It is seldom that the church is called to mourn the premature death of one, so highly gifted as the subject of the present sketch. He was a young man of rare attainments and extraordinary promise. Endeared to all by his talents, his virtues and his piety, he was taken away in the morning of life, and from a scene of active and useful exertion.
Semper honos nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt.
January 27th, 1854, will long be remembered in the city of Reading. It was the day when nearly the whole community crowded to the sanctuary, not to listen to the voice of the pastor of the church, but to gaze for the last time on his lifeless remains, and to pay the last tribute of respect to one who was highly esteemed in life. His voice was silent in death, but his virtues were still fresh in the remembrance of the people.
Among all who have occupied a prominent position in the history of the Lutheran church in this country, perhaps there is no one who is entitled to a higher rank than
J. George Schmucker, D. D.
On This Page Baptists in Virginia. Circuit Preaching Call to York County, Pennsylvania The “Boy Preacher” Retirement to Williamsburg, Pennsylvania “He honored God, and God did honor him.” One of the founders and advocates of the General Synod Intelligence and Learning Published Works Eloquent Preacher Theological Views A man of prayer Unwavering faith in God’s promises Great moral courage Publication Information He was born, August 18th, 1771, in Michaelstadt, in the Duchy of Darmstadt, Germany.
“We have had occasion several times, in self-defense, to declare our conscientious difference from the brethren of the Missouri as well as from those of the Buffalo Synod, on the doctrine of the Ministerial office; by some whom we think a little sensitive in the matter, we have been soundly berated, both privately and publicly, for having done so. We feel it, therefore, due to ourselves, and to the cause of truth, to present a calm expression of truth as we believe it to be found in the Holy Scriptures.
The character and ministry of this venerable man are worthy of a permanent record in the history of our earlier ministers. His life was emphatically a life of severe and constant labor. He was distinguished for his learning and piety, and after having faithfully served his day and generation, he peacefully passed away, leaving to his children and the church, the precious legacy of a good name.
“While the soft memory of his virtues yet Lingers, like twilight hues, when the bright sun is set.
“There is a strait gait of knowledge through which [everyone] must pass on entering the kingdom, and many of the results of his reasonings must be abandoned at that entrance, while he confesses himself a mere disciple all the way in his progress.”
“The man of the mightiest genius or the most accomplished intellect, must become a docile child, as well as the most uncultivated sinner and the rudest savage — or never be spiritually renovated.
“In the primitive church there was a private and public catechization. The private was practiced by parents according to Eph. 6:4… The public was held in schools, churches, and other places, and the pupils were called catechumens, from κατγχουμενοι, learners, the word that is used in the New Testament passages before quoted.
“In the course of ages, as the church became more corrupt, the practice fell into disuse, or sadly degenerated.
It was said… at the time of his death, that many generations must pass away, before the world could look upon his equal. From all accounts, he must have been a most extraordinary man, gifted with rare endowments of intellect, and possessed of the noblest qualities of the heart.
On This Page Early Life Publications Committed To The Flames Irresistible Power in the Pulpit Chronological Facts Ministerial Training Relocation to Hagerstown, Maryland Heartfelt Grief Publication Information Early Life In early life his opportunities for the cultivation of his mind were limited, and yet so active were his native powers, and so faithful was he in the improvement of the advantages he subsequently enjoyed, that he soon rose to an eminent position, and his name has been transmitted with high lustre to posterity.
“The first Lutheran minister, ordained in this country to preach the gospel.”
John Nicolas Kurtz was born in Lutzelinden, in the Principality of Nassau-Weilburg, and immigrated to this country in 1745. He came to the United States as a Catechet, and for two years after his arrival, engaged in the business of teaching as well as preaching, “in consequence of the entire absence,” to use his own language, “of competent teachers and the lamentable ignorance of the youth of his parish.
His life was devoted to the acquisition of knowledge.
The church has always associated with Dr. Lochman’s name that of Dr. Endress. They were not only contemporary, but they were nearly of the same age. They commenced their career together and pursued their studies in company. They were graduated at the University of Pennsylvania and both for a season, gave instruction. They studied theology under the direction of Drs.
“What are ‘fundamental doctrines,’ or ‘fundamental Articles of Faith’?… Every intelligent Christian feels competent to state the general basis of his belief, or the doctrinal foundation of his Christian character and life… When he, however, proceeds to specify in detail the doctrines which essentially constitute that ‘foundation,’ he will no longer be surprised by the embarrassment that even distinguished divines, on attempting to furnish an answer, have candidly confessed.” – Charles F.
“Dr. Lochman, so widely and favorably known in the Lutheran church, was born in the city of Philadelphia, December 2, 1773. His parents had immigrated into this country at an early period and, although in humble circumstances, were distinguished for their probity and piety. Their son George, when yet a boy, seemed to promise much, and awakened high expectations. He developed, in his childhood, a remarkable fondness for reading. Whilst his companions were engaged with their sports, he was interested in his books, over whose pages he poured with fixed attention and the greatest delight.
The transition from Dr. Helmuth to his intimate friend and colleague is very natural. Dr. Schmidt would, perhaps, have never abandoned the country of his birth, had it not been for his fond devotion to the friend of his youth, animae dimidium suce, separation from whom seemed so painful and almost insupportable. Such instances of friendship are rare, and yet how beautiful, how honorable to humanity! A well tried friend, one of kindred spirit and congenial tastes, cannot be too highly valued.
“There are points in the Church’s history, years, months, days, in which all the evil that has ever assailed the Church, seems brought to a focus, and to overcome it, the Holy Ghost, who never deserts his charge, concentrates against it not only the sum of all the experience of the Church of the past, but also the endowments of new, fuller, richer unfoldings of the sense and power of God’s Word.
The memory of those who have been eminently useful in the church of God, should be cherished, and their virtues transmitted to posterity. They are worthy of grateful remembrance and respectful imitation. Their services should be embalmed for future generations. The language found in the burial service of the Church of England, is exceedingly beautiful, and has often been much admired:
“We give thee hearty thanks for the good examples of all these thy servants, who having finished their course in faith, do now rest from their labors.
“They would have us believe that all hearts will finally be moved and melted by the love of God. The tender love of Jesus to poor, fallen man, did not move and melt the hearts of all with whom he came into contact here. The proud, hard heart of Scribe and Pharisee grew all the harder when the light and warmth of His presence fell upon them — no melting there.
“Miracles in the Christian system are like the massive subterranean arches and columns of a huge building. Miracles support the edifice, and upon a divine foundation. ‘They show us, that if the superstructure is fair and beautiful to dwell in, and if its towers and endless flight of steps appear to reach even up to heaven, it is all just what it seems to be; for it rests upon the broad foundation of the Rock of Ages.
“Never were pious resignation to God’s will — complete subjection to His sovereignty – perfect patience under disappointment and sorrow more beautifully and impressively uttered… We do not think it possible for human language to express a more thorough acquiescence in the decrees of Providence. This was the character of Gerhardt’s piety, and to be in all things of the same mind with God, is the perfection of piety.” – John Morris.
“The prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Gentiles had been so numerous and diversified that nothing but the partial blindness of Israel could have prevented them from entertaining a general expectation of the speedy accession of all nations to the kingdom of God…
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“We want no broader line than the catechism draws; but then we do not want that line whitewashed out by a diluted and false liberalism, so as nearly to obliterate it. We desire to see it remain in its original breadth and depth, so that we may consistently and honestly reply to the query: ‘What are the distinctive doctrines of your church?’ ‘You will find an epitome of them in Luther’s Smaller Catechism.