Genealogical Record of the Schwenkfelders v

page v




THE Schwenkfelders were so called from Caspar Schwenkfeld, a Silesian nobleman. He was born at Ossing (now Ossig), in Lübner circle, in the Principality of Liegnitz, in Lower Silesia, in 1490, was educated at Cologne, and dwelt several years at other universities, where theology early attracted his attention, and the writings of the Church Fathers became his favorite study. Quitting university life he visited many German courts, and devoted some years to the culture which, in his time, was supposed to befit his rank, qualifying himself for knighthood, and becoming, as he says in one of his epistles, a courtier. While yet a young man he entered the service of Carl, Duke of Münsterberg, a grandson of Podiebrad, the Hussite King of Bohemia, at whose court the doctrines of John Huss were received, and by none more heartily than by the young knight and courtier. They made a deep and lasting impression upon his mind, and doubtless gave direction to his future life and labors. Bodily infirmities soon unfitted him for knightly duties, and he quitted the service of the Duke of Münsterberg and became Counsellor to Frederick II., Duke of Liegnitz, whom he served in that capacity a number of years. Theology, however, had stronger attractions for him than affairs of state.

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