BEYER, bai’er, HARTMANN: Reformation preacher of Frankfort, where he was born Sept. 30, 1516, and died Aug. 11, 1577. In 1534 he went to Wittenberg as student of philosophy and theology, and received the master’s degree there in 1539 and became private teacher of mathematics. He returned to his native city as preacher in 1546. The Reformation, introduced in Frankfort in 1522 by Hartmann Ibach, had been carried on in the earlier years by compulsion and rash zeal on the part of its adherents, and in later time was marked by doctrinal controversies between the Lutheran and Reformed tendencies. Beyer came with the determination to win the victory for Lutheranism, and to his activity was it due that by 1554 a compact Lutheran congregation stood opposed to all insinuations of Calvinism, while the earlier democratic and radical tendencies had been suppressed. In the year named, three congregations of Protestants from the Netherlands, who had first taken refuge in England but fled that country after the accession of Mary, came to Frankfort under the lead of Velerandus Polanus and Johannes a Lasco (qq.v.), bringing with them a Reformed creed and Reformed practises. Beyer was the soul of an opposition which induced the city council to deprive them of the church they had used for worship in 1561. In 1596 even the right of holding services privately was forbidden.
The success of the emperor in the Schmalkald war and the promulgation of the Augsburg Interim (May, 1548) brought the Frankfort Reformers face to face with dangers which for the time quieted doctrinal disputes. The council accepted the interim cautiously, but its attempts to forbid preaching against the new law and against Roman teachings and practises, to reestablish church festivals, to prohibit the eating of meat on fast- days, and like measures met with determined and courageous resistance from Beyer and his colleagues. The former repeatedly expressed his conviction that church ordinances could be established only with the consent of the congregation. The struggle went on till 1577, but the preachers gained the victory.
Beyer issued two pseudonymous writings against the Roman Catholics in 1551 and while in Wittenberg prepared a treatise on mathematics. His sermons are preserved in forty-nine volumes in manuscript in Frankfort. They are marked by a beauty and force of language which make them powerful even to-day.
(G. E. STEITZ †.)
Bibliography: G. E. Steitz, Der lutherische Prädikant Hartmann Beyer, Frankfort, 1852.