From A HISTORY OF UNITARIANISM, 1945 by Earl Morse Wilbur
" The Synod
of Dazwa in 1646 appointed Morzkowski, the minister at Czarków,
and formerly the pupil and amanuensis of Johannes Crellius, to prepare
a digest of the rules and usages that the ministers and churches had
from time to time adopted, or that seemed to be indicated or desirable.
The manuscripts of the work was duly presented to the Synod for
approval, and was then submitted to others for additions and final revision
before printing. The country was in confusion from various wars, and the
work dragged, so that before it could be published the Socinians were [in 1660]
banished from Poland. The manuscript was jealously preserved in the hope
that it might yet prove useful for congregations dispersed abroad, and
it thus came at length into the possession of the famous Socinian
scholar, Samuel Crellius, from whom it passed in turn through two more hands
into those of a Lutheran scholar,
Georg Ludwig Oeder, whose ecclesiastical superior asked him to edit it
for publication. He published the work in full, supplying it with copious
notes, in which he seized every opportunity to carp at Socinianism
[etc]. cf. pp. 333-340 of the work itself; also Bock,
Antitrinitar., i, 501-506. " (Note on pp. 427-8)
* * *
" Of those centers [of Socinianism]
records are scanty ; but the one that survived longest was that of
Königswalde. A considerable group of Socinians lived here after the exile
from Poland, and had for their minister Johannes Preuss. Toward the end of
the century he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Samuel Crellius, son of
the Christoper Crellius [etc], who had been born in the very
year of the exile.18 After
studying in england and Holland and being ordained in 1687 he established his
home at Königswalde, where he ministered to the congregation for
some forty years.
After the death of the Great Elector, the clergy began to urge the
extermination of the Arian heresy. Crellius met the demand with a
little book arguing that both Lutherans and Calvinists ought to tolerate them
and admit them to the Lord's
Supper.19 For some time this resulted
in more tolerant treatment ; but in 1716, when he saw that the younger
generation were now forgetting Polish and speaking German, Crellius
published for them a brief catechism20
which was so well received the two years later hie published a much
larger edition for general
circulation,21 which as much as possible softened doctrines that might give
offence. The Lutheran Superintendent took notice and complained to the King,
who issued a warning against further Unitarian meetings. Crellius
responded with a petition, setting forth that their Numbers had so fallen off
that in the whole Neumark there were now but 72 persons all told
professing the Unitarian faith, and in Königswalde not more than 20 ;
that their meetings were held within closed doors, and that no proselyting
or controversy was carried on. They therefore begged his Majesty
either to allow them to continue their private services, or else to order
Lutherans and Reformed [Calvinist] to admit them to their celebration
of the Lord's Supper, as they had before
requested.22 They remained quiet and were not further disturbed.
But the little group rapidly declined, and ere long yielded to the
inevitable ; and in 1725 Crellius, who had served them with unshaken
loyalty for forty years, took his leave of them and joined his countrymen in
Holland. he had given himself much to studies and the writing of
learned works, and had from time to time visited Frankfurt or Berlin, Holland
or England, where he had eminent literary friends, and enjoyed the
reputation of being one of the most learned men of his time. [Etc.]
18 When Crellius
later sought admission to the New University of Halle, he was refused on
account of his religion (cf. Hessiche Hebopfern, i, 130, quoted by
G. W. Götten, Das jetzlebende gelehrte Europa, Braunschweig,
1735-'40, iii, 281) ; and he was also denied access to the shelves of
the Bodleian Library at Oxford, lest like Sandius before him he should
there find material to adorn his cause (cf. Bock, Antitrinitar.,
i, 164 f.).
His two sons, Stephen and Joseph, were
admitted to the celebrated Joachimsthal gymnasium in Berlin ; but after
two years they were told that if they were to stay longer they would
have to conform to the Reformed Church, which they were unwilling to do.
cf. Johannes Sembrzycki, 'Die polnischen Reformirten und
Unitarier in Preussen,' Altpreussische Monatsschrift, xxx (1893), 53.
19 Kurze und
einfältige Untersuchung, ob, und warum die Reformirte Evangelische Kirch die
also genannte Socinianer mit gutem Gewissen dulden, oder auch in ihre
Gemeinschaft aufnehmen könne und solle, n. p., 1700.
20 It was a revised
translation into German of a brief Polish catechism published thirty years
before. cf. Bock, Antitrinitar., i. 42, 1029.
21 Kurzer Unterricht in
der christlichen Religion (1717), 56 pp. cf. Wotschke,
Meseritz, p. 199.
22 cf. Wotschke, op.
cit., pp. 200 f, 217-219 ; Paul Schwartz, 'Unitarier in der Neumark,'
Schriften des Vereins für Geschichte der Neumark, x (1900),
61-72. The natter of the Sacrament seriously concerned them. When in
1717 two absent members of his flock, the brothers Stephen and Thomas
Widawski, officers in the Prussian army, wrote from Cleve to inquire
whether it was right for them, being so far from a church of their own
faith, to commune with the
reformed, he advised them to do so. But the Berlin theologians opposed
such a concession to the Unitarians in the Mark, and the King allowed
them to continue heir private worship. cf. Bock,
Antitrinitar., i, 202 f.
* * *
Apart from direct personal contacts, Socinianism was widely
spread in Holland through printed books. These first came to inquiring
scholars, as they issued in Latin from the Raków press, and
naturally circulated only among the educated. Then, to reach the unlettered, a
long series of Dutch translations came from the press, mostly as
inexpensive little books, usually published by the enterprise or at the
expense of Collegiants or Mennonites of means—over twenty-five of Socinus's
works, twenty or more of Crellius, and the most important writings of
Smalcius, Schlichting, Ostorodt, Völkel, and several others ;
and after Wiszowaty, Zwicker, Sandius and Samuel Crellius became
residents they contributed their part by numerous works [etc.] (pp.
* * *
" After having to leave his little congregation at Königswalde,
he [i.e. Samuel Crell] went first to England, where he renewed earlier
friendships and formed new ones with distinguished scholars, enjoyed
the patronage of Lord Shaftesbury, received a singular token of sympathy
from Sir Isaac Newton,20 then far
advanced in age, and had intimate conversation with several
distinguished Anglican divines. His chief occupation in England, however, was to
attend to the publication of his best known work, which the generosity of
an unorthodox English sympathizer enabled him to bring
out.21 The purpose of the
work,22 in two handsomely printed volumes, was to
demonstrate on the ground of a corrected Greek text of John i. 1, and of the
witness of early Fathers, that the chief scriptural foundation of the
dogma of the deity of Christ was a corrupt text. The thesis was argued with great cleverness and an encyclopaedic knowledge of early
Christian writings, and the work created a great sensation by its impressive
weight of learning. Its edition of 1000 copies soon went out of print.
It naturally called forth numerous replies
;23 " [etc.]
20 As they parted,
Newton placed two guineas in his hand for his personal use. cf.
Charles Étienne Jordan, Recueil de littérature
(Amsterdam, 1730), p. 44 ; Crellius to la Croze, July 17, 1727, Thesaurus
epistolicus Lacrozianus (Lipsiae, 1742), i, 105.
21 Matthew Tindal ;
cf. Götten, Gelehrte Europa, iii, 284-293 ; cited by Bock,
Antitrinitar., i, 182.
22 Initium Evangelii S.
Joannis Apostoli ex antiquitate ecclesiastica restitutum, etc. Per
L. M. Artemonium (London, 1726). The initials L. M. in the pseudonymous
author's name stand for Lucas Mellierus, a name formed from Samuel
Crellius by a transposition of letters. Artemonius was an early heretic
whose views Crellius felt were nearest his own. The disguise was adopted to
avoid the odium that the publication of a famous Socinian name would be
sure to invite.
23 cf. Johannes Philippus
Baraterius, Anti-Artemonius, etc. (Norimbergae, 1735), and the long
list given by Götten, op. cit., iii, 295-303.
* * *
The last twenty years of his life Crellius spent quietly in Amsterdam, occupied with studies and literary work. He associated with both Collegiants and Remonstrants. The Collegiants long gave him a yearly contribution from their funds, to make up for the salary he had forfeited when he left Königswalde ; and as he lived very modestly he spent much of this on the new books that he was always eager to read until is vision became impaired.25 He regretted the rise of an anti-Socinian spirit among the Remonstrants, fostered by their Professor Adriaan van Cattenburgh in order to soften the hostility of the Reformed Church, but he declared that after the Collegiants he knew no better people than the Remonstrants.26 He died at Amsterdam in 1747, honored by the learned world for his extensive and accurate scholarship, and beloved by all that knew him for the virtues and graces of his character. His intimate friend and correspondent for many years, Professor Mathurin Veyssière la Croze at the French college in Berlin, who grieved only that Crellius was not properly sound in saving faith, wrote Mosheim of him that, heresy apart, he was the best and most lovable man in the world.27 He may be said to have been the last surviving Socinian of importance. He was survived by two sons, Stephen and Joseph, who emigrated to the colony of Georgia in America, which was settled 1733-'38 by Protestant refugees under English auspices. [Etc.]
27 Quoted in Bock, op. cit., i, 167, and in Fock, Socinianismus, p. 240.
A HISTORY OF UNITARIANISM, SOCINIANISM AND
Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press 1945.
Bibliographic ( University of California http://melvyl.cdlib.org )
Author Wolf, Johann Christoph, 1683-1739.
Title Jo. Christophori Wolfii ... curae philologicae et criticae in IV. priores S. Pauli epistolas : quibus integritati contextus Graeci consulitur, sensus verborum ex praesidiis exegeticis illustratur, diversae interpretum sententiae enarrantur, et modesto examini subijectae vel approbantur vel repelluntur / accedit, appendicis loco, examen locorum aliquot Paulinorum, a L. M. Artemonio [i.e. S. Crell].
Publisher Hamburgi : Sumtibus Jo. Christophori Kisneri, 1732.
Description 840 p. ; 24 cm.
Series Wolf, Johann Christoph, 1683-1739. Curae philologicae et criticae ; v. 3
Note Includes indexes.
Note With: Curae philologicae et criticae in X. posteriores S. Pauli epistolas quibus integritabi contextus graeci ... / Jo. Christophoric Wolfh. amburgi : Sumtibus Jo. Christophoric Kisneri 1734, 861 p.
Subject Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul. -- Commentaries.
Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul. -- Criticism, Textual.
Added Entry Crell, Samuel, 1660-1747.