This distinguished philosopher and amiable moralist, who has been claimed by many writers as the founder of the Rosicrucian Order, was born on the 17th of August, 1586, at the small town of Herrenberg, in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg, where his father exercised clerical junctions of a respectable rank.
After receiving an excellent education in his native province, he traveled extensively through the principal countries of Europe, and on his return home received the appointment, in 1614, of deacon in the town of Vaihingen. Four years after he was promoted to the office of superintendent at Kalw. In 1639 he was appointed court chaplain and a spiritual privy councilor, and subsequently Protestant prelate of a Adelberg, and almoner of the Duke of Wurttemberg. He died on the 27th of June, 1654, at the age of sixty-eight years.
Andrea was a man of extensive acquirements and of a most feeling heart. By his great abilities he was enabled to elevate himself beyond the narrow limits of the prejudiced age in which he lived, and his literary labors were exerted for the reformation of manners, and for the supply of the moral wants of the times. His writings, although numerous, were not voluminous, but rather brief essays full of feeling, judgment, and chaste imagination, in which great moral, political, and religious sentiments were clothed in such a language of sweetness, and yet told with such boldness of spirit, that, as Herder says, he appears, in his contentious and anathematizing century, 'ike a rose springing up among thorns.
Thus, in his Menippus, one of the ear1iest of his works, he has, with great skill and freedom, attacked the errors of the Church and of bis contemporaries.
His Herculis Christiani Luctus, xxiv, 18 supposed by a some persons to have given indirectly, if not immediately, hints to John Bunyan for his Pilgrim's Progress.
One of the most important of his works, however, or at least one that has attracted most attention, is his Fama Fraternitatis, published in 1615. This and the Chemische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreuz, or Chemical Nuptials, by Christian Rosencreuz, which is also attributed to him, are the first works in which the Order of the Rosicrucians is mentioned. Arnold, in his Ketzergeschichte or History of Heresy, contends, from these works, that Andrea was the founder of the Rosicrucian Order.
Others claim a previous existence for it, and suppose that he was simply an annalist of the Order; while a third party deny that any such Order was existing at the time, or afterward, but that the whole was a mere mythical rhapsody, invented by Andrea as a convenient vehicle in which to convey his ideas of reform. But the whole of this subject is more fully discussed under the head of Rosicrucianism, which see.
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