Protestant clergymen, in turn, were expected to represent church and state on the local level. Pastors were responsible for the proper administration of marriages, baptisms, funerals, and, ofcourse, Sunday services. But above and beyond this they had to see that the local order was not interrupted and that those who disturbed others, on workdays as well as Sundays, were brought to justice. In many places pastors served also as teachers; some gave medical advice and, when needed, also medical help. Everywhere, the duties ofpastors were far more extensive than preaching the pure faith. In fact, one can say that Sunday services were the least important of their duties and functions. When lay people formed conventicles without the consent and approval of the pastor, he had the duty to interfere. When groups of radical dissenters appeared in villages or cities, the pastors were expected to act. In short, pastors were the extended arm of territorial governments, and just as most members of territorial governments clung to traditional orthodox belief, so did many pastors. There were, of course, many pastors who were not content to hold to traditional orthodoxy or to act as government functionaries. Some of these pastors, as we have seen, were drawn to Pietism. Others, however, were attracted by the ideas of the early Enlightenment. Indeed, by the 1730s and certainly by the 1740s, the number of pastors who embraced Enlightenment thought was larger than the number of those who favoured Pietism or the number of those who still clung to orthodox doctrine.

Further, in certain regions Protestant radicalism in the tradition of the radical reformation played a much greater role than either Pietism or orthodoxy. Typically, these were regions in which some of the lesser princes reigned in a patriarchal manner, that is, in parts of the Palatinate, of Hesse, of Thuringia, and in some areas on the lower Rhine. In most instances, these radicals were inspired by eschatology. As the apocalypse was near, their leaders proclaimed, the remaining true children of God had to separate from the official and established churches that had fallen, as they thought, into the hands of the devil. These radicals held, wherever possible, separate services and practised communion without the assistance of the local pastor. In the tradition of sixteenth-century Anabaptists they often insisted upon adult baptism. Lay preaching was the rule as was the belief that God's word in the Bible could best be understood by those who were not corrupted by learned theology. From the late seventeenth century and well into the eighteenth century, self-appointed itinerant preachers travelled over the German countryside. Often they were persecuted and driven out of the villages and towns that they visited. But to the degree they suffered humiliation, they gained authority in the eyes of people in search of the divine truth. For many decades, for example, the

0 0

Post a comment