Spanheim, Frederic

, professor of divinity at Leyden, was born at Amberg in the Upper Palatinate, Jan. 1, 1600, of a good family. His father Wigand Spanheim, doctor of divinity, was a very learned man, and ecclesiastical counsellor to the elector-palatine; he died in 1620, holding in his hand a letter from his son, which had made him weep for joy. Frederic was educated with great care under the inspection of this affectionate parent; and, having studied in the college of Amberg till 1613, was sent the next year to the university of Heidelberg, which was then in a very flourishing condition. He there made such progress both in languages and philosophy, as to justify the most sanguine hopes of his future success. After paying a visit to his father in 1619, he went to Geneva to study divinity. In 1621, after his father’s death, he went into Dauphine, and lived three years with the governor of Ambrun, as tutor in his family. He then returned to Geneva, and went afterwards to Paris, where he met with a kind relation, Samuel Durant, who was minister of Charenton, and dissuaded Spanheim from accepting the professorship of philosophy at Lausanne, which the magistrates of Berne then offered him. | In April 1625, he paid a visit of four months to England, and was at Oxford; but the plague having broke out there, he returned to Paris, and was present at the death of his relation Durant, who, having a great kindness for him, left him his whole library. He had learned Latin and Greek in his own country, French at Geneva, English at Oxford; and the time which he now spent at Paris, was employed in acquiring the oriental tongues. In 1627, he disputed at Geneva for a professorship of philosophy, and was successful; and about the same time married a lady, originally of Poitou, who reckoned among her ancestors the f;unous Budtrus. He was admitted a minister some time after; and, in 1631, succeeded to the chair of divinity, which Turretin had left vacant. He acquitted himself of liis functions with such ability, as to receive the most liberal offers from several universities: but that of Leyden prevailed, after the utmost endeavours had been used to keep him at Geneva. He left Geneva in 1642; and taking a doctor of divinity’s degree at Basil, that he might conform to the custom of the country to which he was going, he arrived at Leyden in October that year. He not only supported, but even increased the reputation he had brought with him but he lived to enjoy it only a short time, dying April 30, 1649. His great labours shortened his days.*


Sorbiero in one of his letters says, that Spanheim “used to read public lectures on divinity four times a week, and other private lectures at home on different subjects to his scholars; he heard the sermons of the probationers, he preached in two languages, in his own (German) and in ours (French); he visited the sick; he wrote an infinite number of letters he composed at the same time two or three books on quite different subjects; he was every Wednesday present at his Highness’s council, which obliged him to go to the Hague; he was rector of the university; and among all these occupations, it was he who kept the account of all the money that was received or spent in his house, which was full of boarders.

His academical lectures and disputations, his preaching (for he was minister of the Walloon church at Leyden), the books he wrote, and many domestic cares, did not hinder him from keeping up a great literary correspondence. Besides this, he was obliged to pay many visits he visited the queen of Bohemia, and the prince of Orange and was in great esteem at those two courts. Queen Christina did him the honour to write to him, assuring him of her esteem, and of the pleasure she took in reading his works. It was at her request that he wrote some memoirs of Louisa Juliana, electress palatine. He was also the author of some other historical as well as theological works the principal | of which are his “Dubia evangelica discussa et vindicata,” Genev. 1634, 4to, but afterwards thrice printed in 2 vols. 4to, with large additions; “Exercitationes de Grafla universali,Leyden, 1646, 8vo. This involved him in a controversy with Amyraut; and “Epistolae ad Davidem Bu chananum super controversies quibusdam, quse in ecclesiis Anglicanis agitantur,” ibid. 1645, 8vo. Some other of his works were published with those of his son, and his funeral oration on Henry prince of Orange, pronounced at Leyden in 1647 may be seen in Bates’s “Vitas selectorupi aliquot virorum.” He was a correspondent of, and highly esteemed by archbishop Usher. 1
1 Niceron, vol. XXIX. Gen. Dict. Freheri Theatrum.