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his purest pleasure he found in solitary walks among the surrounding glories of nature, or in communion with Fritz Krauss, the first and only congenial friend he here met with. In August, 1819, he left Heidelberg, and, after a journey through Switzerland and Upper Italy, renewed his studies in Berlin. Schleiermacher was as yet uncongenial to him, for he could not comprehend how one could take such liberties with the gospel history and yet believe in Christ. His first real Christian communion he here found in a circle of Pietists, though he was also greatly attracted by the spirit of the “Neandrians."
God had led him thus far in solitude, had led him through the wilderness, but had gently striven with him from earliest childhood. Though of Rationalistic raising, he felt powerfully attracted by the supernatural element of Christianity; and though the chilling services of the Church were almost repulsive to him, he had never lost the feeling which came upon him while but a four-year-old boy, namely, that he was destined to be a preacher. Notwithstanding that his Rationalistic instruction for confirmation failed of all religious influence upon him, yet he found in the study of the Bible the richest food for his heart; and prayer became his sweetest luxury, and that, too, prayer to the Saviour, notwithstanding all his fears lest thereby he should throw God into the background. A decisive heartawakening at this period filled him with deep shame at his moral condition, and showed him the necessity of regeneration; but, strange to say, though he took no offense at the miraca. lous element of the Bible, and though he saw with growing clearness the necessity of clarifying human reason with the divine reason, and though faith continues to be for him the sole key to the highest knowledge, and Christ the proper object of faith, though the symbols of the Church form, in his eyes, the settled totality of truth, preclusive of all criticism, and though the Bible stands unassailable in its supernatural beauty, still he bears in himself the living consciousness of having derived his fundamental principles and views neither from the Bible nor from the creeds ; rather did he seem to have drawn them from the depths of his own divinely-quickened soul, and from loving communion with the life of exalted Christian spirits.
It is a manifest kindness of Providence, that, in making his
transition from the isolation of his individual life into the stir of a wider Christian communion, Rothe was thrown into so pure a current of Pietistic Christianity as received him at Berlin. He became himself a Pietist, though at first only in a very temperate degree, until 1821, when the seminary at Wittenberg (whither, on the advice of Neander, Rothe had betaken himself in 1820) was thrown into a highly revived spiritual life by the influence of Rudolf Stier and Emil Krummacher. Here Rothe, who was never able long to resist powerful spiritual influences, and whose “womanly” nature lacked, to some degree, independence, gave himself almost entirely into the hands of the potentspirited Stier. He became “an honest but not happy Pietist, a Pietist for conscience sake, but without true happiness," as he himself says. His individuality was too strongly developed to admit of being thrown passively into a new shape; and though he here discovered new lacks in his own heart, and was thus led to a closer personal relation to Christ, still he grew thoroughly conscious that technical Pietism was not the form of Christianity most congenial to bis individuality. For the present, however, he tarried in this stadium of his development.
After his betrothal with Louise von Brück, December, 1821, he preached for awhile in Breslau for a sick pastor. Here he was greatly benefited by intercourse with Julius Müller, with Steffens, and with the pious family Gröben, as well as encouraged by the success of his pastoral activity ; but true inner satisfaction he did not yet enjoy. God, however, soon opened for him a path in which his inner life was enabled to come to the most joyous and fruitful development. He was appointed as preacher to the Prussian embassy in Rome. Late in 1823 he was examined for the second time, then ordained, then married, (November 10,) and soon thereafter (January 14, 1824) arrived in the world-metropolis.
Here begins for him a new spiritual epoch. As formerly with Luther in Rome, so now there springs up in Rothe, in sharpest contrast to Catholicism, the religioso-moral view of Christianity to which he subsequently gave, in his “Theological Ethics,” so classic an expression. Under the repellant influence of Catholicism and the formative influence of Christian association with his little communion of cultivated Protestants, and
especially with certain richly endowed individuals, such as Bunsen and Reinhold, the cramping bonds of Pietism fell away, and his fructified individuality rose to a nobler and grander form of Christian thought and life. His faith in Christ as his Saviour soars on joyous wing, his impulse to prayer awakes to new strength, his inner life comes into equable and harmonious flow, and a new form of theology begins to take life within him. After four years of labor in Rome he accepts, with inner hesitation, a call to the fourth professorship in the Wittenberg Seminary. After a journey of recreation through Italy he entered upon his new duties in September, 1828.
The duties which awaited him in Wittenberg, especially his course of instruction on the history of Christianity, led him to more than five years of critical study in Church History, while his close personal relations to the students and professors of the seminary helped him to a more complete acquaintance with the chief currents of thought in the theology of the day. The July revolution (1830) awakened in Rothe the political sense, and his peculiar views on the relation of politics to morality, and of Christianity in its humanistic significancy, begin to assume settled consistency. His exegetical, dogmatical, and ethical labors with the students led him to a clarification of his individual views, and occasioned his appearance as an author at the ripe age of thirty-nine. His first attempt, an exegesis on Rom. v, 12-21, is soon followed by a larger work, the “ Beginnings of the Christian Church and of its Constitution," a book which brought to him, in 1837, a call from the Baden Government to a professorship in Heidelberg, and to the organizing there of a theological seminary. His first course of lectures in Heidelberg (theological ethics) led him to treat of this science in a new and speculative manner, and in 1842, on recovering from a severe sickness, he laid vigorous hand to the actual composition of this, his master-work, " Theological Ethics,” whereof the first two volumes appeared in 1845, and the third in 1848.
Thus far Rothe’s outward life had passed quietly and peacefully. He was at full liberty here in Heidelberg to enjoy undisturbed his “monkish seclusiveness," as he himself calls it, and his disinclination to worldly activity was increased by what he saw of the workings of demagogy and of enthusiastic Church
reformers in political and churchly affairs. In 1848 he was called to the protectorate of the University. The revolutionary storms of the time, which raged with unusual violence in Baden, together with the severe duties of his twofold office at the Seminary and at the University in Heidelberg, seem to have rendered his position undesirable. At any rate, he dissolved the bonds which united him with his colleagues, and in the same year (1848) accepted a call to Bonn. Of the five years here spent very few landmarks remain ; Rothe regarded them
“an episode which, though not without fruit, was chiefly important in teaching him what his calling was not.” The fact is, the busily outwardly-practical Westphalian Church life, which had its center in the Bonn University, was uncongenial to Rothe's retiring, subjective tendency. He could not stand the "close air" of the pastoral conferences there prevalent, and after his friend and colleague, Dorner, had left Bonn for Göttingen, he gladly accepted a recall to Heidelberg, after having rejected a call to the prelacy at Carlsruhe, “in order not to travesty himself.” The last fourteen years of his life, from 1853, Rothe passed in Heidelberg, six years in solitary devotion to his lectures and studies, while, during the last eight, unfortunate influences combined to throw him into an unnatural active co-operation with the purposes of the unorthodox Protestantenverein. Deeply as multitudinous friends regret his yielding to this influence, they yet rejoice in abundant evidence that his inward heart pulsated to the last as true as ever with the great heart of the true Church of Christ.
But this meager outward form of Rothe's life was filled with a rich and many-sided life-content such as Church history has few other equals to offer. The one central point of his broadly and richly developed character was, as Dr. Zittel, his funeral preacher, has justly said, his love to his Saviour. “This man had a delicate ear for the question, Lovest thou me? He never disregarded it, and never gave himself rest until, from the depths of his soul, he could give it his Yes.” Rothe was an unmistakable exemplification of what he himself has affirmed as the necessary requirement of every true Christian life: “ The image of Christ must fill the holy of holies in the Christian's consciousness, and pour out therefrom its light into all the chambers of his inner being, so that in this light he shall see
every thing, do every thing, and live whatever he lives.” It is
Ever memorable to pupils and hearers are those hours when