Page 6 - History of UB Church by A. Funkhouser Ver 1
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party succeeded by intrigue and persistent massacre in very nearly uprooting the Hussite church.
But in 1457 the scattered remnants organized a society, giving it the name of Unitas Fratrum, this
Latin expression meaning a Unity of Brothers, or United Brethren. This name has ever since been
retained. But up to the time of the movement led by Martin Luther, these Christians were harried
by almost constant persecution. Nevertheless, it was they who in 1470 published the first printed
translation of the Bible into any European language.

In 1474 a delegation of the Brethren was sent out to see if there were anywhere in
Christendom any "congregations free from popish errors, and lived conformably to the rule of
Christ and his apostles, that they might form a union with them." These men went as far as
Constantinople and Egypt, but could not find what they were looking for. A deputation traveling in
France and Italy twelve years later found some "upright souls, who secretly sighed over the
prevailing abominations." A synod of 1489 unanimously resolved that "If it should please . God, in
any country, to raise up sincere teachers and reformers in the church, they would make common
cause with them." In conformity therewith, the Brethren sent delegates to Martin Luther, who
received them kindly. They urged the necessity of strict discipline. Luther admitted that during the
time he was a papist his "zeal for religion made him hate the Brethren and the writing of Hus," but
could now say that "since the day of the apostles, there has existed no church, which, in her
doctrine and rites, has more nearly approximated to the spirit of that age than the Bohemian
Brethren. They far excel us in the observance of regular discipline, and in this respect are more
deserving of praise than we. Our German people will not bend under the yoke of discipline."

But the religious wars that followed the death of Luther were very demoralizing. The Brethren
were persecuted by the Lutherans and the Reformed Church as well as by the Catholics. They were
driven from Prussia to Poland, where in 1627 a new organization was effected under the title of the
Church of the United Brethren. But in the same year all their property in what is now
Czechoslovakia was confiscated, and all their churches and schools closed. The membership was
scattered in all directions.

These United Brethren agreed in doctrine with the Waldensees. They had superintendents, but
recognized only one order of ministers as of divine appointment. They laid greater stress on piety,
moral conduct, and knowledge of the Bible, in persons holding the pastoral office, than on human
learning. The head of every family was required to send his children regularly to church, to instruct
them at home, and to hold family devotions. Their churches were unadorned, and the sexes sat
apart. There was vocal but no instrumental music, and there was no prescribed form of prayer.

In the opinion of the Brethren the Protestant Reformation accomplished only a part of its
mission. They could not see that the churches that arose from it were moulded according to the
apostolic pattern. One formal religion had been exchanged for another. Few of those who embraced
the Protestant faith were inwardly enlightened. There was little discipline. All who conformed to
certain very easy conditions were recognized as members of the church for life, although they
might be notorious for impiety and immorality. All grades of unbelievers came to the communion
table. Church and state were united. Men loved their creeds more than they loved God. They were
orthodox, but only in an intellectual sense.

In 1722, Christian David led a band of United Brethren refugees to the estate of Count
Zinzendorf, a Lutheran nobleman of Saxony. David had some time before met some imprisoned
Brethren and their influence led to his conversion. He decided to join the Lutherans, but finding
among them that any person seeking the salvation of his soul was exposed to jeers and taunts, he
enlisted as a soldier. After his discharge he preached to such of the Brethren as he could find. On
the Zinzendorf lands the refugees built the village of Herrnhut in a forest. Since this time they have
been commonly known as Moravians.

Count Zinzendorf was born in 1700. Losing his father in childhood he was reared by a
grandmother, who had a daily prayer meeting in her home. Such a thing was then regarded as
fanatical. The count was religiously inclined from his childhood, and Herrnhut grew into a
flourishing village. Its people organized themselves into a religious society in 1727, in which year
there was a great revival, thousands of people assembling to attend the meetings. Thus arose the
Moravian Church, which has been greatly distinguished by self-sacrifice and by missionary zeal and
success. As early as 1723 some of their missionaries visited England and were the inspiration of

6 Apostolic Christianity before Otterbein
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