Both the general purpose of the venerable Johann Arndt in writing his “True Christianity,” and also his own character and spirit, will be best exhibited by submitting to the reader a statement referring to his personal history. He was born, December 27th, 1555, in Ballenstädt, a town in the Duchy of Anhalt, where his father, Rev. Jacob Arndt, long labored as the chaplain of Duke Wolfgang, and the pastor of one of the Evangelical Lutheran congregations of the place. The latter was a devout and faithful minister of the Gospel, and a wise and affectionate father. He had, from the earliest period, devoted much attention to the religious education of his son, in the performance of which holy duty he was faithfully sustained by his excellent wife. Their efforts were abundantly blessed. The son, even in his early years, took great pleasure in reading the writings of Luther, and also acquired a fondness for those of Thomas á Kempis, of Tauler, and of others who breathed the same spirit of devotion. That this feature of his religious character did not undergo any essential change in his riper years, appears from the circumstance that he was one of the first who collected, arranged, and republished the religious tracts of Stephen Prætorius, a Lutheran divine of an eminently devout spirit. These were subsequently re-edited by Martin Statius, who prefixed the title: Spiritual Treasury (Geistliche Schatzkammer), to the collection. This book of devotion was highly prized by Spener, has often been reprinted, is found in many German households, and well deserves to be translated, and thus made accessible to the English religious public.
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