Uhlich, Leberecht

Uhlich, Leberecht a German sectary, the head of the so-called Lightfriends (Lichtfreunde), was born Feb. 27,1799, at Kithen. He studied theology at Halle from 1817 to 1820 under Wegscheider, was tutor at Kothen, and in 1827 he went to. Prussia as pastor in Pommelte, near Schonebeck. In 1841 he organized the liberal preachers meetings at Gnadau, which finally led to the formation of the Society of the Protestant Friends, or Lichftireunde. Uhlich became the spiritual head of this movement, and soon obtained adherents in different countries, especially in the north of Germany. He went from place to place for the purpose of presiding at the meetings held by his adherents, until, in 1845, he was forbidden to leave his parish without permission. In the same year he was called to St. Catharine's Church in Magdeburg, where he went on in his usual way. But his low views of Christianity brought him into conflict with his consistor, until he was finally suspended from his office in September, 1847. He now left the Church and put himself at the head of a free religious congregation at Magdeburg, where he labored until March 23, 1872. Uhlich was a preacher of considerable popular eloquence and managing talent, sincere withal, and of an unblemished character; but his very low views of Christianity finally led him to a philanthropico- pantheistic naturalism, which he presented in a popular manner before his audience. Speaking of the Dissenting sects in Germany, Dr. Schaff, with regard to the Lichtfreunde, says, "It is deeply humiliating that a superficial rationalism which was supposed to be dead and buried could create such a commotion in a state like Prussia, and on the classical soil of the Lutheran Reformation. But the emptiest wagons often make the greatest noise" (Germany, its Universities, etc., p. 144). Of course it was only a noise, and hence as "for the development of the history of doctrines, the Protestant Friends," as Hagenbach says, "have only a negative importance, and their place is rather in the transient story of the day than in the earnest history of religious truth" (Hist. of Doctrines, 2, 410). Uhlich wrote a great deal, and his publications consist mainly of sermons and discourses, for which see Zuchold, Bibl. Theol. 2, 1361 sq. See also his Autobiography (Magdeburg, 1872); Theologisches Universal-Lex. s.v.; Niedner, Kirchengeschichte, p. 912 sq. (B. P.)

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