Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

perform, and hence, while at Wittemberg, he had the universal esteem of its inhabitants. His domestic life, also, was a pattern of excellence. While a student, and after he became a private teacher, he made the severe goddess Peneia his inseparable, bousehold companion ; and even after he began to lecture, took a glass of water for his breakfast, a cup of coffee for his dinner, and some warm food for bis frugal supper. To this temperate mode of living, he faithfully adhered even after he was married. He labored incessantly until 7 o'clock in the evening, a little excursion in his garden excepted; from that time to eight, read papers, jo-irnals, and amusing works, or entertained hiusell with the friends who often called upon him at this hour and partook with bin of his evening's repast. Precisely at 10 o'clock, they went away and he retired to resi. Thus passed bis life while at Wittenberg. It was to the highest degree regular. In addition to all this, he held the most familiar intercourse with the wise and good around, and, in an especial sense, shared the hearty sympathy and love of a wife tenderly devoted to bim; and when he left the place where he had lived and acted so much like an unwearied philanthropist and Cbristian

sage,

he was followed with tears of gratitude, reverence and love.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

In 1792, Reinhard became chief court preacher at Dresden,-a station which he occupied, u' til death. The years of activity which he spent in this ecclesiastical station, one of the most important as it is, in Saxony, must be considered in close connexion with the course of preparation he passed through, in teaching, preaching and writing, while at the university. Without having gone through such a course, he would hardly bave become the powerful, perfect, ever new, interesting and inexhaustible orator; the critical examiner of youths and those called to teach, 6ll professorships at the universities, and attend to the cure of souls; the ever watchsul, bonest, wise, and prudent overseer of the most important institutions of the

country ; and the finished writer, thorough and splendid investigator, constant deviser of good, and paterual counsellor in awakening, admonishing and warning thousands at home and abroad, which he in reality did. In these respects, bis university lile must be considered as having laid the foundation of his usefulness while at Dresden, though he daily grew in wisdom, experience, and persection. In nothing, however, was he a more worthy example to his contemporaries, and in nothing is the secret of his great usefulness more evidently to be sought, than in his internal piety, Christian humility, courage in the cause of truth, and his self-control; in which respects, he underwent do change in the several stations to which he was called, but that of regular progression. I cannot here enter into a detailed examination of all his excellencies in these respects, says Böttiger, nor think of developing them as a biographer should do. A few passing remarks must suffice

One of the most important duties connected with the station of ecclesiastical councillor, is, to hold examinations in the chief consistory for licensing young men to preach the Gospel. In performing these duties, therefore, Reinhard reaped great benefit from the academical exercises to which he had attended in homiletics and polemics, while at the university. These examinations were usually held twice a year, and always in the Latin language. On such occasions, very vivid discussions took place between Reinhard and the superintendents, and the room, as inight be expected, was thronged with persons who admired his conversational eloquence, and his skill in developing thought, even though they disapproved of the vivacity with which the examination i:self was conducted and the learning displayed. * Having for sixteen years, as professor and president, directed discussions with a spirit of vivacity and love, and accustomed himself to dialectical forms, he could not easily refrain from using them, whenever duty and office presented an occasion. The lively manner.in which Reinhard conducted these consistorial exercises, certainly did not spring from any trifling effort to please

• Reinhard was often complained of, in these respects. See Tzschirner's Rede bei Reinhard's Gedachinissseier, in Leipzig, S. 34.

the listening inultitude, or a want of self-control. It was the natural result of his clear and quick penetration, and the habits he had acquired, while at Wittemberg. His only object, during the short time allotted bim for these exercises, was, to try the mind in those things in which, formulas committed to memory, can be of no use. Hence, he inquired less after the opinions of candidates, than their objections. These, he sometimes apparently made his own; while he frequentiy supposed doubtful cases in the question, and thus sought, not to show his own superiority, but to give his opponents an opportunity to show themselves; and happy he was, when he found them on the right side.

As bis conversation assumed a very definite and logical character, every skilful man readily perceived what he was about, and rejoiced at his mode of proceeding. None but the ignorant trembled before him or complained of his want of forbearance, as those who can hardly sustain an examination, are accustomed to do. Happy the land which has such spiritual directors and guardians of the ministry, as a Reinhard and a Tittmann, both of whom were prepared for the stations iliey occupied, not only by deep piety, but the previous course of studies through which they had gone, at the university.

And how necessary to qualify Reinhard for this very station, was the classical education which he had received in the ancient languages! In the excellent and well regulated high schools of Saxony, the Latin had early been cultivated to a very great degree of perfection. At the Saxon universities, no one can distinguish himself to any considerable degree, who is unable 10 read and write this language with ease and elegance. Of course, a chief court preacher in Saxony, whose business it is, 10 superintend all these institutions and their examinations, must, if he is what he ought to be, be a perfect and thorough critic. in this respect. It was a matter of duty, therefore, and not merely of ornament, that Reinhard should be able to express biinsell with as much beauty and Auency in this learned language, as in the German. The Greek, however, was bis favorite. He did not suffer a single year to pass away without reading some books of the Odyssey, which, as regards practicalness, he considered superior to

the Iliad, and some of Demosthenes' orations and Plato's dialogues, or one of the Greek moralists, which he called his preacher's Magazine. He preferred Polybius, however, above all others. He attended closely to the oriental languages of the Bible, had made considerable progress in them, and was by no means unacquainted with the Arabic. The three principal languages of Europe he read with facility. All these acquisitions, however, a thinker as he was, he looked

upon solely as bis instruments. To the circle of the theological sciences, with which he was acquainted in the most extensive sense,* he added a thorough and intimate knowledge of philosophy and history, which he considered as the most important subjects of investigation and study. Of the use which he made of the former in sermonizing, he has told us in bis Confessions. Indeed, one has only to read bis sermons, not even his later ones excepted,

be constrained to confess, that their greatest beauty consists in the philosophical truths and proofs they contain. He bad extended his investigations into the various branches of the modern philosophy, the Idealistic as well as the Pantheistic and Neological, and written upon them in his letters in a strain of the most excellent criticism,-for the last time, in a letter to Professor Weiss of Naumburg, upon the work, Concerning the living God. The houndaries to which he always confined himself in this field, are pointed out, in what he says of his creed, in his preface to the third edition of his Moral. This, with which however should be connected his preface to Crell's Phyrrho and Philalethes, is the only place in which he has published his opinion upon this subject; though, in conversation, he often expressed his aversion to the phantasms, errors, and mysticisms which were incessantly springing up like weeds, in this field. He was certainly ready to do justice to every system and speculation which did not exclude genuine piety, and, by means of sophistical arts, puzzle the minds of youth. Krug and Schulz, both his pupils, and two of the most eloquent and acute teachers of this philosophy in Leipsic and Göttingen,

* Doederlein pronounced Reinhard the second theologian in Germany, Reinhard's Dogniatik, Preface, ed. Berger.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

will confirm this; and should they write down their own views and experience for this purpose, would erect the most beautiful monument to the memory of their well remembered teacher and friend. Psychology, however, was Reinhard's favorite study, and every thing which had the remotest reserence to it, attracted his whole attention. He was one of the most attentive hearers of Dr. Gall's psychological lectures in the summer of 1805, and bore testimony to the fulness of his observations and the richness of his imagination, though he shook his head at some of his deductions. To the author of a Moral grounded as Reinhard's was, and to a pulpit orator, whose object was, to find something which would go home to his hearers, and induce them to look into their own bosoros, this study naturally presented a wide, most useful, and inviting field.

He dwelt more in the history of all ages and nations, than many professors of history. In this case his memory, always good at retaining matters of fact, served bim well. For the sole purpose of completing his work Respecting a trifling spirit,* he had, while academical teacher, read the whole of Plutarch's Lives, and, with rare diligence, studied the sources of ecclesiastical history, in which all modern history originates. Schröckh was his teacher in this department, and became bis confidential friend. During the latter part of his life, he formed an intimate acquaintance with John von Müller,t whose unfeigned piety he considered as a most valuable quality. He first became acquainted with this man on a journey to Vienna, in 1802, in the imperial library, where he found him like a lord in his own dominions, and in him discovered both a political and Christian brother. From that time, they constantly maintained a correspondence with each other. In the summer of 1806, Müller visited Reinhard at Dresden for the second time,f and hearing him preach respecting the improvability of human nature, promised to take notice of * Ueber den Kleinigkeitsgeist in der Sittenlehre, Meisen, 1801.

A native of Schafhausen where he was born, January the 3d, 1752, and a celebrated historian, author of a great number of publications. He firmly adhered to the old orthodox system of faith, and died May 29th, 1809. His last words were: Every thing which is, is from God, and every thing comes from God.

Compare J. v, Müller's Letters to his brother, Werke. Th. VII. S. 41 and 214.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PoprzedniaDalej »