INSPIRED, THE. The name given to a sect which originated in Germany about 1700. It was formed from the large number of Separatists who already existed there, and was animated by the impulse given by the new prophets of the Camisards (q.v.) in the Cévennes. The sectaries took their name from the fact that they recognized a continuous divine inspiration in certain individuals, whom they regarded as instruments of the Holy Spirit, to whose teachings they professed obedience as to inspiration.
Appearance in England and Germany. After the forcible suppression of the Protestants in the Cévennes, some of the principal leaders and prophets, such as Élie Marion, Durande Fage, Jean Cavalier, and Jean Allut, fled to England and Scotland in 1706 (see FRENCH PROPHETS), which they soon left for the Netherlands, uttering in both countries impassioned denunciations of France and the papacy. When their prophecies were not fulfilled, they were excluded from the French Reformed community in London and from the Church of England as well, so that they had no recourse but to found a sect of their own. Allut and Marion accordingly went, in 1711, to the Netherlands and Germany, seeking support primarily among the numerous colonies of French Protestants there, from whom, however, they gained little sympathy. They had more success with the Pietists and Separatists of northwestern Germany, to whose craving for apocalyptic revelations and fanatical enthusiasm they were able to appeal. They laid their first foundations at Halle in 1713 and at Berlin in 1714, and held a love-feast at Halle in the latter year. At first they found some support among the clergy, but when the gift of inspiration began to spread among the "awakened" of German birth, including in Halle the eighteen-year-old daughter of a servant of Francke, and in Berrn a tailor who later became insane, the whole movement was regarded with suspicion, if not with contempt. Three brothers named Pott, until then students at Halle, who had become "awakened," migrated with their fanatical mother to the Wetterau in 1714, and there built up an inspirational community, chiefly composed of Swabians and Franconians. As in the case of the prophets of the Cévennes, so here inspired utterances were preceded by remarkable physical phenomena, such as a burning around the heart, shortness of breath, and various convulsive movements of the head and limbs. These conditions were followed by a state of unconscious ecstasy, and during this time the message was received. This, as a rule, was immediately given out, either by pantomimic gestures or, more frequently, in brief phrases of a Scriptural character, spoken in an unnaturally loud voice. The content of these messages, usually delivered in the first person as in the name of God, resembled the warnings and promises of the Hebrew prophets, and dealt with the necessity of repentance, conversion, and practical Christianity, frequently being remarkable revelations of the lives of the persons to whom they were addressed.
German Societies. Under the influence of these phenomena societies arose which, after 1716, called themselves "the True Inspired," in contrast with the free or false inspired who rejected all organization and discipline. The enthusiasm of the movement spread not only among the Separatists of the Wetterau and Wittgenstein, but throughout Western Germany (especially Württemberg, the Palatinate, and Alsace) and Switzerland, and even extended into Northern and Eastern Germany, as far as Saxony and Bohemia. The call and the preparation for missionary journeys among the unbelievers were given in solemn love-feasts, prefaced by preliminary exercises for days beforehand, and characterized by fervent devotion. It was naturally difficult to maintain this devotion at such a high level, even when it was nourished by trial and persecution; and many of the "vessels" quickly ceased to give forth their messages. Those who remained true formed a constitution at Büdingen in 1716, according to which ten communities were founded in that neighborhood, some of which remained in existence almost until the middle of the nineteenth century, while others grew up in Württemberg, Swabia, and Switzerland. Each community had a president and two associate elders, who regulated all its affairs, especially the care of the poor and the maintenance of discipline, and held occasional conferences with the heads of other communities. There was no special teaching office, but all adults were expected to take their part in free public prayer at the meetings (daily or at least twice on Sunday), at which many hymns were sung, while the readings were chosen either from the Bible or from the fifty written or printed discourses of the "vessels," unless a "vessel" was present and delivered a new homily, prepared especially for the occasion. The dogmatic belief of the inspired agreed in general with that of the Evangelical Church at large, though, like other Separatists, they rejected all communion with it (as in baptism and the Lord's Supper). Their practical principles were those of the mystics Schwenckfeld, Böhme, Weigel, and Hoburg. They regarded marriage with special disfavor, though they tolerated it for a time.
Johann Friedrich Rock. By 1719 all the "other vessels" had ceased to testify, and Johann Friedrich Rock, as the last of them, became, with Eberhard Ludwig Gruber (a clergyman; b. 1665; d. 1728), the head of the communities. Rock was born at Oberwidden, near Goppingen, Wurttemberg, in 1678. He came of a family of preachers and was himself a harnessmaker by trade. He had an inclination to mysticism, was seized with "inspiration" about 1707, and thereafter worked for the cause with self-sacrificing zeal until his death in 1719. He had some gifts of preaching and riming, and seems to have been a man of true piety notwithstanding his aberrations. With the emigration of many Separatists to Germantown, Pa., after 1735, and with the rise of the Herrnhut movement after 1730, his task became increasingly difficult. Particularly painful to him were his controversies with Count Zinzendorf, who had originally stood in close relations with Rock and his colleagues, but had gradually approached more nearly to the Established Church after 1732, and two years later had definitely broken with Rock on the ground of his rejection of the sacraments. Between 1710 and 1748 Rock was engaged in bitter controversy with another former friend, Johann Kaiser, a follower of Böhme, Molinos, and Mme. Guyon, who had founded a philadelphian society at Stuttgart in 1710, and after its decay had established an inspirational community in 1717. This controversy forms the source of the clearest and most important statements regarding the nature of the inspirational movement.
Revival after 1820 and Emigration to America. The death of Rock marked the beginning of a period of steady decline, so that it is surprising to find a recrudescence of these societies, unvitalized by preaching or sacraments (celebration of the Lord's Supper seems to have been first resumed after 1520), after a complete quiescence of sixty or seventy years. With the revival of devotion in the established Churches, however, the gift of inspiration appeared once more among the "awakened" Separatists, and (according to the testimony of eye-witnesses) in the same manner as among the Camisards or in the Wetterau. Under the influence of three new "vessels"--Michael Krausert of Strasburg; Barbara Heinemann (after marriage, Barbara Landmann) of Leilersweiler in Alsace, a peasant girl, unable to read or write; and Christian Metz, a joiner--the communities in Alsace, the Palatinate, and the Wetterau, which were almost extinct, were reorganized between 1816 and 1821 on the old constitution of Gruber, but the repressive measures of the Prussian and Hessian governments caused them to emigrate in 1842-46, about 800 strong, to Ebenezer, near Buffalo, N. Y., where they soon had a flourishing communistic settlement, numbering between 1,500 and 2,000 souls. In 1854 part of this community migrated to Amana, Iowa. See COMMUNISM, II., 3.
(A. HEGLER.) K. HOLL.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A very comprehensive treatment of the subject has been given by M T. Göbel, in Z H T, 1854, 1855, 1857, upon which subsequent discussions are based. Consult further: M. Göbel, Geschichte des christlichen Lebens, iii. 126 sqq., Coblenz, 1860; A. Ritsehl, Geschichte des Pietismus, ii. 366 sqq., iii. 265 sqq., Bonn, 1880-86; K. Knortz, Die wahre Inspirationsgemeinde in lows, Leipsie, 1896; W. Hadorn Die Inspirierten des 18. Jahrhunderts, in Schireizerische theologische Zeitschrift, 1900, pp. 184 sqq.; and the literature under COMMUNISM, II., 3. On Rock, consult ADB, xxxviii. 735.