Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/661

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

to the study of philology, history and philosophy, and won his degree of master (1653) by a disputation against the philosophy of Hobbes. He then became private tutor to the princes Christian and Charles of the Palatinate, and lectured in the university on philology and history. From 1659 to 1662 he visited the universities of Basel, Tübingen and Geneva, and commenced the study of heraldry, which he pursued throughout his life. In Geneva especially his religious views and tendencies were turned in the direction of mysticism. He returned to Strassburg in 1663, where he was appointed preacher without pastoral duties, with the right of holding lectures. Three years afterwards he was invited to become the chief pastor in the Lutheran Church at Frankfort-on-Main. Here he published his two chief works, Pia desideria (1675) and Allgemeine Gottesgelehrtheit (1680), and began that form of pastoral work which resulted in the movement called Pietism. In 1686 he accepted the invitation to the first court chaplaincy at Dresden. But the elector John George III., at whose personal desire the post had been offered to him, was soon offended at the fearless conscientiousness with which his chaplain sought to discharge his pastoral duties. Spener refused to resign his post, and the Saxon government hesitated to dismiss him. But in 1691 the Saxon representative at Berlin induced the court of Brandenburg to offer him the rectorship of St Nicholas in Berlin with the title of “Konsistorialrat.” In Berlin Spener was held in high honour, though the tendencies of the court and the government officials were rather rationalistic than pietistic. The university of Halle was founded under his influence in 1694. All his life long Spener had been exposed to the attacks and abuse of the orthodox Lutheran theologians; with his years his opponents multiplied, and the movement which he had inaugurated presented increasingly matter for hostile criticism. In 1695 the theological faculty of Wittenberg formally laid to his charge 264 errors, and only his death on the 5th of February, 1705, released him from these fierce conflicts. His last important work was Theologische Bedenken (4 vols., 1700-1702), to which was added after his death Letzte theologische Bedenken, with a biography of Spener by C. H. von Canstein (1711).

Though Spener has been justly called “the father of Pietism,” hardly any of the errors and none of the extravagances of the movement can be ascribed to him personally. So far was he from sharing them that A. Ritschl (Geschichte des Pietismus, ii. 163) maintains that “he was himself not a Pietist,” as he did not advocate the quietistic, legalistic and semi-separatist practices of Pietism, though they were more or less involved in the positions he assumed or the practices which he encouraged or connived at. The only two points on which he departed from the orthodox Lutheran

faith of his day were the requirement of regeneration as the sine qua non of the true theologian, and the expectation of the conversion of the Jews and the fall of Papacy as the prelude of the triumph of the church. He did not, like the later Pietists, insist on the necessity of a conscious crisis of conversion, nor did he encourage a complete breach between the Christian and the secular

Spener was a voluminous writer. The list of his published works comprises 7 vols. folio, 63 quarto, 7 octavo, 46 duodecimo; a new edition of his chief writings was published by P. Grünberg in 1889. See W. Hossbach, Philipp Jakob Spener und seine Zeit (1828, 3rd ed., 1861) ; A. Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus, ii. (1884); E. Sachsse, Ursprung und Wesen des Pietismus (1884); P. Grünberg, P. J. Spener (3 vols., 1893-1906).

SPENNYMOOR, a market town in the Bishop Auckland parlia- mentary division of Durham, England, 6 m. S. of the city of Durham, on a branch of the North Eastern railway. Pop of urban district, which includes several neighbouring parishes (1901), 16,665. It is in the midst of a populous coal-mining district, and its growth is modern.

SPENS, THOMAS DE (c. 141 5-1480), Scottish statesman and prelate, received his education at Edinburgh, and by his exceptional abilities attracted the notice of the advisers of the Scottish king, James II., who sent him on errands to England and to France. About 1450 he became bishop of Galloway; soon after- wards he was made keeper of the privy seal, and in 1459 he was chosen bishop of Aberdeen. Much of his time, however, was passed in journeys to France and to England, and in 1464 he and Alexander Stewart, duke of Albany, a son of James II. were captured at sea by some English sailors. Edward IV., to whom the bishop had previously revealed an assassination plot, set him at liberty, and he was partly responsible for the treaty of peace made about this time between the English king and James III. He also helped to bring about the meeting between Edward IV. and Louis XL of France at Picquicny, and another treaty of peace between England and Scotland in 1474. Spens was a frequent attender at the Scottish parliaments, and contributed very generously to the decoration of his cathedral at Aberdeen. He died in Edinburgh on the 14th of April 1480.

SPENSER, EDMUND (c. 1552-1599), English poet, author of the Faery Queen, was born in London about the year 1552. The received date of his birth rests on a passage in sonnet Ix. of the Amoretti. He speaks there of having lived forty-one years; the Amoretti was published in 1595, and described on the title-page as " written not long since "; this would make the year of his birth 1552 or 1553. We know from the Prothalamion that London was his birthplace. This at least seems the most natural interpretation of the words —

"Merry London, my most kindly nurse,
That to me gave this life's first native source."

In the same poem he speaks of himself as taking his name from " an house of ancient fame." Several of his pieces are addressed to the daughters of Sir John Spencer, head of the Althorp family; and in Colin Clout's Come Home Again he describes three of the ladies as —

"The honour of the noble family
Of which I meanest boast myself to be."

Mr R. B. Knowles, however, is of the opinion (see the Spending of the Money of Robert Nowell, privately printed, 1877) that the poet's kinsmen must be sought among the humbler Spencers of north-east Lancashire. Robert Nowell, a London citizen, left a sum of money to be distributed in various charities, and in the account-books of his executors among the names of other beneficiaries has been discovered that of "Edmund Spensore, scholar of the Merchant Taylor School, at his going to Pembroke Hall in Cambridge." The date of this benefaction is the 28th of April 1569. As the poet is known to have been a sizar of Pembroke, the identification is beyond dispute. Till this discovery it was not known where Spenser received his school education. The speculations as to the poet's parentage, started by the Nowell MS., are naturally more uncertain. Mr Knowles found three Spensers in the books of the Merchant Taylors, and concluded that the poorest of them, John Spenser, a "free journeyman" in the "art or mystery of clothmaking," might have been the poet's father, but he afterwards abandoned this theory. Dr Grosart, however, adhered to it, and it is now pretty generally accepted. The connexion of Spenser with Lancashire is also supported by the Nowell MS. — several Spensers of that county appear among the " poor kinsfolk " who profited by Nowell's bounty. The name of the poet's mother was Elisabeth, and he notes as a happy coincidence that it was borne by the three women of most consequence to him — wife, queen and mother {Amoretti, Ixxiv.).

It is natural that a poet so steeped in poetry as Spenser should show his faculty at a very early age; and there is strong reason to believe that verses from his pen were published just as he left school at the age of sixteen or seventeen. Certain pieces, translations from Du Bellay and Petrarch, afterwards included in a volume of poems by Spenser published in 1591, are found in a miscellany, Theatre for Worldings, issued by a Flemish Protestant refugee, John van der Noodt, on the 25th of May 1569. The translations from Du Bellay appear in blank verse in the miscellany, and are rhymed in sonnet form in the later publication, but the diction is substantially the same; the translations from Petrarch are republished with slight variations. Poets were so careless of their rights in those days and publishers took such liberties that we cannot draw for certain the conclusion that would be inevitable if the facts were of more