Zinzendorf, Nicholas Lewis, Count Von, Dd
Zinzendorf, Nicholas Lewis, Count Von, D.D.
founder of the Herrnhuters, or Moravian Brethren, was born at Dresden, May 26, 1700. According to his own account (in his Natural Reflections on Various Subjects), he aspired to form a society of believers from his boyhood. On coming of age in 1721, he settled, with this object in view, on his estate at Berthelsdorf, in Upper Lusatia and was there joined by several proselytes from Bohemia. By 1732 the numbers who had flocked around him amounted to six hundred, and all these were subject to a species of ecclesiastical discipline or monastic despotism which brought them in spirit and body, or was intended so to do, under the most absolute control of their leader. From an adjacent hill called the Luthberg was derived the name of the colony, Huth des Herrn, contracted to Herrnhut, and from this the name of the sect. The appellation Moravian Brethren was assumed for his party by count Zinzendorf for the sake of connection with the separatists of Bohemia and Moravia, partly derived from Valdo, the forerunner of Luther, some of these, indeed, were among his colonists. Zinzendorf assumed various titles as the chief of the Herrnhuters, all of which really pointed to a pontificate as his function. From 1733 his missionaries began to spread, not only over parts of Europe but in Greenland and North America; even Africa and China were not forgotten. To him, in fact, Wesley was directly indebted both for his religious organization at his missionary plans which became so eminently successful, that indefatigable laborer having passed some time with count Zinzenidorf at Herrnhut. The interference of the government with the count's projects can hardly be regarded as a measure of persecution, as secret doctrines were undoubtedly held by him, and thus motives given to his followers, and objects sought, of which, whether good or evil, the established authorities could take no cognizance. The history of the sect is curious and interesting. Next to its organization in classes, the use of singing, which furnished the Wesleys with a valuable hint, is one of its most remarkable characteristics; under this head some singular details might be given. Something might be said also on the connection of a certain marriage-rite with the theory of regeneration, the efficacy of which was probably tried by the Herrnhuters in common with the Quakers. Count Zinzeldorf died among his people, May 9, 1760. SEE MORAVIANS. (W. P. S.)