Alstedius, John Henry

, a German protestant divine, and a voluminous writer, was some time professor of philosophy and divinity at Herboni in the county of Nassau; afterwards professor at Alba Julia in Transylvania, where he continued till his death, which happened in 1638, in his 50th year. Of his public character, we only know that he assisted at the synod of Dort. He applied himself chiefly to reduce the several branches of arts and sciences into systems. His “Encyclopaedia” has been much esteemed even by Roman catholics: it was printed at Herborn, 1610, 4to, ibid. 1630, 2 vols. fol. and at Lyons, 1649, and sold very well throughout all France. Vossius mentions the Encyclopaedia in general, but speaks of his treatise of Arithmetic more particularly, and allows the author to have been a man of great reading and universal learning. Jiaillet has the following quotation from a German author: “Alstedius has indeed many good things, but he is not | sufficiently accurate; yet his Encyclopedia was received with general applause, when it first appeared, and may be of use to those who, being destitute of other helps, and not having the original authors, are desirous of acquiring some knowledge of the terms of each profession and science. Nor can we praise too much his patience and labour, his judgment, and his choice of good authors: and the abstracts he has made are not mere scraps and unconnected rhapsodies, since he digests the principles of arts and sciences into a regular and uniform order. Some parts are indeed better than others, some being insignificant and of little value, as his history and chronology. Jt must be allowed too, that he is often confused by endeavouring to be clear; that he is too full of divisions and subdivisions; and that he affects too constrained a method.” Lorenzo Brasso says, “that though there is more labour than genius in Alstedius’s works, yet they are esteemed; and his industry being admired, has gained him admittance into the temple of fame.” Alstedius, in his “Triumphax Bibliorum Sacrorum, seu Encyclopaedia Biblica,” Francfort, 1620, 1625, 1642, 12mo, endeavours to prove, that the materials and principles of all the arts and sciences maybe found in the scriptures, an opinion which has been since adopted by others. John Himmelius wrote a piece against his “Theologia Polemica,” which was one of the best performances of Alstedius. He also published in 1627, a treatise entitled “De Mille Annis,” wherein he asserts that the faithful shall reign with Jesus Christ upon earth a thousand years, after which will be the general resurrection and the last judgment. In this opinion, he would not have been singular, as it has more or less prevailed in all ages of the church, had he not ventured to predict that it would take place in the year 1694. Niceron has given a more copious list of his works, which are now little known or consulted. 1

1 W:n. Did, Moron,-—Niceron, vol. XLI. Saxii Ooomasticon.