Thuringia, and on Sept. 9, 1577, engaged in a colloquy at Sondershausen with Jakob Andrea (q.v.), the results of which he published; but instead of effecting an amelioration of his condition, as he had hoped, this measure resulted only in the expulsion of count Volmar of Mansfeld, his patron, from his ancestral seat. The two now went to Strasburg, where count Volmar died in the following year. Soon afterwards Spangenberg became pastor at Schlitzsee, on the Fulda, but was again driven out in consequence of the zeal with which he defended his views of original sin. The landgrave of Hesse afforded him an asylum at Vacha, near Smalkald, where he devoted himself exclusively to literary work and obtained a meager support; but his foes gave him no rest, and he finally retired with his wife to Strasburg, where he received a cordial welcome from the canon, count Ernest of Mansfeld. He died Feb. 10. 1604. Spangenberg won for himself, despite his untoward circumstances, a distinguished place among the scholars of his time, particularly with respect to theology and history. His writings comprise numerous works on original sin, sermons on various subjects, doctrinal and ethical treatises, and expositions of several Pauline epistles. The historical works are either wholly confined to the realm of the Church history of Germany or serve to elucidate particular points in that history. They are very numerous. All his works are written in pure and generally appropriate language, forceful and direct. See Leuckfeld, Historia Spangenbergensis, etc. (Quedlilob. 1712, 4to); Adam [Melch.], Vitoe Theolog. Gerni. (Heidelb. 1620); Kindervater, Nordhusa Illustris, p. 280 sq.; Schlusselburg, Catalogi Hoeret. Lib. III (Francf. 1597-99); Musaus [Sim.], Proef. ad. Flac. Clarr. S. S.; Arnoldi, Kirchenhistorie, 4, 95 sq.; Walch, De Hist. Doctrinoe de Peccato Originali, in the Miscell. Sacra, p. 173 sq.; Salig, Gesch. d. Augsb. Confession (Halle, 1730), 3; Planck, Gesch. d. protest. Lehrb. 4; Klippel, Deutsche Lebens- u. Charakterbilder aus d. drei letzten Jahrhunderten (Bremen, 1853), vol. 1.

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