• Crusius Florian

    ville de Stettin

    Crusius Florian


    Crusius Florian(Germ. Kraus,) was a Physician of great eminence, and of all the Antitrinitarians perhaps the most distinguished as a Philosopher. According to some, he was born at Stettin, the capital of Pomerania: according to others, at Dantzic. Sandius is altogether silent respecting the place of his birth ; but Bock calls him a Samogete, because, in the Acts of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Konigsberg, and in some Poems published by him, he is expressly called a Samogete, or Lithuanian.

    He was educated in the Provincial Lyceum of Tilsit, a Prussian town on the borders of Lithuania ; and speaks in the highest terms of his instructors, in the Dedication of his treatise "De Enunciationis Divisione" to Adrian de Wendt, Rector, and George Hartwich, Co-rector of the School of Tilsit.

    He removed to the University of Konigsberg in 1611, where, after prosecuting his literary studies with the greatest care and diligence, and paying particular attention to the Greek language, he devoted himself wholly to Philosophy and Medicine. During his stay at Konigsberg, he was an inmate in the house of John Papius, Professor of Medicine, whom he calls his patron and protector, and for whom he entertained almost a filial affection. This appears, from the Dedication of his "Dissertatiuncula de Morbi Ungarici Caussis et Curatione ; Lintz, 1616," 8vo.; in which he mentions, with gratitude, three cases of hospitality, from which he derived great pleasure and advantage ; namely, that of Ehrenreich, Free Baron of Saurau, in Styria ; that of John Papius, of Konigsberg, in Prussia ; and that of the Provincial States of Upper Austria, on whose munificence he passes a high encomium. To this Brief Dissertation are annexed some Latin Verses of John Strauss, then Public Preceptor of a celebrated Provincial School at Ens, but afterwards one of the Professors in the University of Konigsberg. Crusius likewise wrote a congratulatory Greek Elegy, which was subjoined to Strauss's "Logistica Astronomica, Lintz, 1616," 8vo. He had given several specimens of his proficiency while at the University, by publicly disputing, under the presidency of Sigismund Weyer, Mathematical Professor, "De Figura, Situ et Motu Cceli, necnon de Figura et Situ Terrae," on the 22nd of August, 1614 ; by the delivery of his Disputation, "De Enunciationis Divisione, ejusque Adfectationibus," under the presidency of George Meier, August 3rd, 1611, on taking his Master's degree ; by the composition of a Greek Elegy, which was appended to George Meier's Disputation "De Predicamentis," held July 20th, 1611, when George Kolb acted as respondent; and by another Greek Poem, subjoined to Meier's Disputation "De Definitione et Divisione," held Sept. 28th, 1611, when Laurence Neresius acted as respondent. But when he had finished his studies at the University of Konigsberg, he led a wandering and unsettled kind of life for some time ; and chose rather to engage himself as tutor to some young men of noble rank, than to enter at once upon his professional duties as a Physician. He continued, however, to apply himself to the study of Medicine ; and, with this view, attended lectures at several of the German Universities. For some time he lived on the most friendly terms with Kepler, the celebrated Astronomer, at Lintz, the capital of Upper Austria. When he left that city, he went into France, with his patient, Gotthard Carl Von Miilbach, and visited Strasburg, where he remained till 1619, and published his Dissertation "On Head-Ache." Till this time his religious sentiments appear to have been quite orthodox, as far as the doctrine of the Trinity is concerned ; but meeting with Martin Ruarus at Strasburg, and conversing with him on theological subjects, his orthodoxy was shaken, and he soon became a decided and zealous Antitrinitarian. The doubts raised in his mind by Ruarus were confirmed by personal intercourse with Wolzogenius, and by reading the Works of Faust Socin and Valentine Smalcius. He states, in a letter to Ruarus, that by a diligent perusal of the "Theological Lectures" of the former of these writers, he has made himself master of the controversy, which he had before but imperfectly understood. Calovius, however, on the authority of Crusius's own unpublished Confession, asserts, that he did not go along with Socin, in denying the doctrine of the Atonement. 

    On his return from Strasburg into Austria, he was entertained at the Castle of Rastenburg by the kindness of Michael Zelter, who had fonnerly been Chamberlain to Rudolph II. But having no settled occupation, he now resolved to undertake the tour of Germany. He went first into Saxony, and remained some time at Erfurt. After this, we find him at Stettin, in Pomerania, where he made a much longer stay, and married the sister of Wolzogenius. From Stettin he went to Bobelwitz, the residence of Caspar Sack, near Meseritz, in Prussian Poland. At length he settled at Dantzic, where he acquired considerable property by practising as a Physician, and built himself a house. During his residence in that city, he gained over to the Unitarian party, by conversation and argument, Daniel Zwicker, a gentleman of his own profession ; and he is supposed to have been instrumental in the conversion of others. Had he confined himself to his professional pursuits, he would probably have met with no molestation ; but making common cause with Ruarus, who was stationed at Dantzic, for the express purpose of teaching Socinianism, he was ordered, by a decree of the Senate, in 1643, to leave the city, but was allowed a year, to enable him to settle his affairs, and dispose of his house. Where he went afterwards, and when he died, neither Sandius nor Bock informs us. That he was living in the year 1645, and probably somewhere in Poland, or Lithuania, a letter of Marinus Mersennus, addressed to him from Paris, testifies. In this letter Mersennus urges him not to withhold from the public his "Collectanea contra Atheos." Bock thinks, that this is the same work, which Ruarus was commissioned by the Synod of Racow, in 1636, to request that Crusius would prepare, "On Divine Providence." But whether it is the same as the one which Sandius mentions, (B. A. p. 177,) under the title of "Brief Reasons, or rather Steps towards the Attainment of True Religion, against the Atheists," cannot with certainty be determined.

    The writings of Crusius display great erudition, much philosophical acuteness, and no small degree of mathematical skill, especially his letters to Kepler, inserted in the correspondence of that eminent Astronomer. (Epist. Kepplerianae, Lips. 1718, Fol. 629, seqq., N.399, seqq.) Hence, the Socinians, who have been charged with carrying the study of Philosophy to excess, held him in high estimation, and regarded him as the Prince of Philosophers; being justly proud of the accession of such a man to their body. In addition to the works already incidentally mentioned, the following are enumerated, as having proceeded from his pen.

    1. On True Freedom of Will. MS.

    2. A Treatise on Religious Liberty. Crusius himself alludes to this, in a letter to Joachim Peuschel, written in 1628 ; and Bock thinks it probable, that it is the same treatise, which Sandius mentions, in his list of the writings of anonymous authors, under the title of "Reasons why Liberty in Sacred Things ought to be granted to us" (Unitarians).

    3. On the Efficacy of the Death of Christ. Lat. and Germ. MS.

    4. A Letter to Marinus Mersennus On the true Knowledge of God. MS. Crenius refers to this Letter, in his "Animadv. Philol.," P. iii. pp. 93, seqq., where Mersennus's Letter to Crenius is inserted at full length.

    5. On the Origin and Essence of the Son of God. MS.

    6. A Treatise on the Trinity. Crusius speaks of this Treatise as half finished, in his letter to Peuschel mentioned above. (Zeltneri Hist. Crypto-Soc. p. 806.)

    7. On the Nature and Power of Man. Germ. MS.

    8. On the Church of Christ. Germ. MS.

    9. On the Satisfaction of Christ. Germ. MS. Sandius mentions a treatise, bearing this title, in his list of anonymous authors. (B. A. p. 177.)

    10. A Reply to Paul Felgenhauer's "Probbiichlein." Germ. This title has a reference to Felgenhauer's "Priifebuchlein auf das Photinianische Buch: Kennzeichen der falschen Lehrer;" and the Photinian Book alluded to, by Felgenhauer, is, a German tract, entitled, "Zwolff Kennoder Mahl-Zeichen der falschen Lehrer," appended to the first of Ernest Sohner's "Three Theological Problems." (VideArt. 145, No. 13; and Bock, Hist. Ant. T. I. P. i. p. 213; P. ii. pp. 706 and 902.)

    11. An open Confession of Faith concerning the infallible Knowledge of divine Things. Germ. MS. Sandius mentions this in his catalogue of anonymous writings ; but intimates that Florian Crusius is probably its author. (B. A. p. 177.) Bock thinks that it is the Confession mentioned by Calovius, in his Inaugural Oration, "De Haeresi Socin." (Hist. Ant. T. I. P. i. p. 214.)

    12. A Refutation of the Opinion of those Socinians, who deny the Personality of the Holy Spirit. This Refutation is added, by way of Appendix, to Sandius's "Problema Paradoxum de Spiritu Sancto."

    13. Animadversions of N. N. upon certain Passages in the Writings of Faust Socin, in which Faust seems to have refuted the Arguments of his Opponents in an unsatisfactory Manner, or to have given erroneous Interpretations of Passages of Scripture ; and a brief Explanation of Isaiah liii. These Animadversions were pubbshed, with the Works of Socinus, in the "Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum," (T. I. Fol. 801 — 805,) and are attributed by Sandius to F. C, (B. A. p. 80,) which are no doubt intended for the initial letters of the name of Florian Crusius. The Explanation of Isaiah liii. follows (Fol. 806*— 809). It has been thought, that an Explanation of this passage in Dutch, purporting to have been written by Theophilus Eleutherius, which Sandius mentions, (B. A. p. 179,) is only a version of that of Crusius.

    14. Two Notes on the Racovian Catechism. Ed. 1681, 4to.; 1684, 8vo. The former of these editions was appended to Crellius's "Ethica Aristotelica."

    15. A Letter to Martin Ruarus, dated Erfurt, May 1st, 1625.

    16. Another Letter of considerable length, addressed to the same individual, about the year 1628.

    17. A third Letter, in Defence of the Sentiments contained in No. 16, dated Stettin, February 21st, 1629. These three Letters are inserted in the Second Century of Ruarus's Correspondence, and are numbered 29, 32 and 38 respectively.

    18. A Letter to Joachim Peuschel, written July 21st, 1628. The object of this Letter was to bring back his correspondent to the Antitrinitarian party, which he had deserted some years before. It contained a long series of arguments in favour of the Unitarian doctrine, which are set forth by Zeltner, in his " Historia Crypto-Socinismi" (pp. 802—805). Zeltner also gives the concluding portion of the Letter in full (pp. 805—808). John Paul Felwinger inserted Crusius's Letter, and submitted its contents to an examination, in his "Disceptatio Theologica Anti-Photiniana de Ratione in Theologia. Helmst. 1671," 4to.

    19. Animadversions on a Letter of the Authorities of Dantzic to the Illustrious Castellan of Cracow, and General-in-chief of the Polish Army, (Koniekpolski,) written January 29th, 1639. These Animadversions are inserted in the Correspondence of Ruarus, (Cent. ii. Ep. 55,) and were intended as a reply to a letter of the Magistrates of Dantzic, contained in the same collection. (Ep. 50.) In the edition of 1681, David Ruarus has ascribed them to his father, but by mistake ; for Zeltner has assigned reasons, in his edition, why they should rather have been attributed to Crusius. 

    20. On the Soul. This is a reply to a writing of an anonymous adversary, and is mentioned by N. N. in a letter to Ruarus. (Cent. ii. Ep. 43.)

    21. An Explanation of the Beginning of John's Gospel. MS. Crusius is said to have given an interpretation of this passage, different from the Socinian one.

    22. A Reply to Felwinger's "Disceptatio de Ratione in Theologia." (Vide No. 18.)

    23. A Letter to Nathanael Dilger, Senior Minister of Dantzic, dated April 11th, 1643. The autograph of this Letter came into the hands of Bock ; and appended to it were, A Paper, the Object of which was to procure Peace and Security for the Socinian Church, and A Confession of Faith.

    24. Crusius's Writings on philosophical and mathematical Subjects, e. g. On Place, the infinite Divisibility of Matter, Space, Motion, &c, are said to be full of learning, talent and judgment.


    (Vidend. Sandii B. A. pp. 140,141. Bock, Hist . Ant . T. I. pp. 209— 217.1029. Hist. Socin. Pruss. § x. pp. 30—33. Zeltneri Hist . CryptoSocin. Altorf. pp. 50, 51. 114. (Not b.) 800—808. Ruari Epp. Cent . ii. N. 29. 32. 38. T. Crenii Anim. Phil, et Hist . l. c. Calovii Opp. Anti-Socin. Fol. 7. Rees's Racov. Cat . pp. 233. 281. Hist. Introd. p. kxxiii. Walchii Bibl. Theol. T. I. p. 541.)


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