We must also lessen the number of theological books, and choose the best; for it is not the number of books that make the learned man; nor much reading, but good books often read, however few, make a man learned in the Scriptures and pious. – Martin Luther

The Life and Letters of William A. Passavant by George H. Gerberding

The Life and Letters of William A. Passavant by George H. Gerberding

The Life of Dr. Passavant should have been given to the Church at least a decade ago. All good biography is history in the concrete. In the lives of God’s eminent children we have most useful and delightful information for the mind, inspiration for the spirit, braces for our faith, stimuli for our hope and most effective incentives for our love. Such lives are lived for others. They are not over when those who lived them are gone, but being dead they yet speak.

So begins Gerberding’s accounting of the life of this extraordinary Lutheran man. This re-release of his biography is sent forth with the prayer that it might feed the hope and faith of God’s people just as Rev. Passavant did for so many in so many ways in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Chicago and Baltimore not so very many years ago.

Rev. Passavant

“I feel very sad about the College Board at Gettysburg and its unaccountable action. They mean it ill for the truth, and are ready to make a constitution where none exists, in order to keep down and out the Lutheran faith; but all this will avail them nothing, so long as truth is stronger than error. Oh, how shame will cover them as with a garment a few years hence, when they see the number of students reduced on this account and that from their leading churches. This is a dead certainty. – From Chapter 22

Sections of the Book

1 – The Passavant Family
2 – The Childhood Of William A. Passavant – His Mother’s Influence
3 – At College
4 – In The Seminary At Gettysburg
5 – First Charge And Work In Baltimore
6 – Beginnings In Pittsburg
7 – Abroad
8 – Home Again – Controversy – Beginning Of Charity Work
9 – Work For Scandinavians And Germans
10 – Orphan Work
11 – Life And Work In Pittsburg
12 – Resigns First Church – Multiplied Labors – Gathers And Builds Churches
13 – War – Views And Work
14 – Storm And Stress In The Church
15 – Work And Influence Among The Scandinavians
16 – The Founding Of Milwaukee Hospital
17 – Chicago Hospital – Bassler’s Death – Passavant’s Influence.
18 – Founding Of The General Council
19 – Orphan Work – Rochester – Zelienople – Mount Vernon
20 – Mercy Work In Jacksonville For Epileptics — For Immigrants
21 – Thiel College – College Life – Mountain Hospitality
22 – Tribute To Dr. Krauth – Letters – Journeys – Reflections – Reproofs – Deliverances
25 – The Passavant Institutions

One example of many of his mercy and kindness

“A family from Norway consisting of father, mother and four children, through the aid of benevolent persons at home, had obtained the means to emigrate to this country. They fared well across the Atlantic Ocean, and a little farther than Buffalo, N. Y., where the father, by accident, was caught under the wheels of a car which passed over his body and cut off his legs above the knees. The cars passed on at their usual rate, leaving the poor man to his fate on the track. The widowed mother came on West to the Norwegian settlement at Lisbon, Ill., and died of cholera the next day, leaving the four children without relatives or anyone to provide for them. The man with whom these children now live has himself a large family and is in limited circumstances. When I last preached in that neighborhood he spoke to me of the necessity of making some arrangement for their care, and I advised that some of the members divide them amongst their families until I could write whether there was still a place in the Home. The common practice out here has been to bind such children out, regardless of the character of those to whom they are given, or, in other words, to enslave them up to a certain age, a system which I hate from my very soul. We need scarcely add that we immediately wrote ‘to send the children on.’” – from Chapter 11.

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