Arnold, Gothofred

, pastor and inspector of the churches of Perleberg, and historiographer to the king of Prussia, was born at Annaburg in Misnia, in 1666. He was a man of considerable eloquence and extensive reading, but he disturbed the tranquillity of the church by his singular opinions in theology, and especially by his “Ecclesiastical History,” in which he seemed to place all opinions, orthodox or heretic, on the same footing, but considered the mystic divines as superior to all other writers, and as the only depositaries of true wisdom. He wished to reduce the whole of religion to certain internal feelings and motions, of which, perhaps, few but himself or his mystical brethren could form an idea. As he advanced in years, however, he is said to have perceived the errors into which he had been led by the impetuosity of his passions, and became at last a lover of truth, and a pattern of moderation. His principal works were this “Ecclesiastical History,” which was printed at Leipsic in 1700, and his “History of Mystic Theology,” written in Latin. He died in 1714. There is a very elaborate account of his life and writings in the General Dictionary, and of his opinions in Mosheim’s Ecclesiastical History. 1