well as to men. Rather than defer to the authority of the corps of male pastors, they relied on spiritual bonding, on improvised prayers, and on the hope that they would receive direct instruction from God on how to understand certain passages in the Scripture. As might be expected, the ecclesiastical authorities did not take long before they intervened. Wherever conventicles led by lay persons were detected, they were forbidden and dissolved. In many of the Lutheran territories within the Holy Roman Empire, edicts banning Pietist conventicles were passed and executed, sometimes with unnecessary force, by local authorities. But such measures could not stop those who were convinced of Spener's ideas and who felt that they were part of an international religious revival directly guided and inspired by God. That they were persecuted by the official church was, they believed, a sure sign that they were God's elected children. To them, out of repentance for their sins followed rebirth, and out of rebirth the task of sanctification, and out of sanctification the certainty of salvation.
One of Spener's early followers and an active participant in the religious revival of the 1680s was August Hermann Francke, who was a generation younger than Spener. When the church authorities disbanded the conventicles in which he had taken part at Quedlinburg, Francke moved to the city of Halle where he soon made a spectacular career. In his capacity as a talented scholar who was well versed in all of the classical languages, Francke was appointed to a professorship at the newly founded University of Halle. In addition, he became very active in the social field. He founded an orphanage which he expanded into a primary school, to which he added a secondary school, and then a training centre for teachers. But this did not exhaust Francke's remarkable capacities as an organizer. Within only a few years, he founded, in addition to his schools, a pharmacy and also a print-shop in which he printed edifying tracts and bibles which he distributed to the poor. Soon many members of the Prussian aristocracy sent their children to Halle. Alumni of Francke's educational empire found posts as teachers across Europe. As early as 1706, some went as missionaries to India, and this was just the beginning of a wide network of international contacts and connections.
Francke's success would not have been possible without the guiding hand of Spener in Berlin, and certainly not without the special privileges and the protection that he received from the Hohenzollern court. The Hohenzollern dynasty had converted to Calvinism in the early seventeenth century, and they were now ruling a state with a strong Lutheran majority that had close ties to the local estates. In the last decades of the seventeenth century the Hohenzollerns, like the princes of many other territories, attempted to curb
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