Samuel Crell


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)

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" 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.]   (pp. 498-9)

        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.

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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. 568-7)

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" 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.]
(p. 576)

        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.

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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.]
(p. 577)

      27 Quoted in Bock, op. cit., i, 167, and in Fock, Socinianismus, p. 240.

Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press 1945.


Bibliographic ( University of California )

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. Language Latin Subject Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul. -- Commentaries. Bible. N.T. Epistles of Paul. -- Criticism, Textual. Added Entry Crell, Samuel, 1660-1747.


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