Skip to main content

Full text of "The Lutherans in America; a story of struggle, progress, influence and marvelous growth. With an introd. by Henry Eyster Jacobs"

See other formats


Lutherans in America 

A Story of Struggle, Progress, Influence 


Marvelous Growth, 






Hier Stehe ich, ieh kann nicM anders. 






In the preparation of this volume, grateful acknowledgements are due 
to my colleagues, Rev. M. Valentine, D. D., LL. D., and Rev. C. A. 
Hay, D. D., for valuable assistance ; to Rev. Prof. A. Graebner for the 
material* of the history of the Missourians ; to Rev. Prof. G. H. Schodde, 
Ph. D., for that of the Synod of Ohio; to Rev. Prof. G. J. Fritschel for 
that of the Synod of Iowa ; to Rev. Prof. W. K. Frick for that of the 
Swedes ; to Rev. Prof. K. O. Lomen for that of the Norwegians ; to Rev. 
R. Andersen for that of the Danes; to Rev.G. F. Krotel, D.D., LL.D., 
and Rev. Prof. C. W. Schaeffer, D. D., LL. D., for contributions rela 
tive to the history of the Pennsylvania Synod and that of the General 
Council ; to Rev. T. W. Dosh. D. D., for the matter of the United Synod, 
to Rev. J. Nicum for statistical matter ; to Revs. Prof.L. A. Fox, D. D., 
and Rev. J. Paul Stirewalt for material on the Tennessee Synod, and to 
Rev. D. M. Kemerer for similar favors concerning the Pittsburg 
Synod, G. C. 

The arduous labor of collecting and digesting the material has been 
inspired and sustained by the supreme desire to afford to the Lutheran 
people, as well as the general Christian public, a better acquaintance 
with their glorious Church, under the firm conviction that to know her is 
to love her, and that those knowing and loving her true character will 
consecrate themselves to the maintenance of her purity in faith and 
life, and the enlargement of her efficiency in extending the word and 
kingdom of Jesus. 

To the indulgence of the readers and the grace of the Holy Spirit the 
imperfect results are humbly commended. 

E. J. W. 

Festival of the Reformation, 1889. 


THERE are three forms of historical composition, 
the documentary, the philosophical and the pop 
ular. The documentary and the philosophical f 
the former furnishing the evidence for the facts stated, 
and the latter dealing with the principles which under 
lie the facts, are intended for scholars, who come to 
the study of the subject with some degree of prelim 
inary knowledge of what is treated. The critical stu 
dent is never satisfied until he can trace the statement 
of a fact to its ultimate source, and judge it in the 
same light as the historian himself. But there is no 
less room for the popular presentation of history. 
This is necessarily dependent upon what has been 
previously accomplished in the other departments. 
The main facts which have been gathered as the result 
of minute and extensive research, are woven together 
into a continuous narrative, which does not aim at 
being exhaustive, but simply at giving what, in the 
opinion of the historian, is most important and inter 
esting to the general reader. He takes the reader 
with him to a mountain side, and points out the path 
through which the ascent has been made; but does 
not enter into the details as would the surveyor who 
had been commissioned to revise lines, and establish 
the validity of conflicting claims. 

vi Introduction. 

With the growth of the Lutheran Church in this 
country, there has been a most commendable cultiva 
tion of the department of documentary history by a 
few learned and persevering scholars. Chief among 
these are the editors of that work of stupendous in 
dustry, the revised edition of the Hallesche Nachrich- 
ten, Drs. W. J. Mann, B. M. Schmucker and W. Ger- 
mann. Dr. Mann has also laid the Church under ever 
lasting obligations by his " Life and Times of Muhlen- 
berg." The earlier labors, within this sphere, of Dr. 
W. M. Reynolds and the recent ones of Rev. J. Nicum, 
are not to be forgotton. Unfortunately, the lack of his 
torical culture on the part of even our more scholarly 
ministers is manifest by the rarity with which the 
Hallesche Nachrichtcn appears on the shelves of their 
libraries, and especially by the fact that the publica 
tion of that important collection of documents with 
the illustrative historical notes brought down to 
the present day, has ceased with its first volume. 
Such work, however, is not lost. With every advance 
in the cultivation of documentary history, an ad 
vance in its more popular presentation is required. 
The more monographs written within the scope of a 
science, the greater the demand for handbooks out 
lining the subject. If we compare the readable, and, at 
its time, very useful sketch of the life of Muhlenberg 
published in 1856, by Dr. M. L. Stoever, with that 
above referred to, some idea can be formed of the ad 
vance, during this interval, made among us in histor 
ical studies. While, therefore, in the past, the popu 
lar presentation has not been neglected, and Drs. E. 
L. Hazelius, S. S. Schmucker, and C. W. Schaeffer, at 

Introduction. vii 

different times have furnished sketches, it has been im 
possible for any member of our congregations to find 
the facts of the origin and development of the Lu 
theran Church in America, as known up to the present 
time, adequately given in any one book. 

In this volume, Dr. Wolf has undertaken to chroni 
cle the results so far as they have been made accessi 
ble. The popular historian, in some respects, per 
forms a self-sacrificing work. He writes a book for 
the times; but which, like everything adapted to the 
times, can only indirectly serve a permanent end. It 
stimulates to the higher appreciation and the more 
extensive study of history. It leads students from the 
popular, to the cultivation of the documentary and 
philosophical spheres. It fulfils an important office 
in widening the horizon, and informing the various 
parts of the Church of their historical relations. It 
becomes a starting-point for earnest activity, both in 
practical work and in scholarly investigation. 

Two difficulties especially confronted the author of 
this work. Historians speak of the necessity of an 
historical perspective. A photograph of a building 
cannot be taken unless the camera be placed at a con 
siderable distance. Those who have made or who 
are closely related to those who make history, cannot 
well write it. They are the best witnesses concerning 
bare statements of facts, but not the best judges as to 
principles and results. They cannot see the trees, be 
cause of the leaves. A life of Muhlenberg, by Dr. 
Kunze, or Dr. Helmuth, would not have been as satis 
factory as that of Dr. Mann, written one hundred years 
after Muhlenberg s death. We have scarcely reached 

vi i i Introduction. 

the point whence we can view the Lutheran Church in 
America of even the earlier period of this century 
with complete historical impartiality. This will be 
done in time. Everything will doubtless be subjected 
to critical, historical analysis. But, meanwhile, the 
story, so far as known, must be told ; and the facts, so 
far as known, must be judged, in order to prepare the 
way for those who are to follow. 

A second difficulty before him, has been that while 
the Lutherans of America are separated into several 
divisions, on the ground of principles upon which, thus 
far, they have been unable to agree, and the discussion 
of which has formed a great part of the history during 
the period treated, he has endeavored to present an 
outline of the external history with entire impartiality. 
It is too much to expect of any man, that even with 
the highest appreciation of those with whom he dif 
fers, he can be completely uninfluenced by his theo 
logical standpoint. The writer frankly confesses that 
he could not ; and hence, would not demand of an 
other, what he cannot plead for himself. We have 
read with much interest the entire book. We have 
admired the general objectivity and impartiality of 
the author s judgment. We have been stirred to en 
thusiasm by his eloquence, and only on a few points 
have we ventured suggestions. Within its own sphere 
and for its own purpose, the work is well conceived 
and well executed and worthy of high commendation. 

The story which is rehearsed is one of the deepest 
interest. It abounds in incidents as inspiring and 
worthy of commemoration as the far more familiar 
history of communions hitherto more prominent in 

Introduction. ix 

this country. It is at the same time a story of much 
intricacy. So various are the sources from whence 
our Lutheran people come, and so constant has been 
the stream of immigration, placing layer after layer 
of successive movements upon one another, that 
much confusion would be unavoidable were the ele 
ments found here homogeneous in their European 
home. This, however, as is well-known, is not the 
case. The contrasts which exist in Europe, become all 
the more striking when placed in juxtaposition here. 
Conflicts which there could be avoided because of 
distance or national barriers, here must be faced, as 
each theory is put to the severest tests. The distribu 
tion which Guizot makes of the history of the civiliza 
tion of Europe into three periods, viz.: one of origina 
tion, one of experimentation, and one of permanent 
and vigorous development, we believe will be found to 
be very applicable here. While this is true of the 
Church as a whole, it is also true of each particular 
element included in it. In one respect, the period of 
origination was over with the new era that entered 
with the landing of Muhlenberg. In another respect, 
we are still in the midst of it, and will remain so as 
long as the majority of our communicant membership 
are of foreign birth. The period of experimentation 
is marked by the several efforts that have been made 
to comprise all Lutheran Synods into a general organ 
ization. How far this has advanced, and how near or 
how far any of the general bodies is to this goal, may 
be learned from this volume. In spite, however, of the 
fact that the period of experimentation is still dom 
inant, that of vigorous development has not been 

x Introduction. 

delayed. The three periods overlap each other, and 
the one begins before the other ends. 

There is yet another fact which a careful study of 
this volume shows. We cannot but be reminded of 
the parallel in the history of the chosen people of the 
old covenant. Once there was a time when the efforts 
of the prophets were directed to awaken Israel to a 
sense of its true importance. There was no national 
spirit left; all national self-consciousness had vanished. 
Not only the national habits, but even the religious 
rites of the neighboring nations became the standards 
according to which they endeavored to amend and ad 
just what God had given them. But there came an 
other period when Israel awoke to a consciousness of 
its prerogative and asserted its rights. Soon we find 
national apathy succeeded by a self-consciousness that 
ran to the opposite extreme, as exhibited in the days 
when the new dispensation opened. The name, the 
customs, the institutions were cherished as a badge of 
their glorious past. All not able to establish its claim 
to unquestioned national purity was renounced. Noth 
ing good could be acknowledged as coming from any 
other quarter. Both periods of the history of God speo- 
ple may be found reproduced in that of the Lutheran 
Church in America. Both tendencies mayalso befound 
to coexist at the same time and place. As the elder 
Dr. Krauth said, there was a time when the dom 
inant tendency was "to glory that we are like every 
body, and consequently nothing in ourselves, living 
only by the breath of others," or as he might have ad 
ded, living by mere sufferance, despised by others as 
those having little respect for themselves. Suddenly 

Introduction. xi 

as the cloud lifted, the great proportions of our Church, 
her vast heritage, her wonderful structure of theology, 
her rich treasures in every department of religious 
literature and her active work in so many spheres of 
beneficence, came to view. How easy now to glory 
that we are Lutherans, and to fail to appreciate that 
in other quarters which we formerly reverenced with 
excessive devotion ! 

The Lutheran Church has come to America, cer 
tainly not without some great purpose. When we 
review the past, we are astonished at its vitality. If 
Lutheranism were mortal, it would have died in this 
country long ago. We have lost our hundreds of 
thousands of members, and millions of wealth over 
and over again. The mismanagement attending im 
portant trusts, and culminating in repeated disasters, 
Dr. Wolf well traces. But in spite of all we do to 
ruin it, on it moves with ever increasing vigor. Where 
one is lost, ten are gained ! The conflicts and mistakes 
make a noise and attract attention. The processes of 
steady growth are silent, extending into numberless 
recesses,and making themselves felt only when the whole 
field is viewed from year to year. We cannot believe 
that God is preserving such a communion, and con 
stantly extending it, simply for itself alone. Its influ- 
ience is destined to be felt far and wide beyond its own 
^boundaries, as its members become more thoroughly 
identified with this country, as it ceases to become a 
Church of strangers, and, after reaching a more thor 
ough harmony within itself, is able to take the posi 
tion which belongs to it from its birthright, as the 
Mother Church of Protestantism. It has come to 

xii Introduction. 

America to stay, and to grow, and by renewing its 
youth in this new world, to assert itself with all the 
power of its earliest days. Wherever this book is 
read, it must stimulate most earnest thought as to 
what we are, whither we are tending, and what each 
one must do to fulfil his trust with respect to that no 
ble cause which is committed to us. Our members 
certainly cannot discharge their responsibilities intelli 
gently and discriminatingly without knowledge of the 
facts that are here gathered, and most lucidly and 
forcibly exhibited. 



September 2?th, 1889. 




The Church Indestructible Some Corruption Salvation -a Gift The Heathen Way 
Natural Susceptibilitv to Krror Indulgences The Priesthood The Hierarchy 
The Papacy General Corruption The Testimony of History . . . .21 



Divine Intervention The Revival of Learning The Invention of Printing The 
Mariners Compass National Self-cunsciousness The Free Cities Revulsion of 
Popular Feeling toward the Hierarchy The Man for the Hour His Preparatory 
Training A Genuine Romanist A Mighty Change Birth of the Reformation- 
Value of Experience The Light of the Scriptures Infallibility The Material and 
Formal Principles Tetzel The XCV Theses Spread of the Reformation A 
Picture of the Time 44 



Luther s Course Superhuman Protection Fate of Previous Reformations Perma 
nence of Luther s The XLVI. Psalm Luther s Conservatism Justification by 
Faith C hrist s Dominion Not a New but a Regenerated Church The Lutheran 
Name Luther s Co-laborers Melancthon Amsdorf Bugenhagen Justus Jonas 
Other Worthies An Aroused Laity 75 



Luther and Columbus Romanism and Liberty The Founders of the Republic 
Dutch Lutherans Their Settlement on Manhattan Their Persecutions Appeal to 
the West India. Company Conventicles Suppressed Faith Enduring A Success 
ful Appeal The First Pastor, Goet water Change of Government A South 
Carolina Colony Another Pastor, Fabricius A Real Pastor, Arensius . . .107 



Gustavus Adolphus A Swedish-American Project The First Colony Tolerance 
Missionary Zeal Bitter Trials Change of Government Lutheran Devotion 
Fabricius William Penn A Macedonian Cr A Life Picture The Answer A 
Nation s S mpathy Re-enforcements Building Churches The Tears of Christ 
Glorious Success 133 

xiv Contents. 



Prostrate Germany First German Immigrants First German Congregation Rev. 
Justus Falckner 1 he Palatines Rev. Joshua von Kocherthal Oppression A 
New Outrage Emigration to Penns Ivan ia Spiritual Destitution 1 he Salzburg- 
ers Penns} Ivania Alarmed The Newlander Lutherans in the Carolinas In 
Maine In New Jersey ... 169 



Large Number of Germans Their Temporal Destitution Their Spiritual Distress 
A Few Ministers Occasional Services Steadfast in the Faith Innumerable Sects 
Thieves and Robbers A Jry for Help Magister Wolf The Hour of Darkness . 210 


Penns Ivania Congregations A Deputation sent to F.urope Their Reception Halle 
Effectual Sympath Slow Haste Heinrich Melchior Muhienberg His Youth 
His Call to America The Voyage His Character His Welcome His Labors 
His Enemies His Colleagues -1 1 is Success Union A Liturgy A Synod A 
Noble Ministry The Power of God ......... 233 



War and Religion Devastations in the Church Ministers Secularized Infidelity- 
Rationalism Religious Declension Peculiar Trials of the Lutheran C hurcli The 
Conflict of Language English in the Colonial Period Lutheran Jare of Episco 
pal Churches Change of Polic Its Occasion and Extent Its Deplorable Re 
sults A Measjre of Progress Two Muhlcnbergs Kelmuth ar.d Ichmicit 
The Schaeffers Kunze Henry E. Muhlenberg J. N. and J. P. Kurtz Jacob 
Goering Christian Endress J. G. Schmucker Geo. Lochman C A. G. Siorch 
F. II. Quitman ( hristian Streit A Presbyterian Lstimate Missionaries 
Eager Henkel Butler Steck Heyer The Ministerium of New York The Unio 
Ecclesiastica of South Carolina The Lutherans Ordain an Episcopalian The 
North Carolina S nod Tha Synod of Maryland and Virginia Dearth of Minis 
ters Want of Schools Private Training of Candidates 271 



The Occasion Plan Constitutional Convention First Meeting Practical Aims 
The Law of Success Recession of the Pennsylvania Synod -Second Meeting 
New Synods Theological Seminar Inaugural Charge Benjamin Kurtz, I). D., 
LL. D. S. .V. Schmucker. D. D. C. P. Krauth, P. D. A Clas.sical School -Edu 
cation Society Missionary Organizations Sunday-Schools Publication Enterprise 
A General Revival Extensive Prosperit Part Borne by the General Synod- 
Its Relations with Other Synods Multiplication and Accession of Synods With 
drawal of those in the South Two Tendencies The Disruption J. A. Brown, 
D. D., LL. D 322 




The Tennessee S> nod Organization Doctrinal Position Rev. David Henkel Use 
of the Press Pook of Concord < atechisation Missions Union with the 
United Synod -The Joint Synod of Ohio Missionary Work Education Pro 
gress Relation to other Bodies Literature The Iowa Synod Doctrinal Posi 
tionA Seminary Missionary Zeal Relation to Other Synods A Colloquium- 
Indian Missions Internal Disturbance A Secession Rapid Growth G. W. L. 
Fritschel, D. D. The Synod of Buffalo The Norwegians Early Destitution 
Proselyters Organization Growth Mission Work Different Parties Doctrinal 
Issues Present Divisions Efforts at Union Danish Synods An Icelandic Asso 
ciation 372 



A Circle of Pietists C. F. W. Walther Martin Stephan Rationalism Emigra 
tion A Revelation Christian Congregations A School of Learning Pastor Crab- 
au Rights of Congregations " The Lutheraner " The Dogmaticians Wyne- 
ken Fort Wayne Dr. Sihler Loehe A Practical Seminary Aggressiveness- 
Organization of Synod-A " Pilgerhaus" Gottlieb Schaller A Rupture Col 
loquium with the Iowa S nod With Buffalo District Synods The Synodical 
Conference The Predestinarian Controversy Separation Statistics The Patri 
archsThe Wisconsin Synod The Minnesota Synod 406 



Desire for Unity- An Inspiring Prospect Fraternal Address The Reading Conven 
tionThe First Meeting The Four Points Doctrinal Basis A Chasm Co-or 
dination of Languages Philadelphia Seminary Missionary Work Charles Por- 
terfield K auth, D D., LL. D. Beale M. Schmucker, D. D. The Pennsylvania 
Ministerium The New York Ministerium The Pittsburg Synod Purpose of its 
Organization Missionary Zeal Gottlieb Bassler The Swedish Au.^ustana S nod 

Immigration Americanization Lars P. Esbjorn P. N. Hasselquist E. Carls- 

son Organization of Synod Theological Seminary Eric Norelius Jonas Swens- 

son p e ter < arlsson Union with General Council Olof Olsson Waldenstrom 

Svnodical Meetings Conferences Swedish Sects Home Mission Work Paroch 
ial Schools Worship Intelligence 432 


Occasion for a new General Body Preliminary Convention General Synod, C. S. A. 

Doctrinal Pasis A Pastoral Letter Desire for Union A Common Service 

Theological Seminary Interchange of Visitors with other Bodies Foreign Mission 

ff or t A Colloquium The United Synod Institutions John Bachmann. D. D., 

LL. D. David F. Bittle, D. D ^64 

xv i Contents. 



The Reformers and Education Lutheran Universities Popular Education Culture 
of the Fathers Kunze Ilelmuth II. E. .Muhlenberg Want of Institutions- 
Pennsylvania College Parochial Schools Catechisation Care for Orphans 
Higher Schools Lutheran Publications Periodicals 476 



Interest of the Reformers Insuperable Obstacles Missionary Princes Pietism- 
Danish Mission in India Christian Friedrich Schwartz First Bible House First 
Missionaries in America An Example Lack of Ministers The Missionary Spirit 
Organization First Anniversar> C. F Heyer Walter Gunn India Mission- 
African Mission Home Missions Illustrations 49C , 



Effect of the Lutheran Movement Later Developments Genetic Relation The 
Mother Confession German Church Diet Trunk and Branches The Anglican 

Church The XXXIX Articles Book of Common Pra er English Catechisms 

Methodism The Presb. terians German Reformed The Moravians . . 504 



The Trunk and Branches Comprehensiveness Three S stems Free Grace Re 
strictions Proposed Limited Atonement Baptism Sacramental Grace The 
Real Presence Consubstantiation The Person of Christ Justification by Faith 
Liturgical Worship Ti.e Common Service The Church Festivals Types of 
Piety SI3 



Numerical Strength Comparison with the Past Comparison with Others Real Ex 
pressions of Strength Union With C hrist A Clear Faith Instruction of the 
Young Aggressiveness Institutions Periodicals Strength m other Lands . 523 



Seed and Harvest The Living Word Providence Progress under Trials Growth 
in every Sphere Pubic Recognition Drawbacks Advantages Doctrine Indoc 
trination Popularity Vast Material onscrvatism The Polyglot Church Pres 
tige Trend of Other Churches A Conviction ....... 530 


THE following are the principal works consulted in the preparation 
of this volume : 

Hallesche Nachrichten. 

Hallesche Nachrichten, Neue Ausgabe. I. 

Mann s Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. 

Seidensticker s Geschichte der Deutschen Gesellschaft. 

Acrelius History of New Sweden. 

Schaeffer s Early History of the Lutheran Church. 

Hazelius History of the American Lutheran Church. 

Schmucker s Lutheran Church in America. 

Sprague s Annals of the American Pulpit. 

Dorchester s Christianity in the United States. 

Evangelical Review. 

Lutheran Quarterly. 

Lutheran Church Review. 

Nicum s Geschichte des New York Ministeriums. 

Bernheim s German Settlements, Etc., in the Carolinas. 

Strobel s History of the Salzburgers. 

Kurtz s Church History. 

Fisher s History of the Reformation. 

Fisher s Outlines of Universal History. 

Mommsen s Provinces of the Roman Empire. 

Bayne s Martin Luther. 

Kostlin s Life of Luther. 

D Aubgine s History of the Reformation. 

Robertson s Charles V. 

Hausser s Period of the Reformation. 

Krauth s Conservative Reformation. 

Hagenbach s History of the Church in the i8th and 1 9 th centuries. 

Thomasius Dogmengeschichte. 

Seiss Ecclesia Lutherana. 

Seiss Luther and the Reformation. 

Herzog s Real- Encyclopaedic. 

Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia. 

Minutes of the different Synods, especially those of Pennsylvania 
and the General Synod. 

Proceedings of the Lutheran Diets, 1878, 1879. 

Morris Fifty Years in the Lutheran Ministry. 

Briggs American Presbyterianism. 

The Presbyterian Quarterly. 



Luther Frontispiece, 

Melancthon, . -73 

Gustavus Adolphus, *. . . . . 133 

Muhlenberg, Henry Melchior, . . 233 

Kunze, John C., . . . . . 271 

Henkel, Paul, . . . 302 

Schmucker, S. S., . . . . 322 

Stork, Charles A., .... 356 

Lehman, W. F., . . 380 

Fritschel, Gottfried, .... 386 

Walther, C. F. W., ..... 406 

Krauth, Charles Porterfield, . . . 432 

Esbjorn, L. P., 453 

Bachman, John, ..... 464 

Heyer, C. F., . . 490 

Andrewsen, O., . . . . 516 


Augustana College, . . 460 

Augsburg Seminary, . . . . 226 

Bethany College, . . . .216 

Capita] University, .... 204 

Carthage (Illinois) College, .... 486 

Concordia College, (North Carolina), . . 376 

Concordia Seminary, . . . . . 418 

Elk Horn (Iowa) High School, . . . 113 

Gaston College, . . 526 

Gettysburg Theological Seminary, 341 

Hagerstown (Maryland) Female Seminary, . 509 

Hartwick Seminary, 320 

Luther College, . . . . .12! 


Illustrations. xix 


Luther Seminary, . 2 53 

Lutherville (Maryland) Female Seminary, . 4 88 

Midland College, . 37 

Missionary Institute, . 3^6 

Muhlenberg College, . 457 

Newberry (South Carolina) College, . 468 

Old Concordia Seminary, . 4 12 

Pennsylvania College, 3 2 9 

Philadelphia Theological Seminary, 43 6 

Roanoke College, . 473 

Staunton (Virginia) Female Seminary, 4^3 

Thiel College, 449 

Wagner Memorial College, 447 

Wartburg College, . 230 

Wartburg Seminary, . *74 

Wittenberg College, . 289 


Addison (Illinois) Lutheran Orphan Asylum, . 427 

Germantown (Penn.) Orphan Home and Asylum, . 442 

Jacksonville (Illinois) Lutheran Hospital, 104 

Mary J. Drexel Home, . 55 

Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Lutheran Hospital, . 79 

St. John s Orphan Home (For Boys) Buffalo, N. Y., 534 

St. Louis (Missouri) Lutheran Hospital, 422 

St. John s Orphan Home (For Girls) Buffalo, N. Y., 538 

Toledo (Ohio) Lutheran Orphan Asylum, 388 

Tressler Orphan Home, . 35 * 

Wartburg Orphans Farm School, 43 

Wernle Orphan Home, . 3 8 3 

Wittenberg Orphan Home, . . 3 1 ? 

First Lutheran Church, . *39 

Old Swedes Church (Gloria Dei), . 155 

Old Trappe Church, 237 

Old St. Michael s Church, .... 262 

xx Illustrations. 


Old Zion Church, .... 268 

Jerusalem Church (Salzburger) Ebenezer. Ga., 191 

Church of the Holy Communion, Philadelphia, Perm., 23 

Danish Lutheran Church, . . 208 

Emanuel s Lutheran Church, New York, . 29 

First English Lutheran Church, Pittsburg, Penn., . 3 1 

Gustavus Adolphus Swedish Luth n Church, New York, 164 

Memorial Lutheran Church, Washington, D. C., 65 

St. Mark s English Lutheran Church, St. Louis, Mo., 70 

St. Mark s Lutheran Church, Charlotte, N. C., 27 

St. Paul s German Lutheran Church, Chicago, Ills., 100 

Seamen s Norwegian Lutheran Church, Brooklyn, N. Y., 398 

Trinity Lutheran Church, Lancaster, Penn., 218 

Trinity German Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wis., . 39 

Trinity Lutheran Church, Canton, .Ohio, . . 90 

Woman s Memorial Lutheran Church, Denver, Colo., 1 20 


Luther Memorial Statue, Washington, D. C., . 48 

Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo., 430 

Lutheran Mission House, Rajahmundry, India, 496 

Lutheran Mission High School, Rajahmundry, India, 501 

Lutheran Mission Church, Guntur, India, . . 493. 

The Lutherans in America. 



PERHAPS the boldest utterance ever heard upon 
this earth was the announcement of Jesus that he 
would found an imperishable institution. " Upon 
this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." The universal destroyer 
shall fail to overcome the Church. Everything else 
under the face of the sun may perish. Thrones and 
dynasties, nations and kingdoms, systems and creeds, 
may become extinct. Heaven and earth under this 
mighty law shall pass away, but the Church of Christ 
shall never die. Built upon the eternal rock of truth, 
she is indestructible. 

The sublimity, the astounding significance of that 
announcement, must ever challenge the attention of 
thoughtful minds. Casting defiance at the scepter of 
death, holding in contempt the teachings of universal 
history, a Hebrew sage, in an obscure corner of the 
world, and attended by a few humble peasants, sol 
emnly avows his purpose to rear a fabric that will 
stand forever ! The lessons of some thousands of 
years had pretty well demonstrated the transitory 

22 The Lutherans in America. 

and perishable character of the noblest results of 
human endeavor. Nations had succeeded nations 
and made the record of their achievements and their 
glory, only to disappear again and forever. Colos 
sal empires, splendid civilizations, hoary religions, 
profound philosophies, vast monuments of art and 
the loftiest creations of architectural genius, had fal 
len into decay and crumbled into dust. Of all the 
mighty past, nothing remained but a few fragmentary 
records, a few sporadic tenets of philosophy, of relig 
ion and of civil government, a few scattered columns 
on the plains of Mesopotamia, and several huge piles 
of masonry on the frontier of the Egyptian desert 
The earth was one vast graveyard, in which was 
buried all that a hundred generations had either 
thought or wrought, with but here and there a broken 
shaft surviving to mark the spots which entomb the 
exploits and products of human history. And stand 
ing thus amid the shadows and ghosts of this uni 
versal sepulchre, Christ declares his purpose of estab 
lishing a Church that shall defy the law of decay and 

And here, after nearly two thousand years, the 
Church is to-day, with its faith uncorrupted, its vitality 
unimpaired, its prayers still rising to God, its songs 
never ending, its benedictions and benefactions ever 
widening, and its resolve to subdue the earth becom 
ing more and more apparent. Its pulsations still give 
life to dying men, and multitudes all over the earth 
are fleeing to its shelter and clinging to its altars, as if 
they beheld in it the one unfailing refuge for man 
kind, an impregnable fortress scorning the shocks and 

The Church. 

storms of time, a rock in the midst of the sea unmoved 

by tempest or billow. 

The indestructibility of the Christian Church does 

not, however, make her proof against all phases or 

stages of c o ir 
ruption. The 
stream of living 
water in its 
course from a 
virgin spring 
through many 
lands into the 


ally absorbs 
some of the un 
clean and filthy 
deposits of the 
shores it washes 
and fructifies. 
Sometimes even 
very noxious 
and poisonous 
ingredients are 
taken up into the 
limpid waves. 


and refreshing 

the earth the noble river contracts in turn some of 
its corruptions. 

The vanquished nation may react upon the victors. 
Roman arms subdued the Greeks, but such was the 
power of Greek civilization that Rome in turn became 

UU.ULB - 1 ~_ 

24 The Lutherans in America. 

Hellenized. The Greeks became the educators of the 
Romans, and their manners, culture, art and science 
pervaded the great Empire. 

"When conquered Greece brought in her captive arts, 
She triumphed o er her savage conquerors hearts." 

So powerful was this reaction, that while the Greek 
States became Roman in name, the Roman Empire 
itself in the East became Greek. 

Christianity entered upon its career with the pur 
pose first to reduce to its faith the Jewish nation; 
then began its conquest of the Graco-Roman world. 
Afterward came its mission to the barbarians of the 
West. The task which the Church thus set for her 
self, the complete moral revolution of society, in 
volved the application of superhuman wisdom and 
divine power. Still the work had to be committed to 
human instrumentalities, with all their limitations, 
their infirmities, their impurities and their suscepti 
bilities, and nothing short of a perpetual miracle 
could have prevented the Church from being, in some 
measure, contaminated by her contact for a thousand 
years with these hoary and corrupt systems which she 
proposed to supplant. The principles of these sys 
tems had entwined themselves with every institution 
of society. They had become inwoven with the whole 
texture of domestic and public life, and in the conflict 
which now arose between the new and the old, some 
times a drawn battle ensued, and sometimes the old 
order made large inroads upon the ranks of the new. 
There was prodigious vitality in the institutions 
both of Judaism and of Heathenism, and though there 

The Church. 25 

was not that aggressiveness which intrinsically char 
acterizes the Christian spirit, yet, when it is remem 
bered that heathen tenets and customs, in particular, 
coincided with the natural tendencies and instincts of 
a depraved humanity, and that the elements which 
composed the Church were as yet but partially freed 
from these same tendencies and instincts, it may 
readily be understood, how, in the progress of the 
contest, baleful influences would retroactively pene 
trate her bosom. Insensibly something of the spirit, 
the beliefs and the customs of the opposing institu 
tions would invade the Christian community. 

Without ever compromising her attitude or her 
mission, the survival of depraved elements within the 
pale of the Church, and the character of her surround 
ings, would inevitably expose her to the taint of 
extraneous and injurious influences. In the course of 
her progress, while unfolding and dispensing her own 
treasures, she was liable to absorb, in a measure, the 
very errors, superstitions and moral impurities which 
she was charged to combat. When, at a later stage, 
she hoped to facilitate the transition from Paganism 
to Christianity by making concessions to heathen sen 
timents and customs, and accommodated herself to 
national peculiarities, the infection became inevitable. 
Her leaven that was introduced into Pagan society 
yielded insensibly, before its work was completed, to a 
counter-leaven. The power that was to conquer the 
world suffered itself to some extent to be conquered 
by the world. The energy of the contest became 
gradually somewhat relaxed. The leaders of the 
Church grew less vigilant, and ingredients of corrup- 

26 The Lutherans in America. 

tion, penetrated from time to time her bosom and 
vitiated her blood. 

Her conquests were often so rapid and so vast that 
her capacity of assimilation was overtaxed. Like 
America, opening her arms to receive and civilize the 
world, the Church found herself the mistress of im 
mense masses when she lacked adequate resources for 
their instruction and spiritual transformation. In this 
way "gross errors incorporated themselves in the con 
ceptions of the Christian people and in the institu 
tions of the Church." 

We cannot, in this volume, take account of all the 
errors and abuses which, in the progress of centuries, 
had corrupted the Church before the Reformation. 
Our reference must be restricted to those which most 
deeply affected her vital functions, and those which 
wrought the greatest wrong and ruin to souls. 

Christianity is a religion for the salvation of sin 
ners. It answers the cry, "what must I do to be saved !" 
It reveals to men a Father s love and offers salva 
tion gratuitously to lost and guilty men. " By grace 
ye are saved through faith, and this not of your 
selves ; it is the gift of God." "Of his mercy he saved 
us by the washing of water and the renewal of the 
Holy Ghost." "God so loved the world that he gave 
his. only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on 
him might not perish but have everlasting life." This 
was the good news proclaimed to sinners by inspired 
men who had learned the gospel from the lips of the 
founder of the Church. And this message brought 
peace to the sinner and effected the renovation of 
human nature. Alienated from the Hie of God and 

The Church. 


fallen from his primordial state, man possesses within 
him no power of self-recovery. His own unaided 
efforts and strength avail nothing. Salvation is of 
the Lord. It is a divine gift. It is the outflow of 
infinite mercy. 

All that devolves upon man is to grasp the offered 

grace, to lay 
hold of this sal 
vation, each for 
himself to make 
it his own by 
that confiding 
attitude, that 
trustful action, 
which is ex 
pressed in the 
simple exercise 
of faith in the 
offer and the 
promises. Such 
were the simple 
terms on which 
in the Apos 
tolic Church, 
both Jews and 
Heathen,the no 
blest alike with 
the vilest of 
grace of the Holy 


men, obtained pardon and the 

This is, in fact, the feature which distinguishes the 
Christian religion from all other religious systems. 

28 77/tf Lutherans in America. 

So far as the latter aim at moral improvement it is 
through the action and works of men. They assume 
that there lies in man, despite his ruin through sin, 
the capacity for self-redemption, the ability to effect 
his own salvation Paganism believes in man. He 
may save himself. Christianity believes in the Son 
of God. There is salvation in no other. 

This vital truth, the very heart of the Gospel came, 
in course of time, to be strangely obscured. It was 
practically set aside. The pagan idea of salvation 
through personal endeavor, through works of self- 
righteousness and penance, usurped again the place 
of salvation by grace. Instead of a free gift, pardon 
was sought as a reward. Men taught that it might be 
merited. By doing penance, by submitting to penal 
ties imposed by the Church, by self-inflicted sufferings 
and privations, by tears and fasts and voluntary mor 
tifications, the sinner could find the deliverance for 
which he sighed. Instead of being pointed to the 
boundless mercy of heaven, men were subjected to a 
system of cruel and rigorous exactions. They were 
required to go barefooted in the cold, to exchange 
their clothing for garments of torture, to undertake a 
distant journey, to separate from their loved ones 
and deprive themselves of the ioys of life, to enter 
the cloister and submit to a rigorous suppression of 
natural affection. Regular penitential systems were 
devised and horrible hardships prescribed even for 
secret sins. The soul yearning for pardon must 
obtain by penance, by works, or even by the offer of 
money, that salvation which was purchased for the 
world by the Redeemer s blood. The essence of 


30 The Lutherans in America. 

heathenism, salvation by man, was substituted for the 
cross of Christ, and this fundamental error gave rise 
to monstrous conceptions and led to the deepest cor 
ruptions of saving- truth. 

The human mind is never so susceptible of delu 
sions and so ready to be misled and seduced as when 
tormented by a sense of guilt and perplexed over the 
attainment of mercy. Like the unfortunate victim of 
a terrible disease it is ready to avail itself of every 
device and nostrum that promises to bring relief. 
Now, relief was never yet found by a process .of pen 
ances, by a succession of " works," or by any other 
devices whereby impotent man is expected to com 
pass his own deliverance. The more sincere and 
determined the effort the more clearly must the soul 
realize its failure and experience the impossibility of 
doing or suffering enough for securing inward peace 
and moral renovation. 

Not only the deluded people but their pastors and 
teachers came to realize this during the middle ages. 
They accordingly devised a system of exchange, by 
which in lieu of the heavy burdens which they found 
themselves unable to bear and which, even when 
borne, brought no salvation, the people might give a 
certain sum of money. A price was fixed upon the 
grace of God. 

Unlike Peter, claimed as the first Pope, the rulers 
of the Church would sell God s gift for money. They 
denied the gratuitous character of forgiveness and 
began to barter and sell in the house of God, like 
those who were driven from the temple by the indig 
nant Son of God. But unlike those indecent dealers 

The Church. 3 1 

in animals and coin, the priests of the papacy became 
brokers in sin, they carried on a traffic with human 
guilt. They made merchandise of the Gospel. They 
sold pardon at a fixed sum. Holding this to be per- 


haps easier for the penitent, and certainly more profit 
able to a mercenary hierarchy, it was proposed, "For 
a seven week s fast, you shall pay twenty pence, if you 
are rich ; ten if less wealthy ; and three pence if you 
are poor, and so on for other matters." Incest, if 
not detected, was to cost five groats, if known six ; 

32 The Lutherans in America. 

so there was a stated price for murder, infanticide, 
adultery, perjury and burglary. 

The traffic, which was thus conducted, is known 
under the name of Indulgences. Originally and in 
the minds of the theologians this was meant as a sys 
tem of commutation the penitent paying a fine of 
money in lieu of some disciplinary suffering he was 
required to undergo. And the benefit to accrue 
from these Indulgences was not the divine mercy, 
but exemption from the penalties imposed by the 
Church as a just penitential reparation for sins com 
mitted. The real effect of these enforced penances 
was to make the grace of God of none effect, and 
when a pecuniary consideration took their place they 
led to incredible scandal and brought religion into 
disrepute. The idea which was per se a hideous cari 
cature of the Gospel soon developed into an abomi 
nable traffic in the salvation of souls. 

It is not known that the Church as such ever form 
ally and officially declared that an Indulgence deliv 
ered from all sin, or was an actual pardon of guilt 
before God, but many of its agents affirmed this over 
and over, and it cannot be denied that multitudes so 

A Jesuit historian speaking of the monks who ac 
companied Tetzel, the famous vender of Indulgences, 
says: "Some of these preachers failed not, as usual, 
to go beyond the matter they were treating of, and so 
far to exaggerate the worth of Indulgences, that they 
gave the people cause to believe that they were 
assured of their salvation, and of the deliverance of 
souls from purgatory, so soon as they had given their 

The Church. 33 

money." "Incredible as it may appear it is the dark, 
damnable fact of history that, in praising the immeas 
urable value of his wares, Tetzel declared to his audi 
ence that he had saved more souls by his Indulgences 
than the apostle had by his sermons, that no sin was 
so great that an Indulgence cannot remit it that 
even the sins one intends to commit may be par 
doned, only pay well and all will be forgiven." 

And these paymen ts were valid even in the spir 
itual world. If Indulgences availed here for those 
who by bitter torments were required to expiate their 
offenses, why indeed should they not avail for those 
who in purgatory are expiating sins for which they 
could not do penance here. A regular tariff of Indul 
gences was provided by which those burning in pur 
gatory could have immediate exit from their pains, 
and those to whom life on earth had been turned to 
purgatorial fires might escape by paying the required 
ransom. "The very instant that the money rattles at 
the bottom of the chest, the soul escapes from purga 
tory and flies into heaven," said Tetzel. Although 
the people on receiving their Indulgence had to 
promise reformation, it was giving men, in the name 
of the Church, permission to sin, and among an ignor 
ant and rude people was tantamount to the encour 
agement of gross immorality. 

This rank offense that smelled to heaven and cast 
reproach upon the Church resulted from the funda 
mental error of substituting works for faith in Christ. 
When works were made co-ordinate with faith, as was 
done by the mediaeval theology, and faith itself was 
but submission to the Church and not trust in Christ, 

34 The Lutherans in America. 

the consequences were no less subversive and soul- 
destroying. For, according to the scriptures, good 
works are not a condition of salvation but the fruit 
and manifestation of saving faith. 

Another departure from the principles of the 
Church as founded by the Apostles was the institu 
tion of a priesthood to intervene between man and 
God. The Old Testament sacerdotal service had 
found its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, "who offered one 
sacrifice for sins forever," and who having by this 
"one offering perfected forever them that are sancti 
fied," appointed no priests in his Church. In this 
again lies a broad and essential contrast between the 
Christian religion and all religions which are of 
human origin. The soul, however defiled or debased, 
has free access to the fountains of grace. It may 
come into immediate communion with God. The 
Gospel knows of no intervention between the sinner 
and his atoning Savior. It presents a publican and 
a dying thief justified through the simple cry for 
mercy. Confident of having a great High Priest, that 
is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, 
believers are encouraged to come boldly unto the 
throne of grace, that they may obtain mercy, and find 
grace to help in time of need. Heb. 4: 14, 16. In 
respect to immediate access to God all are priests, 
all have the same rights, the same privileges. The 
priesthood is universal. The one real Mediator be 
tween God and man is Jesus Christ, who is our Advo 
cate with the Father, who ever maketh intercession 
for us, and who has given his people the inestimable 
promise, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever 

The Church. 35 

ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it 

This priceless gift of God, this inalienable right was 
wrested from men and vested in a special order, a me 
diatorial caste, who usurped the place, the office and 
the Word of Christ, who claimed to hold in trust the 
treasures of grace, to have in their possession the key 
of heaven, and to have exclusive authority to dis 
pense the blessing of salvation. They stationed 
themselves between the soul and its Savior, denied 
immediate personal access to God and refused salva 
tion to all who would not seek it in those forms and 
channels of which they claimed exclusive control. 
Faith in the priest became thus substituted for faith 
in the Lord Jesus, and in fact this perversion of the 
conditions of salvation involved in the priesthood, 
rendered it necessary to change the essence of faith, 
which from being a confident reliance on the grace 
of God through Jesus Christ, came to mean submis 
sion to the authority and declaration of the priest. 
His forgiveness was God s forgiveness. From his re 
fusal there was no appeal. It meant exclusion from 

" Christendom was divided into two unequal parties: 
on the one side is a separate caste of priests, daring 
to usurp the name of the Church, and claiming to be 
invested with peculiar privileges in the eyes of the 
Lord ; and on the other, servile flocks reduced to a 
blind and passive submission a people gagged and 
fettered, and given over to a haughty caste." 

To become really pious one must indeed enter a 
monastery. It was the common belief that a truly 

36 The Lutherans in America. 

religious life was possible only in the clerical profes 
sion or in the monastic habit. This was represented 
among other things in a picture, which deeply im 
pressed Luther in his childhood: "The Church was 
set forth as a great ship bound for heaven, carrying 
only the clergy and monks, while the laity swam 
about in the water, some holding to ropes which 
were thrown to them from the ship, others drown 
ing helplessly in the waves." 

As grace was originally free to all, as there was 
in the Christian community an equality in privilege 
the Church was really an association of equals. It 
formed a community of brethren, with Christ the 
elder brother as Lord. No man was called mas 
ter. The Church was a brotherhood, a spiritual de 
mocracy. The union of its members was not effected 
through any outward rule, or by the exercise of 
any authoritative ascendency, but a compact associa 
tion was formed by the bonds of a fraternal rela 
tion, by a oneness of faith and purpose, by ties of 
holy affection, by a common interest, spontaneously 
ministering to one another, and the greatest of 
the number were those who ministered. Christ re 
buked all ambitious of pre-eminence among his fol 
lowers, and the Apostles in all their letters declined 
to be considered lords over God s heritage, and 
meekly avowed themselves as brethren and fellow- 
servants of all believers. 

But, in course of time, the organization of the 
Church developed into a powerful hierarchy, a haughty 
aristocracy, order towering above order, and gaining 
such a domination as to suppress not only all equality 

The Church. 37 

and fraternity, but all freedom and independence, 
the sordid lust of power reducing the flock of Christ 
to the most debasing enslavement of soul and body. 

At last the Roman See is made the supreme head 
of the Church, the monarch of Christendom, the 
infallible vicar of Christ upon earth. Never before 
had human ambition reached such vaulting audacity. 
The bishops of Rome, as if they were the heirs of 
the Csesars and had received from them the scepter 
of universal power, encroached age after age upon the 
rights of the Christian Church, and finally usurped 
universal dominion, claiming all people as their sub 
jects and requiring from all ranks absolute submis 
sion to their commands. 

This high-handed and detestable usurpation is 
without parallel or analogy. Not content with the 
spiritual authority which it asserted seeing in fact 
that without invading the domain of civil authority, 
it could not maintain its monstrous despotism in 
the Church, the papacy insolently arrogated to it 
self the rights of princes, assumed the exercise of 
secular power, declared itself supreme over the state 
as well as the Church, and claimed to be lord of the 
world, "the fountain of laws," having jurisdiction 
"over all the inhabitants of the earth." 

No such claims were ever made for any heathen 
deity. No such exorbitant prerogatives are com 
patible with the limitations of the human mind. 
They are conceivable only as belonging to the infi 
nite God, and as being exercised through his Son 
our Lord Jesus Christ. Here is a mortal, sinful man, 
a child of dust, exalting himself as God, so that he 

38 The Lutherans in America. 

as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself 
that he is God, and attempting dominion over the 
state, over the Church, over the divine Word, over 
the souls of men, over earth and heaven and hell, a 
dominion from which lay no appeal to any higher 
court. The Pope was in the place of God. 

Such a subversion of truth must in the nature of 
things be attended by the most baleful results. In 
stead of being the divine agency for the salvation of 
sinners and the moral renovation of mankind, the 
Church became a vast political engine employed 
for the aggrandizement of power its energies con 
sumed, and its institutions and ordinances debased 
and prostituted in interminable contests with those 
who bravely defended the rights of the state. Ab 
sorbed in such pursuits and contests the bishops of 
the Church could give but little attention to the main 
tenance of her own purity, to the removal of growing 
errors and superstitions, to the instruction of the peo 
ple and the salvation of men. Human souls, the 
spiritual interests of the race, were sacrificed to the 
accomplishment of political ends, and instead of 
bringing to the weary the cup of life the hierarchy 
was laying on their necks an iron yoke. 

The papacy was, besides, often steeped in vices, 
crimes and shameful debaucheries. The Holy Father 
was surrounded more than once by abandoned wo 
men. "That throne which pretended to rise above 
the majesty of kings was sunk deep in the dregs of 
vice," and the notorious courtesans, "Theodora and 
Marozia installed and deposed at their pleasure the 
self-styled masters of the Church of Christ, and 


4-O The Lutherans in America. 

placed their lovers, sons and grandsons in Saint 
Peter s chair." This was in the tenth century, notable 
as the darkest in the Christian era. But a spectacle 
yet more infamous is presented by the pontifical 
throne in the times immediately preceding the Ref 
ormation. The rapacity, the profligacy and disso 
luteness of the papal court at that time are incredi 
ble. Alexander VI was openly accused of incest and 
every disgraceful crime, and was known to sacrifice 
every other interest to the elevation of his bastard 

Space fails to speak here in detail of other lep 
rous taints which were eating the life out of Christi 
anity. For the divine institution of marriage and 
the sacred precincts of the family, we see the enforce 
ment of celibacy on the clergy and its strongest 
encouragement on all others. The monastic life 
instituted by men was more holy than the married 
state instituted by God. The home was no place for 
earnest piety. The convent was its proper nursery. 
For the intercession of our divine Advocate were 
substituted the prayers of the saints, and in cases 
of distress or calamity appeals were directed to 
them and divine honors accorded them in the very 
temple of God. Images and relics were endowed 
with supernatural qualities, holiness became a local 
attribute, and the Church of God was everywhere 
teeming with an idolatry which, excepting in the 
name of the objects worshipped, differed but little 
from the paganism of the ancient world. 

All the evils which prevailed in the Church, error 
in doctrine, misrule in administration, corruption in 

The Church. 41 

life, and the manifold and terrible forms of oppres 
sion wrought remarkably in unison with each other 
for the development of a colossal system. Popes and 
priests, superstition and salvation by human merit, 
ignorance and idolatry, false dogmas and moral cor 
ruption, each fostered the other, and all joined in 
rearing a structure whose towers cast a dark shadow 
on the house of God, and whose walls were able to 
defy every power on earth. 

Sad, indeed, beyond description was the state of 
religion and of morals throughout Christendom in 
the fourteenth and fifteen centuries. The central 
teachings of Christ were overlaid with insidious 
^errors. The charter of the Church suffered grievous 
violence, her character had, in great measure, become 
changed, her attributes disappeared. The consciences 
of the people were besotted with the perversions of 
truth and stifled with a burden of ceremonies. The 
worst abuses had become identified with religion, and 
:moral rottenness that smelled to heaven was con 
suming its vitals. The Church was still the Church, 
but "the whole head was sick, and the whole heart 

The magnitude of these scandals was clearly recog 
nized by enlightened minds, and for centuries most 
strenuous efforts were put forward for their removal 
and for the purging and reformation of the Church. 
Every history of that age, Catholic as well as Pro 
testant, admits the fearful degeneracy into which the 
whole ecclesiastical organism had sunk. The Church 
had ceased to command any respect or to exert any 
moral influence over the masses. Secular princes 

42 The Lutherans in America. 

and learned divines gave expression to the crying; 
need of a thorough reformation in head and mem 
bers. Imperial diets were summoned to take in hand 
the frightful abuses which were rife in every quarter, 
and three consecutive Councils of the Church Univer 
sal, at Pisa, at Constance, and Basle, were called 
exclusively for the purpose of doing something to 
arrest the growing corruption and the general spirit 
ual decay. The denunciations which Luther uttered 
against the Romanism of his day, were not strictly 
original with him. They had been repeated again 
and again by the staunchest Romanists, long be 
fore Luther was born. Open the literature of the 
fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries and your eyes 
will stare and the blood will curdle at the exposure 
there made of prevailing corruptions in all spheres 
and ranks of the Church. This is in fact the reason 
why a Catholic Emperor, for a long time, refused to 
have the Reformer burned at the stake. He knew 
that his denunciation of the existing order was but 
the language of the most pronounced and loyal 
Catholic divines in former years, that he was voicing 
the sentiment of millions of his contemporaries. Sec 
ular princes, like George of Saxony, who bitterly 
hated Luther and would gladly have executed him, 
denounced in unmeasured and scathing terms the en 
croachments of Rome, made a withering exposure of 
the prevalent scandals, and brought forward more 
than one hundred grievances which they requested 
the Emperor to have rectified, while they conjured 
him to order a general reformation, and himself 
to undertake its accomplishment. 

The Church. 43 

This historic circumstance reveals the desperate 
pass to which things had come: powerful princes cry 
ing out against the rapacity and oppression of the 
Church, and appealing to the sovereign representa 
tive of the nation to interpose for their relief, and that 
too when the Church claimed to have not only a 
spiritual mission to lighten the sorrows of men and 
to raise them to freedom and happiness, but asserted 


also political prerogatives which secured for it the 
freest access to their souls and consciences. It was 
at this juncture, when the wisest men despaired of 
help from that institution which claimed to hold in 
its bosom all truth and grace, it was then that they 
turned to a political ruler for the salvation of man 
kind. The shelter of the lambs had become a den 
of tigers and lions. The situation bordered on despair. 



CHRIST had not abandoned his Church. He had 
not forgotten the promise of his abiding pres 
ence. His hand in the supreme hour of need 
brought deliverance. Aye, long before the supreme 
hour had arrived, his providence was at work, slowly 
maturing the elements and gathering the forces by 
which might be effected a thorough reformation of the 
Christian community. History has, by a number of ex- 
-amples, taught us that the interventions of God in 
human affairs do not occur with magical suddenness 
nor as isolated phenomena, but that they involve a 
vast sweep of events and evolutions, all converging to 
the same consummation. The century immediately 
anterior to the outbreak of the Reformation was so 
marked with great historic movements, and these 
movements had so direct and powerful a bearing on the 
Reformation, as to indicate, unmistakably, the agency 
of superhuman wisdom and Almighty power, not only 
in the ecclesiastical reform itself, but in the extraordi 
nary phenomena which combined to usher it into ex 
istence. The evidences of a far-reaching, all-compre 
hending Providence are incontrovertible. The Refor 
mation was the work of God, a work not of a day, or a 
year, or a generation, but stretching its roots far back 
into preceding centuries, and reaching its crisis at the 
signal of Luther s hammer. An amazing concert of 
.most diverse movements toward one end marks the 


The Reformation. 45 

whole period. Momentous changes were taking place 
in the realm of ideas, of government, of inventions and 
of discoveries, at once producing and proclaiming a 
general awakening of society, and all not only singular 
ly coincident with but most strikingly convergent to 
a common result. 

The great historians have recognized this singular 
concurrence of extraordinary events in the political 
and social life of Europe during the period preceding 
the Reformation. Even the famous naturalist, Baron 
Von Humboldt, pauses in his scientific studies to ob 
serve : "The fifteenth century belongs to those re 
markable epochs in which all the efforts of the mind 
indicate one determined and general character, and 
one unchanging striving towards the same goal. The 
unity of this tendency and the results by which it was 
crowned, combined with the activity of whole races, 
give to this age a character both of grandeur and of 
enduring splendor." 

A revival of learning had been kindled through the 
advent of Greek scholars who, on the fall of Constan 
tinople, sought refuge in Italy. The western world 
awakened from the slumber of ages, and one of the 
mightiest intellectual revolutions ever known occurred 
just in time to become one of the potent factors in se 
curing the triumph of the Reformation. The human 
mind became once more conscious of its powers, and 
proceeded to assert its inalienable freedom of expan 
sion, of activity, of inquiry, and of criticism, thus break 
ing the bonds of sacerdotal training, by which it had 
for ages been held in subjection and in ignorance. 
This intellectual awakening gave a powerful momen- 

46 The Lutherans in America. 

turn to literary culture, kindling new aspirations, pro 
ducing new tastes, opening up new worlds in the spir 
itual and physical universe, liberalizing and broaden 
ing the views of men, stimulating in them the search 
after truth and giving them new methods for its dis 
covery and new weapons for its defense. 

The movement affected all classes. Monarchs on 
their thrones, like Maximilian I, Henry VIII, and 
Frederick of Saxony, applauded it ; illustrious knights 
like von Hutten, in order to share the glory of the 
new conquests exchanged the sword for the pen ; the 
common people, held for ages in abject bondage, con 
tracted a taste for intellectual liberty and an appetite 
for intellectual food. The human mind was thus 
providentially prepared for the Reformation. It 
had its eyes open for the light about to burst upon 
the world. It was armed for the coming contest 
between the old and the new. 

And just at this juncture came the art of printing* 
an invention which in its boundless influence on hu 
man society surpasses all other inventions ever de 
vised by man, and which, arriving at that epoch, added 
its own peculiar excitement to intellectual activity, 
and in conjunction with the revival of literature be 
came a prodigious factor in bringing about the great 
moral revolution of the sixteenth century. 

Just at this time, too, mariners having learned the 
use of the magnetic compass, crossed the trackless 
oceans and made the discovery of new worlds, which 
in turn again produced new impulses and new ideas, 
widened the horizon of thought and endeavor, 
prompted the initial steps of colonization, gave a vast 

The Reformation. 47 

expansion to commerce and international intercourse, 
and to an incalculable extent affected the intellect 
ual, social and moral interests of mankind. 

Simultaneously with the new learning we witness 
a great reaction of national feeling. Nations become 
conscious of their rights and their power. Civil gov 
ernment is undergoing a proces of centralization and 
consolidation. Monarchies are acquiring a firm or 
ganization and growing into compact state systems, 
with rulers capable of withstanding the encroach 
ments of the papacy and repelling its insolent assump 
tions. It was of immense consequence to the Re 
formation that just before or simultaneously with its 
rise, princes like Ferdinand of Arragon, Maximilian of 
Austria, Frederick of Saxony, Charles V of Germany 
and Henry VIII of England, were on the throne, 
monarchs who, though they had been carefully train 
ed by the clergy, yet had been. sufficiently enlightened 
by the new learning to recognize the usurpations of 
the popes and to gauge their proficiency in the basest 
arts of diplomacy and dissimulation. Loyal sons of 
the Church, as these princes were, they could detect a 
scoundrel under pontifical robes, and they had no 
scruple in opposing with all the might of secular 
power, those Holy Fathers who were prostituting 
their spiritual functions for political ends. 

Along with the establishment of stalwart monarch 
ies, this era was marked also by the powerful develop 
ment of free cities, composed of the sturdy middle 
classes, communities whose diversified industry and 
extensive commerce had sharpened and invigorated 
their practical understanding, and who long before 


The Reformation. 49 

the appearance of Luther had learned to defend their 
rights against imperious bishops. A great revolution 
in the Church would have been impossible without a 
profound change in the popular sentiment toward the 
hierarchy. The disenchantment of the masses with 
reference to Holy Mother Church must be effected, 
the faith of mankind in the spiritual authority of the 
clergy must be shattered, before any success could 
attend so radical a reformation as was called for. 
Nothing of abiding results can be achieved independ 
ently of the people. And the people had gradually 
come to open their eyes. The reactions and com 
plainings of a thousand years had acted upon the 
popular mind. Men had grown familiar with the 
idea, often broached, that the pope was, after all, a 
mere man, sometimes even a very bad man. "The 
people in general began to suspect that he was not 
much holier than their own bishops, whose reputation 
was very equivocal. The indignation of Christen 
dom had been excited by the immorality of the popes, 
and a hatred of the Roman name was deeply seated 
in the hearts of nations." Everywhere, from high to 
low, was heard a hollow murmur, a forerunner of the 
thunderbolt that was soon to fall. 

And surely not the most insignificant agent in the 
providential concurrence of historic phenomena was 
the presence of the Turk on the frontier of the Em 
pire. As often as the Catholic states were on the 
verge of making deadly war upon the Protestants, a 
sudden invasion of the Turkish legions compelled the 
union of the German armies in a defensive campaign 
against the common foe. 

50 The Lutherans in America. 

An extraordinary unity of purpose is thus revealed 
by a series of remarkable movements and the co- 
working of the most diverse elements on the eve of 
the Reformation a drama of Providence that chal 
lenges the admiration of the philosopher, the faith of 
the Christian and the abiding gratitude of the Pro 
testant world. 

Think of it! Mahomet and Columbus, Charles V 
and Henry VIII, Frederick the Wise and Ulrich von 
Hutten Guttenberg and Erasmus, men of the most 
opposite character and aim, all combining to bring 
about the same tremendous result, all unconsciously 
moving in chorus to the same consummation, destroy 
ing the prestige of the Roman See, effecting- intellect 
ual and spiritual emancipation, producing a porten 
tous disaffection with the existing order, and bring 
ing on a profound crisis in society, so that princes 
and peoples, philosophers and peasants, stood like 
sentinels on their watch-towers waiting for a mighty 
revolution, listening for the first blast of Luther s 

They did not listen in vain. The man for the 
hour was at hand. The same Lord who, by sun 
dry agencies and in diverse manners, had marshalled 
and equipped his forces for the great battle, had also 
raised up and trained his servant to take the com 
mand of these forces and to lead them on to victory, 
to impersonate the gigantic revolution and to con 
trol the introduction of a new era. 

Whenever the clock strikes, the man for the hour 
appears upon the stage. To rescue truth from its 
enemies, to deliver a people from oppression or an- 

The Reformation. 51 

archy, to effect beneficent revolutions in society, 
in each momentous crisis the very man required by 
the occasion is sure to come to the kingdom for such 
a time as this. Moses, David, Cyrus, Alexander, Cae 
sar, Paul, Charlemagne, Cromwell, Washington, Lin 
coln, were not evolved from a fortuitous concourse 
of atoms. They were men sent from God, and came 
endowed with the faculties required for their task 
and singularly fitted by peculiar experiences to ac 
complish their mission. In each case the man, the 
time, and the work coincided. 

Of no one is this more manifestly true than of 
Martin Luther, a genius "in whom was found the 


rarest combination of all the gifts and qualities of 
spirit, mind, character and will, requisite to the great 
work. He was, moreover, providentially trained for 
his high mission by the events of his life, and by 
being made to experience in his own soul the essen 
tial principles of the Reformation." He must needs 
also have such undeniable proofs of their divine 
power as impelled him irresistably to communicate 
to the world this most sacred and precious experi 
ence of his life. Bayne, an English layman, says: 
"The persuasion, in its various degrees of strength, 
from a mere admission of possibility up to impas 
sioned confidence, that Luther was a man of God 
empowered to speak to his generation, not only per 
vaded the mass of his followers, already in the end 
of 1520 an enormous multitude, but had a potent in 
fluence upon those who resisted him The 
sentiment of Europe, a sentiment diffused in the 
courts of princes and penetrating to the inner cham- 

52 The Lutherans in America. 

bers of the Vatican itself was to the effect that 
if one went to inquire of God, a more authentic mes 
sage from Him might be had through this blameless 
monk, this preacher of righteousness, than by the 
lips of lordly cardinals, or of Leo spurred and booted 
for the chase." 

On this man was devolved the stupendous task of 
rescuing the Christian Church from tyranny, fetters, 
and corruption. And Rome had herself forged the 
weapon that was destined to smite her. If there 
ever was a devoted son of the Church, if ever the 
papistic usurpation had ingrained itself in the soul of 
a devotee, if ever a mortal had with all his might 
endeavored to follow the prescribed course of seek 
ing salvation by works, that mortal was Martin Lu 

Reared in the domestic austerity, which was en 
forced by the legalistic rigor of the papal system, his 
mind had early been filled with the superstitions 
which were incorporated with a debased Christianity, 
while he was withal possessed of the strongest in 
stincts of reverence and religious feeling, rendering 
him peculiarly susceptible to the gloom and awe dif 
fused by the spiritual instruction of the age. All 
sacred things had become associated with a trans 
cendency of terror. Even Christ, the dear Redeemer, 
"was throned in terror, an iron-featured judge, whose 
breath was consuming fire. Only through Mary, his 
tender, Virgin Mother, could one safely and hopefully 
approach Christ himself." Young Martin was, in the 
course of time, occupied with the thought of monkish 
holiness, and at the age of twenty-one sought refuge 

The Reformation. 53 

from an angry God within the precincts of a cloister. 
There, by dint of hard endeavor and cruel self-morti 
fications, he hoped to work out his salvation and pro 
pitiate that gruesome, terrific judge which Jesus 
Christ had been represented to him in all the teach 
ings he had received both in school and at church. 
Of faith in Christ, as the simple, gracious way of par 
don, he had positively never heard. His whole trust 
had been placed in Mary. Although, on one occa 
sion, when he sank to the earth from the shock of a 
deafening thunder-clap, he addressed another saint, 
crying out as soon as he recovered consciousness, 
Help, sweet Saint Anne; save me, save me, and I 
will become a monk." 

The liberator of the Church must needs himself 
have endured the horrors of slavery. The deliverer 
of his age from the wretched superstitions under 
which it groaned, must first himself have felt their bale 
ful power. It was Paul s personal experience of the 
hard Pharisaic bondage that afterwards enabled him, 
as a freeman of Christ, to strike its fetters from the 
Christian conscience. So with Luther. On entering 
the cloister the monks at once subjected their learned 
and distinguished novice to the harshest treatment 
and imposed upon him the most menial service. - His 
mind must be humbled, his spirit broken, by the most 
humiliating offices. He cleans out the cells, sweeps 
the Church, and traverses the street with a wallet beg 
ging bread from house to house. Returning within 
the walls he must shut himself up in a low, narrow cell, 
and to all this he submits willingly. He renounces 
not only what is pleasing to the flesh, but even the 

54 The Lutherans in . -Iwcrica. 

books that regale the mind, determined to be out and 
out a monk, and perform all the works and mortifica 
tions, and to undergo all the outrageous severities 
and cruelties of an unnatural and monstrous asceti 

At a later period, when allowed to resume his stud 
ies, he pursued them with such zest that he often hap 
pened not to repeat the daily prayers for three or 
four weeks together. Then becoming alarmed at this 
violation of the monastic rules, he shut himself up 
"and began to repeat conscientiously all the prayers 
he had omitted, without a thought of either eating 
or drinking. Once, even for seven weeks together, he 
scarcely closed his eyes in sleep." Nothing was too 
great a sacrifice for him in order to secure holiness. 
He was resolved to merit heaven by abstinence. 
"Never," says a historian, "did the Romish Church 
possess a more pious monk. Never did cloister wit 
ness more severe and indefatigable exertions to pur 
chase eternal salvation." 

After he had entered upon his reforming work, and 
boldly announced that heaven could not be obtained 
by such means he adds ; "If ever monk could obtain 
heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly 
have been entitled to it. Of this all the friars 
who have known me can testify. If it had continued 
much longer, I should have carried my mortifications 
even to death, by means of my watch ings, prayers, 
reading, and other labors." 

He knew the bitterness of that cup, which Rome 
compelled her subjects to drain, and he knew, too, 
that it was no cup of salvation. The cloister brought 

56 The Lutherans in America. 

him no repose. It gave his conscience no peace. 
The assurance of pardon, which he craved, continued 
to be his ever-crying want, despite the fastings, watch- 
ings, and other outward observances to which he 
attended so faithfully. The fears and terrors which 
had driven him within the walls of a cell pursued 
him within and plunged him into despair. The more 
he strove to appease the anger of God, the darker 
became the vision of his sins, the more polluted his 
heart, and the more frightful his agonies of contrition. 
He says that he had recourse to a thousand methods 
to stifle the cries of his conscience. Every day he 
went to confession, but found it of no avail. 

Discovering at last the impossibility of propitia 
ting God and securing salvation by his own merits, 
realizing the impotency and worthlessness of all these 
rigorous and irrational expedients, utterly disappointed 
in his expectations of becoming holy, and finding that 
notwithstanding his penances and confessions, monas 
tic austerities and priestly absolutions he was yet a 
lost soul, his life became a mortal struggle. "The 
young monk crept like a shadow through the long 
galleries of the cloister that re-echoed with his sor 
rowful meanings." His body wasted away. His 
strength began to fail. His bones could be counted. 
His eyes were sunken. He was found lying insensible 
on a stone floor. For days he remained like one 
dead, exhausted by the struggles and storms through 
which he was passing. 

A truer portrait of Romanism in its error and its 
impotence can nowhere be found. Luther s personal 
experience is the best commentary on the corrupt 

The Reformation. 57 

teachings and the pernicious practices which then 
universally prevailed. 

But his coming to the light and peace of the gospel 
is also the best illustration, the living embodiment of 
the Reformation of which he was the peerless and 
immortal hero. Luther s religious experience was 
the mirror, the microcosm, of the Reformation. His 
rich nature compassed all its element. Such were 
his great talents and characteristics, and such the 
situation of Europe at the time, "that the Reforma 
tion, in fact, passed from the mind of the one into the 
mind of the other." It pleased God to reveal in his 
earnest soul, his Son, Jesus Christ, the bearer of the 
world s sin, and then the Reformation sprang living 
from his heart. 

While he continued to torture his bosom with vows 
and works, and a thousand insupportable tasks, Stau- 
pitz, the general of the Augustinians, came providen 
tially on a visit of inspection. Himself a subject of 
saving grace, he not only recognized the deep unrest 
and melancholy of Luther, with which others had 
grown familiar, but he also clearly understood the 
nature of the struggle through which he was passing, 
and earnestly pointed him to the wounds of Jesus 
Christ, to the blood shed for his sins, and urged him 
to cast himself into the Redeemer s arms, and to trust 
in him for righteousness. God is love and his favor 
is not to be sought with self-torture and mortifica 
tions. With these instructions came sweet peace into 
his storm-tossed breast, as when the Master calmed 
the waves of Galilee. It seemed to Luther that 
Jesus Christ himself was addressing to him these 

58 The Lutherans in America. 

sweet and healing words. He is assured of the for 
giveness of his sins. A mighty change passed over 
his spirit. Repentance, which had been the bitterness 
of anguish, turned now to sweetness and delight. 
And the Scriptures what a new meaning they pos 
sess ! What an illumination has come over them ! 
He studies them with ever-increasing zeal, and they en 
ter his mind like great streams of light. " His struggles 
have prepared his heart to understand the Word. The 
soil has been ploughed deep ; the incorruptible seed 
sinks into it with power." He has found the Saviour. 
He has found his gospel. He has received salvation 
immediately from God, and on the warrant of His 
Word. A voice of thunder resounds unceasingly 
within his breast, "the just shall live by faith." The 
Spirit of God kept pressing these words upon his 
heart, until he clearly learned that a sinner s justi 
fication proceeds from the mercy of God through 
faith, and then he says, "I felt born again like a 

new man." 

The Reformation was born. Luther himself does 
not yet perceive it, though his own experience is the 
epitome and the prophecy of the impending crisis. 
In its essential features it has been wrought out and 
mirrored in Luther s soul. "What was to revolu 
tionize Christendom and start afresh the course of 
history first revolutionized Luther and started him 
in the new life." A new morning dawned upon the 

Experience is the sovereign test of truth. Here 
was an earnest and highly gifted soul seeking its own 
salvation, and trying all the expedients which a degene- 

The Reformation. 59 

rate system had, from time to time, invented and sanc 
tioned, but only to sink deeper into the mire of his 
sinfulness and spiritual helplessness. At last he is 
brought to trust himself solely to the mercy of God 
in Christ Jesus, and his conscience has peace, his soul 
has an accession of spiritual power. 

It was not a momentary thrill that passed over his 
bosom. It was not an evanescent calm experienced 
by a storm-tossed mind. It was a passage from dark 
ness to light, from helpless prostration to spiritual 
energy, and new light and new strength continued to 
pour into his breast. If periods of despondency 
returned, and the dreadful nature of sin pressed again 
heavily upon him, he made, in each instance, a fresh 
application of the same remedy, and every time it 
availed for the same result. He found assurance of 
salvation. He attained the abiding joyous freedom 
of God s children. 

All the ordinances and devices of the Romish 
Church having failed Luther in the supreme crisis of 
his conversion, he gradually came to recognize their 
uselessness and utter worthlessness. Of what value 
are fasts and penance and self-mortifications, priestly 
manipulations and all the mediatorial assump 
tions of the clergy, if they fail to bring the sinner to 
his Savior? And when simple faith lands him in 
the Savior s arms, what further need has the soul 
of them anyhow? Turning away from all such expe 
dients Luther cast himself immediately upon the 
warm bosom of his Lord. He found pardon and jus 
tification by faith alone. 

As the light grew brighter in his soul the surround- 

60 The Lutherans in America. 

ing darkness became to his eyes more and more ap 
palling. The grossness and pernicious character of 
the abounding corruption began to weigh heavily 
upon his mind. The vast system of works, and merits, 
and satisfaction, and indulgences, he now discovered 
to be at war with the central doctrine of Christianity, 
salvation by grace. Yet everywhere the ecclesiastical 
authorities upheld these as the requisite conditions of 
salvation, lauded the purchasing power of human 
merit, stamped a false value upon man s righteous 
ness before the divine judge, and treated the whole 
subject of redemption as if it were a commercial 
transaction between God and the sinner, the latter 
furnishing from his own bankrupt store a fair equiva 
lent for the grace received, the priest acting as the 
intermediate agent. 

In the Bible, a copy of which, to his great sur 
prise, he found one day in the University library, 
he found none of these things. The way of salva 
tion, as there portrayed, is the very way now reached 
by his wandering feet. The answer which in his 
profound distress came to Luther, " Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," was the 
answer of an inspired Apostle it was, in fact, the an 
swer of the Lord Jesus who came into the world to 
save sinners, and who by the shedding of his precious 
blood has opened a new and living way unto God. It 
is the answer throughout, of the Scriptures, which re 
veal the way of salvation. It is the voice of God. 
The answer of Rome, on the other hand, was, "Sub 
mit to the Church, perform good works, seek priestly 

The Reformation. 61 

mediation, do penance, make satisfaction." This does, 
not accord with that. It is the voice of man. 

Thus by the stress of circumstances, and through a 
profound personal experience, Luther came gradually 
to doubt the infallibility of the Church, and with this 
to question its authority. It was a hard struggle 
with him for he had been a most loyal son of the 
Church. He had most humbly and unquestionably 
received her teachings. Even after his enlightenment 
he clung with obstinacy to her papal head, and it was 
a terrible discovery for him to learn that after all she 
was not the depositary of infallible truth, her author 
ity was not supreme, the fathers and bishops and 
popes had made departures from the Scriptures, Coun 
cils were but an aggregate of fallible men, and had 
pronounced in favor of errors ; that, in fine, the 
only supreme and infallible authority was the in 
spired volume. 

In this manner the two cardinal principles of the 
Reformation came to be developed, the sinner s justi 
fication by faith alone, and the Word of God as the 
sole authority for faith and life. These two funda 
mental truths, the condition of salvation and the war 
rant for it, are the poles on which the whole move 
ment turned and by which all its essential features 
were determined. They formed its heart and its 

The Reformation, let it ever be borne in mind, was 
an intensely spiritual work. It was in the best and 
fullest sense of the term, a revival. A cry was going 
up all over Christendom, what must I do to be saved? 
With what mockery and paraphernalia Rome made 

62 The Lutherans in America. 

answer to this cry, and how unavailing it was, we have 
already seen. We have seen, too, the answer which 
came to Luther out of the Scriptures, and how effi 
cacious it proved. Having the warrant from God s 
Word that the just shall live by faith, and finding that 
the ordinances and institutions of the hierarchy were 
at war with this truth, he rested upon the authority of 
the Scriptures and made a stand for their supremacy, 
over against the decrees, the dogmas and tradi 
tions of the Church. 

These two principles, called in theology the material 
and the formal principles of the Reformation logically, 
naturally and inevitably go together. Had not God s 
holy Word been overlaid and buried under number 
less strata of human interpretation, ecclesiastical 
authority and conciliar dogmas, the simple way of 
life by faith in Christ could never have been obscured 
and well-nigh closed. It has been said with striking 
force, "the deepest curse under which the Church 
was groaning, was the practical dethronement of 
God s Word." Now it comes once more to its proper 
honor and position. All appeals are taken to it, arid 
when Luther, in that immortal scene at Worms, delib 
erately, at the risk of his life, declares "unless I am 
convinced out of the Holy Scriptures, or by clear and 
distinct arguments, I may not and cannot retract; 
here I stand, God help me," he laid the corner-stone 
of Protestantism and defied the assembled might of 
Hierarchy and Empire to overturn it. " That was 
the appeal of the Church to her divine charter and 
charter rights, against a falsifying hierarchy which 
was not the Church." The Word thus restored to 

The Reformation. 63 

supremacy, and all dogmas, traditions and claims 
tested by its teachings, there was involved in it inevi 
tably the right and assertion for every man, especially 
for every believer, to study and to interpret the Script 
ures for himself. Salvation is an individual matter, 
the work of a personal faith resting upon the grace 
and promises of God. The sinner having direct 
access to his Savior on the ground of the divine 
Word, no power on earth can deprive him of his title 
or wrest from him that which is to him individually, 
as well as to the Church, the embodiment of supreme 
authority, the infallible chart to govern his belief and 
his conduct. With the assertion of these principles 
the Reformation achieved its triumph. 

The crisis arrived when Tetzel opened at J"ter- 
bok his abominable market for the sale of Indulgences. 
He was not allowed to carry on his trade in Witten 
berg, because the Elector Frederick was unwilling to 
have his country drained of money. At Jiiterbok, 
however, which was beyond his jurisdiction, the sale 
of forgiveness could proceed without hindrance, and 
thousands of the deluded people flocked thither to 
invest their scanty earnings. A new impetus had just 
been given to the traffic in Indulgences by the erec 
tion of St. Peter s Church at Rome. Vast sums were 
required for the magnificent edifice, and a luxurious 
arid splendor-loving Pope, Leo X, whose very faith 
in Christianity has been questioned, and the morals 
of whose court was one of the numerous scandals of 
the period, had no scruple, in raising funds, to resort 
to this foul, soul-destroying business. " Meanwhile, 
the popes were not ashamed to appropriate freely to 

64 The Lutherans in America. 

their own needs and to other objects, such as the war 
with Turkey, that Indulgence money, which was nom 
inally for the Church." It is, perhaps, of little mo 
ment in what way, or for what ends, a fund thus ac 
quired is expended. 

For the farming of this revenue in Germany a suit 
able instrument was found in Albert, Archbishop of 
Mayence and of Magdeburg Luther s own bishop 
a prince of the Church, who, although drawing the 
lucrative proceeds of two Archdioceses, had, by his 
fondness for architectural splendor, his extravagant 
court, and especially the heavy payment he had 
been required to make for his appointment, be 
come very deeply involved in debt. So a bargain 
was struck between him and the Holy Father by which 
he was to retain half of the profits arising from this 
nefarious traffic. And it is given as a sober historical 
fact, that behind the preacher of Indulgences, who an 
nounced God s mercy to all who handed over the price 
of sins, stood the agents of the Archbishop s creditors 
collecting their principal s share of the proceeds. 

Contemporary historians describe "the lofty and 
well-ordered pomp with which such a commissioner 
entered on the performance of his exalted duties. 
Priests, monks, and magistrates, schoolmasters and 
scholars, men, women and children, went forth in pro 
cession to meet him, with songs and ringing of bells, 
with flags and torches. They entered the Church to 
gether amidst the pealing of the organ. In the mid 
dle of the Church, before the altar, was erected a 
large, red cross, hung with a silken banner which bore 
the papal arms. Before the cross was placed a large 


66 The Lutherans in America. 

iron chest to receive the money ; specimens of these 
chests are still shown in many places. Daily, by ser 
mons, hymns, processions round the cross, and other 
means of attraction, the people were invited and 
urged to embrace this incomparable offer of salva 
tion." The time for reform, one would think, had 
certainly come. 

To the atrocious and ruinous character of this sale 
of forgiveness Luther s eyes became fully opened in 
the confessional, where he found conscience-stricken 
souls appealing to these Indulgences through which 
they purchased salvation. He had for some time 
previous warned his congregation against putting 
trust in them and had openly avowed his hostility 
to the system as it was being worked. He was, in 
fact, " burning to protest against the scandal," although 
he confessed himself not yet in the clear about all of 
its features. He had written to some bishops, receiv 
ing various replies, but finding no one prepared to take 
any steps in the matter. "Every one," said he, "com 
plained of the Indulgences, but nobody was willing to 
bell the cat." 

At last further silence became impossible. The ruin 
of souls, revealed to him as he was hearing confession, 
compelled him to rise in opposition. Accordingly, 
on the eve of All-Saints Day, October 31, 1517, he 
posted on the doors of the Castle Church, at Witten 
berg, ninety-five Latin theses or propositions on this 
subject, hoping thereby to call the attention of eccle 
siastics and theologians to the great evil, and by sta 
ting his own doubts and opinions to challenge dispu 
tation and thus bring about public discussion. Such 

The Reformation. 67 

a procedure was not uncommon at that day, and at 
the Universities, and among theologians, it was the 
practice to have such public disputations as a means 
not only of exercising learned thought, but of elucida 
ting truth. 

At ordinary times, therefore, the bold act of the 
Reformer in nailing up those theses would not have 
provoked any special notice ,or given rise to any com 
motion, although by announcing the doctrine of free 
and gratuitous remission of sins he heralded the Ref 
ormation. But, as we have observed, these were not 
ordinary times. The state of mind, all over Europe, 
was such that a very trifling incident became the note 
of a bugle, at the sound of which all Christendom 
sprang into action. Luther s hammer emitted a few 
sparks. The inflammable material, which lay in masses 
everywhere, caught fire and, as with the rapidity of 
lightning, a conflagration spread from Wittenberg 
to every part of the Christian world. "In a fort 
night," says a contemporary, "these theses were in 
every part of Germany, and in four weeks they had 
traversed nearly the whole of Christendom, as if the 
very angels had been their messengers, and had 
placed them before the eyes of all men." "Every one 
read them, meditated and commented on them." 

Little had the humble monk dreamed of what he 
was doing. He had hoped to bring about a simple 
public disputation in which he proposed humbly, but 
with all his might, to defend the fundamental doctrine 
of the gospel, the freeness of salvation through Christ, 
and lo ! he has awakened a discussion which is shak 
ing the Church to its center. All Europe is involved 

68 The Lutherans in America. 

in the tremendous commotion, and without ever 
having intended it, shrinking in his soul from the very 
thought of it, Luther suddenly finds himself at the 
head of a colossal movement against the central au 
thority of the Church, a movement which no power 
on earth could now stay and which, by the irresistible 
logic of events, he was charged under God to direct 
and control. 

The papacy was roused by the terrific noise. This 
monk must be silenced. He is summoned to recant 
his teachings in the theses and in his publications, and 
as this was not in the line of his convictions the ban 
of excommunication is hurled against him. When no 
one in authority dares to pay any heed to this, and 
as excommunication loses its terror if the subject of 
it keeps at large prosecuting the work for which he 
was anathematized, the congress of the Empire is 
convoked in order to dispose of this Wittenberg monk 
who set the world on fire. At the fiat of the Pope, 
the lord of the kingdoms of this world, the Emperor 
is constrained to make effective the bull of excommu 
nication. He assembles, in 1521, the great Diet, at 
that time the mightiest political body in the world,, 
and the solitary monk is required to appear in per 
son before it. He makes his defense before the 
princes and prelates. He solemnly plants himself on 
the Word and refuses point blank to surrender his 
convictions and his conscience. In God s name he 
bids defiance to priests and potentates and powers,, 
and by his firm stand marks an epoch in the progress 
of human freedom. Ready to live or die he is placed 
by friends under the shelter of a castle, and from 

The Reformation. 69 

thence he gives the word of life to the German peo- 
In their own tongue. 

A large part of the nation have already embraced 
the evangelical faith. Great princes of the Empire 
refuse to join in the condemnation of a man who has 
the courage to tell the naked truth about Rome, and 
who once more proclaims the Gospel of a salvation 
purchased once for all by the blood of the Lamb. 
Electoral Saxony joins the Reformation. So does 
Brandenburg, Hesse, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Lune- 
burg, Friesland, and nearly all the free cities which 
had long been impatient of Episcopal rule: Hamburg, 
L"beck, Bremen, Magdeburg, Frankfort, Gottingen, 
and Nurenberg. As early as the Diet of Spires, in 
1526, the countries holding the evangelical faith had 
become so numerous and so strong as to extort from 
the national congress the right, for the time being, to 
maintain the new order, to have the unrestricted 
preaching of the Gospel and the organization of the 
Churches in independence of the hierarchy, a right 
which they never again surrendered, though repeat 
edly threatened with violent measures if all was not 
brought back under the old papal regime. In a few 
more years Schleswig and Holstein adopted the evan 
gelical faith, as did also Silesia, Prussia, Anhalt, Ducal 
Saxony, Brunswick and the Palatinate, almost the 
whole of northern Germany and a large part of South 
Germany, inclusive of nearly all the powerful free 
cities. Without doubt a majority of the people in 
countries which remained Roman Catholic, were in 
sympathy with the Reformation and hungering for 
the Gospel and its life of freedom, but the intolerance 

70 The Lutherans in America. 

of Austria and Bavaria, and the bloody engine of 
the Inquisition succeeded in stifling the movement in 
those countries. 

This astounding revolution was effected within the 
short period of ten years, marking a rapidity and a 
radical thoroughness such as the world had never 


before witnessed. And the only weapon employed 
was the torch of the Gospel, which brought men 
to realize the surrounding darkness and revealed to 


them the way of life. About the same time the doc 
trines proclaimed by Luther achieved a like triumph 
in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, while the reforma 
tion wave rolled on into France and Holland and 
England, and "to the utmost boundaries of Europe." 
Everywhere it was welcomed as the deliverance for 
which men had yearned through centuries of bondage. 
From a popular historian of the Reformation, 
D Aubigne, we transfer the following graphic picture 
of the amazing rapidity of its course: " Luther s writ- 

The Reformation. 71 

ings were read in the cities, towns and even villages ; 
at night by the fireside the school-master would often 
read them aloud to an attentive audience. Some of 
the hearers were affected by their perusal ; they would 
take up the Bible to clear away their doubts, and 
were struck with surprise at the astonishing contrast 
between the Christianity of the Bible and their own. 
After oscillating between Rome and Scripture, they 
soon took refuge with that living word which shed so 
new and sweet a radiance on their hearts. While 
they were in this state, some evangelical preacher, 
probably a priest, or a monk, would arrive. He 
spoke eloquently and with conviction ; he announced 
that Christ had made full atonement for the sins of 
of his people ; he demonstrated by Holy Scripture the 
vanity of works and human penances. A terrible 
opposition would then break out; the clergy and 
sometimes the magistrates, would strain every nerve 
to bring back the souls they were about to lose. But 
there was in the new preaching a harmony with 
Scripture and a hidden force that won all hearts, and 
subdued even the most rebellious. At the peril of 
their goods, and of their life, if need be, they ranged 
themselves on the side of the Gospel, and forsook 
the lifeless and fanatical orators of the papacy. 
Sometimes the people, incensed at being so long mis 
led, compelled them to retire; more frequently the 
priests, deserted by their flocks, without tithes or of 
ferings, departed voluntarily and in sadness to seek 
a livelihood elsewhere. And while the support 
ers of the ancient hierarchy returned from these 
places sorrowful and dejected, and sometimes bidding 

72 The Lutherans in America. 

farewell to their old flocks in the language of anathe 
ma the people, transported with joy by peace and 
liberty, surrounded the new preachers with their ap 
plause, and thirsting for the word of God, carried 
them in triumph into the Church and into the pulpit. 
" A word of power, proceeding from God, was at 
that time regenerating society. The people or their 
leaders would frequently invite some man, celebrated 
for his faith, to come and enlighten them; and in 
stantly for love of the Gospel he abandoned his 
interests and his family, his country and friends. Per 
secution often compelled the partisans of the Ref 
ormation to leave their homes: they reached some 
spot where it was as yet unknown ; here they would 
enter a house that offered an asylum to poor travel 
ers ; there they would speak of the Gospel, read a 
chapter to the attentive hearers, and perhaps obtain 
permission to preach publicly in the Church 
If they could not preach in the Church, they found 
some other spot. Every place became a temple." 



GOD S providence and the preaching of the pure 
gospel of salvation brought into being the Evan 
gelical Lutheran Church. It is the unanimous 
testimony of Protestant historians that Luther shrunk 
with holy horror from the idea of a separation from 
the Church presided over by the Roman See. He 
had a most profound reverence for the dogmas and 
institutions which had prevailed through ages. His 
attacks were leveled at first only against a few gross 
abuses, and he was so innocent as to believe that the 
Pope himself and all pious theologians would join 
in their condemnation, when they became fully in 
formed of these evils. He could not have believed 
that they had become so corrupted by error and so 
poisoned by its virus, that they would resist every 
attempt at the purification of the house of God. He 
had no idea that the chief shepherds of the Church 
could brand, outlaw and burn at the stake men who 
pointed sinners to "the Lamb of God that taketh 
.away the sin of the world." He had not anticipated 
that the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Papacy stood 
in irreconcilable conflict with each other. Having 
planted himself on the eternal rock of truth, and con 
fident of the material on which he stood, he now 
could not do otherwise than maintain his position, and 
if Rome declared that treason, and proposed to make 


74 The Lutherans in America. 

war upon him, Rome must take the consequences. 
The truth was dearer to him than all the sacred tra 
ditions he had so profoundly venerated, and the truth,, 
he well knew, was the only invincible power upon 
earth. The Church rests upon God s Word as her 
foundation stone. She stands or falls with the doc 
trines of grace and so Luther, secure of his position, 
went on purging and cleansing the sanctuary as God 
led him, until a glorious anti-papal, Evangelical 
Church arose over Europe. 

God did lead him, and God did protect him. We 
have seen how wonderfully the soil was made ready 
for the seed of the Word, how events had conspired 
to bring on the crisis, how the colossus of Rome was 
tottering from its weight, how the reverence for the 
Papacy had been shattered and the minds of men dis 
enchanted, how a multitude of new ideas had spread 
over every land, how society in every grade was pul 
sating with a new life, how the printing press had 
scattered its pages of light into the most distant 
places, and the discovery of new worlds had extended 
the horizon of human thought. Everything por 
tended a great revolution. All men had a presenti 
ment of an impending crisis. Some, judging from the 
fearful decay in the Church, foretold the near ap 
proach of Anti-christ, while others cherished an ar 
dent expectation of a Reformation close at hand. If 
God rules in the affairs of men, there was certainly 
here, in this universal concurrence, a revelation of his 
mighty providence. 

And no less conspicuous is the hand of God in the 
protection of his servant through all the perils and 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 75 

struggles which he encountered, and in the triumphant 
issue which crowned his work. From the moment he 
uttered truths which were at variance with the exist 
ing order in the Church, he jeopardized his life, and 
it is one of the marvels of history that, with the ban 
of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities branded 
upon him, the Reformer escaped unharmed from the 
fiery furnace. How did it come about that a power 
ful, earthly prince, Frederick the Wise, who never per 
sonally met him, and who, for a long time, avowed no 
sympathy with his views, saw fit to cast the shield of 
protection over his person? How was it that the Em 
peror, who was lord of two worlds and in full alliance 
with the papacy in every attempt at smiting Luther 
and crushing his work, found himself paralyzed in the 
critical juncture and compelled to let the cause ad 
vance until it defied repression? How was it that 
when Luther walked right into the jaws of death at 
Worms, and when scarcely a mortal expected to see 
him come out of the city alive, he passed out as he 
entered, the hero of the age? The imperial safe- 
conduct, under which he went and came, was the fac 
simile of the one granted to Huss to assure his safe 
return from Constance, but Huss was burnt by the 
Council as a heretic, and so was Jerome, his coadjutor, 
while Luther, who was spreading doctrines far more 
dangerous to the papacy, went back to Wartburg 
and from there brandished a sword which pierced the 
vitals of his enemies. Savonarola taught in Flor 
ence the way of salvation, as revealed in the Script 
ures, and instituted a moral and religious Reforma 
tion, but he died at the stake as a heretic and a 

76 The Lutherans in America. 

seducer of the people. Wycliffe maintained that the 
only source and rule of faith were the Holy Scriptures, 
and sought to inaugurate a thorough reform of 
the Church, but, although the civil power protected 
his person from molestation, he was stripped of his 
offices, debarred from public teaching and kept in 
retirement, while his principal friends were either 
driven out of the country or forced to recant. 

The penalty for the crime of murder in civilized 
-states is death by hanging. The penalty for attempt 
ing the reform of the Church and for preaching a 
pure Gospel was, at that period, death at the stake, 
and nothing else could have been anticipated for 
Luther who boldly bearded the lion in his den. Yet 
from the daring step of posting his ninety-five 
theses, he kept on teaching, preaching, writing, dis 
puting, and publishing, openly, publicly, fearlessly, in 
the university, in churches, in the presence of the 
great and the mighty, in the palaces of kings, be 
fore august assemblies, his enemies having innumera 
ble opportunities to poison him, to kidnap, slay or 
burn him, and never was molested, never suffered an 
injury to a single hair of his head, lived triumphantly 
till his work was finished and finally passed away as 
the oracle of his age, dying peacefully in the circle 
of his friends, with loud thanksgiving to God. 

As the leader, so the cause itself received super 
human protection. It happens sometimes that the 
workman falls, but his work is perpetuated ; some 
times, as in the case of Wycliffe, the person of the 
leader is shielded while the issue for which he con 
tended is crushed. But here the leader and the revo- 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 77 

lution, inseparably united, share alike the guardian 
ship of heaven. That movement for a purified 
Church and a revived gospel, which might at its bold 
inception have been strangled by a single hand of 
civil or ecclesiastical power, was allowed to move on 
unimpeded until, in its advance, it had gathered such 
momentum as to sweep before it every barrier, and 
to overcome all opposition. The arm of the Most 
High was stretched out for its defense, and moved 
not only a Frederick and his successors in Saxony 
to shelter and shield the precious cause, but also a. 
king of France and a king of England, notwithstand 
ing their religious adhesion to Rome, to offer armed 
resistance to the combinations formed for the de 
struction of the Reformation. Even Charles V.witli 
all his hatred of Luther and Lutheranism, and his re 
peated resolve to extinguish both, the mighty poten 
tate who to the end of his life regretted that he had 
allowed Luther s escape, found himself, just at the 
moment when he had expected to strike the fatal 
blow, compelled by political exigencies to recall vio 
lent measures, to make a sudden change of front, and 
to allow the Reformers to prosecute their work in 
peace. The very Turk, the mortal foe of Christen 
dom, whose baleful shadow cast itself from time to 
time into the heart of Germany, became more than 
once an instrument of Providence to shield the work 
of purifying his Church. 

In the spring of 1532, for instance, Soliman was ad 
vancing towards the gates of Vienna with an army of 
three hundred thousand men. An Embassy was sent 
to offer him the most humiliating terms of peace, so 

78 The Lutherans in America. 

that the Emperor s hands might be free to crush the 
Lutherans. He at once inquired, "Has the Emperor 
made peace with Martin Luther?" and on learn 
ing that no such peace had yet been made, he 
spurned every offer, and spread such consternation 
in Germany that all the resources of the Empire had 
to be combined against the common foe. 

The Lutheran Reformation thus achieved success, 
and resulted in a pure Church, while all previous 
efforts were stamped with disastrous and melan 
choly failure. Gerson, D Ailly, and other French re 
formers, called together Council after Council, and 
made the most sincere and strenuous efforts to purify 
the Church in head and members, but all their at 
tempts proved wholly abortive. Papal tyranny, 
hierarchical assumptions, clerical immorality and all 
other scandals and wrongs remained as dominant 
and powerful as before. Germany had its reformers 
previous to the Reformation, but not a trace of their 
work survived to give encouragement or direction to 
Luther. In the Low Countries, nearly a century be 
fore Luther noble men had denied the power of the 
Pope and held out the torch of Evangelical light, but 
all had again vanished in the surrounding darkness. 
Of Wycliffe s movement in England it is doubtful 
whether any germs remained to prove seed-corn for 
the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Huss and 
Jerome started a reformation in Bohemia which, in 
its advocacy of justification by faith and the su 
premacy of the Scriptures has been very naturally 
regarded as the precursor of the Lutheran Reforma 
tion, but soon after their leaders had attested their 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 79 

faith at the stake their followers disintegrated into 
factions, became a prey to fanaticism, were dispersed 
by the civil authorities and afterwards disappeared 
from history. 

With all these examples of direful and distressing 
failure staring him in the face, Luther resolutely and 
without a conscious fear advanced to the attack of 
the mightiest bulwarks of Rome, effected the libera- 


tion of the nations from its thraldom and proceeded 
to build up a church without pope, bishop or priest, 
tearing down and destroying every structure which 
man had erected within the temple of the Most High. 
He succeeds. His work stands. It dates a new 
epoch not only in the Church but in the world. It 
marks the birth of modern civilization. The Church 
reformed abides. It survives the discomfiture of its 
foes, the storms of succeeding social commotions, the 
wrecks of time. 

80 The Lutherans in America. 

Abraham Lincoln was wont to remark during the 
darkest periods of the civil war, that it had always 
been his object to find out on which side God is and 
then to embrace that side, for that was the side 
that would always win in the end. So in the 
midst of the tumult created in Jerusalem by the 
rapid spread of the gospel, there stood up a notable 
philosopher of the Pharisees and put in an eloquent 
defense for the Apostles, closing with the earnest 
charge to "refrain from these men and let them 
alone, for if this council or this work be of man it 
will come to naught. But if it be of God, ye cannot 
overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight 
against God." 

That the Reformation was of God can be shown as 
conclusively as that the material universe is the work 
manship of his hand. In nothing, however, is divine 
interposition so conspicuous as in the protection 
which marked its progress and the abiding success- 
by which it was crowned. "When He giveth quiet 
ness, who then can make trouble?" The battle-hymn 
of the Reformation was the XLVI. Psalm, and it was- 
not an expression of the lips alone but an immovable 
conviction among its adherents that "God was in the 
midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall 
help her and that right early. The Lord of hosts is 
with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." 

But why were success and victory given to Luther, 
and withheld from other great and true men who had 
conceived a similar undertaking at other times and in 
other lands? The real answer to this inquiry i.s not 
the extraordinary personality of the Reformer, trans- 

The Evangelical Lutheran Ch^^rc h. 81 

cendent and unapproachable as that is acknowledged 
to have been, " a sort of inspired apostle and prophet, 
who came to the stage of history for such a time as 
this. Luther was human and had his full share of the 
limitations and passions and weaknesses of his kind. 
He was but an instrument. Nor is it sufficient to say 
that the times were ripe, that the hour had come, for 
this, after all, does not indicate what was the decisive 
instrumentality which brought about the result. 

Compare the revolution which triumphed under the 
Lutheran Reformers with the endeavors made so 
often in the same line by others, and the unique 
ness of their reform and the secret of its success 
become manifest. The Paris Reformers, with all 
their zeal and energy, directed their attacks against 
the open and glaring scandals and the accursed op 
pressions which were festering in the Church, while 
its falsified faith they had no idea of disturbing, and 
the doctrine of gratuitous justification they did net 
so much as understand. Savanorola was not content 
to purge the Church and its faith, but must also 
reconstruct the government of his country. Wyc- 
liffe formulated a theological system and developed 
philosophical speculations of interest to thinkers, but 
he made no impression on the people, and by denying 
the objective validity of the ordinances, he practically 
rendered it impossible to establish a visible Church 
or community. Huss, though giving greater empha 
sis than Wycliffe to justification by faith, yet fell 
into his error of spiritualism, which made the Church 
the totality of the predestinate and empowered only 
the elect to administer the sacraments, thus vitiating 

82 The Lutherans in America. 

the nature, the import and the office of the objective 

From all these errors the Reformation under 
Luther was providentially preserved. Taking as his 
guide implicitly the divine Word and sternly exclud 
ing from the Church one by one the false ingredients 
which could not endure its searching test, this great 
mind was marvelously held back from those extremes 
into which reformers and iconoclasts almost inevita 
bly plunge. He, too, was encompassed by these very 
temptations. The same insidious tendencies, which 
had wrecked previous efforts, were present and threat 
ened to weaken, to divert and to vitiate the reform ; 
but Luther, like a rock in the sea, stood firm against 
wind and tide from every quarter, and with the 
Romanists on the right and the fanatics and anarch 
ists on the left he upheld the simple truth of God 
without wavering and without compromise. 

His own inclinations often prompted him to a more 
radical course as, for instance, on the Lord s Supper, 
where at first he was fain to deny an objective pres 
ence and to accept the symbolic view, but he had so 
completely subjected himself to the Scriptures that 
neither the inclinations of his heart nor the argu 
ments of his reason could be allowed to sway his con 
victions or to determine his conduct. 

By his profound religious experience he had been 
made to realize that justification by faith was the 
central doctrine, and giving this its proper position 
in the preaching of the Gospel, in the system of doc 
trine, and in the Confession of faith, making it the 
doctrine of a standing or a falling Church, he was 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 83 

able to steer clear of the dangerous snags and shoals 
by which his course was beset, and by which so many 
others had been shipwrecked. He not only had an 
infallible compass, but he knew the polar star whose 
long eclipse had led to many serious errors in the 
Church, and he knew also its exact place in the sys 
tem, and thus the ship of Christ outrode the terrific 
storms and billows which it encountered, 

"In the middle of the Confession, as its construct 
ive center," says Thomasius, "is placed the Article 
on Justification :" " It is further taught that we can 
not obtain the pardon of sins and righteousness 
before God, by our own merits, works, or reparation, 
but that we receive forgiveness of sins and become 
righteous before God for Christ s sake, through the 
faith that Christ has suffered for us, and that for his 
sake sins are remitted to us, righteousness and 
eternal life gratuitously given. For this faith God 
will impute for righteousness before Him, as Paul 
declares in Romans iii and iv." Here is the secret of 
the power and the success of the Lutheran Reforma 
tion. This was its battle-cry and this truth, the heart 
of the gospel, made it invincible. Under this banner 
the Evangelical Lutheran Church came into distinct 
ive being and Jesus Christ was lifted up as the 
Savior of sinners. Men were everywhere drawn to 
this uplifted Savior, and those so drawn were justified 
from their sins, were quickened by the Holy Ghost, 
and were united in a living communion with the real 
and divine head of the Church. Thus united with 
him and possessed of his Spirit they formed an 
organic part of the body of Christ. They constituted 

84 The Lutherans in America. 

a Church of the living God, a part of that great com 
munity of saints who, in all lands and all ages, agree 
concerning the Gospel, and have the same Christ, the 
same Holy Ghost, the same proclamation of grace and 
the same sacraments. Not a single note of the true 
Church is wanting, not a single element or part of 
that building which, not made by hands but being 
fitly framed together into Christ, "groweth unto a 
holy temple in the Lord." And such was the power 
of the spiritual life pulsating in this company of be 
lievers, that within the limits of a single generation it 
so extended its borders as to embrace nearly all the 
peoples of the Germanic race and the entire popula 
tion of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. 

But while a new and fresh life was throbbing with 
in its bosom, it was not in any sense a new Church 
which thus spread over Europe. Though it came to 
bear the name of Luther its inception or genesis does 
not date from the period of the Reformer s career. 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the Christian 
Church regenerated, renewed and reformed. It is in 
all essentials a return to primitive Christianity, a 
restoration of gospel teaching to its ascendency in 
the house of the Lord, a reassertion of the principles 
which marked the Church in the days of her apos 
tolic purity, when she had the Gospel and the 
Sacraments, but had neither pope nor priest within 
her domain. The Church is not a body of officials 
administering elaborate ceremonies and exercising 
outward lordship over men s souls; it is the com 
munity of believers in Christ, among whom the Gos 
pel is preached in its purity and the Sacraments 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 85 

are administered according to divine appointment. 
These and not the former are accordingly the stamp 
of a church s legitimacy. And these treasures of 
grace were committed, not to an order of ecclesiastics, 
but to the whole Church, they are the common herit 
age of believers, the inalienable right of the body of 

A set of officials may gradually usurp the govern 
ment of a country, claim to be the lords of a nation 
and possess themselves of its goods and its rights. 
For a people to cast off such a usurpation, to assert 
their inalienable privileges, to resume the control of 
their property and their government, is not the ruin 
of a country, nor indeed the creation of a new country, 
but is simply freeing the land from its tyrants and 
from the pernicious institutions which their unholy 
and oppressive rule had imposed upon the people. 
The Lutherans renounced the papacy, they cast off 
its fetters, they overturned its ruinous ordinances and 
with their hands thus freed they grasped the Bible, 
they pronounced the historic creed, they clasped the 
ancient faith, they held to the ministry of the Word 
and Sacraments. And certainly such a departure from 
the abominable corruptions which had been wickedly 
brought into the Church, does not involve a depart 
ure from the Church itself. It is a return to the true 
Church, the pure Church. It is a new birth within 
the old Church, which depends for its life not on the 
Pope nor any Episcopal administration or manip 
ulation, but upon Jesus Christ, the risen Savior, and 
upon the Holy Ghost, "the Lord and giver of life." 

What, can I not be a member of Christ s Church 

86 The Lutherans in America. 

without belonging to the Pope s Church ? Is the 
Latin Church the Universal Church? Is there not 
also a Greek Church ? Can there be no German 
Church, no English Church? Must the Bishop of 
Rome have jurisdiction over all, a jurisdiction co 
extensive with the authority of Christ, and is 
Romanism identical with the one holy Catholic 
Church? God forbid! The Scriptures, reason, his 
tory, heaven and earth unite in denying this blasphe 
mous assumption and with one voice declare that 
Christ has a glorious dominion beyond the Roman 

Under that dominion falls the Evangelical Luth 
eran Church. She recognizes no other. " For one is 
your master, even Christ ; and all ye are brethren." 
As there is but one Master in the Church, so there is 
but one Priest, a great High Priest that is passed into 
heaven, Jesus the Son of God," "who through the 
eternal spirit offered himself without spot to God," 
and by this "one offering hath perfected forever them 
that are sanctified." And taking his people into liv 
ing union with Himself he has made all of them 
"priests of God and of Christ." He has constituted 
them a universal priesthood, to offer thanksgiving 
and intercession each in behalf of the other and in 
behalf of all. And in the exercise of that authority 
with which the Master has clothed his Church, and in 
accordance with apostolic practice, as illustrated both 
in the case of Matthias and in that of the seven 
deacons, the calling and ordaining of men to admin 
ister the Word and Sacraments reverts once more 
to the entire assembly of believers, to the body of 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 87 

the Church. " Every Church has lawful authority to 
ordain ministers for itself. For wherever the Church 
is, there is verily the command to preach the Gospel. 
Therefore, the churches undoubtedly retain the au 
thority to call, elect and ordain ministers. And this 
authority is a privilege which God has given especi 
ally to the Church, and it cannot be taken away from 
the Church by any human power, as Paul testifies, 
Ephesians iv. where he says: When he ascended 
up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts 
unto men. And among these gifts which belong to 
the Church, he enumerates pastors and teachers, and 
adds that these were given for the edifying of the 
body of Christ. Wherefore it follows that wherever 
there is a true Church, there is also the power to 
elect and ordain ministers." And whether this ordi 
nation or appointment be conducted through the 
laying on of the hands of the presbytery or of a 
single bishop, matters nothing at all, since the cere 
mony of ordination is nothing more than the minis 
ter s authorization, in the name of the Church, to 
perform official functions. 

Luther and his co-laborers accordingly did not frame 
a new Church. They are not to be considered as 
founders of a new Church, but, as they themselves uni 
formly claimed, " renewers of the old Church on the 
ancient foundations." Christian institutions had fallen 
into frightful decay, and the work of the Lutherans was 
that of renovation and preservation. Under God 
they saved the Church from threatened destruction. 
The outward organization with its officials and cere 
monies which they renounced, is not the veritable 

The Lutherans in America. 

kingdom of God. That cometh not by observation. 
It is a spiritual body with spiritual functions. And 
while its life-blood had become seriously tainted and 
vitiated it still preserved the vital elements of a 
restorative reaction. It had not lost the inherent 
capacity for self-purification. Its bosom still con 
tained the living power of truth. 

Christianity is not a splendid hierarchy, nor is it 
a code of priestly prescriptions, but the Gospel of 
Salvation. This is its divine, imperishable essence. 
Those are human and may pass away without any 
hurt to the vitality or integrity of the body of Christ. 
The former originated with the Lord himself and 
was preached throughout the world by his Apostles ; 
the latter came in subsequent ages when the light of 
the Scriptures had become obscured and men no 
longer saw clearly the way of life. And they did 
much to obstruct and corrupt the Gospel. What 
was needed, therefore, to heal the hurt of the 
daughter of Zion, was that this life-current, purified 
and reinvigorated, circulate again through every 
part of the organism, and in this way recover its 
apostolic purity and vivific power. The Church 
reappeared in its original form, in its native beauty. 
It renewed its youth. And the Reformers as they wit 
nessed the triumph of their endeavors, may well have 
challenged Christendom to show that a single mark 
was wanting to make the Church as reformed by 
them identical with the Church of the New Testa 
ment. They were permitted to realize the promise 
of an abiding Spirit wherever the Gospel is preached. 
There is, therefore, no pertinence in the sneering 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 89 

question, Where was the Lutheran Church before the 
Reformation? As well ask where were your hands 
before you washed them ? Where was the wheat be 
fore it was threshed from the chaff? Where was the 
Jewish Church between the fall of Jerusalem and the 
edict of Cyrus ? 

Could Paul and Peter, the reputed founders of 
the Church at Rome, have returned to it in the six 
teenth century, nothing short of a special revelation 
from heaven could have made them recognize that 
Church as identical with the Church which they had 
planted. But had they entered a church of the Ref 
ormation, they must have rejoiced to hear there the 
very doctrines of grace which they had proclaimed, 
to behold the simple observance of the same Sacra 
ments which they had celebrated, and to witness that 
the Gospel from the lips of reformers, as it had been 
from their own lips, was still the power of God unto 
salvation to all them that believe. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church is therefore the 
revival and the perpetuation of the Apostolic Church. 
It is the Church of the Bible. Its roots stretch away 
back into the New Testament. Thence it draws its 
life. There it beholds its model, with which it stands 
ready to be compared and tried by any competent 
tribunal. And if it require any other warrant for its 
existence, it is its supreme purpose to have the voice 
of Christ and his Apostles re-echoed within its 
walls, to countenance no other gospel than what they 
proclaimed, and to submit to no other dominion over 
the faith or the consciences of redeemed men. 

It has given occasion for much regret that a body 

9 o 

The Lutherans in America. 

of Christians, bearing the unchallenged stamp of 
Apostolic Christianity, and proving their identity 
with it by "receiving nothing in doctrine or cere 
monials contrary to Scripture or to the Universal 
Christian Church," should be designated by the name 


of a man, and one at that whose great labors and 
services for the Church were rendered fifteen hundred 
years after its foundation. It seems to detract from 
her glory, if not to discredit her legitimacy, or in some 
quarters to impede her progress, as if her name 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 91 

pointed to a human originator, or as if Luther were 
held in any other light than that of a mighty witness 
for the truth. 

Just how much there is in a name may be gathered 
in part from the specious and lofty sounding titles 
appropriated by certain religious organizations whose 
errors, fanaticism and warfare upon the historic 
denominations allow them a very dubious claim to 
recognition as a part of the Christian Church. The 
most sectarian of the sects, the bigots who manifest 
a malicious hostility towards the great Christian com 
munities that have forages borne the indelible signa 
ture o f God, the multiplying divisions of narrow zealots 
which form the greatest obstacle to the Church s 
mission, arrogate to themselves such names as " Church 
of God," "Disciples of Christ," "New Jerusalem," 
" Christians," etc., as if they constituted the veritable 
fold of the redeemed, while the most exclusive and 
intolerant of all sects persists in holding on to the 
glaring misnomer "Catholic." 

It is not often that the representatives of a cause 
are allowed to select the name for it, especially not 
when such a cause is unpopular, and every new moral 
movement is unpopular. Even the felicitous and 
appropriate name of "Christians" came, no doubt, 
at first from their enemies and by way of reproach. 
"Methodists" was the expression of the prevailing 
contempt which was directed against the earnest ritu 
alists and revivalists of the last century in England. 
And so the Lutherans are not responsible for the 
name which attaches to their Church. It was em 
ployed as a stigma by the malice of their enemies. 

9 2 The Lutherans in America. 

The term was first used by Eck, when he published 
the Bull against Luther. And afterwards all who fol 
lowed Luther in accenting the doctrines of the Gos 
pel and renouncing the supremacy of the Pope were 
in derision called "Lutherans." Even where they 
stood in remote connection with Luther s course or 
departed widely from his most pronounced views, 
wherever men turned away from priestly tutelage and 
mediation to the free salvation offered in the Script 
ures, they were scorned and condemned as " Luther 
ans," just as in the previous century persons holding 
similar views were branded as " Wycliffites " or " Huss 
ites." The reformers in England bore this title, so 
did those in Holland and in France, and even papist 
ical Italy had its " Lutherans."" The saving doctrine," 
says Melancthon, "the precious, Holy Gospel, they 
call Lutheran." Little wonder then that they should 
thus designate the Church he represented and guided. 
What was originally meant as a designation of 
reproach becomes a title of glory. The despised 
"beggars" of Holland resolutely emblazoned this 
epithet upon their banners and taught their haughty 
oppressor that the "beggar" with God on his side is 
more than a match for the wealth and power of Spain. 
The Methodists reared an enduring monument from 
the reproaches heaped upon them in the early days 
of their movement. And though all who love the 
Church that bears his honored name join with Luther 
in disapproving of such a title, and protest against the 
significance which such a designation was meant to 
convey, as if Luther were in any sense either the 
object or lord of their faith, yet if its repudiation im- 

The Evangelical Lutheran Chtirch. 93 

plies the rejection of what Luther maintained, the 
way of salvation he proclaimed, the Scriptures he de 
fended, then will we glory in this word as indicating 
and illustrating the most beneficent and far-reaching 
advance that Christianity has witnessed since its first 
planting by the Apostles. 

The name has, it may be, become a historic neces 
sity. It must be tolerated "to avoid the misappre 
hension and confusion which would arise if it were 
laid aside." "We do not call ourselves Lutherans," 
says Gerhard, " but are so styled by our enemies, and 
we permit it as a token of our consent with the pure 
teaching of the Word which Luther set forth. We 


suffer ourselves to bear his name, not as one who has 
invented a new faith, but of one who has restored the 
old, and purified the Church." Luther had mani 
festly received a mission from God to lead back the 
Church into God s Word and to cleanse it from its 
gross defilements and deformities. If this great work 
and the purified and reformed Church which crowns 
and perpetuates it, happen, by the logic of events, to 
be called Lutheran, so be it, we are ashamed neither 
of God s truth nor of his servant. But this in no 
sense implies that this Church rests her faith on 
Luther s authority. 

"She has been known," says Dr. Krauth, "by vari 
ous titles, but her own earliest and strongest prefer 
ence was for the name EVANGELICAL, and many of her 
most devoted sons have insisted on giving her this 
title without any addition. No title could more 
strongly express her character, for pre-eminently is 
her system one which announces the glad tidings of 

94 The Lutherans in America. 

salvation, which excites a joyous trust in Christ as 
a Savior, which makes the Word and Sacraments 
bearers of saving" grace. In no system is Christ so 
much as in the Lutheran ; none exalts so much the 
glory of his person, of his office, and of his work. 
The name Evangelical is now given, out of 
the bounds of the Lutheran Church, to the Christian 
ity of the heart everywhere, to all that makes much of 
Christ in the right way. Our Church to which it 
belongs in the great historic sense, has a claim in her 
actual life, second to none, to wear it. She is the 
Evangelical Church." 

In another connection the same author maintains: 
"Our Church is Reformed as against all corruptions; 
Protestant as against the assertion of all false princi 
ples in Christian faith, life and church government; 
Evangelical as against legalism and rationalism, 
against all restricted atonement and arbitrary limita 
tion of God s love; and and by a historical necessity, 
created not by herself but by her enemies, she is 
Lutheran, over against all perversions, mutilations, 
and misunderstandings of the Word under whatever 
name they may come, though that name be Reformed, 
Protestant, Evangelical, Catholic or Christian." 

It was a common distinction during the Reforma 
tion, to speak of the Catholic and the Evangelical doc 
trine, and historians frequently retain this distinction. 
All careful writers among Lutheran divines, let it be 
noted, invariably employ the historic title of the 
"Evangelical Lutheran Church." 

Martin Luther holds, by universal recognition, the 
position of the hero of the Reformation. A never-to- 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 95 

be-forgotten testimony to this fact was witnessed by 
the universal and enthusiastic commemoration of the 
four hundreth anniversary of his birth, by the Protes 
tant world. The great revolution was, under God, 
made conspicuously dependent upon his personal 
action, and he rises incomparably above all the re 
formers of that or any other era, sustaining a respon 
sibility such as never before rested upon any other 
man, and achieving triumphs absolutely without a 
parallel. Yet the briefest sketch of the Lutheran 
Church would be glaringly incomplete without some 
allusion to the noble company of his coadjutors, a 
circle of men whose attainments, character and serv 
ice would have rendered them illustrious at any time 
and on any stage, and whose contributions to the 
results of the Reformation are not obscured but 
lighted up by the close and cordial relation they sus 
tained to their peerless leader. 

Foremost in this galaxy stands Philip Melancthon, 
the inseparable companion, the noble complement of 
the great Reformer, a man small of stature but of 
gigantic intellect, a child in simplicity and sweetness of 
temper, but a master in theology. Learning was his 
passion and he was proficient in the wisdom of Homer, 
of Plato, of Cicero and of Pliny. His brilliant lectures 
in the university were attended by fifteen hundred to 
two thousand students and he was named the Preceptor 
of Germany. Yet with all his literary attainments he 
bowed with the docility of childhood to the Divine 
Word and was himself so penetrated with the savor 
of Christ that the sweet aroma exhaled from all his 
writings. The amiability and refinement of his na- 

96 The Lutherans in America. 

ture are reflected in all his theological productions, 
which are marked with a grace and a perspicuity 
which charm all readers and which attest the truth of 
his own belief that retirement and silence furnish the 
best opportunities for the illuminating action of the 
Holy Spirit. From him we have the first Protestant 
work on Systematic Theology, the Loci, and it was 
his hand that penned the immortal Agustana, the 
pioneer and the paragon of Protestant confessions. 
Never did two hearts beat in fuller unison than those 
of these two great men, the marked diversity in their 
constitution harmonized into a perfect unity. 

No one of his contemporaries or successors could 
be so capable as was Luther himself of appreciating 
the character and the merits of his accomplished 
lieutenant and invaluable supporter. He estimated 
him as an indispensable factor of the Reformation, 
and he repeatedly thanked God for the gift of Me- 
lancthon, and on the occasion of his extreme and des 
perate illness he offered for him the boldest and most 
memorable prayer to be found in uninspired records. 
"Melancthon is a wonder," says Luther: "All men 
confess it. He is the most formidable enemy of 
Satan and the schoolmen, for he knows their foolish 
ness and Christ the rock. The little Grecian sur 
passes me even in divinity ; he will be as serviceable 
to you as many Luthers." "I prefer," said he on 
another occasion, " Melancthon s books to my own 
and would rather have them circulated than mine. I 
was born to battle with conspirators and devils, there 
fore my books are more vehement and warlike. It is 
my work to tear up the stumps and dead roots, to 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 97 

clear away the briers, to fill up the marshes and pools. 
I am the rough woodman who has to prepare the 
way and smooth the road. But Philip advances 
quietly and softly; he tills and plants the ground; 
sows and waters it joyfully, according to the gifts 
that God has given him with so liberal a hand." 

During the long contest few men stood so near to 
Luther as Nicholas Amsdorf, a man of illustrious 
birth, of a sturdy personality, of an ardent, impetuous 
temper, blended with a sincerity of mind, piety, 
straightforwardness and courage that rendered him 
infinitely dear to the Reformer. 

The two mutually understood and loved each other 
from the time they became colleagues in the Uni 
versity of Wittenberg, some years before the out 
break of the Reformation. Amsdorf was one of the 
first to fall in line with the Reformer when he took 
his decisive stand, possessing then already clear con 
victions concerning salvation through the unmerited, 
gratuitous mercy of God, a heart aflame with love for 
the truth and a firm faith in its invincible character 
and perpetuity. It cost him comparatively little hesi 
tation to break absolutely with the Pope, and Rome 
knew in reality no more decided or incisive opponent 
than the man whom friend and foe called "a second 

The Reformer gratefully recognized in him as he 
did in Melancthon a special gift of Providence for the 
crisis. He regarded him as a born theologian and 
reposed such boundless confidence in his character 
and his opinions that he readily devolved on him the 
responsibility of representing him on important pub- 

98 The Lutherans in America. 

lie occasions, knowing with what blows he would 
smite the papacy. In the event which seemed often 
imminent, of himself being cut off, he reckoned Ams- 
clorf among the faithful number of those who would 
successfully maintain the contest with the enemies of 
the gospel. Luther calls him " my special friend," and 
it may be questioned whether any of his co-workers 
shared his confidence so unqualifiedly. 

The fact that with his independence of spirit and 
bluntness of speech he did not hesitate to administer 
reproof even to Luther himself when it was required, 
may have contributed momentum to the Reformer s 
exalted estimation of this man. He was Luther s 
companion to the Diet at Worms, never leaving his 
side during that terrible ordeal. He was his confi 
dant in regard to the latter s capture and exile, and 
was the preacher whom Luther desired to supply his 
Wittenberg pulpit during the period of his absence. 
The sphere of his reformatory labors was for a long 
time the free and tumultuous city of Magdeburg. 
His services were, however, in demand in various 
quarters of Germany, but he deferred to Luther s 
judgment and remained at that post, while offers of 
promotion to very lucrative positions under the hie 
rarchy he peremptorily spurned as incompatible with 
his conscience. 

The most influential co-laborer in the development 
and spread of the Lutheran Reformation was, next 
to Melancthon, undoubtedly Johann Bugenhagen, an 
other of those wonderfully constituted characters 
whom natural endowments and providential training 
had prepared for co-operation in the great work. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 99 

He sprang from a senatorial family, and was com 
monly named the Pommern, after his native country, 

From early childhood he was acquainted with the 
Scriptures but, held under the spell which the legal- 
ism and Pharisaism of Rome had cast over the 
Church, he, like many of his day whose hearts were 
groaning for the salvation of the gospel, was kept in 
darkness until he heard Luther s proclamation of the 
grace of God received through faith alone. He is 
described as a charming and imposing personality, 
blending in his character the virtues of gentleness 
and firmness. By his knowledge of men and an ex 
tensive experience in various positions of responsi 
bility, he had gained clear conceptions of the circum 
stances and recil needs of the people, and by his 
humanistic education and his long career as a teacher 
he had become such a master of philology as to afford 
the most valuable assistance in the translation of the 
Scriptures. Fleeing from the persecution of the 
Catholics he took refuge at Wittenberg, immediately 
won the confidence and esteem of Luther and Me- 
lancthon, and was constrained to join the corps of 
professors at the University. On seeing his exposi 
tion of the Psalms which he delivered shortly after r 
Luther enthusiastically pronounced him the first man 
on earth who deserved to be called an expositor of 
the Psalms. Declining the most inviting and splendid 
ecclesiastical positions to which he was called from 
time to time, he took a self-denying, energetic and 
most important part in all the varied activities rend 
ered necessary for the reformation of the Church. 


The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 101 

But his peculiar and pre-eminent qualification lor 
the Reformation lay in the sphere of administration. 
He was the Reformer who knew how to give the new 
evangelical life in the Church an organic body, to 
reconstruct the outward constitutional form in accord 
ance with the newly won principles. He has been 
properly called "The Pastor" of the Reformation. 
In England he would have been called "The Bishop" 
For thirty-six years he stood at the head of the 
Wittenberg Parish, and was during a portion 
of this period also General Superintendent of the 

But his organizing faculty, so rare among a people 
who had for ages been deprived of all share in the 
government of the Church, was everywhere in demand, 
and, obtaining leave of absence, he effected the organ 
ization of the Evangelical Church in Brunswick, in 
Hamburg, Luebeck, and in his native Pomerania. He 
also gave its constitution to the Church of Den 
mark, and with such admirable results that he is to 
this day claimed by the Danes as the Reformer of 
that country. On him devolved the honor of deliver 
ing the funeral sermon oi Luther, but his emotion 
rendered it often impossible to proceed, while yet he 
comforted himself and the great throng of his hearers 
that the doctrine of this precious man continued and 
would abide forever. 

One of the most faithful, zealous and worthy asso 
ciates of Luther in bringing a new spiritual life into 
the Church was Justus Jonas. He had, at an early 
period in his career, been recognized by Erasmus as "a 
vessel chosen of God to glorify his Son Jesus Christ/ 

102 The Lutherans in America. 

He first met Luther as the latter was Hearing Erfurt 
on his famous journey to Worms, and exacted his 
permission to accompany him to that den of lions. 
Prom that time on till he watched over the death 
struggle of the Reformer at Eisleben, the most inti 
mate relation and co-operation bound the two souls 


Jonas had for awhile followed the profession of 
law and his experience as a jurist served him often in 
good turn in the varied contests and negotiations 
that form so large a part of Reformation history. 
His regular official labors at Wittenberg were divided 
between preaching and teaching theology, but like 
his companions he was indefatigably occupied amid 
the stirring scenes and countless problems of the 
hour, and on each momentous public occasion, at 
Worms, at Marburg, at Augsburg and, in 1538, at the 
Frankfort Conference, Justus Jonas forms one of the 
heroes of the imposing drama. 

He rendered valuable services in the translation of 
the Bible, and also translated a number of the most 
important writings of Luther and Melancthon from 
the Latin into German, and others from the German 
into Latin. But his pre-eminent gift was that of elo 
quence "in speech and in writing." He was the orator 
of the Reformation. "No preacher ever surpassed 
him in the power of captivating his hearers." "Pome- 
ranus is a critic," said Melancthon; "I am a dialecti 
cian, Jonas is an orator, from whose lips flow words 
of wonderful beauty and an eloquence full of power." 

A historian exclaims: "Divine Providence gathered 
around Luther men who were destined to be the light 

The Evangelical Liitheran Church. 103 

of Germany, Melancthon, Amsdorf, Bugenhagen and 
Jonas." But a host of worthies are entitled in almost 
equal measure with those spoken of, to rank among 
the conspicuous gifts of Providence for the devel 
opment and maintenance of Luther s work. What 
cause ever had, since the days of the Apostles, such 
sturdy, stalwart, self-denying partisans ? 

It is to be seriously regretted that space fails 
here to speak of Spalatin, the pious scholar, the trusty, 
sapient adviser of three Saxon electors, the intimate 
friend of Luther and his immediate colleagues, the 
courtier who, in his close relation to the sovereign, 
and especially as the inter-mediary between Luther 
and the elector Frederick, was able to exert an incal 
culable influence upon the Reformation, whose prin 
ciples he shared with his whole heart. 

Of Myconius, the Reformer of Thuringia, the his 
torian of the Reformation, who had implored Tetzel 
to grant him an Indulgence gratis, and who having, 
like Luther, agonized for years in the struggle for 
justification by means of penances and mortifications, 
fell at last into despair over his salvation. From this 
he was delivered by the proclamation of grace in the 
ninety-five theses, and afterwards, often at the peril 
of his life, he consecrated far and near all his powers 
to the service of the Reformation. As theologian 
he accompanied the embassy of the Elector to Henry 
VIII, in 1538, for the furtherance of the Reformation 
in England. He is always spoken of as " Luther s 

Of Cruciger, one of the mildest and purest char 
acters that adorned the Evangelical revolution, who 


The Lutherans in America. 

was won to it "quietly" at the Leipsic Disputation. 
He was held in such esteem by Luther that the 
latter had at one time fixed upon him as his successor 
in the event of his decease. His knowledge of medi- 

% o 

cine and of the natural sciences, as well as of He- 


brew, proved of great service in the translation of 
the Bible. 

Of Brenz, the reformer of Wurtemburg, distin 
guished equally as an author, an organizer, an admin 
istrator, and a confessor who suffered for Lutheran 
convictions. Of Osiander, Agricola, and Blaurer; of 
Frederick the Wise, John Frederick the Magnani 
mous, John the Constant, Ernest of Luneberg, Mar 
grave George of Brandenburg, Wolfgang, Prince of 
Anhalt, Gustavus Vasa, and other great potentates, 
men who counted not their lives dear, men who placed 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church. 105 

their persons and property, their country and their 
all in jeopardy for the Gospel, men so deeply pene 
trated by evangelical truth and so confident of its 
triumph, that they rivalled the theologians and the 
preachers in their zeal for its unhindered proclama 
tion among the people and for the renovation of 
the Church. 

On Melancthon objecting to his Elector signing 
the Augsburg Confession lest it would involve him in 
danger: "God forbid," he replied, "that I should be 
excluded. I am resolved to do my duty without 
being troubled about my crown. I desire to confess 
the Lord. My Electoral hat and robes are not so 
precious to me as the Cross of Jesus Christ." An 
other prince voicing his deep convictions declared : 
"If the honor of my Lord Jesus requires it, I am 
ready to leave my goods and life behind me." 
"Rather would I renounce my subjects and my 
states," exclaimed the prince of Anhalt, "rather would 
I quit the country of my fathers, staff in hand ; rather 
would I gain my bread by cleaning the shoes of 
foreigners, than to receive any other doctrine than 
that which is contained in the Confession." This is 
the language, not of theologians, not of preachers 
educated and trained, who had made a special or 
professional study of the sacred science, but of po 
litical lords, of great men of the world, of princes 
and laymen, who felt that every precious interest was 
involved in the restoration of the pure gospel. 

The part enacted by the laity in the Reformation 
would, indeed, make a large and telling volume, ac 
centing, as it would, the fact that this movement was 

io6 The Lutherans in America. 

largely a revolt against the clerical order, a renun 
ciation of all priestly usurpations, and a return to 
the simple constitution of the primitive church, which 
knows of no essential distinction between clergy and 
laity, but embraces all men in a Christian brother 
hood. And, excepting a few prominent leaders, who 
like Luther had, under the old regime, taken orders, 
the Reformation may justly be said to owe its success 
mainly to an aroused, intelligent, and consecrated 
laity. Luther, it is well-known, taught at an early 
stage that even Christian women, and every one who 
has been baptized, were, in truth, as much priests as 
the pope, bishops and priests of the hierarchy, and 
that men are "to put no faith in any other oracle 
than the Holy Scriptures." 



fT^O the devout historian it was a notable coinci 
dence that just at the time that Martin 
Luther was born into the world, Christopher 
Columbus was seized with the conviction that Heaven 
had commissioned him to discover a new world, and to 
find a new domain for the Christian Church. It de 
volved upon him, he believed in his heart, to plant the 
standard of the cross upon shores, concerning 
whose existence men had then as little knowledge as 
as they had of the possibility of a Church of Christ 
outside the barriers of the Roman hierarchy. It was 
in 1483, the year of Luther s birth, that the discoverer 
of America found for the first time an opportunity of 
laying his daring and visionary enterprise before a 
European court. And nine years later, while Luther 
was being taught in the schools of Mansfeldt the Ten 
Commandments, the Apostles Creed and the Lord s 
Prayer, and was often unmercifully beaten by the 
schoolmaster, Chistopher Columbus, after breaking 
the silence of ages over the trackless waters, offers the 
first Christian worship in this western world, falling 
upon his knees, and with tears of joy, giving thanks to 
God, kissing the new earth which He had given him, 
and consecrating it to His glory by naming the first 
islands discovered San Salvador and Santa Trinidata. 
And just as all Europe is quaking from the commo 
tion which the revived faith of the Gospel had pro- 


io8 The Lutherans in America. 

duced, Cortez is marching his little band of heroic 
Spaniards into the gates of Mexico, overthrowing 
the most powerful tribes of the Aborigines, and 
opening the way for the conquest of the New World 
by the Missionaries of the Cross. 

But heaven could not consent that the debased 
type of Christianity, which was represented by the 
bigoted and cruel Spaniards, and which was about to 
be overwhelmed in Europe by the outburst of a new 
life in the Church, should appropriate this virgin soil. 
This must be reserved for the spread and the sway of 
a purer faith. The inestimable treasures of truth, 
which had just been recovered from the debris of 
ages, were destined to find here a theater for their 
fullest expansion and for the unfolding of their 
noblest products. What a miscarriage of history it 
would have been, had a system, staggering under the 
fatal blows of the manifest hand of Providence, seized 
at the very crisis a new continent for its baleful tri 
umphs. God never meant America to become Roman 
Catholic. This land was to be the home of the free. 
That power which has always been the enemy of free 
dom was not to acquire here an opportunity for strang 
ling the genius of liberty when it took refuge in this 
western world. 

The gospel, in the glorious revelation it makes of 
the dignity of the human soul and the equality and 
brotherhood of all men, is the mighty liberator, and 
here it was foreordained to have a sphere, untram 
melled by chains or bars, for creating a nation of 
freemen. It is from these shores that liberty is des 
tined to enlighten the world. Roman Catholic gov- 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 109 

ernments, with their maritime ascendency at the time, 
might serve as agents in the discovery and explora 
tion of this vast continent, they might open the way 
across the sea for the grand march of colonization 
and immigration, but the establishment of institu 
tions must be left to the hands of men who had 
learned in the school of Luther, who had imbibed 
the doctrines of the Reformation, and who knew 
to lay the foundations of a republic in which the 
freedom of conscience and the rights of the indi 
vidual should be forever secure. An insolent and 
infamous Pope, Alexander VI., by a solemn decree 
gave, indeed, the whole New World to Spain, but 
one greater than the Pope gave it to a people who 
along with Luther had renounced all papal authority. 
Alexander s infallibility must, about this time, have 
been nodding. 

It is certainly noteworthy that while for a period 
of more than a hundred years after the discovery of 
this continent, the Roman Catholics of Spain and 
France and Portugal were planting their settlements 
and missionary stations over a vast area, extending 
from Florida to California, they were not permitted 
by Providence to lay the foundation on which the 
permanent institutions of a mighty Empire were to 
be erected. Their ideas and principles so far from 
leaving a permanent impress upon this country, con 
tributed so little to the formation of its government 
that even the existence of these settlements is un 
known except to the student of history. 

Speaking of the Spaniards Bryant, in his history, 
remarks: "Fortunately for the progress of the human 

iio The Lutherans in America. 

race and the future history of North America, all 
their efforts to gain a permanent foothold north of 
the Gulf of Mexico were in the main unsuccessful." 
And another eminent American historian, Dr. Dor 
chester, observes: "While thirst for gold, lust of 
power and love of daring adventure served the provi 
dential purpose of opening the New World to papal 
Europe, and Roman Catholic colonies were success 
fully planted in some portions, the territory origi 
nally comprised within the United States was mysteri 
ously guarded and reserved for another a prepared 
people," a people brought forth in the pangs of the 
Reformation, possessed of new ideas and loftier aims 
and intended by Providence to found in the New 
W T orld a great Christian Republic, one of the might 
iest agencies in human progress. 

While the first Protestant colonists owed their re 
ligious faith and their convictions of civil polity to 
the Lutheran Reformation, the true adherents of the 
Lutheran Church could not, in the nature of things, 
take the leading part in the early settlement of this 
country. England and the Netherlands, and in some 
measure Sweden, were in the seventeenth century the 
only maritime nations among the Protestants of 
Europe, the only powers, accordingly, that were pre 
pared to establish colonies beyond the sea. "The 
Reformation," says Bancroft, "followed by collisions 
between English Dissenters and the Anglican Hie 
rarchy colonized New England. The Reformation 
emancipating the United Provinces, led to European 
settlements on the Hudson." 

But although debarred through lack of commercial 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 1 1 1 

equipments from having the ascendency in the origi 
nal colonization of America, it was in accordance 
with the fitness of things that Lutherans should form 
an element in some of the earliest Protestant settle 
ments. Providence has in many instances employed 
them as the leaven where others held the more con 
spicuous place of the loaf. Their scriptural faith, 
their intelligence their industry, thrift and sturdy 
moral principles constitute, it is well known, invalua 
ble factors in a liberal and prosperous state, and it 
may be attributed to Providence that the earliest 
settlement of Lutherans in this land is almost coinci 
dent with its permanent settlement. 

The first representatives of the Lutheran Church 
in this country came notably, not from Germany, the 
home of Lutheranism, but from Holland, the land 
which during the Reformation furnished the first mar 
tyrs for the evangelical faith, an event which called 
forth Luther s well-known hymn " Ein neues Lied wir 
heben an," said to have been his earliest hymno- 
logical composition. Although the Reformation as 
sumed there at an early period an extreme Calvin- 
istic type, prosperous congregations of Lutherans 
maintained themselves in different parts of the 
country, the strongest of them being the Church at 
Amsterdam which afterward became "the foster- 
mother of the Dutch Lutheran congregations in New 
York and New Jersey." There is no evidence of 
their suffering persecution from the State Church 
prior to the rise of the Arminian party. From that 
time on, although they had no sympathy with Armin 
ian doctrines, yet as they had along with their 

112 The Lutherans in America. 

brethren in other lands always stoutly repudiated the 
extreme tenets of Calvinism, they became involved 
in the bitter and relentless persecution of the Armin- 
ians which followed the Synod of Dort in 1618. 
Intolerance did not stop to make any distinctions 
among the opponents of rigorous Calvinism, and 
Lutherans fell a prey to the same religious fury which 
beheaded a Barneveldt and imprisoned a Grotius. 

To what extent their sufferings for conscience sake 
had a part in leading them to embark with others of 
their countrymen for the New World is not known, 
neither have we any evidence of opposition being 
offered to their coming. It seems quite probable 
that the religious oppressions as well as the political 
commotions which held sway in their native land, 
prompted them to go beyond the seas in quest of 
peace and worldly prosperity, if not primarily for the 
sake of religious freedom. Some of them appear, 
at all events, to have come with the first Dutch colony 
which in 1623 occupied Manhattan Island, the terri 
tory now comprised in the city of New York. 

The prospect of commercial advantages had led 
the Holland West India Company to found this 
colony, and but little concern was consequently mani 
fested for the religious interests of the settlers. At 
least five years elapsed before the first minister of 
the Reformed Church, Jonas Michaelius, came over 
and assumed pastoral care at New Amsterdam. 

How early the Lutheran settlers took steps to or 
ganize a congregation or to celebrate worship accord 
ing to the order of their Church, cannot be clearly 
determined, but when they moved to have the service 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 1 1 3 

of their own precious faith they at once encountered 
strong and persistent opposition from the Reformed, 
who represented the State Church of the fatherland. 

And the first picture of Lutherans in America is that 
of a noble band suffering persecution.. Lutherans in 
the Netherlands having been the first Protestants to 

H4 The Lutherans in America. 

obtain the crown of martyrdom, Lutherans from the 
same country were now destined to be the first Prot 
estants in America to have the honor of suffering 
solely for their religious opinions. For although the 
English Calvinists in Massachusetts were engaged in 
whipping and hanging Quakers and banishing Bap 
tists at the same time that the Dutch Calvinists were 
fining and imprisoning Lutherans on the Hudson, it 
is pretty clearly established now that Roger W illiams 
Ann Hutchinson, and the Quakers generally, who 
were so obnoxious to the Puritans, were not made to 
suffer for their religious views so much as for their 
disturbance of civil order, their menace to the peace 
and stability of the colony, their dangerous political 
tenets and their wanton defiance of the constituted 
civil authority. The Lutherans, on the other hand> 
never in all history employed their religious teach 
ings for the subversion of government. They never 
figured as political agitators, and the little band 
on Manhattan Island sought only the enjoyment 
of their spiritual rights under their own vine and 


The first distinct mention of the Lutherans at New 
Amsterdam is from the pen of the Jesuit Missionary, 
Jogues, whom the Dutch had rescued from captivity 
among the Iroquois, and who spent the time from 
August, 1642, to November, 1643, in the colony. He 
says: "No religion is publicly exercised but the Cal- 
vinist, and orders are to admit none but Calvinists, 
but this is not observed, for there are beside Calvin 
ists, in the colony, English Puritans, Lutherans, Ana 
baptists, here called Minists" (Mennonites). 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 115 

The opposition to Lutheran worship appears to 
have been for awhile not so inexorable as to drive 
them from the colony or to prevent their assembling 
in private dwellings where religious services after the 
Lutheran form were conducted by one of their num 
ber. The little band in the wilderness, without 
bishop or priest, formed with God s Word a true 
Church of Christ. They had a bitter grievance in 
connection with the baptism of their children. This 
sacrament had to be administered by the Reformed 
pastor who required of sponsors a profession of faith 
which to a Lutheran conscience must have been, to 
say the least, unsatisfactory and compromising. 

The settlement of Rev. John Megapolensis as pas 
tor of the Reformed Church of New Amsterdam, in 
1649, was the signal of more rigorous measures 
against the Lutherans and all non-conformists. The 
congregation considered itself capable of maintain 
ing a pastor and desired to call one from Holland, 
formally petitioning Governor Stuyvesant for the 
privilege of worshipping publicly in a church by them 
selves. The resistance offered by the Reformed pas 
tors against this petition was so strenuous, that the 
Governor, who was himself a zealous Calvinist, re 
fused his permission " for the reason that he was 
bound by his oath to tolerate openly no other re 
ligion than the Reformed." 

The Lutherans hereupon addressed themselves tc 
the West India Company and to the Home Govern 
ment. The Reformed Pastors made a counter-ap 
peal to the Classis of Amsterdam, to which had been 
entrusted the office of supervision of ecclesiastical 

ii6 The Lutherans in America. 

affairs in America, urging the dangerous conse 
quences of making such concessions to the Lutherans, 
and entreating them to prevent their being made. It 
would be a dangerous precedent. 

The instructions which came from Holland in re 
sponse to these appeals, were " that they would encour 
age no other doctrine in New Netherlands than the 
true Reformed." No violence, indeed, was sanctioned, 
but it was made incumbent on the Governor "to use- 
all moderate exertions to allure the Lutherans to the 
Dutch Churches and to matriculate them in the Pub 
lic Reformed religion." The tolerance granted them 
in the fatherland is to be denied in free America, and 
this document, bearing date February 26, 1654, ex 
presses the hope that the Reformed Religion would 
now "be preserved and maintained without hinderance 
from the Lutherans and other errors." 

The Lutherans have somehow always been consid 
ered a "hinderance" by their sister churches. They 
have always stood in their way. Their presence has 
been dreaded as a menace to sectarian ascendency 
and an obstruction to sacerdotal power. Their popu 
lar worship, their evangelical doctrine, their childlike 
faith and spiritual freedom can never hope for a 
welcome among those who are still partial to the 
bonds of legalism and who look to works as well as 
to faith as a condition to salvation. Standing mid 
way between the sensualizing ceremonials and dogmas 
of Rome and the pronounced subjectivity of the Re 
formed system, a position rendered impregnable by 
history as well as by the Scriptures, the Lutheran 
Church is no more likely to command favor with the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 117 

denominations of the Reformed type than with the 
papal communion. Happily she has vitality enough 
not to be dependent on this favor. Woe to her if 
she ever courts it at the expense of her principles. 

Sustained by the ecclesiastical authorities of the 
mother country the Calvinist Governor of New 
Amsterdam and his intolerant preachers now resolved 
on crushing out the Lutherans. Failing in the effort 
"to allure" them into the Dutch churches, and by this 
means to absorb them, as they had been instructed 
by the Directors, they resolved that resort must be had 
to penalties and imprisonments. Persecution must 
be tried where persuasion failed. Parents were 
henceforth required on presenting their children for 
baptism to profess their belief in the doctrines of the 
Synod of Dort, the most extreme deliverances ever 
put forth by Calvinism, and they must even promise 
to train up their children in the same that is, to 
teach their offspring tenets which in their hearts they 
abhorred, knowing them to be contrary to the Gos 
pel. Rome never did greater violence to the con 
science, never showed stronger determination to force 
error into the minds of the unwilling. Resistance to 
these oppressive and sinful demands was followed by 
arrest, by fines, and in default of payment the recu 
sants were thrown into prison. They must by force 
be made to conform to Calvinism. 

Steadfast in their convictions and with the courage 
of martyrs the Lutherans persisted in having their 
assemblies for worship, and as their numbers, in spite 
of their persecutions, were continually increasing and 
their spirit growing more resolute and defiant, the 

n8 The Lutherans in America. 

wrath of the Reformed Pastors became more bitter 
and violent. They lodged complaint with the Gov 
ernor against their "Conventicles," as meetings for 
worship not authorized by the government were then 
called. Such meetings, they claimed, were sure to 
breed disorder in Church and State, and they suc 
ceeded in having him issue a proclamation "for the 
promotion of the glory of God, the increase of the 
Reformed Religion," etc., forbidding the holding of 
conventicles not in harmony with the established 
religion, as set forth by the Synod of Dort. A fine of 
one hundred Flemish pounds was imposed for every 
violation of this ordinance by the preaching of a ser 
mon, and twenty-five pounds on all persons guilty of 
meeting in private dwellings for the purpose of wor 
shipping together. The penalty for preaching the Gos 
pel was accordingly one hundred pounds, the penalty 
for hearing it twenty-five pounds. Lutheran services 
even in private houses were thus absolutely sup 
pressed. Mennonites and Quakers shared with Lu 
therans the honors and the horrors of these persecu 
tions, but the published placard at Albany (then 
Beverswycke), specifically singled out the Lutheran 
congregation there as the particular object of this 
prohibition of worship. 

The Lutheran people were not dismayed, nor dis 
posed to surrender their precious rights to worship 
God according to the faith of their Church. They 
now had recurrence to their brethren in Holland and 
sought especially their intervention with the authori 
ties of the established Church, with the Directors of 
the West India Company and with the States General,. 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 119 

in regard to their grievances, entreating that there 
might be granted them, "the united members of the 
Church of the unaltered Augsburg Confession," the 
same tolerance and right of worship here which the 
Lutherans enjoyed in Holland, and that an ordained 
minister of their faith might be sent over "to instruct 
them and take care of their souls." A more favora 
ble response was now vouchsafed. The " overprecise" 
and oppressive measures of Stuyvesant were rebuked, 
a more liberal policy was enjoined as being indeed 
indispensable to the promotion of emigration. The 
doctrine of the unaltered Augsburg Confession should 
have the same toleration in the New Netherlands 
which was accorded it in the fatherland and a pastor 
for them, it was promised, would arrive the following 
spring. After this these persecuted people certainly 
had reason to hope that they would no longer be 
denied the privileges of their religion, and in most 
humble terms they implored Stuyvesant to allow 
them at least the service of sacred reading and sing 
ing. But the Reformed pastors were only exaspera 
ted by the orders of the West India Company to 
adopt a milder and more Christian course of conduct. 
They were inexorable, and in defiance of these orders 
secured the continuance of oppressive measures and 
the further prohibition of conventicles until they 
could once more communicate with the home author 
ities. And they forthwith renewed their "importuni 
ties with their friends in the Classis of Amsterdam, to 
save them from so terrible an evil as the establish 
ment of a Lutheran Church in the pious colony of 
New Netherlands." 


The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 121 

Notwithstanding the implacable and indefatigable 
opposition of the clerical bigots in New Amsterdam, 
and to their infinite chagrin and dismay, the long-suf 
fering Lutherans had in June, 1657, the inexpressible 
joy of welcoming their promised pastor. It was the 
Rev. John Ernest Goetwater, who was the first Luther- 
ran minister to visit the banks of the Hudson. He 
had been sent out by the Lutheran Consistory of 
Amsterdam to minister to their suffering brethren in 
the New Netherlands, two congregations having been 
by this time organized, one at New Amsterdam 
(New York), and one at Beverswycke (Albany). 

The reception accorded by the civil and ecclesias 
tical authorities to this servant of Christ, coming into 
this vast wilderness on the sole peaceful mission of 
dispensing the Gospel to humble souls whose cry had 
gone across the sea, was infamous not to say inhu 
man, and, even for that day, without the shadow ol an 
excuse or extenuation. And it is strange that while 
every popular history expatiates on the wrongs en 
dured by the Quakers and Baptists of Massachusetts 
.about this same time, so little reference is made to 
the more cruel, unrelenting and utterly indefensible 
persecutions inflicted upon the Lutherans on the Hud 
son. This anomaly may in a measure be accounted 
for by the quiet patience with which, according to the 
spirit of Christianity, they bore their sufferings, seek 
ing redress with the general government rather than 
resorting to reckless agitation or revolution. 

An impartial historian, O Callaghan, gives the fol 
lowing account: "Religious excitement now took the 
place of political. * * * The Dutch clergymen 

122 The Lutherans in America. 

immediately informed the authorities. Dominie Goet- 
water was cited before them and forbidden to exer 
cise his calling. Messrs. Megapolensis and Drisius 
demanded that he should he sent back to Holland in 
the same ship in which he had arrived. He was 
ordered to quit the province accordingly. Sickness, 
however, prevented his compliance with this harsh 
and unchristian mandate. He was therefore put on 
the limits of the city/ and finally forced to embark for 
Holland," which decree went into execution October 
16, the Lutherans protesting in vain. 

Though not allowed to conduct any public services, 
the presence of a pastor for several months among 
the distressed and desolate flock of Lutherans, must 
have in various ways proved a blessing to them. It 
is doubtful, as he was not allowed to exercise his call 
ing, whether he could even baptize their children, as 
the law required these to be presented by their pa 
rents in the Reformed Church, and he was closely 
watched with the suspicion and fear bred of bigotry, 
yet he could not be prevented from visiting the peo 
ple at their homes, holding domestic worship with 
them and in personal ministrations offering them the 
counsels and consolations of the Gospel. For even 
this boon the hearts of Lutheran confessors would 
feel unutterably grateful. 

Their bitter persecutors were neither ashamed of 
their heartless procedure, nor content with the suc 
cess of the efforts they had instigated to prevent the 
settlement of a Lutheran Pastor. An exulting report 
of it must be forwarded to the home authorities. In 
this they glory in their shame and gloat over the tri- 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 123 

umph by which it was crowned at the hands of the 
provincial government. No Lutheran minister should 
be allowed to preach the faith of the Reformation 
within the limits of their jurisdiction, nor even by 
his presence to pollute this soil sacred to Calvinism. 
This report, dated August 6, 1657, is preserved in 
Volume III. of the " Documentary History of New 
York," pages 103108, and is an interesting specimen 
of the malignant spirit o f persecution. It is addressed 
to the Classis of Amsterdam, "fathers and brothers 
in Christ Jesus." It acknowledges their fatherly care 
"and the trouble taken by them to prevent the in 
juries which threaten this community from the en 
croachments of heretical spirits." "We being ani 
mated and cheered by your letters," it proceeds to 
state, "hoped for the best, though dreading the worst, 
which even now has arrived, to the especial discon 
tent and disapprobation of the congregation of this 
place, yea of the whole land, even of the English." 
"We have already the snake in our bosom."They cer 
tainly had not warmed it. "We demanded also that 
the noble Lord s Regent should send the Lutheran 
minister back in the same ship in which he arrived 
* * * in order to put a stop to their work, which 
they seemed disposed to push forward with a hard 
Lutheran pate." To their credit be it recorded these 
malign zealots had some appreciation of the qualities 
of a Lutheran head, which may have been one cause 
of their consternation when a Lutheran minister set 
foot on Manhattan. 

The Dutch West India Company, whatever may 
have been its previous concessions or promises to the. 

& 24 The Liit her ans in America. 

Lutherans, evidently approved of the expulsion of 
Pastor Goetwater, and absorbed as they were in com 
mercial pursuits and caring little for the interests of 
religion, they now declined to allow them any other 
privileges beyond "permission for individuals to pray 
and read the scriptures," a slight improvement on 
Romish persecution and the pastors of the Reformed 
~were enjoined to so modify the baptismal formulary 
as to remove the greatest grievance complained of by 
the Lutherans, and to adopt in general a policy of 
moderation so that they might in time be "gained 
over." The real ground of hostility to the Lutherans 
was apparently the fact that they would not unite 
with the dominant Church, an objection to them that 
has possibly not yet lost its force in some communi 
ties. Warning was, however, also given to these over- 
zealous pastors that " if their present course were per 
sisted in, a separate Church must be allowed to the 

The death blow must have fallen upon the Lutheran 
Church in New Netherlands, one would suppose, 
when their pastor immediately upon his arrival was 
forcibly driven from the country. But with an irre 
pressible faith and that "hard Lutheran pate" they 
maintained some form of an organization despite the 
severe disabilities and oppressions under which they 
labored. In November, 1660, we read that "the 
Lutherans were promoting a subscription for a cler 
gyman of their own." A petition addressed to Gov 
ernor Colden, in 1763, affirms that at the time New 
Amsterdam passed under English control, in 1664, 
"the Lutheran congregation was in organized exist- 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch, i 25; 

ence and enjoyed the benefits of the terms of the 
compact made," a claim which was admitted by the 
Colonial authorities. They based upon this their 
right to a charter and perfect toleration, in accord 
ance with the terms of capitulation made by the 
English with the Dutch governor, whereby all their 
religious privileges were guaranteed to the inhabit 
ants of the province. 

The Directors of the West India Company, real 
izing that the oppressive measures which had been 
employed were proving detrimental to the prosperity 
of the colony, resolved in April, 1663, on pursuing a 
more liberal and Christian policy. They adminis 
tered a severe rebuke to Stuyvesant for the violence 
which had been offered to the consciences and rights 
of subjects in his colony and put an end once for all 
to persecution in New Netherland. About a year 
after the arrival of this decree, a British fleet appeared 
before New Amsterdam and the rule of the doughty 
Knickerbocker himself, as well as of persecution, 
came to a sudden termination. 

It is the judgment of Dr. W. M. Reynolds that the 
Lutherans proceeded with the erection of a house of 
worship in 1663, immediately upon learning of the 
changed policy of the Directors, but Dr. B. M. 
Schmucker says : " The first proof I have found of any 
action connected with the erection of the first church 
is in June, 1671, when certain dissatisfied members 
were compelled to pay subscriptions made for that 
purpose." These subscriptions, it is more than likely 
had been made some years previous, the protracted 
delay quite naturally giving rise to dissatisfaction. 

126 The Lutherans in America. 

Whenever it was built, this first church stood, for 
some reason, "on ground without the gate of the city" 
and, of a piece with the singular succession of adver 
sities which so long harrassed and tried the Lutheran 
Church in New York city, there came subsequently, 
during the brief restoration of the power of Holland, 
1673-74, an order from Governor Colve that it must 
be torn down. The pretext offered for this destruc 
tion was that this building along with some others 
outside the wall interfered with the necessary de 
fences of the place, and this plea would, perhaps, not 
be disputed, but for the inflexible hostility which the 
Reformed colonists had for half a century borne to 
their Lutheran brethren. The property so destroyed 
was to be valued by impartial persons, lots of equal 
value within the city were to be conveyed to the 
owners, and reimbursement allowed for the loss of 
buildings. Of the exact location of this first church 
no evidence is to be found. 

Soon after the whole colony had passed into the 
hands of the English government, application was 
made by the Lutherans to Colonel Nicholls, the gov 
ernor, for permission to call a minister of their Con 
fession from Europe, which application was promptly 
granted " by an act under his hand and seal." The 
successor of Nicholls, Lord Lovelace, made subse 
quently public proclamation that James, the Duke of 
York, had communicated to him by letter his pleas 
ure that the Lutherans should be tolerated, but added 
also "as long as his Royal Highness shall not order 

For some reason, unknown to us, a number of 

The Earliest Liitherans in America The Dittch. 127 

Dutch Lutherans saw fit to withdraw from Manhat 
tan Island, shortly after it passed under the govern 
ment of the British, and they formed a settlement on 
James Island, southwest of the Ashley River, in South 
Carolina. They were at that time the only adherents 
of the Lutheran Church in the Carolinas. Their in 
dustry is said to have triumphed over incredible hard 
ships, but of their spiritual progress nothing is known 
beyond their sturdy protest against the impious and 
impudent bigotry, which in 1704, established the 
Church of England in the two Carolinas and provided 
for its support from the public treasury. The shame 
less injustice of such legislation, when the Episco 
palians had but a single church in the province, while 
the " Dissenters " had three in Charleston and one in 
the country, was resented by the people of other 
creeds, and they made common cause in endeavoring 
to obtain its repeal, the Lutherans bravely uniting in 
transmitting a statement of their grievances to the 

The Lutherans of New York, having obtained from 
the newly established English authorities permission 
to call a preacher of their faith, they forwarded 
their petition to the Classis of Amsterdam the Dutch 
being still the dominant party in the congregation, 
though Lutherans from other countries had in the 
meantime united with it, but four long and gloomy 
years were yet to pass by before their earnest en 
treaties for a shepherd were granted. 

And when, at last, in 1668, more than forty years after 
the first Lutherans had settled in New York, and ten 
years after the banishment of Rev. Goetwater, they 


The Lutherans in America. 

were to see their petitions granted and their hopes 
realized, they alas ! found the fruit of all their efforts 
to be like the apples of Sodom, a most grievous 

disappointment. A more unhappy selection could 
scarcely have been made for them. The Lutheran 
Consistory must have been ignorant not only of the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Dutch. 129 

peculiar requirements of the situation in this New 
World, but they must have been totally unacquainted 
with the character of the man whom they commis 
sioned. It would have been a sad day for the the 
early Christian Church, if the congregation at An- 
tioch had made a similar -mistake when they sent 
forth Barnabas and Saul on the mission to the Gen 
tiles. The man s name was Jacob Fabricius. He was 
a sorry excuse for the spiritual head of a congrega 
tion that had languished so long without pastoral 
oversight, and had suffered so much from adversity 
and persecution. He proved to be utterly unadapted 
to the position. 

He had received university training and was a man 
of uncommon talents and eloquent as a preacher. 
But he was of a haughty and violent temper, had 
neither tact nor prudence, and, saddest of all, was a 
victim of intemperance. 

At Albany, where, as well as in New York, Governor 
Lovelace had given him permission to exercise his 
office, he became seriously involved with the civil 
authorities and also with his congregation. Refus 
ing to sanction civil marriage, which was at that time 
the law of the province, he preceded, whether from 
conscience or from covetousness, to impose a fine of 
one thousand rix dollars upon one of his members 
whose marriage had been solemnized by a civil offi 
cial. The party complaining to the governor, the 
latter suspended the arbitrary preacher from his func 
tions in Albany for one year, allowing him still to 
continue his ministrations in New York, though in 

130 The Lutherans in America. 

the course of another year he was there also author 
ized to preach his farewell sermon. 

The work of erecting a church building in the latter 
place, which had been inaugurated prior to his com 
ing, received at first, naturally, quite an impetus from 
his presence, but he soon became an element of dis 
cord in the congregation and his offensive, domineer 
ing, behavior threw everything into confusion. The 
people became so much dissatisfied that they not 
only refused to contribute to his support but they even 
declined to pay their subscriptions to the building of 
the church. The civil authorities had to be invoked 
and it was ordered by the magistrates, that the sub 
scriptions made for the church building and those for 
the salary of the pastor should be paid "up to the 
time of their late public disagreement." Compliance 
with this order was of course inevitable, but shortly 
afterward certain members of the church, doubtless 
its trustees or office bearers, petitioned the governor 
to have their accounts settled, adding that they wished 
to have nothing more to do with the pastor Fabricius. 
His brief and most unfortunate pastorate came to an 
abrupt close on August 11, 1671. 

Surely God must have watched over this strait 
ened and struggling little band holding to the faith of 
the Augsburg Confession, or the infant would cer 
tainly have been strangled in its cradle. Cast down 
but not in despair the congregation proceeded to peti 
tion for a new pastor, and to their heartfelt joy they 
were in a short period permitted to greet him wel 
come. His name was Rev. Bernardus Antonius Aren- 
sius. He is described as "a gentle personage, and of 

The Earliest Liitherans in America The Dutch. 1 3 1 

a very agreeable behavior," the exact reverse of his 
predecessor. It is not known by whose authority he 
was sent across, nor is the date of his arrival settled, 
but as the same order of Governor Lovelace which 
granted permission to Fabricius to preach his fare 
well sermon empowered him also "to instal the new- 
come minister, according to the custom used by those 
of their religion," he must presumably have arrived 
shortly before that date. 

He served the congregation at Albany as well as 
the one in New York. But his career was of that 
peaceable, noiseless tenor which seldom attracts the 
attention of the historian, and hence but few notices 
of this servant of God appear in the contemporary 
records. Governor Dongan s report of the state of 
the province, April 13, 1687, mentions a Dutch Luth 
eran among the ministers then living in New York, 
and the editor of the Historical Documents, III., 
page 4 1 5, speaks in a note of Rev. Bernardus Arsenius 
who "succeeded Dominie Fabricius and was minister 
of the Church in 1688." 

What the membership of his two congregations 
numbered is nowhere reported, but from a letter dated 
September 28, 1715, and written by one of his succes 
sors, Rev. Justus Falckner, we learn that at that time 
four small congregations existed in the province of 
New York, " and all these four consist in all of about 
one hundred constant communicants, besides strangers 
going and coming in the city of New York." The 
second church was erected in 1684, on the corner of 
Broadway and Rector Street, on the lot which had 
been allotted for this purpose by Governor Colve, in 

132 The Lutherans in America. 

lieu of the one on which the first Church had stood 
without the wall. 

How long Pastor Arensius continued to live and 
minister to these congregations has not, up to this 
time, been ascertained, but as there is no trace of the 
presence of any other Lutheran minister in the prov 
ince prior to the year 1700, it is probable that he 
continued until about the close of the century. He 
was succeded for a short period by the Rev. Andrew 
Rudman, Provost of the Swedish Churches on the 
Delaware, but this calls our attention to a settle 
ment of Lutherans in another section, who came from 
a different country, and whose early history is irradi 
ated with brighter scenes than those through which 
the devoted band in New York was called to pass. 




IN the seventeenth century the eyes of all Europe 
were fixed upon this continent. Its rulers, in 
particular, cast longing glances toward these 
shores as offering extraordinary openings for colonial 
enterprise and commercial interests. None of them 
had a clearer and fuller appreciation of this prospect 
than the illustrious hero and martyr of Lutheranism, 
Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, whose hardy 
and adventurous kinsmen were the first to discover 
America five hundred years in advance of the Spanish 
and English navigators, and whose subjects could still 
rove the seas. The intuitions of his far-seeing and 
comprehensive genius, one of the foremost of his time, 
were quick to recognize the advantages offered here 
by climate, soil and other natural resources for the es 
tablishment of colonies, and promptly devised and 
developed a scheme, which contemplated an extensive 
emigration from the different countries of Europe. 

The primary consideration which moved the royal 
heart to this broad and bold undertaking, \vas the 
planting of the Christian religion among the wild in 
habitants of the country. While it was proposed, as 
with prophetic eye, to provide an asylum for the de 
fenseless of every land, and particularly to promote 
the common interests of the Protestant world ; while 
the commercial interests of his subjects and the exten 
sion of his power were elements inherent in the pur- 

134 The Lutherans in America. 

pose of the king, the movement was inspired by Chris 
tian zeal and Christian humanity. 

Preparations on a wide scale for carrying out this 
project were at once set on foot. All classes the 
royal family, the nobles, the military chieftains, the 
clergy, and the people generally, caught the enthu 
siasm. The Estates in the year 1627 gave their ap 
proval to the measure 4 , and perfected its plans ; an 
admiral with a number of officials and a body of 
soldiers was charged with the execution of the enter- 



Just at this juncture the genius and devotion of 
Gustavus were imperatively demanded on another 
stage. The very life of that Protestantism, which was 
so dear to his heart, was in danger on the continent, 
and the peaceful purpose of Christianizing America 
had to be suspended, in order to save evangelical 
Christianity in its home. The Thirty Years War was 
raging, and the great Lutheran King, constrained by 
sympathy for his suffering brethren and zeal for the 
faith of Luther, carried his legions across the Baltic, 
stayed the tide of Catholic victory, and by pouring 
out his life s blood on the field of Liitzen in 1632 be 
came the savior of Germany, and preserved the fruits 
of the Reformation to posterity. 

The American project had taken such hold of the 
Swedes, that although the original undertaking had to 
be foregone, it was one of those conceptions which do 
not die with their author. In fact, amid the fury and 
storm of the terrible war in which he was engaged, the 
king, himself, never abandoned or forgot his purpose. 
Only a few days before that glorious victory at Liitzen 

7^ he Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 135 

he recommended to the people of Germany the colo 
nial project, which he still regarded as " the jewel of 
his kingdom." His enlightened and famous Chancel 
lor Oxenstiern, who ruled the country during the 
minority of Queen Christina, keenly appreciated the 
wisdom of the king s original design, and earnestly set 
to work to prosecute the measure for a colony, "with 
the intelligence of a statesman and the zeal of a 

A ship of war and another smaller vessel, laden 
with people, with provisions, with merchandise for 
traffic with the Indians, and with manuals of devotion 
and instruction in their holy faith, set sail in 
August, 1637, to found a New Sweden on the banks 
of the Delaware. The Rev. Reorus Torkillus accom 
panied the colony as pastor. They landed early in 1638, 
near Cape Henlopen, in the neighborhood of what is 
now Lewes, in the State of Delaware. 

Land was immediately purchased from the Indians, 
who were regarded as the proper owners and posses 
sors of the country, and one of the first houses erected 
after the fort was the church, which was inclosed by the 
same walls, both church and fort being rude structures 
and very properly combined into one fortress, a place 
of defense against both the foes of the body and those 
of the soul. This was the first Evangelical Lutheran 
Church erected on this continent. The fort was 
called Christina, after the virgin Queen, who reigned 
at the time over Sweden. The land occupied lay on 
the western side of the river, extending from the mouth 
of the Delaware Bay to the Falls of Trenton, and "was 
ceded to the Swedish crown forever." Later, by pur- 

136 The Lutherans in America. 

chase and by treaty, the boundaries of this tract were 
expanded westward to the great Falls of the Susque- 
hanna, near York Haven, so that they embraced the 
present State of Delaware and a large portion of 
Southeastern Pennsylvania. A formal deed was drawn 
up and signed by the hands and marks of the natives. 
It was written in Dutch, because no Swede was yet 
able to interpret the language of the heathen. 

Thus, nearly fifty years before the historic treaty made 
by William Penn with the Indians under the Shaka- 
maxon elm, the Swedish Lutherans had made honora 
ble purchase of their lands from " the lords of the 
country," and it is making a modest but just claim to 
maintain that the friendly attitude of the savages 
toward William Penn, was in great measure due to the 
Christian labors and exemplary lives of pious Luth 
erans, who for nearly half a century previous had been 
teaching and practicing among them the righteous 
principles and the brotherly love of the Gospel, 
in close proximity to the very spot laid out by 
Penn for his right-angled city. A strong bond of 
sympathy had been formed at an early day between 
the Swedes and the Indians, and these cordial rela 
tions which were never interrupted, proved very 
effectual in subduing the passions and conciliating 
the feelings of the savages. Thus to the Lutheran 
Church " belonged the part of pioneer in the manage 
ment of a treaty which, for its purity and integrity has, 
above all others, a world-wide and everlasting fame." 

Finding the Dutch laying claim to all the land be 
tween the Delaware and their city of New Amsterdam, 
the Swedes confined their settlement to the west side 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 137 

of the river. The Dutch, evidently afraid of being 
crowded, raised objections even to their occupancy of 
the west bank. These greedy Hollanders, who had 
never purchased a square yard of the land, and who 
bore no special love for Lutherans, claimed the whole 
river, claimed pretty much everything, and they made 
a wordy protest against "the Swedes building forts 
upon our rivers and coasts and settling people on the 
land," threatening to protect their rights "in such 
manner as we may find most advisable." In those 
days it has been expressively observed " the times 
gave him the best right who had the most strength." 

A second company of emigrants from Sweden with 
Lieut. Col. John Printz, under appointment as Gover 
nor of New Sweden, and Magister John Campanius 
(Holm) as Government Chaplain and pastor of the 
congregation, came over in 1642. Three vessels con 
veyed the heroic and devout band, and it required six 
months to make the voyage. These were shortly suc 
ceeded by other ships carrying additional people and 
valuable freight, each new company of emigrants 
bringing additional clergymen. The colony soon en 
joyed a high degree of prosperity. The banks of the 
Delaware were dotted with pleasant hamlets. The 
people were happy, intelligent and virtuous. They 
were animated by the spirit of their holy religion, not 
by the spirit of adventure or the lust for gain. 

The planting of the Christian Church was, as we 
have seen, the first object contemplated by Gustavus 
Adolphus. How prominent the religious interest and 
consideration for the heathen continued in the coun 
sels of those who ultimately carried his project into 

138 The Lutherans in America. 

execution, may be seen in the instructions given by 
the Swedish Council of State to Governor Printz : 

"The wild nations the Governor shall understand 
how to treat with all humanity and respect, that no 
violence or wrong be done to them by her Royal 
Majesty or her subjects ; but he shall rather, at every 
opportunity, exert himself, that the same wild people 
may gradually be instructed in the truths and worship 
of the Christian religion, and in other ways brought 
to civilization and good government, and in this man 
ner properly guided." 

That the Swedish statesmen and the colonists 
whom they sent to these shores, were not wholly in 
sensible to motives of worldly policy, is seen from the 
charge given the latter to "allow the wild people to ob 
tain such things as they need at a price somewhat more 
moderate than they are getting them of the Hollanders 
at Fort Nassau, or the adjacent English, so that said 
wild people may be withdrawn from them, and be so 
much the more won to our people." 

"Above all things," says section 26 of the Council s 
instruction, " shall the Governor consider and see to 
it that a true and due worship, becoming honor, laud 
and praise be paid to the Most High God in all 
things, and to that end all proper care shall be 
taken that divine service be zealously performed ac 
cording to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, the 
Council of Upsala and the ceremonies of the Swedish 
Church, and all persons, but especially the young, 
shall be duly instructed in the articles of the Christian 
faith ; and all good Church discipline shall, in like 
manner, be duly exercised and received." 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 139 

The famous compact drawn up in the "Mayflower" 
may have "borne the germs of the republican institu 
tions of the United States," but as a charter of relig 
ious principles it admits of no comparison with this. 
That contemplated a state, as in fact those Puritans 
were political agitators quite as much as they were 
religious zealots. Here is a body of Lutherans per 
fectly content with the civil power to which they were 
subject, but contemplating primarily a missionary 
movement, the establishment of the Church of God 


among the heathen by the colonization among them 
of a Christian people. And the Lutherans may hon 
estly claim the glory of being the first Protestants to 
settle in the unpruned forests of America impelled 
by the missionary idea as the chief inspiring cause. 

And so they were undoubtedly the first to advance 
here the principle of religious tolerance. These 
same instructions, given at Stockholm, August 15, 1642, 
declare : " So far as relates to the Holland colonists that 

14 The Lutherans in America. 

live and settle under the government of her Royal 
Majesty and the Swedish crown, the governor shall 
not disturb them in the indulgence granted them as 
to the exercise of the Reformed religion." 

This has a ring somewhat different from the pro 
ceedings of the Dutch Calvinists in New Amsterdam, 
who, as noticed in the previous chapter, a few years 
later, resorted to fines, whippings and imprisonments 
for the suppression of the Lutheran Church. That 
these liberal instructions were faithfully carried out 
by the colonists we have every reason to believe. 

Pastor Campanius, who arrived with the second 
colony, labored not only with enlightened zeal and 
marked efficiency over the little congregation with 
whose spiritual oversight he was charged, but he took 
a deep Christian interest in the welfare of the natives. 
He maintained "a constant intercourse with the wild 
people," and applied himself eagerly to the mastery of 
their language, for which his scientific attainments 
stood him in good stead, in the hope that he might 
thus be able to proclaim in their own tongue the won 
derful works of God. 

"His intimacy with the neighboring tribes and their 
several chiefs was promoted by the successive gov 
ernors of the colony; and with the simplicity and 
tenderness of one who is dealing with babes, he un 
folded before them the great mystery of the Gospel," 
and succeeded by patient assiduity in making them 
understand many of its cardinal truths. 

If these missionary efforts of Campanius did not 
precede those of Eliot in Roxbury, they were at least 
contemporaneous with them, and Lutherans share the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 141 

glory of being among the first Protestant missionaries 
to the Indians. Certainly in Pennsylvania they were 
the first ; and before any literary undertaking of the 
kind received attention elsewhere, Campanius con 
ceived the difficult task of translating Luther s Small 
Catechism into the Delaware language. Through 
some unaccountable delay in the printing of this work 
at Upsala, it did not appear until some time after the 
publication, in 1661, of Eliot s translation of the New 
Testament into the Mohegan dialect; but the work of 
translating preceded it by some ten or fifteen years,, 
and the inimitable Catechism of the Lutheran Church 
was beyond question the first Protestant book to be 
translated into a heathen tongue. 

Unhappily, the gathering of the natives into the 
Christian fold, which had been commenced so zeal 
ously and so wisely, was destined soon to be checked 
by great trials, and the little bands of Lutherans had 
to experience bitter destitution and overwhelming 

The first minister, Torkillus, ended his life at Fort 
Christina (Wilmington, Del.), September 7th, 1643, 
shortly after the arrival of Pastor Campanius. The 
latter departed from New Sweden in May, 1648. The 
Rev. Israel Holgh and the Rev. Peter came over 
some years later; but their stay was evidently brief, 
since the home authorities followed the unwise policy 
of recalling, after a few years service, the devoted 
servants of the Church, who had labored here among 
the aborigines as well as among the settlers, so that, 
while at times these colonial communities enjoyed the 
ministrations of two pastors, they often for a consid- 

142 The Lutherans in America. 

erable while were left without any. Of the four 
who succeeded Pastor Torkillus, the Rev. Lars Lock 
(Lockenius) was the only one who remained in the 
country till his death, which occurred in 1688. For 
the period of twenty-two years he labored alone 
among these people scattered through the wilderness, 
preaching at Fort Christina and at Tenacon (Tini- 
cum), twelve miles below Philadelphia, where a second 
church, "a handsome wooden building," had been 
erected shortly after the arrival of Governor Printz, 
who fixed his residence in that locality. Of this pas 
tor it is said that he was "certainly an instrument in 
the hands of God for sustaining these Swedish 
churches for so long a time." The Tenacon Church 
consecrated in 1646, in what is now Delaware County, 
was the first Evangelical Lutheran house of worship 
in Pennsylvania. 

Most unfortunately for the interests of these first 
Lutheran churches in America, the encroaching and 
more powerful Dutch in New Amsterdam succeeded in 
the conquest of the colony in the year 1655 less than 
twenty years after the first settlement. The Swedish 
Governor was expelled from the country, the people 
passed under the control of the Dutch, much of their 
property was taken from them, the principle men and 
families were violently removed, intercourse with the 
mother country was entirely broken off, and the little 
congregations on the Delaware were left in complete 
isolation. Bringing with them the same intolerance 
which would allow no Lutheran worship in New Am 
sterdam, these Dutch conquerors managed to have 
two of the pastors at once sent out of the country 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes 143 

with the Swedish garrison, the third one, Pastor 
Lock, being permitted to remain according to the 
articles of capitulation, but to the great disgust of 
Dominie Megapolensis, the Dutch Reformed pastor 
at Manhattan. 

Not knowing that their countrymen and brethren 
in the faith had been subjugated to a foreign yoke, 
a fresh accession to the colony came sailing into 
the river in March, 1656, bringing as usual a Luth 
eran minister, the Rev. Mr. Matthias. But the Hol 
landers forbade the ship which had on board a large 
number of people, to ascend the river. This af 
forded the Indians, who were wont to call the Swedes 
their brothers, an opportunity for showing their con 
tinued devotion to them, notwithstanding the fact 
that the government had passed into the hands of 
the conqueror. Impelled by their friendship "the In 
dians united together, went on board the ship, and 
in defiance of the Hollanders, conducted the ship 
past Sandhook, or Fort Casimir (now Newcastle, Del.), 
without its daring to fire a shot, and conveyed it up 
to Christina." What proportion of the passengers 
remained in this country, now that it was no longer 
New Sweden, is not known, but for some reason the 
Rev. Mr. Matthias immediately returned to Sweden, 
and with him doubtless went some others. Perhaps 
the Dutch did not appreciate the solid character of 
these people who had come to swell a flourishing 
colony which was now under their rule. They would 
have made excellent reinforcements to the com 
munity, for it had been forbidden in Sweden under a 

144 The Lutheran* in America. 

penalty to take to America " any persons of bad 

After this no more ships came from Sweden. No 
word, even, ever came across the sea. Communica 
tion was absolutely impossible between these isolated 
Lutherans and their brethren or their government at 
home. There was of course at that period no mail 
service between Sweden and America, and even if 
they could have written to England no one had any 
acquaintance there who could in the least degree 
further their cause. It came in course of time that 
these Swedes knew no more of their mother country 
than what they heard through traditions. A long 
period of trial and spiritual destitution followed. All 
the outward circumstances of the people were un 
favorable to their spiritual growth and the prosperity 
of the churches. They were not only deprived of the 
protection and support of the Swedish government, 
which in those days was of so much importance to 
religion, but they had among other cruel ordeals to 
suffer pitiless wrongs from the haughty wife of the ex- 
governor, who remained in the country some years 
after her husband s expulsion, and who had so little 
sympathy with her people and with their religious 
interests that she is reported to have sold, along with 
her farm at Tenacon, the church which was built upon 
it. How the church was recovered for them is not 
known, but it was certainly used by them without 
hindrance till 1700. The bell, however, we are told, 
"they had to buy back again by two days reaping in 
harvest time." 

The Dutch authorities gave themselves little con- 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 145 

cern about public worship. Though in some respects 
they were very tyrannical, and though they required 
all the Swedes, who desired to remain, to take the 
oath of allegiance, they had in the capitulation guar 
anteed to the Lutherans the liberty of "adhering to 
their own Augsburg Confession, as also to support a 
minister for their instruction." The Hollanders were 
not slow to intermarry with them, and as they erected 
no churches they soon coalesced with the Lutherans 
in church association. 

Some of these Hollanders may, indeed, have been 
Lutherans. A small wooden edifice was erected at 
Tranhook which was, by nearly two miles, more con 
venient for the Hollanders. The only clergyman in 
the whole district was the Rev. Lars Lock, and his 
faithful ministrations were extended alike to Swedes 
and Dutch, to Lutherans and Calvinists. But when his 
faithless wife involved him through a second marriage 
in an unseemly scandal, "he drew upon himself the 
severe animadversion of the presiding Governor and 
his Commissary, who required him to intermit his min 
istry for some time. In the meanwhile, through the 
favor of Stuyvesant, the legal requirements were com 
plied with "and the Rev. Lars was again vested with 
his gown/ 

As the earnest little Christian colony had now been 
wrested from Sweden and cut off entirely from inter 
course with the mother country, the noble purpose of 
its founding would seem to have been lamentably 
prostrated. And the preservation of the Lutheran 
Church under these circumstances may well be set 
down among remarkable providences. Their friendly 

146 The Lutherans in America. 

relations with the natives remained uninterrupted and 
doubtless they continued their missionary labors 
among them. A century later the Indians still told 
of the treaties between their forefathers and the 
Swedes. But this very friendship with the Indians 
brought them under the cruel suspicion of the Hol 
landers, who charged them with secret plottings, 
and under this most unjust imputation arrested and 
transported beyond the colony some of the worthiest 
men among them. While their ships had enabled the 
Dutch to force the surrender of their forts, they seem 
to have constantly dreaded the strength of the Swedes 
who as late as 1660 numbered but one hundred and 
thirty families, and who never exceeded the aggre 
gate of one thousand souls. 

In September, 1664, the Dutch rule in America 
came, as was noted above, to a sudden and inglorious 
close, the authorities at New Amsterdam without of 
fering any resistance surrendering the country to an 
English squadron "three hundred men strong." This 
change of government, which at last brought toler 
ance to the Dutch Lutherans on the Hudson, could 
bring no harm to the Swedes on the Delaware. It 
proved in various ways of great advantage to them. 
It gave them at least a better prospect of communi 
cating with their countrymen at home through the 
assistance of the English than had been afforded by 
their Dutch rulers. In the terms of surrender it was 
stipulated that they should "remain undisturbed in 
their religion as Lutherans, and in the public serv 
ice of God, as they particularly insisted." 

When the Dutch, nine years later, reconquered the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 147 

country, the first article of the instructions given to 
Peter Alrich, who was made Commandant over the 
South or Delaware river, required him to "uphold the 
true Christian doctrine in accordance with the de 
crees of the Synod of Dordt, and admit of no other 
doctrine in conflict therewith." The Augsburg Con 
fession was thus to be suppressed by force and the 
Lutherans of New Sweden were to share with their 
brethren in New Amsterdam the sufferings and the 
honors of persecution. Fortunately for them and 
for the future of this whole country, the English 
in little more than a year recovered control of 
the Dutch possessions in the New World, and the 
little congregations of Lutherans were henceforth to 
enjoy the solace and support of their precious faith 
without molestation from a hostile government. 

Their lot was indeed distressing, and through their 
isolation from the Church of Sweden they were cut 
off from the source of spiritual supply, and soon ex 
perienced lamentable destitution, deprived as they 
were both of ministers to serve at the altar and of 
manuals of devotion to nurture their souls at the 
fireside and illumine their pathway in the wilderness. 
But their Christian zeal and their devotion to their 
Church nobly survived their bitter trials. Instead of 
growing cold or lukewarm in the absence of pastoral 
ministrations, they yearned for the preaching of the 
Gospel and made every possible exertion to secure 
the services of new pastors, as their aged ones were 
stricken down by disease or death. 

In 1672 they extended a call to Pastor Fabricius, 
who, some years before, had made an unenviable 

148 The Lutherans in America. 

record as pastor of the churches on the Hudson, and 
who through his misfortunes there had evidently 
become a wiser and better man. Although he again 
repeatedly came into collision with the authorities, 
who on several occasions suspended him, he fulfilled 
a long career of usefulness among the Swedish 
Lutherans. He preached mostly in the Dutch lan 
guage, but he so far mastered the Swedish that he 
could intelligibly hold service also in that tongue. 
He preached alternately at Tenacon and at Wicacoa, 
a mile below the southern limits of Philadelphia 
where a block-house was turned into a church in 
1669. It was a wise measure which more than once 
in our early history converted those structures which 
had been erected for the defense of men s bodies into 
fortresses where spiritual weapons could be employed 
for the salvation of their The Indians, it was 
possible, might fall upon the congregation while at 
worship and capture the whole flock. The churches 
were accordingly so constructed that "after a suitable 
elevation, like any other house, a projection was made 
some courses higher, out of which they could shoot, 
so that if the heathen fell upon them, which could not 
be done without their coming up to the house, then 
the Swedes could shoot down upon them continually, 
and the heathen who used only bows and arrows,, 
could do them little or no injury." The Swedes have,, 
however, never been charged, as were their Puritan 
neighbors, with falling first on their knees, then fall 
ing on the Aborigines. 

After the accession of Fabricius an arrangement 
was effected by which the work of the whole district 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 149 

was amicably divided so that the Lutherans living 
above a certain point were placed under the care of 
Rev. Lars Lock, and those below this point remained 
under the pastorate of Rev. Jakobus Fabricius. The 
latter resided at what is now Kensington and made 
the trips to the Wicacoa and Tranhook churches as 
also "down into Maryland" by means of a canoe. 
He became blind a few years after he had entered 
upon his pastorate here, but this affliction did not pre 
vent him from watching over his congregation ac 
cording to his ability. His associate, Pastor Lock, 
was likewise burdened in his old age with many 
troubles, so that in the touching phraseology of a 
subsequent letter to Sweden "though there were two 
ministers in the churches, yet their infirmities made 
them hardly equal to one." 

William Penn arrived on the shores of the Dela 
ware October 24, 1682, having with him twenty ships 
filled with people who were to settle the province of 
Pennsylvania under him as proprietary and governor. 
Although strenuously opposed to his coming, since 
they were really the owners of the soil, the Swedes 
received the new comers "with great friendliness, car 
ried up their goods and furniture from the ships, and 
entertained them in their houses without charge," show 
ing a Christian hospitality which continued to be grate 
fully recalled by the Quakers for a century later. Penn 
was delighted with them and appreciated especially 
their kind offices for him with the Indians. Theyacted 
as his interpreters. He relates that he found them 
quite as cordial toward him as were the few English 
men who lived among them, and he commends their 

150 The Lutherans in America. 

respect for authority as well as their kind behavior to 
the English. "As they are a proper people and 
strong of body," he adds, "so have they fine children, 
and almost every house full. And I must do them that 
right I see few young men more sober and industri 
ous." Abundance of children and habits of sobriety 
and industry from the days of Penn to the present 
hour there has never been in this country a genera 
tion of Lutherans who did not merit and receive this 

These thrifty and intelligent people so won the es 
teem and friendship of their new Quaker fellow-citi 
zens that they soon held a place both in the General 
Assembly of the Province and in the Governor s 
Council. There is a tradition that about this time 
an impostor came among them gathering followers 
and creating considerable disturbance, and that he 
would have brought his countrymen into evil report 
and suspicion "had not the honesty of these people 
in general been well known by so many proofs 

But worldly station, earthly prosperity, and the con 
fidence and good will alike of the natives and of 
Europeans, were no substitute for the ordinances of 
the sanctuary and the ministrations of the Gospel. 
These were no means of grace to them and to their 
children. Well might they have said : 

" Thanks to thy name for meaner things, 
But these are not my God ! " 

Two generations before, their ancestors had come 
to these wild shores with their ministers and their 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 151 

Bibles, with the Church and the Sacraments and the 
Catechism, but the precious books could not last for 
ever nor suffice for the multiplying population, and 
the ministers had either been recalled to Sweden, 
ended their labors in death, or become disqualified 
by age and infirmities for the pastoral oversight of the 
people. Pastor Lock, after having been for years 
incapacitated for the work of his calling, ended a 
life of many sorrows in 1688, Pastor Fabricius to 
whom, while blind and decrepit he yet lingered among 
them, his congregations could pay the tribute: "He 
has faithfully and zealously taken care of us in ac 
cordance with the teachings of the Unaltered Augs 
burg Confession, in pure doctrine and exemplary life;" 
and of whom after sixteen years of labor among them 
they said: "He is an admirable preacher but, God s 
blessing on him, he is so aged, and has lost his sight 
for so long a time ; yet is he one who has taught us 
God s pure and true Word, and administered the 
Holy Sacraments among us." This devoted man 
passed away about the year 1693. 

Then followed some years during which not a 
single clergyman ministered to these Lutheran con 
gregations. But though destitute of the regular 
ministry the churches were not closed. The people 
continued to assemble in the place of prayer on the 
Lord s day, united in singing the Songs of Zion, and 
listened to the voice of some pious and competent 
layman who read to them the Epistle and Gospel 
for the day, offered up prayers and frequently also 
read a sermon from Moller s Postilla. Thus while 
left like sheep without a shepherd and with many 

I5 2 The Lutherans in America. 

severe trials of their faith, these Lutherans on the 
Delaware present touching evidences of love for the 
Church, devotion to her ordinances and an abiding 
spiritual interest in her doctrines. They could accord 
ingly not content themselves without the regular 
dispensing of the Word. They kept hungering and 
thirsting for the spiritual refreshment of the preached 
gospel. They knew that Christ s cause must languish 
without the services of men appointed to its over 
sight, and accordingly they left nothing undone to 
open communications with the Church in Europe 
and to secure laborers for the vineyard of the Lord. 

Their earnest efforts in this behalf met again and 
again with the bitterest disappointment. No answer 
was received to their touching importunities, not 
an echo, even, came back to them when they sent 
piteous appeals to Sweden for pastors and for relig 
ious literature. Evidently, with the sea swarming 
with pirates and the circuitous routes of transporta 
tion in that day, their letters depicting the distress of 
their churches never reached their destination. Re 
maining firm and undaunted in their determination 
to obtain pastors, they conceived of another plan by 
which it was hoped they might succeed. Through 
the assistance of New York merchants who traded 
regularly with Amsterdam, they conveyed an appeal 
to the Lutheran Consistory of that city to procure 
for them a Swedish clergyman, either one who might 
be known to them as being without charge, or some 
one from Sweden who might be reached through the 
interposition of this ecclesiastical body. 

After stating that their faithful Pastor Fabricius, 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 153 

"considering his advanced age, his blindness and his 
infirmities " had been constrained to lay down his 
office as a minister of the Gospel, they described 
their "most deserted condition in regard to their holy 
religion," they were "as chickens without the hen, as 
sheep without a shepherd, as sick without a physician, 
verily in the greatest danger." They urged their 
"blessed fellowship" in the faith with this Lutheran 
Consistory, their fervent zeal for the honor of God 
and the maintenance of their Christian faith, and 
pleaded for "the spiritual refreshment alike of the old 
and of the young for their eternal salvation." And 
as a further and striking evidence of their estimation 
of pastoral ministrations, their letter contained the 
offer of what must be considered for that day a liberal 
support, a salary of one hundred rix dollars with a 
house and glebe. But all was in vain. The melan 
choly result is told in one brief but affecting sentence : 
"The people waited, but no clergyman came." 

Equally fruitless were the kindly and zealous en 
deavors of William Penn, who, Quaker that he was 
and therefore inimical to a regular ministry, imme 
diately after his return from America applied to the 
Swedish Ambassador at London for his assistance in 
obtaining for these people, clergymen and books from 
Sweden, assuring him that he would take care to have 
them forwarded from London. Penn himself is said 
to have sent them "a box of Catechisms and other 
books, together with a Bible in folio, for use in the 
church, though all in English." 

Souls have never cried in vain for the bread of 
life. Man s extremity is God s opportunity. Deso- 

154 The Lutherans in America. 

late and famished, doomed to cruel disappointment 
in every attempt to obtain pastors, they were to wit 
ness, when all human help had failed, the wonderful 
intervention of divine help. No Christian people 
anywhere have so often and so vividly experienced, 
as the Lutherans in this country, that the very hour 
which marks the deepest distress of the church is 
wont to strike the signal for its deliverance. Human 
counsel, wisdom and strength are brought to naught 
that no flesh should glory, and then when the hearts 
of men are fully prepared for such a revelation, they 
learn that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, 
and the weakness of God is stronger than men." 
There are in fact nowhere to be found brighter in 
stances of a heroic and all conquering faith in God 
and of singular and manifold interventions of Provi 
dence than are presented in the successive chapters 
of Lutheran history in this land. 

A Swedish gentleman by the name of Printz hap 
pened to come hither on an English ship. It was in 
those days a rare pleasure for the Swedes to behold 
one of their countrymen, and they gave Printz a cor 
dial welcome and soon made him acquainted with 
their spiritual condition. On returning to Stock 
holm he communicated their desire to have ministers, 
bibles, hymn-books and other manuals of devotion, to 
certain pious laymen in whom their spiritual destitu 
tion awakened profound sympathy and a sincere zeal 
for the Church of God. They succeeded in bringing 
the sore need of these far distant Lutherans to the 
notice of the king, Charles X I., who was deeply affected 
by their condition and at once gave especial attention 

The Earliest Liitherans in America The Swedes 155 

to their relief, cherishing "a Royal grace and care for 
their eternal salvation and welfare, and for the up 
holding of the pure and uncorrupted Lutheran re 

A letter of inquiry was at once dispatched, assur 
ing them that as soon as definite and circumstan- 


tial information concerning their spiritual necessities 
could be received from them, His Majesty, would 
most graciously send them i,pt only ministers but also 
all sorts of religious books\ The letter implored 
them to give information "on evory particular of their 

The Lutherans in America. 

condition in the least as well as in the greatest," and 
requested them to send back their response as speed 
ily as possible, since "this may lead to your soul s wel 
fare and salvation," and it closed with the entreaty 
"Be not negligent in the matter which pertains to 
your eternal welfare, for you can certainly see that 
the great God doth just as speedily help through 
lowly friends as through the great." 

This letter was in due season received in America 
and occasioned the greatest joy. It was looked upon 
in the light of a message from heaven, it was cer 
tainly a messenger of divine Providence. The response 
to it, we may feel assured, was not long delayed. It 
bears the date of May 31, 1693, just eight days after 
the reception of the letter from Sweden. The writ 
ing of it devolved upon Charles Springer, a Swede 
who through singular personal trials had found his 
way to his countrymen in Pennsylvania. He was a man 
of education. He had been appointed a magistrate 
among the Swedes at Christina, and was one of those 
pious laymen who in default of pastors conducted 
religious services in the Lutheran churches, "a God 
fearing man, who spared neither labor nor expense 
for the establishment of the Lutheran Church in the 
American wilderness." It overflows with gratitude, 
rejoicing, and praise to " the great God who, we verily 
and in our hearts believe, has and will continue to 
have His hand in the completion of this work which 
has been begun in so Christian a manner. For we 
do not believe that God will forsake us, although we 
are in a strange and heathen land, far away from our 
own dear fatherland." 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 157 

Complying" with the request of their friends in 
Sweden for full details of their situation, stating 
among other circumstances that "our wives and 
daughters busy themselves much in spinning both 
wool and flax, many also with weaving, so that we 
have great reason to thank Almighty God for the 
support of our daily life," and that "we live in great 
amity with the Indians, who have not done us any 
harm for many years," the burden of this communica 
tion is of course their spiritual situation, their desire 
to "obtain faithful pastors and watchmen for our 
souls, who may feed us with that spiritual food which 
is the preaching of God s Word, and the administra 
tion of the Holy Sacraments in their proper form. 
We therefore beg," the letter proceeds, " that there 
may be sent to us two Swedish ministers, who are 
well learned and well exercised in the Holy Scriptures* 
and who may well defend both themselves and us 
against all the false teachers and strange sects by 
whom we are surrounded, or who may oppose us on 
account of our true, pure and uncorrupted service 
to God and the Lutheran religion, which we shall 
now confess before God and all the world, so that 
if it should so happen, which, however, may God avert, 
we are ready to seal this with our own blood. We 
beg also that these ministers may be such as live a 
sedate and sober life, so that we and our children, 
led by the example of their godly conversation, may 
also lead lives godly and well pleasing to God." 

It certainly forms no mean element in the glory of 
which Lutherans boast, that their Church was first 
planted in this country by men of heroic faith, of a 

1 58 The Lutherans in America. 

martyr s devotion to pure doctrine, and of apostolic 
zeal for holiness ! To the plea for ministers was 
added the request for twelve Bibles, three volumes of 
Sermons, forty-two devotional Manuals, one hundred 
Hand-books and spiritual Meditations, and two hun 
dred Catechisms, for all of which they proposed to 
"pay and make satisfaction in all honesty and up 
rightness," engaging even in the event that these 
books might by some accident be unfortunately lost 
on the way, "even then honestly to pay for them." 

Of this letter which arrived safely and promptly, it 
is said many copies were made in Sweden. It was 
circulated from hand to hand and drew tears from 
many eyes. The king personally took prompt and 
active measures to answer and even exceed their 
prayer, and displayed in fact a most royal and pious 
zeal to assure the fullest success to the enterprise. 
He called to his counsels the Archbishop and other 
high dignitaries of the Church, and charged them zeal 
ously to exert themselves "to seek out and provide 
such learned and godly men as were desired by the 
Swedish colony on the South River in America, to 
procure faithful laborers for that vineyard of the 
Lord," promising that as soon as the men were ready, 
proper arrangements should be made for their journey 
with generous provisions for their outfit and travel 
ing expenses. 

The first man chosen by the Consistory was An 
drew Rudman, a candidate for the degree in Philoso 
phy, who was urged by the most pressing reasons to 
enter upon this work, and who after some days reflec 
tion consented. His academic degree was conferred 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 1 59 

upon him before his departure. Rudman, with ad 
mirable considerateness on the part of the authorities, 
was himself allowed to make choice of a fellow-laborer 
in his office, and he selected Mr. Eric Bjork, who was 
well known to the Provost of the Cathedral in Up- 
sala. To these two clergymen a third, Mr. Jonas 
Auren, was added by the king s command. It was to 
be his chief errand to make a map of the country with 
a description of its character and the condition of its 
inhabitants; then to come home immediately and 
communicate it to His Majesty. Yet that he might 
accomplish the more good, he was also ordained 
along with Mr. Bjork in Upsala, Rudman having pre 
viously taken orders. 

All the preparations for the departure of the three 
missionaries seemed to have been completed. They 
had already taken leave of their friends and were about 
to set sail, when to their great sorrow it was discov 
ered that the printer had failed to furnish the Indian 
Catechism, copies of the translation of Luther s Small 
Catechism, which, as noticed above, Campanius had 
fifty years previously made into an Indian tongue. 
As the evangelization of the heathen was a leading in 
centive for their braving the perils of the sea and of the 
wilderness, they would not consent to sail until they 
were supplied with these precious text-books for their 
Christian instruction. They refused to go abroad 
and labor among their brethren unless they could at 
the same time enjoy the privilege of teaching the way 
of salvation to the wild Indians, an example which 
commends itself to-day with especial emphasis to such 
Lutherans as hold that they have so great a task in 

160 The Lutherans in America. 

churching the vast emigrant population, that they do 
not feel called upon to engage in missionary labors 
among the heathen of our own or of other lands. 

At last the printer s work was finished and an edi 
tion of five hundred Indian Catechisms "in the Amer 
ican Virginian language" was placed on board along 
with all the other books which had been asked for, 
the king graciously donating these to the congrega 
tions, with the assurance that it gave " especial grati 
fication to His Majesty to hear of the well-being of 
said congregations, and of their zeal and constancy in 
the pure and evangelical doctrine." On every copy 
of these books, even on the Catechisms, were stamped 
the king s initials in gilt letters. The party sailed for 
London, August 4, 1696, after an affecting farewell 
from the king, who sent his orders to the captain of 
the vessel directing him "to pay these persons the 
kindest attentions." The Secretary of the Swedish 
Embassy in London was also advised to forward 
them in their voyage from that, a measure 
which proved to be by no means superfluous, for the 
English government was not disposed to allow them 
the continuance of their voyage, but after consider 
able delay this was accorded "in respect for the 
Christian work which they had undertaken." The 
delay in granting this permission and issuing the 
proper passport, turned out to be one of those kind 
providences which at the time of their occurrence ap 
pear so mysterious and so trying to faith but turn 
out so happy in the issue. The ship in which they 
had engaged passage and which left port without 
them, encountered serious disaster at sea and with 

The Earliest Littherans in America The Swedes 161 

great difficulty reached a port in Portugal, and did 
not reach America until a year after the arrival of 
these missionaries in Pennsylvania. 

After a voyage of ten weeks they landed in Vir 
ginia in April, 1697, and thence proceeded to Mary 
land whither the ship was bound. "Then after the 
Governor of Maryland, Francis Nicholson, Esq., had 
hospitably entertained them for two weeks, and made 
them a donation of twenty-six dollars for their trav 
eling expenses, they continued their journey on a 
yacht to Elk River, and there they landed on Mid 
summer s day, (June 24). Some Swedes dwelt in that 
place, who welcomed their countrymen most heartily, 
and immediately sent word to their brethren in Penn 
sylvania, who came without delay, and with tears of 
joy conducted their much longed-for countrymen 
overland to their homes. 

The first official action of the ministers was to col 
lect the congregations together and present their com 
mission from the King and Archbishop. This was 
done in the Church at Wicacoa on the first Sunday 
after their arrival, and at Tranhook one week later. 
While ordinarily congregations choose their teachers, 
in this case the teachers chose their congregations. 
It was agreed that Rudman, having been first called, 
should have the privilege of choosing his congregation. 
He selected Wicacoa and Mr. Bjork took Tranhook. 
"Then they separated with thanksgivings, prayers and 
tears, and each one remained with his own flock, 
which he must now gather up, as it were, out of the 
wilderness." Of the Tenacon Church nothing is re 
ported in this connection, and of Mr. Atiren it is 

1 62 The Lutherans in America. 

simply stated that he remained for some time with 
Pastor Rudman "before he entered upon his travels 
over the country." 

Settled over their regular Mocks the two pastors 
did not forget the claims of the surrounding heathen. 
They labored unweariedly to bring these also to the 
marvellous light of the Gospel, and the line of spirit 
ual sympathy which had been formed by the enlight 
ened activity of Campanius in the preceding genera 
tion was greatly strengthened by the labors of these 
earnest missionaries. 

The care of their own flocks required, of course, 
their assiduous attention. The old buildings being 
found in a dilapidated condition, one of their first 
movements was to agitate the subject of church erec 
tion. With little money and large faith, a substantial 
building was commenced at Christina in May, 1698. 
The ground for it, "together with two fathoms of 
ground on the West and South sides for free ingress 
and egress," was presented by John Stalcop, an officer 
of the congregation. The edifice was built of granite, 
sixty feet long, thirty broad and twenty high. The 
wall was six feet thick in the foundation, and three 
feet at the windows as well as above them. Five 
large arched windows admitted the light and there 
were three arched doors. Considering the times and 
the circumstances this was a magnificent church build 
ing, a monument of Lutheran liberality, zeal and 

There was great difficulty in obtaining mechanics 
and day laborers. "The cost amounted to eight hun 
dred pounds. When the accounts were settled, the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 163 

congregation fell in debt to the pastor to the amount 
of one hundred and thirty-five pounds, which he after 
wards donated. Money, it is remarked was at that 
time more abundant in the country than for a long 
time since, which may indeed be taken as a strong 
proof of God s providence." One gentleman had ad 
vanced a loan of three hundred and twenty pounds, 
and had taken a note at ten per cent, interest, which 
was two per cent, more than the law allowed and it 
consequently exposed him to a penalty of one hun 
dred pounds. He took the precaution to get under 
cover and presented this one hundred pounds to the 
congregation which thereupon honored him with"the 
front pew in the church and also with a burial place." 
Public thanks were afterwards offered to God "who 
had moved him to make such a gift," and happiness 
and blessings invoked upon him and his children. 
These prayers do not seem to have received the an 
swer sought, for at a later day the man got into 
financial straits and showed his true character "by de 
manding anew the whole debt with accrued interest." 

The consecration of the church was an occasion of 
great solemnity and overflowing festal joy. Gov 
ernor Mar.kham was invited to be present, but could 
not attend. A public dinner, for which the mem 
bers respectively had furnished "all sorts of meat and 
drink," was partaken of by nearly the whole congrega 
tion. " All rejoiced and praised God for His gracious 
care in raising up his Church in this wild land. The 
same day, which was Trinity Sunday, was for a long 
time after annually celebrated by an evening service 
of praise and thanksgiving. Matins were held on 

1 64 

The Lilt her ans in America. 

Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, as also throughout 
the summer. Garlanded lights and side lights were 
made of pine wood, for use in the Christmas service. 
A belfry was project 
ed, but never com 
pleted. The bell was 
hung upon a walnut 
tree in the church-yard. 
Simultaneously with 
the erection of a church 
edifice at Christina a 
similar undertaking 
was started at Wica- 
coa, the membership 
of which parish lived 
partly in Philadelphia 
wh ich had been 
founded in 1682, and 
which PastorBjork 
called in 1697 "a clever 
little town," and partly 
in the various sur 
rounding districts, 
some even on the 
other side of the Del 
aware, and in many 
cases quite remote 
from one another. Of 

the necessity fora new ^ mH ^^. Weekly ._ Cop ^ ht , 188 3, b7 H^>cr & B>th. 
one mind, and four 
hundred pounds were promised by subscriptions for 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 165 

commencing the work. But when it came to fixing 
the locality for "a new Mother Church" a terrible con 
troversy broke out. The "settlers below" the Schuyl- 
kill contended for a site at Passayungh, where the 
congregation had bought a piece of land for a par 
sonage and glebe. The "upper settlers" wished to 
have it again at Wicacoa, upon the same ground 
on which the old church stood. A third party pro 
posed that as Tenakon was the oldest church in the 
country, it should be kept up as long as possible, and 
then another one should be afterwards erected at the 
same place. 

Each of the parties became more determined and 
at the same time, as is wont to be the case in church 
quarrels, "more lukewarm in the Christian work." The 
pastor felt himself greatly hindered in his calling by 
the turbulence of faction, and became so distressed in 
mind and so weary of the protracted strife, that he 
relinquished the care of the congregation and threat 
ened to return at once to Sweden, though but a few 
months before he had written to a friend, that he did 
not "know of any place in the world where a Christ 
ian minister could live happier or more beloved than 
here." He betook himself to Christina and sought 
the sympathy and good offices of his friend and 
faithful fellow-laborer Bjork, who went over to the 
assembled congregation and preached to them a ser 
mon on "The Tears of Christ," with a direct reference 
to the existing state of things. "And as a part of 
them were not present he presently put his admoni 
tions and reproofs in a written form, which was sent 
around to be read from house to house. The effect 

1 66 The Lutherans in America. 

of this was all that could be desired the tears of 
Christ ought to settle every quarrel between breth 
ren. "They all became humble and penitent on 
account of their folly, and bound themselves to 
commit the matter wholly and entirely to the judg 
ment of the three ministers, as well in regard to the 
choice of the place as to the plan and cost of the 
church edifice ; and also agreed that there should be 
a fine of ten pounds imposed upon any who should 
find fault with what was done therein." Both parties 
also gave a written pledge to pay their old subscrip 
tions to the church edifice, wherever it should be lo 
cated, and also " to send down their representatives to 
Christina to beg their pastor s forgiveness and be 
seech him that he would not forsake them," an edify 
ing spectacle of the saving common sense with which 
the Gospel inspires the minds of its subjects. 

The ministers finally concluded to build at Wicacoa, 
close by the old church. Among the reasons as 
signed for this determination were that by the casting 
of lots this site had once before been selected for this 
purpose ; that a graveyard was already arranged 
there; that the site commanded a very fine prospect; 
that the value of the property would increase by its 
proximity to the city, and that "the name of the 
Swedes would ever be held in remembrance, as their 
church thus stood in view of vessels as they sailed 
upon the river." The difficulty which the lower set 
tlers would have in coming over the Schuylkill was to 
be relieved by a flat-boat which the congregation 
should maintain at its own expense. 

The quarrel had delayed the work for an entire 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Swedes. 167 

year, but it was now prosecuted with the greatest zeal, 
Pastor Rudman being architect, superintendent and 
paymaster, the same masons and carpenters who had 
been employed on the Christina church doing the 
work also on this one, the dimensions of which were 
exactly the same. The foundation was of stone, and 
the walls of brick, "every other one glazed." In the 
course of a year the church was nearly completed, a 
cross-wall at the west end being left intentionally unfin 
ished, "until it could be seen whether some bells could 
be obtained from Sweden." On the second of July, 
1700, on the first Sunday after Trinity, the building 
was dedicated to the worship of God, under the name 
of Gloria Dei, with solemn and imposing services, in the 
presence of a numerous and promiscuous assembly, a 
part of whom whom were English people from Phila 
delphia, "on whose account the conclusion of the ad 
dress was translated into English." 

The Christian zeal, the enterprise, liberality and 
good taste displayed by the Lutherans in the erection 
of these two large, costly and beautiful churches, com 
manded the admiration of their English neighbors 
far and wide. " The fame of them was noised abroad 
to neighboring provinces," and confirmed the high 
estimate which had long been formed of these com 
munities. "The English inhabitants having been in 
terested in the progress of the building both at Wi- 
cacoa and Christina, continued long after their conse 
cration, to gaze upon them with wonder. Strangers 
visiting the region of the Delaware walked round 
about their walls and with respectful mien were 
pleased to enter their sacred courts. Even the gov- 

1 68 The Lutherans in America. 

ernors of Maryland and Virginia, Nicholson and 
Blackstone, attended by their respective suites, were 
gratified on the occasion of seeing with their own 
eyes these noble monuments of Christian zeal and 
Lutheran enterprise." 

Fully consecrated to the work of saving souls, fired 
with a loyal devotion to the pure doctrines of grace, 
and manifesting continually the spirit of progress and 
of an enlightened zeal, it need not surprise us to find 
that these earnest and cultured ministers, whose char 
acter and learning commended them to the foremost 
persons of the country, soon found their work appre 
ciated by the people of other nationalities. Not only 
Hollanders who had long intermingled with the 
Swedes as one people became identified with their 
congregations, but also many English, Scotch, Irish 
and German families, all using the Swedish language. 
Great as was the simplicity of these primitive Ameri 
can Lutheran divines it never occurred to them that 
they had been entrusted with the Gospel for the 
preaching of it solely to Lutherans and their children. 



IT is noteworthy that, while the Reformation had its 
cradle in Germany, and the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church is popularly regarded as the Church of 
the Germans and their descendants, Lutherans had 
occupied this country for several generations before 
any distinct traces of their German brethren are to be 
found here. The first Lutheran settlers in America were, 
undoubtedly, Hollanders, and the first to be regularly 
organized under the care of a pastor were Swedes. 
It* is likewise to be noticed that, while the Portuguese, 
Spaniards, French, Dutch and English planted their 
standards and founded their colonies on these western 
shores, the governments of the great German nation 
did not enter upon any such colonial enterprises. 
The Hanseatic cities might have furnished the neces 
sary transports, but Germany lay prostrate and deso 
late from the results of the Thirty Year s War. 
Towns and villages lay in ashes, its fairest districts 
had become deserts, and even where prosperity and 
political power began once more to revive, the re 
morseless wars and aggressions of Louis XIV. quelled 
all ambition for the extension of territory or power 
and rendered it impossible for German princes to un 
dertake any projects beyond the seas. 

Hence, to the few of their subjects who found them 
selves in a condition to emigrate to the New World, 

there remained no alternative but to seek a home 


1 7 The Lutherans in America. 

among the communities which had been founded here 
by other nations. A long time seems to have elapsed 
before much of a disposition to leave the fatherland 
showed itself. The emigration mania had not, at that 
time, seized the German mind. No considerable 
body of Germans found their way to America until 
1683, almost two hundred years after its discovery. 
Such individuals or famlies as had previously come 
hither became dispersed almost imperceptibly among 
the Dutch, Swedes and English. They were sporadic 
pioneers, who were followed by no immediate 
re-enforcements or regular accessions. Of a German 
Lutheran Church or pastor we have no record 
until the eighteenth century. Destined to be the 
strongest element in the development of the Evan 
gelical Lutheran Church, they were the last in 

When the stream of German emigration began 
at last to flow in some force, it brought not Lutherans, 
but Quakers, the fruits of Penn s missionary activity 
m Germany for several years before he founded his 
famous colony. Along with those who had avowed 
the peculiar tenets and practices of the Quaker relig 
ion prior to their crossing of the Atlantic, came a 
number of others who had no small measure of sym 
pathy with them, and who had been carried away by 
the tide of religious extravagance and fanaticism 
which marked the close of the seventeenth and the 
beginning of the eighteenth centuries : Mennonites, 
Mystics, Chiliasts, representatives of the "Awakened" 
and of the "Inspired," Ultraists and Separatists of 
every kind. It was ;i motley Babd-host, with singu- 

Tlie Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans.lji 

lar and strong affinities, malcontents who had these 
features in common, that, like the Quakers and New 
England Puritans, they were hostile to the dominant 
confessional orthodoxy, were identified with the con 
venticles of the " Awakened," and repudiated the State 
Churches, from which they, in turn, suffered cruel per 
secutions. Unquestionably, a mixture of these fanat 
ical sects and sectaries formed the preponderating 
element in the earliest German emigration to this 


country. Some of them had been roaming from 
place to place in their native land, and having learned 
that in the trans-atlantic Province of William Penn no 
one was molested for his religious faith, they hastened 
to this asylum in the wilderness, destined to be the 
Paradise of all extravagances, and the fertile nursery 
of all " isms." 

Somewhat later, in i 734 and 1735, these were fol 
lowed by the Schwenkfeldians and Herrnhuter, 
the Separatists, thus, for some time, especially in 
Pennsylvania, outnumbering the adherents of the 
Lutheran and Reformed Confessions. But little trace 
of these is to be found until they had attained suffi 
cient numbers and strength to call pastors. The Re 
formed had, in this respect, the start of the Lutherans, 
a pastor, Rev. George Michael Weiss, having been 
sent to them by the Palatinate Consistorium in 1727. 
The first Lutherans who came from Germany, either 
as individuals or in bodies, were evidently scattered 
over a wide extent of territory, and it is doubtful 
whether they contributed directly to the establish 
ment of the Church. The formation of congregations, 
it is certain, proceeded slowly and gradually, and in 

I7 2 The LiUherans in America. 

the beginning of the eighteenth century they were both 
"few and weak." 

The first German Lutheran congregation organ 
ized within the limits of the present area of the United 
States, was, undoubtedly, that of Falckner s Swamp 
(New Hanover), on the Manatawney, in Montgomery 
County, Penn. Its first pastor was Rev. Justus Falck- 
ner, a man around whose name clusters more than 
ordinary interest. He belonged to a family of clergy 
men in Germany, his grandfathers on both sides and 
his father being Lutheran ministers, and he had him 
self been educated at Halle, under Francke, for the 
sacred office. On the completion of his studies, he 
turned away from it with strong aversion, and in 1700 
accompanied his brother to America, where both of 
them held a power-of-attorney as land-agents for 
William Penn. It was while making a sale of some 
lands to the Swedes that he came to regret his decis 
ion against entering the ministry, a change trace 
able no doubt to the Christian zeal and spiritual in 
fluence of his Swedish brethren in the faith. 

Thus by the guiding hand of a gracious Providence 
this gifted and learned man, who had fled from his 
father s house to escape from the ministry to which 
he had been consecrated by parents and friends, now 
voluntarily assumes its responsibilities, and devotes 
his talents to the saving of his countrymen whom he 
found languishing in spiritual destitution. His name 
is honored as that of the first pastor of the first Ger 
man Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He 
was likewise the first Lutheran minister ordained in 
this country, his ordination being conducted in the 

The Earliest Littherans in America The Germans. 1 73 

Swedish Church at Wicacoa, November 24, 1703, by 
the three Swedish Pastors, Rudman, Bjork and Sandel, 
who, although they had unquestionably inherited the 
boon of Apostolic succession whatever that may be 
held it in so little estimation, that they proceeded to 
the ordination of a man to the sacred office without any 
imposition of Episcopal hands. The Archbishop of 
Upsala had wisely authorized these Presbyters to per 
form such ordinations in his absence. Had the Pres 
byters of the Anglican Church been similarly empow 
ered by their Bishops, the growth of the Episcopal 
Church in the colonies would have made a showing 
very different from that which has passed into his 
tory. Pastor Falckner proved a zealous and worthy 
minister, one of the purest and most efficient of the 
earlier ministers in the American Lutheran Church. 
He went after a brief pastorate to New York where 
he ministered to many people, and in 1723 closed his 
earthly labors with congregations which he had or 
ganized in New Jersey. 

The settlement known as Falckner s Swamp was 
probably founded before 1700. The date of the erec 
tion of the first house of worship is unknown. In 
1719 fifty acres of ground were donated for the use 
of church and school, but buildings for these pur 
poses may have been previously erected. 

A considerable tide of Lutheran emigration from 
Germany began to pour into these shores early in the 
eighteenth century. Large numbers came hither in 
1711, 1717 and the years immediately ensuing, and the 
whole period from 1702 to 1727 was marked by large 
accessions to the Lutheran population. On June 13, 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 1 75 

1710, as many as four thousand landed in ten vessels 
at New York, after a voyage of frightful hardships 
from which several hundred had perished on the way. 
These were fugitives from the Palatinate for whom 
the sympathies and munificence of Queen Anne had 
provided not only shelter, clothing and food in Eng 
land, but also free transportation to the New World 
with subsistence on the way and princely domains for 
their occupation. These Palatines were the first 
Lutherans whom religious persecution drove to these 

Their history is one of tragic interest. Within a 
single generation their beautiful country, one of the 
fairest and most fertile regions of Europe, had been 
thrice devastated by the armies of Louis XIV., who 
laid claim to the succession on behalf of his brother 
the Duke of Orleans. In these persistent and ruth 
less aggressions of a foreign and Catholic sovereign, 
the country was overrun by a barbarous soldiery that 
knew no pity for old men or delicate women or suck 
ing children; and when it was found impossible to 
hold what had been conquered Louis gave command 
to have the country turned into a desert. "The 
French commander," says Macaulay, "announced to 
near half a million of human beings that he granted 
them three days of grace. Soon the roads and fields 
which then lay deep in snow, were blackened by in 
numerable multitudes ot men, women and children 
flying from their homes. Many died of cold and hun 
ger ; but enough survived to fill the streets of all the 
cities of Europe with lean and squalid beggars, who 
had once been thriving farmers and shopkeepers. 

i 76 The Lutherans in America. 

Meanwhile the work of destruction began. The 
flames went up from every market place, every ham 
let, every parish church, every country seat, within the 
devoted provinces. The fields where the corn had 
been sown were ploughed up. The orchards were 
hewn down. No promise of a harvest was left on the 
fertile plains where had once been Frankenthal. Not 
a vine, not an almond tree, was to be seen on the 
slopes of the sunny hills round what had once been 
Heidelberg." Mannheim, Worms and Spires met the 
same fate. They were reduced to ashes. The very 
hospitals and orphanages were sacked. The provis 
ions, the medicines, the pallets on which the sick lay, 
were destroyed. Protestant worship was broken up 
and the churches were turned over to Roman Catho 
lic priests. 

These atrocities and horrors which extended over 
the whole Rhine region, threw Germany into frenzy 
and called forth the execration of Europe. But the 
universal cry for vengeance brought no relief. A few 
years later the Duke of Lorges, invading the country 
found that, after its two merciless devastations, there 
was still something left to destroy, and the work of 
demolition, the butchery of peaceful citizens and the 
outrage of their wives and daughters were once more 
resumed. The treaty of Ryswick (1697) stipulated 
that the French must evacuate the country, but also 
that the ecclesiastical usurpations of the Catholics 
should be maintained throughout the portion of 
country which they held. Hence the Catholic princes 
who now ruled the country denied the Protestants 
the free exercise of their religion, robbed them of their 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 177 

churches and through Jesuit intrigue, armed force and 
inhuman cruelties, threatened the very existence of 
the Evangelical Churches, Reformed as well as 

Under the stress of their misery many thousands of 
the inhabitants, in many cases entire villages, the pas 
tor and flock, farmer, vine-dresser, merchant, me 
chanic and miner, stripped of their all and forced by 
their sufferings to snap every bond that held them to 
their native land, fled to the hospitable shores of 
Protestant England. They were joined by numbers 
from Baden, Wurtemberg, Hesse and the surround 
ing countries. The arrival of such a host of impov 
erished refugees created some alarm and dissatisfac 
tion with the government which had quartered them 
in a camp like an army. But English beneficence 
and humanity triumphed. The Queen took them 
under her personal protection and in course of time 
they cheerfully accepted Her Majesty s munificent 
proposal for their transportation and settlement in 
America, where it was confidently expected their 
thrifty and peaceable habits would render them a 
valuable accession to her colonies. A large fund col 
lected for them through private contributions in Eng 
land was afterwards forwarded, and for this we may 
assume they found ample use. 

They had been preceded both in England and 
America by some of their own countrymen, who had 
been moved to emigrate from the Rhine countries, 
both by the torn and wretched condition of the fath 
erland and by the alluring prospects which vague 
reports and American emigration agents held up be- 

i 78 The Lutherans in America. 

fore their eyes. A Lutheran minister by the name of 
Joshua von Kocherthal, accompanied by his family 
and sixty-one others, had under great difficulties suc 
ceeded in making his way to England. They were 
made subjects of the British crown and then shipped 
to America, supplied with mechanical implements and 
with one year s subsistence, while the Queen do 
nated twenty pounds for the support of the pastor 
and five hundred acres of land " for the mainte 
nance of a Lutheran minister and his successors for 
ever." They arrived in New York near the close of 
the year 1708 and were settled on the West shore of 
the Hudson in the vicinity of what is now Newburg, 
where more than two thousand acres of land were 
divided between them. 

The peculiar and indescribable trials which such a 
colony must inevitably experience in temporal inter 
ests, were aggravated in this case by religious discord. 
When nineteen of the little congregation withdrew as 
Pietists, the others proposed to withhold from them 
the relief which the authorities had provided for them 
in their poverty, but when the Reformed pastors of 
New York had by an official investigation ascertained 
that this Pietism was no damnable heresy, the gov 
ernment ordered them to be also included among its 
beneficiaries. In 1709 Pastor Kocherthal obtained 
free passage to England in order that he might lay 
the distress of the people upon the heart of the 
Queen, who accorded him a favorable reception and 
granted him substantial aid for the material pros 
perity of his people. The measure of their religious 
prosperity can be judged, in part at least, by the char- 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. \ 79 

acter of the pastors, who served them with more or 
less regularity after the decease of Kocherthal in 
1719. Falckner had charge of them for sometime in 
connection with the Dutch churches at New York and 
Albany. Rev. W. Christopher Berkenmeier, a man 
of ability, learning and excellent character, ministered 
to them between 1725 and 1732, and after that, Rev. 
Michael Christian Knoll visited them three times a 
year, receiving as compensation for this service thirty 
bushels of wheat. Of their valuable church property 
they were, in later years, fraudulently dispossessed by 
the Episcopalians, who fifty years afterwards suffered 
similar treatment at the hands of the Presbyterians. 
Upon the arrival of the large body of South Ger 
mans in 1710, the greater portion of them went north 
ward, where Governor Hunter allotted to them some 
six thousand acres of land, which he had purchased 
from Livingston s Manor, a large tract now embraced 
in Dutchess and Columbia counties, and also an equal 
area on the West bank of the Hudson immediately 
opposite. This land, heretofore unimproved, they 
were to hold and cultivate as tenants, and the govern 
ment expected large returns from their thrifty toil. 
They soon found themselves in the clutches of hard 
masters and their condition was but little better than 
the Egyptian slavery of the Israelites. They were 
placed under overseers, and in order to satisfy the in 
ordinate selfishness and rapacity of Livingston they 
were subjected to cruel and most unrighteous extor 
tions. These wrongs and hardships drove them to 
discontent and resistance. They might as well have 
endured in their native land the sword of the French 

180 The Lutherans in America. 

and the oppression of the Jesuits. Under the tyranny 
of the unprincipled men who held them in their 
power no development or improvement was possible. 
Insupportable trials offered them no future. The 
boasted asylum of the oppressed became to them a 
land of hard bondage. 

Soldiers were called out to reduce them to measures. 
But they knew to oppose force with force, and with 
weapons in their hands demanded a removal of their 
grievances. From this time on they were treated like 
rebels. Wearying of their wrongs and their slavery, 
the majority, preferring the wilderness inhabited only 
by savages to the pitiless maltreatment of their Anglo- 
Saxon oppressors, abandoned in the course of three 
years the soil which they had redeemed from the wild. 
In the dead of winter and amid terrible exposure 
and sufferings, they moved farther northward into 
the Schoharie region where a large and fertile tract 
had been ceded to them by certain Mohawk Indians 
with whom they had held a conference in London. 
Governor Hunter sternly forbade their removal to 
this section, threatened to punish them as rebels, pur 
sued them with threats of vengeance and attempted 
even to excite against them the Indians, who had 
given them a cheering welcome and who remained 
their constant and devoted friends. Long ago, they 
urged, this land had been surrendered by them to 
Queen Anne expressly for the occupation of the Ger 
mans. When citizens of Albany sought to hem them 
in by buying up the land around them, the Indians 
quickly sold the whole of it to the Palatines for three 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 1 8 1 

hundred dollars, and in other ways, as far as in them 
lay, these heathen natives came to their relief. 

The people encountered for awhile in their new set 
tlement difficulties and privations that beggar descrip 
tion. They were wanting in everything necessary for 
keeping house or cultivating the soil, clothing, furni 
ture, implements, cattle. A number of them suc 
ceeded in buying jointly an old gray mare which had 
to make the round of the colony. Salt had to be 
brought from Schenectady, nineteen miles, and from 
the same point was carried on the shoulders of one of 
their number the first bushel of wheat. This bushel 
it is said, brought forth the following year the incredi 
ble yield of eighty-three bushels. It is a type of the 
prosperity which rewarded their hunger, exposure and 
toil. They lived at peace with each other and with 
their wild neighbors, but the few Reformed Holland 
ers, who in considerable affluence resided here and 
there close to them, showed for a long while great 
contempt for these poor Lutheran Palatines and 
Swabians. Although blest with the sight and the 
services of a minister only once or twice a year, they 
assembled on Sundays and edified one another as 
well as they could through God s Word and the Songs 
of Zion. They were of course without any civil ruler. 
"Every one did what was right in his own eyes; they 
hunted with the Indians, they attempted also to 
teach their wild neighbors the arts of peace; the for 
est fell and yielded its place to the waving grain ; the 
busy streams were employed in advancing the useful 
operations of the mill ; seven villages, small but 
thrifty, rose beneath their industry and ministered to 

1 82 The Lutherans in America. 

their social enjoyment, whilst the long seasons of 
labor were occasionally relieved by manly sports, by 
innocent and temperate amusements. They felt se 
cure, too secure, in the possession of their ground. 
The law of nature, the law of nations, they said, would 
protect them in the enjoyment of the territory they 
had redeemed from the wilderness and improved at 
the cost of their own sweat and blood." 

Alas ! for their simplicity, their ignorance of the 
ways of the world, and their blind confidence in the 
supposed promises and engagements of the Queen. 
The cunning and greed alike of the Dutch and the 
English soon subjected them, both under the pretense 
of law and in open violation of it, to a series of out 
rages and robberies which dismembered this their sec 
ond settlement, and sent many of them adrift again 
into a more distant wilderness. 

Supposing the Indians to have been the sole posses 
sors of the soil, they were satisfied with the convey 
ance executed by the tribe. It never occurred to 
them that it was necessary to obtain patents or title- 
deeds from the Royal Governor of New York, and the 
absence of these proved fatal to their security and 
their hopes, and without any previous intimation of 
the crafty designs of the rapacious speculators who 
dispossessed them, the very soil which they had 
purchased and with severe toil and self-denial had 
made productive and habitable, was fraudulently sold 
beneath their feet, 

Smarting under a sense of great wrongs and out 
right robbery they at first threatened resistance by 
force of arms. At last they concluded to deputize 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 183 

three of their number to carry their appeal to the 
home government at London. Arriving there after 
a succession of most trying experiences and finding 
themselves helpless, without friends or advisers, they 
had to see two years pass by before they succeeded, 
through the assistance of the German Lutheran court 
preachers, in getting their cause before the ministry for 
the colonies. They pleaded that at least some indem 
nity should be allowed them. But all was in vain. 
Their grasping enemies had anticipated them and 
secured a favorable decision. Their case was lost. 
They were wantonly deprived of their property, their 
homes, their all. Avarice, fraud, cunning, triumphed 
over simplicity, uprightness and honest labor. 

Some of the unfortunate people, yielding to the in 
evitable, contented themselves with leasing their own 
farms from those who now had to be recognized as 
the lawful proprietors, and remained accordingly in 
Schoharie. A large company set out further west, 
and as if fleeing from the robberies and violence of 
civilization plunged once more into the depths of the 
wilderness. Led by an Indian guide we find them in 
1723 following the course of the Susquehanna and 
amid terrible ordeals penetrating the heart of Penn 
sylvania, going southward as far as the mouth 
of the Swatara, a few miles below what is now 
Harrisburg. From thence they made their way 
by irregular wanderings up the waters of that 
stream till they came to the Tulpehocken region, a 
few miles northeast of the present Reading where, in 
a beautiful valley, in fair and free and fruitful Penn 
sylvania, though still among the Indians, they found 

184 The Lutherans in America. 

rest for their feet. They were soon followed by 
others and in 1729 they were joined by Conrad Wei- 
ser, whose father had been their chief leader in Scho- 
harie, and who himself was to play a conspicuous and 
honorable part in the progress of the Germans and 
the development of the Church in Pennsylvania not 
to speak of his memorable services as an interpreter 
for the Indians with whom he had spent a year of his 
youth in the Mohawk valley. 

The outrages suffered by the Palatines were ru 
mored abroad and the tide of German emigration 
was in consequence turned away from New York. 
To this it is doubtless owing, in a measure at least, 
that the Church never attained in that state the 
growth and strength that have long marked it in 
Pennsylvania, which on account of various attractions 
remained for years the desired haven for the Ger 
mans, who are ever seeking a better country. 

Of the large host that arrived in New York in 1710 
numbers went directly to Pennsylvania, drawn thither 
by the kindness, peaceableness and worldly thrift of 
the Friends. Some of them "with a capacity for easy 
adaptation to their new circumstances assumed the 
garb, the manner, and at length even the faith of the 
Quakers." A considerable colony of Palatines set 
tled New Berne, N. C., in the same year. 

Thus by a variety of circumstances, personal prefer 
ences, disappointments, disasters, providential deal 
ings, it happened that these four thousand Germans, 
with their natural increase, were scattered broadcast 
throughout the land. "They grow with the growth of 
New York and Philadelphia; they cultivate the soil 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 185 

on the flats of the Hudson; they are faithful tenants 
in Schoharie ; they subdue and enliven the wilderness 
of Pennsylvania along the Tulpehocken and Swatara." 
To the establishment of the Church they could under 
the circumstances contribute directly but very little. 
Unlike their Swedish brethren they came without pas 
tors and religious teachers to watch over their souls, 
they lived in constant uncertainty and insecurity, 
they were harrassed by pinching poverty and by the 
continual aggressions of unprincipled men who had 
the countenance of the authorities. Amid their perils, 
their unsettled state, and their helplessness, it must 
have been impossible for them to erect sanctuaries in 
the desert, and although they came hither as the bene 
ficiaries of a munificent and Christian Queen, those 
along the Hudson and in Schoharie were not permit 
ted for twenty years to welcome amongst them a pas 
tor of their own, or "to unite in public worship within 
any enclosure more dignified than a barn or a hovel 
of frame work." 

There was here undoubtedly a will, but no way. 
How could they build churches when wandering to 
and fro year by year and fighting against hunger and 
wild beasts, against the oppressions of those in power 
and the brutalities of their spoilers? That some of 
these South Germans did not remain constant in their 
faith and either became indifferent to religious princi 
ple or were merged into some of the sects which then 
already swarmed here, may be taken for granted. A 
number of them, as was noted above, were drawn in 
Philadelphia into the meeting of the Quakers. For 
the most part, however, they were firmly established in 

1 86 The Lutherans in America. 

Lutheran doctrine and at heart desirous of transmit 
ting it, pure and complete, to their children. Those 
who remained in New York, where the Dutch Luther 
ans now had their own worship unmolested, united 
promptly with their brethren though of a different 
language, and joined heartily and actively in the ef 
forts to build up the Lutheran Church. Opportunity 
alone was wanting for those who settled temporarily 
along the Hudson and elsewhere, to give substantial 
expression to their faith and zeal. We have reason 
to believe that the devotion of the closet was not neg 
lected, that with many, in default of public religious 
privileges, there was maintained a church in the house 
and the children were reared in the nurture and ad 
monition of the Lord. In the traditions that have 
been preserved we see the young man thirsting for 
God in the desert, prizing his Bible above all worldly 
treasures, and drawing solace and sustenance from 
its promises while suffering cold and hunger in an 
Indian wigwam. And along side of this is the scene 
of the sire in extreme old age extolling the grace of 
God in Christ Jesus and moving others to tears by 
his attestation of the quickening power of "the old 
Evangelical Lutheran doctrine," and the effectual 
connection of the Spirit of God with his Holy Word. 
We know also that Christian friends in England 


had generously furnished them with Bibles, hymn- 
books and copies of Arndt s "True Christianity,"- 
that incomparable volume which has for generations 
served as a daily chaplain in thousands of Lutheran 
homes and herein they found the spiritual nourish 
ment which they craved in their hearts, the means of 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 187 

refreshment in their hours of rest and devotion. 
Along with these household ministrations of grace, 
the instincts of Christian consciousness led them often, 
even in the absence of preachers, to assemble for gen 
eral edification and for united prayer and praise. 

Considerable streams of German Lutheran immi 
gration continued, during successive years, to flow into 
the country. But the experience of former settlements 
in the province of New York diverted the main cur 
rent towards Pennsylvania, although some subsequent 
arrivals again went northward and joined themselves 
to the remnants of the Palatine communities. For 
the most part these were people of religious earnest 
ness and of devoted attachment to the Lutheran 
Church. "From the Palatinate, from Wiirtemberg, 
from Darmstadt, and other portions of Germany, they 
came, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Many 
of them sought and found a home in Philadelphia and 
vicinity, and., although unable in their poverty either 
to build church or schoolhouse, or even to secure the 
ground for such an object, they nevertheless main 
tained the unity of the faith, and hopefully awaited a 
more prosperous day." 

One of the most interesting and clearly determined 
colonies of Lutherans, that were founded during the 
colonial period in America, was that of the Salzburg- 
ers, who were settled in what is now Effmgham county, 
Georgia, just a year after the first English settlement 
under General Oglethorpe. They had been driven 
from their native land by remorseless persecution. 
Their story touched the heart of Europe and it has 
furnished pathetic and tragic material to the historian 

1 88 The Lutherans in America. 

and the poet, who vie with each other in describing 
the journey of their exile " under God s free sky, as 
they move along over the roads which his good 
angels have thrown up for them." 

The evangelical doctrines of the Reformation had 
at an early period penetrated the mountainous terri 
tory of the Archiepiscopal See of Salzburg. Staupitz, 
the spiritual father and noble friend of Luther, had 
there ended his days. Eminent Lutheran preachers 
had zealously proclaimed the Gospel among the peo 
ple, and many copies of the German Bible, the Augs 
burg Confession and Luther s Small Catechism, had 
made their way into the valleys and cottages of that 
region. The tortures of religious persecution were 
employed to suppress these innovations. Preachers 
were driven off or imprisoned. One was beheaded. 
Yet the revived faith of the Gospel continued to grow 
and to spread, sometimes strengthened by the resist 
ance it encountered, sometimes advancing peaceably 
while the barbarous procedures for the repression 
of Lutheran "heresy " were for a season suspended, 
"About the end of 1684, the Archbishop Grandolf 
issued an edict, driving out of the country in mid 
winter all Protestants refusing to be converted, and 
requiring fathers and mothers to leave behind them 
all children under fourteen years of age, that they 
might be brought up in the Roman Catholic religion." 
Several of his successors had resort to less rigorous 

In 1727, Leopold Anton, an avaricious, reckless, 
hardened sensualist, ascended the Archiepiscopal 
throne. In the heat of a drunken fit, he one day 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 1 89 

swore that he would drive the heretics out of the land, 
even if thorns and thistles should overgrow their 
fields. He was equal to Herod in keeping his oath. 
The cunning arts of the Jesuits were first employed 
to ferret out such as privately held to the evangelical 
faith, and then by all kinds of persuasives, by "every 
theatrical art," it was sought to attract them peace 
ably back to Catholicism. The policy of cunning 
passed imperceptibly into one of violence. Bibles 
and other devotional books were taken from them 
and the rosary and scapulary forcibly put in their 
place. Such as refused them were treated as rebels, 
punished by fines, dragged about in irons, and thrown 
into horrible prisons, and many hundreds of them 
forced to fly from house and home. 

The Protestant powers of the empire were invoked 
in their behalf, but notwithstanding their tardy inter 
vention, insult, outrage and violence continued to be 
heaped upon them. The distress of their situation at 
last forced them to unite in a compact for life and 
death. On a certain Sunday in August, 1731, about 
one hundred men, from every mountain defile, wended 
their way over rocky paths to a market village, where 
they seated themselves around a table on which was 
placed a vessel of salt. "Each man, with earnest 
prayer, dipped the wetted fingers of his right hand 
into the salt, and lifting them toward heaven took a 
a solemn oath. To the true, Triune God they swore 
never to desert the evangelical faith, and then swal 
lowed the salt as if it had been sacramental bread." 
This of course exasperated the Archbishop yet more. 
The Lutherans were charged with conspiracy, and 

i go The Lutherans in America. 

Austrian troops were brought into the country and 
quartered upon them. At the same time all the 
passes were guarded and emigration was made a 

Two months later this policy was reversed. Emi 
gration was made compulsory and that under circum 
stances of inhuman cruelty. All persons in the coun 
try not permanent residents, all farmers without 
political rights, and all day-laborers and house-ser 
vants who adhered to the Augsburg Confession or to 
the doctrine of the Reformed, were required under 
heavy penalties to leave the country within one week. 
Such as were owners of houses or land were allowed 
from one to three months, at the end of which they 
were to be outlawed and declared stripped of all right, 
both of property and citizenship. "Only those who, 
within fifteen days, should repent of their errors and 
abjure them, and should formally return to the Rom 
ish Church were offered mercy." There was no help 
against these atrocious proceedings. All the protests 
and threats of Protestant Europe were unavailing. 
From December, 1731, to November, 1732, the exiles, 
aggregating probably thirty thousand souls, might be 
seen in numerous companies and at various inter 
vals fleeing from the land of their birth, and wander 
ing, many of them knew not whither. Though meet 
ing with opposition and insult wherever they touched 
on Catholic territory, this abuse was more than 
equalled by the kindness and sympathy shown them 
everywhere by their Lutheran brethren. 

"Men came to honor in them the martyrs of the 
truth, the instruments of God who were called again 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 191 

to awaken a dead Christianity, a leaven to move the 
sluggish mass of Evangelical Protestantism; and the 
more favorable the reports concerning the patience 
with which they bore their fate, the beautiful, quiet 
order of their marches, their exemplary deportment 
in the cities and in their quarters, and the evangelical 
spirit which they everywhere displayed, the higher 
rose the common enthusiasm for them, and the 
stronger became the desire to provide for them and 
to do them good. Their march, therefore, through 
Germany," continues Hagenbach, "assumed the form 
of a triumphal procession. When they approached a 
city, the clergy, the youth of the schools, and repre 
sentatives of the burghers went out to meet them, and 
in procession escorted them into the city amid songs 
and the ringing of bells. Divine service was cele 
brated, addresses and sermons were delivered in 
honor of them; they were celebrated in poems, medals 
were struck in their memory, and feasts, simple but 
hearty, were prepared for them. Men strove for the 
honor of having them in their houses and entertain 
ing them. Each person wanted one or more of the 
Salzburgers under his own roof, and wished to hear 
him at his own fireside recount the wonderful leadings 
of God and the adventures which he and his compan 
ions had experienced ; and then to what a height did 
wonder rise when the host and his family, in these 
conversations, perceived how deeply these unlearned 
people were versed in the Bible, and how skillful they 
were in the explanation of doctrine, and in reproof, 
and edification." 

It was in fact their familiarity with the divine Word 

192 The Lutherans in America. 

and their steadfast faith in its Author that had 
marked them for the fires of persecution. And it 
was not only in their flight from the oppressor that 
men saw a parallel to the exodus of Israel from Egyp 
tian bondage, but in the marvellous deliverances and 
preservations which the hand of Jehovah so mani 
festly accorded them, and which to their devout im 
agination were as clearly miraculous as the manna in 
the desert and the fountain bursting from the rock. 

Various countries opened their gates to welcome 
these fugitives, but the greater portion accepted the 
royal invitation of Prussia, whose noble king, Freder 
ick William I., after having satisfied himself of their 
agreement in faith with the Augsburg Confession, 
"from royal Christian pity and heartfelt sympathy 
extended them a loving hand" of welcome into his 
country in the day of their trouble and banishment. 
Berlin became accordingly their general rendezvous. 
Their reception was indeed most friendly and cheer 
ing. They were greeted with acclamations of joy and 
well provided for both spiritually and temporally. 
"The king met them at the Leipsic gate, bade them 
be of good courage, and gave them a hearty welcome 
as beloved children of his country." The queen enter 
tained them in the* castle-garden and presented them 
with Bibles and money. It is said that King William 
was greatly surprised at the definite scriptural an 
swers he received when addressing to them religious 
questions. "He asked a boy of fourteen years of 
age, who on account of his faith had left his father 
and mother, how he could answer for his conduct. 
The boy said, "He that loveth father and mother 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 193 

more than me is not worthy of me." The king then 
asked how he expected to get along without his pa 
rents. The boy answered promptly, "When my father 
and mother forsake me, then the Lord will take up." 

Some of the Salzburg exiles passed on to Holland, 
some sought a home in Sweden, some in England, 
while others in their wanderings looked with longing 
eyes beyond the Atlantic for a land of promise. 
There the Trustees for establishing the colony of 
Georgia "were providing a home for the indigent 
population of Great Britain. The distress of the 
Salzburgers moved this body to extend to them also 
a refuge, and their benevolent consideration pro 
voked " the Society for the Propagation of Christian 
knowledge to take an active interest in their removal 
to Georgia. They were provided with free passage 
across the sea. Parliament voted a liberal grant to 
the Georgia colony and a fund of several thousand 
pounds was raised by contributions to enable the 
"Trustees to carry out their generous designs for the 

These noble expressions of Christian humanity and 
liberality were largely brought about through the 
agency of the Senior Lutheran pastor at Augsburg, 
the Rev. Samuel Urlsperger, who had himself been a 
sufferer for conscience sake, and who, after showing 
them great personal kindness when on their march, 
they halted and refreshed themselves among the 
Lutheran people of that city, exerted himself to bring 
their cause to the attention of the London Society 
above named. And let it here be noted with empha 
sis that Urlsperger of Augsburg, G. A. Francke of 

194 The Lutherans hi America. 

Halle, who was a member of the London "Society de 
Propaganda," etc., and the Court Chaplain Ziegen- 
hagen, at London, were not only largely instrumental 
in securing the assistance which brought the Salz- 
burgers across the Atlantic, but that, to their Chris 
tian piety and missionary zeal, more than to any 
other human agency, is due the founding of the 
Lutheran Church in this country. Of the noblest ex 
amples of Hallean pietism, bound together by the 
ties both of personal friendship and of the strongest 
spiritual affinity, they alike had a heart for the trials 
of their countrymen and brethren in the faith who 
were separated by the sea from the communion of 
their Church, and an enlightened forecast of that 
Church transplanted to the American wilderness. 
Their apostolical interest in these feeble American 
communities and their co-operation with each other 
secured not only substantial aid from Germany 
and England for successive emigrations, but also 
a number of spiritually-minded, cultured and faith 
ful shepherds to care for the exposed and forlorn 
flocks in the desert. Without this patronage and the 
unity of spirit and action which it prompted, they 
might have sunk into utter spiritual destitution and 

Under the promise of liberal grants of land and of 
support until they could derive subsistance from the 
soil, a company of ninety-one Salzburgers embarked 
for America, landing at Charleston, in March, 1734. 
They were accompanied by two pastors, John Martin 
Bolzius and Israel Christian Gronau, both of whom 
had been pupils at Francke s Orphan House in Halle, 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 195 

and had been educated for the pastoral office at the 
university. They were chosen for this mission by 
Francke and Urlsperger, and proved wise, efficient 
and faithful bishops, rich in the personal experience 
of grace, fervent in Christian zeal, and abundant in 

General Ogelthorpe, a name which Bancroft pro 
nounces a synonym for "vast benevolence of soul," 
gave them a cordial welcome to his colony, offered 
them kindly and valuable counsel, and became their 
constant benefactor and patron, so that these pastors 
subsequently testified : "He bears great love to the 
servants and children of God." A " corps of observa 
tion " selected for them a district in the interior, thirty 
miles from Savannah, a choice which was altogether 
satisfactory to the exiles. " Arriving upon the ground 
with their wives and their little ones, they set up a 
rock; they broke the silence of the wilderness as they 
sang a hymn of praise ; they sought the blessing of 
the Lord with the earnest voice of prayer; and they 
erected a memorial to the goodness of God displayed 
in their deliverance by naming their settlement Eben- 
ezer, or Hitherto the Lord has helped us. " 

Accessions came from time to time, enlarging the 
settlement and strengthening its spiritual condition. 
A second company, numbering fifty-seven, arrived 
early in 1735. The favorable reports concerning the 
Salzburgers stimulated the enterprise of the "Trus 
tees," and in October, 1735, they fitted out two ships 
for Georgia laden with emigrants. Among these 
were about eighty Salzburgers. Their voyage has 
become famous from the presence of Oglethorpe and 

196 The Lutherans in America. 

the two Wesleys in the company, and the profound 
impression which was made upon John Wesley by the 
calmness, the childlike confidence, the heroic spirit 
and the joyful singing of these Lutherans during a 
storm when every other heart was quaking and some 
were almost dead with terror. Wesley s religious 
experience had not reached the stage of filial faith 
and joy, and the fortitude and cheerfulness of these 
people, manifested in calm or tempest alike by men 
and women and children, were a revelation to Wesley 
which became a blessed factor in the development of 
his own spiritual life and of the society he founded. 

The majority of this company united at once with 
the community at Ebenezer. Others followed year 
after year, until they numbered, in 1741, a population 
of more than twelve hundred. They were generally 
characterized by fervent piety and governed by lofty 
Christian principle. "No sooner did they take pos 
session of the wilderness than a tabernacle is set up 
for the Lord. This is speedily followed by provision 
for the education of the children : then an asylum for 
the lonely orphan succeeds." It is doubtless for the 
latter institution that Whitfield, who was greatly 
touched by the spirituality of these people, is said 
to have collected money in different parts of the 

Their pastors justified the wisdom that had selected 
them. They possessed admirable administrative 
qualities. They well understood the responsibilities 
of their position and maintained a careful oversight 
of the flock. "The fruits of their labor, as they grew 
and ripened at Ebenezer in peace and industry, in 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 197 

moral purity and Christian love, presented to the 
eyes of strangers and visitors all the appearance of a 

field which the Lord hath blessed." " Their town was 
marked by neatness and pleasantness. No drunken, 

198 The Lutherans in America. 

no idle, no profligate people were amongst them; in 
dustry and harmony prevailed, souls were converted 
by the word of God, and believers were edified." Ban 
croft says of them : "They were indeed a noble army 
of martyrs going forth in the strength of God, and 
triumphing in the faith of the Gospel under the 
severest hardships and the most rigorous persecu 
tions. They were marshalled under no banners save 
that of the cross, and were preceded by no leaders 
save their spiritual teachers and the great Captain of 
their Salvation." 

Pennsylvania continued to be the " Land of Prom 
ise " for German immigrants. Their numbers began 
to excite serious apprehensions on the part of the 
civil authorities. The colonial records of that prov 
ince in 1717 contain an official communication from 
Governor Keith, stating that great numbers of foreign 
ers, strangers to our language and constitution, are 
spreading themselves over the country, and warning 
against the danger of so large an influx of aliens. An 
other large accession reached the same province in 
1727 from W rtemberg, the Palatinate, Hesse-Darm 
stadt and other German Principalities. No wonder 
the English settlers and the government became 
alarmed. These strangers threatened to overwhelm 
them and were likely soon to gain the ascendency in 
the government. Logan, the Secretary of William 
Penn, complained that the Germans were arriving in 
such masses that they would ere long form a German 
colony, and the story of the Saxon Conquest of Brit 
ain might repeat itself in the hitherto peaceful do 
main of the Quakers. The legislative branch of the 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 199 

government took fright over the same spectre, and 
addressed, in 1728, an official warning to the Governor, 
reminding him that this vast immigration was endan 
gering the peace and security of the state and propos 
ing the inauguration of measures either to prevent or 
restrict the further importation of foreigners. The 
Governor sharing their fears, a law prohibiting further 
immigration was enacted. Not that there was hos 
tility to these people themselves, many of whom it was 
admitted were industrious, peaceable and well-dis 
posed, but it was the purpose to prevent an English 
settlement from becoming a colony of foreigners with 
the predominance of their laws and language. These 
astute Pennsylvania legislators were however not 
long in discovering that their fears had gotten the 
better of their wits. Their attempt to tackle the emi 
gration problem discovered them to be a set of fools. 
Their enactment against foreigners proved a terrible 
blow to the prosperity of the infant colony. One 
year sufficed to abolish all restrictions excepting those 
against persons who would become a public burden. 
And but a few years later the very authorities that 
had been frightened into hostile procedures against 
their further immigration publicly attested the bene 
fits which the colony was deriving from these indus 
trious Germans who had changed the wild forest into 
a fruitful garden. The prosperous condition of the 
colony, Governor Thomas declared, was for the most 
part due to the industry of the "oppressed protest- 
ants from the Palatinate and other parts of Germany " 
a testimony which voiced the general estimate of 
the German settlers of Pennsylvania. 

2OO The Lutherans in America. 

The restrictions to their coming being removed, 
thousands kept pouring into the colony. In the au 
tumn of 1749 twenty-five ships brought 7049 souls, 
and for that whole summer the German immigrants 
numbered 12,000. The following year witnessed an 
other large influx and so succeeding years, especially 

This great influx from Germany was brought about, 
alas, not by any missionary colonizing of the Church, 
nor even by any projects of colonial expansion on the 
part of the State. It was the work of ship companies 
and their cunning and voracious agents, who carried 
on a traffic in human souls which was attended with 
nearly all the abominations and cruelties of the Afri 
can slave trade. These agents, known as Neulander, 
overran Germany, preaching up emigration to the 
"New Land" which flowed not only with milk and 
honey, but with gold and silver, where men could reap 
without having sown, where the maid-servant became 
a lady and the ploughman a lord. Operating with 
such representations upon the simple-minded peas 
antry, especially upon the poor and oppressed classes, 
they prevailed upon large numbers to make their way 
to the ports of Holland where, before sailing, they 
were compelled to sign a contract in the English lan 
guage, the purport of which they did not comprehend. 
They were crowded and packed into vessels even to 
the verge of suffocation and subjected to such inhu 
man experiences that during a single year over two 
thousand of these wretched people died during the 
passage. Such as survived the untold miseries of the 
voyage found themselves, on landing at Philadelphia, 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 201 

at the disposal of the captain of the vessel, who under 
the hammer of the auctioneer, sold husband, wife, 
parent, child, to the highest bidder, who in turn held 
them in servitude according to age and strength, 
three, six, ten or more years, the proceeds of their 
sale covering the expense of their transportation. 

"Many hardy Germans, having money enough to 
pay their fare, preferred to sell themselves for a term 
of years, in order to learn the language and the ways 
of the country. Others paid half the fare and were 
sold for the remainder; and some paid the passage of 
the family by selling one or two of their surplus child 
ren into bondage during minority." This unhappy 
traffic was of course not restricted to the German 
population. The number of such bond-servants even 
in New England is said to have been quite large, 
while in Pennsylvania every kind of business depended 
upon the labor of indentured servants. " Many of these 
were of excellent character and rose to good positions. 
Some bond-maids were married to those who pur 
chased them. Through industry and frugality some 
servants acquired wealth and founded families that 
rose to respectability and honor." 

The papers of the day abound in advertisements 
offering for sale German immigrants. And the Eng 
lish, Dutch and German residents of Philadelphia, 
and even some from other colonies, repaired to the 
newly arrived vessel and selected from the healthy 
passengers such as they deemed best adapted to their 
employment. As each member of a family upon their 
arrival was liable to be purchased by a different party, 
they often became widely scattered, were kept asunder 

202 The Lutherans in America. 

through long and weary years of bondage, and doomed 
in many cases never to see each other s face again. 
Great masses of helpless people coming hither under 
such circumstances, evoked the deepest commisera 
tion of their countrymen. Their wrongs and suffer 
ings led to the formation of "the German Society of 
Pennsylvania," which aimed to provide such legal as 
sistance as might be needed by these foreigners on 
their arrival to secure their rights, and especially to 
protect them against the injustice and inhumanity of 
the sea captains and the shameless treachery of the 
emigration sharks. 

History thus records a rapid increase of the Ger 
man element in Pennsylvania. About the middle of 
the century the whole population of the province is 
set down between 175,000 and 220,000, and of this, 
number fully one-half were Germans. Among these 
the Lutheran element outnumbered the Reformed two 
to one. It may safely be asserted that the Lutheran 
population of Pennsylvania alone, in the year 1750,, 
aggregated the enormous figure of 60,000. 

Before the arrival of the Salzburgers, German 
Lutherans, evidently Palatines, had settled in Charles 
ton, S. C., then a flourishing town. Pastor Bolzius 
administered the Lord s Supper to them and he and 
his colleague gave probably the impulse to the forma 
tion of a congregation, although with some, their love 
for the Word and the Holy Sacraments was so great 
that they concluded to remove to Ebenezer as soon 
as possible. They were without a regular pastor un 
til 1755, when the Rev. Joh. G. Friederichs was for 
some years in charge, laying the corner-stone of a 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 203 

church in 1759. He withdrew shortly after this time 
and the church was not built till 1763. 

The earliest settlement of Germans in that colony 
falls in the reign of Queen Anne. They occupied 
various districts in the interior, at the forks of the 
Saluda and Broad rivers, on the banks of the Con- 
garee and Wateree and along the Savannah, and re 
ceived large grants of land from the Queen for church 
and school purposes. Of the Dutch Lutherans on 
James Island mention has already been made. About 
1735, colonies of Germans and Swiss settled in 
Orangeburg, and organized a Lutheran congregation, 
the first one in the two Carolinas. With fresh acces 
sions in 1737 came also a pastor, Joh. Ulrich Giesen- 
danner, a native of Switzerland, who had presumably 
been ordained in that country, but was engaged for a 
time as teacher of the Halle Orphanage. He was the 
first Lutheran minister in the Carolinas and served 
this congregation for a period of ten years, laboring 
amid great difficulties. A house of worship, built of 
wood and clay, was erected some time before 1743. 
Immigration from Germany continued and the entire 
district was colonized almost exclusively by Germans 
and Swiss. 

Another colony settled, in 1737, in a district form 
erly called Saxe-Gotha, now Lexington county, about 
one hundred miles form Charleston. Its numbers 
were increased by a large influx of their countrymen 
especially in the years 1744 and 1750. A Reformed 
preacher had the spiritual oversight of them for some 
time, but Lutheran settlers, like others in different 
parts of the same colony, made application to their 


The Lutherans in America. 

brethren at Ebenezer for Lutheran ministrations and 
for a Lutheran shepherd. The best these could do 

for them was to send them books for devotional pur 
poses and for the instruction of the young. Still 
another settlement of German Lutherans was founded 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 205 

in Abbeville County, S. C., about 1763 and 1764. In 
some of these districts the Lutherans erected the first 

In 1710 two ship-loads of Palatines, numbering alto 
gether six hundred and fifty souls, were colonized by 
the beneficent Queen Anne in North Carolina, at the 
confluence of the Neuse and Trent, where in conjunc 
tion with a considerable body of Swiss they formed a 
settlement which was called New Berne. A year later 
a terrible Indian massacre, instigated by some white 
wretches, almost exterminated the colony and applied 
the torch to their humble dwellings. Such as re 
mained suffered, like their countrymen in New York, 
greater outrages from the white savages than they 
endured after this time from the Red men. They 
were for the most part of the Lutheran faith, but they 
had no pastoral servcies and no house of worship, 
and appear to have been gradually absorbed by the 
Episcopal denomination, which was the religion estab 
lished by law in the Carolinas. 

Some German Protestant families, aggregating fifty 
in number, settled in 1714 along the Rappahannock 
river, in what is now Madison County, Va. They 
were fugitives from the New Berne settlement where 
the Indians had spread terror and desolation. 
Twenty families were added to them in 1717. The 
latter came from the neighborhood of Alsace and the 
Palatinate, fleeing from the extreme distress which had 
overtaken those fair countries. The Rev. John Cas 
par Stoever found there, in 1733, about three hundred 
people with an organized congregation, the Hebron 
Church, of which he reports himself the first pastor, 

206 The Lutherans in America. 

and says that for sixteen years it had been without a 
pastor and without the ordinances of public worship. 

The seeds o f Lutheranism, it seems, were destined to 
be scattered, even in the earliest period of American 
history over every portion of the country a proph 
ecy and a pledge that the Lutheran Church was ulti 
mately to reap a harvest here co-extensive with the 
length and breadth of this vast domain. On the wild 
and forbidding coast of Maine a few German emi 
grants were located in 1739. An accession of forty 
families from Brunswick and Saxony was welcomed 
by them in 1740. They entered the harbor of Broad 
Bay and effected a settlement where the present town 
of Waldoboro stands. They had been tempted away 
from their homes by the siren allurements which cun 
ning speculators offered them in the form of free 
homes, fertile acres, salubrious climate, governmental 
protection and provision for the support of their re 
ligion promises which were kept to the ear but 
broken to the heart. They found a sterile soil, an 
unbroken forest, savage beasts and more savage men. 
They suffered incredible hardships and almost per 
ished of starvation. The Indians fell upon them in 
1746, reduced their rude but peaceful habitations to 
ashes, murdered many of the settlers in cold blood, 
carried the remainder into captivity and turned the 
whole region into a dreary waste. 

Strange to tell, a few years later the flattering rep 
resentations of General Waldo succeeded in drawing 
to this same inhospitable region another body of Ger 
mans, as if "the soil that had drunk in the blood of 
their martyred brethren, was to them consecrated 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans. 207 

ground." Some twenty families landed on the bleak 
coast of Maine late in November, 1751, and public 
and private charity had to be invoked to provide for 
their necessities through a New England winter. 
With the opening of spring they journeyed inland 
and joined the remnant of their brethren who, after 
the massacre, had returned to their old possessions at 
Broad Bay. Moved by the magnificent offers and 
promises of the "hereditary Lord of Broad Bay," sixty 
more families soon followed, and it is claimed by the 
historians of Maine that altogether as many as fifteen 
hundred Germans emigrated from time to time and 
settled on the patent of this self-styled "hereditary 
lord." They were doomed for the most part to a 
miserable fate. The promises of their so-called pa 
tron were left wholly unfulfilled. Numbers arriving 
in the fall of the year, "they dragged out a winter of 
almost inconceivable suffering. Many froze to death, 
many perished with hunger or diseases induced by 
their privations." 

Instead of large tracts being assigned to them sev 
erally on the coast, they were taken into the heart of 
the wilderness, they were left defenceless against 
the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the Indian. 
They came into extreme destitution. It is said of 
one family that they subsisted a whole winter on frost- 
fish, with only four quarts of meal, " and many a wo 
man did a hard day s work at planting or hoeing for 
a quart of butter-milk." At last, when under dread 
ful hardships they had cleared the forest, when they 
had brought the land under cultivation, when they had 
erected comfortable shelter for their families, and 

2o8 The Lutherans in America. 

their improvements had made the property valuable,, 
these pious, unsuspecting Lutherans discovered that 
the title to their lands was not valid, and thus what 
the Indians had spared was to be taken from them by 
their Christian friends. In this dilemma a number of 
them repurchased their lands, receiving other deeds, 
only to be harassed again by the harpies of the law 
and the greed of inhuman peculators, contrary to 
every principle of justice and good faith, with no rem 
edy for their grievances and without the least remun 
eration or indemnity for their losses. 

Although some of the colony were adherents of the 


Reformed worship, and some were Moravians, they 
united with the Lutherans, as soon as they had erected 
huts for themselves, in building a humble church in a 
central position. Though without an ordained pas 
tor, they assembled every Lord s Day for public wor 
ship. One of their principal men, John Ulmer, took 
the lead, acted as their minister and really received 
pay as such from the patron of the colony. 

The Earliest Lutherans in America The Germans, 209 

In the first quarter of the eighteenth century Ger 
man and Dutch Lutherans were found in New Jersey. 
Congregations were organized at Hackensack, where 
Dutch Lutherans had settled somewhere about 1680 
or 1690, and in Bergen, Hunterdon and Salem Coun 
ties, where also the Dutch and German Lutherans 
were combined. 

These churches were for the most part organized by 
Falckner, for some time the only Lutheran minister 
in New York and New Jersey. He labored some 
twenty years in this section, diligently hunting up the 
settlements of Lutherans and faithfully ministerino- to 


them. He was succeeded by Rev. Berkenmeier, who 
from i 725 to 1732 served all the congregations in that 
region, bringing some of them to marked prosperity. 
He in turn was followed by Knoll, Wolf and the ever 
faithful pastors of the Swedish churches on the Dela 
ware, who though living a hundred miles remote, and 
overburdened with the cares of their own churches, 
kept a watchful eye on the German and Dutch con 
gregations in both these provinces, and again and 
again are seen kindly ministering, in whatever lang 
uage was required, to these brethren in the faith. 

No traces have been found of a Lutheran settle 
ment in Maryland during this period, but a recently 
discovered letter of Lord Baltimore, written to his 
agent in 1732, offers in his free colony an asylum to 
the Palatines and Salzburgers. The reasons for de 
clining this invitation are unknown. 



THE Apostle Peter addressed his first epistle "to 
the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion 
in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythi- 
nia," (Rev. Vers.) We can have no better definition 
for the Lutherans who during the first half of the eigh 
teenth century were scattered throughout the "divers 
provinces and regions" of the New World, all the 
way from Maine to Georgia. The Germans especially 
had become numerous. The Palatines had multiplied 
rapidly both by natural increase and by large rein 
forcements from the father-land, and they had become 
dispersed over nearly all the colonies. The German 
Lutherans, who kept pouring into Philadelphia by 
thousands upon thousands, were scattered far into the 
interior, having strong and flourishing communities in 

o > o 

Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster and York Counties. 
Their entire number throughout the country at the 
middle of the century fell probably but little short of 
100,000. The great majority of these lived in Penn 
sylvania, where they were recognized as a large and 
notable element of society. In other colonies likewise 
they made their presence felt, and both by their thrifty 
ways, their pure morality and their ardent piety at 
tracted the admiration of their neighbors. Dr. Dor 
chester says: "The German emigration was not only 
extensive but very pure, and almost wholly Protestant, 
with a high standard of morality and distinguished for 

The Church of tJie Dispersion. 2 1 1 

Christian virtues." They consisted, however, for the 
most part, not of the great ones of the world. 

As among the early Christians " not many wise men 
after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble," 
were among them. They sought in this land refuge 
from the political and ecclesiastical oppressions which 
had kept them in poverty and misery. It was largely 
the extremity of their distress, the desperation of 
souls whom religious persecution and the ravages of 
war had stripped of their earthly all, that drove them 
to these hospitable shores. Their coming was em 
phatically a struggle for existence. And existence is 
about all that many could boast of for the first gene 
ration of their settlement here, numbers of them be 
ing content with the servitude of years for their pas 
sage which put the sea between them and their op 

There were indeed among them persons from the 
higher classes, men of influence, of culture and of 
means, who rendered to their brethren in the faith 
great services both for their temporal and spiritual 
welfare. In the case of not a few, industry and fru 
gality gradually brought prosperity and wealth, but 
the masses of them were not landed proprietors or 
wealthy merchants. On their arrival they found 
themselves in an almost unexplored wilderness, in a 
state of absolute destitution, and a long period must, 
in the nature of things, elapse before their laborious 
toil would yield them more than the necessities of a 
livelihood. Besides the ordinary trials in a wild dis 
trict which they were the first to settle and subdue, 
they were subjected to unrighteous maltreatment by 

212 The Lutherans in America. 

neighbors and officials into whose clutches they had 
fallen; the tenure to their lands, which their labor 
and indescribable hardships had cleared and brought 
under cultivation, was in a number of cases pro 
nounced invalid. Princely domains allotted to them 
by royal munificence were in turn wrested from them 
after their improvements had made them valuable. 
The emigrant runner and the real estate shark, then, 
as now, seem to have formed an infernal partnership, 
by which they first lured these people into the desert, 
and then, after by their pains it had been made to 
blossom as the rose, they dispossessed them of their 
homes and despoiled them of their property. One 
shrinks from portraying the cruelties, the wrongs, the 
robberies, the harrowing sorrows which were endured 
by those in whom the doctrines and treasures of our 
church were first translated into this country. 

Although these trials were such as most fully tested 
her vitality, yet to look for a vigorous upbuilding of 
the Church under such circumstances would be, to say 
the least, to expect moral miracles. Such miracles 
are indeed not unknown, and the depth of her poverty 
has more than once coincided with the period of the 
Church s bloom. Yet it is unwarrantable to cite here 
the rapid development of primitive Christianity ; for 
then the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit supplied those 
resources which are indispensable to the maintenance 
of religious ordinances and institutions. A cer 
tain proportion of this world s goods is ordinarily 
necessary for the supply of an adequate ministry, for 
the provision of places of public worship, and for the 
education of youth. Inevitably therefore the estab- 

The Church of the Dispersion, 213 

lishment and growth of the Church was sadly retarded 
by the necessitous circumstances and miserable con 
dition of those Lutherans who settled the primeval 
forests of America. Of material there was no lack. 
There never has been. Fields white to the harvest 
are ever calling for Lutheran reapers. The very 
abundance of the material staggered and overwhelmed 
the heroic men who sought to rear out of it a 
Christian church. With all their zeal for their spir 
itual mother and their love and sympathy for her peo 
ple, they seem to have deplored and deprecated the 
continuous streams pouring in, "because they were 
calculated by their very dependence and helplessness 
to divide the attentions of the pastors, already over 
burdened with labors, and to cramp the energies of 
congregations already established." 

A few of the colonies, like the Swedes and Salzburg- 
ers, had brought pastors with them, and they organ 
ized flourishing congregations immediately upon their 
arrival, and wherever there were Lutheran congrega 
tions served by Lutheran pastors, a church-building 
and a school-house would soon rise out of the earth. 
On the shores of the Delaware and in the savannas of 
Georgia the silence of ages was broken by the songs 
of Zion, and the joy and prosperity which marked 
those godly communities show what might have been, 
had all the Lutheran settlements been supplied from 
the very first with earnest and faithful ministers. 
Alas! what might have been in every period of our 
church in this country, had the supply of the minis 
try been at all times equal to the demand, had the 
number of workmen been commensurate with the 

214 The Lutherans in America. 

work? Here has been the fatal drawback to the 
growth of the American Lutheran Church. This has 
been her vital hurt, her festering sore. From the 
time, two centuries ago, that her wandering fugitives 
were scattered over the bleak mountains and trackless 
forests of this wide new world, down to the closing 
decade of the nineteenth century, there has never 
been a period in the Lutheran Church which did not 
reveal vast numbers of her neglected children over 
whom the heart must sigh as over lost sheep that 
have no shepherd. The Church s wants appear always 
to be multiplying faster than the means of supplying 
them, the laity increasing in more rapid proportions 
than the ministry. At the close ot the year 1888 sta 
tistics show that the average yearly gain of new 
churches during the last four years is four hundred 
and sixteen- that of ministers only one hundred and 

The temporal condition of these early Lutherans was 
then but equalled by their melancholy spiritual desti 
tution. The great body had come over the water 
without any religious instructors, without any organ 
ization or formal bond between them, and without any 
pecuniary means with which either to erect houses of 
worship or to employ ministers had it been possible 
to procure any of their language. There was no mis 
sion board to care for them. There was no charita 
ble organization in the fatherland to interest the pub 
lic in "their behalf. They had come, too, from the 
numerous different principalities and governments of 
Germany, in one of the most gloomy periods of its 
history, and they were therefore without any bond of 

The Church of the Dispersion. 215 

national sympathy or co-operation, but rather alien 
ated from each other and divided by traditional ani 
mosities and antipathies, while not a single govern 
ment in Germany is known to have given either aid, 
comfort or protection to a solitary company of its 
suffering emigrants. 

Sweden, with the hearty encouragement of its sov 
ereign, forwarded generous assistance to the Lutheran 
congregations of its American colonists on the Dela 
ware, and supplied them with a continuous succession 
of able pastors, who brought their churches to a high 
degree of prosperity. The Dutch, the English and 
the Scotch extended a large measure of support to 
the missionaries and congregations of their respective 
churches in the New World. But the thousands of 
Germans in Pennsylvania and the adjacent provinces 
had not a single state government, nor a single church 
organization to look after their spiritual welfare, and, 
excepting the active Court-chaplain Ziegenhagen in 
London, and the noble Francke at Halle, and a few 
more of their Pietist brethren, there seems to have 
prevailed universal and absolute indifference among 
the civil and ecclesiastical authorities of Germany 
toward the spiritual welfare of their brethren who had 
emigrated to America. 

There were laboring among the dispersed Luther 
ans of this country, about the year 1730, eight regular 
ministers. Two of these cared for the flock at Eben- 
ezer. Two Swedish pastors ministered to their coun 
trymen in the little nook around Philadelphia, now 
embraced partly in the State of Delaware, partly in 
Pennsylvania. In the province of New York was 

The Church of the Dispersion. 2 1 7 

stationed since 1725 Rev. William Christopher Berk- 
enmeier, serving congregations at New York, Albany, 
Athens, Newberg (Quassaik), and West Camp, besides 
three in New Jersey, preaching in Dutch, German and 
English as circumstances required. The congregation 
in New York was large and prosperous. Although 
thousands of Lutherans were settled along the Hud 
son and the Mohawk, and in other parts of the colony 
and of New Jersey, there was no other regularly or 
dained minister in all that district. Rev. John Cas 
par Stoever was with the little colony on the Rappa- 
hannock, and another Stoever, a relative of the above, 
bearing exactly the same name, who came to this 
country in 1728, was residing at New Holland, Lan 
caster County, Pa., having for a brief time served the 
congregations at Philadelphia, Providence and New 
Hanover. Rev. J. U. Giesendanner was the spiritual 
shepherd of one of the South Carolina communities. 
Between these few laborers intervened distances ex 
tending hundreds of miles, with no roads connecting 
the different localities, with no possible means of 
travel save on horseback, with no protection against 
the wild beasts that prowled through the forests and 
no security against the savage who was ever lying in 
ambush for the white intruder into his hunting- 
grounds. The large province of Pennsylvania, with a 
Lutheran population of sixty thousand, had in all its 
area one solitary German pastor. 

Long before this period the Puritans of New Eng 
land had an average of more than two ministers to a 
congregation, and all of them men of education, for 
the most part voluntary exiles from England where 


The Lutherans in America. 

they suffered for their convictions. So far as the care 
of their own laborious parishes and their knowl 
edge of the language 
permitted, the Swed 
ish pastors ministered 
to the little German 
congregation in Phila 
delphia and dispens 
ed the gospel occa 
sionally to the numer 
ous surrounding settle- 
m e n t s, preaching i n 
groves and barns, and 
founding churches at 
Lancaster and German- 
town (1730) and at 
York (1733). From 
the beginning the most 
cordial relations ob 
tained between the 
Swedes and the Ger 
mans. The Salzburg 
pastors extended their 
ministrations to some 
of the struggling com 
munities in South Car 
olina. The Dutch con 
gregation in New York 
reached out a hand to their destitute German breth 
ren. As far as in them lay, and with as close sympa 
thy as the state o f the country permitted, there was co 
operation between these sporadic Lutheran beginnings. 


The Church of the Dispersion. 219 

With almost superhuman labors and hardships minis 
ters traveled from one field to another, most of them 
able to preach in Dutch, German, Swedish and Eng 
lish. But it was like throwing an occasional crumb to 
souls at the point of starvation. Irregular services 
at long intervals are little better than none. The 
ministrations are too limited and too hasty to leave 
permanent impressions. The life of a Christian so 
ciety cannot be maintained by a casual religious serv 
ice. No church can be established without constant 
pastoral oversight. No flock can be folded unless it 
be regularly fed and watched and tended. 

It suggests a miracle when we read of one congre 
gation that survived although the Lord s Supper had 
not been administered in it for eight years. What 
progress was possible in a case like that of Ncwberg 
on the Hudson, whose contract with the pastor stipu 
lates : "We do call, constitute and receive Mr. Wm. 
Christopher Berkenmeier, for our lawful teacher of the 
parish of Quassaic, to minister unto us twice a year, as 
well in the preachingof the Holy Gospel purely accord 
ing to the Holy Scriptures and the Symbolical Books 
of our Lutheran Church, as in administering the Holy 
Sacraments according to Christ s institution, and 
practicing the usual ceremonies of the fellow-believers 
of the unalterable Confession of Augsburg." The 
purest doctrine and the most complete sacramental 
service twice a year would hardly be adequate for the 
building up of a live and vigorous Christian congre 
gation. Effective organization under such circum 
stances was impossible. With others the situation 
was still more forlorn. They did not for years have 

220 The Lutherans in America. 

a single service. The children grew up in ignorance, 
except where parents of extraordinary piety would 
instruct them in the way of salvation. Whole families 
in great numbers were left without baptism or relig 
ious teaching. Many moved to and fro in the hope 
of having the advantages of churches and schools. 

Besides this absolute lack of Christian institutions 
and schools, every outward circumstance and influ 
ence, as is the case in frontier life to-day, was unfa 
vorable to morality and religion. Where such bul 
warks as the church and school are wanting, the forces 
of evil are sure to become bold and aggressive, and 
irreligion and immorality overgrow the neglected and 
uncultivated soil. Because of abounding iniquity the 
love of many waxed cold. Childhood s instructions 
were forgotten, the hold of ancestral traditions and 
influences was weakened, faith for the want of nourish 
ment languished, and many of the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, wandering and forlorn, fell a prey to 
devouring worldliness and ungodliness. Among the 
Palatines in particular there was a sad declension in 
spiritual life, and numbers became indifferent to relig 
ious principles. In the absence of the Church and 
the Gospel the knowledge of God faded from their 

On others the severe trials to which they were ex 
posed and the sorely felt spiritual privations which 
they endured, wrought out a very different result. 
Some had been so deeply rooted and grounded in the 
doctrines and experience of the Gospel, that the very 
extremity of their distress only revealed to them the 
preciousness of their faith and begot in them the pur- 

The Church of the Dispersion. 221 

pose of transmitting it uncorrupted to their children. 
They had not suffered in their native land the loss of 
all things for their holy religion, now to despise its 
precepts or its principles in the land of their exile. 
The consciousness of their salvation in Christ, which 
sustained them under the horrors of persecution, 
nerved and cheered them in their poverty and strug 
gles where no one molested them for conscience sake. 

They were mighty in the Scriptures. They had a 
daily preacher in the large quarto of Arndt s "True 
Christianity." They could enliven their daily toil 
with the songs of salvation. They turned their rude 
homes into a joyful Bethel. 

A people grounded like the Salzburgers in the faith 
of the Gospel, who, amid the most cruel outrages of 
persecution, were ever occupied with thanksgiving, 
praises and prayer; whose glowing earnestness and 
spiritual joy so melted the heart of Germany that 
their passage through the country was welcomed as 
the medium for the regeneration of its formalistic 
and dead churches; who, as they passed down the 
Rhine "between the castled crags, the vineyards and 
the white-walled towns that adorn its banks, con 
versed amid hymns and psalms, of justification," were 
not in serious danger now of departing from the liv 
ing God. 

The fire upon the altar was kept burning so 
brightly, and it received such nourishment from the 
study of God s Word and the use of devotional manu 
als at the fireside, and from the public services con 
ducted by the laity in many localities, that the cold 
winds of adversity only heightened and strengthened 

222 The Lutherans in America. 

the flames. The dreary and cheerless forests of 
Pennsylvania were lighted up and warmed by the 
sunbeams of the Gospel and the fervor of Lutheran 

Such spiritural nutriment as they enjoyed but deep 
ened the craving for a fuller supply. The imper 
fect administration of divine service, the very oc 
casional delivery of a sermon by a preacher from a 
remote locality, by one who was perhaps an utter 
stranger to them and to the very Gospel he pro 
claimed, kindled in them an ardent craving for the 
stated enjoyment of the sanctuary, the full fellow 
ship of their church, and the regular dispensation 
of God s pure Word and the holy sacraments by resi 
dent pastors. And they knew whence to look for 
help. In their distress they called upon the Lord. 
And they persisted in their prayers with a confidence 
that is sure of being ultimately heard. 

But the preachers of the Word, though receiving 
their commission from Heaven, never fall from the 
skies. To organize congregations, build churches and 
maintain Christian schools, ministers are indispensa 
ble. To raise up ministers here in advance of Semi 
naries or Professors for their training, and where the 
people were absolutely without means either to found 
the Seminaries or maintain their instructors, was sim 
ply impossible. 

In the meanwhile, with nothing in the nature of 
pastoral care, with no one to direct or defend them, 
the very fervor of their piety exposed these colonial 
Lutherans to the greatest spiritual danger. Their 
eager hunger for the Word prompted them to run for 

The Church of the Dispersion. 223 

it where it had been poisoned by heresy and fanat 
icism, or to accept it from polluted hands. "Where 
soever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered 
together." Sectists and impostors know their prey, 
and they know, too, their opportunity. Given, a 
body of earnest Christian people, disorganized, scat 
tered over vast reaches of country, famishing for the 
bread of life and weary with toil and privation, and 
the cunning of the fox and the rapacity of the wolf 
offer but a feeble comparison for the craft and avidity 
with which these pounce upon their victims. One of 
the strongest features which marked the early colo 
nial history of America was that the land was swarm 
ing with "innumerable sects." "There is not a sect 
in the world which is not fostered here," wrote a faith 
ful observer. This was particularly true of Pennsyl 
vania, which was not only founded by a fanatic, but 
which was avowedly and consistently established as a 
home for the unconditioned and illimitable freedom 
of all sects, opinions and parties a liberty which in 
our day is celebrated as the ideal state of society, but 
for which the people of that day, after enduring for 
ages the restraints of force and authority, were as lit 
tle prepared as was the French nation in 1789 for the 
free institutions of a Republic. While, therefore, it 
is the fashion to laud the principles of tolerance 
which prevailed throughout the province of the 
famous Quaker, it serves on the other hand as a dark 
background, putting in strong relief the terrible havoc 
produced in the Lutheran and other churches by the 
rao-e of rampant and reckless fanaticism. Teaching 
things which they ought not, perverting the way of 

224 The Lutherans in America. 

life, rooting up the saving doctrines of grace, clothing 
error in the garb of sanctimoniousness so as to 
seduce the simple-minded they not only "sub 
verted whole houses," but large communities, mislead 
ing the unwary, confounding the unstable, and wrest 
ing the Scriptures to the destruction of many souls. 

What the wild beast of the field did not devour 
was wasted by the boar out of the wood. The 
absence of true pastors, faithful shepherds who give 
their life for the flock, furnished the opportunity for 
the thief and the robber, who for filthy lucre s sake 
usurp the sacred office. With the melancholy and 
protracted dearth of men properly fitted for the min 
istry and regularly ordained, we need not wonder 
that the land was overrun with clerical vagabonds, 
irresponsible and wretched pretenders, crafty impos 
tors, ignorant schoolmasters, persons who for scandal 
ous crimes had been deposed from the office in Eu 
rope, and others, who, without any concern for the 
salvation of souls, intruded themselves into this call 
ing from the vilest motives, creating disturbance and 
confusion among the simple-minded and confiding 
people, and spreading havoc and desolation every 
where. Instead of gathering together and strength 
ening what they found, they only tore asunder and 
scattered such organizations as had been formed, and 
by their scandalous lives they brought such reproach 
upon the Lutheran name as to delay indefinitely, in 
many communities the practicability of establishing 
the Church. I n some cases, as the last of a long series 
of calamities, these wily and wicked impostors entered 

The Church of the Dispersion. 225 

in where disorder and confusion already prevailed, 
and so made that disorder and confusion absolute. 

One of the earliest documents on Lutheran history 
in this country contains the following melancholy 
passage : " From the very beginning of this century 
(the eighteenth), and even until the present day, it 
has been the misfortune of Pennsylvania that many 
men who had never studied at all, or who had never 
had any thorough instruction in Christianity and 
science, or who, even having once occupied the pas 
toral office in Germany, were deposed and thrust out 
for their bad conduct, resorted to that fine country, and 
by flattering speeches and insinuating ways imposed 
upon private persons and even whole congregations, 
and so stole into the office of pastor. It is easy to 
see what a miserable service must be rendered to 
souls by men who seek only their own profit, and who, 
as soon as greater gains invite them elsewhere, at 
once forsake the congregation they had professed to 
serve. Such hirelings have spread great disorder," 
etc. (Halle Reports). And another historian, Rev. 
C. W. Schaeffer, D.D., LL.D., observes: -The Luth 
eran faith was exposed to reproach by the infamy of 
those who had forced themselves uncalled and un 
qualified into the pastoral office; and reflecting 
minds and believing hearts both saw and felt that 
what ought to be done must be done quickly." 

In the depth of their distress they not only made 
supplication to the Lord, but a piercing cry for help 
went across the waters. They pleaded most earnestly 
that faithful and suitable pastors and teachers for 
themselves and their children might be sent over, and 

The Church of the Dispersion. 227 

in most moving terms laid before their friends in the 
fatherland the. lamentable spiritual condition of the 
people in this country. They sighed for deliverance 
from the wretched impostors who were laying waste 
the congregations, from the scheming fanatics who 
were alluring the unwary and the unstable into the 
pitfalls of error, and from the strife and distraction 
which are so natural and so destructive to a people 
without leaders and without proper organization. 
Letters of this kind were despatched, from time to 
time, by different parties to Holland, to Hamburg and 
elsewhere. Dr. Ziegenhagen, writing in 1734, concern 
ing the Lutherans in America, says; "It is, alas! too 
true that the Evangelical churches scattered here and 
there in America, especially in Virginia, Philadelphia, 
Pennsylvania, etc., (American Geography was then in 
its infancy), are in a very deplorable conditition, par 
ticularly in regard to the Word of God and the Holy 
Sacraments, and such appointments as are necessary 
for proper instruction in the Divine Word and the 
right administration of the Sacraments. I have re 
ceived many mournful communications from several 
of these churches, in which they make the most touch 
ing appeals for Bibles, Prayer-books, Catechisms, Pas 
tors and other tokens of our Christian sympathy. 
They even assert that in consequence of the great lack 
of the means of grace there is danger that they and 
their children may relapse into heathenism. I am 
greatly distressed for the reason that I hardly know 
what to do by way of relief." 

Aye, there was the rub ! what to do by way of relief. 
Here was required wisdom, a knowledge of men, and 

22 8 The Lutherans in America. 

a knowledge of the real condition of America. Organ 
ization was needed, system, authority. Who was to 
be sent? and who could say to this one, "go, and he 
goeth, and to another come, and he cometh ? " There 
were imploring letters, urgent appeals, voluminous cor 
respondence which required months to pass over the 
sea and then was often overshadowed by distrust and 
personal ignorance between the correspondents but 
how under such circumstances could deliverance be 
sent to the children of Israel, groaning in Egyptian 
darkness if not in Egyptian bondage? Thus, only to 
add another chapter to the story of their distress, it 
need not be wondered at that once and again men 
were sent over who were either wholly unadapted to 
the peculiar needs of these churches, or who, so far 
from building up the feeble congregations, did much 
to destroy and exterminate them to extinguish what 
was ready to die. 

An example of the former class was the Rev. Mich 
ael Christian Knoll, whom the Lutheran ministers of 
London ordained as a successor to Rev. Berkenmeier 
in the churches at New York and Hackensack, a man 
who neither personally nor as preacher could com 
mand respect, and under whose ministry the congre 
gations gradually dwindled away. A sorry example 
of the latter class was Magister August Wolf, who 
was sent by the Ministerium of Hamburg to the Rari- 
tan churches in New Jersey. A regular blank call for 
a pastor was made out by these congregations, and, 
along with money for his passage, forwarded through 
the kind offices of Berkenmeier, leaving the selection 
of a " German Studiosus theologiae " to this body. 

The Church of the Dispersion. 229 

"A more unsuitable individual could not have been 
palmed off upon the Raritan congregations. Of his 
orthodoxy there was no doubt. He had not even the 
faintest semblance of Halle Pietism, so much abhorred 
by the adherents of the orthodox party, to which in 
these times the Hamburg ministry, and on this side of 
the Atlantic William Christopher Berkenmeier and 
Michael Christopher Knoll belonged." He is credi 
ted with fine classical and literary attainments. His 
congregations received him with joy and the most 
kindly prepossession, only to experience more keenly 
the bitterness of disappointment and the ruination of 
the church. Capricious, conceited, arbitrary and un 
principled, he was positively without any gifts or char 
acter for the ministerial office. The first shock his 
conduct gave the people was the close reading of his 
sermon from manuscript, a practice of which they had 
possibly never heard, but they contrived to bear with 
this because he claimed to have lost his memory dur 
ing the voyage across the ocean, although he at the 
same time gave them to understand that he considered 
read sermons good enough for such rustics. An inju 
dicious marriage soon brought him into discredit, and 
the brutal maltreatment of his wife, a divorce from her 
by the civil courts, and other scandalous procedures 
made his further pastoral ministrations insufferable. 
But he had recourse to the civil magistrate, and for 
ten or more years kept harrowing these people before 
the courts, and compelling them to pay him the salary 
for which they had contracted to pay him, in fact, for 
the misery which he had brought upon them and for 
the approximate annihilation of the congregations. 


The Lutherans in America. 

The result of this ministerial adventure is set down 
as follows : The sacred office was brought into re 
proach, the Sacraments were no longer observed, there 
was no instruction of youth, no pastoral care for the 
sick, the congregations were dispersed, their members 
reduced to a few families, and their general devasta 
tion was so noised abroad over the land that it be 
came a by-word and a proverb, even a street song, in 
every German community. 

Worse and worse, more and more wretched grows 
the condition of the Lu- 
t h e r a n C h u r c h if a 
church it may be called 
at this time. Lutherans 
were here a multitude 
o f them b u t, properly 
speaking, this great and 
dispersed mass did not 
constitute a Lutheran 
Church. There was no 
organism. The church 
was void and without 


form, and darkness brood 
ed over the chaotic elements ; and the darkness was 
steadily deepening, and to many it was verging on 
despair. Deliverance seemed impossible. A prey to 
fanatics, a prey to false brethren, a prey to strife and 
distraction among themselves, these Lutheran sheep, 
widely scattered and wofully straitened, were "helpless 
and sick and ready to die." Destitute of all spiritual 
care and protection, with no bond of union between 
them for mutual strength and support, and with no- 

The Church of the Dispersion. 231 

ecclesiastical connection with the fatherland to yield 
them relief, the wild beasts that prowled round their 
dwellings and the savage Indians ever lurking in am 
bush to butcher the white intruder, were but the 
symbolic figures of a more deadly foe the arch- 
adversary who compasses the camp of the saints, and 
whose prey is the Church of the living God. Surely, 
arguing from human premises, men must have con 
cluded that the Lutheran Church could have no field, 
no mission, no history in America. 

But is it not always the darkest hour before the 
dawn? Is not the very brooding of the darkness over 
the face of the deep the pledge of a coming world ? 
Does not the night always precede the day? Has any 
good cause ever been founded except through great 
tribulations? Is not the cross the emblem of Christ s 
Church, and have the disciples such an advantage 
over the Master that they can attain the crown with 
out the endurance of suffering and shame? Has 
God ever granted victory to his people before he has 
made them submit to the fiery trial of their faith and 
the testing of their character by placing them for a 
season "in heaviness through manitold temptations?" 
Has our Lord s fasting for forty days and forty nights 
no significance or suggestion for his Church? Must 
the forty years wandering through the desert by 
God s chosen race be divested of its lesson for all 
who walk by faith, though we are so clearly told that 
all these things happened unto them for types, and 
that "they are written for our admonition?" "Be 
loved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial 
which is to try you, as though some strange thing hap- 

232 The Lutherans in America. 

pened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are par 
takers of Christ s sufferings." 

The God of Luther was still alive the Hearer of 
prayer was still on the eternal throne. His interposi 
tion was long delayed ; it always is, in our view. 
"Gottes Miihlen mahlen langsam." But his counsels 
were ripening. A great and glorious church was to 
overspread this land with the faith of the Reformer 
and the priceless and uncorrupted treasures of the 
Reformation, but her birth in the New World, like her 
birth in the old, must be amid pains and anguish and 
travail, through a long night of sorrow and gloom. 
The morning was sure to come. Beyond the dark 
ness faith descried the glimmer of a better day, A 
new epoch was at hand. 



THE faith of Luther animated many of his sorely- 
tried spiritual children in the New World. A 
faithful God, they felt assured, could not forsake 
them in their deep distress. And they waited patient 
ly for his salvation. Yet they must bestir themselves. 
Many who were pining for the ordinances and minis 
trations of their Church, and praying with many tears 
that God would awaken in the hearts of their Euro 
pean brethren an interest in their condition, felt moved 
also to leave nothing undone to bring their destitution 
before the eyes of those brethren. 

Their repeated letters, however urgent and affecting 
had proved unavailing. N o letter or number of letters 
could properly or adequately describe their spiritual 
misery. The results of their correspondence were 
totally unsatisfactory. Ministers who came over osten 
sibly in response to these piteous appeals, and who 
were welcomed as servants of God come to advance 
the interests of the Church, had turned out to be in 
reality its destroyers. 

Some of the people finally determined that a living 
delegation should personally represent to influential 
Lutheran divines in Europe the extremity of their needs, 
and by travelling about excite general sympathy in their 
behalf, solicit contributions towards the erection of 
church buildings and school-houses, and especially seek 
for a proper and competent man for the pastoral office 


234 The Lutherans in America. 

and teachers for the instruction of the young. This ac 
tion was taken in the year 1733 by the congregation of 
Philadelphia conjointly with that at New Providence 
and the one at New Hanover, or Falckner s Swamp ( 
situated respectively some twenty miles from Philadel 

The latter congregation was founded by Pastor 
Falckner in i 703. He was succeeded by Rev. Gerhard 
Henkel and after him the neighboring Swedish clergy 
occasionally preached there and rendered pastoral ser 
vices. At Philadelphia Pastor Fabricius while serving 
the Swedish Churches preached in the years 1688-1691 
also for the German Lutherans, who appear, however, 
at that day to have had neither church-building nor 
organization, and held their worship for a long time 
in the Swedish Church at an early hour. In 1734 
Lutherans and Reformed conjointly rented for /[ "a 
weatherboarded house " for the use of divine worship 
the first instance probably of a Union Church. The 
first trace of Lutheran services at New Providence 
(The Trappe) is in 1732, when a certain John 
Christian Schultz officiated there and at New Han 
over and Philadelphia. There is no proof that he was 
an ordained clergyman, yet he proceeded to grant 
ordination in 1733 to John Caspar Stoever, the cere 
mony being conducted in a barn which served for many 
years as a Bethel. The organization of a congregation 
with constitution and officers dates doubtless from the 
year 1733. 

These congregations, two of but recent organiza 
tion, and said to embrace each 500 families, more or 
less, "having joined together in the name of God and 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 235 

with prayer for his gracious help," felt constrained to 
commission two of their number, Daniel Weisiger and 
Johann Daniel Schoner, accompanied by the above 
named Schultz, to plead their cause with the 
Lutherans of Europe. 

The oral representations, which this deputation was 
to make abroad, were supported by an open letter in 
which it was shown that the condition of the people 
was in the highest degree deplorable, that they were 
"in a land full of sects and heresy, without ministers 
and teachers, schools, churches and books," and that 
their children and descendants were in danger of slid 
ing back into heathenism. It contained entreaties for 
help in the propagation of " the pure Evangelical 
doctrine, seeing that upon this depends the salvation 
of so many souls," and closed with the prayer that "in 
America also, by the preaching of the Word of God, 
the way of life may be made plain to those who con 
fess the Christian faith ; and also, by that Grace which 
extends towards all men, be opened up to the heathen 
tribes who occupy the land. May He the Good Shep 
herd, who is not willing that any should perish, 
graciously watch over his poor forsaken sheep whether 
among Christians or heathen,- and all for his love and 
mercy s sake. Hallelujah ! " 

The commissioners made their way first of all to 
Dr. Ziegenhagen, Court-preacher in London, who 
furnished them with letters of recommendation 
especially to Halle, that focus of spiritual influence, the 
fires of whose altar were just then rekindling and reani 
mating a formal Christianity, some 6000 of its 
preachers having already borne the flames of living 

236 The Lutherans in America. 

piety into as many congregations. The first to inaugu 
rate the work of heathen missions and the diffusion of 
the Scriptures, pietistic Halle was now destined to 
become the fountain of unspeakable blesssings to 
America, the agency for establishing over that new and 
vast domain what it had re-awakened in Germany, a 
church in which pure doctrine and holy living, ortho 
dox faith and evangelical piety should blend and har 
moniously reflect the glory of the Gospel. 

It was well, perchance, that the proper organization 
of the Lutheran Church in this country was deferred 
until its foundation could be laid by men who were 
reared in the school of Pietism, and who had become 
grounded in the true faith and at the same time imbued 
with its glowing zeal and its practical activity. For 
although Lutherans had been for a century found in 
considerable numbers, it cannot be said that outside 
of the Swedish Churches there had been up to this 
time any definite organism or any real progress. 

The representation of the condition of the Lutherans 
of America made a deep impression at Halle, where 
Dr. Gotthelf August Francke, "atypical representative 
of Pietism in its first and purer form," who in relig 
ious earnestness and practical talents was a worthy 
son of his renowned father, Augustus Herman Francke, 
now stood at the head of the university and its affili 
ated benevolent institutions. O f one mind with Ziegen- 
hagen, he was ready at once to co-operate in mea 
sures for the relief of their distressed brethren. His 
services to this end proved of inestimable advantage to 
the Lutheran Church in America. It was in accord 
ance with eternal fitness when, on the occasion of the 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 


first Jubilee of the Halle Institutions in 1748, Francke 
felt constrained to commemorate among other things 
the great blessings which proceeding from Halle 
had "so richly refreshed the Lutheran congregations 
in North America." "The Lutheran Church of the 
New World," says Dr. Mann, "owes its best support 
in external means and spiritual forces in the last cen 
tury, to the men of the Franckean Institutions, the 

(Dedicated October 6th, 1745.) 

Hallean Pietists. It was apparently a small force but 
its efficacy continues to this day." And Halle, after 
many years, saw the bread which it had so generously 
cast upon the American waters, floating back to its 
source, returning to revive and strengthen its institu 
tions in the time of their distress. During the devastat 
ing wars of Napoleon these institutions were almost 
wholly destroyed, and in response to the appeal of 
their directors the American churches which had 

238 The Lutherans in America. 

been founded by the Halle missionaries forwarded to 
them liberal pecuniary aid. 

While *Halle at once became and ever after re 
mained the center for affording succor to America, 
many people in all parts of the fatherland were deeply 
moved as they learned of the affliction of Joseph. A 
widespread sympathy was excited which took the form 
of generous contributions for the erection of church- 
buildings and schools and for the support of pastors, 
to which were added, of course, many Bibles and 
other devotional manuals. Encouraged by the ap 
probation and patronage of Halle, "they met with 
warm hearts and fervent prayers and material aid 

But above all things was this commission charged 
to procure a true and faithful pastor. This was the 
matter of greatest solicitude. This was the critical 
and pivotal feature of the situation. In gathering 
material supplies for the aid of congregations little 
discrimination is required, and funds may be col 
lected with the dispatch demanded by the urgency of 
those who are crying for aid, but when a personality 
is required, a leader, and a ruler, only one in a thous 
and may possess the requisite qualifications. Dr. 
Francke with the warmest sympathy for these destitute 
congregations in Pennsylvania, and prepared from love 
to God and his Word to do the utmost in his power, 
had likewise a clear, practical discernment of the pe 
culiar requirements of such a field, the appalling diffi 
culties by which it was beset and the great lack of 
persons whose training and individuality would com- 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 239 

mend them for the position. He exercised, therefore, 
the greatest caution. 

The Lutheran churches in Germany had at the time 
no dearth of ministers, some of whom it could have 
spared to the feeble flock this side the Atlantic. There 
were numerous candidates ready to receive appoint 
ments, and there were doubtless some whose studies 
had not been completed, who would gladly have 
accepted a commission to travel to America and 
try their gifts and their fortunes here. But there 
must be no experiments where Christ s cause is at 
stake. The policy of putting up with anything had 
been sufficiently tried. There must be no more dis 
appointments, no more mistakes, such as had already 
overwhelmed these struggling churches with disaster 
and brought dishonor on the Lutheran name. "We 
are willing," writes Francke, in 1734, "to co-operate 
according to our ability and with God s grace," but 
whatever is undertaken, he maintained, must be done 
intelligently and wisely, with mutual understanding 
and pledges, and upon a firm and sure foundation. 

A formal request was accordingly forwarded to 
the congregations to communicate the fullest inform 
ation on all particulars. Assurances must be given 
that the minister or ministers sent would be accorded 
becoming reverence and submission. Proper order 
must be observed in every particular. The clergy 
man suited for this work must be a man of ripe ex 
perience, of sound judgment, of executive capacity, 
"a man of solid commanding character, and one who 
could be depended on to do his utmost in labor and 
sacrifice for the welfare of the churches and the youth 

240 The Lutherans in America. 

committed to his charge." Such a person, again, 
must receive ordination in Germany and as a pre 
requisite according to Lutheran usage, a regular 
and formal call must be made out for him by the 
churches seeking- his services, a call accompanied by 
pledges not only of financial support distinctly speci 
fied, and to be paid in current funds and promptly, 
but also of that love and submission which are due 
to the sacred office. It was further required of these 
congregations "not to make any unreasonable de 
mands upon the pastors, or such as may be in con 
flict with the Word of God, or with the doctrine of the 
Evangelical Lutheran Church." 

All this involved a protracted correspondence, a 
correspondence which has been largely preserved in 
Hallische Nachrichten, and which is replete with affect 
ing interest in bringing out the enlightened and delib 
erative zeal of Ziegenhagen and Francke, and the 
earnest piety, the undaunted faith, the touching im 
portunity and the sturdy American good sense of 
these long-suffering people. Weisiger, "whose name 
deserves to be held in remembrance for his intelligent 
devotion and laborious enterprise in behalf of the 
church," had to return without a pastor, though not 
without hope, and his final appeal once more urged : 
"Send us pastors who will teach us and our children 
in the Word of God, who will administer the holy Sac 
raments in our congregations." 

Years of waiting had thus to be added to the long 
and gloomy years through which our Lutheran ances 
tors had already passed. But they were years of 
prayer and of hope, supplications going up unto God 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 241 

not only from the sorely-tried, languishing and shep- 
herdless flocks of America, but also from the warm, 
earnest and believing hearts of Germany, " that the 
Lord Himself may designate the right man, the man 
who confiding in the strength of the Almighty, has the 
courage and capacity to gather together the lost sheep 
of the scattered flock, and bring them back to the 
Great Shepherd." 

Arid He who sent Moses to his people groaning in 
Egypt, who sent out Paul far hence to the Gentiles 
sitting in darkness, who raised up Luther with the 
light of His Word for those who were watching for 
the dawn, now also, in answer to many prayers, brought 
forth a deliverer and an apostle for America, a man 
combining in himself to a marvellous extent the quali 
fications indispensable for the work to be accom 
plished, a man deeply penetrated by the Pietistic 
Spirit, and who as a manifest instrument of Provi 
dence was destined to build from the precious, but 
chaotic and scattered elements, the foundations of the 
Lutheran Church, in a new world. 

His name was Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg. He 
was born at Eimbeck, in Hanover, on the 6th day of 
September, 1711. According to good Lutheran cus 
tom he was baptized on the day of his birth, and was 
confirmed in his twelfth year. His early youth re 
vealed liberal endowments, thirst for knowledge, in 
dustrious and successful study, a predisposition to 
independence of thought, serious religious convictions, 
and a benevolent heart. Such was his fondness for 
learning, that while as a lad he was engaged in some 
ordinary vocation he clandestinely devoted every 

242 The Lutherans in America. 

spare moment to his books ; spent his evenings at 
study, exercised his voice, and attained such pro 
ficiency from private instruction, that when admitted 
to the highest classical school of the place, he took at 
once the front rank, and distinguished himself by his 
rapid progress in Latin, Greek and other branches. 
By means of beneficiary aid and by rendering personal 
services to one of the professors he was enabled to 
obtain a thorough education, entering the University 
of Gottingen in 1735. His moral fibre and the spirit 
uality of his character he showed at this stage by sur 
mounting the temptations and perils of university 
life, and by choosing for his companions fellow-stu 
dents of a positively religious turn. Through these 
he came for the first time into immediate contact with 
the Pietistic movement, experiencing great spiritual 
benefits from this association, and learning among 
other vital truths, that the baptism of the Holy Ghost 
is the indispensable prerequisite for a preacher of the 
Gospel. Upon his graduation he was happily ap 
pointed teacher in the Orphan House at Halle, and 
thus came directly under the influence of its earnest, 
spiritual and practical Christianity. His evangelical 
zeal, his aptness in teaching, and his missionary ardor 
pointed him out as a suitable man to labor among the 
heathen, and prompted the Halle leaders to send him 
out to India. 

But God was reserving him for another field, and 
circumstances accordingly arose which prevented the 
execution of this plan. Christopher Frederick Schwartz 
was chosen for the India Mission, while Muhlenberg 
was, in the course of a few years, to follow the star 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 243 

of empire westward. In the meanwhile he was ap 
pointed to the Pastorate of Gross Hennersdorf, in 
Saxony, a few miles south of Herrnhut, the head 
quarters of Moravianism. In the autumn of 1739 he 
was solemnly ordained a minister of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. His situation was not meant to be enchant 
ing, and occasions for stirring up his nest were not 
wanting. Finding himself one evening at Halle, the 
guest of Francke, the latter at supper brought to his 
notice the subject of the "Call to the dispersed Luth 
erans in Pennsylvania," and proposed to him "to make 
a trial of a few years." Without any hesitation and 
to the joy of the Francke household, Muhlenberg re 
plied, that if he could see in it the will of God he 
would go, and that he felt bound to go wherever 
Providence called him. Yielding to the first impulses 
of a heart loyal to Christ, the issue was at once de 
cided. The prospect of such an undertaking might 
have dismayed the most heroic spirit It could be 
easily foreseen that it was beset with innumerable ob 
stacles, hardships and perils, but so far from being 
appalled by these the devotion of an apostle exclaims : 
"None of these things move me, neither count I my 
life dear." And thus while feeling keenly the sepa 
ration from his native land and beloved friends, the 
love of Christ and his precious church prompted him 
to surrender cheerfully home, friends, country, associ 
ations, comforts, studies, everything dear to nature, for 
what was then materially and morally a howling wil 

That memorable scene at Francke s supper table 
transpired September 6, 1741. On December 9* 

244 The Lutherans in America. 

Muhlenberg, "under considerable emotion," preached 
his farewell sermon, and eight days later he took his 
departure, going out with Abraham s faith, and like 
him not really knowing whither he went. Having 
completed the necessary preparations for the long 
journey, he made his way to London. His stay in that 
city was for various reasons protracted for nine weeks* 
but this delay proved to be very fortunate. He de 
rived especially great spiritual benefit from his daily 
intercourse with Ziegenhagen, who received him with 
thanks and praises to God. 

It was the i3th of June 1742 that his vessel set sail 
from Gravesend. With a profound feeling of the 
responsibility he had assumed and of the difficulties 
he would have to encounter, and with serious mis 
givings about his own ability for the work, he 
combined a strong and heroic faith by which he 
always committed himself implicitly into the hands of 
the Lord. Knowing that besides the ordinary perils 
of the deep, the ship that was bearing him was both 
unseaworthy and overloaded, and that she would 
probably be attacked by pirates, he exclaimed on 
hearing a poor Salzburger mother singing " Ein 
feste Burg": "that is a better protection than the 
ten iron cannon with which the vessel is provided." 

The passage to Charleston, S. C. required no days 
and was one of " unusual peril and exhaustion." The 
prophet on board was, however, this time no Jonah 
fleeing from duty and exposing the ship to danger, 
but a most faithful servant of God cheerfully sacrific 
ing himself to the call of duty. He proved not a 
curse but a blessing to his companions. The ship be- 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues, 245 

came a church, his fellow-passengers, the crew and 
several negro slaves, a mission field for this ambassa 
dor of the Cross. Although suffering exceedingly from 
sea sickness he is seen daily instructing in intellectual 
and spiritual things the children on board. Sunday af 
ter Sunday he preaches, in the morning German to the 
few Salzburgers on board, in the afternoon with blun 
dering attempts at an English discourse, using Latin 
terms where his limited vocabulary failed him and 
having the captain put them into English. Everyone 
was taken under his pastoral supervision. To the 
negroes especially he gave the kindliest attention, 
endeavoring to plant in them the germs of religious 
knowledge. Excepting the few Salzburgers there 
was not one on board who could enter into his relig 
ious views and feelings or even afford him social 
companionship, yet he commanded by his Christian 
demeanor and official faithfulness the high personal 
esteem of the whole ship s company. 

Arriving at Charleston, September 23, 1742, Muh 
lenberg made his way to Ebenezer. This was in ac 
cordance with the wishes of Ziegenhagen, who hoped 
that a visit to these brethren would be serviceable 
to this pioneer for Pennsylvania, and that one of the 
pastors might accompany him to that province and 
assist him in the work of organizing the Lutheran 
Church there. 

Muhlenberg s brief sojourn among these brethren 
whose Halle training gave them the fullest sympathy 
with his views, brought him bodily and spiritual 
refreshment. He came here for the first time in con 
tact with a German-American congregation, freed from 

246 The Lutherans in America. 

the stifling pressure of state authority, and its success 
was most instructive and encouraging. But sweet as 
were the days of repose, the call of his Lord is to 
Pennsylvania and although it was late in the fall and 
an almost unbroken wilderness of 900 miles stretched 
between him and the goal of his journey, he must 
hasten onward. 

With a spirit of brotherly kindness and great self- 
denial, Bolzius having obtained the magnanimous con 
sent of his congregation accompanied him. But upon 
reaching Charleston, and finding themselves in great 
perplexity as to the time and manner of proceeding 
on their journey, Bolzius felt constrained to return to 
Ebenezer. Muhlenberg is once more left absolutely 

Ready to die or to live he gave his soul into the 
hands of God and, notwithstanding the protestations 
of men knowing the season and the sort of craft on 
which he engaged passage, committed himself to a 
frail and wretched bark and endured a terrible voyage 
to Philadelphia. His fortitude if not his faith at one 
time gave way to such an extent that he piteously 
begged the captain to be put ashore. Still he would 
preach to the ship s company whose profanity made 
his hair stand on end, and when too weak to stand he 
preached from his bed in a sitting posture. 

But in spite of waves and tempests and perils of 
every kind, the vessel which bore the founder of the 
American Lutheran Church could not perish, and at 
last it bears its precious freight quietly and serenely 
up the Delaware, passing here and there the thriving 
homesteads of Swedish Lutherans and, as it nears 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 247 

Philadelphia, offering a view of Tinicum Island, on 
which just about one hundred years before the first 
Lutheran house of worship in the New World had 
been erected. 

It was on the 25th of November 1742 that Muhlen 
berg set foot in Philadelphia. He was in the prime 
of life, in vigorous health, possessed of a robust con 
stitution capable of enduring exposures and hard 
ships, and was eminently qualified for his peculiar and 
momentous task, by an extraordinary versatility of 
talents, by general culture, by theological soundness, 
a benignant disposition, a penetration of human 
nature, a faculty for administration, a resolute will 
and prodigious energy, a world conquering faith and 
absolute consecration. Combining the highest qual 
ities of pastor, preacher and leader he seems to have 
been specially endowed by the Holy Ghost with the 
charisms vouchsafed to the Apostolic Church. He 
was without doubt a man sent of God to the Lutheran 
Church of America, its heaven-ordained Bishop. His 
coming was the signal of a new era. It was like the 
arrival of a captain in the midst of a scattered, 
dispirited and demoralized host. It was to the 
Church what the advent of spring is to the earth after 
a long, dreary and stormy winter. It was the instru 
ment of her firm establishment and her organic life. 
Finding himself a stranger in Philadelphia, without 
even a letter of introduction, and falling in with a 
German who belonged to the New Hanover Church, 
he set out on horseback that very day for his desti 

The following Sunday found him in the rude pulpit 

248 The Lutherans in America. 

of "a log building not yet finished within," and the 
Sunday after he addressed large audiences in Phila 
delphia, preaching in the forenoon in the old butcher- 
shop in which the Lutherans and the Reformed held 
their services alternately, we have no proof that a 

regular normal Lutheran organization existed, and 

in the afternoon in the Swedish Church located be 
yond the southern limits of the city. Its pastor, Rev. 
Dylander, had died the year before. The pastor of 
the Church at Christina, (now Wilmington, Del.) Rev. 
Tranberg, gave Muhlenberg a hearty welcome and 
every encouragement in his mission. The third Sun 
day he officiated at New Providence (The Trappe) 
preaching in a barn. 

Muhlenberg s reception by the congregations to 
which he was sent, was determined in large measure 
by the state of things which he found prevailing. No 
announcement of his coming anticipated him and but 
for Ziegenhagen s testimonials, he would likely have 
been regarded as one more impostor, although there 
must have been, to some at least, a different ring in 
his preaching. Some, like famished sheep, were so 
hungry for the food of life that they received him 
with profound thanksgiving. Long neglected, and 
denied the stated ministrations of the Church, they 
now received them joyfully and with their whole 
hearts. But there were others whom hope deferred 
had made sick at heart. And as pretenders one after 
another continued to affect pastoral services, some 
adhered to one and some to another. A number 
had gone off to the Moravians, whose leader, Count 
von Zinzendorf, claimed " ecclesiastical authority over 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 249 

all the Lutherans in the Province ; " not a few had 
witnessed so much of the disorder and the distraction 
which had long prevailed, that they were unwilling 
to have anything further to do with churches or par 
sons, while of course there were not wanting those 
wary and selfish ones who mean to wait and see what 
turn things will take. 

Happily for the Church, Muhlenberg came hither 
not seeking his own but another s cause, not for filthy 
lucre but for the sake of souls, and he stood prepared 
to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 
Nor was it long before he had cheering evidences 
that humble as was the beginning, and dark as was 
the outlook, the hand of God was with him. 

Although meeting with bitter opposition from both 
the disorderly and the fanatical elements that were 
disposed to maintain the field they had preoccu 
pied, he was very soon acknowledged by the three 
congregations as their legitimate and sole pastor, and 
his faithfulness, dignity and the irresistable charm of 
his manner soon commanded universal love, esteem 
and sympathy. Multitudes came to hear him wher 
ever he preached. Many cheered his heart by proofs 
of deep spiritual earnestness, others became awakened 
under his searching discourses, movements of the new 
life in Christ succeeded the paralysis of indifferentism 
and worldliness, the congregations submitted to 
formal reorganization, Church discipline was intro 
duced, peace, concord and order triumphed over the 
reign of lawlessness, division and strife, schools were 
opened, the catechisation of the young was prosecuted, 
Muhlenberg personally attending not only to the lat- 

250 The Lutherans in America. 

ter, but throughout the week teaching also the child 
ren the simplest rudiments, youths nineteen and 
twenty years of age coming to him "with their ABC 

The field of labor to which he was called consisted 
of the three congregations already named, and situ 
ated many miles apart, and the extent of his labors 
here, especially when the erection of churches and 
school-houses began, was sufficient for two or three 
ordinary men. But with vast fields white unto the 
harvest stretching in remote distances on every side,, 
his missionary ardor could not be confined to this 
territory. It soon overleaped these limits and in a 
few years the boundless continent became his parish. 
Lutheran centres with various stages of organization 
were to be found in all directions, and, although they 
had but little prospect of regular pastoral services 
they continued with the constant increase of immigra 
tion to spring up everywhere. Muhlenberg felt con 
strained to visit these one after another, not only 
such as were adjacent, but those lying more remote 
like Lancaster, York, Hanover, and the churches in 
New Jersey and New York. This required him to 
travel hundreds of miles through pathless forests, 
over declivitous mountains, across swollen streams,, 
under pitiless rain and snow and storm, to ride often 
for many hours through the darkest night unattended, 
and in imminent peril of his life from the savages, 
from the wild beasts and from sheer exhaustion. 

On reaching a Lutheran community, he would pro 
ceed with preaching, often even in the depth of winter 
under the open sky, administering the sacraments, 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 251 

teaching and confirming the young, establishing 
order, reconciling antagonisms, excluding incongru 
ous elements, exposing the errors and tricks of the 
sects, kindling afresh the love for the Church and her 
services, strengthening everywhere the things that 
remained and were ready to die, and restoring once 
more confidence and respect for the sacred office. 
With all these arduous and almost superhuman 
labors for the general interest, he never forgot the 
essential office of the true shepherd, the care of the 
individual sheep. His remarkable wisdom in leading 
such as were troubled and awakened to unburthen 
their souls to him, his rare tact in pointing out to 
them the way of salvation, and his burning zeal in 
this direction, are among the greatest secrets of 
his wonderful power over men. " My saddest con 
cern," he mournfully exclaims, "is that to the special 
care of each soul there is too little time and opportu 
nity given." And notwithstanding that roads, rivers 
and storms were such that " one would not like to 
driv^, his dog out of the house, yet willingly do I go, 
at any day or any time left free to me, and visit souls in 
whom the Spirit has begun his work." It was a com 
mon practice with him at the close of the Lord s Day 
to spend hours in private with awakened and penitent 
individuals, directing inquirers to the Lamb of God. 
His biography narrates many striking cases of spir 
itual awakening, and shows that the renewal and 
salvation of the individual was the unquenchable pur 
pose of his ministry. 

His concern for the individual soul was only 
equalled by his conscientious solicitude for the spir- 

252 The Lutherans in America. 

itual life of the congregation. In illustration of this, 
note his requirement of the Church Council, on the 
occasion of his first administration of the communion 
to testify to the moral character of the people who 
had handed in their names. With the same spirit, 
when for the first time he visited York and the conore- 


gation asked to have the Holy Supper, he declined to 
administer it to them, on the ground that they first 
needed repentance and the application of God s 

Not the least of Muhlenberg s cares nor the least 
of his achievements, was his conflict with the legion of 
scandalous impostors that had intruded into the 
feeble and defenseless folds and by their infamous 
conduct had, in many localities, brought reproach 
upon the Lutheran Church and on the pastoral office. 
Though they assailed him with the poisoned shafts of 
caluriiny, though they employed every weapon of cun 
ning 7 and malice to counteract his influence, and to 
prevent the progress of Christ s kingdom, they were 
Constrained to flee before this resolute ambassador, 
who came to the defense of the churches with the 
scathing weapon of God s truth and with the divine 
principle of order and organization. Not one of 
them could withstand him not even Count von Zin- 
zendorf, who was, indeed, no impostor, but a danger 
ous intruder into Lutheran congregations. 

For several years he labored solitary and alone. 
A certain Rev. Tobias Wagner had, indeed, arrived 
shortly after Muhlenberg, and exercised a brief and 
desultory ministry respectively in some half dozen 
congregations in Pennsylvania, but intimate fellow- 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagzies. 


ship and effective co-operation with a man of his tura, 
of mind were out of the question. Berkenmeier and 
Knoll entertained strong prejudices against Muhlen- 
berg s Pietism, and persistently sought to undermine 
his influence by impugning his orthodoxy and his 


loyalty to the Lutheran Church. "Mr. Berkenmeier/* 
says Dr. B. M. Schmucker, " claimed for himself and 
the men from Hamburg, a more positive Lutheran 
orthodoxy than he conceded to Hartwig, Muhlenberg 


The Lutherans in America. 

and the others trained at Halle. He earnestly warned 
the conorerations against them." This distrust was 

o o o 

as unfortunate as it was unwarranted. As Pastor 
Berkenmeier was a man of ability, learning, unim 
peachable conduct and widely extended influence, 
especially among the Lutherans of New York, one 
may, in some degree, imagine what might have been 
the effect upon the Lutheran Church of that genera 
tion and of succeeding generations, had not the un 
warranted suspicion of Confessional unsoundness kept 
these two excellent men from uniting their counsels, 
their strength and their influence for the gathering, 
the organization and the advancement of the Lu 
theran Church. 

With his practical insight and his prophetic and 
hopeful foresight, Muhlenberg very soon recognized 
the great work to be accomplished here for and by 
the Lutheran Church, and he at once sent urgent peti 
tions to Halle for co-laborers. In January, 1745, his 
heart was cheered by the arrival of three men whom 
the Halle Fathers had sent out to his assistance. 
Their advent was the occasion of such joy that the 
anniversary of it was for a number of years cele 
brated in the circle of this devoted brotherhood as a 
grateful memorial serving for the spiritual refresh 
ment of all. 

Their names were Peter Brunnholtz, John Nicol. 
Kurtz, and John Helfrich Schaum. The first one 
alone had been ordained. He was "a man of dis 
tinguished moral worth, and of extraordinary de- 
votedness to the cause of Christ." The latter two 
had reached a certain stage of preparation, but they 

Muhlmberg and his Colleagues. 255 

were expected to prosecute their studies under their 
superiors, while they served as catechists and teach 
ers in the congregational schools, a sphere in which 
they were needed quite as much as in the pulpit. 

Sensible of the strength which comes from union, 
the two pastors made an amicable distribution of their 
work, extending their ministrations to outlying sta 
tions in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, accessible by 
a day s journey, and most heartily and to the fullest 
extent co-operated with each other. As a reminder 
of the rivalries and strifes which had marked the re 
lations of the numerous impostors and pretenders, 
these co-laborers became known everywhere as u the 
united ministers," and the effect of such union was 
soon visible in every quarter. The upbuilding of 
Zion progressed at a wonderful rate, the desert be 
gan to blossom as the rose. The catechists besides 
their work of catechising the young and conducting 
schools, were much occupied also in preaching, were 
authorized to baptize infants and in cases of emer 
gency to administer the communion to the sick, thus 
faithfully testing and improving their ministerial quali 
fications until each was deemed worthy of ordination 
and settlement over his own parish. 

The fame of the blessed work of these pastors was 
not long in spreading over the colonies and from 
every quarter, even away up in the Mohawk valley, 
came earnest petitions for the services of "the united 
ministers." And whenever Muhlenberg learned of 
German Lutherans, destitute of pastoral ministrations, 
and this was true of scores of communities, he was 
ready to render assistance as promptly as possible, 

256 The Lutherans in America. 

and so were his associates, all having the same spirit, 
all laboring for one end. Their missionary work ac 
cordingly branched out rapidly both east and west, 
north and south, and Muhlenberg especially, with in 
defatigable application and with an astounding capac 
ity of endurance, made frequent journeys on horse 
back for a distance of fifty and even a hundred miles, 
traversing terrible roads, dangerous swamps and deep 
streams, in the fiercest weather, and at the hazard of 
his life. On one occasion he and a companion after 
riding all day, were compelled for want of finding a 
house at which to lodge, "to continue riding through 
the wilderness, with the rain pouring down heavier, 
and the poor horses wading up to their knees through 
water and mire, until at two o clock in the morning, 
totally worn out and half dead, they reached their 

We meet him at Lancaster, at York, at McAllister- 
town (Hanover), where in 1746 he found a considera 
ble congregation, and passing beyond the Maryland 
boundaries, he is on the Monocacy and at Frederick. 
Journeying in another direction hevisits the churches 
on theRaritan, at New York, up the Hudson, and late 
in life he undertakes the laborious journey to Ebene- 
zer, Georgia, to exercise his mediating powers and 
quiet the serious disturbances which had broken out. 

No earthly remuneration could be any considera 
tion for such hardships, exposures, toils and conflicts 
in the service of Christ s Church, but a mind like his 
must have enjoyed the recompense he found in the in 
estimable privilege of preaching repentance and faith 
in the Lord Jesus to listening multitudes, many of 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 257 

whom had traveled ten and even twenty miles to hear 
him, some with hot tears lamenting to him their priva 
tion of the means of grace, while others were awakened 
under the power of his earnest sermons. With extra 
ordinary readiness the congregations submitted them 
selves to his counsel and to his authority, bound them 
selves to the observance of order and discipline, and 
pledged their adhesion to "the holy Word of God as 
given by prophets and apostles, in the Unaltered Augs 
burg Confession and the other Symbolical Books." Al 
though the churches which he visited had, one by one, 
been seriously disturbed by persons playing the role of 
Lutheran ministers, and many had been led into error, 
the people promptly recognized the voice of a Lutheran 
shepherd, as he discoursed on the nature of true repent 
ance, and on the person and offices of Christ. Under 
the light of his instruction and preaching and in virtue 
of the stable organization which he effected, the demon 
of confusion was summarily dispelled. Congregations 
that had become " deplorably demoralized," felt the in- 
vigoration of a new life, with the return of order and 
union they became conscious of strength, and although 
it was impossible at once to supply them with regular 
pastors, schools were established, the youth were cate 
chised, a sermon was read each Lord s day to the assem 
bled people, church-buildings began to be erected and 
everything was done to make ready for the advent of 
an ordained preacher. 

Another co-worker, the Rev. J. Fr. Handschuh, who 
like his colleagues was a man of deep personal relig 
ious experience and of glowing zeal for practical god 
liness, was sent over by Francke in the spring of 1748. 

258 The Lutherans in America. 

He served successively the churches at Lancaster, 
Germantown and Philadelphia. 

Soon after his arrival Muhlenberg and Brunnholtz 
in conjunction with Handschuh made provision for 
the proper ordering of the public worship, the admin 
istration of the sacraments and the unification of the 
congregations by formulating a common liturgy. A 
short formulary had heretofore been used but it was 
not " in all its parts harmonious," and the preparation 
of a more complete order had been deferred until 
there should be more laborers on the ground, and "a 
better knowledge of the condition of things in this 
country " should be obtained. The Swedish Liturgy 
was found to be unsuited to the German Churches 
because it required the chanting of the collects, which 
Germans from the Rhine and Main districts con 
sidered " papal." And it was also deemed inexpedient 
to adopt any of the numerous German Agenda, since 
the members of the churches had come from so many 
different localities, each of which had its own formu 
lary. They accordingly took the Liturgy of the 
Savoy congregation of London as the basis, making 
such abbreviations, modifications and additions "as 
after due consideration of the circumstances in which 
we are here placed appeared advisable and calculated 
to edify, and adopted it tentatively until we had a 
better understanding of the matter, and determined 
to use it with a view of introducing into our congre 
gations the same ceremonies, forms and words." 

A step of yet greater importance and more far- 
reaching in results was the formation during the same 
year, August 14 and 15, 1/48, of a Synodical organi- 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 259 

zation. The bonds of affection and faith which united 
these German pastors extended also to their Swedish 
brethren, who were men of a kindred spirit, unceas 
ingly active in preaching, and caring for the spiritu 
ally destitute, and who in conformity to the instruc 
tions of the Archbishop of Sweden stood ready for 
the most intimate fellowship and co-operation. Dif- 
erences of language and nationality were sunk in the 
desire to make common cause for the maintenance 
of the Gospel, the development of the Church, and 
especially for the exclusion of the fanatical " Zinzen- 
dorfers," who were everywhere intruding into Lu 
theran congregations, creating disturbances and di 

The first proposal for a union came from an active 
and wealthy layman, Peter Koch, an officer in the 
Swedish congregation at Wicacoa. He elaborated a 
"Regulation " forever uniting the two branches of the 
Church. But his scheme was deemed impracticable 
and several further attempts of a similar kind were 
likewise frustrated. Both parties felt more and more 
the need of such an alliance in counsel and action. 
An annual conference including a few of the elders 
of the German and Swedish congregations, it was felt, 
would impart greater efficiency to the efforts of the 
ministry and promote the general good of Zion. The 
Swedish pastors had in fact been closely identified 
with the German communities before the arrival of 
the Halle ministers, having been instrumental in 
founding congregations in localities which to-day are 
among the strongest centres of Lutheranism, and sup 
plying, with great considerateness and zeal, some of 

260 The Lilt her ans in America 

the older congregations on the Hudson and elsewhere 
with preaching. They and their churches stood ready 
therefore for a union. 

The churches served by the "United Ministers" 
had come to be known generally as "The United 
Evangelical Congregations." Here was the nucleus 
for a permanent and compact organization. And it 
was reasonable that other German congregations 
should desire to share the advantages of such an 
association, and gladly entrust their well-being into 
the hands of men who had gained their confidence 
and esteem by "their elevated character as servants 
of God, and their firmness in holding fast to the Un 
altered Augsburg Confession." It was, in particular, 
a petition of this character from the congregations at 
Tulpehocken and Northkill that led to the decisive 

There were present at this meeting Muhlenberg, 
Brunnholtz, Handshuh, Kurtz, Hartwig and the Swed 
ish Provost Sandin, with his colleague Naesman, and 
the delegates from their respective congregations. 
Muhlenberg, by common consent presided, but to the 
Swedes was accorded a general precedence, and all, 
longing "with united hearts and God s grace to ad 
vance the welfare of our poor Church in America," 
took an active part in the solemn deliberations. 

The effect of this first organization was to merge 
the pastors and congregations into a joint body, in 
which each congregation or pastoral district became 
an organic part, surrendering its independence to the 
general authority, and receiving in turn through lay- 
representation a voice in the government of the 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 261 

Church, as a whole, and of its constituent parts. 
The decisions of the united body had binding force 
with the congregations, and even the call for a pastor 
from any one of them was henceforth addressed to 
Muhlenberg, and by him submitted to the assembled 

The proceedings of this convention embraced, first, 
the ordination of the catechist, J. N. Kurtz, a request 
for which was presented by his congregations. He 
was subjected to a very rigid examination concerning 
his awakening, course of life, attainments, library, 
motives for seeking the ministry, Lutheran ortho 
doxy, and the exercise of the pastoral office in public 
and private. Francke, to whom these ministers for 
warded regular reports, " thought too much was ex 
pected of the young candidate," and observes that 
the questions "were answered better than they would 
have been by one out of ten preachers before our 
German consistories." This was the first case of 
synodical ordination, and administered at the first 
synodical convention in this country. J. H. Schaum 
was ordained at the meeting of the synod in Lancas 
ter the ensuing year. 

Secondly, the dedication with imposing ceremonies 
of St. Michael s Church in Philadelphia. The Synod 
attended in procession, the Swedish Provost Sandin 
and Hartwig in the lead. A congratulatory address 
in English, written by the oldest Swedish minister, 
Tranberg, was read, after which followed a historical 
address, which among other thing stated that the 
buildino- had been erected "that the doctrines of the 


Evangelical Lutheran Church might be preached in it 


The Lutherans in America. 

according to the prophets and apostles, and in agree 
ment with the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and 
all the other Symbolical Books." After this the 
whole building and its parts, the pulpit, baptismal 
font, altar, were formally dedicated to the preaching 
of the saving Word and the administration of the 
Holy Sacraments according to the Symbolical Books 
of the Lutheran Church. The representatives of the 
congregation solemnly promised for this purpose to 
preserve the building for the use of their children and 

ST. MICHAEL S CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA. (Dedicated Aug. 14, 1748.) 

children s children. After some further singing, " all 
the ministers and delegates kneeling around the altar, 
each minister, except Muhlenberg, offered a short 
prayer, Sandin and Naesman in Swedish, the others 
in German." After another hymn and the baptism 
of a child, Handschuh delivered the dedication ser 
mon, which was followed by the administration of the 
Lord s Supper. 

Another day was occupied in ascertaining through 
the delegates the relation between the pastors and their 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 263 

congregations, the condition and wants of the parochial 
schools, and the ratification of the Liturgy, the lay del 
egates expressing their satisfaction with the form which 
had been prepared, and with the plan to introduce the 
the same form in all the congregations, " though they 
thought that during cold winter days the service would 
be somewhat too long." 

Before adjourning, the synod resolved to meet an 
nually, alternating between Lancaster and Philadelphia, 
each congregation at its own expense to send two el 
ders. Thus were laid the foundations of the Evangeli 
cal Lutheran Church in this country. How wisely and 
how firmly, may be judged from the fact that this body, 
under the name of the " Evangelical Lutheran Minis- 
terium " of Pennsylvania and adjacent states, after the 
lapse of a century and a half is not only still in exist 
ence, but embraces to-day an aggregate of 265 minis 
ters, 442 congregations and more than 100,000 commu 
nicants, notwithstanding that more than fifty synodical 
organizations with half a million of communicants have 
directly or indirectly sprung from it. 

The most salutary results began at once to oe appar 
ent. With the hearts of the pastors beating in unison 
their hands were now also united, and they felt girded 
for their task, while the congregations peaceful within 
themselves and in vital fellowship with one another, 
became conscious of improved spiritual life, of renewed 
strength and of the most encouraging prospects. The 
establishment of order, authority and discipline was fol 
lowed not only by a steady and rapid growth of the 
congregations already founded, but by the gathering of 
new congregations, and the development of new centers 

264 The Lutherans in America. 

in every direction, rendering re-enforcements to the 
ranks of the clergy imperative. Francke found it now 
relatively easy to meet this demand, so that in a few 
years a considerable force was added to those already 

Among the most eminent and worthy of these was 
Rev. J. D. M. Heintzelman, whose services at the 
Francke schools pointed him out as especially fitted 
for missionary work in Pennsylvania. His career as 
pastor of the Philadelphia congregation was one of 
<>reat usefulness but cut short by an early death. 
Another excellent co-laborer arrived shortly after 
from Halle in the person of Christopher Emanuel 
Schultze, who so commanded the respect and love of 
Muhlenberg that he secured his eldest daughter in 
marriage. He possessed extraordinary gifts as a 
preacher and as a catechist had no superior. He was 
most conscientious and indefatigable in the discharge 
of his office, and " overwhelmed with labors beyond 
his strength." One of his sons, after serving for 
awhile as pastor, was obliged to relinquish the office 
on account of bodily infirmities, and this grandson of 
Muhlenberg was twice elected Governor of Pennsyl 
vania, serving from 1823 to 1829. Justus H. Chr. Hel- 
muth came in 1765. He had been reared in the Halle 
Orphanage and had also passed through the Univer 
sity. He combined superior talents for teaching and 
preaching, labored for awhile and with great success 
at Lancaster, then followed a call to Philadelphia, 
where he became a member of the Philosophical 
Society and was for eighteen years Professor of the 
Oriental Languages and of German in the University. 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagiies. 265 

With him arrived his bosom friend, John Fr. Schmidt, 
who was pastor at Germantown during the Revolution, 
and during the brief English occupation of Philadel 
phia became a refugee, his congregation likewise have- 
ing been dispersed. Later he became Helmuth s co- 
laborer in Philadelphia. 

Another true son of Halle was the Rev. J. L. Voigt 
a person of marked individuality, of pronounced lit 
erary tastes, and always sustaining close personal 
relations to Muhlenberg whose successor he became 
at the Trappe. His devotional meetings there " among 
those of his membership who felt a deeper spiritual 
interest " were viewed with disfavor by some who were 
not friendly to the man. With him arrived another of 
like spirit, John Andrew Krug, the two having been 
ordained at the same time. Of the latter, Dr. Mann 
says : "His unaffected humility, his sincere piety, and 
his zeal for the welfare of those who were entrusted 
to his care, could not fail to gain for him the esteem 
and the affection of those who were spiritually bene- 
htted by his pastoral services, with whom, as a true 
Hallensis, he held private devotions in addition to the 
usual public service." He began his pastoral career at 
Reading, declined subsequently a call to Baltimore, 
and removed in 1771 to Fredericktown, Md. from 
whence a year later he made an extended missionary 
tour into Virginia. 

Muhlenberg had sent his three sons while yet quite 
young to Halle for their education and in due time 
these returned and entered upon the active duties of the 
ministry. With them came John Christopher Kunze, 
" the most gifted and the most scholarly " of all the 

266 The Lutherans in America. 

missionaries sent from Halle to Pennsylvania. Im 
mediately upon his arrival he became the associate of 
Muhlenberg in Philadelphia. Later he removed to 
New York where he succeeded in uniting the German 
congregation and the old Dutch church. 

To these may be added names like Gerock, sent 
hither by the Church authorities of W rtembergi 
who, though not sustaining intimate relations to the 
Halle pastors, connected himself with the Synod, and 
had long pastorates in Lancaster, New York and 
Baltimore ; Hartwig, who, after having finished his. 
University course in Germany, and having for a short 
time missionated among the Jews, was sent by the 
Hamburg ministry to the congregations on the Hud 
son, and identified himself with Muhlenberg and his 
colleagues; and especially the Swedish pastors, pre 
eminent among whom were the Provosts Acrelius and 
von Wrangel, whose active co-operation over the whole 
field of the German Lutheran Church, and whose 
affectionate and beautiful attitude toward the Ger 
man pastors, entitles them to the lasting gratitude of 
all Lutherans ; and Eager, another Hallean pupil, who 
arrived in 1752, served for awhile the church in New 
York, and for many years the churches at York, Han 
over and neighboring localities. 

o o 

Besides these may yet be mentioned Weygant r 
Raus and Schrenk. There were yet others who had 
pursued a course of study in Europe, or served as 
teachers, and who were here for a season employed 
in catechising and occasional preaching under super 
vision, and after a fair and thorough trial were ad- 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 267 

mitted to ordination upon the presentation of a call 
for their services. 

Exclusive of those who would not fellowship these 
Hallean Pietists, and of the few Georgia and Virginia 
pastors, with whom the great distance rendered co 
operation impossible, the Ministerium embraced in 
1768 twenty-four members, and it would be no easy 
task to find in this country, at that time, another 
group of men measuring up to the standard of these 
in piety, in culture, in devotion to the Church and her 
Creed, and in self-sacrificing activity for the exten 
sion of Christ s Kingdom and the upbuilding of the 
waste places of Zion. 

Measureless praise has been bestowed in our litera 
ture upon the "Pilgrim Fathers " for their abandon 
ment of native land and their attachment to the truth 
and to their forms of worship, yet it has been truly 
said, "in genuine piety, Christian heroism, and ener 
getic devotion to the cause of the Redeemer, the men 
who planted the Lutheran Church in this Western 
Hemisphere, will not suffer in comparison with them. 
Their history presents a most beautiful example of 
patient endurance and untiring zeal in the service of 
God. Their indefatigable and self-denying efforts,, 
their earnest and faithful life, illustrating the doc 
trines of the Church they loved, and for whose ad 
vancement they were toiling, made a deep impression 
upon their contemporaries, and secured the confi 
dence and sympathy of all with whom they were 
brought in contact. The prevalence of the German 
language among them, and the preservation of their 
records in their native tongue, have deprived them of 


The Lutherans in America. 

the position in the early history of our country to 
which their acknowledged literary character, their 
virtues, and their influence justly give them a claim." 

And, although the marvellous triumphs of Christi 
anity largely make up the history of the Church, the 
sound and rapid progress of the Evangelical Lu 
theran Church under the labors of Muhlenberg and 
his colleagues has but rarely had a parallel. With a 
consecration to the cause that recoiled from no self- 
sacrifice, with an extraordinary sagacity and adapta- 

ZION S CHURCH, PHILADELPHIA. (Dedicated June 25, 1769.) 

tion to circumstances, with a co-operation that was 
apostolic in spirit and statesmanlike in policy, with a 
heroism seldom eclipsed in the field of missions or on 
the field of battle, and with a superhuman endurance 
of toils and burdens, these men were everywhere pre 
paring the soil and sowing the seed of God s truth. 
And the Lord and Head of the Church was mani 
festly working with them and confirming the Word. 
Extraordinary and powerful results followed their 
activity. A general awakening prevailed through all 
the vast region surrounding their labors. A high 

Muhlenberg and his Colleagues. 269 

standard of spirituality was maintained, and the ear 
nestness and the fervent prayers of the pastors were 
reflected in the active zeal and the Christian virtues 
of a devout people. There was a steady increase in 
members, efficiency and influence. In Philadelphia, 
St. Michael s Church, which at the time of its conse 
cration in 1 748 was regarded by many as too large 
and too costly a structure for so small a congre 
gation, was found to be too contracted, the communi 
cants alone numbering some seven hundred. By 
unanimous consent of the congregation, accordingly, 
the vestry purchased a valuable lot of ground on the 
corner of Fourth and Cherry Streets, and began the 
erection of Zion Church, laying the cornerstone at 
the meeting of the Synod in 1766, and consecrating it 
June 25, 1769, before an immense concourse of 
people, the Ministerium, the pastors of the Swedish 
and Reformed congregations, the Commissary of the 
Episcopal Church, the Provost and faculty of the 
academy, the Mayor of Philadelphia and other digni 
taries, participating in the solemn festivities. This 
church was for many years regarded the largest and 
finest house of worship in America. 

The wave of a quickened church life spread far and 
wide in every direction. From the Delaware to the 
Susquehanna and the region west of it, congregations 
arose and multitudes of various nationalities flocked 
to their altars. The tide extended over into Mary 
land, along the Monocacy and down into the heart of 
Virginia, and northward into the interior of Pennsyl 
vania, while numerous flourishing churches were scat 
tered over New Jersey, and those far up on the Hud- 

270 The Lutherans in America. 

son were not only strengthened but multiplied. The 
power of the Most High was shown to be still inher 
ent in the Gospel mustard seed, and this mighty 
growth of it, with the songs of praise in its branches, 
proceeded in the face of the most adverse influences, 
and at a period, too, when both the ministers and con 
gregations were constantly harassed by the devasta 
tions of the long raging struggle between the English 
and the French for the possession of the country, 
many being cruelly murdered, and numbers compelled 
to fly from their harvests and their homes. 


, D. 



IT has been well said that moral deterioration is a 
concomitant and a consequence of war. Destruc 
tion and waste in every department of society at 
tend the shock of arms. The saddest havoc is seen 
in the sphere of religion. No other calamity is so 
apt to extinguish the kindly light of the Gospel, or 
undermine the foundations of virtue. 

The long and exhaustive conflict of the Revolutfon 
is a most lamentable illustration of this. It is a well 
attested truth that the twenty years following the war 
was " a time of the lowest general morality in Amer 
ican history." Those familiar with the ravages and 
sufferings of the war in general will ask no proof of 
this. Some fifteen cities and numerous villages were 
reduced to ashes. Thousands of the best citizens 
perished on the field of battle. Many were held in 
captivity or compelled to flee from their homes to 
find, on returning, their dwellings blotted out and 
their households hopelessly scattered. Places of wor 
ship were in many localities either burnt or converted 
into hospitals, prisons, or even stables, their pews and 
galleries cut up for fuel. Out of nineteen church- 
edifices in New York only nine could be used for 
worship when the war was over. The ministers had 
in numerous cases to flee for their lives. During the 
siege of Boston all but two of the Boston pastors 
fled from the city, Mr, Schmidt, the Lutheran pastor 


272 The Lutherans in America. 

at Germantown, was obliged to do the same while 
the enemy occupied that place ; the English posses 
sion of New York drove F. A. C. Muhlenberg away 
from his church, and on their approach to Philadel 
phia his brother, Henry Ernest, was compelled to flee 
with his family. Returning for a season he was again 
forced to retire. "Disguised under a blanket, with a 
rifle on his shoulder, he nearly fell into the enemy s 
hands, through the treachery of a Tory innkeeper." 

Whole congregations were dispersed and in numer 
ous cases absolutely extinguished. The attendance 
of*hundreds before the war was reduced sometimes to 
less than a dozen after its close. Of the ninety-five 
Episcopal parishes in Virginia, twenty-three had 
during the progress of the war become "extinct or 
forsaken, and of the remaining seventy-two, thirty- 
four were destitute of ministerial services, while of the 
ninety-one clergymen, twenty-eight only remained 
who had lived through the storm." One of the two 
Lutheran congregations in New York city disappear 
ed altogether during this period, while those in New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania suffered severely. 

"At Ebenezer, in Georgia," says Dr. Hazelius, "the 
war and its detrimental consequences to the cause of 
religion were felt more than in any other part of our 
Church. The people were in general attached to the 
principles of our revolution. From the very com 
mencement they took an active part in favor of 
liberty. They argued : For the sake of liberty we 
have left home, lands, houses, estates, and have taken 
refuge in the wilds of Georgia; shall we now again 
submit to bondage? No, we will not. Upon this 

The Ravages of War. 273 

principle they acted throughout the contest and on 
account of their devotion to it they were driven from 
their homes by the British forces. One of their min 
isters had unfortunately embraced the other side, and 
actually went so far in his Tory zeal and unnatural 
wickedness, as to lead the enemy to Ebenezer, to aid 
in the destruction of the settlements, and in driving 
the inhabitants to the inhospitable wilderness. Their 
beautiful house of God was turned into a stable for 
the horses of the British soldiers, and sometimes 
served as a Lazaretto for the sick and wounded." 
When the victorious close of the war permitted the 
poor exiles to return they found their beloved Eben 
ezer destroyed. They now erected buildings on their 
farms and plantations and thus became scattered over 
a distance of from two to ten miles from the former 
town of Ebenezer. The congregation was virtually 
braken up and was without a pastor. And the his 
tory of this community is but a picture of the general 
distress that overwhelmed many hitherto flourishing 

The ministers were in large part seized by the 
martial spirit and rushing to the defense of their 
country abandoned their suffering and exposd flocks. 
Some went forth as chaplains, others exchanged the 
sword of the Spirit for the carnal weapon. The old 
est son of the Patriarch Muhlenberg, John Peter 
Gabriel, who served both Lutheran and Episcopal 
churches in Virginia, fired by the general political and 
patriotic excitement, gave notice to his congregations 
of his farewell sermon. A large audience assembled. 
At the conclusion of divine service, he exclaimed, 

274 The Lutherans in America . 

" There is a time of war and a time of peace, and now 
the time to fight has come," and throwing back his 
clerical robe he stood before them in a colonel s 
uniform and the next day was off for the war. 

Others, conversant with public affairs, gave up, like 
the younger Muhlenberg, F. A. C., the pulpit for the 
forum, the office of spiritual shepherd of the people 
for that of their political representative in the halls 
of legislation. 

Thus while the preaching and the general influence 
of the clergy had been for some time " rather martial 
than sanctifying and spiritual," their sermons sound 
ing the notes of freedom and the tocsin of war, and 
promoting, in this way, the tendency to indifferentism 
and worldliness, many now became entirely secular 
ized. Their spiritual warfare was doomed to a truce. 
"In many localities the means of grace were wholly 
suspended for a long time, and the religious safe 
guards were broken down." The ministrations of 
the Gospel ceased just when the need for them was 
sorest. The churches generally throwing all their in 
fluence in support of the cause of independence, expe 
rienced retroactively almost total paralysis, especially 
throughout the Middle States, in which the Lutheran 
congregations were mainly found. "Religion suf 
fered serious decay, and the churches presented a wide 
scene of desolation." The revolution in government 
was attended by a revolution in the Church, which 
was as baneful in its fruit as the former was bene 

The war for independence lasted eight years. 
Surely the agitations and the immoralities of this 

The Ravages of War. 275 

long period, the neglect of the ordinances and the 
virtual suspension of spiritual activity in many com 
munities, attended often by the unhappy division of 
sentiment regarding the war, which separated families 
and broke up many prosperous congregations, would 
sufficiently account for a state of profound spiritual 
apathy, worldliness and disorder, from which it 
seemed for years after the conclusion of peace impos 
sible to rouse the churches. 

But the devastations of the Revolution had been 
preceded by the devastations and harassments of a 
nine years struggle, 1754-1763, between the English 
and the French for the possession of the country. 
And they were followed by a series of national diffi 
culties and political dissensions, which with the uni 
versal financial distress and the grinding taxation be 
came a severer strain on patriotism and on morals 
than the war itself had been. That was the critical 
period of our country s history, "the era of bad feel 
ing," the dark age of American Christianity. 

Thus for more than a generation, from the outbreak 
of the French-Indian war to the inauguration of Pres 
ident Washington, the whole country was torn and 
swept by the ravages of war, and the churches, besides 
sharing in the general suffering, were rent and deso 
lated by the greater ravages of party violence and 
passion. A period of endless antagonism and irrita 
tion, a state of restlessness, recklessness and insecur 
ity, brought the public mind to the verge of despair, 
the Church to the borders of destruction. 

The two bloody contests had introduced a more 
terrible and murderous enemy than even grim-visaged 

276 The Lutherans in America. 

war itself. War slays its thousands, Infidelity its tens 
of thousands. During the French and Indian war 
English officers and soldiers introduced deistical sen 
timents among our people. Young Americans in the 
army readily imbibed these new ideas, drank deeply 
of the poisoned cup and on their return home spread 
the contagion among the circles in which they moved, 
producing everywhere a relaxation in morals as well 
as a defection in religion. 

The Revolution brought us the generous and mem 
orable assistance of the French arms, but the very 
gratitude of our people for this timely and priceless 
intervention, and the peculiarly friendly relations 
which bound the two nations together, served only to 
predispose many of our leading minds to French ideas 
of religion. Our sense of indebtedness assumed the 
form of an infatuation for everything represented by 
the French, so that Americans became easy victims to 
their specious theories. Our statesmen, fired with en 
thusiasm over France, came under the spell of its 
atheism. A frightful apostasy from religion ensued. 
Skepticism and reckless blasphemy became common. 
Infidelity was never more rampantand more aggressive 
and bitter, never more prevalent among influential 
citizens and professional men, never more deleterious 
in its work. Revelation was decried as without 
authority or evidence, moral obligation as a cobweb. 
" The clergy were a laughing stock or objects of dis 
gust." Young men, especially, became enamored of 
the new ideas. Bishop Meade of Virginia wrote that 
scarcely a young man of any literary culture believed 
in Christianity. 

The Ravages of War. 277 

In 1795 Yale College had but four or five students 
who made profession of the Christian faith. Prince 
ton a few years earlier reported two, and its President, 
Dr. Smith, complained grievously of the mischievous 
and fatal effects which the prevalent infidelity had 
wrought in the moral and religious character of the 

The rninds of multitudes had become unsettled. 
There was a general breaking away from the old 
moorings of faith and life. " Wild and vague expec 
tations were everywhere entertained especially among 
the young, of a new order of things about to com 
mence, in which Christianity would be laid aside as an 
obsolete system, would altogether disappear." 

The Christian Church, stricken and suffering from 
the desolations of nearly twenty years of war, with 
many of her watchmen, like the Muhlenberg brothers, 
permanently detached from the pastoral office, was in 
no condition to stem this dark tide of unbelief with its 
attendant decay of piety and moral degeneracy. But 
this was not the worst. The Church feeling the 
assaults of her enemies, and fully alive to her perils 
and responsibilities, might even in the face of all these 
untoward circumstances, have withstood this onset of 
the powers of darkness and achieved a glorious vic 
tory by that faith which overcometh the world. But 
her sword had become blunted, the temper of her 
weapons sadly vitiated. An eviscerated creed sapped 
her energy and made her impotent against the attacks 
of a determined and panoplied foe. 

Coincident with the revolutionary struggle and the 
ensuing internal conflicts, and doubtless in a measure 

278 The Lutherans in America. 

growing out of and stimulated by these, a wave of ra 
tionalism came into the land and gradually passed over 
all denominations. The spirit of independence was 
abroad, and along with the renunciation of the old 
forms of government men were ready to cast off the 
old forms of faith, to repudiate a strict spiritual au 
thority as well as an oppressive political rule. With 
freedom of religion made a part of the organic law of 
the land men advocated the broadest toleration, the 
utmost liberty of thought, within the pale of the 
churches. Along with the strong revulsion against the 
rigorous Calvinism of New England, came a general 
reaction against all "human " systems of faith. Ortho 
doxy was unfashionable. "Creeds and Confessions 
were abhorred, and freely denounced in sermons." It 
was even claimed that they were " outworn " and had 
been "generally laid aside." A few fundamentals were 
all that was needed. And doctrines that had always 
been deemed fundamental received the sneer and sar 
casm of the pulpit. Reason was made the arbiter of 
faith. Rationalistic methods and contrivances were 
applied to all phases of Christian revelation and life. 
The Church, the pillar and ground of the truth, nur 
tured and sheltered the spirit of doubt until she became 
verily the bulwark of unbelief. Instead of staying the 
tide of infidelity and its concomitant dissipation and 
materialism, she contributed to swell its volume. And 
it is not without significance that along with the dark 
picture given of the low morality of the people, it is 
generally claimed that that of the clergy was not much 
higher. Laxity of moral and religious sentiment 
among all classes was the feature of the age. 

The Ravages of War. 279 

Thus the influences from every quarter combined 
for the corruption of society, for the alienation of the 
people from the sanctuary, for the depravation of the 
faith and the paralysis of all forms of Christian ac 
tivity. In the crisis that called for the Church s most 
earnest exertions and the marshaling of her spiritual 
powers, she was found despoiled of her best armor, her 
energy sapped, her right arm palsied. What remained 
in her pale from the desolations of war was taken pos 
session of by rationalism, and rationalism extinguishes 
Christian zeal and cuts the nerve of Christian action. 

This defection from the faith extended to all denom 
inations. Some of the pulpits openly espoused Unita- 
rianism, others proclaimed Universalism, while many 
others gave voice to kindred forms of rationalism, all 
agreeing in their hostility to the the theology of the 

It was therefore impossible for the Church to fulfil 
her mission. Her enemies were intensely active, she 
herself was lukewarm, and her resistance to the mighty 
foe was feeble and desultory. The degeneracy of 
morals in society had a correlative in the lamentable 
decay of piety in the Christian community. The 
Church was conformed largely to the lax and worldly 
elements outside of it. Discipline was out of vogue. 
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, 
after similar deliverances in previous years, declared 
in 1798: "We perceive with pain and fearful appre 
hension a general dereliction of religious principle 
and practice an abounding infidelity a dissolution 
of religious society seems to be threatened. Formal 
ity and deadness, not to say hypocrisy, visibly per- 

280 The Lutherans in America. 

vade every part of the Church. The profligacy and 
corruption of public morals have advanced with a 
progress proportioned to our declension in religion." 
The Evangelical Lutheran Church had her full 
share of these disastrous experiences. Rev. Storch 
writing from North Carolina, in 1803, says: "Party 
spirit has risen to a fearful height. The prevalence 
of infidelity, the contempt of the best of all religions, 
its usages and servants, the increase of irreligion and 
crime, have occasioned me many sad hours." She had 
fearful trials in addition to those which threatened the 
extinction of other denominations that had advanced 
beyond her in organization and growth. She was 
subjected to fiery ordeals which once more and to the 
last degree tested her vitality and her inherent powers 
of endurance. 

The discontinuance of aid from the mother Church 
in Germany which coincided with the war between 
England and the colonies, was no calamity. Com 
merce was rendered precarious, and neither pastors 
nor literature nor any other contributions to the 
maintenance of the Church any longer flowed in, but 
this was one of those blessings that come disguised in 
the garb of adversity. Rationalism, now at its height, 
had poisoned the heart of Germany. Even pietistic 
Halle, had become the center of that "Illuminism" 
which made war upon the old faith in the creeds and 
liturgies and hymns of the Reformation. It was a 
sovereign mercy to the Lutheran Church of America 
that intercourse with Germany was broken off just at 
this juncture, and that young, feeble and exposed as 
she was, she escaped the full force of that destructive 

The Ravages of War. 281 

rationalism, which reigned in the latter country and in 
many localities uprooted the institutions of the Gos 
pel. It was enough that she became a prey to the 
dominant laxity of faith in this country and to the in 
direct influences of unbelief which from time to time 
were borne to her bosom in her own language from 
across the sea. 

A peculiar trial involved in the development of the 
Lutheran Church in America, scarcely less serious 
than the temporary defection of doctrine and as wide 
reaching and pernicious in its consequences, was the 
conflict of language. This ordeal, relatively unknown 
to other communities, she had unfortunately to en 
counter in this critical period. The three large 
Dutch Reformed congregations in New York, in 
whose services an English note had never been 
heard before the Revolution, readily accepted the in 
evitable, and surrendered the dialect of the Stuyve- 
sants, but the great body of our German ancestors 
had no idea of making such a concession to the lan 
guage of their adopted country. 

To say nothing of the much greater preponderance 
of Germans in comparison with the Dutch, or of the 
steadfastness and tenacity which characterizes the 
German mind, it is certainly not to the discredit of 
those people that they clung with a religious and pas 
sionate devotion to their mother tongue, the tongue 
of their fatherland and of their holy mother Church. 
To part with a language means far more than the sur 
render of forms of expression, grammatical structure 
and linguistic idioms. It is almost equivalent to the 
immolation of a people on the altar of a foreign and 

282 The Lutherans in America. 

unfriendly race. Their past is to be severed from their 
future. The ideas, the modes of thought, the literary 
and devotional treasures, the usages and the habits of 
a people, their most sacred traditions, their very his 
tory, must sooner or later be given up and lost, when 
once their language is no longer the vehicle of their 
daily intercourse and of their public worship. The 
fear has often been voiced that the very faith of a 
people loses its identity and individuality by being 
transferred to another tongue. 

It is the refinement of cruelty as well as the height 
of political sagacity when tyrants compel the con 
quered races in their dominion to use the language of 
the conqueror in every department of education. A 
province is not subdued until it surrenders its vernac 
ular. To what extent the fathers in this country com 
prehended the significance of the change we do not 
know, but they contended against it with a violence 
and a persistence as if the loss of their language in 
public worship was tantamount to the extinction of 
their Church and the loss of all that was dear. 

The Lutheran Church of America glories to-day in 
her polyglot character and rejoices in the Providence 
that enables her ministers, like the Apostles on the 
day of Pentecost, to declare to all the diversified na 
tionalities that flock to these shores, "in their own 
tongues, the wonderful works of God." This certainly 
emphasizes the world-wide reach of her mission and 
the golden harvests that await her sickle in all com 
munities and localities. But the language problem 
has also proved to her the occasion of untold calam 
ities. The fierce opposition to the introduction of 

The Ravages of War. 283 

English services, the unprotestant attempt to confine 
her worship to a foreign tongue, became in all the 
great centres of population the most serious obstacle 
to her success, lost multitudes to her fold, limited her 
sphere, cramped her spirit, confined her influence, and 
placed her at such disadvantage to the other Churches 
of the land that even to this day, after bleeding and 
suffering from it for a hundred years, the Lutheran 
Church still feels the consequences of this policy. It 
was as ruinous in results as it was irrational in theory. 
It was essentially a blow at her life. The effort to 
make the Lutheran Church a church for the Germans 
only was a stab at her evangelical and apostolical 
character, which devolves upon her the mission of 
giving the restored Gospel to the world and preach 
ing it in every tongue. It was the renunciation of her 
birthright. It was casting aside her crown. No won 
der that in some localities it almost caused her extinc 
tion and in all places it inflicted on her irreparable 

This opposition to English did not manifest itself 
in the earlier colonial period. Muhlenberg conducted 
English services before he was in the country a year, 
and in New York he officiated in Dutch and English 
as well as in German. So his colleagues and his sons 
eagerly mastered the language of the country that they 
might extend the area of their ministrations, recogniz 
ing the duty of providing the young as well as their 
unchurched fellow-citizens with the word of life, and 
doubtless foreseeing the inevitable disasters which 
must follow the neglect of opportunities and the fail 
ure to meet responsibilities. An English address was 

284 The Liit her ans in America. 

delivered at the dedication of St. Michael s in 1748, 
Handschuh, who became pastor at Germantown in 
1751, officiated there occasionally in the English 
language. Their Swedish contemporaries were capa 
ble of using the English tongue and preached it not 
only in their own churches but very frequently also in 
the churches of their English neighbors. Pastor Rud- 
man early in the eighteenth century supplied regular 
ly two Episcopal churches in and near Philadelphia 
during the vacancy of their pulpits. Hesselius in 1721 
received ten pounds per annum from the " Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel " for preaching twenty 
times a year in the vacant English churches. 

The Episcopal Church in its feeble infancy in Penn 
sylvania was nursed by the Swedish pastors, who at 
various places and for considerable periods preached 
in its pulpits while the congregations were destitute 
of a pastor of their own order. And this they did, too, 
not for any worldly gain, for they often received no 
compensation for their labor, not even the payment of 
their expenses. They were in fact instructed by the 
Archbishop of Sweden "to attend no vacant English 
congregations for a salary or for the sake of gain." 
Should they find time from their arduous labors among 
their own congregations to visit the destitute English 
population, they should do this from the promptings 
of Christian charity, and such services as they con 
ducted for them, they were further charged, must be 
"according to our Evangelical Lutheran doctrine and 

They ministered in this way, from time to time, to 
quite a number of Episcopal congregations and, in fact, 

The Ravages of War. 285 

as the Episcopalians were then but few and in mean 
circumstances in this province, kept some of them from 
extinction. Their services were in demand by the 
English residents in every quarter, the people entreat 
ing their administration of the ordinances, as " other 
wise their children would become unchristened heath 
en, or Quakers, and their churches would be changed 
into stables alongside of Quaker meeting-houses." 
Their "ready assistance and substantial services "were 
acknowledged by Episcopal clergymen. Although 
their preaching and their ministrations gave them 
great influence with these Episcopal congregations, and 
they are said to have been as popular with them as 
with their own people, they were so devoid of the sec 
tarian spirit that it never occurred to them to alienate 
these congregations from their denominational body, 
though this might no doubt have been easily accom 
plished. When the situation was in after years unfortu 
nately reversed, and these very Swedish churches had 
to seek supplies from the Episcopal clergy, the spirit 
which dominated this assistance was also the reverse 
of that which prompted the Lutheran ministers with 
great personal sacrifice to dispense the Gospel to their 
Anglican brethren. How such ignoble sectarianism 
succeeded in wresting those churches from the parent 
trunk need not here be detailed. 

Most of the pastors who served the Swedish churches 
and rendered so much assistance to the Episcopalians 
were men of liberal education and quite acceptable 
preachers, and as a rule could officiate very satisfac 
torily both in German and in English. Their own con 
gregations were at an early period quite willing to 

286 The Lutherans in America 

have the English introduced, the English services 
being regularly conducted in the afternoon, sometimes 
at night. Some churches had "generally double 
preaching, first in German, then in English, almost 
every Sunday." This was felt to be necessary not 
only for the sake of some of the Swedish descendants 
who did not understand Swedish, but also for the sake 
of so many English living around, who although con 
nected with the English Church would otherwise have 
had no church service. At the funeral of pastor Tran- 
berg in 1748 an English discourse was delivered. In 
1763 Von Wrangel delivered a series of lectures in St. 
Michael s Church in the same language. 

Sometimes the newly arrived Swedish pastors felt 
constrained to attempt preaching in English before 
they had a sufficient command of the language. But 
they made rapid progress in its acquisition and soon 
delighted their English auditors. One of them, the 
Rev. Dylander, whose Christian zeal and fluency in 
the German enabled him to found German churches 
at Germantown and Lancaster, regularly conducted 
an early morning service in German in his church at 
Wicacoa, preached at the usual hour in Swedish and in 
the afternoon in English, and his English was so ele 
gant and his address so engaging that he captivated 
the English population, and he became so popular 
with that element that he was called upon to solem 
nize most of their marriages. This so excited the Eng 
lish Episcopal clergyman that he lodged a complaint 
against him before the Governor, who, however, de 
clined interfering, declaring that the people had in this 
country the right to get married wherever they pleased. 

The Ravages of War. 287 

Von Wrangel also drew such crowds that he was 
obliged often to preach in the open air. 

No serious disturbance seems to have been caused 
by the use of several languages in public worship 
prior to the Revolutionary war. Even amid the 
storms of the great conflict Rev. Streit introduced it 
in South Carolina. Pastor Knoll, who withdrew from 
the New York church in 1750, was accustomed to hold 
English services there. The patriarch Muhlenberg 
during his brief pastorates in that city in 1751 and 1752 
held an English service each Sunday evening, which 
was more largely attended than any other service. 
" The descendants of the Dutch families, who could no 
longer speak or understand the tongue of their fathers, 
and many of the surrounding community crowded the 
church." Many Episcopalians were in attendance. 
This may have been the real ground for the complaint 
that his loud preaching disturbed the worship in Trin 
ity Church just across the street. 1 1 was the first even 
ing service of any kind ever held in the church and 
as no fixtures for lighting the building had been pro 
vided, candles were fastened on top of the pews. 
"There was but one copy of the Hymn Book used on 
hand and Mr. Muhlenberg was wont to give out the 
lines and lead the singing. When he found that the 
German chorals were unfamiliar to the English audi 
ence he selected hymns with metres found also in 
English hymns and used familiar English tunes, when 
the whole congregation united heartily." Dr. B. M. 
Schmucker further observes: "However Mr. Berken- 
meier may have disliked the pietists, there were many 
earnest Christian souls in the surrounding congrega- 

288 The Lutherans in America. 

tions who were drawn to the services by the fervent, 
pungent, practical and evangelical preaching of Muh- 
lenberg. The English urged the erection of galleries 
in the church to accommodate the numerous attend 


The impulse thus given to the prosperity of that 
congregation, the large attendance of such as were not 
identified with the Lutheran Church or with the Ger 
man population, indicate what might have been had 
the language of the country at the right juncture been 
everywhere introduced into Lutheran worship. It ad 
mits of no question that if Muhlenberg could have 
remained at New York, Trinity Lutheran Church 
would not only have become united and very strong 
but would at an early day have grown into a flourish 
ing English Lutheran congregation. Nor can there 
be any doubt that such a congregation in New York 
a century ago would have immeasurably affected the 
development of Lutheranism in that city, and that the 
Mother of Protestantism would hold there to-day a 
commanding and influential position second to no 
other communion. 

This liberal policy of the patriarch and his col 
leagues, so consonant with the Protestant character of 
the Church, so well adapted to her mission and so full 
of promise, was unhappily and completely reversed at 
the close of the Revolution. And the excitements, 
animosities and convulsions of that protracted strug 
gle had no little share in bringing about this ill-fated 
change, which seriously arrested the progress of the 
Church and for a long period crippled her activity 
and confined her influence. The spirit which had 


290 The Lutherans in America. 

been raised for the purpose of exciting and sustaining 
the revolt did not subside when the contest was over. 
It remained to plague the land as the demon of strife 
and of party spirit in all the relations of society. The 
people had been long habituated to contend for their 
rights, to resent the slightest infringement of them, to 
chafe against all forms of government and to resist 
everything that savored of authority. They were 
irritable, contentious, ready to quarrel over any trifle, 
with no respect for magistrates and no consideration 
for the rights of others. Political excitement kept the 
public mind at the highest tension and domestic 
commotions often threatened greater calamities than 
a foreign foe had inflicted. 

That the Germans had a serenity of temper and 
pacific instincts which kept them out of the general 
turmoil, is not to be expected. It is not their nature. 
Nay their communities had some additional and pecu 
liar causes of irritation and bad feeling. The people 
had been lamentably divided in their attitude toward 
the war. "Many of the- old German settlers, who had 
on their arrival taken the oath of allegiance to the 
British Crown, conscientiously entertained the opinion 
that they ought not to act contrary to their sworn 
promise, while the majority of their brethren in the 
faith adopted without hesitation the new order of 
things, and cheerfully defended the cause of liberty 
and independence with their blood and treasure." 
This difference of sentiment was the occasion of great 
bitterness of feeling and caused not only blighting 
divisions in families but in many cases destroyed 
flourishing congregations. 

The Ravages of War. 291 

Such was the state of mind in which the people 
were found when the German churches had to meet 
the problem of introducing the English language, a 
problem on which was suspended the life or the death 
of the Church in this country. For its solution there 
was needed pre-eminently a spirit of conciliation, a 
supreme purpose to harmonize by concessions, to 
effect unity and promote the general good by the sur 
render of individual preference and rights. But these 
golden virtues were unhappily absent and the respec 
tive congregations were so charged with contentions, 
factions, and arbitrary elements, that the proposal to 
introduce the language of the nation was the signal 
for the outbreak of strife and bitter dissensions, and 
the temporary triumph of the opposition paralyzed 
the energies of the Church and arrested her normal 

How much German conservatism may have contrib 
uted to this conflict, how far those tardy and unpro- 
gressive national characteristics, which never hurry 
to conform to new conditions and never change 
merely for the sake of change, may have united with 
the stormy passions of the period in the fixed opposi 
tion to the use of English cannot now be determined. 
German became the party clamor. German literature, 
German education, German character, was all the cry, 
and blinded by prejudice and passion, possibly too re 
strained in some measure by reverence for ancestral 
institutions and the mother tongue, these people mor 
bidly failed to understand that the founding of a new 
nation meant inevitably the obliteration of national 
distinctions, to which the Church, according to her 

29 2 The Lutherans in America. 

own genius and mission, must at every cost except the 
sacrifice of truth adapt herself. 

The contention was sharp, violent and protracted. 
In some places, as in Philadelphia, the parties were 
pretty equally divided and the annual election of 
officers turned on this question and witnessed scenes 
more becoming a political convention than the house 
of God. As many as 1400 votes were polled in the 
joint congregation in the year 1806, and when the Ger 
man party once more won the day a colony withdrew 
and founded St. John s, the first exclusively English 
church in Pennsylvania, which for more than fifty years 
had for its pastor Rev. Philip F. Mayer, D. D., one of 
the most accomplished and useful men that have hon 
ored the Lutheran pulpit. 

So fixed was the determination of many to have the 
German tongue not only during their natural lives but 
to perpetuate it at any cost, that the civil law was in 
voked and the congregations adopted charters requir 
ing the exclusive and permanent use of the German. 
The language of worship must be as unalterable as the 
laws of the Medes and Persians, Even the Ministe- 
rium " must remain a German-speaking body," and it 
was enacted that " no proposition can be entertained 
which would render necessary any other language 
than the German in synodical meetings and business 

Education, literature, legislation, courts, ordinary 
trade and public intercourse, were conducted in the 
English language, whereas the Church called of God 
to permeate, purify and sanctify all these, was by a 
strange infatuation decreed to be German. That she 

The Ravages of War. 293 

survived such a suicidal policy is another proof that 
her life is from God, and that notwithstanding the per 
versity and unfaithfulness which at times are opposed 
to her progress, the gates of hell cannot prevail against 
her. Only a divine institution can survive the follies 
and passions of its adherents. 

While this hostility to using the language of the 
country in public worship proved exceedingly detri 
mental to the general interests of the Church, its ruin 
ous effects were especially glaring in the large cities of 
New York and Philadelphia. In the former city the 
Anglicized descendants of the Dutch as well as 
the rising generation of the Germans were constrained 
to separate by hundreds and even thousands from the 
Church of their fathers, and in Philadelphia a similar 
withdrawal of the educated and progressive elements 
went on for years. Many who remained became in 
different to sanctuary services of which they under 
stood but little, and lost their interest in a church that 
refused to them and their children the Gospel in the 
language of their country. And these serious losses 
aggravated in turn the strife between the parties who 
favored and those who opposed the introduction 
of English, rendering peace and prosperity impos 

This insane policy opposed to the providence of 
God and the universal practice of Protestants, as well 
as to the dictates of reason, caused immeasurable in 
jury to all the best interests of the Church. Its most 
far-reaching and disastrous consequence was the insur 
mountable barrier it raised to the establishment of 
schools for higher education and for the training of 

294 The Lutherans in America. 

candidates for the sacred office. The Synod as well 
as the principal congregations being divided into war 
ring factions, harmony of operation, so essential to 
success in any project, was out of the question. The 
Germans could not favor the founding of an institu 
tion which would inevitably give prominence to Eng 
lish and strengthen that element. The English party 
had no mind to contribute to an academy or college 
designed to perpetuate the German as the language 
of their Church. Thus for nearly half a century all 
educational movements were frustrated. And that 
church which is the parent of modern education as 
surely as she is the mother of Protestantism, was left 
without a single educational agency except her paroch 
ial schools, and a large portion of her ministry and 
especially her laity sank to a level of intelligence that 
became as much of a reproach as it was a calamity. 

In spite of the unhappy condition of the Lutheran 
Church in this period, in spite of the overwhelming 
obstacles which she encountered and which cast their 
portentous shadows far into the future, there was some 
advance, some extension of her borders. But it did 
not have the proportions which the faithful labors and 
the bright prospects of the previous period had antici 
pated and which the golden opportunities now war 
ranted. Contrasted with the activities and progress 
of the Church before the war, this has been very prop 
erly regarded an era of declension. Yet there was 
life. The word of the cross resounded from many 
Lutheran pulpits and silently wrought as the power of 
God unto salvation. Many of the ablest preachers 
were indeed heard no more. Schaum, after a faithful 

The Ravages of War. 295 

ministry of thirty-three years, entered into his rest in 
1778. The elder Muhlenberg, after a career of un 
surpassed usefulness and apostolic power, extending 
over a period of forty-five years, passed away amid 
the most touching expressions of his faith and love on 
October 7, 1787. His two gifted sons, Frederick A. 
C. and John Peter Gabriel, who had begun their min 
isterial labors before they had reached their majority, 
and had early developed eminent capacity for the 
sacred calling, had been swept by patriotic enthu 
siasm, the one into the arena of politics, the other 
into the field of battle. And they never returned to 
the ministrations of the altar, but filled spheres of 
usefulness and distinction in the service of their 
country. Frederick was elected to the Continental 
Congress in 1779, was re-elected a number of times, 
and in the first and third Congress after the adoption 
of the Constitution was chosen Speaker of the House. 
Peter became a Major-General in the army, sustained 
intimate relations to General Washington, was elected 
Vice-President of Pennsylvania in 1785 when Frank 
lin was chosen President, was a member of the First 
Congress, the Third and the Sixth. In 1801 he be 
came a United States Senator, which post he resigned 
to accept the appointment from Jefferson of Collector 
of the Port at Philadelphia. His statue in the National 
House of Representatives is one of the two contribu 
ted by Pennsylvania to that illustrious collection of 
patriots and statesmen. 

But what was gain to the state was loss to the 
church. The glorious achievements of such men in 
political life show what they might have accomplished 

296 The Lutherans in America. 

had they returned to the Church which needed their 
services even more than the young republic. And it 
is an example of the ordeal which the Church had to 
sustain at that time, through the diversion of much of 
her most serviceable material to the paths of civil life. 
The Muhlenbergs undoubtedly illustrate the general 
tendency of the age. The interests of the Church 
were sacrificed to the urgent and all-engrossing po 
litical and material issues. 

Provost Von Wrangel of the Swedish churches, the 
loving and sweet friend of Muhlenberg, who had been 
personally a source of great encouragement to him, 
who had rendered invaluable services to the Church 
in general and guided many souls to the experience 
of grace, had been recalled to Sweden, and had pre 
ceded his noble friend to the heavenly reward. Ger- 
ock, who had preached fourteen years at Lancaster, 
had served as its first pastor and for six years the 
new and spacious Christ Church in New York, died 
as pastor of the church in Baltimore, in 1787, after a 
pastorate of fourteen years. Other devoted and faith 
ful men, having in less conspicuous scenes rendered 
the full measure of their strength to the cause, were 
from time to time summoned to their rest, and there 
were but few of equal capacity and devotion to take 
their places. No more laborers were sent over by 
the Halle Directors, the Rev. J. F. Weinland, who 
arrived in i 783, being the last. Nor were there any 
further arrivals from Sweden, the last being Nicholas 
Collin, sent over in 1771. Before the close of the 
Revolution the Swedes had to seek supplies from the 
Episcopal churches. 

The Ravages of War. 297 

To reinforce the ministry to any extent from the 
native population was out of the question. The 
schools of the country had been almost everywhere 
broken up by the war, and the youth who should have 
been acquiring their education for the ministry were 
either called into the military service or, in the absence 
of the father in that service, required to take his place 
on the farm or in the shop. 

Yet the Lord of the harvest did not suffer his fields 
to be wholly desolate. Good and worthy and able 
men labored with marked efficiency in various parts 
of the land. Helmuth and Schmidt, as joint pastors, 
had charge of the large congregation in Philadelphia, 
worshiping in the two churches of St. Michael s and 
Zion. The former was one of the most eloquent 
men of his day, and adhering strictly to the orthodox 
faith and speaking with the unction of spiritual fervor, 
he held and swayed his large audiences as with a 
spell. Schmidt was inferior to him in the gift of elo 
cution, but was uniformly instructive in the pulpit and 
was most admired by his most intelligent hearers. 
He, too, was strictly orthodox and firmly opposed to 
the growing latitude which began to prevail among 
his brethren. Both of them were uncommonly faith 
ful in their pastoral ministrations, and manifested in 
every way the deepest concern for the spiritual life of 
their congregation. During the prevalence of the 
yellow fever in Philadelphia, in 1793, they displayed 
heroic self-sacrifice in ministering to the sick and 
burying the dead. On one occasion when six hun 
dred and twenty-five of his members had already been 
buried, Dr. Helmuth said from the pulpit, " Look 

298 The Lutherans in America. 

upon me as a dead man," and immediately went forth 
again to attend the sick and the dying. 

F. D. Schaeffer, D. D., a devout and holy man, a dis 
ciple of the Arndt and Spener school, labored with 
notable zeal and success at Germantown, and when 
subsequently transferred to Philadelphia as the suc 
cessor of Schmidt, actively urged that provision be 
made for those who understood only the English lan 
guage, a position which is said to have caused him 
great suffering and the issue of which deeply grieved 
him. Besides his personal labors which are held in 
perpetual remembrance by his congregations he gave 
to the Lutheran ministry his four sons, all men of solid 
gifts and of eminent worth. 

Dr. David Frederick Schaeffer, a man "almost un 
rivaled for general personal attractions, who labored 
in season and out of season; in town and in the coun 
try; on the Sabbath and during the week; in the pul 
pit and out of the pulpit ; beside the sick-bed and in 
the catechetical class;" and held an intimate and influ 
ential relation to all the leading movements of his own 
denomination, and with many important public enter 
prises out of it, began preaching at Frederick, Md., at 
the age of twenty-one and continued his indefatigable 
labors there for thirty years. He was the founder of 
the first English periodical in the Church. Frederick 
Solomon was pastor at Hagerstown and died at the 
age of twenty-five. Dr. Frederick Christian during 
his three years pastorate at Harrisburg succeeded in 
introducing English services. In 1815 he accepted a 
call to Christ Church in the city of New York, where 
he preached in two languages until the erection of St 

The Ravages of War. 299 

Matthew s church in 1823, from which time he preached 
exclusively in English. Dr. Charles Frederick Schaef- 
fer, whose noble, intellectual and moral qualities made 
him a man of mark throughout the Church for fifty 
years, and whose labors as author, and as professor 
successively in the three principal theological institu 
tions maintained by the Church in his time, secured 
him an influence not surpassed by any of his contem 
poraries, entered the ministry in 1832. 

Dr. J. C. Kunze s extensive culture constituted him an 
"ornament of the American Republic of letters." He 
was one of the most profound men of his day, and he 
has always been considered one of the brightest lights 
that ever shone in the American Lutheran Church, 
which in turn he regarded with an enthusiastic devo 
tion. He spent fourteen years as the associate of 
Helmuth in Philadelphia, and twenty-three years in 
laboring under great discouragements and trials for 
the upbuilding of his beloved Church in the city of 
New York. He belonged to the strict confessional 
party but was tolerant towards slight departures. He 
rejoiced with Helmuth over the fire which was kindled 
in their congregation in the year 1782, and later at 
New York. Those were precious hours to him when 
a penitent in tears came seeking help in the interests 
of his soul. His fearless rebuke of the desecration of 
the Lord s day exposed him to scurrillous attacks 
from his German countrymen. When the political 
and atheistical ideas of the French Revolution be 
gan to pervade the community to an alarming ex 
tent, he entered the lists along with such eminent, 
divines as Mason, Linn and Livingston, "to sound 

300 The Lutherans in America. 

the alarm of danger then threatening our firesides 
and our altars." 

Henry Ernest Muhlenberg, D. D., the youngest son 
of "the Patriarch," was a profound theologian and an 
original thinker, who held to the great truths of Chris 
tianity with much tenacity, but " could allow very 
considerable latitude on minor points." He was 
pastor of the Church at Lancaster for thirty-five 
years and maintained the most watchful oversight of 
the spiritual state of his flock. Rev. Benjamin Kel 
ler, one of his spiritual children, speaks of him as a 
41 model pastor " and among other things states that 
41 he appointed two days in the week immediately pre 
ceding the Communion for private conversation with 
those who intended to join in it. This gave him an 
opportunity of finding out the spiritual state of the 
communicants, and of counseling, admonishing, en 
couraging, comforting as the respective cases might 
require." Was it the prevalence of lax views of the 
Sacrament that led to the discontinuance of this prac 
tice, which at one time was general in the Church and 
which must commend itself to every pastor as reason 
able and proper? 

Rev. J. N. Kurtz, after experiencing almost un 
paralleled exposures and hardships at Tulpehocken 
for twenty-two years, labored till nearly the close of 
the century in and around York. He ardently es 
poused the cause of the colonies but was for a time 
seriously embarrassed by his oath of allegiance to 
King George. While the Colonial Congress sat at 
York, its chaplain, Rev. (afterwards Bishop) White, 
lodged in his house. He was one of the best Latin 

The Ravages of War. 30 1 

scholars then in this country. In the pulpit he was a 
" son of thunder," a man of extraordinary moral cour 
age, proclaiming the truth with indomitable boldness, 
yet he possessed withal such tact and tenderness, that 
the Lutheran churches lying far beyond his parish 
made continual requisition for his services for the al 
laying of strife, and the reconciliation of disaffected 
members. He was for the Lutheran churches in that 
region, what Muhlenberg was for the churches in the 
eastern part of the State, in New Jersey and New 
York, their pacificator. 

His son, Dr. J. Daniel Kurtz, " a man of much more 
than ordinary powers, an evangelical, impressive and 
earnest preacher, and an eminently faithful and affec 
tionate pastor," had charge of the church in Baltimore 
for nearly fifty years, assisting for a while and finally 
succeeding his father s friend, Rev. Gerock. 

After the retirement of Rev. J. N. Kurtz from 
York, that congregation was served by his son-in-law, 
the Rev. Jacob Goering, who preached Jesus Christ 
and him crucified in such a way that "no one could 
listen to him without being convinced that he had a 
deep inward experience of every sentiment that he 
uttered," and whose ministry of twenty-five years was 
blest with extensive awakenings, which brought large 
numbers into the church, and gave an impetus to its 
prosperity which continues to this day. Although he 
had never entered the precincts of a college he mas 
tered the Latin and Greek languages, the Hebrew and 
its cognates, became quite proficient in Church History 
and Patristics, and gathered a vast amount of infor 
mation on almost every branch of science. When 

3 2 The Lutherans in America. 

strongly urged for nomination to the office of 
Governor of Pennsylvania, he declined on the ground 
that the kingdom which he served was not of this 
world, and that he coveted no higher honor than 
that of being a faithful minister of the Lord Jesus. 

Among the representative ministers of the day a 
prominent rank was held by Dr. Christian Endress, 
who after holding for six years the position of princi 
pal of the large congregational school of Zion and St. 
Michael s in Philadelphia, took charge, in 1801, of the 
church at Easton, and in connection with it served for 
some years at intervals not less than a dozen localities 
on both sides of the river. In 1815 he succeeded the 
Rev. Dr. Henry E. Muhlenberg at Lancaster and in 
the face of powerful opposition and violent personal 
abuse succeeded in introducing the English language. 
He was an able and faithful minister of Christ, one 
that " you could never hear without feeling that you 
were in contact with a discriminating, powerful and 
earnest mind." He is classed with the " liberal party," 
and was " a decided Arminian." He was a diligent and 
independent student of the Scriptures. 

Dr. John George Schmucker went to Hagerstown 
in 1794, a charge which then embraced eight congre 
gations, and though he, like most of his Lutheran 
contemporaries, entered upon his work when quite a 
youth, he speedily acquired both in and out of the 
pulpit an influence which falls to the lot of compara 
tively few ministers. In 1809 he succeeded Gcering 
at York, where with unremitting assiduity and great 
success he labored for twenty-six years. He passed in 
his early years through profound religious experience 


The Ravages of War. 303 

and he reached an advanced stage of spiritual life. 
He was, besides being a faithful pastor, a voluminous 
author. As a preacher he was earnest and impres 
sive, fearless in exposing vice, unfaltering in his advo 
cacy of moral reforms, and warmly attached to the 
American Bible and Tract Societies, which he regarded 
as "grand instrumentalities for the conversion of the 
world." Besides the eminent services he rendered 
the Church in founding and promoting some of her 
most important institutions, he is deserving of grate 
ful remembrance, like Muhlenberg, Kurtz and Schaef- 
fer, as the progenitor of successive generations of min 
isters that have added largely to the efficiency and 
glory of the Lutheran communion. 

Among the most learned and laborious of the Lu 
theran divines of this period was the Rev. George 
Lochman, D. D., who from the year 1794 served the 
congregation at Lebanon with a number of affiliated 
congregations, extending his pastorate over twenty- 
one years and frequently declining invitations to more 
eligible fields of labor. In 1815 the peculiar circum 
stances of the congregation at Harrisburg constrained 
him to accept a call to that place, where his ministry 
continued to the close of his life in 1826, "with fre 
quent and signal tokens of the divine favor." He gave 
his support to every measure that promised to advance 
the public welfare and, like Muhlenberg, Von Wrangel 
and others, maintained a fraternal attitude toward 
other evangelical bodies. But in his estimation the 
Lutheran Church was the one pre-eminently loved of 
Christ, and the only thing that could at any time dis 
turb his unmeasured kindness of heart was "some in- 

304 1 h e -Lutherans in America. 

vasion of what he esteemed the rights and prerogatives 
of the good old Lutheran Church, for which he enter 
tained an affection next in strength and devotedness 
to that he felt for his divine Master." 

A man of eminent attainments of character was the 
Rev. F. W. Geissenhainer, D. D., who completed his 
theological studies at several German Universities be 
fore the age of eighteen, and who, on account of his ex 
traordinary qualifications for the office, was ordained 
at twenty, in a country where the rule was twenty-five. 
Coming to America in 1793, he labored in Montgom 
ery county, Pa., until he was called to New York on 
the death of Dr. Kunze in 1808. Returning some 
years later to his former charge in Pennsylvania, he 
was recalled to New York in 1822, and remained 
pastor of St. Matthew s Church until the close of his 
earthly life in 1838. 

In North Carolina the war reduced the churches to 
a feeble and impoverished condition. Rev. Adolphus 
Nussman, whom the Consistory of Hanover had sent 
as a missionary to that province in 1773, was still 
laboring there. Through him an appeal for help was 
forwarded to a mission society founded in connection 
with the University of Helmstaedt for the purpose of 
extending aid to the brethren in that region. Besides 
other substantial forms of relief for their spiritual des 
titution, this society sent over in 1788 a young minis 
ter by the name of Charles Augustus Gottlieb Storch. 
He had received University training, possessed a wide 
range of knowledge, and besides his familiarity with 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, was able to converse flu 
ently in five or six languages. His preaching was 

The Ravages of War. 305 

interesting and edifying to all classes ; "for his thoughts 
were presented with such admirable perspicuity that 
the most illiterate could comprehend them ; and yet 
they were so rich and elevated, and often powerful, 
that the best educated minds could not but admire 
them." He located at Salisbury and served from the 
first, in connection with that, two other places ; but he 
soon established other congregations in Rowan, Lin 
coln and Cabarras counties, and paid several visits to 
destitute churches in South Carolina, Tennessee and 
Virginia. In the pastoral relation he is said to have 
been a model of tenderness, diligence and fidelity. 
Repeatedly invited to occupy other and more eligible 
fields, he declined them all in view of the great dearth 
of ministers from which that region was suffering, 
though his learning and eloquence would have fitted 
him for the most cultivated and refined communities. 
His son, Rev. Theophilus Stork, D. D., the founder of 
St. Mark s, Philadelphia, and of St. Mark s, Baltimore, 
was an eloquent and polished divine; and his grand 
son, Charles A. Stork, D. D., who succeeded his father 
in Baltimore and who was cut off in the prime of his 
usefulness while Professor of Theology at Gettysburg, 
was a brilliant example of sanctified culture. 

Frederick Henry Quitman, D. D., the father of Ma 
jor-General Ouitman, studied at Halle during the 
period of "Illumination," under such lights as Semler, 
Gruner and others of the Rationalistic School. He 
arrived in this country from Holland in 1795. For 
thirty years he divided his labors among a number of 
churches on the Hudson, often preaching seven or 

306 The Lutherans in America. 

eight times a week, either in the German, Low Dutch 
or English language. 

Rev. Christian Streit served for some time as chap 
lain of the Army of Independence, and was taken pris 
oner by the British while he was pastor at Charleston, 
S. C. He took charge of the church at Winchester, 
Va., in 1 785, and also of the one at Strasburg, for 
merly included in Rev. (Gen.) Peter Muhlenberg s 
pastoral district. He continued to labor in this field 
until summoned to his reward in 1812. He acted as 
bishop of all the churches in that part of the Valley of 
Virginia, and laid the foundations of numerous con 
gregations throughout that whole region, preaching 
at first in both English and German ; but the views 
and circumstances of his people allowed him in his 
later years to officiate exclusively in English. 

Another minister "to whom both the nation and 
the Church, in their early and feeble day were alike 
indebted," was the Rev. John Nicholas Martin, who, 
while pastor at Charleston, S. C., during the Revolu 
tion, endured great sacrifices and sufferings on ac 
count of his ardent patriotism. 

Such were the leading men who presided over the 
Evangelical Lutheran churches during the closing 
decades of the eighteenth century and the earlier 
years of the nineteenth. No other denomination 
could, at the time, boast of a ministry that surpassed 
them in intellectual culture, in pastoral aptitude and 
fidelity, and in the highest qualities of pulpit elo 

A Presbyterian clergyman, the Rev. William R. De- 
witt, D. D., who had an intimate personal acquaint- 

The Ravages of War. 307 

ance with some of these fathers, says of them : " They 
were but one generation removed from those who 
first came to this country from Germany. They, for 
the most part, pursued their theological studies with 
them, and while doing so resided in their families. 
From them they imbibed much of that pastoral sim 
plicity and kindness, which so greatly distinguished 
them as a class, and which contrasted so favorably 
with the sterner elements in the characters of many 
of the Scotch-Irish ministers, the first Presbyterian 
pastors of this region." 

Under their earnest and laborious ministrations 
the older congregations maintained a steady pros 
perity. Such as had suffered most seriously from the 
ravages of the war, gradually revived, and new con 
gregations were organized in many localities. The 
ministers who occupied the outer borders of the 
Church were zealously affected to care for the feeble 
churches in their vicinity and to extend the Gospel 
into the regions beyond. They undertook mission 
ary tours into remote districts, gathering together the 
scattered children of the house of Luther, and plant 
ing in newer and destitute settlements the church of 
Christ as the centre of light and the bulwark of vir 
tue. The Rev. Eager, who was for years pastor of the 
churches at York and at Hanover, was wont to visit 
every six weeks a small band of Lutherans at Balti 
more, and extended his missionary journeys also 
westward as far as Grindstone Hill, in the neighbor 
hood of Chambersburg, traversing an area extending 
fifty miles in one direction and fifty in another, and 
strewing over the soil the seeds of divine truth, from 

308 The Lutherans in America. 

which the more than one hundred churches of Balti 
more, and of Franklin, Cumberland, Adams and York 
counties in Pennsylvania, are to-day reaping the har 
vest. A large number of excellent people, who trace 
their lineage to this active pioneer of Lutheranism, 
have an honorable place in the congregations which 
he founded. His grandson, Dr. H. L. Baugher, for a 
long time the President of Pennsylvania College, and 
the son and namesake of the latter, have in their de 
votion to the Church and their labors for its ad 
vancement proved themselves worthy descendants 
while others have shown exceptional liberality in the 
support of her institutions. 

No more active, indefatigable and self-denying mis 
sionary than the Rev. Paul Henkel ever labored in 
this country. He was a great-grandson of Rev. Ger 
hard Henkel, one of the first Lutheran ministers who 
came to this country from Germany. Serving at dif 
ferent times what might be regarded as a fixed charge 
at New Market, Va., and in Rowan County, N. C., he 
never confined himself to any such limitations. The 
whole surrounding country was his parish. He laid 
the foundations of quite a number of churches in 
Augusta, Madison, Pendleton and Wythe Counties, 
Va., and without authorization from any mission 
Board, and without dependence upon any missionary 
fund, he made repeated tours through western Vir 
ginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio ; hunt 
ing up the lost ; administering the Word and Sacra 
ments ; instructing and confirming the youth, and so 
far as practicable organizing new congregations. 
With all this he found time for the preparation of a 

The Ravages of War. 309 

series of devotional volumes in English and in Ger 
man, and took part in the training of quite a number 
of candidates for the ministry. He passed away from 
his earthly labors in 1825, but five sons took up 
his work in the church militant and their honorable 
name, their zealous consecration to the Church and 
her doctrines, have been perpetuated without inter 
ruption in the Lutheran pulpit to the present day. 

The Rev. John George Butler labored for some time 
in the Cumberland Valley in Pennsylvania. Subse 
quently he visited the destitute Lutheran settlements 
in the territory now embraced in Huntingdon, Blair, 
Bedford and Somerset counties. Again he is found 
exploring the waste places of the State of Virginia. 
He made Botetourt county his headquarters, but with 
all the energies of an ardent soul he was constantly 
prosecuting missionary operations into districts lying 
far beyond, often making appointments a year in ad 
vance and never failing to meet them. "He was an 
nually commissioned by the Synod of Pennsylvania to 
travel through the western part of Virginia and Ten 
nessee, to stop for a time wherever there was a pros 
pect of being especially useful, to catechise and con 
firm the young, to distribute copies of the Bible and 
the hymn-book, and to organize congregations wher 
ever it was practicable." 

In 1805 he removed to Cumberland, Md., where a 
congregation had been organized and a log house of 
worship erected in 1794. His regular charge consisted 
here of eight congregations, one forty-seven, another 
sixty miles from the place of his residence, receiving 
from all these congregations about one hundred and 

310 The Lutherans in America. 

fifty dollars. " In visiting a neighborhood remote from 
his residence he usually remained from four to eight 
weeks, preaching and catechising the youth daily, vis 
iting the people from house to house, praying with 
them, and exhorting all to become Christians or to 
grow in grace. Before leaving, it was his custom to 
preach a farewell sermon at a school-house, in a mill, 
or some other convenient place, there being usually a 
very large attendance. At the close he requested all 
to unite with him in singing a farewell hymn. During 
the singing of the first stanza the fathers came forward 
and one by one gave him the parting hand. After he 
had spoken to them a few suitable words, they would 
turn and pass out of doors, generally weeping as they 
went. The mothers did the same while the next verse 
was being sung ; then those whom he had confirmed ; 
then all the rest, and finally he himself followed. Then 
in front of the house all arranged themselves in a cir 
cle, with him in the center, and thus they sang the re 
maining verses. After that he knelt with all of them 
on the cold ground, and spreading his hands to heaven 
prayed with and for them. The doxology followed 
and the benediction. And now in an instant he was 
upon his horse, and away he went, perhaps to return 
no more. The impression made by such a scene was 
overpowering. He wept and they wept ; and in the 
remembrance of what he had said, the good seed of 
the word brought forth rich fruit," fruit which has 
kept ripening and multiplying for successive genera 
tions, and the gathering of which at this time employs 
the labors of scores of ministers in the western coun 
ties of Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. 

The Ravages of War. 311 

Thus rolled the wave of missionary operations till it 
reached, before the close of the century, the very sum 
mit of the Alleghenies. But the mountains themselves 
form no barriers to the spread of the Gospel. And 
weak and poorly organized as was the Church, the ag 
gressive spirit of Christianity moved it to follow the 
streams of immigration and to plant the cross on the 
wild prairies of the west. One of the noblest of these 
pioneers was Rev William Carpenter, who after serv 
ing for twenty-six years the old Hebron church in Mad 
ison county, Va., followed a colony of his own congre 
gation to Boone county, Ky. This little band had 
kept up religious meetings in their humble cabins for 
eight years when Mr. Carpenter paid them a visit to 
.catechise the children and administer the Sacraments. 
He felt constrained to cast his lot among them and 
for twenty years, to the close of his life in 1833, he 
exercised his ministry in that remote region. During 
the same period a pupil of his, Rev. Geo. Daniel Flohr, 
cultivated a large missionary field in south-western 
Virginia. His residence was in Wythe county, but his 
congregations lay in three different counties and four 
of them were distant from his residence, nine, twenty- 
two, thirty, and forty-seven miles. 

In Pennsylvania we trace Rev. John Michael Steck 
taking charge of congregations in Bedford and Somer 
set counties, in the year 1789. He located at Greens- 
burg in 1792, performing arduous missionary labors in 
that part of Pennsylvania, which was yet a wilderness. 
His son, Michael John Steck, accepted a call to Lan 
caster, Ohio, in 1816, and by appointment of Synod, 
made extensive missionary tours. He was the first 

3 12 The Lutherans in America. 

Lutheran minister to officiate in Columbus, O., hold 
ing services in an upper room of a private house in 
1819. Rev. Colson was laboring at Meadville in 1814, 
to which place Rev. C. F. Heyer was sent out by the 
Pennsylvania Synod in 1817. He was the ideal of a 
Christian missionary and for sixty years rendered in 
calculable services to his Church both in this country 
and in India. 

As the borders of Zion became extended and minis 
ters and congregations were multiplying, the great dis 
tances to be travelled over in attending the annual 
meetings of the Pennsylvania Synod, as well as the 
desire to promote the efficiency of the churches 
through closer affiliation and a more compact or 
ganization, prompted the ministers in different states 
to organize separate conferences or associations* 
The first of these organizations, the second synod of 
the American Lutheran Church, was " The Synod and 
Ministerium of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 
the State of New York and adjacent parts," which was 
formed at Albany in the year 1786, with Dr. Kunze as 
President. Its constitution and regulations were al 
most identical with those of the mother synod, "except 
that the German language was not constituted either 
the language of synod, or that wherein divine service 
was to be celebrated, except where the circumstances 
of a congregation would require it." As early as 1815 
it became almost entirely English. Although there 
were ten ministers between New York and Troy, and 
several in New Jersey, only three were present at the 
first convention. And of the more than twenty-five 
congregations only two were represented. 

The Ravages of War. 313 

During the year 1788 seven ministers with fifteen 
congregations located in the Carolinas formed a kind 
of synodical organization under the title Unio Eccle- 
siastica of the German Protestant Churches in the 
State of South Carolina. Its principal object seems 
to have been to provide " for the proper legal incor 
poration of all the German churches which were lo 
cated in the interior of the state." The evil of con 
founding or merging the two Churches into one was 
carefully guarded against, and the act of incorporation 
stipulates that " it is not to be understood that any 
member of either confession should forsake his con 
fession, but that both Lutheran and Reformed, who 
are members of one or the other of the incorporated 
Churches, and who have hitherto united in the attend 
ance on worship, shall continue to enjoy the same 
rights and privileges, without the least reproaches in 
consequence of their respective confessions." Nor can 
this corporate alliance be chargeable with unsound- 
ness in the faith on the part of the Lutherans, for "all 
the Evangelical Lutheran ministers were formally 
sworn on the Symbolical Books " at the first meeting. 
Rev. Friedrich Daser, A. M., was chosen Senior or 
President, Rev. F. A. Wallberg, Secretary. Both were 
Lutherans, as were in fact all but two of the ministers, 
and nine of the fifteen congregations. 

The ecclesiastical consciousness of that region 
seems to have been at that time somewhat confused, 
since the first convention of the Lutheran Church in 
North Carolina, held in St. John s Church, Cabarras 
county, May 1794, proceeded to examine and ordain a 
minister for the Episcopal Church. His name was 

The Lutherans in America. 

Robert Johnson Miller, and this extraordinary inva 
sion of Episcopal prerogative on the part of a Lu 
theran Ministerium was in response to a petition from 
Mr. Miller s people of White Haven Church, in Lin 
coln county. It must have been in strange times that 
Episcopalians could forget the Apostolic Succession 
and Lutherans ordain a man to minister for that de 
nomination. Rev. Miller s ordination certificate is 
still extant. It ought to be deposited with the House 
of Bishops as a companion piece of the memorable 
deliverance on the " Historic Episcopate." 

This conference seems to have been called for no 
other purpose than the ordaining of Mr. Miller. No 
synodical organization was effected until the year 
1803. The principal impulse leading to the organiza 
tion seems to have been the great religious awakening 
which passed over the country in the first years of the 
present century. The ablest minds of the Church in 
that section, Revs. Storch and Henkel, became greatly 
disturbed and perplexed over the phenomena which 
they witnessed and which in some measure unsettled 
their own people. They hesitated to call the move 
ment fanatical or to denounce it as unscriptural, for 
they discovered a remarkable change in persons who 
had been previously either ungodly in their lives or 
avowedly skeptical in their views. As there was di 
vision of sentiment among the German ministers, this 
instead of leading to strife or alienation, " drove them 
to more intimate communion with each other in their 
official acts, and they had thus the opportunity to in 
vestigate this matter more closely." 

About this time, too, the assistance which the 

The Ravages of War. 315 

Helmstaedt Mission had been rendering to the 
churches in North Carolina came to an end, and these 
churches were accordingly thrown upon their own re 
sources. Distracted by the revivalistic excitement, 
and deprived of the parental guidance and the ma 
terial support of their friends in the fatherland, they 
felt the need of united counsels and active co-opera 
tion for their own defence and prosperity, and " that 
the instruction and quickening influence of the Gospel 
may be brought to many thousands of souls who have 
hitherto been necessarily deprived of the same." 
Thus originated at Salisbury, May 2d, 1803, the North 
Carolina Synod, or Conference, as these bodies were 
then sometimes called, exercising henceforth sole 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction in those parts. The Penn 
sylvania Ministerium had, in fact, never extended its 
jurisdiction beyond Virginia, the churches farther 
south having been under the care of a European 
missionary society, or else independent alike of the 
care or fellowship of any ecclesiastical body. The 
ministers present were Gottfried Arndt, Carl A. G. 
Storch, Paul Henkel and Robert J. Miller, who had 
been charged in his ordination certificate " to obey 
the rules, ordinances and customs of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church," but who, notwithstanding, served 
Lutheran congregations for twenty-seven years. 

By this organization a new life appears to have been 
infused into the Lutheran Church in the Carolinas.. 
With the exception of Rev. Faber in Charleston, who 
was doubtless prevented by the great distance which 
separated him from the localities where the synod 
usually met, and the Rev. F. J. Wallern, who always 

316 77/6- Lutherans in America. 

remained independent of synodical connection, all the 
Lutheran ministers residing in South Carolina united 
subsequently with this body. The greatest drawback 
to large and rapid growth was the want of ministers 
of the Gospel, "and in order to supply this demand, 
pious laymen were licensed as catechets, who after 
wards became candidates for the ministry; in this way 
originated the licensure system." 

In October, 1812, some ten ministers, missionaries 
.sent out by the Ministerium of Pennsylvania, held in 
Washington county, Pa., the first ecclesiastical confer 
ence west of the Allegheny mountains. The organ 
ization of an independent body, which was discounte 
nanced by the mother Synod, did not occur until Sep 
tember, 1817, at New Philadelphia, Ohio. It was the 
work of the younger members in opposition to the 
judgment of the older ones, and only three of the 
ministers participating in the organization had been 

The Synod of Maryland and Virginia was formed 
in the year 1820. 

Thus moved neither by doctrinal or ecclesiastical 
differences, nor, so far as known, by any other cause 
of dissension, but mainly by the circumstances of their 
situation and the consideration of the interests of the 
Church, there were organized four additional synods 
before the end of the first quarter of the present cen 
tury. The extension of the Lutheran Church, not 
withstanding great obstacles, kept pace with the growth 
of the country and with the rapid multiplication and 
expansion of our population. Its whole strength, 
which at the beginning of the century numbered but 

The Ravages of War, 


seventy ministers and three hundred congregations, 
embraced now one hundred and sixty-four ministers, 
four hundred and seventy-five congregations, and forty- 
five thousand communicants. But one hundred of the 
congregations were pastorless. 

The latter statement reveals the saddest feature of 
the Church at that period and brings into view the 
most serious barrier to her rapid progress. A num 
ber of circumstances combined unfortunately to pre- 


vent the establishment of schools for the training of 
ministers, the inflow of suitable men from Germany 
had long since ceased, and HI consequence there was 
such a dearth of laborers that nearly one-fourth of the 
congregations were deprived of pastoral ministrations, 
and but few preachers could be spared to prosecute 
missionary operations on the frontier. 

The enlightened founders of the Church in this 

318 The Lutherans in America. 

country were not only alive to the interests of general 
education but with signal zeal they endeavored to de 
velop institutions for the training of a ministry. The 
language of her people placed them even then already 
in comparison with others, at a great disadvantage, 
but this evil was sought to be remedied by a project 
devised by liberal-minded men like Benjamin Frank 
lin, Conrad Weiser and William Smith, who secured 
large sums in England for the maintenance of elemen 
tary schools in which to educate and Anglicize the 
German population. But these efforts and the flour 
ishing parochial school of Philadelphia could not sup 
ply a cultured ministry for the Church, and Dr. Kunze, 
at a day when apparently all the means and resources 
for such an institution were wanting, conceived the 
project of a High School, and, with his "Society for 
the promotion of Christianity and all useful knowl 
edge among the Germans," opened, amid festive cere 
monies, his "Deutsches Seminar," February 15, 1773. 
But this noble beginning of a theological school, which 
might have raised up a large body of cultured minis 
ters, perished like many other precious institutions in 
the storms of the Revolution. "When peace was re 
stored in 1783 there was no institution in which Ger 
man youths could be advanced beyond the limits of 
the elementary branches." 

This want was supplied in part through the Univer 
sity of Pennsylvania, then the foremost liberal school 
of the State, and which had connected with it from the 
year i 780 a German Department, that is a " German 
Professorship by which, through the medium of the 
German tongue, instruction in the learned languages 

The Ravages of War. 319 

was to be imparted." The first incumbent of this 
professorship was the learned Dr. Kunze, who was 
succeeded in 1784 by his colleague in St. Michael s 
and Zion, the eloquent Dr. Helmuth. Their prestige 
and ability secured at once a liberal patronage, and as 
many as sixty students were in attendance during 
1785, a number considerably greater than that of the 
English students, so that the large recitation room of 
the English, the most commodious and beautiful in 
the building, was given up to the Germans. 

A number of Lutheran ministers received their clas 
sical training in this University, some of them being 
the beneficiaries of the German Society of Pennsyl 
vania, among the latter such distinguished names 
as George Lochman, Christian Endress, David F. 
Schaeffer and Samuel Schmucker. 

Franklin College was founded in 1787, but compar 
atively a small number of Lutheran clergymen re 
ceived their training in it. Rev. Henry A. Muhlen- 
berg, for a long time pastor at Reading, and after 
wards attaining high distinction as a civilian, and Rev. 
Benjamin Keller, one of the most lovely and useful of 
the Church s servants, were among the number. A 
kind of private Seminary for theological instruction 
was begun somewhat earlier by Rev s. Helmuth and 
Schmidt, and such lights of the Church as George 
Lochman, J. G. Schmucker, Endress, J. Miller, Baker, 
Butler and Baetes were prepared in this institute for 
the Lutheran pulpit. Kunze was moved to accept 
the call to New York in 1784, by the offer of a profess 
orship in Columbia College, in which institution he 
hoped to be able to accomplish something by way of 



A BRIGHTER day was about to break over 
the Church. Its sun rose indeed amid over 
hanging clouds, nevertheless it rose and ushered 
in a period of extraordinary prosperity, development 
and expansion. The spirit of Christianity is the 
spirit of unity. The mission of the Chief Shepherd 
was "to gather together in one the children ot God 
that were scattered abroad." Sin and error cause 
divisions and alienations. The Gospel, as it reconciles 
men to God, binds them also to one another in sym 
pathy and affection. He that loveth God the Father 
of all, loveth also his brother, and where love is men 
are drawn together 

This fraternal spirit was animating the hearts of 
many in the Lutheran Church during the first quarter 
of the nineteenth century, and its fruit was the organi 
zation of the General Synod, which, recalling in many 
respects the blooming period of Muhlenberg, formed 
like that a new era in the history and operations of 
the Evangelical Lutheran Church of this country. 
She became once again distinguished by unity, life, 
activity and wonderful progress. Those having the 
same faith, culture, traditions and blood even, would 
naturally be attracted together by the affinities of 
the Gospel, but they felt also the necessity for a 
closer bond of union in order to promote, by com 
bined effort, and on a comprehensive scale the general 



Formation of the General Synod. 323 

progress of Zion. This sentiment had been growing 
for years and the desire seemed general, that there 
should be some central connection in order that 
unnecessary and injurious divisions might not arise, 
that more general conformity in the usages and devo 
tional books of the Church might prevail, and 
greater strength and increased efficiency imparted to 
those enterprises, in which concentration is so essen 
tial to success. 

To satisfy this Christian yearning for fraternal fel 
lowship, to provide for the increasing wants of the 
individual congregations, and to meet the responsi 
bilities of the Church as a body, the Lutheran com 
munities must needs enter into organic relations with 
each other. The situation was ripe for carrying it 
into execution. The Spirit of God had prepared the 
Church for an advance. 

The initiative came fittingly from the Synod of 
Pennsylvania, which was the mother of the other 
Synods, and which still embraced more churches and 
pastors than all the others. The first traces of it are 
found in the meeting of the Synod at Harrisburg in 
1818, where it was " Resolved that the Synod regard 
it as desirable that the different Evangelical Lutheran 
Synods in the United States should in some way or 
other stand in closer connection with each other; 
and that the Reverend Ministerium be charged with 
the consideration of this matter, and if the Reverend 
Ministerium recognize the advisability of it, to develop 
a plan for a closer union, and to see to it that some 
such desirable union be effected if possible." " Extra 
ordinary unanimity and the most hearty concord and 

324 The Lutherans in America. 

brotherly love prevailed " at this meeting, for which 
the secretary records fervent thanksgiving. 

The officers were appointed a committee on cor 
respondence to give efficacy to the movement. Com 
munications expressive of the Synod s action were 
accordingly forwarded to the other Synods, and they 
were invited to send deputies to the next annual meet 
ing of the Pennsylvania Synod, to be held in Balti 
more, Trinity week, 1819, for the purpose of consider 
ing the expediency of organizing a General Synod. 

At that convention a letter was read from Pastor 
Quitman, of New York, favoring a more intimate 
union of the Synods. No mention is made of the 
Ohio Synod. But the North Carolina Synod, hold 
ing " that towards such a Union of our Church all 
possible assistance ought to be rendered," promptly 
elected its secretary, Rev. Gottlieb Shober, to attend 
the above meeting at Baltimore, and in the name of 
his Synod, "endeavor to effect such a desirable 
union." He was accorded a seat and a vote, and his 
presence for this particular object gave great en 
couragement to the Synod to proceed with it. It be 
came the paramount subject of consideration. A 
committee was appointed consisting of Rev. Drs. F. D. 
Schaeffer, J. Daniel Kurtz and J. George Schmucker 
with Messrs. Demuth, Keller and Schorr of the laity, 
and the delegate, Rev. Shober, to examine the 
whole matter and to outline a plan as early as pos 

The report of the committee was thoroughly dis 
cussed and its plan for the establishment of a General 
Synod adopted by a vote of forty-two to eight. Its 

Formation of the General Synod. 325 

first paragraph states that in view of the extension 
of the Church " over the greatest part of the United 
States of North America, and as the members of the 
said Church are anxious to walk in the spirit of love 
and concord, under one rule of faith, * * * it ap 
pears to be the almost unanimous wish of the exist 
ing synods or ministeriums, that a fraternal union of 
the whole Evangelical Lutheran Church in these 
United States might be effected, by means of some 
central organization." 


How to effect such " a fraternal union " was the 
problem. The Lutheran Church recognizes in no 
form of Church government any divine right beyond 
that of the sovereignty of the individual congrega 
tion, which includes the office of preaching the Gospel 
and administering the sacraments. This principle 
being guarded the fathers were at liberty to adopt any 
polity that would best subserve the end in view. The 
outline of a plan modeled largely after the constitu 
tion of the Presbyterian General Assembly formed 
the basis of discussion with the committee, but some 
prominent features of the Congregational system were 
also introduced. The powers of the General Body 
were made chiefly advisory, the judicial and executive 
authority being left mainly in the hands of the indi 
vidual synods. It was designed to serve as "a joint 
committee of the special synods," and the internal 
management and government of these was to be re 
tained perpetually in their hands, "subject only to 
this restriction, that such rules and regulations do not 
conflict with these fundamental principles of the 
general organization." 

326 The Lutherans in America. 

Section 4 of the proposed plan surrendered to the 
General Synod "the exclusive right, with the consent 
of a majority of the special synods, of introducing new 
books for general use in the Church, and also of mak 
ing improvements in the Liturgy ; until this however 
takes place, the hymn-books now in use, the Small 
Catechism of Luther, the Liturgies already adopted, 
and such other books as have been received as 
Church books by any of the existing synods, shall 
continue in use as they may choose. The General 
Synod however has no power to make or to demand 
any alteration whatever in the doctrines hitherto re 
ceived by us." 

Provision was made for the organization of new 
synods, especially in States not yet having any such 
organization. Unless the permission of the General 
Synod shall have been formally obtained, " no newly 
organized body shall be recognized as a lawful Min- 
isterium among us, and no ordination performed by 
them as valid." 

The plan thus adopted by the Synod of Pennsyl 
vania as "a proposition for a General Union of the 
the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the United 
States of North America" was signed by J. George 
Schmucker, President, and Conrad Jaeger, Secretary, 
and was published for general distribution among all 
the ministers and delegates of the several synods, 
with the understanding that they were to take action 
upon it as soon as possible, and that if three-fourths 
of the Synods adopted it, "at least in its spirit and 
essentials," the President of the Synod of Pennsylva 
nia should proceed to call a convention of deputies, 

Formation of the General Synod. 327 

who at such time and place as he might determine, 
should meet for the purpose of framing for themselves 
a constitution to be conformed as nearly as possible 
to the plan proposed. 

The proposition having been favorably received by 
the requisite number of synods, the convention for 
effecting the proposed organization was announced 
to be held at Hagerstown, Md., October 22, 1820. 
There appeared as deputies from the Synod of Penn 
sylvania, Drs. George Lochman, F. W. Geissenhainer, 
Christian Endress, J. G. Schmucker, H. A. Muhlen- 
berg (a son of Henry E. Muhlenberg, D. D., and grand 
son of the Patriarch), and Messrs. Christian Kunkel, 
William Hensel and Peter Strickler; from the Synod 
of New York, Rev. Drs. P. F. Mayer and F. C. Schaef- 
fer; from the Synod of North Carolina, Revs. G. 
Schober and P. Schmucker; from the Synod of Mary 
land and Virginia, Rev. Drs. J. D. Kurtz, D. F. Schaef- 
fer and Mr. G. Schryock. " It was much regretted by 
all present, that from the Synod in the State of Ohio 
the expected deputies did not appear." J. D. Kurtz, 
D. D., was chosen President of the Convention and H. 
A. Muhlenberg, D. D., Secretary. A more important 
meeting was never held within the bounds of the Lu 
theran Church this side of the Atlantic, and a nobler 
band of enlightened men could not have been found 
at the time within her pale or outside of it. 

They seem to have realized the responsibility with 
which they were charged in laying the foundations 
of a united Lutheran Church on this continent, and 
with the spirit of the utmost harmony they built so 
wisely that their structure with some modifications, 

328 The Lutherans in America. 

still remains, and has been by general consent one of 
the most powerful instruments in determining the 
character and advancing the general welfare of the 
Church. Although false friends within and hostile 
assailants from without have often exposed it to re 
proach, few men familiar with its history will withhold 
from it the praise that directly or indirectly, by its 
own development on right lines, as well as by stimu 
lating its opponents to a right development, " it has 
proved a great blessing to the Church. From its in 
fluence the happiest results have flowed, even to 
Synods which did not formally unite with it." "It 
was at this crisis," says the Rev. Charles P. Krauth, 
D. D., in The Lutheran and Missionary, March 1 7, 
1864, "that the life of the Church displayed itself in 
the formation of the General Synod. The formation 
was a great act of faith, made as the framers of the 
constitution sublimely express it, in reliance upon 
God our Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit 
in the word of God. The framers of that constitu 
tion should be as dear to us as Lutherans, as the 
framers of our Federal Constitution are to us as 

The convention agreed unanimously upon a consti 
tution which was essentially identical with the plan 
that had been proposed by the Pennsylvania Synod. 
It was referred to the several Synods with the provis 
ion that if ratified by three of the Synods partici 
pating in its preparation, it should be considered bind 
ing, and the chairman of the convention was author 
ized to call the first meeting of the united body at 

330 The Lutherans in America. 

Frederick, Md., on the third Monday in October, 1821. 
The absence of deputies from the Synod of Ohio hav 
ing occasioned much disappointment, a friendly letter 
was ordered to be addressed to its President "encour 
aging him, if possible, to prevail on said Synod to 
unite with their brethren in the adoption of the con 
stitution." So confident were these deputies of the 
ratification of their work by the requisite number of 
synods, that in their zeal they proceeded at once with 
the initial steps for the founding of some of the insti 
tutions contemplated. One committee was appointed 
to form a plan for a Seminary of Education. This 
consisted of Drs. Schmucker, Lochman, Endress, 
Geissenhainer and Muhlenberg. Another committee 
was charged to form a plan for a Missionary Institu 
tion. A third committee was to form a plan in aid of 
poor ministers, and ministers widows and orphans. 

At the next annual convention of the Pennsylvania 
Synod, held in Chambersburg, June, 1821, "after every 
article had been maturely considered and unanimously 
agreed upon," the constitution was adopted by a vote 
of sixty-seven against six. The Synod of Maryland 
and Virginia at its next meeting, in Frederick, Sep 
tember 2-4, also adopted it with entire unanimity. 
And so did the Synod of North Carolina. In the 
Synod of New York the subject encountered singular 
indifference. In 1819 this body had discussed at some 
length the plan proposed, and Urs. Mayer and Schaef- 
fer represented it at the convention to form a consti 
tution in 1820. These delegates reported at the sub 
sequent meeting of that Synod in 1821, and presented 
the Constitution to the General Synod. "The same 

Formation of the General Synod. 331 

was read and debated, and it was finally resolved that 
the secretary exert himself to secure more copies of 
this constitution and that the further discussion be 
postponed." The question of uniting was referred to 
the congregations. In 1822 the secretary reported 
that only a few congregations had communicated their 
decision. " The majority of the answers indicated, 
however, that the connection with the General Synod 
was for the present not feasible, (unpraktisch)," though 
no objections were raised against the project. 

Three of the synods having ratified the constitution, 
the first regular convention of the General Synod met 
in Frederick, Md., October 21-23, 1821. Rev. George 
Lochman, D. D., conducted services in the morning 
in the German language, Rev. J. G. Schmucker, D. D., 
preached in the afternoon in German, and Rev. C. 
Endress, D. D., at night in the English language. 
Representatives were present from the Synods of 
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. 
Those from the first were Drs. J. G, Schmucker, Loch 
man and Endress, with lay deputies C. A. Barnitz, F. 
Sharrets and P. Brua; from the second, Revs. Shober 
and Scherer ; from the latter body, Rev. D. F. Schaef- 
fer and John Ebert, Esq. Thus while fifteen repre 
sentatives had participated in the formation of the 
constitution, only ten took part in the proceedings of 
the first regular meeting. " But on account of a pre 
vailing epidemic and an error in the advertisement of 
the newspapers concerning the time of meeting, there 
were absent four deputies elected by the Synod of 
Pennsylvania, two by the Synod of North Carolina 
and two by the Synod of Maryland and Virginia." 

33 2 The Lutherans in America. 

The whole number, therefore, properly constitut 
ing the first meeting was twenty. Dr. Lochman 
was President of the body, Dr. David F. Schaeffer 
Secretary, and Hon. C. A. Barnitz, Treasurer. The 
number was small. Their resources were slender. 
Formidable obstacles confronted them. But the Spirit 
of Christ had wrought within them strong desires 
and high expectations. There was withal a reso 
lute will and a lofty, world-conquering faith. 

Keenly sensible of the immediate and pressing needs 
of the Church, the members of the first General Synod 
wrestled earnestly with the problems of Ministerial 
Education, Home Missions, and the Catechisation of 
the Young. While clearly perceiving the necessity for 
a Theological Seminary it was deemed advisable, 
among other reasons, "on account of the pressure of 
the times," to defer its establishment for several years, 
but in the meanwhile measures were proposed in an 
ticipation of the early founding of such an institution. 
The subject was to be agitated, the minds of the con 
gregations prepared for it, and a well selected and 
extensive library collected for the use of the Seminary. 

Considerable discussion having been given to the 
subject of Home Missions, "the several district Synods 
were earnestly recommended to send one or more mis 
sionaries to such parts of the country as, in their opin 
ion, stood most in need of them." Drs. Endress, 
Schmucker, Lochman, D. F. Schaeffer, and Rev. Sho- 
ber were appointed to prepare an English Cate 
chism. At this covention the the Pennsylvania Synod 
reported on its roll eighty-five ministers, who had dur 
ing the year confirmed "about four or five hundred 

Formation of the General Synod. 333 

persons " and whose congregations maintained two 
hundred and ninety-five schools. The Synod of 
Maryland and Virginia reported fifteen ministers who 
had confirmed five hundred and eighty during the year, 
and the Synod of North Carolina thirteen ministers 
and two hundred and twenty confirmations. 

So wise and beneficent an organization as the Gen 
eral Synod was designed to be can not proceed very 
far without hindrances and antagonisms. It began its 
career, indeed, with remarkable freedom from oppo 
sition. But every new departure in civil or religious 
society, every forward movement in the cause of truth 
and righteousness, must run the gauntlet of denuncia 
tion, hostility and misrepresentation. The price of 
every noble institution is a struggle for existence. 

The general union of Lutheran Synods in this coun 
try must submit to the same law of trial, and only 
after it has stood the fiery test and proved its vitality, 
its worthiness to live, could it expect to go forward 
with the divine work of developing the Church and 
extending her borders. The laudable endeavor to 
unite the different sections of the Church, so that by 
harmony of counsel and concert of action a general 
advance might be effected, had scarcely been inaugu 
rated when the whole movement seemed to be sud 
denly frustrated. " The hopes which had been cher 
ished for the improvement of our Zion seemed blasted, 
and -many were disposed to abandon the project of a 
union." Happily the project was of God, and brave 
and capable men with strong faith and with true hearts, 
men capable of enduring hardship and of meeting the 
issue, were provided for the crisis. 

334 The Lutherans in America. 

At the second convention of the General Synod, 
held at Frederick, October 19-21, 1823, tne Pennsyl 
vania Ministerium, the parent synod, which had been 
really the founder of the General Synod, was not rep 
resented. At its regular convention in the year 1823, 
it passed resolutions severing its connection with the 
general body. This withdrawal was not caused by 
any doctrinal divergence between the former body 
and the latter. Neither had any misunderstandings 
arisen among the leaders, nor any dissatisfaction with 
the avowed plans and purposes of the organization. 
Nor indeed was the recession designed to be perma 
nent, but only "until such time in the future as the 
congregations themselves shall see their mistake of 
our true intention, and shall call for a reconsideration 
of these resolutions." 

The trouble arose with the congregations. The 
idea was conceived and spread among them that such 
an organization might become an instrument of eccle 
siastical tyranny. Dolorous predictions were uttered, 
malicious representations circulated and violent hos 
tility excited against it. So jealous, indeed, were the 
people of their political rights, the price of which had 
not yet been forgotten, so suspicious were they of 
authority, and so morbidly sensitive was their dread 
of power in any domain, that they professed to fear in 
such a union necessary for the strengthening and up 
building of the Church, an institution dangerous to 
the liberties of the American people. Ministers of 
other denominations were largely instrumental in ex 
citing these groundless fears and inflaming bitter op 
position to a movement designed to enhance the 

Formation of the General Synod. 335 

growth and influence of the Lutheran communion. 
They unfortunately succeeded to such an extent that 
the ministers of the Pennsylvania Synod felt con 
strained to yield to the adverse pressure, unreason 
able and mistaken as it was, and to dissolve formal re 
lations withthe general body. So far were the leading 
men of the Synod from manifesting any antagonism or 
unfriendliness to the General Synod, that they con 
tinued to view it "as highly beneficial to the interests 
of the Church," and strongly deplored the " peculiar 
circumstances " which compelled them to this course, 
circumstances which the General Synod itself recog 
nized " as excusing if not absolutely necessitating the 
attitude of the Old Synod in its temporary recession. 
Expressions of the most cordial good feeling and con 
fidence were exchanged, and the hope indulged and 
expressed on both sides that the enforced separation 
over which both grieved would come to an early and 
happy end. 

The absence of a delegation from the Pennsylvania 
Synod, on whose leadership and influence so much 
had been reckoned, cast a deep gloom over the second 
convention. It certainly looked as if the General 
Synod could not survive this overwhelming disaster 
in the first years of its feeble beginnings. It is not 
surprising that "very little seems to have been done." 
The wonder is that there was heart to do anything. 
Yet some measures were adopted which were impor 
tant as exponents of the spirit that animated the little 
body of delegates. 

Such was the appointment of a committee to open 
communication with the Lutheran Church in Europe, 

336 The Lutherans in America 

in order to elicit "correct information relative to the 
spiritual prosperity of our Church in the several em 
pires, kingdoms and places abroad, to promote the 
unity of the Church, and to invite the prayers and ex 
ertions of each other, for the prosperity of the Church 
of Christ in the world." An address prepared by 
Revs. S. S. Schmucker and D. F. Schaeffer, and pub 
lished for general distribution in all the synods, ex 
presses grateful acknowledgment to God for the 
prosperity and rapid extension of the Church, which 
had reached an aggregate of one hundred and seventy- 
five ministers, nine hundred congregations and over 
fifty thousand communicants. It upholds the Gen 
eral Synod as loudly called for by the best interests 
of Zion, as needful to guard " against diversity in 
doctrine and practice, and to prevent discord and 
schism." It rejoices that "the spirit of piety and zeal 
is advancing throughout their borders," asks the 
prayers of the Church for more ministers to carry the 
Gospel to the frontier, urges liberal contributions to 
the missionary fund, exhorts the several synods "to 
persevere in their evangelical habit of annually send 
ing out missionaries, lauds especially the Ohio Synod 
and the Tennessee Conference, for making all possible 
exertions to meet the pressing calls for Gospel minis 
trations which come to them from the remote west 
and pleads with the latter body to dismiss its scruples 
and apprehensions respecting the constitution of the 
General Synod. 

A Formula or Directory of Discipline and Govern 
ment, which had been adopted by the Synod of Mary 
land and Virginia, "was carefully examined, and was 

Formation of the General Synod. 337 

unanimously approved, as fully accordant with Scrip 
ture and sound reason, and in harmony with the es 
tablished principles of the Lutheran Church." 

The disheartening impression produced by the loss 
of the Synod of Pennsylvania was in a measure coun 
teracted by the presence of two delegations from 
bodies which had not heretofore participated in the 
General Synod. Rev. Peter Schmucker and Rev. J. 
Steck appeared as representatives from the Synod of 
Ohio. This body soon severed its connection, al 
though in this instance, as in that of the Pennsylvania 
Ministerium, cordial relations and a measure of co 
operation with the general body were maintained for 
a number of years. 

Rev. J. G. Schmucker, D. D., and Rev. J. Herbst 
were received as representatives "appointed by the 
conference of the ministers west of the Susquehanna, 
belonging to the Synod of Pennsylvania." A special 
conference of these ministers held two weeks before 
at York, Pa., had selected these brethren as their rep 
resentatives. The fears and the prejudices against 
the General Synod seem to have been altogether 
local, and as they did not exist west of the river, these 
congregations with their ministers proposed a sepa 
rate organization and thereby they secured the con 
tinuance of their connection with the General Synod. 
An actual separation from the Pennsylvania Synod 
had not yet been consummated. At another special 
conference held at Greencastle, November 6-9, 1824, 
they resolved upon the formation of a synod to in 
clude all the territory of the State west of the river. 
This action was communicated to the mother synod 

338 The Lutherans in America. 

at its next regular convention, with a plea for the 
recognition of the new body as one of the regular 
synods of the American Lutheran Church. Among 
the reasons alleged for this movement were the dis 
tance and expense connected with attendance upon 
synodical meetings, and the advantages of a small 
body for the better cultivation of the field within its 
bounds, for a closer union among brethren, and for 
the better supervision of their private and official 
walk. Their desire for preserving the union with the 
General Synod had also doubtless some weight. Its 
leaders were among the staunchest and most zealous 
advocates of that body. When their petition came 
before the parent synod at Reading in 1825, the latter 
expressed pain at the separation of these brethren, but 
agreed to recognize them as a sister synod. 

Separations and new aggregations were thus taking 
place, but as yet the attitude of each division or 
organization of the Lutheran Church to all the others 
was peaceable and friendly, except in the territory of 
the Synod of North Carolina. 

The constituency of the General Synod was up to 
the year 1830 limited to the Synods of North Carolina, 
Maryland and Virginia, and West Pennsylvania, a 
body feeble in numbers but strong in energy, faith and 
devotion to the Church. The discouragements ex 
perienced, the opposition that began to rumble in 
certain quarters and some malicious aspersions had 
the happy effect of stimulating its friends to greater 
zeal and exertion. The loss of powerful allies re 
sulted in rallying the forces that remained and closing 
the ranks. 

Formation of the General Synod. 339 

At its next meeting, in Frederick, November 7, 1825, 
energetic measures were taken "to commence forth 
with in the name of the Triune God, and in humble 
reliance on his aid the establishment of ? Theological 
Seminary," in which shall be taught, " in the German 
and English languages, the fundamental doctrines of 
the sacred Scriptures, as contained in the Augsburg 
Confession." Although Hartwick Seminary, whose 
curriculum was not confined to theological studies, 
was at the time reported to be " in the most flourish 
ing condition," it was held to be "a solemn duty of the 
General Synod imposed on it by the constitution and 
due from it to God and the Church, to provide for the 
proper education of men of piety and of talents for 
the Gospel ministry." If the Church was to live and 
maintain a distinct existence, it must be supplied with 
a learned and consecrated ministry, a band of breth 
ren, who experienced the same training, were governed 
by the same principles and directed by the same 

The committee charged with the preparation of a 
plan were Revs. B. Kurtz, S. S. Schmucker J. Herbst, 
B. Keller and Messrs. Harry and Hauptman. The 
General Synod elected the first board of directors, but 
their successors were to be elected by the Synods con 
nected with the General Synod and contributing 
pecuniary aid to the institution. The General Synod 
also elected the first professor, S. S. Schmucker, after 
which, it was provided, the Board of Directors shall 
have the exclusive authority of electing additional pro 
fessors. Agents were appointed to prosecute the so 
licitation of funds, Drs. Lochman, Endress and Muh- 

340 The Lutherans in America. 

lenberg, and Rev. Demme for the Synod of East 
Pennsylvania, the name now for some time given to 
the Old Synod; Dr. Schmucker and Revs. Herbst and 
Keller that of West Pennsylvania ; Revs. Stouch 
and Steck, Ohio and Indiana; Dr. P. Mayer and 
Revs. Geissenhainer, F. C. Schaeffer and Lintner, the 
Synod of New York; S. S. Schmucker, Philadelphia 
and the Eastern States ; Revs. Reck, Meyerheffer and 
Krauth, Virginia ; Revs. B. Kurtz, H. Graber, Roth- 
rauf and Little, Maryland; Rev. W. Jenkins, Tennes 
see; Revs. J. Scherer and J. Reck, North Carolina; 
and Revs. Bachman and Dreher, South Carolina. 
Rev. Benjamin Kurtz was at the same time selected 
to proceed to Europe and solicit money and books for 
the benefit of the Seminary. 

A few months later, March 1826, the Board assem 
bled at Hagerstown, adopted a constitution, and 
accepted the offer of $7,000 and use of a buildingfrom 
Gettysburg, not only because it made the most gen 
erous proposals, but because it was deemed most 
central. On the first Tuesday in September the in 
stitution was opened with ten students, of whom Jona 
than Oswald, D. D., and J. G. Morris, D. D., LL. D., 
still survive. It was a day of profound rejoicing over 
the answer " to the prayers and desires which many in 
our Zion have long breathed forth." The second 
year saw the number rise to twenty-three, and the 
school soon won its way to the heart and confidence 
of the Church and prospered beyond the most san 
guine expectation of its friends. Viewed from the 
present state of the Church those were the days of 
feebleness and poverty, yet, the situation being con- 

Formation of the General Synod. 


sidered, the efforts and liberality of our fathers do not 
suffer in comparison with what we boast of to-day. 
Prof. Schmucker in canvassing 1 Philadelphia for funds 
wrote : " My solicitations have been directed chiefly 
to the members of the Lutheran churches, whom I 
found to be a liberal, wealthy and generous people." 
In less than a year subscriptions amounting to $17,513 
were made. 

Thus was founded the Seminary of the General 


Synod, which for many years was the principal train 
ing school for Lutheran ministers in America, which 
has for nearly seventy years been sending out a con 
stant supply of able ministers of the New Testament, 
and which has furnished not only a large majority of 
the most eminent and successful pastors, missionaries 
and professors connected with the General Synod, 
with which body it still holds a formal connection, but 

342 The Lutherans in America. 

also a number of the founders and leaders of the Gen 
eral Council and many of the most distinguished min 
isters of the United Synod. It was the first product 
of the General Synod, as it was in fact the principal 
object contemplated in its organization. The subject 
had been warmly agitated in various quarters, but 
especially in the Synod of Maryland, which was at the 
time largely composed of stirring, zealous and enlight 
ened young men, such as C. P. Krauth, Benjamin 
Kurtz. Abraham Reck, S. S. Schmucker and, leader of 
them all, David F. Schaeffer. The principal impulse 
to the General Synod s action as well as the draft of 
the constitution of the seminary are to be ascribed to 
this illustrious group. The professor s oath bound 
him to the Augsburg Confession and the Catechisms 
of Luther "as a summary and just exhibition of the 
fundamental doctrines of the word of God." The 
charge of Rev. Schaeffer at the installation of Profes 
sor Schmucker contains the following : " As the Lord 
has signally favored our Church as her tenets are 
biblical, and her veriest enemies cannot point out an 
important error in her articles of faith, no more than 
could the enemies of the truth at the Diet of Worms 
prove the books of the immortal Reformer erroneous. 
Therefore, the Church which entrusts you with the 
preparation and formation of her pastors, demands of 
you (and in her behalf I solemnly charge you) to es 
tablish all students confided to your care, in that faith 
which distinguishes our Church from others. If any 
should object to such faith, or any part of it, or refuse 
to be convinced of the excellence of our discipline 
they have their choice to unite with such of our Chris- 

Formation of the General Synod. 343 

tian brethren, whose particular views in matters of 
faith and discipline may suit them better. I hold it, 
however, as indispensable for the peace and welfare of 
a Church that unity of sentiment should prevail upon 
all important matters of faith and discipline among 
the pastors thereof. Hence I charge you to exert 
yourself in convincing our students that the Augsburg 
Confession is a safe directory to determine upon mat 
ters of faith, declared upon the Lamb s book." A sen 
timent of charity for other denominations of Chris 
tians is expressed "but the different genera and spe 
cies should be preserved according to their peculiar 

With the retirement of the older leaders through 
age and death, and the withdrawal of the Pennsylvania 
Synod, several young men came to the front who by 
their ability and their prominence swayed for a gen 
eration an influence equalled by none of their con 
temporaries in the Church. One was Benjamin Kurtz, 
D. D., a grandson of Rev. John Nicholas Kurtz. 
Subject in early youth to deep religious convictions 
he studied theology under Dr. Lochman and entered 
the ministry in 1815, assisting for a while his uncle, J. 
D. Kurtz, D. D., in Baltimore, but accepting shortly 
a call to Hagerstown. He was the only Lutheran min 
ister in Washington county, which comprised then at 
least ten congregations. During his pastorate of six 
teen years he succeeded not without bitter and stub 
born opposition in introducing English preaching, 
prayer-meetings, Sunday Schools and temperance 
societies. Upon the establishment of the theological 
seminary he was commissioned to proceed to Ger- 

344 The Lutherans in America. 

many to solicit aid for the young and needy institu 
tion. The German ministers in London became once 
more the medium of communication, and through 
these he was cordially commended to the ecclesiasti 
cal authorities of Germany, under whose patronage 
he pleaded his cause with marked effect in the presence 
of the highest classes, including royalty itself. Im 
mense crowds attended the churches in which he 
officiated and his preaching and his cause won exten 
sive popularity. He was absent nearly two years and 
returned with about $10,000, besides a large number 
of books for the library, while the stream of liberality 
which he opened continued to flow long after. 

In 1833 he took editorial charge of the Lutheran 
Observer, a paper which, under his conduct for thirty 
years, became a notable power, every onward move 
ment finding in it an earnest and able advocate. Late 
in life and amid the opposition of nearly the whole 
Church he projected the Missionary Institute, located 
at Selins Grove, Pa., for the purpose of preparing for 
the Lutheran ministry such candidates as were either 
too far advanced in years or prevented by other cir 
cumstances from pursuing a collegiate course and a 
full theological curriculum. 


S. S. Schmucker, D. D., was a son of Rev. J. G. 
Schmucker, D. D. He pursued his classical studies 
at the University of Pennsylvania, and after reading 
theology for a time under his father, took the full 
course at Princeton Seminary. He was without doubt 
at that time "the best educated young man in the Lu 
theran Church in this country." He was also recog 
nized throughout his career as a man of devoted 

Formation of the General Synod. 345, 

piety, of exalted Christian character and of self-sacri 
ficing zeal for the advancement of the Church and her 
institutions, fighting for years ill-health with one hand 
while with habits of indefatigable industry the other 
was toiling and writing in behalf of the interests of 
Zion. Endowed with rare qualities of leadership, it 
fell to his lot to do the principal work in providing 
the necessary ecclesiastical literature. To his clear 
head and persevering activity the Church is mainly 
indebted for the Formula of discipline, English hymn- 
book, liturgy, catechism, and the constitution of the 
Theological Seminary. 

Called to preside over this institution at its founda 
tion, he was for some time its sole professor and he 
may justly be called its father. He held this position 
until 1864, a period of nearly forty years, and during 
this time, by his ascendency over the minds of his stu 
dents, his numerous publications, his debates at synod, 
and his manifest devotion to every cause of public ir 
terest, he was beyond question the most conspicuous 
and influential man in the Lutheran Church in Amer 
ica and the best known to the Christian community 
outside of it. 

Notwithstanding his laborious activity and mani 
fold cares in connection with the Seminary, the estab 
lishment of Pennsylvania College, the collection of 
funds, erection of buildings and the like, he was one 
of the most prolific authors that the Church has yet 
produced. The most important of his publications 
were his " Popular Theology " which passed through 
nine editions, "Psychology," a translation of Storr and 
Flatt s " Theology," " Lutheran Manual," and the " Lu- 

34-6 77/<? Lutherans in America. 

theran Church in America." He was an ardent advo 
cate of Christian union and his " Fraternal Appeal," 
published in 1838, gave him such recognition in differ 
ent churches and countries that when in 1846 he at 
tended the first meeting of the Evangelical Alliance 
in London, Dr. King of Ireland did not hesitate to 
call him the father of the Alliance. 

His liberal attitude toward other denominations 
and his qualified acceptance of some of the distinctive 
tenets of his own Church exposed him, especially in 
his later years, to the criticism and stern opposition 
of many of his Lutheran brethren. At the beginning 
of his ministry, when great doctrinal laxity prevailed, 
he stood in advance of the majority of Lutheran min 
isters in holding to the Augsburg Confession. But 
when about 1850 there set in a decided reaction in 
favor of the faith which had for centuries distinguished 
the Lutheran Church, and which was emblazoned on 
her banner as it was first unfurled on these shores, 
when in the language of the elder Krauth " the Church 
was disposed to renew her connection with the past, 
and in her future progress to walk under the guidance 
of the light which it has furnished," Dr. Schmucker 
not only did not sympathize with the movement but 
he opposed it by voice and pen with all his ability. 
The result was sharp controversies, painful alienations, 
many of his warmest friends deprecating his course 
and deeply regretting that he could see only error in 
statements and definitions which they believed to be 
the truth of Scripture, but no one questioned the sin 
cerity of his convictions or the completeness of his 
consecration to Christ and his Church. 

Formation of the General Synod. 347 

A life-long associate of Prof. Schmucker and his 
ablest co-laborer in the establishment and upbuilding 
of the institutions at Gettysburg and the preparation 
of church manuals, was Rev. Chas. Philip Krauth, 
D. D. After preaching for some years in Virginia, he 
was for seven years pastor of St. Matthews, Philadel 
phia. Chosen the first President of Pennsylvania 
College he held that position from 1834 to 1850, when 
he accepted the chair of Biblical Philology and 
Ecclesiastical History in the Seminary, devoting 
henceforth to the day of his death his time exclusively 
to this Institution in which he had for years previously 
been imparting instruction. 

He was a man of marked intellectual force, of sin 
gular purity of character, of a generous heart, a benig 
nant disposition, courtly manners and a princely 
mien. His reading covered the whole field of theo 
logical science and that of polite literature. He was 
a forcible writer and in his prime an eloquent preach 
er. He had his very being in the General Synod 
from its organization all through his life, and his 
loyalty to the Confessions and historic principles of 
the Lutheran Church was never questioned. Parties 
whose hostility to these was undisguised were wont 
indeed to call him " Symbolic " and "Old Lutheran." 
His sound judgment and calm temper led to his 
appointment on the most important committees, and 
in 1841 he served as chairman of the committee en 
trusted with the duty of preparing an English liturgy. 
Though not given to theological controversies he 
commanded a strong influence and his opinions had 
great weight among his associates and students. A 

348 The Lutherans in America. 

most intimate life-long friend says of him: "He was 
the most unselfish man I ever knew. All his labors, 
studies, prayers, and earnings were for the good of 
others. When his name was mentioned it was with 
reverence; when his conduct was spoken of it was 
with approbation. No student ever left Gettysburg 
who did not admire his character as a man." His 
piety was indeed of the highest type, the students 
spoke of him as "the beloved disciple," and his calm 
and holy life fittingly closed with the words "Peace* 
all is peace." 

The energy of the new life pulsating through the 
body of Christ could not expend itself on a single in 
stitution. The very object of the Seminary was to 
produce a revival of every languishing interest, to give 
momentum and homogeneity to every form of Chris 
tian enterprise. The General Synod was small in 
numbers, it was feeble in resources, it was threatened 
with serious dangers and even with dissolution from 
its birth, but its leaders had energy, devotion, self- 
sacrifice and, as the spring of these, that divine faith 
which worketh under the impulse and channel of love. 
They were prompted by zeal for the Redeemer s king 
dom. They were animated by the spirit of brotherly 
love, while harmony of aim and counsel enabled them 
to move as a unit. And they went forward, conscious 
of the spiritual power inherent in the Church, confi 
dent of the smile of heaven upon their endeavors, and 
expecting the happiest results. 

To furnish suitable candidates for the nascent 
Seminary a classical school was at once opened at 
Gettysburg. It was intended primarily "to enable 

Formation of the General Synod. 349 

persons of slender means or advanced years to secure 
the most useful and necessary preparatory studies," 
and to afford an opportunity for others " to be pre 
pared for entrance into the different colleges of our 
country." But it prospered so rapidly that in a few 
years it grew into Pennsylvania College, and Lu 
theran students could complete the curriculum of 
study in an institution of their own Church. 

The machinery of instruction being provided, 
measures were taken to secure the proper subjects 
and the means for their support. The Church must 
share the pecuniary burden contracted in acquiring a 
thorough education for her clergy. Educational 
associations, " Ladies Mite Societies," sewing societies, 
and other agencies for gathering funds were accord 
ingly instituted in numerous congregations. The 
Maryland Synod, in its annual report, October 1831, 
attests its "gratitude to the ladies of the Lutheran 
churches at Frederick, Taneytown, Shepherdstown and 
Baltimore, who by the labor of their hands jointly 
contributed the sum of $582.31." 

At the meeting of the General Synod, in York, 1835^ 
the organization of a General Educational Society 
was effected, officers were elected and directors ap 
pointed not only from the General Synod, but also 
from the Synods of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New 
York, the co-operation of all being contemplated. 
After the trial of various methods in the administra 
tion of this cause, the district synods in 1855 respect 
ively assumed entire charge of it, leaving the Parent 
Education Society to depend on legacies and special 
donations for its peculiar sphere. This beneficiary 

35 The Lutherans in America. 

expedient for supplying the ever-increasing needs of 
the Church has been of incomparable service. With 
out the beneficiaries hundreds of congregations must 
have died for want of spiritual sustenance. The 
twenty years of active operations by the parent society 
gave the Church some two hundred pastors. Many 
of these have occupied the most important positions 
in the Church. Four became presidents of colleges, 
one a professor of theology, while many were called 
to the largest and most intelligent congregations. 

There was no difficulty in finding proper employ 
ment for the newly equipped ministerial recruits. 
When the air is surcharged with missionary fire men 
with tongues of flame are sure to find places where 
they may give utterance to the glad tidings. The first 
graduates showed what spirit was in them as they went 
"where the destitution was greatest and the cry for 
ministerial supply most urgent." The tides of emi 
gration had begun to sweep away thousands from the 
older congregations in the east, and the Church like a 
faithful mother was yearning after them, recognizing 
at the same time in their destitution her golden oppor 
tunity for the extension of her blessings and the ad 
vancement of her influence. The General Synod being 
composed of delegates representing the widely sepa 
rated and remote sections of the Church became the 
medium of intelligence concerning the extent and 
necessities of the field, and through it the cry for spir 
itual assistance was clearly heard by all the congrega 
tions, and the burden of their scattered brethren laid 
on their heart, while mutual consultation, unity of aim 

35 2 The Lutherans in America. 

and concert of effort rendered efficient action practi 
cable and certain. 

The living spirit is sure to seek embodiment and to 
strive after formal organization, by which alone it can 
find a proper and effective exercise for its powers. 
Missonary societies were formed in many congrega 
tions and by all the synods, the General Synod for 
some years giving simply its moral support and en 
couragement to the synodical societies. In Balti 
more, 1833, it appointed a standing Committee on 
Missions, whose immediate province was to gather 
and report information. At York, in 1835, it adopted 
a lengthy and ringing report declaring that " more 
must be done if the frowns of Heaven are not to rest 
upon our churches," and urging that "the destitute 
parts of our country must be supplied with the Gos 
pel, and as soon as possible our hands must be exten 
ded to the heathen." The more men felt the need of 
supplying our own rapidly-extending country the more 
the claims of the heathen world pressed upon them. 
A mass meeting in the interests of Home Missions 
was called at Mechanicsburg the following year. 

At Hagerstown in 1837 the General Synod cordially 
endorsed a convention, held at that time and place, 
for the organization of a Foreign Mission Society, 
adjourning its own sessions from time to time to 
allow its members to participate in this convention, 
which was composed of delegates representing churches 
without as well as within the pale of the General 
Synod. Revs. H. N. Pohlman, W. D. Strobel and 
others were in attendance from New York, Revs. J. 
Medtart, C. W. Schaeffer and Dr. F. W. Heckel 

Formation of the General Synod. 353 

appeared as delegates from the Missionary Society 
of the Old Synod, besides other clerical and lay mem 
bers of that body, charged to assure the convention 
of their co-operation. During the same convention 
the Central Home Missionary Society held its first an 
niversary, these different associations, though distinct 
from the General Synod, realizing their dependence 
upon it for moral support, while they widened its 
sphere and stimulated its activity. 

The Church took also a lively interest in Sunday 
Schools which at this period were coming into vogue. 
One of the first societies organized under the impulses 
of the General Synod was a Lutheran Sunday-school 
Union, which was founded in 1829 and for some time 
held its anniversaries in connection with the meetings 
of the General Synod. Flourishing schools sprang 
up in a number of congregations and the foundations 
were laid for that successful Sunday-school work which 
has been a prominent characteristic of Lutheranism. 

The publication of a suitable and necessary church 
literature was undertaken. Church periodicals were 
established. An English Hymn-book, based on that 
of the Synod of New York was published, also a 
Liturgy based on the German Agenda of the Penn 
sylvania Synod, a Collection of Prayers and an Eng 
lish Catechism. A Lutheran Book Company began 
business in Baltimore in 1836. A cordial and general 
support was at the same time rendered to the unde 
nominational Bible and Tract Societies, and Lutheran 
ministers and people co-operated largely with organi 
zations to counteract the evils of intemperance. 

While a large proportion of these beneficent move- 

354 The Lutherans in America. 

ments originated directly with the General Synod, 
that body sounding the keynote and the district 
synods re-echoing the strain until it was heard on 
the very borders of Zion, the general body was in 
other cases but the exponent of the prevalent feeling, 
registering and voicing the spirit of the congregations, 
giving it direction and momentum. Whether a move 
ment proceeded from its bosom or came to it from its 
constituencies, the General Synod was the grand in 
strument for marshaling the various elements, offer 
ing one rallying point instead of many, and promot 
ing a united policy." No one acquainted with the 
history of that period will deny to it the honor of 
being either the prime originator or the principal 
supporter of all the enlightened measures then put 
forth for building up the interests and fulfilling the 
mission of the Church. For half a century it was the 
most conspicuous and the most influential factor in 
advancing her usefulness and her glory. 

Symptoms of renewed spiritual life attested every 
where the presence of the Holy Ghost. The pulpit 
was marked by peculiar earnestness and pastors ex 
celled in self-sacrificing fidelity in the catechism class 
and in house to house visitation. The congregations 
experienced "an increased degree of spirituality," so 
that they "abounded in lives of prayer, of faith and 
love, of pious deeds and of zeal for Christ," and real 
ized their mission to spread the Gospel and to exer 
cise the grace of giving in the support of "all benevo 
lent institutions." The pastoral address issued by the 
General Synod in 1831 affirms: "Education and Mis 
sionary Societies are increasing, and we know of no 

Formation of the General Synod. 355 

benevolent institution in our country, that does not 
number among its patrons some of our most devoted 
members." The Synod of South Carolina number 
ing but thirteen pastors reported in 1836 the sum of 
$1,660.60 for missions and education, the West Pennsyl 
vania Synod $769.91 for the same year, and the Hart- 
wick Synod with fifteen ministers gave $1,467.83 in 
two years. "Prayer meetings conducted according to 
the Scriptures were numerous," and viewed as "a 
great blessing to many souls on the brink of eternal 
ruin." Students for the ministry multiplied in a 
rapid ratio. 

So far from being exhausted by the founding of 
one seminary or the support of one professorship, the 
interest in theological education kept increasing and 
led to the undertaking of a second professorship at 
Gettysburg in 1829. A collecting tour of Professor 
Schmucker through the north yielded the large sum 
of $14,917, collected mostly from Congregationalists 
through the active co-operation of Professor Stuart. 

The proposal of the Board to call the second pro 
fessor from the ranks of Lutheran theologians in Ger 
many met with unexpected opposition from the Old 
Synod "because an European could not so well ac 
commodate himself to the peculiar views and situa 
tion of our ecclesiastical and civil institutions." The 
choice fell on Dr. Hazelius who in 1830 was made 
Professor of Biblical and Oriental Literature and the 
German Language. The library, numbering six thou 
sand volumes, was at that time the largest theological 
library in the country. 

Hartwick Seminary also attained a prosperity it 

356 The Lutherans in America. 

had never enjoyed, and before the surrender of its 
honored professor to Gettysburg, called as his 
assistant Rev. G. B. Miller, who for many years filled 
this position with great usefulness. At the same time 
a cheering support was given to the seminary at 
Lexington, founded by the Synod of South Carolina, 
and that of the Synod of Ohio, established at Colum 

The relation of the General Synod to this advance 
ment of the Church is well set forth in the pastoral 
letter which it addressed to the churches in 1835. 
"Will it be too much to say that since 1820 this 
Synod has been a means under God of greatly reviv 
ing our American churches; spreading abroad the 
spirit of reformation ; firing with new zeal ministers 
and laymen ; elevating the standard of piety among 
us; diffusing a spirit of benevolence among our 
people ; furnishing, by means of her seminaries min 
isters for congregations ready to perish, and through 
the medium of her publications, bread to those starv 
ing." When this body had been but ten years in ex 
istence its members could testify before angels and 
men: "The temporal and spiritual, the external and 
internal concerns of our Zion have been advanced 
with unparalleled success." These pastoral letters 
show how the brethren were cheered by the rapid 
spread of the Church in every quarter, how they more 
than realized their brightest anticipations, and how 
these happy results enforced upon their conscience the 
duty of the hour. A noble Christian optimism shines 
through the review of the situation which they were 
wont to publish after each meeting. With what joy 



Formation of the General Synod. 357 

they speak of the increasing extent and rising impor 
tance of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. "Since the 
establishment of the General Synod, God has favored 
us with many glorious manifestations of God s power 
and grace." 

They deemed it just to judge of results by what had 
been in former days. Comparisons were drawn be 
tween the state of the Church "ready to sink into in 
significance" at that critical juncture when the Gen 
eral Synod was founded, and " the favorable and cheer 
ing results which in a few years were reported from all 
sections." "Our Synods, and the General Synod as 
well as the churches, enjoy an amount of the public 
confidence and esteem which must satisfy and encour 
age greatly every Lutheran." The only drawback to 
the rapid expansion of the Church was again as always 
an inadequate army of ministers. Many of the most 
inviting points could not be occupied, and so great 
were the labors and exposures of many pastors that 
often their strength was prematurely exhausted. It 
was a sad reflection made at York in 1835 tnat with 
"two hundred and twenty laborers among eight hun 
dred congregations, not a few have entered premature 
graves." Of others it was said that as the result of 
overwork "they bear evident marks of a wasting con 
stitution and of a dissolution not far off." 

While the revived prosperity of the Lutheran 
Church is doubtless largely to be ascribed to the 
formation of the General Synod, it was not confined 
to the synods organically incorporated with it. The 
activity and advance of those not associated with it 
were, however, directly or indirectly stimulated by 

358 The Lutherans in America. 

the general body, whose paramount influence in de 
termining the character and advancing the interests 
of the native Lutheran Church is not likely to be 

The Pennsylvania Synod was permeated by the 
same spirit and developed along the same lines. 
Bonds of strong and conspicuous sympathy kept it in 
practical co-operation with the measures of the Gen 
eral Synod. The majority of its ministers heartily 
united with the latter in Missionary, Education and 
Sunday-school work and " in the preparation of a uni 
form liturgy for the use of the Church." Its congre 
gations contributed freely to the support of the semi 
nary at Gettysburg and a large proportion of its young 
men were sent to study in its halls. 

Dr. S. S. Schmucker in his " Retrospect of Luther- 
anism " testifies: "Much might be said of the honor 
able manner in which the greater part of the brethren 
and churches in East Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, 
whilst yielding to the prejudices of the weaker mem 
bers, yet continued to afford their substantial and in 
creasing aid to every good work undertaken by this 
Synod, so that much of the credit for what has been 
achieved, is justly due to their co-operation." And 
Dr. C. P. Krauth, Jr., in an editorial in the Lutheran 
and Missionary, May 3, 1866, says : "The relations of 
that Synod to the General Synod were never antag 
onistic or unfriendly. * * * Throughout there 
was a majority of her ministers favorable to active 
co-operation with the General Synod." But they for- 
bearingly deferred for the time to the reactionary 
minority which opposed Bible Societies, Theological 

Formation of the General Synod. 359 

Seminaries, Missionary and Sunday-school Associa 
tions and in short all organized forms of Christian 

Assurances of " undiminished affection " for the 
brethren of that body were repeatedly expressed by 
the General Synod, confident of " the ardent attach 
ment" which many in that body bore to it. In the 
minutes of 1827 it rejoices that "this Synod continues 
to be in a prosperous condition, and some churches 
in its bounds have been visited with peculiar seasons of 

The desire for the return of this body "to that union 
in the establishment of which they sustained a princi 
pal part and which will remain to after ages a monu 
ment of their zeal for the cause of God," was fre 
quently voiced by the General Synod. Reviewing 
"the harmony, unanimity and evangelical zeal" which 
animated the brethren of the Synod of Pennsylvania, 
they longed for the day when they should see them 
"unite their counsels and energies with ours." In the 
Old Synod also, the matter of reuniting with the 
General Synod was from time to time agitated, espec 
ially in 1839 and 1840, but the apprehensions and 
prejudices which led to the withdrawal in 1823 were 
found to be still smouldering. They were readily 
inflamed by the prevalence of the English language in 
the General Synod and the popularity of the "new 
measures" within its bounds. Final action was there 
fore deferred on the plea that " the time had not come." 
The consummation so long devoutly cherished by many 
on both sides was at last realized in 1853, when seven 
pastors and seven lay-delagates appeared as represent- 

360 The Lutherans in America. 

atives of that body and were welcomed with great joy 
at the meeting of the General Synod at Winchester, 
Va. Two years previously the Synod had endowed a 
German Professorship in Pennsylvania College. The 
incumbent of this chair was likewise to give instruc 
tion in the Theological Seminary. 

The New York Synod, which had taken an honor 
able part in the founding of the General Synod, came 
into organic relations with it in 1837. The Ohio 
Synod after having a representation at one meeting, 
stood aloof, yet its missionary zeal is often lauded 
in the proceedings of the General Synod. No antag 
onism had as yet developed, and delegates to this 
body as well as to the Synods of Pennsylvania and 
New York, were appointed by the General Synod as 
late as 1829. 

One of the most conspicuous features of the General 
Synod was its conciliatory attitude toward synods not 
in its connection. It not only sought their counsels 
and energies to be united with it, but as their approval 
of its doctrinal character, its general spirit and grand 
aims, was well known, it avowed its readiness to make 
any concessions " consistent with the grand design of 
the association," in order "to conciliate all minds 
and afford full and general satisfaction." 

It sought to embrace the whole church. And as it 
brought together a large proportion of the most intel 
ligent and influential clerical and lay representatives 
from remote sections, joined them into a family of 
brethren, ascertained from them the interests and 
needs of the whole church, inspired mutual confidence, 
and provoked one another to good works, it was in- 

Formation of the General Synod. 361 

strumental in developing a consciousness of strength, 
awakening a sense of responsibility, and engendering 
a fellow feeling. It united the wisdom, piety, ability 
and energy of the Church, north, east, south and west, 
and by the concentration of all her resources for ob 
jects to which no individual synod could have been 
competent, it was able to provide in large measure 
for the wants and prosperity of the whole Church. 

A warm spiritual life coursing through all the 
arteries of Christ s body, and wise leaders directing 
it, there was a rapid expansion of the Church s bor 
ders as well as of her influence and power. Follow 
ing the steady flow of population, missionaries organ 
ized new congregations on the territory now embraced 
in Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. These, 
though widely scattered, were united into a new synod 
in 1835, un der the title of the Synod of the West. 
Among its founders were Revs. William Jenkins, 
Daniel Scherer and Abraham Reck. In a few years 
it numbered twenty-three ministers to-day more than 
a thousand Lutheran ministers preach in those parts 
and in 1840 it united with the General Synod. 
The following year the English district of Ohio, now 
the East Ohio Synod, did the same. The Synod of 
South Carolina united in 1835, tnat f Virginia in 
1839. The Synod of East Pennsylvania, whose organ 
ization on the territory of the mother synod in 1842 
is to be ascribed largely to the increasing demand for 
English services and for the progressive measures 
then commonly associated with English, united in 
1843, an d with it the Allegheny and Southwest 
Virginia Synods ; the Miami Synod in 1845, the Illi- 

362 The Lilt her ans in America. 

nois and Wittenberg in 1848, the Olive Branch in 
1850, the Texas, Northern Illinois and Pittsburg 
Synods in 1853, the Kentucky, Central Pennsylvania 
and English District of Ohio (the second English 
District of the Joint Synod of Ohio) in 1855, the 
Northern Indiana, Southern Illinois and English 
Iowa in 1857, the Melanchthon in 1859. 

The maximum of the General Synod s growth was 
reached in the year 1860, when it embraced 26 synods 
spread over almost the entire territory of the Union, 
all the synods in fact which comprised to any extent 
the native Lutheran population, except that of the 
Joint-Ohio and the Tennessee, aggregating 864 out 
of 1313 ministers, and 164,000 out of 245,000 communi 
cants, i. e. two-thirds of the Lutheran Church in this 

The out-break of the civil war caused the with 
drawal of the synods south of the Potomac, with a 
total of 1 25 ministers, 205 congregations, and 21,098 

A rupture more serious in character and more far- 
reaching in consequences was soon to be experienced. 
At the time of the organization of the General Synod 
confessional laxity had deeply penetrated the life of 
the Lutheran Church, although a stricter and conser 
vative element also remained. Both tendencies came 
into the general body and continued for many years 
side by side without any sharp antagonism or con 
flict. " It embraced elements," says Dr. C. P. Krauth, 
41 which were distinctively Lutheran and others dis 
tinctively Latitudinarian. The first party was on the 
whole more Lutheran in doctrine and more active in 

Formation of the General Synod. 363 

piety than the second. Their relatively higher Lu- 
theranism was connected with a relatively higher 
spirituality and aggressiveness. Though they had so 
far felt the evil tendency of the times that they fell 
far below the doctrinal decision and consistent Lu- 
theranism of Muhlenberg and his co-laborers, yet they 
were relatively decided, relatively Lutheran, and their 
Lutheranism had something of the ardor and earnest 
ness of that earlier time. It was their desire to make 
the General Synod as strong in government and as 
Lutheran in doctrine as they possibly could. The 
more decided Lutheran influence prevailed and the 
friends of the laxer tendencies dropped off from the 
General Synod." Dr. K. gives this as indubitably in 
part, the philosophy of " the tacit withdrawal of the 
Pennsylvania Synod." 

" While it guarded against taking a position which 
would necessarily exclude the laxer elements, the Gen 
eral Synod always maintained that the strictest Lu 
therans could conscientiously unite with it and that 
their objections on the score of laxity were un 
grounded." The Tennessee Synod gave indeed a 
more pronounced adhesion to the Confessions than 
the General Synod, "whose constitution shows only 
too many sad traces of the embarrassments of the 
period," yet upon its subsequent acknowledgment of 
the doctrinal articles of the Augsburg Confession as a 
standard of faith, "it was the only voluntary body on 
earth, pretending to embrace a nation as its territory 
and bearing a Lutheran name, in which the fundamen 
tal doctrines of Lutheranism were the basis of a 
union." Such is the testimony of the ablest mind the 

364 The Lutherans in America. 

Church has produced in America, when speaking of 
the formation of the General Synod. The two ten 
dencies dwelling in one body must inevitably develop 
their inherent nature, and their antagonistic character. 
So strong, however was the desire for unity and so 
paramount the spirit of conciliation that a sharp col 
lision was for a long time averted. The conservative 
element sought more and more to revive the princi 
ples of historic Lutheranism, which had fallen into 
desuetude under the rationalistic sway of the previous 
period. It studied with ardor the confessions of the 
Church, brought once more to light its devotional 
treasures, and endeavored to foster the Lutheran type 
of Christianity by returning to "the good old ways of 
the fathers." Others were so carried away with the 
ideal of the American type of religion that they 
fancied the only way to get the warmth of Methodism 
and the vigor of Presbyterianism was, as Dr. C. A. 
Stork put it, "to disembowel their own Church of 
heart and lungs." 

A few leading representatives of this element pro 
gressed to the point of publishing (anonymously) in 
1855 an "American Recension of the Augsburg Con 
fession," from which they omitted certain alleged 
" errors contained in the Confession," Baptismal Re 
generation and the Real Presence of the Body and 
Blood of the Savior in the Eucharist being designa 
ted among others. Its appearance raised a storm 
throughout the Church. " Extremely unlutheran, un- 
churchly and even rationalistic positions were as 
sumed " by some who defended the " Platform," says 
Dr. Morris in his " Eifty Years in the Lutheran Minis- 

Formation of the General Synod. 365 

try." On the other hand it was indignantly and 
universally rejected by the Eastern Synods, their judg 
ment being well expressed in the resolution prepared 
by Dr. J. A. Brown and adopted unanimously by the 
Synod of East Pennsylvania which denounced it as a 
"most dangerous attempt to change the doctrinal 
basis and revolutionize the existing character of the 
Lutheran Churches now united in the General 

The opposition to this onslaught on the Confession 
was so decided and overwhelming that the authors of 
it, though men of prominence and ability, at once lost 
their prestige, and the subject was never so much as 
mooted in the General Synod. But it became a 
touch-stone for the trial and rapid development of 
the two tendencies, and the agitation which followed 
awakened grave fears of an ultimate disruption. A 
few years later at York, 1864, the General Synod ex- 
plicity repudiated the charge that the alleged errors 
were contained in the Confession, and "before God 
and his Church " declared that the Augsburg Con 
fession, "properly interpreted, is in perfect consist 
ence with the Holy Scriptures as regards the errors 

At the same convention it so amended its consti 
tution as to require all synods seeking connection 
with it "to receive and hold the Augsburg Confession 
as a correct exhibition of the fundamental doctrines 
of the Divine Word and of the faith of our Church 
founded on that Word." By this doctrinal basis im 
posed on the District Synods as a condition of union 
with it, and the previous adoption of Luther s Cate- 

366 The Lilt her ans in America. 

chism "without qualification," and the definition of 
fundamentals in the Liturgy of 1847, it is the testi 
mony of Dr. C. P. Krauth, Jr., "the General Synod s 
Lutheran soundness is fully vindicated." " These tes 
timonials," he maintained "are its real basis, official 
statements, back of which no man has a right to go." 
The growing ascendency of positive Lutheranism 
stimulated the antagonism of the laxer element. Vio 
lent discussions and agitations ensued, which were 


heightened by complaints of doctrinal unsoundness 
and neglect of the German interest at Gettysburg. 
The heart of the body had become exceedingly sensi 
tive. The tension between opposing principles had 
reached a degree which made a break imminent on 
the slightest disturbance. 

The crisis was reached in 1864, at York, when tne 
Franckean Synod applied for admission. This body 
had been charged with serious defection from Lu 
theran doctrine, had for a quarter of a century stood 
aloof from the General Synod, and had not given any 

Formation of the General Synod. 367 

recognition to the Augsburg Confession. Its appli 
cation was accordingly rejected, until it should for 
mally adopt the Confession as received by the Gen 
eral Synod. 

The Franckean deputies felt aggrieved by this ex 
clusion. They urged that "in adopting the constitu 
tion of that body, the members of the Franckean Synod 
fully understood that they were adopting the doc 
trinal position of the General Synod." Their friends 
on this representation were able to call for a recon 
sideration, which after an earnest and protracted dis 
cussion resulted in receiving them by a vote of ninety- 
seven to forty, with the understanding that their 
Synod, at its next meeting, declare in an official man-- 
ner, its adoption of the doctrinal articles of the Augs 
burg Confession, as a substantially correct exhibition 
of the fundamental docrines of the Word of God. 

The minority entered a protest, expressing deep 
grief "that by this action of the General Synod its 
constitution has been sadly and lamentably violated." 
The delegation of the Pennsylvania Synod further 
presented a paper, recalling that their Synod had re 
newed organic relations, with the reservation that 
should the General Synod violate its constitution, 
and require assent to anything conflicting with the old 
and long established faith of the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church, its delegates shall protest against such action, 
withdraw from its sessions and report to their body, 
and declaring their purpose "to withdraw from the 
sessions of the General Synod, in order to report to 
the Synod of Pennsylvania at its approaching con 

368 The Lutherans in America. 

The vote for the admission of the Franckean Synod 
was by no means entirely on confessional lines. Many 
who gave their voice in favor of it regarded the adop 
tion of the constitution of the General Synod by that 
body, a virtual adoption of the Augsburg Confession, 
and held that their promise to adopt it formally 
at their next regular session was evidence of their 
good faith. 

The withdrawal of the Pennsylvania delegation was 
unanimously approved by that Synod at its next con 
vention. Nevertheless it adopted the constitutional 
amendments which had been sent down to it, as to the 
othe synods, and the following year chose a full dele- 
gation to the General Synod at its meeting at Fort 
Wayne, but in the organization of that body the chair 
ruled that that Synod must be considered "in a state 
of practical withdrawal from the governing functions 
of the General Synod," and that consequently its 
delegation could not be received until after the organ 
ization of the convention. 

Three days discussion of the question followed this 
parliamentary ruling, the members of the Pennsylva 
nia delegation participating. They were subsequently 
requested by resolution "to waive what may seem to 
them an irregular organization of this Body, and to 
acquiesce in the present organization." Their re 
sponse to this was, that if "this Body shall now declare 
that the Synod of Pennsylvania had, as it claimed to 
have, the constitutional right to be represented before 
the election of officers, and to take part in it, we are 
perfectly willing to waive the right of voting, will ac 
quiesce in the present organization, and will take our 

Formation of the General Synod. 369 

seats in this Body, equals among equals." The reply 
of the majority that "they could not conscientiously 
recede" from their action, and a protest from the mi 
nority, closed the conflict on the lloor of the Synod. 

The die was cast. The prospect of a general 
Evangelical Lutheran organization in this country- 
was dispelled. At its next convention the Pennsyl 
vania Synod formally severed its relations with the 
General Synod. The Ministerium of New York fol 
lowed, at the cost of a schism in its own constituency, 
nearly all its English churches and pastors adher 
ing to the General Synod. The Pittsburg Synod also 
withdrew and experienced a rupture. The English 
Ohio, the Minnesota and the Texas Synods took the 
same course, and the Synod of Illinois was disbanded, 
to be reorganized on the lines along which the whole 
Church, including not a few individual congregations, 
was being rent asunder. 

Shortly after the unhappy dissensions at York in 
1864, Rev. James A. Brown, D. D., succeeded Dr. S. S. 
Schmucker as Professor of Theology in the Gettys 
burg Seminary. He immediately became one of the 
most conspicuous as he was probably the ablest 
champion of the General Synod. He wielded a pow 
erful pen, was skilled in polemics, and on the floor of 
Synod, in particular, was such a master in debate as 
to bear down all opposition. He had been wont to 
affiliate with the conservatives, and was firmly set 
against certain teachings and tendencies of their an 
tagonists. He had inflicted heavy blows on the "Defi 
nite Platform " and other deviations from sound Lu- 
theranism, and was wont to denounce all fanaticisms, 


The Lutherans in America. 

and but for the unhappy conflict now thrust upon the 
Church, he might have long co-operated in the de 
velopment of the Lutheran Church with many of 
those who left the General Synod ; but when in the 
progress of the struggle the assaults of the opposition 
were directed principally against the Seminary over 
which he presided and against the doctrinal basis of 
the General Synod, he contended with might and 


main against what he considered the revival of the 


"Old Lutheran theology." 

"As the result of his teachings," says Dr. Charles 
A. Stork, "there went forth from Gettysburg a suc 
cession of young men who had a new view of the Lu 
theran Church, of her theology, her spirit and genius, 
and of the work she had to do. * * They were 
learning to value their own mother Church, and her 

Formation of the General Synod. 371 

rich and full type of Christian doctrine and life. It 
is true our young men did not know Lutheran theol 
ogy thoroughly ; on many minor points they were 
cloudy. But they were set on the way to know that 
theology. They had a belief in the true individuality 
and value of her type of life, and they began to build 
the walls on the old foundations. For much of this 
the Church of to-day owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. 
Brown s theological work." His sudden disability by 
a stroke of paralysis in the prime of his eminent en 
dowments, caused universal sorrow, and was viewed, 
even by those most hostile to his position, as a great 

Since the division in 1866 six synods, several of them 
having grown up in the west, have united with the 
General Synod, which now aggregates 23 synods, 997 
ministers, 1,364 congregations, and 153,064 communi 
cants. It receives and holds "with the Evangelical 


Lutheran Church of our fathers, the Word of God, as 
contained in the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and 
New Testaments, as the only infallible rule of faith 
and practice, and the Augsburg Confession as a cor 
rect exhibition of the fundamental doctrines of the 
Divine Word, and of the faith of our Church founded 
upon that Word." And whatever may have been 
the case in the past, the specific doctrines of the 
Lutheran Confessions are to-day taught explicitly 
and ex animo in all the theological schools connected 
with the General Synod. The standard reference 
book in each of them is Schmid s Theology of the Lu 
theran Church. 



THE very year which brought into being the Gen 
eral Synod witnessed also the organization of 
the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee Synod, a 
body which, for a long time, was its only antagonist. 
Whatever other causes may have been active in sepa 
rating the founders of this body from the Synod of 
North Carolina, doctrinal hostility, both to that body 
and to the newly-formed General Synod became im 
mediately prominent. Rev. Dr. Bernheim says : "Doc 
trinal differences were at first not very apparent, ex 
cept on the ordination question ; however it was per 
ceptible, as early as 1816, that everything was tending 
toward a disruption, and that only some occasion or 
circumstance was wanting to produce it." 

The occasion was offered when the North Carolina 
Synod, in order to send a representative to the Penn 
sylvania Synod in 1819, for the purpose of consider 
ing the project of a General Synod, held its annual 
meeting six weeks earlier than the appointed time. 
When the regular time arrived on Trinity Sunday, 
Rev. Philip Henkel, who had given notice that he 
could not recognize the irregular meeting, his brother, 
Rev. David Henkel, a catechist of the synod, and Rev. 
Joseph Bell, a candidate, assembled at Organ Church, 


The Independent Synods. 373 

Rowan county, N. C., for the purpose of holding 
Synod. The two latter were ordained by the former. 
As the use of the church was denied them for Synod- 
ical business, the ordination took place in the grove 
adjoining. The proceedings of the earlier meeting 
were pronounced null and void, and the three brethren 
assumed the name and title of the Synod of North 
Carolina. Warm controversies ensued and these de 
veloped a sharp conflict of doctrine which rendered 
fruitless all attempts at reconciliation in the following 
year, when both bodies assembled at the same time 
and place to hold a Synodical convention. After 
an earnest discussion of their differences, the majority 
withdrew to another building. Those who remained 
soon adjourned and a few months later, July 17, 1820, 
completed the organization of the Tennessee Synod, 
adopting this name on account of the state in which 
they met, their congregations being scattered also 
over the Carolinas and Virginia. 

The doctrines dividing the two parties were chiefly 
Original Sin, the Person of Christ, and especially Bap 
tism and the Lord s Supper. On all these the North 
Carolina Synod was condemned as holding unluther- 
an views, and "the plan for a general union of our 
church," so warmly espoused by that synod, was de 
clared to be "against the Augsburg Confession." The 
General Synod was denounced as a hierarchy depriv 
ing the congregations of their rights," a measure re 
plete with mischief, threatening imminent danger to 
the liberties of the American people." All the other 
Synods were in fact condemned as heretical. 

The new organization was the only synod which 

374 The Lutherans in America. 

then formally and unqualifiedly received the Augs 
burg Confesssion. Its members considered it for a 
long time their special mission to oppose the General 
Synod and to preserve and develop the pure Lutheran 
faith in America. Their leader and ablest champion 
to the time of his death was Rev. David Henkel, a son 
of Rev. Paul Henkel. By close application and pri 
vate study he had acquired a knowledge of Latin and 
Greek, of Hebrew and Theology, and understood the 
mastery of men as well as of books. 

For the sake of preserving a language which con^ 
tained the treasures of Lutheran literature, German 
was at first made obligatory in the discussions of the 
Synod, but in less than twenty years its use disap 
peared, and that without any abatement in the devo 
tion to Lutheran doctrine. During a period of forty- 
five years the Augsburg Confession was recognized 
as a sufficient exponent of the Lutheran faith, while 
Luther s Small Catechism was the manual for the in 
struction of the young. But in 1886 the other Symbols 
were declared to be a faithful scriptural explanation 
of the doctrines contained in the Augsburg Confes 
sion. As general indifference to those features which 
characterize the Lutheran Church had long prevailed, 
the apprehension of Lutheran doctrines was to these 
men like a new and rich discovery, and the tide run 
ning strongly against them, had the effect of making 
them very firm and zealous in their maintenance. 
Great stress was laid upon them in their preaching. 
They were talked about constantly by the way and at 
the fireside and made an all important element in the 
examination of candidates for the ministry. Thus 

The Independent Synods. 375 

the clergy, whatever their defects, have always been 
well grounded in Lutheran dogmatics. 

A high standard of general education was always 
advocated, and though proper institutions were at first 
lacking, all candidates were expected to submit to an 
examination in Greek and Hebrew. Even after they 
had received license to preach as deacons they were 
n-quired to prosecute their studies from two to six 
years before they could enter fully the pastoral office. 
The Synod, in the interests of a thorough preparation 
and indoctrination, deviated in this for some time from 
the Lutheran principle of the parity of ministers. 

Fully persuaded that the doctrines of the Lutheran 
Church were the doctrines of God s Word and recog 
nizing the duty of those who have came to a knowl 
edge of the truth to publish it to the world, these 
Tennesseeans had recourse to the press and issued 
from time to time a number of translations from Ger 
man theological w^rks, as well as original doctrinal, 
devotional and polemic treatises, being in this respect 
as well as in their unreserved acceptance of the Con 
fession far in advance of the other Lutheran Synods. 
Fortunately a publishing house had been founded by 
the Henkel family as early as 1805 at New Market, 
Va. When the Tennessee Synod was formed this 
came at once into its service, and it had until very re 
cently good grounds for the claim that it has pub 
lished more distinctively Lutheran theological works 
in the English language than any other publishing 
house in the world. Its most daring and important 
enterprise was the English translation of the Chris 
tian Book of Concord, or the whole of the Lutheran 

The Independent Synods. 377 

Symbols, the first edition of which appeared in 1851. 
It was a work of faith and self-sacrificing devotion, con 
ceived and directed by a layman, Dr. Samuel Godfrey 
Henkel, but encouraged and supported by the Synod. 
A second, revised edition was called for three years 
later. "Luther on the Sacraments" was issued in 1853, 
and Luther s " Church Postil," Sermons on the Epis 
tles for the Sundays and Festivals of the year, in 1869. 
The result of these publications in reviving and pre 
serving the faith of our fathers cannot be estimated, 
and the pain of heart with which we note this first 
rupture of the Lutheran body in America, is consider 
ably relieved when one sees how the providence of God 
employed it to recover the buried and almost for 
gotten treasures of the Reformation and to coin them 
into the current language of this great country. 

Catechisation was from the beginning the main re 
liance for building up congregations. For many 
years no one except in very special cases was con 
firmed without a previous course of instruction. The 
pastors were wont to teach continuously from ten to 
fifteen days of six hours each. They used the Cate 
chism as a basis. With this they propounded ques 
tions to awaken thought, and after stating clearly a 
specific truth required each catechumen to find and 
mark the proof-text in his own bible. They dismissed 
no subject until they were sure that conviction had 
been wrought. Patient, faithful and devoted in this 
work, they made their catechumens intelligent Lu 
therans, enlightened Christians, and it was only in 
rare cases that a member of their congregations, no 

The Lutherans in America. 

matter what his location or situation, left the Lu 
theran Church. 

Always animated by the missionary spirit, the ag 
gressive work of the Synod was very much hindered 
and has been largely misunderstood through a singu 
lar article in its Constitution. Dreading whatever 
savors of the union of Church and State, it prohib 
ited the Synod from becoming an incorporated body 
and from having a treasury for either missions or 
Theological Seminaries. This precluded efficient 
organization and a business-like management of the 
cause, but although this interfered materially with the 
garnering of the harvest, it did not damp the ardor 
nor arrest the activity of sowing the seed. The statis 
tics may not be flattering, but the ministers, almost to 
a man, were missionaries in every sense of the word, 
With no board to aid them, no treasury to support 
them, they made long journeys North, West and 
South, in nine different States, on horse-back, over 
rough ways, through wild and thinly settled districts, 
exposed to serious dangers, and suffering great priva 
tions, teaching, preaching, baptizing, organizing con 
gregations and administering the Holy Supper, trust 
ing for their expenses to the communities which they 
visited. Some of the ministers devoted half their 
time to this work. In later years missionary opera 
tions have been conducted through the three confer 
ences into which the Synod is divided. 

As the visible result of her missionary work, the 
Tennessee Synod points to the organization of the 
Indiana Synod in 1835, t ^e English Conference of 
Missouri, which has become a district of the Missouri 

The Independent Synods. 379 

Synod, and the Holston Synod, organised in 1860 by 
the ministers and congregations in the State of Ten 
nessee. Notwithstanding these separations and in 
spite of a multitude of peculiar obstacles, the parent 
body still numbers thirty-two ministers, somewhat 
more than one hundred congregations, ten thou 
sand communicants, "intelligent, reading, thinking 
and industrious people," and has flourishing schools at 
Conover and Dallas, both in the State of North 
Carolina, and at Luray, Va. Concordia College at Con- 
over has both a Theological and a Collegiate depart 
ment, and is controlled by the Synod. The other two 
are female institutions in the hands of successful in 
structors. In one of its first conventions this Synod 
put upon record its conviction that slavery is an evil 
and appealed to the government to devise measures 
for its abolition. It called likewise upon slave-owners 
to provide in the meantime for the Christian educa 
tion of their slaves, a large number of whom it 
appears from the pastoral reports were baptized by 
its pastors. The Columbus Standard was its organ 
till the outbreak of the war. It now publishes " Our 
Church Paper." 

The Synod maintained its independence until in 
July 1886 at Roanoke, Va., it joined with the other 
Lutherans Synods of the South in forming the United 
Synod, a union being thus effected of bodies which 
had for fifty years antagonized each other. The 
grounds for this happy consummation are numerous. 
Time had softened the asperities of religious contro 
versy. Old prejudices had died away. A spirit of 
concord and co-operation had made itself felt. A 

3 8 The Lutherans in America. 

sense of responsibility to gather the harvest which 
Providence had ripened, pointed to union as the con 
dition of success. The Tennesseeans were not con 
scious of any relaxation of Lutheran orthodoxy, yet 
in some respects a more liberal tendency prevailed. 
A new constitution was adopted in 1866 and the ma 
jority were sufficiently satisfied with the confessional 
advance which marked the other Synods to enter into 
organic relations with them. Finally by education, by 
long contact and personal association, both parties 
had mutually come to a better understanding of each 
other s spirit principles and work. 


THE oldest Lutheran organization west of the Alle 
gheny mountains is the Joint Synod of Ohio and ad 
jacent States. Its beginnings date back to 1812, be 
tween which date and 1817 special conferences were 
held of the various Lutheran pastors who had found 
their way to the new State of Ohio. The name 
of Conference was retained down to the year 1830. 
The first meeting of the Joint Synod, as such, was not 
held until 1833. Its origin and development did not 
spring from the deliberations of an older body in the 
East, but rather from the necessity of the case as seen 
and appreciated by a few Lutheran pastors. People 
of the Lutheran faith were found among the early set 
tlers of Ohio, chiefly in Fairfield, Perry, Pickaway, 
Montgomery, Columbiana, Stark and Jefferson coun 
ties. The missionary spirit that now prompts the 
Lutheran Synods to look to the spiritual interests of 
their brethren who seek homes and fortunes in remote 

REV. W. K. 

The Independent Synods. 381 

districts, did not operate then as it does now. The 
understanding and appreciation of the historic teach 
ings of the Church of the Reformation had not been 
so fully developed, and accordingly had not become 
so determined and aggressive. The few weak synods 
had, besides, such an abundance of labor in their own 
territory that little could be done for the destitute 
brethren in the West. The pioneer gospel work de 
volved therefore, of necessity, mainly upon those who 
in themselves felt the call and the need of planting 
the Lutheran Church in the new settlements and 
gathering into folds her scattered children. 

The work of that day had a unique character and 
was really indicative of greater zeal and fervor than 
are the organized missionary efforts of our synods in 
the new West at present. Neither money nor honor 
awaited those first messengers of the cross. They 
could expect only a living, a poor one at that as a 
rule, and the approval of their conscience. By men 
of this stamp and actuated by this spirit were laid the 
foundations for the first Lutheran Synod of the West. 
They employed almost exclusively the German tongue 
the object being to gather into congregations those 
who in Europe had been members of the Lutheran 
state churches, or in the East had been Lutheran. 
Even yet is the Home Mission activity of the Lutherans 
distinguished from that of the other denominations by 
the fact that it aims primarily, and often exclusively, 
at gathering their own lost sheep. The English por 
tion of the Church has of late years addressed itself 
more to the general public and with cheering results. 
The founders of the Ohio Synod introduced English 

382 The Lutherans in America. 

at an early date. The rapid Americanization of the 
German Lutherans, especially in language, made it im 
perative, and soon led to the organization of an Eng 
lish district. 

These pastors had a task before them not easy to 
accomplish. The Lutherans were widely scattered. 
They were poor in this world s goods, but, as a rule 
anxious to hear the Gospel and from teachers of their 
own Church. The facilities for getting from one place 
to another were exceedingly poor, and the almost end 
less journeys of these preachers, generally on horse 
back, always involved great fatigue, privation and 
often danger. One would frequently spend six or 
seven weeks on a missionary tour of this sort. Such 
hospitality as the people could give he accepted, and 
his remuneration was generally little or nothing. The 
story of the ups and downs of these men and the zeal 
they displayed reads almost like a romance. It is 
refreshing in these days when the general tendencies 
of the churches, and of their pastors, in a measure too, 
are toward effeminacy and ease, to read of the sturdy 
courage, the untiring activity, and the persistent 
heroic enterprise of these men. They were, perhaps, 
not as deeply versed in theological lore as are the pas 
tors of to-day. Their libraries consisted merely of a 
handful of books, and they did not have the time or 
opportunity to secure scholastic attainments. But 
though lacking in their heads they were rich in their 
hearts. Their preaching was the promulgation of the 
simple Gospel truth without much rhetorical flourish 
or ornamental paraphernalia. But they worked sue- 

384 The Lutherans in .luicrica. 

cessfully in a field that required greater devotion and 
enterprise than do the missionary efforts of to-day. 

The growth of the Ohio Synod has been steady, 
and in comparison with most of the other Lutheran 
Synods, rapid. Its present statistics are two hundred 
and seventy pastors, sixty-five parochial school teach 
ers, four hundred and twenty congregations and fifty- 
seven thousand eight hundred and seventy-two com 
municants. It was from the beginning zealous for 
education and in the number of its institutions com 
pares very favorably with the other Lutheran bodies. 
The Theological Seminary at Columbus was estab 
lished in 1833. Capital University at the same place, 
in 1850. It sustains now five different higher institu 
tions, with nearly three hundred students for the cleri 
cal or pedagogic vocation, and a Home sheltering one 
hundred orphans 

The running expenses of these institutions reach 
the sum of $30,000, all of which except what is de 
rived from the publishing house at Columbus, is pro 
vided by the benevolence of the congregations. The 
cost of their erection has also been borne by the 
people in general, the largest single donation thus far 
made being $5,000.00, contributed several years ago for 
the liquidation of the debt on Capital University. 

The rapid growth of the work of the Synod in the 
last ten or fifteen years as compared with that of the 
decades preceding, is due largely to the rapid 
development of missionary interest and the increase 
of territory occupied by the Synod. Ten years ago 
the different districts of the Synod, of which there 
were six, two English and the rest German, did a 

The Independent Synods. 385 

little work in this direction, but the appointment of a 
general Mission Committee, in 1884, marked the begin 
ning of a new era. Missionary work is now being done 
in twenty states and territories, from North Carolina 
and Maryland in the East to Oregon and Washing 
ton Territory in the West. Formerly there was not 
a single missionary engaged exclusively in the work, 
the pastors doing what they could in this direction in 
addition to their congregational duties, now there are 
twenty-six missionaries under the direction of the 
Committee and fully twenty-five more have been called 
for. Some of these missionaries have as high as a 
dozen, fifteen or even twenty preaching places, the ma 
jority of which in a short time generally become fully 
organized congregations. The annual expenses of 
the Mission Committee are about twelve thousand 
dollars, a large proportion of which is raised by the 
Sunday-schools on Childrens Day. The most of this 
work is among the German emigrants of the West, 
although English interests are cared for also, particu 
larly in the larger cities. The cause is growing in the 
Synod in a most encouraging manner and is one of 
the best signs of its inner prosperity and soundness. 

The Ohio Synod has all along, with the exception 
of about a dozen years when it was in connection 
with the Synodical Conference, been an independent 
body. Efforts were made in earlier times to form a 
union with the General Synod and later with the 
General Council; but in both cases the attempt 
proved a failure. This was the case principally on 
account of the conservative and strictly confessional 
standpoint of the Ohio Synod. The union with th< 

386 The Lutherans in America. 

Conference was severed in 1881, on account of the 
doctrine of Predestination as taught by the Missouri 
Synod, the leading member of the Conference. The 
Synod has at no time enjoyed a more flourishing 
period than it does now, and the prospects for success 
ful work were never better. The language question 
has caused but little difficulty. Just now it is the trans 
ition period, and in fully one third of the charges both 
German and English preaching are required, the 
former for the older the latter for the younger 
element. There are thirty or forty exclusively Eng 
lish congregations. This state of affairs is reflected 
in the institutions, in which the German and the 
English are both used as mediums of instruction and 
intercourse. On the floor of Synod both languages 
have equal rights and all transactions are recorded 
in both. Its popular periodicals, TheStandard and 
Die Lulherische Kirchcnzeitung, and its theological 
journals, The Theological Monthly and Theoloqische 
Zeitblaetter are ably conducted, and it has made valu 
able contributions to permanent church literature. 


THE German Synod of Iowa and other States ac 
cepts the Bible as the only rule of faith and the Lu 
theran Confessions as "the pure and unadulterated rep 
resentation of the divine Word and Law." It con 
demns secret societies as anti-christian and repudiates 
all unionistic tendencies. Holding unreservedly all 
doctrines of faith expressed in the Symbolical Books 
as binding, it allows diversity of opinion on theological 
questions which do not come in conflict with articles 


The Independent Synods. 387 

of faith. Among such "open questions" in which full 
agreement, though desirable, is not absolutely neces 
sary to Church fellowship, are "the development and 
explanation of Eschatology, Anti-Christ, the Sabbath 
and the Holy Office." 

In the fall of 1853, Rev. G. Grossman, Superintend 
ent of the first Protestant Normal School of this 
country, who had come into collision with the Mis 
souri Synod on one of the above "questions," removed 
his school to Dubuque, Iowa, so as not to occasion 
schisms in neighboring congregations of that body. 
After some disheartening trials, he began teaching 
here with two students who had accompanied him ; 
several were sent from Germany and on November 
10 a seminary was opened in a building which served 
as church, parsonage, school-room and professor s resi 
dence. Free lodging was the professor s salary. In 
the following July Rev, Signiund Fritschel became 
second instructor. These two in company with Rev. 
J. Deindoerfer, who had left Michigan along with 
Grossman and settled west of Dubuque, and Rev. M. 
Schueller who served a congregation near Dubuque, 
formed themselves, August 24, 1854, at St. Sebald, into 
the EvangelicanLutheral Synod of Iowa. 

No Synod in the United States has been founded 
under more discouraging prospects. Its three congre 
gations one consisting of less than six families were 
absolutely unable to support a seminary. Once dur 
ing that year the institution was actually discontinued 
for a few days, when an unexpected gift enabled the 
work to be resumed. But for many years all had to 
live and labor in great poverty as but little financial 


The Lutherans in America. 

support came from congregations. The seminary 
was removed to St. Sebald, 1857, where a part of its 
support could be raised on a farm. The professors 
for the time received house-rent and board. Rev. S. 
Fritschel had accepted a call to a congregation in 
1854, as only one teacher could be supported; but in 
May, 1857, his brother, Rev. Gottfried Fritschel, took 
his place, while a year later he returned to the sem 

In 1855 the Synod had five ministers and five con- 


gregations, in 1856 nine and eight respectively; in 
1858 these figures had grown to eighteen and thirty- 
one ; in 1861 to thirty-six and fifty. In its eleventh 
year, 1865, it reached fifty ministers, seventy congrega 
tions and six thousand communicants. 

From its organization this body showed earnest 
missionary zeal. No distance was too great, no roads 

The Independent Synods. 389 

too rough, no season too unfavorable ; in the heat of 
summer and in the cold blasts of western winters, 
through mud, slush and frozen streams, ministers 
sought and served new fields of labor. One professor 
frequently walked twenty-five miles and back be 
tween Saturday and Monday; another served congre 
gations more than forty miles from his place of resi 
dence, traveling mostly afoot. 

When the Buffalo and Missouri Synods maintained 
a contest, especially on the ministerial office, the Iowa 
Synod held an intermediate position between the 
democratic view of Missouri and the episcopal of 
Buffalo. It seemed for a time as though Iowa could 
work in harmony with Buffalo, and ministers of the 
former synod were called to congregations of the lat 
ter. But on account of certain eschatological views 
entertained by some of the Iowa men, these friendly 
relations were not long maintained. 

The Missouri Synod took from the beginning a hos 
tile stand toward members of the Iowa Synod. By 
its influential press these were vigorously attacked 
and the reproach of heresy was sought to be fixed 
upon them even in Germany. All endeavors to pro 
mote a good understanding between the two bodies 
proved vain, all explanations were misunderstood or 
misinterpreted. But Iowa did not relax its efforts 
to bring about peace with Missouri as well as with 
other synods. Its relations with the Minnesota and 
the Wisconsin Synods became very friendly, and event 
ually its continued endeavors were so far successful 
that a Colloquium was held with the Missouri Synod, 
November 13-19, 1867, at Milwaukee, Wis. The re- 

3QO The Lutherans in America. 

suit was deemed encouraging by many. Though no 
agreement had been attained peace seemed possible. 

Throughout this period the territory of the Iowa 
Synod continued to widen. A number of congrega 
tions were formed in the vicinity of Toledo, Ohio, Des 
Moines, Iowa, Madison, Wis., in south-ea stern Mis 
souri, in Illinois and elsewhere. Missionary work was 
also undertaken among the Indians. The first trials 
were made in 1856 by Rev. Jakob Schmidt in Canada; 
he went in 1858 to the Crows or Upsarokas between 
the Yellowstone rive r and the Black Hills. In 1859 
he and M. Braeuninger, Doederlein and Seyler with 
two colonists started to establish a station on the 
Powder river, Wyoming, but 1860, missionary Braeun 
inger was murdered by a band of Sioux. 

A new station on the Deer Creek, Neb, was estab 
lished among the Zistas or Cheyennes. Three Indian 
boys were given to be educated ; missionary Krebs 
translated Luther s Catechism into the Cheyenne 
language and in 1863 the missionaries had commenced 
to preach in the Cheyenne language, when the Sioux 
induced all Indians in Nebraska to go upon the war 
path. The missionaries reluctantly withdrew, only 
when a party of Sioux approached expressly to mur 
der them. Thus unhappily ended the Indian mission 
in its very infancy. The Indian boys fled with the 
missionaries and were afterwards baptized. Two of 
them lie buried at St. Sebald ; a plain cross marks the 
place; and the short inscription: "Two Indians," 
tells the story of a relatively fruitless enterprise. 

The persistent attacks upon the Synod created 
gradually dissatisfaction within its bosom. In order 

The Independent Synods. 391 

to set forth unmistakably its position the paragraph 
stating the doctrinal basis was changed to the form 
which had been used at every ordination from the 
very beginning. No change of doctrinal position was 
intended, but simply a more unmistakable form was 
adopted at Davenport 1873. The Synod was at once 
charged with having surrendered its former doctrinal 
basis, and by various means it was sought to produce 
dissatisfaction and disharmony within the body. 
From May i, 1874 until October 15, 1875 the attacks 
of the " Lutheraner " were sent broadcast to ministers 
and members of the Iowa Synod. As a result of this 
the appearance of an organized party in the Synod 
divergent in objects yet one in opposition, and the 
dissolution of the Synod, seemed inevitable. The gen 
eral meeting appointed for 1876 had to be held in 
1875 at Madison. It adopted a series of resolutions 
clearly and finally stating its doctrinal basis ; and the 
opposition broke into fragments. About twenty min 
isters severed their connection, leaving the number in 
the Synod about one hundred. Only a few of the 
congregations could be induced to secede with them, 
and the withdrawing ministers connected themselves 
mostly with Synods of the Synodical Conference. 

In a suit-at-law brought by a majority of the con 
gregation at Wilton, Iowa, to recover property from 
the minority and the pastor, the decision was in favor 
of the Iowa party, and the Supreme Court of Iowa 
sustained the judgment of the lower courts. 

It had been alleged that the attacks upon the Iowa 
Synod were made on documentary evidence from 
official publications of the Synod. These proofs were 

392 The Lutherans in America. 

examined and refuted in " Iowa and Missouri," an ex 
ceedingly thorough work in which it is claimed the 
position of the Iowa Synod was fully vindicated. 

The Theological Seminary was removed in 1874 to 
Mendota, Ills., and occupied a building of the former 
Mendota College of the General Synod. 

The severe trials through which the Synod passed 
gave it greater strength and a rapid increase. At the 
Quarto-Centennial, celebrated in 1879 at Maxfield, 
Iowa, a Teachers Seminary was established. In 1885 
the College founded in 1868 was united with it and 
the institution is now in a flourishing condition at 
Waverly, Iowa, with an able staff of instructors. The 
Seminary also outgrew its quarters and when the 
Synod in 1888 called for $10,000 to erect buildings 
at Dubuque, the congregations responded with $15,000. 
The new building will accomodate ninety students. 

Home Mission work was systematically organized 
in 1879 and the Synod has since worked quietly, but 
diligently, throughout the West, among the immi 
grants. Though every year from fifteen to twenty 
new workers are sent into the field these are insuf 
ficient to supply all the urgent applications. The rapid 
increase of recent years is as follows: 1875, one hun 
dred and fourteen ministers, one hundred and eighty 
congregations; 1882, one hundred and seventy minis 
ters, two hundred and seventy-five congregations ; 
1889, two hundred and seventy-two ministers, five hun 
dred congregations, arid not less than forty thousand 

The Synod is divided into six districts, which meet 
annually ; whilst the delegate Synod meets every third 

The Independent Synods. 393 

year. Conferences are held for deliberation and the 
discussion of theological questions. Visitations are 
made to superintend the enforcement of the princi 
ples of the Synod. All the money necessary for the 
support of the Synod and its institutions is raised by 
the voluntary contributions of the congregations. 

Besides the Seminary and the College, the Synod 
sustains two Orphans homes; one at Toledo, Ohio 
and one at Andrew, Iowa. Support is given to the 
Foreign Missions of the General Council as well as 
to some Missionary Societies in Germany. The 
Wartburg Publishing House furnishes Lutheran books 
for home, school and church use, and three periodicals, 
the "Kirchenblatt," the " Kirchliche Zeitschrift," and 
" Waisenhausblaetter." A Mutual Aid Society assists 
widows and orphans; and a " Pfarrwittwen-Kasse" 
pays an annuity to widows of deceased ministers. 

The Iowa Synod has always maintained friendly 
relations with the General Council of the Evangelical 
Lutheran Church, and has worked in harmony with 
it. But thus far it has not united organically with 
the Council ; while it sincerely hopes the time will 
come when every obstacle to union may be removed. 

One of its strong men, Rev. Gottfried Fritschel, 
D. D., has just passed to his reward. From the time 
of his ordination in 1857 he served as Professor in 
the Wartburg Seminary, where he labored with un 
faltering diligence, with profound attainments and 
with enthusiasm for the Lutheran Church and her 
faith. Not less than four hundred students sat at 
his feet during this period and " he has left an impress 
upon all these minds which the Lutheran Church in. 

394 Tke Lutherans in America. 

America will never cease to feel." He was beloved 
as a preacher as he was tireless in missionary activity. 
Of an irenic temper and diffident almost to L fault, 
circumstances forced him into controversies which he 
conducted with great ability and vigor. The pros 
perity which has attended the Iowa Synod and its 
Seminary is due under God in large measure "to the 
unpretentious and quiet but solid and faithful work 
which he did as a professor and teacher." 


KLING PETERSEN, the first immigrant from Norway 
of whom we have any history, came to America in 
1821. He returned after three years and aroused an 
American interest among his people. Rigging out a 
small vessel, he left Stavanger with fifty-two persons, 
July 4, 1825. Landing in New York, October 9, the 
little band proceeded to Rochester, N. Y., where they 
formed the first Norwegian colony in America. 

In 1836-7 the first colonists settled in the west along 
Fox river, in La Salle county, 111. Since then there 
has been a steadily increasing stream, bringing some 
years as high as fifteen thousand. These new comers 
are scattered over the whole country, so that Nor 
wegian Lutheran churches are now found from Port 
land, Oregon, to Portland Maine, from Manitoba to 
Texas. For years the people were destitute of pas 
toral care. They had brought with them their Bibles, 
hymn-books and devotional manuals, and thus they 
enjoyed the means of private edification, but having 
no church organization they suffered sad spiritual des 
titution. On every returning Lord s day they were 


The Independent Synods. 395 

forcibly reminded of the wonted ringing of the church 
bells, of the stately churches, the beautiful liturgical 
service, the soul-stirring song, the richly robed minis 
ter, the elaborate sermon in short of the entire wor 
ship, as they had enjoyed it in their native home. 
Those of a more decidedly Christian character called 
"Hauge s Friends," having been awakened by the re 
ligious movement under Hauge in Norway, did all in 
their power for spiritual improvement. They assem 
bled with the people both on Sunday and week days 
for mutual edification. They had experienced the 
grace of God upon their own hearts, and would thus 
with power and unction exhort the people. They 
encouraged the faithful, strengthened the weak, and 
awakened the slumbering; but this supplied only in a 
measure the pressing want, and could not fill the place 
of public worship and pastoral care. 

Scattered as sheep without shepherd these strangers 
were also subject to the proselyting schemes of sec 
tarians. The Episcopalians approached them with 
their specious plea of "essentially no difference." 
The Baptists by ordaining a proselyte expected to 
gain entrance into the Lutheran fold. Even the Mor 
mons attempted, but in vain, to make inroads among 
them. Very few were misled by these encroachments. 
Some of them gladly returned to their spiritual home. 
The faith that possessed their hearts guarded them 
against a trumpet giving "an uncertain sound." The 
Norwegians are conservative. Their Lutheranism 
has such root in their hearts that they do not readily 
exchange it for every new " ism." Proselytism among 
them has, therefore, seldom been a success. 

39^ The Lutherans in America. 

A spiritual awakening visited, in 1839, the commu 
nity along the Fox river, where lay preachers were 
laboring, and in the following year the first "meeting 
house " was erected. There was no ordained minister 
among them until 1843, when Mr. C. L. Clausen, who 
had been a lay preacher in the old country, having re 
ceived a call from the congregations at Muskego and 
Yorkville, Wis., was ordained by a German Lutheran, 
Rev. C. F. Krause, of Milwaukee. In 1845 the first 
Norwegian Church was built in Muskego. 

A synodical organization was attempted in 1846, 
but beyond a declaration of general principles noth 
ing was effected. Another meeting, called at Middle- 
town, 111., in September, 1848, in order to meet the 
demands of the State laws, adopted as a rule for the 
congregations the "Church Discipline of the Franck- 
ean Synod," by which one of the ministers had been 
ordained. The Hauge s Synod dates from 1850. 

No closer union between congregations took place 
until the fall of 1851, when the Norwegian, Swedish 
and English Lutherans united to form the Synod of 
Northern Illinois. In the year 1860, the two former 
withdrew on account of doctrinal differences, and in 
June of the same year organized the Scandinavian 
Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod in which the 
Norwegians and Swedes worked harmoniously to 
gether until 1870, when they separated on the line of 
nationality, and the Norwegian Augustana Synod 
was formed. It was composed also of followers of 
Hauge, having special concern for conversion and 
being in sympathy with the Hauge Synod, but more 
conservative, "prizing the Lutheran faith above every- 

The Independent Synods. 397 

thing," yet dispensing with Liturgical worship. This 
body was the first to establish Sunday-schools and to 
introduce English in public services. 

Those who in 1870 formed the "Conference " form 
erly belonged to the Augustana Synod, but a reaction 
against its bald worship and in favor of churchly 
practice led to the formation of a separate body. Its 
special zeal for churchliness and home missions has 
given it phenomenal progress. 

With efficient organization and an ever-increasing 
emigration the Norwegian communion has had a 
steady growth. From the feeble beginnings little 
more than a generation ago have sprung 460 minis 
ters, over 1,400 congregations and more than 140,000 
communicants, maintaining five Theological Semina 
ries, two colleges, three preparatory schools and four 
religious papers. 

The work of gathering in has been relatively easy. 
Even when wanting in personal piety the respect of 
the Norwegians for the Church and the Lutheran 
faith is such that unless they have become quite un 
godly they mostly seek of their own accord the 
Church to which all belonged in the old country. A 
little encouragement seldom fails to win them. 

Great missionary activity has been shown from the 
beginning, and it has been constantly increasing. 
This aggressive zeal is largely due to the foreign 
missionary interest which prevails in the mother 
church, and which is intensified here where means and 
opportunity are at hand. Two missionaries from 
Madagascar, each visiting congregations here some 
six months, within the last year, collected about 

The Lutheran* hi America. 

$11,000 for that field. At its first organization the 
Church here was exclusively a missionary enterprise. 
No sooner had the old congregations become well 
established and self-supporting, than calls came to 
them constantly from new regions to send them 


ministers and establish churches among them. Nor 
has the cry abated yet. Immigration is greater than 
ever before, removals from the old settlements and 
cities are constantly going on, and the people are now 
scattered into nearly every state and territory in the 

The Independent Synods. 399 

Union. The majority of the annual Seminary gradu 
ates are sent into the mission field. With all that has 
been accomplished the means at hand are still utterly 
inadequate to meet the demands constantly made 
from all directions. 

Great praise for the growth of the Norwegian 
Church is due to the early ministers, who laid a good 
foundation. Constrained by the love of Christ and 
deeming themselves called of God and men, because 
of the spiritual wants of their countrymen, they shrank 
from no sacrifice. The pioneer work was connected 
with all manner of hardships. The earliest immi 
grants were mostly poor people, many of them even in 
actual want. For years they had to battle against 
poverty, sickness, and numerous privations and disad 
vantages. Among such people, widely scattered, the 
first ministers were called to labor, necessitated to 
make long and difficult journeys, and to preach in small 
crowded houses and as a rule with no compensation. 
In this way, by being more of itinerant than local 
preachers, with many congregations and preaching 
places, it was that the people were kept together and 
preserved to the Church. The sermon had often 
little polish, but it had pith and marrow. It gave 
the pure, unadorned and unadulterated Word. And 
this is what the people longed for and what gave them 
strength and joy. A visit from the pastor every four 
or six weeks had to suffice. It proved a season of re 
freshing and kept them constant in the faith. The 
work was arduous, done for love s sake and not for 
lucre. It was richly blessed of God to the spiritual 
nourishment and preservation of many people. 

400 The Lutherans in America. 

The Norwegian branch of the Church presents a 
remarkable spectacle. From the very beginning of 
its organization here there have been three different 
parties, which have now grown to five, each maintain 
ing tenets and practices of its own, while all claim to 
be distinctively Lutheran. Different tendencies came 
over from the mother church. Some of the emigrants 
were adherents of the reformer Hauge, marked by 
great simplicity and earnestness. Others came here 
in full sympathy with the State Church. These 
were opposed to the pietists, of a more churchly turn, 
zealous for the faith, and devoted to the usages of the 
home Church, a full liturgy, clerical vestments, etc. 
Their ministers came generally from the Universities. 
Another element was mediate between these. 

These diversities became here more fully developed, 
and violent controversies broke out. Yet the organi 
zation of different Synods had not been possible had 
not questions and differences of a graver nature 
arisen. The pietistic and orthodox tendencies might 
have been united in their work and in brotherly love 
had not important doctrinal issues come to the 

The first trouble of this kind "arose with the first 
two ministers who advocated the doctrines of Grundt- 
vig." So radical a departure from the Lutheran 
doctrine rendered co-operation in work impossible. 
The breach already existing was greatly widened. 

Another conflict turned on the activity of laymen, 
whether they should have the rijht of prayer and ex 
hortation in public assemblies. Those of the Hauge 
Synod had always recognized this right as inherent in 

The Independent Synods. 401 

the universal priesthood. The rigidly orthodox would 
suppress all such activity. Another question was that 
of the Sabbath, the one party following the sixteenth 
century theologians, the other those of the seventeenth 
century, especially Spener. Many other important 
questions have created dissension and caused still 
wider separation: Absolution, "the world s Justifica 
tion," and lastly Predestination, which has now rent 
the "Norwegian Synod," a body which "has always 
been uncompromisingly Missourian/" the majority of 
its pastors being trained at St. Louis, and which has 
been eminently successful in educational work and in 
winning the masses. 

These separations have not arisen from different in 
terpretations of the Confessions all accept these with 
one accord. All are firm Lutherans. The present 
divisions are: Hauge Synod, organized 1850, 43 min 
isters, 126 congregations, 9,222 communicants; "Nor 
wegian," organized 1853, 174 ministers, 610 congrega 
tions, 60,684 communicants ; Augustana, organized in 
1860, 32 ministers, 80 congregations, 5,000 communi 
cants ; Conference, organized 1870,101 ministers, 436 
congregations, 33,165 communicants ; Anti-Missourian, 
organized 1887, no ministers, 400 congregations, and 
35,000 communicants. The latter have not effected a 
Synodical organization, but hold annual meetings and 
have their own college, seminary, and weekly. 

In the midst of the warfare lonof ra^in^, there have 

o o o 

always been in all the Synods those inclined to peace, 
who have bewailed these divisions and have longed 
and labored and prayed for a better understanding, 
for brotherly love and for a union of the whole Nor- 

402 The Lutherans in America. 

wegian Church. Efforts to this effect have been made 
from the beginning. The work of union dates back 
to the work of separation. Conferences for this pur 
pose were held in 1859, in 1863 and in 1864. 

For years no further attempt to bring the different 
parties together was witnessed until in 1881 when they 
all met for conference in St. Ansgar, Iowa. The situa 
tion had become considerably changed. Twenty 
years of conflict had modified the minds of many. 
All were now disposed to see how nearly they agreed 
rather than as before to find how greatly they differed. 
The results of the meeting were encouraging beyond 
what had been anticipated. Other conferences which 
have been held annually since have been equally pro- 
motive of peace. 

The greatest impetus was given to the union move 
ment in 1888, when a committee of seven, clerical and 
lay, from each of the Synods, except the "Norwegian, 
met in Eau Claire, Wis., for the purpose of devising a 
plan of consolidation. The result far exceeded the 
the peoples expectation. A settlement of the old 
controversies was effected and a draft for a new con 
stitution and articles of agreement were drawn up. 

A meeting of representatives from the congrega 
tions for the consideration of this plan was held in 
November 1888, at Scandinavia, Wis. The whole 
plan with but few alterations was unanimously 
adopted. This plan, which has since been unani 
mously adopted by three bodies at their annual meet 
ings, now goes to the congregations, and will come up 
for final action at the next meeting of each of the 
Synods, which are to convene at the same time in 

The Independent Synods. 403 

Minneapolis. If approval carries they can at once 
unite and form the new Synod and organize their Sem 
inary with five professors as already agreed upon. 

All essential matters having been settled, these three 
bodies now look forward confidently to a union. The 
fourth, Hauge s Synod, is hesitating. Still there is 
hope that when the Synods come together in 1890, the 
United Synod will embrace this body also. 

The " Norwegian Synod " has kept entirely aloof 
from this movement, yet the hope is cherished that in 
due time this body will also be one with the others 
so that ultimately one United Synod shall be formed 
from the five now existing. 


A society for missionary work in America was 
founded in Odense, Denmark, October 1869. Several 
ministers had previously come to this country and 
three more were now sent over by this association. 
These united in 1872 in a Synodical body, known as 
"The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Amer 
ica." Although passing through the usual trials and 
conflicts, this body has made such progress that it now 
numbers 44 ministers and more than 4,000 communi 
cants. It supports a Theological Seminary at West 
Denmark, Wis., four High Schools,an Orphan Home, 
an Emigrant House and a Sailors Mission. In for 
eign missionary work, for which it has furnished a 
missionary and his wife, it co-operates both with the 
General Council in the Telegu field and with the 
Church of Denmark among the Tamuls and Sandthals. 

"The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church Associa- 

404 ^he Lutherans in America. 

tion " was organized in 1884 by some Danish ministers 
who in a fraternal spirit withdrew from the Norwe 
gian-Danish Conference. It has now 16 ministers, 
maintains a Theological Seminary at Blair, Neb., 
with two Professors, and has sent a missionary to 
Utah. It seems very desirable that these two Danish 
bodies should unite, and those unacquainted with their 
difficulties may see no reason for their separation, but 
as Rationalism and the teachings of Grundtvig have 
caused great disturbances in the Church of Denmark, 
sufficient time must necessarily elapse for all parties 
in this country to purge themselves from these errors, 
before the Danish Lutherans can harmoniously and 
effectively co-operate. 

A vigorous Icelandic Association was organized in 
1885 with 4 pastors and about 4,000 communicants. 
It reports now 22 congregations. 


THIS body held its first meeting at Milwaukee, Wis M 
June, 1845, four ministers and eighteen laymen being 
in attendance. The leading spirit was Rev. J. A. A. 
Grabau, who came to this country in 1839 and estab 
lished a theological school at Buffalo. In its some 
what hierarchical view of the ministry it came into 
conflict with the Missouri Synod. A colloquium with 
representatives from that body was held in 1866 and 
as a consequence a number of the ministers and con 
gregations passed over into its bounds. Another sec 
tion withdrew about the same time, and after maintain 
ing for a while a separate organization its members be 
came absorbed in different synods. The original 

The Independent Synods. 405 

synod consists now of twenty-one ministers, thirty-five 
congregations, and five thousand communicants. 


Which assisted in the organization of the General 
Council, withdrew in 1888 on account of dissatisfac 
tion with the latter s position on pulpit and altar 
fellowship. It embraces about forty ministers, fifty- 
five congregations, and ten thousand communicants. 



TOWARD the close of the third decade of the 
present century, those days of rationalistic rule, 
there was at the University of Leipzig ^sip-ill 
circle of students whom their academic fellow-citizens 
termed Mystics or Pietists, or Hypocrites and Obscur 
ants. They would spend the hours which others de 
voted to the loud pleasures of the beer mug, in the 
seclusion of some quiet room, where they might have 
been found closeted with some obscure volume, the 
writings of Arndt, Francke, Spener, Rambach, Fresen- 
ius, or some other theologian of like character. A 
theological candidate of riper years and spiritual ex 
perience, named Kuehn, was the leader of this little 
band, and the path he endeavored to point out to his 
associates was a via dolorosa through dark depths of 
anguish and contrition, a series of experiences like 
those through which he had passed before he found 
peace and rest in Christ Jesus. 

In the fall of 1829 this circle welcomed a young 
man of eighteen years, the son of a clergyman in Sax 
ony, a youth with a good classical education, who had 
until recently "felt himself born for music only." 
When his father declared that he would set him adrift 
without a farthing if he should "turn musician," but 
promised him a thaler a week if he would study theol 
ogy, the son set his face toward Leipzig and theology, 


RIvV. C. ?. W. WAI/THKR, I>. D. 

The Missourians. 407 

and there we find him, young in years, slender of 
stature, in delicate health, shifting as best he could 
with his thaler a week, but turning to every advan 
tage his talents and opportunities. 

The young student was Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm 
Walther. An elder brother introduced the youth to 
that circle of Pietists mentioned above. Soon the 
younger Walther was far gone in the direction in 
which the influence of Kuehn and others was exerted, 
his soul was filled with anguish under the pangs of a 
troubled conscience ; sighs and sobs and tears gave 
evidence of the storm that raofed in his bosom and 


threatened to engulf every hope and to shut out every 
ray of consoling light which had dawned in his soul. 
While he was struor^linof with despair God used the 


gentle hand of a woman to draw him from the preci 
pice. The wife of a revenue officer at Leipzig, whose 
home had been opened to him, perceived the trouble 
of the pious youth, and from her lips came words of 
comfort drawn from the Gospel, and from her heart 
rose many a fervent prayer to a throne of grace that 
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, 
might be granted to that troubled soul. 

God in his wise providence led young Walther to 
seek spiritual advice and consolation also from an 
other, from a man who was in future years to be in 
strumental in leading him across the ocean. Martin 
Stephan was the pastor of a Bohemian congregation 
which worshiped in St. John s Church at Dresden, a 
preacher who had for years proclaimed to vast multi 
tudes that flocked to that unostentatious church in 
the suburbs, what was then very rarely heard from 

The Lutherans in America. 

German pulpits, Christ and him crucified. Stephan 
was renowned as a spiritual adviser who had profound 
knowledge of the human heart and was ever ready to 
minister what each individual soul required. This man 
one day received a letter from a stranger, a student 
at Leipzig, who disclosed to him his innermost soul 
and solicited an answer. When the answer came, Wai- 
ther held the letter in his hands, and before he broke 
the seal prayed to God to keep him from accepting 
vain counsels and consolations. But after he had read 
Stephan s letter, he was like one who had been lifted 
from hell into paradise, and his tears of anguish were 
changed into tears of joy. 

A year and another year passed away, and then 
young Walther s days seemed nearly numbered ; pul 
monary disease forced him to relinquish his studies 
and seek rest and relief at home. During these weary 
months he found in his father s library the works of 
Luther, and here he laid the foundation of the inti 
mate acquaintance with the writings of the great Re 
former which distinguished him in later years. In the 
spring of 1832 he returned to the university, improved 
in health, but without hope of ever becoming phys 
ically able to work in the ministry. He completed 
his studies, passed his first examination, and was then 
a private tutor from 183410 1836. In 1837 he was 
ordained to the ministry in the village church of 

r O 

Braeunsdorf in Saxony, amidst a congregation which 
for forty years and more had not heard the Gospel of 
Christ and had sunk deep in intellectual, moral and 
religious depravity. The form of public service, the 
hymn-book, the school-books, were, like the school 

The Missoririans. 409 

teacher and the superintendent, steeped in Rationalism, 
and when Walther, true to his vow and to the Sym 
bols of the Lutheran Church which he had sworn to 
follow and maintain, endeavored to work a change 
toward sound Lutheranism, stumbling blocks without 
number were thrown in his way, until his troubled 
conscience was beset on every side. 

Walther was not the only Lutheran in Saxony who 
suffered under the rod of a rationalistic and unionis- 
tic regime, and when in those days Stephan was look 
ing toward the United States of America as an 
asylum of true Lutheranism, to which his attention 
had been directed by Dr. Benjamin Kurtz of Balti 
more, and finally came forth with a definite plan of 
emigration, Walther with others caught up the signal. 
In September 1838, as many as 707 persons had 
entered their names upon the rolls ; ministers, school 
teachers, lawyers, physicians, artists, gave up their 
positions, married men and women left their husbands 
and wives, parents their children, children their 
parents; a part of their joint possessions was turned 
over to a common treasury ; four ships were chartered 
and a fifth, the Amalia, was also occupied mostly by 
members of the company. All of these ships left 
Bremerhafen in November 1838. The Copernicus 
arrived at New Orleans on the last day of the same 
year, three others in January 1839; the Amalia was 
lost with all on board. 

The passengers continued their pilgrimage to St. 
Louis, then a city of about 16,000 inhabitants. 
Stephan had prevailed upon his followers to make 
him their bishop and to sign a document in which 

The Lutherans in America. 

they pledged themselves to allegiance and obedience. 
He surrounded himself with every kind of luxury, and 
during the few months of his rule he drew from the 
common treasury more than 4,000 thalers for his own 
sustenance and comfort. To secure a still more un 
limited exercise of his power, he aimed at isolating 
the community under his sway. A tract of land was 
purchased in Perry county, Mo., and Here the emigrants 
amid untold hardships began to build up a number of 
Saxon colonies. A small flock remained in St. Louis 
and chose the elder Walther for their pastor. 

Stephan, who had also repaired to Perry county, 
ruled like a Pasha. A magnificent episcopal palace 
was in process of construction. Then came a revela 
tion which fell like a thunderbolt among the colonists. 
One dark night the younger Walther arrived from St. 
Louis. To a young theological candidate he confided 
his secret. It was in one of the dormitories for the 
colonists and, though all seemed fast asleep, the con 
versation was carried on in Latin, and a physician 
lying on the straw not far away heard, what he and 
others had suspected before, that Stephan had been 
leading a life of shameful immorality and had now 
been found out through the confessions of several of 
his victims. Soon after, a number of the emigrants 
who had remained at St. Louis arrived, a formal 
council was held and Stephan was solemnly deposed 
from his office. Provided with ample means, he was 
taken across the Mississippi river in a skiff and landed 
near Devil s Bake-oven, a grotesque rock at the 
water s edge. He died in 1846 in a log cabin a few 
miles from Red Bud, Illinois. 

The Missourians. 411 

The colonists were at first stunned and bewildered. 
Such had been Stephan s extravagance and misman 
agement that the funds of the emigrants were far spent, 
and abject poverty stared them in the face. The min 
isters and candidates were troubled by the question 
whether the colonists constituted Christian congrega 
tions with authority to call ministers, and many of the 
laymen also entertained doubts concerning the right 
of the ministers to hold their office here after having 
left their charges beyond the sea. Walther, too, was 
for a time tossed about by doubts and fears. But 
better counsels prevailed, and soon things gained a 
more favorable aspect. In the midst of all their 
hardships and poverty, the candidates Fuerbringer, 
Brohm and Buenger, with the aid of the ministers, 
Walther, Loeber and Keyl, had organized a school 
of learning in which Religion, Latin, Greek, Hebrew, 
German, French and English, History, Geography, 
Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Natural History, 
Mental Philosophy and Music were to be taught. In 
a log cabin the school was opened which has since de 
veloped into two distinct institutions, Concordia 
Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., and Concordia College 
at Fort Wayne, Ind., both of which are flourishing 
to-day and have educated hundreds of young men 
for the ministry in the Lutheran Church. The first 
faculty consisted of Ottomar Fuerbringer, Th. Jul. 
Brohm and Joh. Fr. Buenger, and the log cabin has 
been preserved to this day. 

The younger Walther was soon the acknowledged 
leader. Stephan had never been quite at ease on 
Walther s account, and had even stigmatized him as 

4 I2 

The Lutherans in America. 

his Judas, and it was Walther who now fought down 
the doctrinal errors which that hierarch had taught, 
that the Lutheran Church was tlie Church, without 
which there was no salvation, that the ministry was a 
mediatorship between God and man, and entitled to 
unconditional obedience in all things not in conflict 
with the word of God, that questions of doctrine were 
to be decided by the clergy alone, in whose hands also 


rested the power of the Keys. With convincing 
clearness Walther set forth the truth until it held the 
field victorious, and at a later day, the weapons tried 
and found true against Stephanism were again drawn 
and wielded with like success in other encounters. 

In January, 1841, the elder Walther was called to 
his rest, and his brother was chosen to succeed him as 
pastor of the "Saxons" at St. Louis, who were then 

The Missourians. 413 

still worshiping in the basement of an Episcopal church. 
Both the congregation and the parochial school in 
creased rapidly, and in 1842 Trinity church was 
erected, with a basement for school-rooms. In 1844 
Cand. Buenger, who since 1841 had been in charge of 
the school, became Walther s assistant. In the same 
year a branch school was opened in another part of 
the city, and this school was the germ of Immanuers 
church, which was organized in 1847 and erected a 
house of worship in 1848, where henceforth to the 
end of his days Buenger officiated as pastor. While 
the trowel had thus been busy, the sword had not 
rusted in the scabbard. Separatistic elements had 
caused much trouble in the congregation. 

Another conflict of greater dimensions and of 
longer duration had sprung up. In 1839 a band of 
German Lutheran emigrants had come over under the 
leadership of Pastor Grabau, who had suffered perse 
cution and imprisonment in Prussia for his refusal to 
submit to the unionistic policy of the government. At 
Buffalo, where he had settled with most of his follow 
ers, Grabau in 1840 issued a "Pastoral Letter/ of 
which he sent a copy to the Saxon ministers in Mis 
souri with a request for their opinion. The request 
was granted, but the " opinion " was not satisfactory to 
Grabau. In his " Pastoral Letter " and the correspond 
ence to which it gave rise, Grabau maintained that a 
minister not called in accordance with the ancient 
" Kirchenordnungen " was not properly called; that 
ordination by other clergymen was by divine ordi 
nance essential to the validity of the ministerial office; 
that God would deal with us only through the minis- 

4i 4 The Lutherans in America. 

terial office ; that a minister arbitrarily elevated by 
the congregation was unable to pronounce absolution, 
and what he distributed at the altar was not the body 
and blood of Christ, but mere bread and wine ; that 
through her Symbols and Constitutions and Synods 
the Church at large must decide what is in accordance 
or at variance with the word of God ; that the con 
gregation is not the supreme tribunal in the Church, 
but the synod as representing the Church at large ; 
that the congregation is not authorized to pronounce 
excommunication ; that Christians are bound to obey 
their minister in all things not contrary to the word 
of God. In all of these points the Saxons differed 
from Grabau, denying what he affirmed, and affirm 
ing what he denied. He now drew up a list of seven 
teen charges of error against them and declared that 
he could no longer consider them orthodox Lutheran 
ministers. Thus the controversy carried on afterwards 
between the Synods of Buffalo and Missouri had 
sprung up years before either body had an existence. 

The doctrines which the Saxons maintained against 
Grabau and his followers were not only taught but 
practiced in Perry county and St. Louis ; the congrega 
tions not only claimed but exercised what by divine 
right a Christian congregation should claim and prac 
tice, instead of leaving it to the ministry. Church dis 
cipline was exercised in accordance with Matthew xviii ; 
doctrinal matters were discussed ; the college at Al- 
tenburg was formally adopted and considerately 
treated as the foster-child of the congregations. 

In 1844, the congregation at St. Louis resolved on 
the publication of a religious periodical which had 

The Missourians. 415 

been planned by Walther, and in September of that 
year the "Lutheraner" made its first appearance. To 
secure the publication of this and the following num 
bers, many members had subscribed for two copies, 
and the congregation had agreed that if the expenses 
should exceed the receipts, the deficit should be cov 
ered from the common treasury or by free contribu 
tions. From its beginning the "Lutheraner" gave 
forth a clear, decided, uncompromising ring, and the 
type of Lutheranism which it advocated was to the 
generation of those days a strange phenomenon, so 
strange that by many it was not even recognized as 
Lutheranism at all, and chiefly for this reason Wal 
ther made it his object to show from the writings of 
the Fathers of the Lutheran Church, that he was not 
promulgating new tenets, but the doctrines laid down 
in the Confessions and in the writings of the best 
teachers of the Lutheran Church. This, not an undue 
reverence of the Fathers, prompted Walther to intro 
duce into his doctrinal expositions numerous extracts 
from the works of those earlier theologians; not as 
authorities but as witnesses he called them forth from 
the dust of oblivion, and before many years Germany 
was being ransacked for those old parchment-bound 
volumes, and dealers wondered what people wanted 
with those mummies in the American backwoods, 
whence came the growing demand for what had long 
lain unnoticed as unmarketable dross. 

Among the few who hailed with joy the first num 
ber of the "Lutheraner" was another pioneer of 
western Lutheranism, a man whose name will be pro 
nounced with reverence as long as a Lutheran Church 

The Lutherans in America. 

remains in America. Friedrich Conrad Dietrich Wyn- 
eken landed at Baltimore about half a year be 
fore the Saxons trod the banks of the Mississippi. 
He was a man of powerful frame and a well educated 
mind, fiery and energetic, filled with a burning zeal to 
carry the Gospel of Christ to his countrymen in the 
western solitudes, of whose wants he had learned 
through missionary magazines in the old world. He 
was recommended by Rev. Haesbaert to the mission 
ary committee of the Synod of Pennsylvania, and 
soon the young missionary is laboring amid hardships 
and privations in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, trav 
ersing the forests and prairies on foot and on horse 
back, in fair and foul weather, by day and by night, 
and sowing the seeds of life in a spiritual wilderness. 
Fort Wayne was then a small country town. The 
first German and at the same time the first Lutheran 
who had settled here was Henry Rudisill, who with 
his wife, a daughter of the Henkel family, had arrived 
in this community of Frenchmen and Indians in 1829. 
A Lutheran he would remain, and by his endeavors a 
current o f German immigration was led to Fort Wayne 
and vicinity. In 1837 a congregation was organized 
with Rev. Jesse Hoover, a member of the Pennsylva 
nia Synod, as its pastor. But when in the fall of 1838 
Wyneken first set foot into the town, young pastor 
Hoover had been laid to rest. At the urgent request 
of the congregation Wyneken established his head 
quarters there. The Lutherans had neither church 
nor parsonage; they worshiped in the court-house 
until the building threatened to fall, then here and 
there, until the little frame church erected in 1839 

The Missourians. 417 

afforded them shelter. From Fort Wayne Wyneken 
extended his missionary excursions, until a painful dis 
ease of the throat interrupted his labors. In 1841 he 
went to Germany for treatment. As soon as his 
health was sufficiently restored, he started out to agi 
tate the cause of the church in America; by personal 
solicitations he engaged the sympathies of a number 
of prominent men, and by public addresses as well as 
through a brilliant pamphlet he inspired into thou 
sands of hearts a feeling of responsibility for the 
brethren in the New World. 

When Wyneken returned in 1843, he had ripened 
into a man of mature powers and of confirmed Lu 
theran convictions. It was in those days that the 
first number of the "Lutheraner " appeared, and when 
Wyneken had perused it, he joyfully exclaimed : 
"Thank God! There are more Lutherans in Amer 
ica !" Soon Wyneken and the " Lutheraner " were 
companions in arms, both being violently assailed 
by the Methodists, the "Lutheraner" for its articles, 
Wyneken for his portraiture of Methodism which had 
been reprinted in America. 

Great joy was also awakened by the first number 
of the "Lutheraner," at Pomeroy, Ohio, where Dr. 
Sihler was then stationed, one of the men whom 
Wyneken had drawn westward. He was a member of 
the Synod of Ohio, and was endeavoring in various 
ways to exert his influence against certain features of 
doctrine and practice which claimed his attention. 
One day, early in 1845, while Sihler was instructing 
catechumens, a horseman alighted at his door, and a 
moment later Wyneken introduced himself. He was 

The Missourians. 419 

on his way to Baltimore, to succeed his friend Haes- 
baert, and he stopped to behold the face of the man 
who was to be his successor at Fort Wayne. 

Soon after the Doctor s arrival at this place, where 
he was to serve the Master for forty years, another 
fruit of Wyneken s sojourn in Germany was planted 
in American soil and entrusted to the care of Wyne 
ken s successor in the pastorate of St. Paul s. 

Among the men whom Wyneken had won to the 
American cause was Wilhelm Loehe of Neuendet- 
telsau. Loehe had not only gathered about him a 
number of young men whom he gave a practical prep 
aration for the ministry in America, but he also con 
ceived and executed the plan of opening a seminary for 
the same purpose in the New World. For its site he 
selected Fort Wayne, and in 1846 he sent over eleven 
young men together with a talented candidate of 
theology by the name of Roebbelen, who with Dr. 
Sihler was to give these young men and others who 
might be recruited in America, a training which would 
in a few years fit them for missionary and pastoral 
work among the Germans in this country. This was 
the beginning of the "Practical Seminary" which was 
at a latter date combined with the " Theoretical 
Seminary " at St. Louis and, still later, transplanted to 
Springfield, 111., where it is flourishing to-day. 

The work of those early days with the ways and 
means employed by the pioneers, is on a more ex 
tended scale and in a wider field going on to-day in 
the Synod of Missouri. Still the voices of preachers 
are heard in the wilderness ; traveling missionaries 
are traversing the forests and prairies and towns of 

420 The Lutherans in America. 

the North, South, East, and West; congregations are 
gathered, and where the Word is being preached to 
the old, schools are opened for the young; small 
churches are built at first, which, in time, give place to 
larger ones, and, when the means of the congregation 
permit, a school-master is called to the minister s side, 
both ministers and teachers coming from the colleges 
and seminaries, (a teachers seminary is sustained by 
the Synod at Addison, 111.,) the humble beginnings of 
which we have witnessed. Purity and unity of doc 
trine are still being guarded and propagated and de 
fended, v/hile brotherly fellowship with others who 
hold the same ground in doctrine and practice is still 
sought and cherished, as it was sought and cherished 
by Walther and Wyneken and their brethren in the 
" colonial " period. 

In the spring of 1846, Dr. Sihler and two other 
ministers had a conference with Walther and other 
Saxon ministers at St. Louis. Sihler had severed his 
connection with the Synod of Ohio. Wyneken had 
given strength to the movement at a conference held 
at Cleveland in 1845. The formation of a synod was 
now taken into consideration by the congregation at 
St. Louis and the clergymen there assembled. In 
nine meetings the draft of a constitution, in which 
every vestige of hierarchical leaven had been most 
carefully avoided, was discussed. A similar confer 
ence was held in July of the same year at Fort Wayne. 
Sixteen ministers were present. Six others had signi 
fied their full sympathy. The constitution with a few 
modifications being approved, it was resolved to com 
plete the formal organization at Chicago in April 

The Missourians. 421 

1847. There the "German Evangelical Lutheran 
Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and other States" was 
formed by twelve congregations, twenty-two ministers 
and two candidates. Under the constitution which 
was adopted and signed at this meeting and, with a 
few alterations, is in force to-day, only those ministers 
whose congregations had entered into membership 
with the Synod, and the lay delegates by whom con 
gregations were represented, were entitled to suffrage, 
other ministers being only advisory members. The 
" Lutheraner " was made the official organ of the 
Synod with Walther as editor. A missionary com 
mittee was chosen, and various other measures gave 
evidence of the earnestness with which the assembly 
entered upon the task of building up Zion in the land 
of their pilgrimage. 

Here, then, was a Lutheran synod which declared in 
its constitution that the acceptance of all the Symbols 
of the Lutheran Church without exception or reserve, 
abstinence from every kind of syncretism, from mixed 
congregations and mixed services and communions, 
a permanent, not temporary or licensed, ministry, the 
use of purely Lutheran books in churches and schools, 
should be and remain conditions of membership with 
this body, but which, on the other hand, claimed no 
authority over the congregations connected with it, 
thus leaving intact the freedom of the churches. 

At Chicago a resolution was passed to invite pastor 
Loehe to attend the meeting of the coming year, 
which was to be held at St. Louis. Loehe did not 
come, but letters arrived which announced that 
another wish had been fulfilled ; Loehe had made 


The Lutherans in America. 

over to the Synod the Seminary at Fort Wayne. 
The cordial friendship between him and Missouri con 
tinued for several years. But doctrinal difficulties 
arose. In a pamphlet which Loehe published in 1849 
he spoke of the ministerial office in terms very much 
like those of Grabau. About the same time letters 
to Loehe from America presented the Missourians 
in an unfavorable light, and he soon entertained 
thoughts of gaining a new basis for his operations in 
America. Several Franconian colonies had been 

planted in the Sagi- ^^ m 

naw valley under his j I, 

guidance, and in 1850 
he matured a plan for 
erecting a " P i Iger- 
haus" at Saginaw, a 
peculiar combination 
of a temporary home 
for colonists, a hos- 
pital, a theological 
seminary, a 1 1 united 
in a little common 
wealth which was to be regulated by a liturgical rule 
that would give it the character of " a kind of protest- 
ant cloister." For its management and the leader 
ship of the work to be centered there, Loehe had 
singled out a talented young theologian, Gottlieb 
Schaller, who after completing his theological studies 
at the University of Erlangen had gained renown as 
a teacher and preacher. Loehe had in 1848 directed 
him to America, and although he had in 1849 joined 
the Missouri Synod, Loehe still hoped to see his 


The Missourians. 4 2 3 

Timothy in the position which he now held out to 
him. But at the Synod in 1850, Schaller was, after a 
warm and protracted discussion, fully convinced of 
Loehe s errors, and afterwards he labored for many 
years by Walther s side as minister of Trinity church 
and Professor of Theology in the Seminary at St. 
Louis, where they were both laid to rest in 1887. 

The "Pilgerhaus," was opened in 1852. It was 
afterwards removed to Iowa, and with it went Loehe s 
heart, who thus virtually became the founder of the 
Iowa Synod. 

The Synod had spared no endeavors to prevent the 
impending rupture between Missouri and the man 
who had done so much for the Lutheran Church in 
the West. In 1851 the matter was laid before the 
Synod convened at Milwaukee, and so important did 
the continuation of friendship and fraternal co-opera 
tion with Loehe appear to the Missourians, that a 
delegation was sent to Germany on a mission of 
peace. One of the delegates was Walther, then Pro 
fessor of Theology and President of Concordia Col- 
lecre. The other delegate was Wyneken, one of 
Loehe s dearest friends and a man eminently fitted 
for this task. But though many difficulties were over 
come, a complete understanding was not reached by 
the interviews between Loehe and the American dele 
gates ; the kind feelings which were renewed were 
but of brief duration ; and the new synod which grew 
up under the influence of Neuendettelsau shared 
Loehe s doctrinal positions and his antagonism to 

Among the points at issue between the Synods of 

424 The Lutherans in America. 

Iowa and Missouri, were the doctrines of the Church, 
Missouri holding that the Church of Christ is invisi 
ble, while Iowa recognized a visible and an invisible 
side; "open questions," with which Iowa classed the 
doctrines of the Church, the Ministry, Chiliasm, Anti 
christ, while Missouri maintained that these doctrines 
are clearly set forth in Scriptures and therefore are 
in no sense open questions; Antichrist, of whom Mis 
souri affirmed that he is the Roman pontiff while Iowa 
held that the Antichrist in the strictest sense of the word 
is an individual person yet to be expected ; Chiliasm, 
which Missouri rejected in its subtle as well as in its 
crass forms, while Iowa held that not every form of 
Chiliasm must be rejected ; the question to what ex 
tent subscription to the symbols of the Church enjoins 
the acceptance of the doctrines laid down in such sym 
bols, Missouri holding that one who subscribes the 
symbols unconditionally thereby declares acceptance 
of all the doctrines laid down in them, while Iowa 
claimed that to be of binding force a doctrine must be 
stated in the symbols ex professo, not only occasion 
ally, and that, therefore, a distinction must be made 
between the doctrines contained in the Symbolical 
Books. These points were discussed in a colloquy by 
representatives of both synods who met at Milwaukee 
in 1867, but no satisfactory result was reached. 

A similar "colloquium " had, in 1866, been brought 
about between representatives of the Buffalo Synod 
and that of Missouri. Grabau had branded Walther 
and his followers as heretics. Walther had, in 1852, 
published his book on "the Church and the Minis 
terial Office," which had previously been approved by 

The Missourians. 425 

the Synod. In this book Walther showed by numer 
ous extracts from the Symbols of the Lutheran Church 
and from the writings of her orthodox teachers, what 
former centuries had voiced forth as the Lutheran 
doctrine on these subjects. Now, shortly after Gra- 
bau had left his own synod, three ministers and as 
many laymen of each synod met at Buffalo, and when 
in February, 1867, twelve ministers of the Buffalo 
Synod were assembled at Buffalo with five Missouri 
ans, a formal recognition of fraternal unity was sealed 
and the near future saw eleven of them members of 
the Synod of Missouri. 

In 1872 the Synod celebrated its twenty-fifth anni 
versary. The meetings were held in Mercantile Li 
brary Hall at St. Louis, and here it appeared to all 
eyes that conventions of all the ministers and school 
teachers and of lay delegates from all the congrega 
tions were no longer practicable. The Synod then 
numbered four hundred and twenty-eight ministers and 
two hundred and fifty-one school teachers, and the 
numbers were fast increasing. It was therefore de- 


cided that thenceforth from two to seven congrega 
tions should delegate one minister and one layman to 
the triennial meetings of the general body, which had 
years ago been divided into four district synods. 

At this jubilee meeting there was also discussed the 
draft of the constitution of the Synodical Conference, 
a union of Lutheran Synods which was soon after, in 
July, 1872, completed at Milwaukee. The synods 
which were represented at the first meeting were those 
of Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and 
the Norwegian Synod, which had previously by collo- 

426 The Lutherans in America. 

quiums between representatives convinced themselves 
of each other s orthodoxy. The Synod of Illinois was 
afterwards merged into that of Missouri. For a num 
ber of years, the synods worked together in harmony 
of faith, until the great " predestinarian controversy" 
led to a rupture which has not yet been healed. 

This controversy did not come unforeseen. On 
the floor of the Synod in 1872 a hard struggle had 
been predicted, and when the new decade was ushered 
in the struggle had begun. It was Prof. Schmidt who 
first within the Synodical Conference raised his voice in 
public against the doctrine of predestination as set 
forth in the reports of 1877 and 1879 of the Western 
District of the Missouri Synod. He directed his 
attack especially against the position held by Wal- 
ther and the Synod, that God s predestination is a 
cause of our salvation and of everything thereto per 
taining, faith and perseverance in faith not excepted, 
that in the decree of predestination the faith of the 
elect was not presupposed, but included. The contest 
soon waxed very hot. Walther and the Missourians 
were desirous of bringing about an understanding, 
and in January 1881, the theological Faculties and 
the Presidents of synods and district synods in the 
Synodical Conference responded to a call for a col 
loquium at Milwaukee. When five days of earnest 
debate had brought the dissenting parties no nearer 
to each other, and the representatives of Ohio could 
remain no longer, the colloquy was closed. As the 
controversy proceeded, the doctrine of conversion 
came to the foreground. Missouri maintained that 
conversion is the work of divine grace alone, wrought 

428 The Lutherans in America. 

through the means of grace, which, though they come 
with equal power and earnestness to all, do not attain 
the same results in all ; but that this mystery must 
not be explained away by denying with Calvin the 
earnest will of God to convert all, nor by denying the 
utter depravity which incapacitates all alike to concur 
in their own conversion ; that the conversion of sin 
ners rests in God s grace alone, and they can in no 
way or measure be credited with their own conversion; 
that the non-conversion of sinners rests in their own 
hardness of heart alone, and God is in no wise the 
cause of their non-conversion. The other side held 
that the effect wrought by the grace of God in the 
work of conversion depended in a measure on man s 
conduct toward the means of grace, which Missouri re 
jects as synergistic, while Ohio denounces Missouri s 
position as Calvinistic. 

The controversy led to the separation of Ohio and 
the Norwegians from the Confrencethe latter servering 
their connection in the hope of meeting with less diffi 
culty in overcoming the commotion which this contro 
versy had created within their own Synod. 

Great inward profit accrued to the Synod of Mis 
souri and the synods still connected with it in the 
Synodical Conference from this controversy. Hun 
dreds and thousands of its members were led to a 
deeper and clearer understanding of the truths at 
issue, and a habit of careful and extended research 
in the Scriptures and the Symbols was deepened and 
strengthened in many, both ministers and laymen. 

Nor was the outward progress of the Synod stayed 
by the great controversy. From 1878 to 1888 the 

The Missourians. 429 

Synod well nigh doubled the number of its minis 
ters. The Joint Synod at present consists of thirteen 
District Synods, which embrace the entire Union. 
The number of ministers, according to the statistics 
of 1888, is 1030, the number of school teachers 617, 
that of congregations, not including unorganized mis 
sions, 1,480, that of communicant members, at a low 
estimate, 279,150. The missions of the Synod are the 
Home Missions carried on among the Germans in 
this country by the District Synods, Emigrant Mis 
sions in New York and Baltimore, Missions among 
the Jews, English Missions, and conjointly with other 
synods of the Synodical Conference, a Negro Mission. 
The higher institutions of learning for the education 
of ministers and school teachers are, besides those 
mentioned in the narrative and still in operation, a 
college at Milwaukee, Wis., a preparatory collegiate 
institute at Concordia, Mo., and another in New 
York. In these schools upward of 900 students were 
in 1888 instructed by 40 professors. Of benevolent 
institutions, there are within the Synod an institute for 
the deaf and dumb at Norris, Mich., eleven asylums 
for orphans and invalids, and several hospitals. The 
periodicals of the Synod are "Der Lutheraner," " Lehre 
und Wehre," "Homiletical Magazine," and " Schul- 
blatt " ; of the Synodical Conference, the " Missions- 
taube " and the " Lutheran Pioneer ; " besides, eight 
religious periodicals published by conferences, socie 
ties, or individuals. The Synod publishes its own 
hymn-books, school-books, Bibles, prayer-books, etc., 
all of which with the periodicals and a voluminous 
theological literature contained in the synodical reports 


The Lutherans in America. 

and other publications in the form of books and pam 
phlets, issue from the Synod s Concordia Publishing 
House, the total receipts of which in 1888 were over 

Of the patriarchs of the Missouri Synod but few 
remain. Wyneken was President ot the Joint Synod 
from 1850 to 1864, when Walther was again elected 
to this office. In 1876 Wyneken, after a protracted 
illness, fell peacefully asleep in Jesus at San Francisco, 
Cal. Walther was considerately relieved of the presi- 


dency in 1878; yet the eve of his life was a time of 
vigorous activity in the service of the Master. He 
wrote copiously for the press; he presented theses at 
synodical meetings, at which he was eminently the 
theological teacher ; he was regular in his lectures to 
the students of the seminary. When at the meeting 
of the Western District in 1886 he had completed a 
series of eloquent theological discussions, each of 
which had lasted several hours, he closed with tears 
and in faltering accents ; he felt that his work was 

The Missouri ans. 431 

done. His physical energies were fast failing, and the 
Synod unanimously resolved that he should rest. 

Time passed on, and the venerable Doctor was 
slowly but steadily sinking, and while the Joint Synod 
was in session at Fort Wayne, on the 7th of May, 
1887, the Lord called His weary servant to his eternal 
rest. Thousands from the Missouri and sister synods, 
who had come from all parts of the country, formed 
the greatest funeral procession St. Louis has wit 
nessed, as they followed the precious dust of this great 
man in Israel to its last repose. 

Of the other members of the Synodical Conference 
the Synod of Wisconsin numbers 140 ministers, and 
50 teachers of parish schools. It has a prosperous 
college at Watertown, Wis., and a Theological Semi 
nary at Milwaukee, and embraces about 70.000 com 
municants. Its official publications are the " Gemeinde 
Blatt," and " Schulzeitung." The Synod of Minnesota 
comprises 51 ministers, 18 teachers and 12,000 com 
municants, has a college and theological seminary 
combined at New Ulm, Minn., and publishes the " Sy 
nodal -Bote." 



IT would be an error to suppose that the spirit of dis 
integration was back of the internal differences and 
external circumstances which led to the disruption 
of the General Synod in 1866. On the contrary the 
spirit of unification, "a hearty desire for the unity of 
Zion," exerted undoubtedly a powerful influence in de 
termining this result. 

The time seemed ripe for a general organization of 
the Lutheran Church, national in its scope and com 
prehending all the numerous Lutheran bodies, Ameri 
can and foreign, that receive unequivocally the Augs 
burg Confession. Several of the largest synods had 
just separated from the General Synod. The South 
ern Synods, after the dissolution of the Confederacy, 
were ready, it was hoped, to enter again into organic 
fellowship with the Northern churches, and they might 
for various reasons prefer to ally themselves to a new 
body rather than rejoin the old one. The recognized 
leaders of the Pennsylvania, New York and Pittsburg 
Synods had, by the course which they pursued, reached 
a good understanding with the representatives of the 
Joint-Ohio, Iowa and Tennessee Synods. Even Dr. 
Walther of the Missouri Synod expressed his great joy 
over the action of the Pennsylvania Synod in with 
drawing from the General Synod a step which he 
held "will undoubtedly be connected with consequen- 


JttEV. e. 

The General Council. 433 

ces not only of the utmost importance, but also of the 
most salutary character." The administration of the 
Lord s Supper to a number of the Pennsylvania 
Synod s delegates by the pastor of a Missouri Church 
at Fort Wayne, during the memorable convention of 
1866, was regarded as significant. The co-operation 
of the large Scandinavian element might also be con 
fidently anticipated. It was an inspiring prospect, a 
consummation devoutly to be wished, the union of the 
various powerful bodies which vied with each other in 
emphasizing the historic faith of the Lutheran Church. 
Then, too, synods still incorporated with the General 
Synod gave a clear recognition to the Augustana, and 
embraced men who were profoundly convinced that 
the duty, the wisdom and the glory of the Lutheran 
Church in this country, require the retention of those 
distinctive features in doctrine and cultus which have 
ever been her life s blood and breath. 

Accordingly at the one hundred and nineteenth con 
vention of the Pennsylvania Ministerium, 1866, a fra 
ternal address was issued to Evangelical Lutheran 
Synods, ministers and congregations in the United 
States and Canadas, which confess the Unaltered 
Augsburg Confession, inviting them to unite in a con 
vention for the purpose of forming a union of Luther 
an Synods." 

This call urged "the needs of a general organiza 
tion, first and supremely for the maintenance of unity 
in the true faith of the Gospel, and in the uncorrupted 
Sacraments, as the Word of God teaches and our 
Church confesses them ; and furthermore for the pres 
ervation of her genuine spirit and worship, and for 

434 The Lutherans in America. 

the development of her practical life in all its forms." 
" A great necessity is therefore laid upon us, in the 
Providence of God, at once to take steps to meet a 
want, which has been so urgent, and the painful con 
sciousness of which continually grows." "The condi 
tion and wants of our Church in this land, make it 
clear that we are not moving in this matter on insuf 
ficient or doubtful grounds. With our communion of 
millions scattered over a vast and ever-widening ter 
ritory, with the ceaseless tide of immigration to our 
shores, with the diversity of surrounding usages and 
of religious life, with our various nationalities and 
tongues, our crying need of faithful ministers, our im 
perfect provision for any and all of the urgent wants 
of the Church, there is danger that the genuinely 
Lutheran elements may become gradually alienated, 
* * * that the unity of the spirit in the bond of 
peace may be lost, and that our church, which alone in 
the history of Protestantism has maintained a genuine 
catholicity and unity, should drift into the sectarian 
ism and separatism which characterize and curse our 

"Apart from these extraordinary reasons, our gen 
eral vocation as a Church, the interest of foreign and 
home missions, of theological, collegiate and congre 
gational education, of institutions of beneficence, of a 
sound religious literature, all demand such an organ 
ization as shall enable our whole Church in this land 
in its varied tongues, to work together in the unity of 
a pure faith." 

No favorable response to this Fraternal Address 
came from any synod still identified with the General 

The General Council. 435 

Synod, but representatives from the Synod of Penn 
sylvania, the English, English District, and Joint 
Synods of Ohio, from the Wisconsin, Michigan, Pitts- 
burg, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Canada, New York, 
and the Norwegian Synods, assembled at Reading, 
December u, 1866. The Augustana Synod was rep 
resented by letter. The president of the temporary 
organization was Rev. Professor W. F. Lehman of the 
Joint Synod of Ohio, of the permanent convention, 
Rev. G. Bassler of the Pittsburg Synod, two names 
that will long be endeared to the Lutheran Church 
for their living exemplification of its faith and spirit. 

The preliminary step toward effecting an organiza 
tion was the unanimous adoption of the " Funda 
mental principles of Faith and Church Polity." A 
committee was appointed to outline a constitution to 
be submitted to the respective District Synods. 
Whenever ten of them should have accepted this, it 
was provided that it shall at once go into effect and a 
convention be called under it, whose title shall be 
"The General Council of the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in America." 

The requisite number of synods adopted the consti 
tution and the first convention met accordingly, No 
vember 20, 1867, at Fort Wayne, I nd., where the divis 
ion of the General Synod had occurred the previous 
year. Twelve were represented. The several districts 
of the Missouri Synod sent a communication proposing 
a series of free conferences before consummating an 
organic union. The Joint Synod of Ohio also de 
clined to adopt the constitution but "sent delegates 
to sit in conference on such subjects of difference as 

The General Council. 437 

may exist." While heartily desiring a union of Lu 
theran Synods, this body saw practical difficulties in 
the way, on account of which it could not yet form a 
connection with the General Council. Relative to 
such difficulties it asked for an answer on the follow 
ing points : 

First. What relation will this venerable body in 
future sustain to Chiliasm ? 

Second. Mixed Communion? 

Third. The exchanging of pulpits with sectarians? 

Fourth. Secret or unchurchly Societies? 

The delegates of the Synod of Iowa offered a com 
munication of similar import with the exception of 
question first, proposing that the Council officially re 
nounce church fellowship with such as are not Luther 
an, that it exclude from synodical connection, from the 
communion and from the pulpit, all who are "not 
purely Lutheran," and asking for the enforcement of 
this principle against the practice implied in the three 
last questions given above. 

The answer given to this paper was to the effect 
that the Council was not prepared to endorse the po 
sition of the Iowa Synod, but would "refer the matter 
to the District Synods until such time as by the 
blessing of God s Holy Spirit, and the leadings of 
his Providence, we shall be enabled, throughout the 
whole General Council and all its churches, to see eye 
to eye in all the details of practice and usage." 

The Iowa Synod holding that there must be com 
plete and hearty agreement not only in the principles 
of faith, "but also in an ecclesiastical practice accord 
ant with such faith," refused to complete its connec- 

43 8 The Lutherans in America. 

tion with the Council, its representatives contenting 
themselves with the privilege of debate at its conven 
tions, which they continue to enjoy. For similar 
reasons the Synods of Ohio and Missouri decided not 
to enter into the union, and a few years later the 
Synods of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota con 
cluded to withdraw from it. 

Such was the origin of the famous "Four Points" 
which have gained a historic interest in the Lutheran 
Church. They became a most important factor in 
the development of the General Council, arresting 
in its very first convention the realization of the 
original plan of its founders, and in no small degree 
"damping the bright and perhaps somewhat sanguine 
expectations of its warmest friends," while they kept 
the body for years in constant agitation. 

On the doctrinal basis, which " accepts and acknowl 
edges the doctrines of the Unaltered Augsburg Con 
fession in its original sense as throughout in conform 
ity with the pure truth of which God s Word is the 
only rule," and holds that "the other Confessions of 
the Evangelical Lutheran Church, inasmuch as they 
set forth none other than its system of doctrine, and 
articles of faith, are of necessity pure and scriptural," 
there was entire and spontaneous unanimity among all 
those Synods now for the first time brought into 
official and fraternal contact. The same is true of 
their reception of the Fundamental Principles of Faith 
and Church Polity, but whe*n it came to the applica 
tion and enforcement of these principles, the disagree 
ment was so decided that the Council was after all 
able to rally less than half of the great Lutheran 

The General Council. 439 

community which had heretofore maintained independ 
ent and isolated organizations. 

The wide chasm which now appeared between these 
bodies and the General Council, was in the first place, 
as stated by Prof. Spaeth, "the natural result of the 
historical development, through which those various 
sections of the Church had passed, which now en 
deavored to form an organic union. The Lutheran 
Church in the Eastern part of our country, having 
been founded about 150 years ago, had passed through 
all the different stages of church life, suffering and 
death, by which the history of the Church and Theol 
ogy of the German Fatherland was characterized in 
that period. We need not be surprised to find that 
during this time many things had crept in, which were 
in conflict with the spirit and Confession of our 
Church. Over against those things the renewed 
appreciation of the Lutheran Confession and the 
honest return to the same was of comparatively recent 
date. It was therefore not to be expected that there 
should have been on all sides at the very outset a 
thorough insight into all the consequences and obli 
gations of a decided and consistent adoption of the 
Lutheran Confession. On the other hand most of 
the Lutheran Synods of the West had been founded 
at a much more favorable season. Out of the very 
fullness and freshness of the revived Confession, 
partly even in the martyr spirit of a persecuted 
church, have their foundations been laid and their 
structures raised. Accordingly their whole congrega 
tional life could much more easily and more consist 
ently be organized on the principles established in 

440 The Lutherans in America. 

the Confession, and many evils could be excluded 
which in other places had taken root and had been 
growing for nearly a century." 

The first and supreme interest kept in view in the 
formation of the General Council being that of purity 
of doctrine and the development of a sound cultus and 
practice from this source, that subject has in the main 
absorbed the discussions of its annual conventions 
and the literary activity of its teachers. In this 
sphere it has rendered invaluable services, the whole 
Church appreciating its contribution to the knowledge 
of Lutheran teaching and Lutheran history. 

From the beginning the Council has considered it 
one of the great tasks to be accomplished by it that, 
the different languages and nationalities "should be 
firmly knit together in this New World in the unity of 
one and the same pure faith." Recognizing the language 
of the country, and holding that Lutheranism is bound 
and is able to preserve its faith and its spirit in an 
English garb, its pastors and churches were from the 
first entreated "to suffer no distinction of language to 
interfere with the great work which God has assigned 
to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in this country." 
And its success in the practical co-ordination of lan 
guages and nationalities is not only without a parallel, 
but commends itself as a marvellous and glorious 
achievement. Diversities of language, diversities of 
gifts, but the same Spirit, was the watchword of the 
Apostolic Church, and the spectacle of the German, 
the Scandinavian and the American elements so 
widely separated by language, nationality and training, 
standing together and working harmoniously in one 

The General Council. 44 x 

ecclesiastical body "without giving and taking offence, 
provoking and encouraging one another to appropri 
ate the good features found in each," recalls the day 
of Pentecost, rebukes the sects which make the Ameri 
canization of the Lutheran immigrants the pretext for 
their proselyting devices, and offers to Lutherans, in 
particular, one of the most cheering pledges of the 
rapid and wide enlargement of their Church. Al 
though the German and Scandinavian languages are 
used in perhaps a majority of the congregations, and 
these languages have full rights in the conventions 
of the Council, most of its proceedings are, by com 
mon consent, conducted in English as the tongue most 
familiar to the vast majority. The English has, in 
fact, been adopted as the official language. There is 
no danger of it ever becoming a foreign body, a new 
Scandinavia or a new Germany on American soil. 

A notable element of the Council s strength and 
success is the Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. 
Its establishment antedates the disruption of the Gen 
eral Synod, and was itself a recognition of the diverse 
tendencies that prevailed between those who sought 
primarily to uphold the standards of the Church and 
those who represented the " American " type of Luther- 
itnism. Warm controversies were raging in periodicals 
and other publications, and an irreconcilable antag 
onism showed itself especially at Gettysburg, where 
in the same building, one professor in almost every 
lecture disparaged and discredited the Confessions, 
while another one constantly inspired his students 
with the highest veneration for them. 

The Pennsylvania Synod believed that its views 


The Lutherans in America. 

and wants could not be satisfied in that institution and 
was agitating for some years the founding of another 
under its immediate control, which should conform to 
its doctrinal position and give proper attention to the. 
education of German pastors. 

The gift of $30,000 for the endowment of a profes 
sorship by Mr. Charles F. Norton, a like sum from 


the Synod, along with other generous donations, en 
abled it in the fall of 1864 to open a seminary with 
five eminent professors, and with provision for a full 
course of theology in both German and English. 

The establishment of the seminary at that juncture 
became naturally an occasion for aggravating the 
controversies that were already agitating the church, 

The General Council. 443, 

and it contributed no little in determining the result 
at Fort Wayne in 1866. Coming so soon after the 
withdrawal of the delegation at York in 1864, the im 
pression spread that the Synod had already severed 
its connection with the General Synod, and strength 
ened the purpose to contest its re-admission. 

The policy of the Council in concentrating its Eng 
lish and German interests in one theological school,, 
while the General Synod with a much smaller constit 
uency is endeavoring to keep up five, has given to 
the Philadelphia Seminary an exceptional prosperity. 

The missionary activity of the General Council can 
not be properly estimated without considering its 
polyglot composition and the relation which the con 
stituent synods sustain in this respect to the general 
body. The General Synod being much more homo 
geneous is able to commit the entire administration 
of its Home Mission work to the two boards of Home 
Missions and Church Extension. While likewise pur 
suing this method with its prosperous foreign mission 
the Council is constrained not only to have three 
Home Mission Boards, an English, a German, and a 
Scandinavian, but also to leave the greater part of 
this interest to the respective synods. 

The General Council has been distinguished by the 
number of able, learned and eminent divines upon its- 
roll. Several have already passed to their eternal 
reward, although the body on which they have left 
their indelible impress is yet in comparative infancy. 
The prominence and influence of two of these in 
founding and shaping the Council call for a pause at 
this point. With a surprising coincidence they bear 

444 The Lutherans in America. 

the names of Krauth and Schmucker, names that will 
never fade from the memory of the Lutheran Church. 
They were sons respectively of the two venerable 
Gettysburg professors, sons that surpassed "the praise 
of their great sires," especially in the incalculable and 
ineffaceable results of their activity. 

Charles Porterfield Krauth, D. D., LL. D., was be 
yond question the most gifted, the most learned and 
the most renowned theologian of the English Lu 
theran Church, commanding even in Germany recog 
nition " as one of the chief scholars in the great 
Church of theologians." His brilliancy and versa 
tility, his vast erudition, his combination of breadth 
and depth of culture, and his voluminous writings 
gave him an exalted station among his contempo 
raries. Dr. Schaff, his colleague on the American 
Committee of Old Testament Revisers, speaks of his 
death, which occurred before he had attained three 
score years, as a great loss "to the whole Church of 
Christ in this land, and to the republic of letters. 
Our country has produced few men who united in 
their own persons so many of the excellences, which 
distinguish the scholar, the theologian, the exegete, 
the debater and the leader of his brethren. His learn 
ing did not smother his genius, nor did his philosoph 
ical attainments impair the simplicity of his faith." 

His crowning glory, his imperishable monument, is 
found in his incomparable service in behalf of the 
faith, history and cultus of the Lutheran Church. 
Having by years of close study come to the convic 
tion that the full truth of God s Word was nowhere 
set forth with such clearness, purity and fullness as in 

The General Council. 445 

her collective Confessions, and that in all their doc 
trinal teachings these were in conformity with that 
Word, he expended his talents and energies in their 
interpretation into the thought and idiom of this na 
tion, in their exposition, elucidation and defense. His 
own heart held captive by the discovery of the rich 
treasures of the Church, he earnestly called her chil 
dren to the consciousness of their inheritance. 

As Editor of the Lutheran and Missionary, as Pro 
fessor in the Philadelphia Seminary, as author of the 
Fundamental Principles of Faith and Church Polity 
and other important official documents, as President 
of the Council by common consent for ten years, and 
especially by his "Conservative Reformation," he 
exerted an epoch-making influence over the Lutheran 
Church of this country. 

His fellow-laborer and life-long friend, Beale M. 
Schmucker, D. D., offers a striking proof that faith as 
well as blood leaves its impress upon posterity. Rep 
resenting one of the distinguished families which in 
each successive generation contributes at least one 
worthy son to the ministry of the Lutheran Church, 
he inherited the strong and splendid personal qualities 
which characterized alike his grandfather and his 
father, each in his day and peculiar environment being 
the model of a cultured Christian gentleman. 

In view of subsequent developments in the Church, 
what a stroke of Providence it must have been to 
locate young Krauth and young Schmucker soon 
after the completion of their training at the Gettys 
burg institutions, in neighboring towns in the State of 
Virginia, where, with a standing engagement to spend 

44-6 The Lutherans in America. 

together one week of every three months and with 
regular correspondence during the interval, they 
jointly studied the doctrines and history of their 
Church. It was there that the theological position of 
these sons of Gettysburg Professors underwent a 
powerful change, and to an humble parsonage in the 
Valley of Virginia may be traced the birth of a move 
ment that has affected almost the entire Lutheran 
Church of this country and permanently changed the 
stream of her development. 

No one was more active or zealous than Dr. 
Schmuckjer in founding the General Council and its 
institutions, and no one has done more in the prepara 
tion of nearly all its official documents, especially its 
hymnal, catechisms and forms of worship, for which 
he possessed rare gifts and through industrious and 
minute research had acquired uncommon attainments. 
In Liturgies he had no superior in this country or in 
Germany, in his own Church or in any other. A 
learned Episcopal bishop was wont to refer his clergy 
to him as being better posted than himself on all 
questions pertaining to the " Book of Common 
Prayer." His labors in this sphere were prompted 
by the interests of divine worship, by the desire of his 
heart to have the believer on coming to the throne of 
grace employ the most appropriate terms which the 
Holy Spirit has put upon the lips of God s Children 
through many ages." 


The General Council is essentially an alliance of 
Synods. Its most powerful member is without ques- 

The General Council. 


tion the Pennsylvania Ministerium, the parent organi 
zation of this country, the founder of the General 
Synod in 1820 and of the General Council in 1867. 
Its history is for nearly a century the history of the 
Church. Although in previous chapters its progress, 
its operations and strength are noted, it well merits a 
separate chapter. Yet as nothing short of an entire 
volume would suffice to bring out fully its place and 
part in the development of the Church, further details, 
however interesting and important, cannot here be at 
tempted. One of its noblest products in recent years 
is the establishment of Muhlenberg College at Allen- 
town, Penn., in 1867 


Another strong constituent of the Council is the 

Ministerium of N ew 
York, the second oldest 
Synod in America, which 
through all the changes 
of a century has uniform 
ly sustained relations of 
warm sympathy to the 
Mother Synod. It num 
bers over 26,000 commu 
nicants, supports a Pro 
fessor in the Philadelphia 
Seminary and has lately 
established the Luther 
Wagner Memorial Col 
lege at Rochester, N. Y. Since the separation of 
nearly the entire English element in 1867, it has been 
predominantly a German body but a number of vigor- 


The Liitherans in America. 

ous and prosperous English Churches have in recent 
years been organized. A compendious history of this 
body prepared in the German language by Rev. John 
Nicum has been published by official authority. 


The Pittsburg Synod has a history of its own which 
claims some notice. Organized in the s city of Pitts- 
burg, January 15, 1845, by eight ministers and six lay 
men it represented some forty congregations with a 
membership of about 3,500. The western section of 
Pennsylvania had heretofore been common ground 
for the German Synod of Ohio, its English district, 
the English Synod of Ohio and the Synod of West 
Pennsylvania. These eight ministers stood con 
nected with seven different synodical bodies. The 
time for uniting themselves and their churches in one 
body would seem to have been ripe, especially as the 
territory they occupied lay at the extreme limits of 
the Synods which were respectively and in a desul 
tory fashion seeking to cultivate it. A centre was 
needed, co-operation, a common purpose. 

Hence it was resolved to sink all minor differences 
of opinion, such as preferences for literary, theological 
and benevolent institutions, and to ignore such dis 
tinctions as were commonly designated by the terms 
"old and new measures." Having thus disposed of 
the obstacles which blocked the way of union they 
formed an association in order 

First. To bring the hitherto separated congrega 
tions of Western Pennsylvania into one body, 

Second. Provide these churches with a holy and 

45 o The Lutherans in America. 

competent ministry, either through stated supplies or 
permanent pastors, 

Third. Build up and reorganize such as were lan 

Fourth. Carry the Gospel to destitute settlements 
throughout that territory. 

This body has won the honorable distinction of 
"the Missionary Synod." It has been singularly 
aggressive in all church works and abundant in sacri 
fices, alms and labors. While holding firmly to the 
Church s Confession, cherishing her pure faith and 
maintaining a conservative tendency, the bond which 
united its congregations has been conspicuously its 
educational, missionary and charitable work. 

In 1850 it sent a missionary to Canada who was 
soon followed by others. Their success in that prov 
ince led to the organization of a separate Synod in 
1861. In 1851 missionaries were sent to Texas and 
material support was given to the feeble congrega 
tions there, until they also were able a few years 
later to organize a Synod, which like that of Can 
ada stands connected with the General Council. The 
Minnesota Synod also owes its existence to this body s 
activity. Missionary work has been successfully car 
ried on in Nova Scotia and missions have been sus 
tained in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Wheel 
ing, Fort Wayne, Canton, Cleveland, Chicago and 
other western cities at an expense of not less than 
$100,000. The Synod can point to many flourishing 
churches which its far-seeing efforts bro.ught into ex 
istence. A generous support has also been given to 
the cause of ministerial education. A successful col- 

The General Council. 451 

lege is in operation at Greenville, Penn., and a num 
ber of institutions of mercy, sheltering orphans and the 
suffering, evince the spirit that animates this body. 
Its eight ministers have multiplied to 109, notwith 
standing the withdrawal of a number with their con 
gregations during the crisis of 1866, and it now em 
braces 190 congregations and 20,000 communicants. 
It united with the General Synod in 1853, in "the 
hope that a connection with the Parent Education 
and Missionary Society of that body would widen its 
field of influence." "Its separation from the General 
Synod and union with the Council in 1867 resulted 
from the firm conviction that the change would 
enhance its opportunities for building up the Redeem 
er s Kingdom." 

Of its founders all but one have been called to the 
Church above. Pre-eminent among the group was 
Rev. Gottlieb Bassler, who was for nine years Presi 
dent of the body, and who by his extraordinary talents 
as an organizer did more to develop the Lutheran 
Church in Western Pennsylvania than any other 
man. His purity of character, his humility, honesty, 
generosity, his judgment and his devotion to convic 
tion were such that no one could be long in contact 
with him without coming under his influence. 


THE thrilling episode of the Swedish Colony of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries occupies an 
earlier chapter of this volume. The humble begin 
nings, rapid growth and earnest spirit of the Swedish 

45 2 The Lutherans in America. 

Augustana Synod, offers another bright portion of 
the history of the Lutheran Church in America. 

The immigration from which it has sprung began 
about 1845, reached noticeable proportions in ten 
years, rose after the war to tens of thousands annually 
and continues a large and steady stream. There are 
now in this country a million of Swedes of the first 
and second generations. While the great mass is to 
be found in the northern part of the Mississippi Val 
ley, there are Swedish Lutherans in Puritan New 
England and in the new Northwest beyond the Rocky 
Mountains. Chicago, Minneapolis and St. Paul are 
their ecclesiastical and social centres. In Minnesota 
they form one-sixth of the population. 

Most of these people are farmers. Others are me 
chanics and laborers. Not a few are the leading mer 
chants and business men of their communities. 

In the earlier days of immigration, while their 
number was small, the Swedes seemed possessed of 
inordinate haste to lay aside every national peculiar 
ity and to Americanize by wholesale. Their marvel 
ous increase, coupled with the multiplication of 
Swedish newspapers and schools, has led to a reac 
tion. The tendency towards the use of the English 
language in worship, as well as in business, is now, 
generally speaking, more gradual and is more readily 
kept within churchly channels. A wide difference 
obtains in this matter between rural and city districts. 
Where a farming community is exclusively Swedish, 
the customs and even some of the costumes of the 
fatherland persist. In mixed communities, especially 
in cities, a great change is effected in a single genera- 

RKV. I,. P. I.SI550KX. 

The General Council. 453 

tion. But the Scandinavian generally Americanizes 
more rapidly than the German. 

The man selected by Providence to lay the founda 
tions of the Swedish Lutheran Church in America, 
was Rev. Lars P. Esbjorn, who settled in Henry 
county, 111., not far from Rock Island. In 1850 with 
but ten members he founded the first regular Lu 
theran Church, at Andover. The original church 
edifice still stands, but the congregation now worships 
in an immense building, and holds the first rank 
among the Swedish congregations. 

Esbjorn was a true bishop. He visited the scat 
tered settlements, organizing congregations and pre 
paring the way for pastors. When it became neces 
sary to find a man for the Scandinavian professorship 
in Capital University, Springfield, 111., all eyes turned 
to him. Thence he was in 1860 called to the newly 
established theological seminary in Chicago. He 
subsequently returned to Sweden and died in the 
service of the State Church. 

Esbjorn associated with himself two men of God, 
who continue unto this d.iy the beloved patriarchs of 
the Svnod, Rev. Tuve N. Hasselquist, D. D., and 
Rev. Erland Carlsson. The former began in 1855 
his editorial career by issuing a politico-religious 
weekly, entitled "Hemlandet, det Gamla och det Nya," 
i.e. The Old and the New Fatherland. Out of it 
have grown the substantial Chicago weekly "Hem 
landet," edited by Hon. John Enander, and the weekly 
synodical organ "Augustana och MissioV ren," 
edited by Dr. Hasselquist. Through these papers, 
and, in his capacity as president of the Synod for ten, 

454 The Lutherans in America. 

and of Augustana College and Theological Seminary 
for twenty-six years, Dn H. has been the instructor, 
champion, and spiritual father of the Swedish people 
of this country. 

The equally important position of pastor at 
Chicago was occupied for twenty-two years (1853- 
1875) by Rev. E. Carlsson. The fervor of his pulpit 
ministrations and his masterly skill as an organizer 
were blessed to the building up of Immanuel Church, 
now a parish of sixteen hundred communicants. As 
president of the Synod and of the college board, he 
skillfully guided and developed the energies of the 
Synod and impressed it with a spirit of "faith that 
worketh by love." 

The Swedish work WT.S brought into connection 
with American church life by the temporary union of 
the Swedes with the Synod of Northern Illinois a 
General Synod body. As this synod simply affirmed 
the Augsburg Confession to be "a summary of the 
fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion substan 
tially correct," the Swedish conferences carefully guard 
ed their rights on entering the body. Feeling hampered 
by the union, they abruptly withdrew in 1860, and im 
mediately formed an organization of their own, com 
posed of the Chicago, Mississippi, and Minnesota Con 
ferences, and containing half as many Norwegians as 
Swedes. The first convention of "The Scandinavian 
Augustana Synod" was held in the Norwegian church 
at Jefferson Prairie, near Clinton, Rock county, Wis., 
June 5, T86o. Twenty-eight pastors, representing five 
thousand communicants, participated in the organiza 
tion. The most important step taken was the found- 

The General Council. 455 

ing of a theological seminary at Chicago. This sem 
inary has been the chief source of supply for the 
Synod, the pronounced sentiment of the body favor 
ing a ministry educated in America. This has con 
duced to such unity of view and strength of attach 
ment to the Synod as to render it difficult to effect a 
change in the organization, now that it has grown so 
numerous and widely extended to make the attendance 
and entertainment of the whole body impracticable. 

Among the notable founders of this Synod mention 
should be made of the following: Rev. Erik Norelius, 
born in Sweden, but educated at Capital University, 
Ohio, the pioneer of the Minnesota Conference, one of 
the originators of nearly all its institutions, the college 
begun at Red Wing, 1862, the Weekly Skaffaren, and 
the Vasa Orphans Home. His three volume history 
of the Synod, now in press, reveals the painstaking 
scholar and the graceful writer; 

Rev. Jonas Svensson of Andover, 111., remarkable as 
a preacher and a catechist It was not uncommon for 
him to preach for three hours, without notes and with 
out fault of logic or excess of verbiage. His catechu 
mens were readily distinguished by their thorough 
knowledge of divine things ; 

Rev. Peter Carlsson, who after years spent in the 
forests of Minnesota, went to the Northwest and 
founded the leading churches in Idaho, Washington, 
and Oregon. 

During this, "the patriarchal period," although^under 
the external pressure of temporal poverty and many 
other difficulties, such as the Civil War, and the great 

45 6 The Lutherans in America. 

Sioux outbreak in Minnesota in 1862, the develop 
ment was more internal and tranquil. 

The theological seminary was removed in 1863 to 
Paxton, 111. An American professor and a Norwe 
gian Rev. Wm. Kopp and Rev. A. Weenaas 
were added. A general collection in Sweden yielded 
$10,846. Five thousand volumes were received from 
the library of the late King Oscar I. 

In 1867 the Synod participated in the formation of 
the General Council, in whose deliberations its dele 
gates have taken an honorable part. It early pro 
nounced against indiscriminate communion, pulpit 
fellowship, and secret societies. Persons connected 
with lodges were in most congregations permitted to 
remain, but no new ones were received ; in others 
they were excluded. Saloon keepers are also exclud 
ed, and a strong temperance sentiment prevails. 

About 1865 there came to Kansas at the head of a 
Swedish colony a man who has awakened extraordi 
nary enthusiasm in the Synod, Rev. Olof Olsson. He 
settled at Lindsborg, Kansas, which under his magnetic 
leadership became a centre of singular power and 
activity. At one time his people sent him to the 
legislature of Kansas. Prof. Olsson is an interesting 
writer. His ability as such was of great service when 
the hyper-evangelical tendency in Sweden ran out into 
the Waldenstromian heresy a species of Socinian- 
ism taught in Sweden by Waldenstrom, who is now 
propagating his views in this country. From pulpit 
and theological chair (at Rock Island) Prof. Olsson 
fought this error. Above all he enkindled a burning 
zeal in all the students of the college and seminary. 

45 8 The Lutherans in America. 

The Synod holds an annual meeting continuing for 
about ten days. Two or three sermons are preached 
daily, and doctrinal discussions occupy much time 
when not, as latterly, crowded into the background. 
The Synodical council, consisting of the President 
and Vice-President of the Synod and two representa 
tives from each conference, spends several days in 
preparing business for the Convention. The Minis- 
terium meets next. Every applicant for ordination 
and every ordained minister dismissed to this Synod 
must appear before it for examination touching his 
faith and life. In the ordination as many ministers 
as possible unite in the laying on of hands. Not only 
the Augsburg Confession but the entire Book of Con 
cord is accepted. 

1 he Synod deals with general questions ordina 
tion, the institutions at Rock Island, home missions 
outside of the Conferences, missions among the Mor 
mons, foreign missions, and publication. 

The Conferences, dealing with most of these 
questions within their own bounds, and having edu 
cational and charitable institutions of their own. are 
virtual sub-synods. They meet twice a year for a 
week or ten days. In order that each congregation 
may be reached, they are subdivided into mission dis 
tricts, which are conferences in the usual sense of the 
term, and in which preaching predominates. 

The college and seminary were transferred to Rock 
Island, 1875. ^ ne St. Ansgar s Academy at St. Peter, 
Minn., was reopened as Gustavus Adolphus College; 
and about the same time, the publication of three new 
papers Barn Vannen (Children s Friend) by Rev. 

The General Council. 459 

A. Hult, and Ungdoms Vannen (Friend of Youth)^ 
a monthly, and Korsbaneret (The Banner of the 
Cross), an annual, was begun. 

The present decade is viewed as " the transitional 
period." The fathers are gradually relaxing their 
hold ; a generation born or educated here is coming 
forward ; an unmistakable Americanization has 
set in. The magnificent Bethany College has been 
built at Lindsborg, Kan., and Orphanages have lately 
sprung up at Mariedahl, Kan., Staunton, Iowa, and 
in the old settlement at Jamestown, N. Y. 

The publication cause has taken a new phase. The 
Synod in 1875 sold its bookstore to a Chicago firm 
in consideration of an annual payment of $1,000 for 
ten years, and now a vigorous society, the Augus- 
tana Book Concern, publishes a number of periodicals 
and books and is a source of revenue to the Church. 

The work of the Synods covers the Union. The 
eastern-most Church is at New Sweden in the Maine 
forests. New England is missionary ground. In New 
York stands the handsome Gustavus Adolphus Church. 
In Philadelphia Zion Swedish Church. The Illinois 
Conference extends into the copper districts along 
Lake Superior. Chicago has twelve Swedish churches 
and the Swedish Augustana Hospital and Deaconess 
House. Rockford, 111., has a church seating two thou- 


sand. It cost $65,000. The congregation at Moline,a 
suburb of Rock Island, numbers twelve hundred. 

Rock Island has a group of five college buildings, 
the latest a costly stone structure in chaste Gothic 
style, one of the finest Lutheran college buildings in 
the land. Its erection was made possible by the gift 


The Lutherans in America. 

of $25,000 from the Hon. R. S. Cable, president of 
the Rock Island Railway Company. Augustana College 
and the institutions at St. Peter and Lindsborg now 
contain business and musical departments. The semi 
nary makes full provision for the English interests. 

Minneapolis and St. Paul form the second great 
Scandinavian center, with already over fifty thousand 


Swedes. Augustana church, Minneapolis, has a congre 
gation of nearly two thousand. At St. Peter there is a 
college with a large faculty and 245 students, and there 
are several flourishing academies. The peculiar dif 
ficulties of this field are the vast floating population, 
the increasing worldliness of the later immigration, 
and the pernicious activity of the sects. 

An element which by every sacred bond is united 

The General Council. 461 

with the Lutheran Church, is sought to be wrested 
from it by Methodists, Baptists and especially the so- 
called Mission Friends. With the latter the Congre- 
gationalists have been courting fellowship. Some years 
ago a determined effort was made by the Episcopa 
lians to appropriate this rich Lutheran material. 
Through their agency the Swedish bishops were per 
suaded at one time to grant letters of dismissal, recom 
mending the emigrants to the care of Episcopalian 
rectors where Swedish Lutheran pastors c juld not be 
found. Not many Swedes were alienated from their 
church by this proselyting device. There is very lit 
tle high church tendency among those that come to 
this country, and though they were accustomed to 
Episcopal government in the State Church, they know 
nothing of Apostolic Succession or the divine right of 
bishops. Firmly grounded in the doctrines of the 
Gospel, indefatigable in promoting evangelical ac 
tivity and spirituality, and united as one man, the Au- 
gustana Synod has been wonderfully successful in 
preserving the Swedish people from fanaticism and 
gathering them into churches of their own faith. 

Effective English work has been done at Minneapo 
lis, and at St. Paul. Lutherans of eight nationalities 
have been gathered into these congregations. By the 
same pastors congregations have been established at 
Red Wing and West St. Paul. Other attempts have been 
made by the Synod itself to solve the English problem 
at Chicago and Rock Island by separate congregations, 
at Galesburg, Rockford, Denver, and elsewhere, by more 
or less frequent English Sunday evening services. 

The Nebraska churches with their own school cen- 

462 The Lutherans in America. 

ter at Wahoo, and noble deaconess work at Omaha, 
have since 1887 constituted a distinct Conference. 
The Kansas Conference covers a wide field Kansas, 
Texas, Colorado, which it cultivates with self-sacrific 
ing zeal. Out of the labors of Rev. Peter Carlsson 
on the . Northwestern coast and Rev. J. Telleen in 
California, has sprung the Pacific Conference. To 
rescue the Swedes sunk in Mormon ism, Prof. S. M. 
Hill, 1882, began work at Salt Lake City. A church 
has been erected and an academy begun. A number 
of pastors now labor in the Territory of Utah. 

The home missionary work has sorely taxed the en 
ergies of the Synod. At times settled pastors have 
spent a month every year in the mission field. Again 
they have served four or five churches until these were 
strong enough to support their own pastors. Occa 
sionally catechists have been employed, but the chief 
dependence has been students of theology, pious col 
lege students of all stages of preparation, and pro 
fessors ordained and unordained. 

The parochial schools maintained by most congre 
gations and taught by students have been an agency 
of great good. They are held for a month or more 
during the summer. A few hold sessions "of six 
months or more. Instruction is given in Bible His 
tory, Luther s Catechism, the Swedish Language, 
Church History, and Church Hymns. To this the 
pastor adds a six months term of catechization, meet 
ing his class from two to four hour hours a day once 
or twice a week. Confirmation takes place about 
Palm Sunday. A public examination precedes. 

At " Hogmessa " (High Mass), or the Sunday morn- 

The General Council* 463 

ing service, the full liturgical service (according to the 
hymn-book of 1819) is used. It is in the main that of 
the Common Service, with the Confession of Sins, the 
greater "Gloria" (a verse of "Allena Gud i himmelrik/ 
"All glory be to God on high)," the pericopes, collects, 
etc. On high days the minister intones his part of the 
service. The Lord s Prayer is often merely indicated 
by the opening words, the people following in silence. 
The sermon is as a rule extemporaneous and on the 
Gospel for the day. Prayer-meetings are held, at 
which the laity take part in prayer and exhortation. 
The Week of Prayer is observed. 

The people are earnest readers of such devotional 
works as Luther s sermons, Arndt s True Christianity, 
and the writings of the Swedish Pietists, Rosenius and 
Fjellstedt. The Bible with brief notes by Fjellstedt, 
or Melin, and the Book of Concord are found in many 
households. This fact augurs well for a continuance 
of Christian knowledge and true godliness, despite 
the temptations incident to the twofold transition 
from poverty to affluence and from the language and 
customs of Sweden to those of America. 

The strength of this synod is 292 ministers, 582 con 
gregations, 343 church buildings, and 76,000 communi 
cants, with 19,889 scholars and 2,606 teachers in the 
Sunday-schools, 272 parochial schools and 11,464 
pupils. The contributions for educational purposes 
were, in 1888, $28,415; home missions, $14.538; for 
eign missions, $5,946; church extension, orphans, etc., 
$19.476; the whole averaging $ i. oo per member. The 
synod doubles every fifteen years. 



THE rupture of the Federal Union in 1861 was 
regarded final by the great body of the people in 
the Confederate States. The members of the 
Lutheran Church shared this conviction, and believing 
their civil and political separation to be beyond re 
call they deemed it expedient and necessary to have a 
new general ecclesiastical organization. The move 
ment was abetted by the alienation inevitably growing 
out of domestic war and by the bitterness of feeling 
which a sharp conflict of sentiment on sectional insti 
tutions naturally produced, while the general desire 
for a more pronounced adherence to the Augsburg 
Confession which a few years later triumphed also in 
the General Synod, had already attained decided 
strength in the South. 

A preliminary convention of a few delegates at 
Salisbury, N. C., May 15, 1862, accomplished little be 
yond the appointment of special committees to pro 
vide for submission to a subsequent meeting, a con 
stitution for the new body, a Formula of government 
and discipline, a Hymn-book and Catechism, and a 

A year later delegations from the Synods of North 
and South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and South 
western Virginia assembled at Concord, N. C., and 
formally organized " The General Synod of the Evan- 


Rev. JOMTS ItACIIM AX, I*. !>., 1,1.. 

The United Synod in the South. 465 

gelical Lutheran Church in the Confederate States of 
America." Rev. John Bachman, D. D., LL. D., was 
elected President and Rev. David F. Bittle, D. D., 
Secretary. The doctrinal basis was declared to be 
"the Old and New Testaments as the Word of God 
and the only infallible rule of faith and practice," and 
"the Ecumenical Creeds and the Augsburg Confes 
sion as the exponents of this faith." A clause allow 
ing liberty of construction on several articles of the 
Confession was added, but a later convention expunged 
it. The work of the other committees was accepted, 
the "Southern Lutheran" was made the organ of the 
body, the founding of a publishing company was re 
solved on, and the organization of the new body was 
perfected with a remarkable degree of harmony. 

The second annual meeting was marked by the ap 
pointment of a Committee on Domestic Missions. 

When the body met again, June 14. 1866, the war 
had ended, the Union was restored, a new title had to 
be adopted to conform to the changed situation, the 
problem of a continued- separation from the Church 
North had to be grappled, and the founding of a theo 
logical seminary was advocated as the most pressing 
need of the hour. 

A pastoral letter urging the continuance of a sepa 
rate organization protested that this was due to no 
desire to keep up sectional animosity either in Church 
or State, but to a firm persuasion " that the prosperity 
of our beloved Zion in the South can best be sub 
served in this way." Connected with the General 
Synod from its organization, the result on the progress 
of the Southern Churches had not been satisfactory. 

466 The Lutherans in America. 

They had patronized the educational institutions and 
the literature of the North to the serious neglect of 
their own resources and the detriment of their own 
development. It devolved on them now to make 
proper sacrifices by way of building up and sustaining 
institutions and publications in their midst, and no 
longer to retard their growth by an unhealthy depen 
dence upon the Church in the North. This letter also 
decried the latitudinarianism which, by ignoring every 
feature which distinguished the Lutheran Church 
from other denominations, extinguished that church 
love so essential to church activity, and furnished the 
excuse for the transition of ministers and members 
to other communions. A decided stand for Lutheran 
orthodoxy, it claimed, was required at this particular 
juncture. The division which was then taking place 
in the General Synod was finally pointed to as a 
decisive argument for not renewing organic relations 
with it. The perpetuation of a general bady for the 
South was thus decided, and at the same session the 
Constitution was so modified as to give to it both 
legislative and judicial powers. 

At the next convention, in 1867, the South Carolina 
Synod transferred its theological seminary at New- 
berry to the control of the General Synod, offering at 
the same time to support a professor from its own 
funds. Rev. A. J. Fox appeared as a commissioner 
from the Tennessee Synod to confer with reference to 
the union of that Synod with this body. This is the 
first step towards merging all the Southern Synods in 
one body, which was happily consummated nine years 
later. Assurances were given to the Tennessee Synod 

The United Synod in the South. 467 

not only of a cordial reception as an integral part of 
the General Synod on its truly Lutheran basis, but 
also of the obligation laid upon this body by its basis 
to allow neither in its publications nor its theological 
schools any doctrine at variance with the Augsburg 
Confession. The Holston Synod was admitted in 
1868, the Mississippi in 1872. At these conventions 
the problems of the most earnest deliberation were 
those of a theological seminary and a church paper; 
those brethren clearly recognizing that only a trained 
ministry and an enlightened laity can effect any perma 
nent and thorough upbuilding of the church. At 
Winchester in 1870 the prosecution of Home and 
Foreign Missions was warmly canvassed and methods 
were proposed for enlisting the interest of the whole 
church. This convention has become memorable 
from a special communication received from the ven 
erable Dr. Bachman expressing his prayerful concern 
for the prosperity of the church, and affirming that 
"there is nothing in our doctrines that should prevent 
a union of the whole church, both in Europe and 
America." In the interest of a consummation so de 
voutly to be wished, he suggested to the Synod "the ap 
pointment of delegates to meet those of other synods 
in consultation for the purpose of promoting a greater 
uniformity in our books of worship than at present 
exists. Other denominations have gained very much 
by establishing a uniform mode of worship. If this 
object could be accomplished our Church would, in my 
opinion, be more respected at home and abroad, and 
would accomplish a far greater amount of good." 
The General Synod was not prepared to take action 

468 The Lutherans in America. 

on this suggestion but it is well to note what spirit 
conceived the project of the Common Service. Six 
years later when the revision of the Book of Worship 
was under discussion "with a view to bringing it into 
more complete accord with the true Lutheran cultus," 
it was resolved that the powers of the committee 
be so enlarged as to invite the co-operation of the 
General Synod North and the General Council, by 
the appointment of similar committees, with a view 


to the adoption of a Common Service for the whole 
Church. The suggestion was promptly adopted and 
afterwards heartily and unanimously accepted by the 
other two bodies, and "the common consent of the 
pure Lutheran liturgies of the sixteenth century" 
made the basis for the preparation of the service. The 
Theological Seminary was in 1872 removed to Salem, 
Va., the seat of Roanoke College, where with two pro 
fessors it soon attained a fair measure of patronage. 

The United Synod in the South 469 

At the meeting in 1878 fraternal relations were 
opened with the General Synod North, after assur 
ances from that body that its deliverances on the war 
were in no way designed to reflect upon the Christian 
character of the ministers and churches of the South 
ern Synods. An official visitor from the General 
Council was at the same time received and accorded 
"all the privileges of an advisory member." Peculiar 
interest was given to subsequent conventions by the 
presence and diplomatic addresses of distinguished 
corresponding delegates from these two bodies. A 
committee was also appointed to look after the moral 
and religious interests of the colored race, with especial 
reference to the establishment of Lutheran churches 
and educational and eleemosynary institutions among 
them, and the General Bodies in the North were 
invited to "co-operate in the advancement of this 
imperatively needed work." 

At Charlotte, N. C., in 1882, an entire evening was 
devoted to the subject of union with other General 
Bodies of the church. "A full and courteous ex 
pressions of opinion was given by all the members" 
and it was 

Resolved, "That this General Synod does honestly 
and earnestly desire to promote unity and concord 
between all the parts of our Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in this land, and stands prepared to co-operate 
in any concurrent movement of other General Bodies 
towards an organic union of our entire church upon 
an unequivocal Lutheran basis." 

The committee on Missions was authorized to select 
and sustain a missionary in the foreign field under 

470 The Lutherans in America. 

the direction of the Foreign Mission Board of the 
General Synod North. This action was carried out 
with enthusiasm, but the course of the missionary who 
was thus sent out involved this promising movement 
in total failure. 

The fifteenth and last convention of the General 
Synod South, held at Roanoke, Va., June 23, 1886, was 
made memorable by two events. The first was the 
report of its Committee on a Common Service that at 
a full meeting of the three committees, held in Phila 
delphia, in May, 1885," a scheme of the normal service 
of the Lutheran Church" had been agreed upon with 
out dissent, and that this had been subsequently and 
with absolute unanimity approved and adopted by 
the General Synod at Harrisburg. The other was the 
merging of the General Synod South into "the United 
Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the 
South," a union consummated between the General 
Synod and the Tennessee and the Holston Synods in 
accordance with a previous understanding and prelim 
inary arrangements. 

Two ways stood open at this juncture to the Synods 
which embrace nearly all the Lutheran congregations 
south of the Potomac. Either they must individually 
enter into organic relations with one of the general 
bodies that assert a national compass, or else perpet 
uating their sectional organization it behooved all of 
them to be incorporated into one body so as to gain 
the inestimable advantage of concentration. The 
strong current of reaction toward distinctive Luther- 
anism which was passing over the entire Church had 
especially affected the southern portion, and was bring- 

The United Synod in the South 471 

Ing into close sympathy bodies which had for many 
years kept up a sharp conflict with each other. A gen 
eral and sincere interest in their union was therefore 
quite preceptible and the realization was recognized 
as alike feasible and in the highest degree desirable. 

The Tennessee Synod made a formal deliverance 
on this subject which soon called out a hearty 
response from the Synods of North and South 
Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. The General Synod 
at its session in Charleston, 1884, declared itself "un 
willing to have these divisions continue any longer 
without an earnest effort on their part to remove 
them," and while acknowledging the fidelity of the 
Tennessee Synod in its defense of the faith, it ex 
pressed its own devotion to the same precious truth, 
.and argued that the causes for separation having 
passed away there should now be on the ground of a 
unity of the faith a formal realization of it in 

A commission was constituted " consisting of one or 
dained minister and one lay member of the various 
district Synods, who shall meet in conference with the 
Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Tennessee 
Synod for the purpose of maturely considering this 
subject etc." 

The Diet or Colloquium to consider the project of 
an organic union was held at Salisbury, N. C., Novem 
ber 12 and 13, 1884. It was composed of Commis 
sioners from the General Synod South and delegates 
from all the Southeran Synods except that of Missis 
sippi. The spirit of harmony ruled this convention. 

The basis for union which was unanimously 

47 2 The Lutherans in America. 

adopted accepts the Holy Scriptures as the only 
standard of doctrine and Church discipline, and the 
Ecumenical Creeds and the Unaltered Augsburg 
Confession as "a true and faithful exhibition of the 
doctrines of the Holy Scriptures in regard to 
matters of faith and practice." The other Lu 
theran Symbols were declared to be "true and 
scriptural developments of the doctrines taught in the 
Augsburg Confession, and in the perfect harmony 
of one and the same pure, Scriptural faith." 

A constitution to be submitted to the different 
bodies represented was also agreed upon. It allowed 
the new body only advisory powers except in such 
matters "as pertain to the general interests or opera 
tions of the Church," namely liturgies, theological 
seminaries, foreign missions, important home mission 
ary operations etc. 

^ The General Synod at its next meeting in Roanoke, 
Va., June 23, 1886, gave its cordial approval to this 
basis, regarding it "as essentially identical with its 
present doctrinal basis," and also accepted the consti 
tution as satisfactory. Similar action had already 
been taken by the Tennessee and Holston Synods. 
As their representatives were present at Roanoke 
only the formalities were required for the organiza 
tion of the body contemplated and these being execu 
ted with entire unanimity, "the United Synod of the 
Evangelical Lutheran Church in the South," was form 
ed. The Church of that section has thus come into 
one compact and harmonious body, working unitedly 
and with a new impetus for the advancement of the 
Gospel, notwithstanding the fact that there exist di- 

~_ : , 


474 The Lut/ierans in America. 

versities of opinion and practice as marked as those 
which still divide the Church in other parts of the 

This happy result must in the main be ascribed to 
the peculiar development of the Southern General 
Synod. Feeble in members and resources, it was 
called upon by extraordinary circumstances to break 
away from its former associations. It was thus en 
abled to plant itself definitely upon the Church s Con 
fession and to issue a Book of Worship with Cate 
chism, Confession and Prayers, that has had an 
immense educational influence in promoting unity of 
faith and uniformity of worship, in cementing the 
hearts of the people to their church, and preparing 
them for earnest co-operation with all in whom they 
recognize like precious faith and who are ruled by the 
same spirit. The numerical strength of the United 
Synod embraced in 1888, 8 district synods, 186 minis 
ters, 392 congregations, and 33,625 communicants. 
Besides the Educational Institutions already named 
as under the auspices of the Tennessee Synod, there 
are in the bounds of the United Synod, colleges at 
Salem, Va., Mt. Pleasant, N. C., Newberry, S. C. ,with a 
theological department; and Female Seminaries at 
Staunton, Marion and Wytheville, Va., and at Mt 
Pleasant and Charlotte, N. C. 

If the growth of the Lutheran Church in the South 
has been relatively slow, this is in part undoubtedly 
due to the absence of immigration. It has not been 
wanting in church love nor in church activity com 
mensurate with its opportunity. And it has been 

The United Synod in the South. 475 

honored by a large proportion of able, eminent and 
consecrated divines. 

Towering above all others was the Rev. John 
Bachman, D. D., LL. D., Ph. D. (Berlin), for nearly 
sixty years pastor of St. John s, Charleston, which 
under his ministry became the most influential con 
gregation in the South. He took a profound interest 
in the general work of the Church, and his influence, 
while he stood in connection with the General Synod 
or with the General Synod South, was always thrown 
on the side of a large, unselfish and permanent policy. 
To him chiefly the college and seminary, both now 
located at Newberry, S. C., owe their existence. 
From him came the first suggestion of a Common 
Service. The dignity, force and simplicity of his per 
sonal character gave Dr. Bachman a wide fame 
throughout the Southern States, but his greatest 
distinction was that of a man of science. He was in 
the first rank of ornithologists in his day. With 
Audubon, whose two sons married his two daughters, 
he prepared "The Birds of America" and "The 
Quadrupeds of America." He was a member of 
numerous scientific societies and numbered among his 
correspondents such men as Humboldt and Agassiz. 

No other man on that territory has greater claims 
on the reverent memory of his church than David F. 
Bittle, D. D. His self-sacrificing and successful labors 
as President of Roanoke College, his indomitable^ 
world-conquering faith, his pulpit unction and power, 
and exalted Christian character, place his name on the 
scroll of immortality. 



THE first to liberate the human mind from mediae 
val darkness and error, the Lutheran Church 
has always fostered thorough intellectual culture. 
She is distinguished as "the church of theologians." 
Her scholars were the principal teachers o f Christendom 
in the sixteenth century, and they have within the pres 
ent century restored the glories of the best age of 
Christian learning. "Her wonderful literature, her 
great universities, her systems of popular education 
are felt by the world." 

The Reformation under Luther made an epoch in 
education as well as in religion. The debasing super 
stitions against which the battle was waged derived 
their strength from ignorance. A reforming Church 
must spread the light of knowledge. Recovering her 
true character the Church cannot be unmindful of her 
function as teacher. She kindles the highest powers 
of the human mind and then employs them to en 
lighten the world. Education is at once her duty 
and the most effective instrumentality for extending 
her sway. 

The Lutheran Church took organic form with this 
instrument in her hands. Her cause was from the 
outset the cause of learning. She arose into distinct 
ive being, identified with the highest educational in 
stitutions. The Reformers, every man of them, occu- 

47 6 

The Lutheran Church and Culture. 477 

pied university chairs. The superiority of her doctors 
became a current argument for her doctrine. Witten 
berg was the focus of the grand revolution. In its 
lecture-rooms, and a little later in those of Leipsic, 
Jena, and T"bingen, were found freedom of inquiry 
and freedom of teaching, and thence shone forth the 
living rays which turned the darkness into light. 

While sustaining and developing those illustrious 
institutions which are still the pride of Europe, and to 
which the learned men of England and America ever 
repair to complete their education, the genius of Lu- 
theranism has been equally zealous in establishing 
schools for the masses. Luther s writings and espe 
cially his translation of the Bible set the people to 
reading, made them eager for knowledge, and with the 
new energy awakened in every sphere prepared them 
for those measures of general instruction to which the 
Reformers gave their earnest attention. Popular edu 
cation dates from the Reformation, and certainly 
no other countries have furnished such thorough, gen 
erous and universal systems of instruction as those in 
which the Lutheran creed has been predominant. 
There are no illiterates in Lutheran lands. Other 
nations have from ten to eighty per cent. 

This jewel was happily riot lost in the trying pro 
cess of transplanting the church into a new world. 
The earliest preachers had received a liberal training. 
Of the Swedish pastors of the seventeenth century, it 
is recorded that with few exceptions they were men of 
liberal culture, "eminent alike for learning, pulpit 
power and fervent piety." Acrelius and von Wrangel 
of the last century were "distinguished and scholarly 

The Lutherans in America. 

men." The patriarch Muhlenberg and a number of 
his colleagues could speak fluently a half dozen lan 
guages, including ancient and modern. Long before 
the Lutheran Church was able to found academic in 
stitutions, a number of her clergy received the title of 
Doctor of Divinity from the colleges of other denom 
inations. Some of them were elected College Trustees 
and such was their recognized zeal in the cause of 
science that they were specially welcomed to com 
mencements and enrolled among the learned societies 
of America and Europe. 

Dr. Kunze s varied acquirements made him "an 
ornament of the American republic of letters." He 
was professor of Oriental languages in Columbia 
College, having in that domain no superior in 
America, and doing more than any other individual 
of his day "to promote a taste for Hebrew literature." 
"He was deservedly recognized as among the very 
first of scholars, and cherished by the learned and 
liberal of every denomination as an example of the 
refined influence which elevated pursuits so uniformly 
stamp on human character." 

Dr. Helmuth, who succeeded him as Professor in 
the University of Pennsylvania, "had a richly en 
dowed and well cultivated mind," and published a vol 
ume of hymns, and other religious works. His col 
league, Rev. J. F. Schmidt, was an accomplished 
astronomer and mathematician. H. E. Muhlenberg, 
besides being a profound theologian, an original 
thinker, a celebrated Orientalist, and a proficient in 
almost every department of science and literature, 
made a specialty of Natural History, in particular of 

The Lutheran Church and Culture. 479 

Botany, in which he became an authority and gained 
the title of "the American Linnaeus." He carried on 
an extensive correspondence with the foremost nat 
uralists of Europe, and through the newspapers and 
other publications contributed much to the progress 
of Natural Science. He was a member of the Ameri 
can Philosophical Society and quite a number of 
philosophical and physical societies in Europe. 

That the Lutheran people of the last century were 
generally not illiterate, is pretty clearly indicated by 
the fact that half of Franklin s printing of books and 
purely literary matter was for the Germans. 

The fathers had received their culture at European 
Universities. Unfortunately the first generation of 
native ministers could enjoy no such facilities. Re 
peated efforts to found higher institutions had 
proved abortive, or perished in the storms of the 
Revolution, and the Church did not control a single 
classical or theological school, excepting the share 
she had in Franklin College, founded in 1787. This 
was due to the straitened circumstances of the 
people and above all to the language problem. A 
German institution would have been under the circum 
stances an exotic, repelling the patronage of Americans. 
And an English institution could not be maintained 
until the Lutheran population had become more 
thoroughly anglicised. 

In theory the Church always asserted a high stand 
ard of training for her ministers. No young man 
said the General Synod at its first meeting, is to be 
admitted to the study of theology before he has ob- 
tai ned a diploma or its equivalent. And she has at all 

480 The Lutherans in America. 

times been honored with a fair proportion of learned 
divines whose range of culture placed them alongside 
of the foremost scholars of the country. We need 
but instance the Schaeffers, Schmuckers, Krauths, 
Storks, Dr. P. F. Mayer, Dr. John Bachman, and 
Profs. M. Jacobs, H. L. Baugher and M. L. Stoever, 
three men whose solid attainments and whose abiding 
success in raising Pennsylvania College to its honor 
able rank, were only paralleled by their self-sacrifice 
to the cause of higher Christian education. That 
leaders of such power and prominence had as a rule 
received their own training where another faith pre 
vailed, is a circumstance not to be overlooked in 
studying the tendencies of their day, and its lesson 
should never be forgotten. 

While the founding of institutions for higher cul 
ture had of necessity to be delayed until colleges of 
other denominations had been maintained for one or 
even two centuries, the instruction of the children was 
from the beginning made a leading function of the 
Church. The first Lutherans brought with them from 
the fatherland the parish school, and, straitened and 
widely dispersed as they were, they could no more 
dispense with these Christian nurseries for their 
children than with the Church itself. A congregation 
without its school was not to be thought of. Even 
when there was no pastor, the congregation must 
secure a teacher. Beside the rude log church a 
school-house always arose, and it is suggestive that 
Muhlenberg, who is said to have never lost sight of 
the training of the children, and who at first person 
ally gave instructions in the rudiments, built a scho ol- 

The Lutheran Church and Culture. 481 

house at the Trappe even before he began the 
erection of a house of worship. Significant likewise, 
is the fact that the second topic which engaged the 
attention of the first synodical meeting "was the con 
dition of the Parochial Schools ; each pastor laid be 
fore the Synod the actual state, the wants and pros 
pects of his school." 

Our fathers held that the young should be trained 
inside the church and not outside of it; that educa 
tion should be in the hands of Christian teachers, 
should be seasoned and conserved with the Gospel 
should include the moral as well as the intellectual 
nature, and that it is a function worthy of and incum 
bent on the pastor, who indeed was often the main if 
not the sole teacher of the parish school. What the 
Church has gained by abandoning this institution and 
leaving her children to the mercy of secular educa 
tion, is a question of no little consequence. It should 
be carefully pondered along with the more general 
inquiry as to the measure of advantage which any 
church derives from the surrender of inherited bless 
ings for the sake of conforming to other denomina 
tions and keeping in line with the spirit of the times. 

In these schools the children were thoroughly in 
doctrinated in God s Word, as well as taught the ele 
ments of a secular education. Receiving religious 
instruction from competent teachers six days of the 
week, they became rooted in the faith of the Church, 
and laid the foundations of those solid virtues forwhich 
the Lutheran people were always distinguished. Prior 
to the establishment of the common schools the Penn 
sylvania Synod had hundreds of these church schools. 

482 The Lutherans in America. 

The corporation of Zion Church, Philadelphia, main 
tained four, and their grand work was at one time rec 
ognized by the donation of five thousand acres of 
land from the State of Pennsylvania. 

It costs a pang to write here that, so far as known, 
hardly a solitary parish school exists to-day in the 
English portion of the Lutheran Church, although its 
poignancy is somewhat relieved by the knowledge that 
several thousand are maintained by the German and 
Scandinavian congregations. 

While holding that all education should have a 
Christian character, and conforming, in the days of 
her poverty, her universal practice to this ideal, the 
crowning feature of the Lutheran Church is her sys 
tem of specific Christian instruction to the young- 
The book she prizes next to Holy Scriptures is her 
Catechism, a treasure not equalled in any other church, 
and which is said to have the widest circulation of any 
uninspired volume. 

A minister without this Catechism is an anomaly in 
the Lutheran Church. He is out of his element. He 
has missed his calling. An unfailing tribute paid by 
every historian to the fathers, is their fidelity in cate- 
chisation and their success in preparing by this means 
candidates for confirmation. No work of greater spir 
itual power is on record anywhere. To these instruc 
tions thousands attributed their conversion. To them 
is to be ascribed in large measure the revived and 
blooming state of the Church in their day. 

Whatever derelictions may have since then been 
chargeable to individuals, or to measures in conflict 
with the Lutheran system, neither the leaders of the 

484 The Lutherans in America. 

Church nor any of its bodies have ever failed to bear 
their testimony to this invaluable medium of saving 
the young and preserving the Church of God. One 
of the first acts of the General Synod was the appoint 
ment of a committee to prepare a Catechism, "the 
present state of the church requiring an English edi 
tion." A report presented to the General Synod at 
York, 1835, declares: "If it had not been for that ex 
cellent course of lectures, which is given to our young 
people preparatory to confirmation, our people would 
in a great measure, have remained altogether stran 
gers to the power of godliness." Dr. Hazelius in his 
History of the American Lutheran Church, 1845, ob 
serves : " Many of us still remember the time when re- 
missness in the religious instruction of children was a 
fault in our preachers, seldom discovered but least for 
given; and can we forget, that this instruction pecu 
liar to the German churches created so strong an at 
tachment to the Church that it almost amounted to a 
fault? This instruction is now sparingly imparted, and 
what is the consequence? The attachment to the church 
has been weakened so much that the causes of this 
alarming fact have frequently been made the subject 
of inquiry in our church paper, and we are sorry to 
say that among all the causes assigned, we have 
missed the one which is at the root of the evil, viz.: 
The remissness of many of our pastors in the religious 
instruction of youths ? 

One of the most laudable features of Lutheran edu 
cational work is the care of the orphan. By no other 
sign does she more clearly testify that she has the 
spirit of God "in whom the fatherless findeth mercy." 

The Liit her an Church and Culture, 485 

When we recall the instrumentalities by which the 
Lutheran Church came into organic being in America, 
it may be said that she had her birth in an Orphan 
House. That glorious institution at Halle communi 
cated the breath of life to the unorganized mass ready 
to perish on these shores, and from that same fount 
ain the Church was nursed for fifty years. The 
great preachers of that period were graduates of that 
orphanage. It is therefore not surprising to read that 
"one feature marked all the early Lutheran preachers, 
their attention to the young, the poor, the sick, and 
especially the widow and orphan." 

The Salzburgers had hardly erected their own 
homes in the savannas of Georgia, when in 1742 they 
founded an Orphan House with four boys and four 
girls. The same institution became also an asylum 
for the sick, and received the warm sympathy and sub 
stantial support of Whitfield, whose own attempt at a 
similar institution in Savannah was doomed to failure. 

The charge of the orphan, like some other import 
ant trusts, experienced for some time a melancholy 
neglect, but with the revival, latterly, of a better church 
life, a new impulse has also been given to this humane 
and godly work. At least thirty-three Orphan Homes 
throughout the country are now supported by the Lu 
therans eight by the Missouri Synod, six by the 
Swedish Augustana, two by the Iowa. Some are not 
specially connected with any Synod. 

In connection with the orphanages, mention can 
simply be made of the hospitals, about ten in number, 
and the Deaconess Institutes, the most splendid of 
which is the "Mary J. Drexel Home and Philadelphia 


The Lutherans in America. 

Mother-house of Deaconesses." The building con 
sists of a central edifice two hundred and fifty feet 
long and two wings connected with it at right angles, 
each two hundred feet in length, the gift of John D. 
Lankenau, Esq., who has also pledged himself for its 
maintenance as long as he lives. 

The courage, the struggles and the self-sacrifice 
by means of which some twenty-one theological sem 
inaries and as many colleges have been built up, and 
the work these are doing for the education of youth 


to serve in the holy office and in other influential sta 
tions, would occupy a volume. Reference to all but a 
few may be found in other chapters. Wittenberg Col 
lege, at Springfield, Ohio, is a worthy monument of 
Ezra Keller, D. D., whose services in pioneer work both 
in the sphere of religion and education can hardly be 
overestimated. Carthage College, at Carthage, 111., 

The Lutheran Church and Cultiire. 487 

and Midland College, at Atchison, Kan., have but re 
cently come into being under the auspices of the Gen 
eral Synod. They encounter the usual trials of such 
schools, but they command the sympathay and sup 
port of that body, and from whatever point they may 
be judged can no longer be regarded as experiments. 
The Female Seminaries at Hagerstown, Lutherville and 
Mechanicsburg are on the territory of the General Syn 
od, but receive patronage from all portions of the church. 
Fourteen years ago an incomplete list of Lutheran 
publications made a considerable volume, compiled 
under the name of Bibliotheca Lutherana, by Dr. Mor 
ns. Since then a large number of valuable works 
have been added, and although no other ministers 
have as laborious a lot as the Lutheran, and although 
some of the ablest men of the Church, like Drs. C. P. 
Krauth, Sr., J. A, Brown, and C. A. Stork, have left 
nothing more permanent and complete than Review 
articles, yet the array of Lutheran literature makes 
a substantial library. The first known publication 
by a Lutheran in America was a volume entitled 
"Grondlycke Onderricht von sekere Voorname Hoofd- 
stucken der Waren, Loutern, Saligmakenden Chris- 
telycken Leere, etc., by Justus Falckner, in 1708- 
Schmucker s translation of Storr and Flatt s Biblical 
Theology, in 1826, became a text-book in seminaries 
of other churches. His Popular Theology passed 
through nine editions. Siess works have a world 
wide fame. Their titles fill many pages. Valentine s 
Natural Theology is a text-book in a number of 
American colleges. C. F. Schaeffer s translation of 
Kurtz s Sacred History has been extensively used as 

488 The Lilt her ans in America. 

a text-book in theological seminaries. Krauth s Con 
servative Reformation is the masterpiece of Lutheran 
authorship in this country. Sprecher s Groundwork of 
Lutheran Theology is a work of rare ability. Zieg- 
ler s Catechetics, The Preacher, and The Pastor, are 
valuable manuals for the clergy. Harkey s Justifica 
tion by Faith should be in every home. Dr. Mann s 
literary activity covers, besides valuable English and 
German volumes, a wide field in the periodical litera 
ture of America and Europe. Theophilus Stork, B. 


Kurtz, Greenwald, C. W. Schaeffer, Spaeth, Morris, 
Rhodes, and Gerberding have enriched the devotional 
literature of the church. Profs. Schodde and Weid- 
ner have published valuable contributions to theolog 
ical science. The latter s Introductory N. T. Greek 
Method is adopted in a number of seminaries. Wal- 
ther s " Kirche und Amt," " Evangelien-Postille," " Epis- 
tel-Postille," and " Pastoral Theologie," have passed 
through many editions. Seyffarth, that prodigy of 
learning, wrote numerous volumes on Egyptology, 
Chronology, etc. Bachman s fame rests largely on 

The Lutheran Church and C^tlt^lre. 489 

his contributions to Natural History. Profs. L. M. 
Haupt and S. P. Sadtler have won high distinction in 
the ranks of scientific scholarship. Among the most 
important issues are the translation of Schmidt s Dog- 
matik of the Lutheran Church, by Drs. Hay and Jacobs, 
an English edition of the Book of Concord, with com 
panion volume giving Historical Introduction, Notes, 
Appendixes and Index, by Jacobs, and a revised edi 
tion of Walch s " Luther s Sammtlice Schriften," by the 
Faculty of Concordia Seminary. 

The first periodical published was " Das Evangelis- 
che Magazin," founded by Dr. Helmuth. " The Lutheran 
Intelligencer," began in 1826, with D. F. Schaeffer as 
editor. 1 1 was afterwards changed to the " Lutheran Ob 
server." "The Literary Record," a journal formerly pub 
lished by the Linnaean Association o f Pennsylvania Col 
lege, wasa scientific journal of great merit. "The Luth 
eran Standard" was begun in 1841. "The Lutheran 
Quarterly" succeeded in 1871 "The Evangelical Re 
view," which was founded in 1849. "The Lutheran 
Church Review "was founded in 1882. "The Lutheran," 
"The Lutheran Evangelist," "The Lutheran Visitor," 
"Our Church Paper "are the other English weeklies. 
"The Workman " and " The Lutheran Witness " are bi 
monthly. "The Lutheran Home," "The Theological 
Magazine," "The Augsburg Teacher," "The Church 
Messenger," and " The Young Lutheran " are monthlies. 
Besides these are a number of children s papers, some 
forty German periodicals and nearly as many Swed 
ish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish and Icelandic mes 
sengers of light and strength that regularly visit the 
tabernacles of godly Lutherans. 



AN American historian of reputed learning and 
fairness says: "The conversion of the heathen oc 
cupied no place in the thoughts of the great 
leader of the Reformation. The followers of Luther 
for more than a century entertained the same preju 
dice against missions." This is a fair specimen of the 
misrepresentations of the Lutheran Church. 

The truth on this point is stated in Herzog s Real- 
Encyclopaedie : " Luther himself already seizes every 
opportunity offered by a text of the divine Word 
in order to remind believers of the distress of the 
Heathen and the Turks and earnestly urges them to 
pray in their behalf and to send out missionaries to 
them. In accord with him all the prominent theolo 
gians and preachers of his day and of the succeeding 
period inculcated the missionary duty of the Church. 
Many also of the Evangelical princes cherished this 
work with Christian love and zeal." It was the Refor 
mation with its new spiritual life that once more re 
vived missionary operations which had entirely ceased 
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the 
labors of the Lutheran Church were the earliest in 
that sphere as they have been the most productive. 
" All missions, Catholic and Protestant alike, with the 
benefits of every sort they bring us, are in several im 
portant senses a debt which Christendom owes to Mar- 




The Lutheran Church and Missions. 491 

tin Luther." So says a learned representative of a 
great missionary church. If the Reformers failed to 
organize any movement for the conversion of the heath 
en world, this failure might be sufficiently accounted for 
by the prevailing heathenism which had become rank 
within the limits of the Church, and the uprooting of 
which taxed all their thoughts and energies. But it 
must further be borne in mind that the Protestant 
nations had no means of communication with heathen 
countries. The hegemony of the seas was during 
that century in the hands of the Catholic powers, 
Spain and Portugal, while Lutheran Germany had 
neither commerce nor colonies, the indispensable pre 
requisites in that day for the prosecution of missions 
outside the pale of Christendom. Geographical open 
ings are quite as necessary to the spread of the Gospel 
as the zeal inspired by the Lord s command and the 
love of humanity. It is the testimony of one of the 
most devoted living missionary champions that " the 
time had not come for Protestant missions." Self- 
sacrificing love and the heroism of faith were present, 
but the obstacles were insuperable. 

What manner of spirit was begotten from the first by 
the Lutheran Reformation is attested by the establish 
ment of the first Protestant mission by Gustavus Vasa, 
as early as 1559, for the conversion of the heathen 
Lapps in the extreme North of Sweden, and by the 
noble efforts of his successors for the prosperity of 
this mission. Where contiguous territory did not 
offer a heathen population for evangelization, Christ 
ian princes like Christopher of Wiirtemberg and 
Ernst the Pious, Duke of Saxe-Gotha, exhibited an 

49 2 The Lutherans in America. 

apostolic zeal for the general diffusion of evangelical 
doctrine. To the latter belongs the honor of intro 
ducing the Lutheran faith into Russia. 

The Thirty Years War prostrated and desolated 
Germany, so that in the seventeenth century foreign 
missionary enterprises were absolutely impossible. 
Yet the spirit of missions lived and a circle of jurists 
in Liibeck " bound themselves to obedience to the 
missionary mandate," and one of them, Peter Heyling, 
went in 1635 as far as Abyssinia, where he translated 
the New Testament into the Amchar language, gained 
access to the court and became minister to the King. 
The ultimate fate of his mission remains unknown. A 
generation later, Baron von Welz issued several stir 
ring appeals to all " Orthodox Christians of the 
Augsburg Confession," for the formation of a Society 
for the spread of the Evangelical Religion, urging the 
establishment at every University of a faculty of mis 
sions, and the preparation of students for work among 
the heathen. He appropriated 36,000 marks for mis 
sions and set out for Dutch Guinea where he soon 
died. The great Leibnitz conceived such an enthusi 
asm for missions that " he designated China as a 
suitable field whither Lutheran missionaries ought to 
go, and even incoporated these thoughts in the consti 
tution of the Berlin Academy of Sciences." 

Denmark was the first Lutheran state to take her 
place among the maritime nations. This was in the 
seventeenth century. The way to heathen peoples 
was now for the first time opened to the Lutheran 
Church. And simultaneously the rise of Pietism with 
its revival of practical Christianity awakened a new 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 493 

and decided interest in the salvation of the heathen. 
Liitken, the Court-preacher at Copenhagen, had long 
sustained a friendly intercourse with Spener and 
Francke, when his King, Frederick IV., commissioned 
him to engage missionaries for foreign lands. He 
selected two pietist students at Halle, Ziegenbalg 
and Pliitschau, who sailed for Tranquebar, India, in 
July, 1706. The material support for the mission 
came from the Lutheran King of Denmark, its spirit 
ual direction from Halle and especially its great 


leader, Augustus Herman Francke, who seems to have 
gotten the first impulse toward heathen evangelization 
from Leibnitz. His mind once kindled with mission 
ary ardor became remarkably active in the cause. As 
founder of the Orphan House at Halle he was indeed 
"providentially fitted to induce a spirit of devotion in 
young missionaries, and to develop a missionary 
constituency at home." Halle was from thenceforth 
the centre of mission activity for the heathen. 

494 The Lutherans in America. 

Ziegenbalg, " the parent of Eastern missions," trans 
lated the New Testament into the Tamul language. 
The mission spread into the English possessions. 
Re-enforced from time to time by a number of excel 
lent missionaries from the Halle Orphan House, chief 
among whom was Christian Friedrich Schwartz, "the 
patriarch of Lutheran missions," it attained great 
prosperity, resulted in 40,000 conversions, and pre 
pared the way for the successful evangelization of 
India during the present century. 

It does not fall within the scope of this work to 
trace the growth and extent of missionary operations 
by the Lutherans of Europe, but as the charge of 
indifference to heathen evangelization has found its 
way into historical works, it becomes a duty to state 
here that the Lutheran Church was carrying forward 
on a vast scale a successful mission in India one hun 
dred years before any of the English Churches had a 
single missionary station in heathen lands. "With 
the grand opportunities afforded by its colonies, and 
domination on the seas, England did next to nothing, 
during the eighteenth century for missions." It was 
from Lutheran Halle that " missionary zeal spread 
over other countries and other denominations." 

As the diffusion of the Scriptures is an essential 
feature of missions, it is due to the truth to record 
here the fact that in this sphere also the work of the 
Lutheran Church antedates the efforts of other 
churches by a hundred years. The British and For 
eign Bible Society was organized in London, March 7, 
1804. And this is tritely claimed as the first institu 
tion of the kind, whereas the Canstein Biblical Insti- 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 495 

tute, founded at Halle by the private fortune of Baron 
von Canstein, began its blessed work in 1710, and has 
since circulated many millions of copies of Holy Writ. 
Thousands of the early Lutherans in this country had 
in their possession the Bibles of this institute for gene 
rations before the idea of any other Bible Society was 

The Swedish colonization of America, it has been 
already noted, was distinctively a missionary project. 
And the earliest Lutheran pastors on these shores 
were among the first, if not absolutely the first, to pro 
claim the knowledge of God to the aborigines, as 
Luther s Catechism was the first book ever translated 
into their language. And Muhlenberg s spiritual in 
terest in the slaves is among the earliest instances of 
such sympathy with that class in Pennsylvania. 

For two hundred years all was missionary work in 
this western world. Tranberg and other Swedish pas 
tors impaired their health and shortened their lives 
by extending their ministrations to the Episcopalians 
and German Lutherans whom they found in forlorn 
spiritual destitution. Whether those devoted men 
had their own local congregations or not, they were 
journeying to and fro, across forests, streams and 
mountains, enduring exposure, hardships, perils and 
sufferings, seldom surpassed by the most thrilling 
records of self-sacrifice among the heathen. They 
were quite justly called "the missionaries." Let Dr. 
von Wrangel s course as described by Muhlenberg in 
1762 serve as an illustration: "He preaches on Sun 
day in the forenoon in Swedish in his own Church 
(Wicacoa); in the afternoon he goes on horseback a 

496 The Lutherans in America. 

distance of six miles to a congregation on the other 
side of the Schuylkill, and delivers a second sermon; 
in the evening he again preaches in his own church, 
and this third time in English. Every fourth week 
he undertakes a laborious tour through the province 
of Jersey to his destitute congregations. Through 
the week-days he visits other scattered outposts of his 
church, goes from place to place, holds catechisation 


in the houses, and in spite of his indescribable labors 
and exertions among his dispersed sheep, he is willing 
from time to time to visit the destitute flocks of poor 
German Lutherans, and to bring joy by administering 
to them the means of grace, although he could give 
convincing proofs that he has laid upon him more 
than enough work among his own nation." This 
apostolic portrait could be duplicated many times, 
by men who with unquenchable zeal journeyed over 
immense distances and sought from day to day in 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 497 

English, German, Swedish and French, to minister to 
all classes, giving" their especial care to the sick, the 
poor and the inmates of prisons. 

The Church here was born of the spirit of missions. 
Her life was nursed for years from the bosom of the 
mother churches of Europe. And although she has 
at times faltered under great obstacles or blighting in 
difference, she has never wholly forgotten the com 
mand, " freely ye have received, freely give." 

On the first occasion of a general assemblage of the 
church, at the convention in 1820, a committee was 
appointed "to form a plan for a Missionary Institu 
tion." And the first meeting of the General Synod 
earnestly urged the District Synods to send out mis 
sionaries. If sometimes disposed to lament that more 
extensive operations were not undertaken, we should 
remember that at no time did they have sufficient min 
isters "to fill the vacancies of their immediate neigh 
borhoods." Serving so many congregations that they 
could give them only one sermon in four weeks, 
it is very evident that "a more efficient and sufficient 
supply of pastors " was demanded, before a large num 
ber could go to the destitute regions of the country 
or any be sent to the heathen. Already in the last 
century "the old synod appointed some itinerant 
preachers to visit for a month or two new settlements 
about the skirts of our country, and similar exertions 
were made in almost every synod established since," 
but those who engaged in this work had to take the 
time from their own congregations, which were but 
half supplied before. Such was the missionary activity 
of all the synods for more than a generation, and to 

49& The Lutherans in America. 

this activity, desultory and unorganized as it was, the 
church is largely indebted for its power and influence 
in many parts of the country. 

The first issue of an English journal, in 1826, had 
an article on Missions, and so had every subsequent 
issue of that year, a symptom of the spirit that pre 
vailed in the church and which had long been nurtured 
in congregational and synodical societies. In 1835 
the General Synod set apart an hour on the first 
Monday in every month, "in the evening at early can 
dlelight for concert prayer in all our congregations, 
to petition the Lord for an outpouring of his Holy 
Spirit on our churches that He would call more la 
borers into the harvest, and revive a missionary spirit 
in us and our congregations." At this same meeting 
an expression of feeling was asked from the District 
Synods respecting the establishment of a Foreign 

In 1836 the Pennsylvania Synod formed itself into 
a Mission Society for propagating the Gospel among 
the destitute portions of the Lutheran Church in 
America and " ultimately to co-operate in sending it 
to the heathen world." 

A Central Home Missionary Society was organized 
the same year at Mechanicsburg, and a "German For 
eign Mission Society" the year following, in connec 
tion with the meeting of the General Synod at Hagers- 
town. Besides the members of the latter body, forty- 
four delegates were present. Every Synod except 
the Ohio and the Tennessee was represented in the 
convention, great enthusiasm prevailed, and a collec 
tion of $300.00 was lifted. A wide-spread interest in 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 499 

the cause was soon awakened. At the first anniver 
sary of the Society, in 1839, several brethren indi 
cated their willingness to go out as missionaries to 
the heathen under the auspices of this society. 

The first person selected was Rev. C. F. Heyer, 
who as a missionary in Western Pennsylvania, had 
exhibited those rare qualities of faith and self-denial, 
simplicity, energy and patience which form the requi 
sites for the evangelization of heathen lands. He 
readily accepted the appointment, in 1841, but on dis 
covering that he was to be placed under the super 
vision of the American Board, he returned his com 
mission. He then wrote to the President of the Penn 
sylvania Synod s Missionary Society that he "preferred 
going into the heathen world under the the direction 
of an Evangelical Lutheran Missionary Society, 
rather than be dependent on other Christian denomi 
nations," and offered to go as their missionary, they 
to name the country for the mission, pay toward his 
travelling expenses whatever funds were in its treasury, 
while he himself would invest $1,000 of his own 
property in support of the Mission. The committee 
to whom this letter was referred, foand that there 
were " not sufficient means at hand to form and main 
tain a heathen mission," but J on motion of Dr. 
Demme, seconded by Dr. Baker, it was unanimously 
Resolved, That we in reliance on Divine Providence, 
commence a heathen mission," also that "we receive 
brother Heyer as missionary in our service." His 
offer of $1,000 from his own purse was declined. The 
Executive Committee took immediate measures to 
send him to Guntur in the Madras Presidency, where 

500 The Lutherans in America. 

he arrived alone in the spring of 1842. The General 
Society having reconsidered its proposed connection 
with the American Board, sent out a year later, Rev. 
Walter Gunn to the same field. He was cordially 
welcomed by Rev. Heyer, as a fellow-laborer in the 
cultivation of that promising field which has since 
yielded an extraordinary harvest. The two societies 
adopted in 1845 a plan of Union, each remaining dis 
tinct, appointing and maintaining its own missionaries, 
but occupying the same district, "having but one in 
terest and one aim in the foreign field, the joint mis 
sion to be known as "the American Lutheran Mission." 
Mr. Heyer remained in charge of the field for four 
teen years, returning at the age of 65 to America. 
The mission then, 1857, embraced three principal 
stations, Guntur, Palnad and Rajahmundry, Samulcotta 
being added later. The Pennsylvania Synod having 
united with the General Synod, the direction of the 
mission devolved wholly upon the General Foreign 
Missionary Society. When this was so weakened by 
the division in 1866, as to be unable to carry the 
whole interest, it relinquished the Rajahmundry and 
Samulcotta stations. In 1869 the General Council un 
dertook the care of these and Father Heyer, not far 
from eighty years of age, hastened once more to India 
to recover those fields and re-establish successful 
operations. Both bodies have since respectively pros 
ecuted the work with zeal and vigor. And India has 
had no missions whose results are more gratifying. 

The General Synod mission numbers in India to 
day 11,387 communicants, gathered into 335 congre 
gations. Besides the support of 7 missionaries it em- 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 501 

ploys 165 gospel workers, sustains 152 schools with 209 
teachers and 4,108 pupils. The Watts Memorial Col 
lege, toward which a single family contributed $10,000, 
has just been established. For the foreign work $82,- 
404.71 were collected from April, 1887, to April, 1889. 
The Council s mission reports a total of 80 workers, 
1993 baptized Christians, and 767 pupils in the schools. 


A mission was also founded in Africa, on the St. 
Paul s river, Liberia, in 1860, by Rev. M. Officer. The 
progress of this work, the self-devotion of the succes 
sive missionaries, some of whom sacrificed their lives in 
a deadly climate, the ever-widening influence of this 
fountain of grace in the desert, and the testimony of 
travellers to its blessed character, would cover many 
bright pages. 

Other bodies co-operate either with these two Gen 
eral Bodies in Foreign Missions or with European 
Societie s . 

To the Home Mission work the Lutheran Church 

502 The Lutherans in Amercia. 

has a peculiar call. Besides the ordinary opportuni 
ties for extending Christ s Kingdom through the con 
stant expansion of the native population, there are 
annually coming to this country and spreading over 
every part of it, hundreds of thousands who have been 
baptized, instructed and confirmed by the Lutheran 
Church, and who require now her fostering care in 
order to be gathered again into her bosom. If they 
can but have a faithful Lutheran pastor they form, in 
a few years, flourishing congregations. 

The General Synod has organized its work effect 
ively, supporting annually over 100 missionaries and 
aiding in the erection of 30 to 40 church-buildings. The 
combined collections for both these causes for the bi- 
ennium ending March 3 1, 1889, was 125,000. The fund 
of the Church Extension Board amounts to $133,320. 

In the Council this work is only in part clone by the 
three boards of the General Body, but its extent and 
success are likewise commendable. Not less than two 
hundred missionaries are laboring in different sections 
and among various nationalities, and the sum of 
50,000 is annually expended. The Joint Synod of 
Ohio reports thirty missions. The union of the 
Southern Synods has evidently quickened the mission 
ary pulse in those parts, and the flourishing missions 
founded in several cities bespeak the increased ac 
tivity that has set in. A vast work in this sphere is 
done by the Missourians, the lowans, the Norwegians 
and others, the majority of their pastors being mis 
sionaries even where they serve also self-sustaining 
congregations, pushing the work in almost every town 
and city, the people being liberal in their offerings. 

The Lutheran Church and Missions. 503 

A children s Missionary Society under the auspices of 
the General Synod has been efficient both in stimulat 
ing interest and in raising funds. The most notable 
advance in this cause is the organization of the Women s 
Missionary Society within the same body, which on the 
occasion of its tenth anniversary discovered its collec 
tions to have reached the sum of $100,000. 

A few examples of successful missions are subjoined: 
Grace English Lutheran Church was organized in 
Baltimore, September 13, iSSs.with forty-one members. 
Within four years that congregation has grown to 
622 communicants, and conducts a Sunday-school 
numbering 650. It received aid from the boards for 
several years and now owns a property worth $30,000, 
has an annual revenue of $4,000 and contributes to 
benevolence $500. 

The Church of the Redeemer in Utica, N. Y., was 
organized April 27, 1879 with 28 communicants. To 
day it numbers 400, with a " Sunday-school enrolment 
of about 325 and an almost equal number in its mis 
sion school." It has received no assistance from any 
Synod or mission board, owns a property that cost 
$35,000 and has an annual income of between $3,000 
and $4,000. The pastor of this congregation writes 
that there is a parallel to it at Buffalo, and that he 
assisted during the past year in organizing two mis 
sions in other cities of New York, "which bid fair to 
excel this record. None of the four have received 
any mission aid." 

Other instances with results equally encouraging 
might be cited. 



SO great and so various is the debt which the 
Christian world owes by common consent to the 
Lutheran reformation that it is impossible to ex 
press the full extent of it. It broke the power of the 
papacy ; it tore asunder the fetters of priestly rule ; it 
restored the Church to her freedom ; it put her once 
more in possession of the divine Scriptures. From 
Wittenberg as the centre the wave of reform swept 
onward until it reached the boundaries of Europe, 
purifying and reviving the Christianity of different 
nations. The writings of Luther and the disciples of 
Luther, as if wings had been given them from heaven, 
were found everywhere spreading the light of salvation 
by grace, and in an amazingly brief period a reformed 
church replaced the corrupt hierarchy throughout the 
greater part of Germany, in Denmark, Sweden and 
Norway, in a number of Swiss Cantons, in Hungary, 
Holland, England and Scotland. 

The revolution from various causes took on a dif 
ferent form in some of these countries, and there soon 
came to be known besides the Evangelical Lutheran 
Church, the Episcopal, the Reformed, the Presbyterian, 
and later a number of other bodies, evolved from these, 
have sucessively taken their place among Christian 

The Lutheran Church holds the preeminence over 


Obligations of other Communions. 505 

all, first by the fact of her antedating every one by a 
number of years. She was so well recognized as a 
distinct factor long before the Reformation developed 
beyond her pale, that all the earliest reformers in 
every country were called Lutherans. But priority 
in time is a wholly inadequate exhibition of the re 
lation between the Lutheran Church and others. 
That relation is genetic. It is the truism of history 
that the Lutheran is the parent Evangelical Church. 
She is the mother of Protestantism. Historically all 
other Evangelical Churches have sprung from her. 
Their presence is the expansion of the Lutheran 
Reformation. They owe their existence to the prin 
ciples she so earnestly and triumphantly maintained, 
to her translation of the Bible, and to the saving 
doctrines her leaders proclaimed at the hazard of 
their lives. Her Confession, which was from the be 
ginning clearly recognized as the genuine expression 
and symbol of her being, is the mother Confession, 
the standard of pure and original Protestantism, "the 
greatest of all the Reformed Confessions "says Bishop 
Bull, as well as the first. "It struck the keynote," says 
Dr. S chaff, "to the other Evangelical Confessions." 
And it is so broad, so comprehensive, so scriptural 
that it has at different times been signed or acknowl 
edged by great Reformed Doctors and Princes, by Cal 
vin, Farel, and Beza, by Frederick II I. of the Palatinate, 
Sigismund of Brandenburg, and the Great Elector. 

Inasmuch as nearly all the great Protestant Form 
ulas are based upon the Augsburg Confession, the 
substance of it and often the language being incorpo 
rated into them, and inasmuch as it maintains that "in 

506 The Lutherans in America. 

doctrine and ceremonials among us there is nothing 
received contrary to Scripture or the Church Univer 
sal," the responsibility for putting forth tenets in con 
flict with this confession, promulgating other- creeds 
and thereby organizing divisions in the Protestant 
host, does not lie with the Lutherans. They have not 
departed from the original Evangelical stream, others 
have. At the German Church Diet in Berlin, 1853, 
1400 clergymen representingthe Lutherans, Reformed, 
United and Moravians, joined in a public acknowl 
edgment of this confession, testifying their agreement 
with it "as the oldest, simplest, common document of 
publicly recognized Evangelical doctrine in Germany." 
The hope has often been expressed in other 
.churches that "it may one day become the United 
Confession or Ecumenical Creed of all the Evaneel- 


ical Churches in Germany." If broad enough to 
embrace the Evangelical Christendom of Germany, it 
must be sufficiently comprehensive for the Evangelical 
Christendori of the World. Such admissions on the 
part of intelligent Protestants are tantamount to the 
recognition of the Lutheran Church as the mother of 
them all. They have gone out from her, not she 
from them. She is not a " sister denomination." The 
sisters are her daughters. It is historically untrue, it 
is unjust and misleading, to represent the Lutheran 
Church as a branch of the Evangelical Church. She 
is the strong body, the massive and living trunk from 
which they all have sprung, and on which they still 
depend. Into these branches, their leaves, their bloom, 
their fruit, her life has been transfused. Her teach 
ings, her literature, her hymns, her liturgies, have passed, 

Obligations of other Communions. 507 

and continue directly or indirectly to pass, into these 
Churches beyond what many think or dream. 

In the case of some communions, particularly the 
Church of EngLmd and her daughter, the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, this indebtedness is quite obvious 
.and unquestioned. The English Reformation had its 
origin in the study of the writings of the Lutheran 
Reformers. Those Driven to reading German books at 

o o 

Oxford and Cambridge were called Lutherans. 

Tyndale s New Testament, which is substantially our 
present authorized version, is largely dependent upon 
Luther s translation. Its first edition was published 
in Germany by Hans Luft, Luther s printer. His Pen 
tateuch is even more dependent. The introductions 
.and notes are nearly all literal translations of Luther. 

Coverdale s Bible, where it does not appropriate 
Tyndale s is largely a translation of Leo. Juda s Zurich 
version, which again is a revision of Luther. Rogers, 
the translator of Matthew s Bible, was for eleven years 
.a Lutheran pastor. Conferences between the Eng 
lish theologians and the Lutherans were frequent 
and protracted, and during the reigns of Henry VIII. 
and Edward VI. the Germans were pressed by letters 
and by legations to come to the assistance of the Eng 
lish in reforming the church. Melancthon, in recog 
nition of his incalculable service to Lutheranism, w^s 
appointed Professor of Divinity in Cambridge Univer 
sity. He felt constrained to decline, but Bucer and 
others accepted similar positions of influence, and took 
a prominent part in preparing the formulas which em 
body the faith and worship of the Anglican Church. 
Lutheran principles and tendencies had from the first 

508 Tke Lutherans in America. 

predominated among the English and when they pro 
ceeded to a doctrinal reformation, the composition of 
a national creed, their XXXIX Articles, in the lan 
guage of Archbishop Lawrence "were borrowed from a 
Lutheran creed." " In some instances," adds this great 
Episcopal authority, "it amounts to a direct transcript 
of whole passages and entire extracts, without the 
slightest omission or unimportant variation." Speak 
ing of the X Articles which appeared after the nego 
tiations in London, 1538, between Myconius and the 
English Bishops, the same author says: "In the whole 
of these articles the ideas and language of the Lu 
theran divines have been closely followed. Many of 
the forty-two articles (afterwards reduced to thirty- 
nine) owe their origin to the same source, and even 
those which cannot be traced with certainty exhibit a 
correspondence with the general opinions of the Ger 
man divines." 

And again: "Our Reformers * * * chose to 
give reputation to their opinions and stability to their 
system by adopting * * Lutheran sentiments 

and expressing themselves in Lutheran language," 
"purely Lutheran," " couched in the very expressions 
of the Lutheran creed." Of Cranmer he says: " From 
the Lutherans he had learned almost everything, 
which he deemed great and good in reformation." 

Bishop Bull says : "the meaning of our articles can 
scarcely be perceived" by any one who is ignorant of 
their source. And Bishop Whittingham : "the Augs 
burg Confession is the source of the XXXIX Articles, 
their prototype in form, their model in doctrine, and 
the very foundation of many of their expressions." 

Obligations of other Communions. 


The origin of the " Book of Common Prayer" is like 
wise to be credited to Lutheran agencies. The Luther 
ans had revised, purified and translated the services of 
the ancient Church, and the Lutheran revision had been 
issued in many editions before the revision of the old 
service was undertaken across the channel. And when 
the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. was brought 
out, it presented very few divergences from the Lu- 


theran service. "The offices of our Church," says 
Archbishop Lawrence again, "were completely re 
formed after the temperate system of Luther." The 
successive stages of this are easily traced. The Mis 
sals in use in England, from which the English revis 
ion and translation were made, agreed very closely 
with those used in Germany, from which the Lutheran 
Liturgies were prepared. With the latter Cranmen 
by his sojourn in Germany in 1533, had grown quite 

5 IQ T/t<* Lutherans in America. 

familiar, and especially with the Order of Branden- 
burg-Niirnberg, having married the niece of Osiander, 
who with Brentz prepared that Order. Melancthon 
and Bucer drew up subsequently, 1543, a service for 
the Archbishopric of Cologne, which was in great 
degree conformed to that of Nurnberg, and "from 
this work" says Lawrence: "All our offices bear evi 
dent marks of having been partly taken. * * In 
our Baptismal Service, the resemblance between the 
two productions is particularly striking." Thus, as 
Hardwick admits, though the Book of Common 
Prayer has been mainly derived from the ancient and 
Mediaeval Liturgies it has been " in no inconsiderable 
degree through the medium of a Lutheran Compi 

The first Anglican Catechism was a literal transla 
tion by Cranmer in 1548, of the Kinder-Prcdigten of 
the Brandenburg-Niirnberg Kirchen-Ordnung, which 
Justus Jonas had translated into Latin. And what is 
known as the Catechism of the Church of England was 
prepared from Brentz s with suggestions from Cran- 
mcr s Nurnberg Catechism. 

The great Methodist Church is commonly viewed 
as an offshoot of the Episcopal Church. This very 
fact goes to reveal its indirect dependence upon the 
Lutheran Church. But since the XXV articles which 
embody the doctrines of that body are in language 
and substance almost identical with the XXXIX of 
the Church of England, they are readily traced to 
their original source. "They are only remoter issues 
from the same Lutheran fountain." But Methodism 
has a more direct indebtedness to Lutheranism. It 

Obligations of other Communions. 5 1 1 

is beholden to the Lutheran Church for the spiritual 
birth of its founder. Sailing to Georgia in 1535 on a 
vessel which carried a number of Salzburgers, who in 
the fierceness of the storm and the extremity of human 
distress were kept in perfect peace, Wesley realized 
that his relieion was destitute of the calm, confiding, 


and joyous spirit which made these Lutherans sing 
praises to God, when every other heart "was quaking 
and some were almost dead with terror." Wesley 
had been accustomed to legalistic bondage and Puri 
tan austerities. He had sought salvation by " the works 
of the law," but strange feelings were aroused in his 
heart, when he found a company of men, women and 
children who knew no fear. It was a revelation to 
him of the import and power of the Gospel. Even 
then he did not attain the personal experience of the 
heavenly gift, but when he returned to London and 
listened there in a Moravian meeting to the reading 
of Luther s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans, he 
passed suddenly from darkness into light. " I felt " 
he wrote " my heart strangely warmed, I felt I did 
trust in Christ alone for salvation." 

The Presbyterian and other Calvinistic bodies "have 
always looked upon Luther and the Lutherans as the 
authors of their Reformation." Bossuet says: "All 
the Calvinists, Germans, English, Hungarians, Poles, 
Dutch and all others, in general, who assembled at 
Frankfort, through the influence of Queen Elizabeth, 
all these having acknowledged those of the Confes 
sion of Augsburg, namely, the Lutherans, as the first 
who gave a new birth to the Church, acknowledge also 
the Confession of Augsburg as common to the whole 

5 12 The Lutherans in America. 

party." And Turretin, speaking of the concurrence of 
the Reformed Calvinists with the Lutherans, says it is 
evident "from the Augsburg Confession alone, which 
both parties admit, and to which both desire to be re 
garded as adherents." 

The German Reformed Church grew out of the 
Melancthonian development in South Germany, where 
Frederick III., appealing to Melancthon and the al 
tered Augsburg Confession in defense of his Lutheran 
orthodoxy, charged two men Ursinus and Olevianus, 
the former an adherent of Melancthon, to draw up 
what is known as the Heidelberg Catechism, which is 
recognized in Germany and in this country as the 
doctrinal standard of that communion. The Mora 
vians, a name made glorious by devoted and heroic 
missionary zeal, hold to the Augsburg Confession as 
their only symbol of doctrine. 

Rightly and truly, therefore, the great Protestant 
communions are bound to look up3n the Lutheran 
Church as the mother of them all. And this histor 
ical and vital relation has not been sundered thouo-h 


it is often ignored. The biblical and theological treas 
ures of the Lutheran Church, though recoined in the 
transition, form the richest element of the religious 
literature of Protestantism. And the distinguished 
teachers of the great theological seminaries through 
out this land have almost without exception, sat at the 
feet of the learned Lutheran Professors in the Ger 
man Universities. "Evangelical Christendom owes 
more to the Lutherans, for everything pure, blessed 
and great in its religion, than to any other class of 
men since the Apostles fell asleep." 



HOW other churches have drawn from the Lu 
theran much of what is best in their systems is 
in part exhibited in the foregoing chapter. In 
their departure from her they have, however, not car 
ried with them every important element of the parent 
church. The life in the trunk has not passed in all 
its richness into the branches. Or it has been so 
modified as to show in the branches a different and 
distinctive form. It would be an easy task to note 
these variations which the branches respectively have 
developed; nevertheless, it is in accordance with the 
logic of history to speak of the doctrines and features 
which distinguish the Lutheran Church. They may 
be summarized under the one idea of comprehensive 
ness. The Lutheran system is characterized by a 
breadth, a fullness, an inclusiveness known to no other. 
She has much that other communions do not have. 
Their differentiation is due to their leaving or losing, 
denying or abridging some of her excellences. They 
are poorer, narrower, incomplete. They represent 
avowedly or logically, a curtailment of the riches of 
grace, a limitation of its benefits, a lowering of its effi 
cacy. The Lutheran Church accepts and holds the 
whole truth of the Scriptures, with its normal historic 
development. In and with this truth, she knows, is the 
Holy Spirit, so that wherever presented, in Word or 


514 The Lutherans in s\ inertia. 

Sacrament, it brings salvation to every one who does 
not make it of none effect through unbelief. As she 
does not sever the Spirit from the Word, neither does 
she take away aught from the consensus of the Church, 
from the Person of Christ, the mercy of God, the offer 
of salvation, or the content of the Sacraments. Her 
doctrines are in every way richer, her distinctive life 
fuller and more complete, all embracing and many- 
sided as the grace, of the Holy Ghost. 

Standing midway between Rome and ultra-Protest 
antism, maintaining doctrines that separate her from 
both, while holding to the ecumenical creeds which 
unite her to both, the Evangelical Lutheran Church 
differs fundamentally from the Roman Catholic: 
First, In receiving the Scriptures of the old and New 
Testaments as sole and sufficient authority for belief 
and life; Second, In ascribing salvation wholly to 
the mercy of God. Then she differs from all others 
who in any way limit mercy or make grace contingent 
upon aught but Word and Sacrament. Such is the 
abounding magnitude of divine grace, such is its free- 
ness, that the greatest sinner has direct access to its 
fountains. It is of no moment to him whether he who 
offers him absolution received Episcopal or Presby- 
terial ordination, or no ordination at all. The validity 
of Baptism, the reality of Christ s Presence, the power 
of the Gospel, the work of the Holy Ghost, are not de 
pendent on any ecclesiastical legitimacy. Salvation 
comes through the means of grace in accordance with 
the promises, which are not bound to any sacerdotal 
order, line of succession or legalistic conditions. 

And such is the measureless amplitude of God s 

Distinguishing Doctrines. 515 

mercy, that all efforts either to supplement or pur 
chase, or in any other way to limit or condition it, are 
at war with its essential character. 

Now, according to the tenets of one denomination 
the believer cannot feel assured of his salvation unless 
grace has come to him through the right channel ; the 
Gospel and the Sacraments in which it is visibly 
offered, counting for nothing, it would seem, unless 
dispensed by one whose credentials bear the stamp of 
the "Historic Episcopate." 

According to those of some others all the promises 
and provisions of grace have no meaning except to 
such as by a secret election in eternity were chosen 
to become its subjects. 

In another the salvation of the soul is in some de 
gree jeopardized if the entire body was not immersed 
in the waters of Baptism. 

In yet another quarter, God s Word, the Sacra 
ments, the atonement, and the hidden work of the 
Spirit, avail nought until you can evidence your con 
version by an inward consciousness, supposed to be 
an unfailing proof of regeneration, while others put 
such stress upon personal efforts and such reliance 
upon repentance and reformation that salvation is 
made largely the outcome of such exercises. 

To Lutherans the boundless mercy of God leaves 
need for nothing more. All our need is complete in 
Christ. Man gives nothing. He only receives. Faith is 
receiving. And in the exercise of faith pardon is real 
ized and a new life is begotten in him by the Holy Ghost. 

This curtailing and restricting of grace meet us un 
der various forms. It is seen in the limited atonement 

516 The Lutherans in America. 

which is one of the five points of Calvinism, whereas 
Lutheranism holds with the Scriptures that Christ is 
" the propitiation for the sins of the whole world." 

It is seen in the withholding of Baptism from little 
children, whereas Lutherans, in common with the great 
historic churches, draw no line and raise no barriers at 
this gateway of the Church, but bring their offspring 
to the font, believing that being offered to God by Bap 
tism "they are received into God s favor" and made 
subjects of the quickening Spirit. The Church shuts 
out no one, not even babes from its blessings. 

It appears particularly in the denial of sacramental 
grace, which separates what God has joined together. 
The Sacraments are reduced to empty signs and me 
morials, Baptism being merely a symbol of spiritual 
washing, the Supper merely a remembrance of Christ s 
death. Lutherans while acknowledging them as signs 
and memorials, lay chief stress upon them as vehicles 
and bearers of ;race, through which the ascended Lord 
comes into contact with the individual soul, imparting 
to it in Baptism the new life, nourishing it in the Sup 
per by the Communion of his body and blood. 

It comes out very strikingly in the doctrine of the 
Lord s Supper, where almost universally other Prot 
estant Churches teach that the Holy Eucharist is but 
a picture, or memento of the suffering and dying Sav 
ior, and that the ordinance contains nothing peculiar, 
nothing mysterious. 

Lutherans believe that in the Holy Supper there are 
present with the elements and received, sacramentally 
and supernaturally, the body and the blood of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, in accordance with his institution, and 

REV. o. 

Distinguishing Doctrines. 517 

the words of the Apostle: "The cup of blessing which 
we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? 
The bread which we break,isitnotthecommunionof the 
body of Christ ?" Believers receive this to the strength 
ening of their faith, unbelievers to their judgment. 

The enemies of the Lutheran Church have sought to 
fasten on her the reproach of consubstantiation, al 
though not a single Lutheran teacher has ever advo 
cated it, and the Church s defenders have with one 
mind and voice continually denied it. 

The doctrine of Roman Catholicism is that by the 
consecration of the priest, the bread and wine are 
changed into the body and blood of Christ. Nothing 
remains of the elements. This is transubstantiation- 

Consubstantiation modifies this change to the ex 
tent of the difference between "trans " and " con," so 
that the bread and wine instead of wholly disappear 
ing, intermingle with the body and blood of the 
Savior, forming one substance. The Lutheran doc 
trine most clearly and strenuously denies that any 
change occurs. The bread remains bread, the wine 
remains wine, but in the reception of these elements, 
there is a partaking of the Lord Jesus Christ, a com 
munion of His body and His blood. 

The most striking example of the dwarfing and 
narrowing process of other theologies, is that which 
pertains to the Person of Christ. The Lutheran 
Church embraces Christ as the God-man, begotten of 
the Father from all eternity and born of the Virgin 
Mary, the two natures inseparably and forever united 
in one person, the divine and the human attributes 
sharing in every act and work so that "every act of 

The Lutherans in America. 

the Son of God is also an act of the Son of Man and 
every word of the Son of Man is also a word of the 
Son of God." 

Others present a Christ divided, a Christ divested 
of one or the other of his natures. When he is born, 
he is but a human child. When he dies upon the 
cross atoning for the sins of the world, he suffers only 
as a man, the descent into Hell is only that of a human 
soul. When he gives himself in the mystery of the 
Holy Supper, when he is present "where two or three 
are gathered in his name " he is only divine, his human 
nature which unites him to us and in him unites hu 
manity to God, being confined to heaven. Lutherans 
always comprehend both natures in the one, forever 
indissoluble, Person. 

And this undivided and indivisible Christ, the God- 
man, is the center of the whole plan of salvation. Oth 
er systems begin with the Bible, with the decrees of 
God, with the Church. Lutheranism begins with 


Christ. Its theology rests on this immovable center. 

It is not unusual to designate justification by faith 
as the central doctrine of the Lutheran Church, but 
this is simply the reverse of the same truth. Jesus 
Christ is the sole objective ground of redemption. 
Faith is the subjective appropriation of redemption. 
Christ is the fixed sun from which light and life stream 
to the world. Faith is the opening of the eye and of 
the heart to receive the light and the life. Justification 
is realized by faith resting on the merits of Christ. 

Around this shining center everything revolves. 
And thus Lutheran theology and Church life honor 
and exalt and magnify Jesus Christ beyond any other 

Distingiiishing Doctrines. 519 

system. Romanism obscures him behind the Virgin. 
Calvinism makes him an agent in the saving of the 
elect. Anglicanism has sought to confine his grace to 
narrow channels. Methodism often dims his crown 
by its conjunction of experiences and works with grace- 
Lutheranism makes him ail in all. 

In harmony with its distinguishing doctrines the 
Lutheran Church has also its characteristic worship. 
The church of the people, its worship is not that of 
the priests, or of the preacher, it is the people s wor 
ship, and they are therefore provided with forms to 
kindle, to exercise and to sustain the spirit of worship. 
The Reformers proceeded with the liturgy just as they 
did with the teaching of the Church. They purged 
out corruption and error from the forms of public de 
votion, restored them to a scriptural standard and put 
them into the vernacular tongue. Every Lutheran 
country and city adopted its liturgy during the six 
teenth century, and all these agenda had with immate 
rial differences the same service, except in South Ger 
many, where the influence of Carlstadt made itself felt 
in the cultus. 

A Lutheran Church without a liturgy was unknown be 
fore Rationalism becameenthroned in Germany. Then, 
as the vital truths of Christianity were abandoned by 
the pulpit, they were also removed from the people s 
hymn-book and cast out from their forms of worship, 
and the liturgies, in many cases, cast out altogether. 

Many of the English congregations in this country, 
influenced doubtless by the dominant churches around 
them, dispensed for some time with prescribed forms, 
yet it is significant of the spirit of the Church that 

520 The Lutherans in America. 

the first measure at trie first convention of the first 
Synod was the adoption cf a liturgy "with a view of 
introducing into our congregations the same ceremo 
nies, forms and words." 

At an early pericd of its history the General Synod 
made provision for an English Liturgy. To provide a 
satisfactory English Service for the Lutheran Church 
proved, however, under the peculiar circumstances, no 
easy task, and for half a century successive committees 
wrestled with the necessary but difficult undertaking. 

In 1883 the three General Bodies representing the 
English-speaking Lutherans entered into -an agree 
ment to prepare a common service on the basis of 
"the common consent of the pure Lutheran Liturgies 
of the sixteenth century," and assigned this work to a 
joint-committee whose unanimous report was adopted 
by the three Bodies without a dissenting voice. The 
General Synod, commonly regarded as but moderately 
liturgical, heartily and solemnly gave its unanimous 
approval to this undertaking at three consecutive 
sessions, at Springfield instructing the Committee to 
follow " the well-defined basis of the pure Lutheran 
Liturgies of the sixteenth century," at Harrisburg ac 
cepting the unanimous conclusion of the Committee 
when it presented " the order of Service of the Lu 
theran Church," and at Omaha ordering it to be pub 
lished "in all future editions of the Book of Worship 
and the Book of Worship with tunes." 

A feature that has never been wanting to the Lu 
theran Church is the observance of the great festivals 
of the Christian Year, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, 
Ascension and Whitsunday. Though maintained 

Distinguishing Doctrines. 521 

also by a few others, they are peculiarly precious to 
the Lutheran Church, since in consonance with her 
system of doctrine they exalt Christ. They magnify 
his incarnation, his atoning death, his triumphant 
resurrection, his glorious return to the Father, his out 
pouring of the Holy Ghost. These events are the im 
movable foundations of Christianity. 

Doctrine and worship exert a potent influence up 
on thought and character, and peculiar types of doc 
trine and worship will have their counterparts in types 
of piety, and peculiarities of spiritual life. The char 
acteristics of the fruit are the outcome of the root. 

With the cardinal position of justification by faith in 
the Lutheran system, there is absolute freedom from 
the shackles of the law. 1 1 was the work of the Luther 
ans to restore and enthrone Pauline theology, and un 
der its sway believers come to realize their unqualified 
freedom from every yoke and burden. Knowing by 
the Scriptures that they are " the children of God by 
faith in Christ Jesus," they behold in God not a despot 
but a dear Father. We are under grace, not under the 
law, children, not servants, obeying from the heart and 
not by constraint of external precepts. The obedi 
ence of a child is nobler than that of a servant. A 
spontaneous service is infinitely better than an en 
forced one. The law within the heart working out 
wardly, impelling to cheerful, holy obedience, develops 
a Christian character which can never be reached by 
any law of outward observances. And it is a surer 
safeguard against both antinomianism and spiritual 
sloth. Having peace with God through faith and hav 
ing the indwelling Spirit, the innermost promptings of 

The Lutherans in America. 

the heart will ever move men to ask "what can we 
render unto the Lord for all his benefits to us." 

A childlike faith, spiritual freedom, a calm, cheerful 
sunny frame, such as Wesley beheld in the storm- 
tossed Salzburgers, are wont to mark those who have 
been reared on the Lutheran faith and have grown up 
in its healthful atmosphere. They strive after holiness 
In temper and life "not for the sake of winning Heaven, 
or escaping Hell," but from love to him who first loved 
us. Their chief concern is to have continual fellow 
ship with God, the strength of their heart and their 
portion forever. 

The Lutheran Church is of course, like the other 
historic communions, somewhat affected by environ 
ment. She has not always had a free, normal, un 
trammelled development. The oak does not attain the 
same grandeur and symmetry in every climate or in 
every variety of soil. So the Lutheran body, "the 
purest and sublimest of churches," has sometimes 
been dwarfed and warped, hindered in her noble prog 
ress, deprived of her true glory. Yet none who know 
this majestic tree of life, whose leaves have been the 
healing of untold millions, will deny that under favor 
able circumstances its character and fruits are what 
they are here represented. 



THE numerical strength of the Lutheran Church in 
this country reaches, according to the latest sta 
tistics attainable (1889), a total of 4,514 minis 
ters, 7,804 congregations, 1,099,708 communicants 
Of these there are embraced in the 

Ministers. Congregations. Communicants. 

Synodical Conference, . . 1,221 1,810 362,000 

General Council, . . . 895 T >576 270,076 

General Synod, . . . 997 1,364 153,064 

United Synod, 186 392 33,625 

Independent Synods, . . 1,132 2,562 263,943 

Disconnected with Synods, .83 100 17,000 

No proper conception can be had of the strength 
which these numbers indicate except by comparison. 
Measured by the past they reveal the mighty hand of 
God in the planting and progress of the Church in 
America. The vast increase is of God. By his grace 
feeble beginnings have developed into a powerful 

Not many years ago the Lutheran Church was 
classified "among the smaller Presbyterian bodies." 
She was virtually unknown and unrecognized, scarcely 
mentioned in statistical tables. Since then she has 
overtaken one after the other of the tribes until she is 
acknowledged among the largest and most influential 
denominations of the land. 


5 2 4 The Lutherans in America. 

An approximate estimate of the Church s numbers 
for the last century gives the following: 

Yean Ministers. Congregations. Communicants. 

1780, 70 300 

lSl 4, 85 380 40,000 

lS2 3, 175 600 45j ooo 

l8 33, 300 680 57,000 

l8 45> 5 20 1,030 145,000 

l8 53, 850 1,750 200,000 

M3i 2,677 285,217 

l868 , i,74S 3,in 351,860 

l8 73, 2,309 4,115 485,080 

lS 78, 2,910 5,136 650,529 

lS8 3, 3,429 6,130 785,987 

l8 85> 3,720 7,037 893,202 

Her comparative rank among the evangelical 
Churches of this country appears according to the 
latest statistics : 

The Methodists Number . . .- . . 4 747 130 

The Baptists . . . \ 3^,8, 

The Presbyterians . ... 1,259,234 

The Lutherans " i ,09 9 7 o8 

The Congregationalists Number 475,608 

The Episcopalians " 459,642 

The Reformed " .... 277 612 

Figures yield, however, an unsatisfactory and inade 
quate exhibit of a church s strength. Numbers are no 
proper expression of moral forces. Mathematics do 
not apply to what is spiritual. In that sphere one 
and one may be more than two and two. Statistics 
may include clergy, communicants and congregations 
that weaken rather than strengthen a church. They 
may be minus quantities. One earnest soul may count 

Present Strength. 525 

for more than multitudes who have the form but not 
the power of godliness. 

A Lutheran congregation may be equal to a Meth 
odist one, or to a Presbyterian, or to an Episcopalian. 
It may also, though numerically and externally weaker, 
represent more than either or many of these. Pri 
marily the question is how much Christian truth does 
it represent? For what compass of the Gospel does 
it stand? What is the degree of its spiritual endow 
ment? To what extent is it the body of Christ? 

Surely in this the strength of the Lutheran Church 
is nowhere surpassed, is equalled by none. She holds 
and preaches the truth as it is in Jesus with a fullness 
and emphasis heard nowhere else. Salvation by faith 
alone, Christ the center of all her teaching, Christ ex 
alted in her pulpit, her festivals and her liturgies, herein 
lies the essential strength of the Lutheran Church. "If 
the Lutheran Church does not compass the truth and 
salvation of God, they are not to be found on earth." 
And, what is of preeminent value, her faith is clearly 
defined and fully set forth in her Symbols, which are 
becoming more and more the study of her ministers, 
and adhered to with a firmness that has no parallel in 
any other Church. 

A transcendent feature of her strength is the instruc 
tion of the young. She is the only Protestant com 
munion that has retained the Catechism as an indis 
pensable feature of religious training, as she is also 
the only one that to any extent retains in her hands 
general education. In Sunday-school work the Eng 
lish congregations are surpassed by none, and in many 
localities their superior efficiency is unchallenged. 


The Lutherans in America. 

With four thousand pastors annually catechising 
the young, with some 300,000 children taught in par 
ish schools, with more than half a million reared in well- 
conducted Sunday-schools, the Lutheran Church has 
an incalculable element of power that wins admira 
tion from all who are acquainted with her. 

Faithfully nurturing and guarding her own, she 
shows, besides, an aggressiveness, a missionary zeal 
and a general prevalence and growth of liberality, that 
indicate an immeasurable capacity for extension, while 
her ministry along with their fidelity in preaching ob- 


jective truth, have no superiors in learning, in self-sac 
rifice and consecration. 

Features like these rather than statistical tables 
show the essential and effective strength of a church. 
Not the muster roll of an army, but its fighting capac 
ity, its morale, and above all, the justice of its cause 
represent its real power. 

An approximate measurement of the strength of the 
Lutheran Church may also be obtained from the fol 
lowing exhibit of her principal educational institu- 

Present Strength. 


tions, the most powerful human agencies for promot 
ing her efficiency and growth : 


Name. Opened. 

Hartwick, 1816, 

Seminary of General Synod, . 1826, 

Theolog. Dept. of Capital University, 1830, 

Southern, 1830, 

Theolog. Dept. of Wittenberg Col., 1845, 

Concordia, . . . 1846, 

Wartburg, . . . .1854, 

Theolog. Dept., Miss ry Institute, 1858, 

Philadelphia, .... 1864, 

Swedish Augustana, . . . 1864, 

Augsburg Augustana, . . . 1869, 

Practical Concordia, . . . 1873, 

Norwegian-Danish Augustana, . 1874, 

Wisconsin Synod s, . . . 1878, 

Hauge s Red Wing, . . . 1879, 

German of General Synod, . . 1881, 

Minnesota Synod s, . . . 1884, 

Michigan Synod s, . . . 1885, 

Norwegian, . . . . 1886, 

Two Danish, .... 







Hartwick Sem., 
Gettysburg, Pa., 
Columbus, Ohio, 
Newberry, S. C., 
Springfield, O., 
vSt. Louis, Mo., 
Dubuque, la., 
Selins Grove, Pa., 2 
Philadelphia, Pa., 4 
Rock Island, 111., 3 
Minneapolis,Minn. 3 
Springfield, 111., 3 
Beloit, Iowa, 2 

Milwaukee, Wis. 3 
Red Wing, Minn. , 2 
Chicago, 111., 3 

New Ulm, Minn., 2 
Saginaw, Mich., 3 
Northfield, Minn., 2 















2 3 


Three Norwegian Seminaries are about to consoli 
date at Minneapolis and will open with five professors. 


Pennsylvania College, 
Wittenberg College, 
Concordia College, 
Capital University, 
Roanoke College, . 
Newberry College, . 
North Carolina College, 


Founded. Locality. Profs. Studs. 

1832, Gettysburg, Pa., 14 205 

. 1845, Springfield, O., 18 250 

. 1849, Fort Wayne, Ind., 7 160 

. 1850, Columbus, O., 8 148 

. 1853, Salem, Va., n 140 

. 1858, Newberry, S. C., 8 67 

. 1858, Mt. Pleasant* N..C, 5 57 

The Lutherans in America. 

Founded. Location. Profs. Studs. 

Augustana College, . 1860, Rock Island, 111., 30 194 

Luther College, . . . 1861, Decorah, la., 9 131 

Northwestern University, . 1865, Watertown, Wis., 7 161 

Muhlenberg College, . . 1867, Allentown, Pa., n 151 

Wartburg College, . . . 1868, Waverly, la. 6 65 

Augsburg College, . . 1869, Minneapolis, Minn., 5 9 o 

Carthage College, . . .1870, Carthage, 111., 4 87 

Thiel College, . . 1870, Greenville, Pa., 10 in 

Gustavus Adolph. College, . 1876, St. Peter, Minn., 19 272 

Bethany Col. and Nor. Ins., . 1881, Lindsborg, Kan., 13 251 

Concordia College, . . ,1882, Conover, N. C., 7 162 

Wagner Memorial College, . 1885, Rochester, N. Y., 5 51 

Midland College, . . 1887, Atchinson, Kan., 70 

Hartwick Seminary with 7 Professors and 95 students and the Mis 
sionary Institute, with 8 Professors and 90 students, at Selins Grove, 
Penn., are institutions of a higher grade, preparing men for advanced 
college classes. 

There are numerous flourishing Female Seminaries 
which, by the higher education of women, contribute 
an incalculable momentum to the advance and influ 
ence of the Church. 

To the educational institutions are yet to be added 
the flourishing Publishing Houses, which issue a great 
mass of literature in some half dozen languages. The 
total number of periodicals is at least 131. Of these 
42 are English, 53 German, 24 Norwegian or Danish, 
9 Swedish, 2 Icelandic, and i Finnish. 

In connection with the exhibit of the strength of 
the Lutheran Church in this country, her numbers in 
Europe are presented below. The facts that she pos 
sesses more territory than any other two of the great 
Protestant families, and embraces a population al 
most as large as all other Evangelical bodies com- 

Present Strength. 529 

bined, make a moral addition to her strength here 
that is of great significance. 

In this country the statistics represent only actual 
communicants. In Europe they indicate generally the 
aggregate population comprised within the Lutheran 
State Churches. 


Denmark, Norway and Sweden, .... 8,508,000 
German Empire, omitting the Reformed in the Prussian 

Union, 24.483,000 

Austro- Hungary, ........ 1,550,000 

Russia, 5,060,000 

France, England, Holland, &c., . . . 225,000 

Add those in Africa, Asia and Australia, . . . 298,000 
" " America, including Brazil, West Indies, and 

Greenland . . . . . . . . 1,152,000 

Total in the world, .... 41,276,000 

These are comprised in 36,000 congregations, and 
ministered to by more than 25,000 clergy. 



IT has been no easy task to sketch the past and 
present of the Lutheran Church in America. It 
seems presumptuous to attempt the delineation of 
her future. Yet coming events cast their shadows be 
fore. The humblest sower forms an idea of what 
the harvest will be. Growth depends indeed largely 
on conditions, yet the sapling is the promise of a 
mighty oak. 

The church is a tree of life, and it is the nature of 
spiritual as of physical life to grow, to develop in 
strength and dimensions. With the quick and quick 
ening Word coursing through her veins, the inherent 
vitality of the Lutheran Church, tested and strength 
ened as it has been by storms of adversity, is itself the 
pledge of boundless increase. 

The conspicuous interpositions of Providence for 
her preservation and progress in this western world, 
vouch furthermore for the future favor of the Most 
High. It was God that brought her across the deep, 
that laid her foundations in this land, that protected 
her in crises of supreme peril. The waters have roared 
around her until the mountains shook with the swell 
ing thereof, but God has been at once her refuge and 
her strength, her " feste Burg," so that in the face of 
overwhelming odds she has advanced to marvellous 
prosperity. Review the ordeals through which the 


The Future of the Lutheran Church. 531 

Church was called to pass for many years, the poverty 
and the wrongs of her early colonists, the ravages of 
protracted wars, the paralysis of rationalism, the dis 
persion and disorganization of her material, the havoc 
of proselyting sects, and more trying than all, the 
strain put upon her by the language conflict, and then 
on that dark background, strive to behold her present 
extent and power, and the heathen even, must cry out 
"the Lord hath done great things for them," to which 
we exultantly respond " the Lord hath done great 
things for us ; whereof we are glad." 

It is a miracle that the Lutheran Church is not ex 
tinct in America. What shall be said of her triumph 
ant progress in the face of successive and over 
whelming adversities! She has not only maintained 
her existence but she has come forth from her ad 
versities purer, stronger, more united and more active, 
her roots growing deeper, her trunk mightier as the 
storms have swayed her to and fro. No other church 
has labored under the difficulties, disadvantages and 
struggles to which the Lutheran has been subjected, 
and yet no other has in the last forty years shown 
such a ratio of progress. In some large districts 
she has gained more within a quarter of a century 
than all the other evangelical churches combined. 

For a long time her growth had been slow, much 
impeded and often intermitted, but slowness, too, is a 
virtue in some cases, and great things in nature, 
history or grace are never sudden. When at last 
it became rapid, the sure warrant of its reality and 
soundness was the fact of its manifestation in every 
sphere. There has been vast progress not only in 

532 The Lutherans in America, 

numbers, but in Confessional fidelity, in Churchly 
practice, in Church love, in conviction and enthusiasm, 
in efficient organization, in education, in missionary 
activity, in benevolence. The advance in every re 
spect is so marvellous that many can hardly believe 
it. Think of the Lutherans fifty years ago: "Pos 
sessed of a language mostly foreign, widely scat 
tered over an immense territory, destitute of facilities 
for education in the spirit and learning of our Church, 
poorly supplied with the regular ministrations of the 
Word and Sacraments, often distracted with strifes 
about what language they were to worship in, without 
a literature worthy of the name, lacking in efficient 
organization, assailed on all sides by the ignorant or 
wilful misrepresentations of the denominations around 
them, and made the prey of proselyting sects." 

Then there was no missionary fund and not a single 
"missionary preacher in all the land wholly given up 
to the work." Now the number of those wholly or in 
part doing missionary work is not less than one 
thousand, and the amounts annually expended on 
this cause reach hundreds of thousands, while the 
liberality of the people towards the cause of mis 
sions and education, has been steadily improving 
until gifts of $5,000 to $25,000 are not unusual, and 
legacies of $50,000 to $100,000 are reported. Then 
there was one English and probably a German period 
ical, each with a few hundred subscribers. Now there 
are altogether over one hundred and thirty Church 
journals bearing light to one million of readers. 
Humble beginnings of theological education had been 
started in a few centers. Now not less than 21 semi- 

The Future of the Lutheran Church. 533 

naries, with 69 professors and 700 students seek to 
meet the growing wants of the Church. Then there 
was a single college, feeble and struggling, now there 
are twenty, some in equipment and attendance ranking 
with the better colleges of the country, with millions 
of dollars invested in property, libraries and endow 
ment, and thousands of young men receiving a liberal 
education, a large proportion of them, about 1,500 pre 
paring for the ministry. 

With the exception of the writings of Dr. S. S. 
Schmucker, there was a generation ago hardly any 
literature in the English tongue setting forth the his 
tory, character and claims of the Lutheran Church; 
to-day, though much is yet to be desired, there is a 
a number of solid volumes that ofter a fair exhibit 
of her distinguishing excellences. 

o o 

The time was, and not so very long ago, when others 
did not know the Lutheran Church, when in fact she 
hardly knew herself, when she seemed afraid of her 
true self, when her children had no appreciation of 
their patrimonial possessions, when her champions 
were always on the defensive and some were fain to 
apologize for their ecclesiastical connection. At pres 
ent the Lutheran people exult in their birthright. They 
havebecome alive to the peculiar glory of their Church, 
conscious of her strength and relative position, and 
cognisant of her incomparable opportunities. Igno 
rance of the Lutheran Church no longer airs itself, 
but blushes at its exposure. Where once the tide 
bore ministers and people away from Lutheran altars, 
it is now bringing in not a few from other altars. 
While formerly Lutherans quoted the practices of 

The Future of the Lutheran Church. 535 

others as presumptively correct, it is not uncommon 
now to see Lutheran usage pointed to as a valid 
endorsement of what is desired. The immense signifi 
cance of all this is beyond description. It forms an 
inestimable element of hope in the future of Luther- 
anism, and this hope itself is a force of measureless 
possibilities. Once all was discouragement. Now a 
prospect opens to the Lutheran Church such as no 
other communion commands. 

If then notwithstanding trials and struggles un 
known to other churches, the Lutheran Church has 
steadily progressed, doubling her numbers on an aver 
age every thirteen years, if with the most limited out 
ward resources and equipments, she has startled the 
public mind by the prosperity and power she has 
attained, what may she not be expected to accomplish 
with the vantage ground she now holds, a situation 
full of inspiration and of hope. 

Struggles and trials will doubtless still oppose her 
progress. Problems remain to be solved, glaring 
weaknesses and disadvantages are yet to be overcome, 
but she has no longer to contend with many of the 
most formidable obstacles that once blocked her 
path. And her discouragements are insignificant com 
pared with those of some other bodies. 

One vital problem pressing upon the Church is her 
adjustment to the demands of our country and age. 
Another is the fuller occupation of the large cities 
with English congregations. Happily she is con 
scious of her need and duty in these things, and favor 
able changes are here also apparent. The total of 
Lutheran Churches in many of the principal cities is 

536 The Lutherans in America. 

encouraging. New York has 20, Philadelphia 34, Bal 
timore 18, Washington n, Pittsburg 18, Omaha 10, 
Portland 8, San Francisco 8. An increasing propor 
tion of these is English. Sixteen years ago Balti 
more had 4 English Churches. Now it has 12. 
The English membership was then 995, now it it 
nearly 4,500. 

Whatever circumstances may work to the future 
detriment of the Church, it is very manifest that in 
many respects she possesses extraordinary advan 

First. Of all churches she holds the purest, clear 
est, most definite and most complete system of scrip 
tural doctrine. She is firmly grounded on her Sym 
bols, and these stand immovable amid the upheaval 
and tumult that are shaking some other creeds. While 
some are seeking in desperation to adjust their faith to 
modern thought or scientific discovery, the Lutherans 
know of nothing in their creed that has become unset 
tled, nothing that has to be given up. Not the faintest 
voice is heard fora revision of her standards. "Her 
confessional position and consequent church life," says 
Dr. Valentine, "represent the best and truest outflow 
of genuine Christianity." From a church that holds 
the truth in love and loyalty the Holy Ghost will 
never depart. 

Second. One of the brightest signs of her future is 
her custom of inculcating this faith in her children. It 
is not an idle boast that by her catechisation she gives 
them an education that is without parallel. And who 
can tell the full import of such indoctrination in this 
skeptical age? With religious instruction banished 

The Future of the Lutheran Chitrch. 537 

from our public schools, with infidelity wantonly taint 
ing our literature, with a godless press read at every 
fireside, with unsanctified science aiming its shafts 
at the most holy truths, with rampant sensualism and 
worldliness, it may well be feared whether the multi 
tude can be held to Christianity unless they have been 
rooted in it and grounded in it in childhood. 

Third. As she is the church of the children, so 
she is the church of the people. It is no discredit to 
her that she does not attract the devotees of fashion, 
or that she fails to satisfy some who prefer social 
standing to spiritual improvement, but wherever a 
Lutheran congregation has become properly estab 
lished, her teachings and her usages are wont to com 
mend themselves to the thoughtful. 

FourtJi. Her present numerical strength is a pledge 
of a great future. Her communicants number 1,100,- 
ooo souls. The children in her homes number no less. 
Including these more than 2,000,000 of a baptized 
membership, it is estimated that there are to-day in 
the United States 7,000,000 people who properly be 
long to the Lutheran household of faith, who look to 
the Lutheran Church for whatever spiritual ministra 
tions they receive. And this grand total is steadily 
increasing from the native population and through 
the multitudes that come hither annually from the 
Lutheran lands across the sea. Nor is it without 
meaning for the future that although the Lutherans 
have failed to occupy fully some of the great centers 
in the East, they have spread themselves everywhere 
over the great West. Nearly all of the Scandinavians 
have settled west of Lake Michigan, and two-thirds 

538 The Lutherans in America. 

of the Germans west of Buffalo. In a number of 
western states the Lutheran population preponder 
ates. The uniform story, persistently repeated by 
the representatives of other bodies, is that the vast- 
ness of the Lutheran field is beyond all compari 
son, that multitudes are waiting to be gathered by 
her shepherds. 

FiftJi. Another great element of future strength is 
the conservative character of this immense Lutheran 


population. Whether it comes from foreign shores or 
is born in this land, the solidity and sterling virtues 
of this stock are unsurpassed. Its industry and thrift, 
its peaceableness and intelligence, make it the choice 
and the enduring element of the nation. Underlying 
these virtues are the sturdy health and physical stam 
ina which characterize these people and make them 
prolific beyond all others. They form a race whose 
physical and spiritual attributes are the pledges of 
large families. To it belongs the future of this country 

The Future of the Lutheran Church. 539 

and from it by God s grace the Church of the Reforma 
tion will have its future growth as it has had its past. 

Sixth. Another striking advantage of the Lutheran 
Church is her polyglot character. She can teach and 
preach in every tongue spoken in this country by Pro 
testants, and in her numerous seminaries she is edu 
cating preachers to minister to the English, the Ger 
man, the Swede, the Norwegian, whatever may be the 
language of any wanderer to her altars. 

Seventh. Not the least of her advantages is her 
prestige, her name, her glorious history. It is some 
thing to be a Lutheran, to belong to a church whose 
roots penetrate the soil of four centuries and may 
readily be traced to the Apostolic age. A church that 
is not the product of a day, or of a generation or two, 
has the promise of a future such as is not assured to 
the religious mushroom growths of our age. 

To these infallible signs of the rapid extension and 
glorious future of the Lutheran Church might be ad 
ded that manifest trend of the Evangelical Churches 
toward some of the most prominent features of Lu- 
theranism. Notice the demand of the day for a 
Christo-centric theology, which is the soul of the Lu 
theran system ; the higher view of the Sacraments 
which many are seeking after, and which have been a 
conspicuous mark of Lutheranism ; the growing pop 
ularity of the Church Festivals, notwithstanding the 
amazing course of the International Committee in 
keeping them out of the Sunday Schools ; the general 
"groping in the dark for a better service," for some 
thing "to render the service of worship more vigorous 
and impressive," feeling after such helps as have al- 

54 TJu Lutherans in America. 

ways been embraced in the Lutheran Liturgies. Are 
not these strivings the unmistakable symptoms of a 
powerful yearning in the minds of others for those 
treasures which the Lutherans have always possessed? 
Any disinterested and devout observer must recog 
nize in these phenomena the hand of Divine Provi 
dence. And surely her own children, who survey the 
past of the Lutheran Church in this country and be 
hold her present growth, who have faith in the Gos 
pel and know to what extent their Church is its em 
bodiment, must share the conviction, neither forced nor 
faltering, that in the days to come, her doctrines will 
be sown over every foot of the soil of this great coun 
try as sure as the sun rises. 

"Gottes Wort und Luthers Lehr 
Vergehet nun und nimmerraehr." 


494 f 
4 6 5, 475 

159. l6l 1O 5> *73 
194, 202, 246 

10 4 


Acrelius, 266, 477 

Aloany, 118,121, 129, 131, 217 

America and Roman Catholicism. io8f 
Amsdort, 97 f 

Anhalt, Prince of, 104 f 

Anne, Queen, 175, 178, 203, 205 

Arensius, Rev. B A., 13 ff 

Arndt s "True Christianity," 186, 221 

Articles, XXXIX, 508 

Athens, 217 

Augsburg Confession, 219, 251, 260, 262, 
339, 342 f, 346, 363, 365"", 37 ^ 374 433, 
438, 458, 464 f, 467, 472, 505 f, 511 f 

Bachman, Rev. J., 465, 467, 475, 488 f 

Ba^er, Rev. J. G., 266, 307 f 

Baltimore, Church in, 296, 301, 307 f, 503 
Baptism, Infant, 5 l 

Baptists, 5 5 * 

Bassler, Rev. G., 435, 45O 

Baugher, Rev. H. L., 38, 4*>o 

iierkenmeier, Rev. W. C., 179, 209, 217, 
219, 229, 253 f, 287 f 
Pible Society, 
Httle, Rev. D. F., 
Bjork, Kev E., 
Bolzius, Rev. J. M., 

Brown, Rev. J. A., 
Brunnholtz, Rev. P., 

Buenger, Rev., 
Buffalo S\nod, 
Butler, Rev. J. G., 
Calvinism, 515^ 519; Intolerant. 114 ff, ngff 
Campanius, Kev. J., I37 J 49, J 59 

Canada Synod. 449 

Canstein, Baron von, 495 

Carlsson, Kev. E., 453 f 

Carolina^, Lu heran Church in, 127, 355 f 
Carpenter, Rev. \\ ., 3 11 

Catechisation, 377 f, 462, 4^2 ff, ^25 f, 536 f 
Catechism, Anglican, 510 

Heidelberg, 512 

Luther s, 365, 374, "9, 4&- 

translated into an Indian tongue, 141, 

159 f , 390 

Charles XI, 154. i5. i<-o 

Charleston, 202,306,475 

Christianity Essence of, 26 f , 29, b8 

Christ, Person of, 517 f; the center, 518 f 
< hristina, 35, 142, 162 f 

Church, indestructible, 21 f; corrupt, 23 ff, 
29, 33, 40 ff; a brotherhood, 36; a po 
litical power, 38; authority, 61; uni 
versal, 85; lights, 8^f 

254 f 


4 TI " 

4 2 4 f 



Church, Lutheran, 73 f, 78; of God, ; a true 

Church, 83 f; no new ^ hurch, 84, 87 ff; 

differs from Roman Catholic, 514; trials 

in America, 210 232, 280 f, 296, 399, 

530 f; Pol glot, 282, 528, 538; progress; 

294, 307, 531 ; strength, 523 ff, 537 ; in 

cities, 535 t ; in Europe, 528 f, 535;,moth- 

erof Protestantism, 505 f; no sect, 506; 

distinctive features, 519 ff; future, 530 ff 

Colleges, 527 f , 533 

Columbus, 107 

Common Prayer, Book of, 59^ 

Concord, Book of, 375, 45 8 

Concordia Seminary, 4 1 1 

l onference, S nodical, 385 f 

Consubstantiation, 5*7 

Conventicles, 115, 117 f, 1^2 

Conversion, 426, 428 

Cortez, 108 

Council, General, 393, 432 ff, 456, 500 f 

( overdale s bible, 57^ 

( ranmer, 58ff 

Cruciger, 103 1 

Panish Synods, 43 f 

Denmark, 492 f 

Deaconess Institutes, 485 f 

I eclension, Moral, 40 f, 279 f 

Definite Platform, 344 f, 39 

Discipline Formula of, 336 f 

Doctrines, Lutheran, 5*3 f 

Dutch Lutherans, loSf; first in America, 

in; persecuted, 113. 117 f, 119, 121 f; 

organized, 124 f; erect a church, 125 

Dutch Persecutors, 113, n6f, 12 iff, 139, 

i42f, 147; moderate aggressions of, 

i36f, 1/12; conquered by English, 146 

Dy lander, Rev., 248, 286 

East Pennsylvania Synod, 361 

Ebenezer, igsf, 204, 2451, 256, 272 

Education, 196, 293*", 297, 3ibf, 34f. 375, 

429, 474, 476ff,525 

Society, 349f 

Endress, Rev. Christian, 302 

England, i hurch c-f 507^ 

English Services, 167, 261, 283ff, 298, 302, 

306, 312, 343 359, 3Ji, 381, 397, 44 r.. 

452, 4tof 

Episcopal Church established in the ^ar- 

olmas, 127 

Episcopalians, 179, 272, 287, 314, 461, 

515; cared for by the Swedes, 284^ 

indebted to the Lutherans, soyf 

Ernst, the Pious, 49if 

Esbjorn, Rev. L. P., 453 

Fabricius, Rev. J., i29f, i47ff, 151, 153, 234 

Lakh, Essence of, 33, 35 




Falckner. Rev J., T 72 f, 179, 209 

Falckner s Swamp, 172^ 234, 24 

Fanaticism, 223f, 22 

Festivals, 520!", 539 

Flohr, Rev. George D., 

Forts turned into Churches, 14^ 

Fort Wayne, 4161, . 

Francke, A H., 493 

G. A., i93ff, 215, 236, 238ff, 243, 

261, 264 

Franckean Synod, 36c-f! 

Franklin, Benjamin, 318^479 

Franklin College, 319, 479 

Free Cities, 47 

French Indian War, 275! 

French Reformers, 78, 81 

Friedr-richs. Rev. John G., 202 

Fritschel, Rev. G., 383, 393f 

Rev. S., 3 7 f 

Geissenhainer, Rev. F. W., 304, 321 

Georgia 187, 193 

German, clamor for, 2911; 

injury to the Church, 293^ 

Emigrants, large numbers of, 17 *f, 

i98f, 2ooff; testimony to, 199, 2iof; 

poverty and trials of, 2ioff. 2i8if, 224ff, 

2301, 235, 290 

Society of Pennsylvania, 202, 319 

Germantown 218 

German/ founding no Colonies, 169, 

215, 491 

helping the Lutherans in America, 

238, 344 

Gerock, Rev. J. S., 266, 296, 301 

Giesendanner, Rev. John Ulrich, 203, 217 
Goering, Rev. Jacob, 301 f 

Goetwaier, Rev. John Ernest, i2if 

Grabau, Rev. J. A. A., 

Gronau, Rev. Israel C., 

Grossman, Rev. G., 


Gunn, Rev. Walter, 


Gustavus Adolphus, 



Handschuh, Rev J, F., 

Hartwkk Seminary, 
Hartwig, Rev., 
Hasselquist, Rev. T. N., 

- S nod, 

Hazelius, Rev. E. L , 
Heathenism, Essence of, 

500 f 

133; a martyr to 
Protestantism, 134 
209, 228 
235ff, 2421, 254, 

25 7f, 262, 2^4 

3 2 o- 355f 
253, 266, 320 

Hebron Church, 
Heinzelman, Rev. J. D. M., 
Helniuth, Rev. J. H.C , 

Henkel, Rev. David, 

395, 400 
336, 40of, 403 
320, 355 
28; reacting on 
Christianity, 25, 2fo, 28 
2051, 311 

264, 297 ff, 
319, 47^ 
304, 315 


234, 308 
3o8f, 314 

312, 499^ 
ii if, ii3f 

Henkel, Rev. Gerhard, 

- Rev. Paul, 

- Rev. Philip, 

Dr S. G., 


He er, Rev. C. F., 

Holland, Lutherans in, 


Humboldt on fifteenth century, 

Hunter. Governor, i 7 gf 

Huss, 75, 7 8, 81 

Icelandic Association, 404 

Illinois Synod, 369, 425^ 438 

Northern, Synod, 454 

Impostors, 223ff, 248, 252, 257 

India 4931, 499 f 

Indians friendly to the Swedes, 136, 143, 

146, 157; to the Germans, i8of; 

Massacre, 2O5f 

Indulgences, 3off, 63f, 66 

Infidelity, 2 7 6f, 299 

Iowa Synod, 386ff, 423^ 437f 

Jacobs, Professor M., 480 

James Isiand, 127 

John the Constant, iO4f 

Jonas, loif 

Justification, 58f; central, 82f, 518 

Keller, Rev. B., 300, 319 

Rev. Ezra, 486 

Knoll, Rev. M. C., 179, 228f, 253, 287 

Koch, Peter, 259 

Kocherthal, Rev. J. von, i78f 

Krauth, C. P., 347f 

C. P. Jr., 
Krug, Rev. J. A., 
Kunze, Rev. J. C., 

Kurtz, Kev B,, 
Rev. J. D., 
Rev. J N., 

444fF, 468 
4 o6f 
299f, 3i8ff, 478 

339* 343 , -.09 


254f, 261, 3oof 

Laity in the Reformation, io5f; conduct 
ing service, 151, 156 221, 4oof 
Lancaster, 218 

Language conflict, 28iff, 44of, 479 

Latitudinarianisni. 362f, 374 

Lehman, Professor W. F., 4.35 

Leibnitz, 492f 

Leo X., 63 

Jcensure, 316 

Literature, Lutheran, 375^ 

Liturgy, 258, 263, 327, 347. 353, 358 446, 
463, 46711, 5i9f, 5-7 

ivingston, 179 

Lochman, Rev. G., 33f 3 21 

.ock, Rev. Lars, I42f, 145, 1481, 151 

Loehe, William, 419, 42iff 

uther, a Roman devotee, 52fF, 73; conver 
sion s6ff ; at VVorms62, 68; on indul 
gences, 66ff; excommunicated, 68; 
protected, 75f; personality, 8of; con 
servatism, 82; above all Reformers, 
94f; on Missions, 49of 



Lutheran Church, (see Church) Name, cpff; 
Glory of, 9 2f 

Lutherans, all Reformers 92, 505, 507; not 
Colonizing, nof ; not political mal 
contents 114; a hinderance, 116, 119, 
123; steadfast, n8f, 124, 157, 22off. 
233, 397; first missionaries in America, 
139, 141 ; first to practice tolerance. 
i39f; assisting English reformers, 507 

Lutherans, German, preceded by Dutch 
and Swedes, logf; widely scattered, 
171, 2i7ff ; numbers, 17 ;f, 2i3f, 216; 
spiritural destitution, 2i8ff. 230!, 235 

Lutheraner, 1 he, 414*. 417. 421 

Maine, Lutherans in, 
Mann, Rev. W. J., 
Marknam, Gov., 
Martin, Rev. J. N., 
Maryland Synod, 
Mayer, Rev. P. F., 
Measures, New, 
Megapolensis, Rev. J., 
Mercy, Boundless, 




216, 342 

359, 3 * 
115, 122, 143 

9otf> 57. 5io 
5 4 

91, 5101, 515, 519 



Michaelius, Rev. J., 
Michigan b nod, 
Miller, Rev. G. B., 

Rev. R. J., 3M, 3 l <> 

Ministerial Office, 4", 4*3^ 422,, 4241 

Ministers, lack of, 2i3f, 214(1, 3i6ff, 321, 357 
Minnesota Synod, 43 1 > 43 8 449 

Missionary Institute, 344 

Missions, 133 3?ff. J 4of, 146, 159. l62 , 230, 

307ff, 332. 35ff. 3&of, 378, 38of, 384! , 
388ff, 392f, 397f, 43, 4 l6f , 4 J 9 f , 4 2 9< 
443, 449, 462, 469*", 49rf, 497*?, S 2 ^, 

Missouri Synod, 386, 387, 389, 404, 40011 . 
4 2off, 435, 43 / 

Monastic Life, 3^ 39. 53 

Moravians, The, 248, 25^, 512 

Muhlenberg, Rev. F. A. C., 272, 274, 295! 

Kev. H A., 3i9 

Rev. H. E., 272, 300, 4 ,81 

Rev. and Gen. P., 273^ 2951 

Rev. H. M., \outh, 24 iff; comes to 

America, 245f; work, 2 4 8ff. 256, 4 8of ; 
re-enfoiced, 254; use of English, 283 
2 87f; death, 295 

Myconius, 1O ^ 


New Amsterdam, Church in, i25ff, 131, 186, 
2}2, 287f, 293, 29 j, 298^304 
New Perne, 184, 205 

Newburg, i/ 8 - 217, 219 

New Hanover, (see Falckner s Swamp.) 
New 1 n.vidence, (see The Tiappe), 
New Jersey, Lntherans in, 20* 

New Yoik , (see New Amsterdam), 

- Syiu.d 312, 320, 33of, 360, 369, 44- 
Nicholson, Francis 16 


Voreiius, Rev. ., 455 

Norton, C. F., 44 2 

forth Carolina, Lutherans in, 205, 304^ 

3 l 3f, 323 

forth Carolina Synod, 314^ 33 8 , 37 2 f 

Norwegians, 394ff, 4 28 

Nussman, Rev. A., 34f 

Dglethorpe, General, ^95^ 

uhio Synod, 316, 327, 330, 336f, 360, 38orf, 
4.7, 428, 435 

Drdination, 8of, i73ff 

Jrph an Asylums, 196, 393, 429, 48 sf 

Dxenstiern J 35 


alatiues, 175, 17 

Papacy, immorality of, 3 8 ^ 

Penitential S stems, -8 30, sg 

Penn, William, 136,. 149, 153, 170 

Pennsylvania, i83f, 187 198, 202, 223 

- College, 34 \ 3, 480 

- Svnod, 2s8ff. 315, 3 2 3tf> 33, 334^ 
358ff, 367(1 , 417, 433, 442f, 44-, 481 f, 

49 S 

Persecution, (see Salzburgers and Palatines). 
Petersen, Kling, 394 

Philadelphia, 164, 187, 218, 234, 248, 309, 
2921, 2971, 31 1 

Seminar , 44 lf f 

Pietists, J 7 8 > 2 35ff 

Pittsburg Synod, 39- 44 8 tf 

Platform, Definite, 34 . 3^9 

Plutschau, 493 

Points, Four, 447 ff . 45& 

i-oiiiy Church, 86f, 325, 336f, 4 i 3 t, 421 

4 J 9 

386, 401, 426f 

1 ractical Seminary, 
Pra er Meetings, 
Presbyterians, 5 11 

I ress. I uiheran, 489, 528, 53 2 

Priesthood, of N. T.. 34, & 

Printing, discover^ of. 4 

Pnntz, Lieut.-Col., i_37 

Providence in the Reformation, 44f, 5of, 68, 
74f: in the Lutheran Churcii, 154, 160, 
162, 172, 53of 

Publications , Lutheran, 487^, 533 

Puritan, political agitators, 139 

--- Ministers, 


Quake s, 

guitman, Rev. F. II. 

114, 121 
i 7 cf. i8 4 f 
, 3- 41 ! 3 2 3 
4oSf, 519 


Rationalism, 277(1, 

Reform, efforts at, 4<"> 75 f < ?8, 8r 

Reformation, beginning of, 57f; providence 

in, 44ff. sof, 68, 74, 77 ; principles of, 

61; progress, ogft; protection of, 76ff; 

triumphant, 79f, 504 

Reformed, The, 17*1 7 8 l8l 28r 

-- German, 5 2 

Revival, 354f, 3 60 , 39 





Revolution, The, 27iff; dividing the 


Swedish culture, 477; relation to Germans, 

Germans 290 
Rudman, Rev. A., 132, 158, 161, 165, 

259^ 266, 496; churches become Epis 
copalian, 285 

167 177 284 
Rudesill, Henry, 4I 6 
Sacraments, 5i6f 539 
Saint Worship, 40, 53 

Symbolical Books, 219. 257, 262, 313, 347, 374 
377, 486, 409, 421, 438, 472, 525, 536 
Synod, General, 32^ff, 33iff, 372, 500.1, 520; 
influence of, 3.8, 335, 348, 3506", 

St. Louis, 49f, 4i-f, 414, 420 
St. Michael s, 261, 269 
Salvation, Man s part, 28, sgf; sold for 

354ff, 36of, 469; rupture, 3&2ff; 
soundness, 362^ 365^ 371 
General, South, (see United S>nod), 

money, ^o, ^i 
Salzburgers, iSjff, 194^ 22if, 272f, 485; 511 
Sandel, Rev. A., ni 

Norwegian Augustana 396 
Scandinavian, 396^ 454f 

Sa\anorola, -c r 

- Swedish, 45 off 

Schaeffer, Rev. C. F., 200 487 
Rev. D F 

- United, 3 79 ff, 4 64ff 
S nodical Conference, 425^ 431 

R eV p., ^ ( 

Synods New, 36if, 371 

- Rev. F. D., 298 

Southern, 362 379, 432 

Schaller, Rev. G., 4 22f 

Tenacon Church, 142, 144^ 165, 247 

Schauin, Rev. J. Helfrich, 254, 261, 294f 

1 ennessee Synod, 336, 363, 372ff, 466, 47 if 

Schmidt, Rev. J. F., 265, 27if, 297, 478 
Scbmucker, Rev. B. M., ^ 5 f 

Tetzel, 32f, cVjf 
Texas Synod, 449 

Rev. J. G., 7O2f 

Theses, "Ninety-five, 66f 

13 C> C O*- 1 ^ 1 

- Rev. b. S., 344ff, 487 

Torkillus, Rev. R., 135, 141 

Schoharie i8off, 18 i 

Tranberg. Rev. P., 248, 261, 286, 495 

Schools, I aroc oial, 333, 461, 48off 

Tranhook Church, 145, 149, 161 

Schuitz, Rev J. Christ, 234f 

[ rappe, The, 234 248 

Schultze. Rev. C. E., 264 

1 uipehocken, 183, 260 

Governor, 264 

r ; ndale s New Testament, 507 

Schwartz, C. F., 404 
Scriptures, 6iff, 70 73, 82 
Sects, 157, i 70 ff; 223 
Seminar Pentsches, 316 

Jnio Fcclesiastica, 313 
Jrlsper^er, Rev. S., *93 f 
Vasa, Gustavus, 491, 536 

Seminaries, 1 heological, 527 
Seminar. , Theological at Gettysburg, 330, 

irginia, 205 
Voigt, Rev. J. L., 265 

332, 339, 345, 355 f 

Vagner, Rev. Tobias, 252 

Se ffarth, Rev. G., 488 

Waldoboro, 2o6ff 

Shober, Rev. G. 324 

Walther, Rev. C. F. W., 4 o61T 421, 423f. 

Sihler, Dr., 4i 7 tf 

43of, 432, 488 

South Carolina, 2O2ff, 218 

Weissiger, Paniel, 235, 240 

Seminary, 466, 488 

Weiser, Conrad, 184, 318 

Spalalin, 103 

\Velze, Baron von, 492 

Spirit and Word, 513^ 
Staupitz, 57 

Wesle*, John, 196, 511 
Vest, Synod of the, 361 

Stephan, Martin, 4O7ff 412 
Stoever, Rev. John Casper, 205, 217, 234 
Professor M. L., 480 

Vest Camp, 217 
West Pennsylvania Synod, 33;f 
Vhitfield, Rev. Geo., 196, 485 

Steck, Rev J. M., 3It 

Vicacoa, 148, 161, J04ff 

Kev. M. J , 3iif 

Wisconsin Synod, 431, 438 

Storch, Rev. C.. A. G., 304^ 314 

Volf, Magister, A., 228 

Stork, Kev. I heoph., 305 
Rev. C. A., 305 

Volfgang, iO4f 
Voman s Missionery Society, 503 

Stnrit, Rev. C , 2 S 7 , 306 
Stuyvesant, Governor, 115, 117, 119, 125 

Vorship, Private. 115, 117, 122, 158,186 
Wrangle, Provost von, 266, 286f, 296, 477, 

Sunday bchools, 353. 397 


Supper, the Lord s, 5 6t 
Swedish Colony, founded, 1350"; a mission- 

Vvciiffe, ?6, 78 
Vyneken, Rev. F. C. D , 415""- 423 43 

ar> project 133, i37ff, isgf 162; con 

Year, Christian. 5*> 

quered. 142; trials, 144. 147, i5iff. 

\ork, 2 iS, 252, 300 

157; picture of 157; high cnaracte , 
150, i67f; activity of Ministers. 2 9, 
215, 217; preaching English, 284; 

7iegenbalg, 493 f 
/^iegenhagen, 194, 215, 227, 235, 240, 244 
Zinzendorf, ount, 248, 252 





Wolf, Edmund Jacob 

The Lutherans in America 



L- V 1 v . * "> V, , * \ r >; \ > ^;V\iV * V V i \ > 1 V L f ! J \ V