Spener, Philip James

, a celebrated Lutheran divine of Frankfort on the Maine, but born in Alsatia, Jan. 1J, 1635, was one of those who first endeavoured to free divinity from scholastic subtleties, and captious questions, and to introduce a more plain and popular method of teaching theology. He succeeded, in a great measure, though not universally and, about 1680, became the founder of a new sect, style1 Pietists It originated in certain private societies forme >j nim at Frankfort, with a design to rouse the lukewarm from their indifference, and excite a spirit of | vigour and resolution in those who before had silently lamented the progress of impiety. The effect of the$e pious* meetings was greatly increased by a book published by this able am! wt it -meaning man, entitled “Pious Desires,” in which he exhibited a striking -view of the disorders of the church, and proposed the suitable remedies. His work was approved; but the remedies he proposed fell into unskiliul hands, and were administered without sugacity and prudence.

The religious meetings, or Colleges of Piety, as they were called, tended, in several instances, to inflame the people with a blind and intemperate zeal, and produced tumults, and various complaints; lill at length, in many places, severe laws were passed against the Pietists. Spener settled for a time at Dresden, and afterwards at Berlin, where be held important offices of ecclesiastical trust under the elector of Brandenburg, and where he died i.> 1705, aged severity. He was a man of eloquence and piety; and certainly far from intending to produce dissentions and schisms. His pious works were published in the German language; but he wrote some in Latin on genealogy and heraldry; such as “Opus heraldicum” “Theatrum nobilitati.-” “Sylloge historico-gen^alogica,” &c. His son, James Charles Spener, wrote a “Historia Germanica universalis et pragmatica,” 2 vols. 8vo, and “Notitia Germaniæ antiquæ,1717, 4to, both works of authority. He died in 1730. 1