celebrated Swedish representative of Hallean pietism, and became a constant reader of the church paper edited by him. It was here, too, that he met George Scott, an English Methodist clergyman, who was established in the Swedish capital as chaplain to Samuel Owen, a wealthy English manufacturer. Scott was a man of ability and enthusiasm, and his influence was not limited to the employes of Samuel Owen. He preached in Stockholm from 1830 to 1842 with great success, and although he had had a predecessor in a certain Methodist clergyman by the name of Stewens, he may properly be considered as the founder of the Methodist Church in Sweden. In him Jonas Olson found a warm and sympathetic friend, with whom he had many extended conversations upon religious subjects. Jonas Olson, indeed, never openly embraced Methodism, but was greatly influenced by its teachings, and even accepted its cardinal doctrine of sanctification.

It was, however, especially in the matter of temperance reform that the two friends met on common ground. Under Scott's direction Jonas Olson began to organize temperance societies in his own and neighboring parishes. At first he met with considerable opposition. The clergy objected that Jesus at Canaan had not disdained to encourage the social practice of putting the wedding guests under the table. Jonas Olson's own pastor accused him of heinous designs upon his distillery. But the Crown soon lent its support to the movement, and then the clergy were everywhere among the first to sign the pledge.

But it was not only as an organizer of temperance societies that Jonas Olson found expression for his change of attitude towards religion. Immediately upon his conversion in 1825 he had begun to preach in the conventicles of the Devotionalists, who were just then beginning to appear in Söderala Parish, in the province of Helsingland. In 1826 he married his first wife. The marriage proved a happy one, although but of short duration. The death of his wife, after only a year and a half of married life, caused him to throw himself with additional zeal into church work, and it was due to him that Devotionalism was carried to every quarter of the province of Helsingland.

The Devotionalists were pietists, using the word in the broader sense in which it is employed by Heppe and Ritschl. They did not form a separate sect. They were merely individuals who were dissatisfied with the absence of vital piety in the Established Church, and who wished to introduce a living Christianity by private preaching and by the superior piety of their lives. They were called Devotionalists, or Readers (Läsare), because they assembled in private houses to hold devotional meetings, and because they read their Bibles and books of devotion assiduously in their homes.

C. A. Cornelius says in his history of the Swedish Church, “If we consider European Christianity in its entirety, church work in the nineteenth century. .. has been characterized by an endeavor to repair the injury wrought by the century of the Illumination, and, if possible, to restore the old order of things.” It was this reactionary tendency which, in the Swedish Church, was represented by Devotionalism.

Devotionalism had this in common with other pietistic movements in the latter part of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries, that it sought to purify the Church from within ; that it supplemented the regular church service by conventicle worship; that it paid less attention to objective purity of doctrine than subjective piety; that, in its zeal for the simplicity and vital Christianity of the Apostolic Church, it condemned many forms of amusement and recreation in themselves entirely innocent.

The clergy in the Swedish Church not being so thoroughly and generally rationalized as in other Protestant countries, the conditions were not present for a popular religious oppo

*C. A. Cornelius. Svenska Kyrkans Historia. Upsala, 1875, 2d ed.,

pp. 251-2.

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sition movement of national dimensions, and thus we find that Swedish pietism did not produce any great national leader after whom it might be named. It began to spread under local leaders in the latter part of the eighteenth century. . Its stronghold was Norrland, one of the great political divisions of Sweden, of which Helsingland is a subdivision.

Economically, the province of Helsingland is well situated. It possesses rich iron mines, which yield a large annual produce. It also possesses linen and other manufactures. But the principal part of the population consists of independent peasants, who own their land in fee-simple. Helsingland is not cursed with the system of large landed estates which obtains farther south in Sweden, and consequently there are no Törpare, or cottagers, who eke out a precarious existence on small patches of land held in return for labor services rendered to the lord. The principal city is Gefle, built on a small inlet of the Gulf of Bothnia. It has a good harbor and is one of the best built towns in Sweden. Its population exceeds twenty thousand. The commerce is considerable. The exports consist of iron, timber, flax and linens. The imports are principally corn and salt. The population of Helsingland being chiefly agricultural, there are no important towns outside of Gefle. The peasants are frugal, thrifty and industrious. Their farms are small, but well kept and well cultivated, the staple produce being flax, rye and potatoes. The peasants place great pride in their neat red-painted farmhouses surrounded by patches of flowers and garden-truck. The roads are fine, and distances to market convenient.

In spite of material prosperity, however, the state of education and morals in the early part of the present century was low. Drunkenness was a common vice. Many could not read, and few indeed were those who could write. Yet in this they were no better nor no worse than the peasantry of other European countries at the time, for the day of modern public schools had not yet arrived. But with the advent of Devotionalism and temperance reform a radical

change took place. The people began to read and turned to habits of industry and sobriety.

It was the best part of the population which joined the Devotionalists, namely, the peasants and independent artisans. Some of the clergy, too, became interested and took part in the conventicles. But Jonas Olson continued to be the leader and the principal lay-member. He enjoyed the respect and the confidence of the entire community, representing it in a public capacity as juror to the district court. For seventeen years Jonas Olson and the Devotionalists of Helsingland assembled in conventicles and read their Bibles and books of devotion unmolested, enjoying their full privileges as members of the Established Church, when a new actor appeared upon the scene. This actor was Eric Janson.


Eric Janson' was born December 19, 1808, in Biskopskulla Parish, Uppland, and was the second son in a family of four sons and one daughter. His father, Johannes Mattson, was a poor man, who by thrift and industry succeeded in laying by enough means to become the owner of a small landed estate in Österunda Parish, Westmanland, where Eric spent the formative period of his youth. Eric Janson was a born religious leader. He was not a profound speculator, but was endowed with a rare gift of eloquence and an extraordinary power to control the actions of large bodies of men. Little is known of his youth, except that his education was meagre, consisting merely of the religious instruction required in a catechumen of the Established Church. While yet a mere boy he experienced the call of religion, but soon suffered a relapse, and there was nothing in his mode of life to distinguish him from the pleasure-loving youth of the social class to which he belonged.

1 This surname is a modified form of Johannes, the baptismal name of Eric's father.

At the age of twenty-six he experienced a miraculous cure from an aggravated form of rheumatism. He had for some time been suffering intense pains, but, being a man of restless, active disposition, he could not be persuaded to treat himself as an invalid. One day, as he was plowing in the fields, an unusually severe attack came upon him, in which he fainted away. On regaining consciousness, he heard a voice saying: “It is writ that whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive; all things are possible to him that believeth. 'If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it,' saith the Lord.” Eric Janson recognized in the voice a message from God, and, falling upon his knees, prayed long and fervently that his lack of faith might be forgiven him and that his health might be restored. On arising, his pains had disappeared, never to return.

From this time on his whole being was turned into religious channels. He was seized with an insatiable thirst after spiritual knowledge. He read all the books of a devotional character that were to be had, but, not finding in them the peace that he longed for, turned himself towards the Bible as / the sole source of spiritual comfort. His own personal experience had taught him the efficacy of faith in prayer. To want of faith, then, he ascribed all the misery and suffering which he saw about him on every hand. This want of faithhe attributed to the Established Church, which was concerned more with outward churchly ceremonies than with vital piety. From the subject of faith the transition of thought to the subject of sanctification was easy and natural. After prolonged study he came to the conclusion that the Lutheran doctrine of sanctification was wrong, holding that the faithful have no sin. He seems not, however, to liave advocated these views in public before 1840, for, although acting as a lay-preacher among the Devotionalists of Österunda Parish, no suspicion attached to his orthodoxy previous to that year. But in 1840 he began to preach earnestly against the assumed abuse of the devotional literature, insisting that it distracted

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