Arndt, John

, a celebrated Protestant divine of Germany, was born at Ballenstadt, in theduchyof Anhalt, 1555. At first he applied himself to physic; but falling into a dangerous sickness, he made a vow to change that for divinity, if he should be restored to health. He was minister first at Quedlinburg, and then at Brunswick. He met with great opposition in this last city, his success as a preacher having raised the enmity of his brethren, who, in order to ruin his character, ascribed a variety of errors to him, and persecuted him to such a degree that he was obliged to leave Brunswick, and retire to Isleb, where he was minister for three years. In 1611 George duke of Lunenburg gave him the church of Zell, and appointed him superintendant of all the churches in the duchy of Lunenburg, which office he discharged for eleven years, and died in 1621. On returning from preaching on Psal. cxxvi. 5, he said to his wife, “I have been preaching my funeral sermon;” and died a few hours after.

Arndt maintained some doctrines which embroiled him with those of his own communion: he was of opinion, that the irregularity of rrfanners which prevailed among Protestants, was occasioned by their rejecting of good works, and contenting themselves with a barren faith; as if it was sufficient for salvation to believe in Jesus Christ, and to apply his merits to ourselves. He taught that the true faith necessarily exerted itself in charity; that a salutary sorrow preceded it; that it was followed by a perfect | renewal of the mind; and that a sanctifying faith infallibly produces good works. His adversaries accused him of fanaticism and enthusiasm: they endeavoured to represent him as symbolizing in his opinions with the followers of Weigelius and the Rosicrusian philosophers; and they imputed to him many of the errors and absurdities of those visionaries, because in some subjects he expressed himself in a manner not very different from theirs, and because he preferred the method of the mystical divines to that of the scholastics.

The most famous work of Arndt, is his “Treatise of true Christianity,” in the German language. The first book of it was printed separate in 1605 at Jena, by Stegman: he published the three others in 1608. The first is called the “Book of Scripture:” he endeavours in it to shew the way of the inward and spiritual life, and that Adam ought to die every day more and more in the heart of a Christian, and Christ to gain the ascendant there. The second is called “The Book of Life:” he proposes in it to direct the Christian to a greater degree of perfection, to give him a relish for sufferings, to encourage him to resist his enemies after the example of his Saviour. The third is entitled “The Book of Conscience:” in this he recalls the Christian within himself, and discovers to him the kingdom of God seated in the midst of his own heart. The last book is entitled “The Book of Nature:” the author proves here, that all the creatures lead men to the knowledge of their Creator. This work was translated into many different languages, and among the rest into English, the first part, or the Book of Scripture, 1646, 12mo; and afterwards the whole was published at London 1712, 8vo, and dedicated to queen Anne, by Mr. Boehm; but the editions of 1720, one of which is in 3, and the other in 2 vols. 8vo, are the most complete. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. Life prefixed to the English translation. —Saxii Onomasticon.