Julius Friedrich Sachse.

Justus Falckner, mystic and scholar, devout Pietist in Germany, hermit on the Wissahickon, missionary on the Hudson : a bi-centennial memorial of the first regular ordination of an orthodox pastor in online

. (page 3 of 9)
Online LibraryJulius Friedrich SachseJustus Falckner, mystic and scholar, devout Pietist in Germany, hermit on the Wissahickon, missionary on the Hudson : a bi-centennial memorial of the first regular ordination of an orthodox pastor in → online text (page 3 of 9)
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Protestant Lutheran Church ; and also persons of the Ger-
man nation of the Evangelical Lutheran and Reformed
churches. About these more at another time.

" Now I will only speak somewhat of the Evangelical
Church of the Swedish nation, and touch upon the German
Evangelical Lutherans.

"The Swedes have two church congregations: one at
Philadelphia, the capital of this country, and another several
miles therefrom on a river called Christina. They have
also two devout, learned and conscientious preachers,
among whom I know in specie the Reverend Magister
Rudman. He, with his colleagues, endeavours to instil the
true fear and knowledge of God into his hearers, who pre-
viously, from a lack of good instruction and church disci-
pline, had become rather unruly. The outward worship of
God is held in the Swedish language, and partly according
to the Swedish liturgy, so far as church ceremonies are

"The Germans, however, I have spoken of not without
cause as merely several Evangelical Lutheran Germans,
and not the German Evangelical Lutheran Church : those
who are destitute of altar and priest forsooth roam about in
this desert {scilicet qui ard Saccrdotcque desfituti, vagantur
hoc in deserto:) a deplorable condition indeed. Moreover
there is here a large number of Germans who, however,
have partly crawled in among the different sects who use
the English tongue, which is first learned by all who come

JRecofnendattons. 43

here. A number are Quakers and Anabaptists ; a portion
are Free-thinkers and assimilate with no one. They also
allow their children to grow up in the same manner. In
short there are Germans here, and perhaps the majority,
who despise God's Word and all outward good order ; who
blaspheme the sacraments, and frightfully and publicly
give scandal, (for the spirit of errors and sects has here
erected for itself an asylum : Spiritus enim errorum et
Sectarum Asyhim sibi hie constittiit) ; and herein is the
great blame and cause of the lack of establishment of an
outward and visible church assembly. Then while in the
Theologia naturali omnibus hominibtis co7uiata there is as
it were, the first Thesis: religiosum quendam cultum obser-
vato, so it happens that when these people come here and
find no better outward divine service, they rather select one
than none at all although they are already Libertini; for
even Libertinism is not without its outward forms, whereby
it is constituted a special religion without being one.

"Now I recommend to Your Magnificence, as an intelli-
gent (cordate-ii) German Evangelical theologian, for your
mature consideration and reflection for God and His
church's sake, on account of the wretched condition of the
German Evangelical communities, whether with assistance
perhaps from some exalted hand, some establishment of an
Evangelical church assembly could be made in America,
since the Germans are now increasing rapidly. For as
most of the Germans are addueendi et reduce7idi, so must
the means be expected to come from others ; or I will say
the decoy [Loek-Pfeiffe) wherewith which the birds are to
be allured cannot and must not be expected to come from
the birds, but must be made by or for such as want to
entice them here.

"Both myself and my brother, who is sojourning here,

44 Dominie Justus Falckner.

keep ourselves to the Swedish church, although we under-
stand little or nothing of their language. We have also
been the means of influencing divers Germans by our ex-
ample, so that they now and then come to the assemblies,
even though they do not know the language. Still they
are gradually being redeemed from barbarism, and becom-
ing accustomed to an orderly outward service.

"Above all one of the Swedish pastors, Magister Rud-
man, has offered, regardless of the difficulty to assume the
German dialect {dialcctuvi). For nothing less than the love
of God's honor he has offered to go to this trouble and now
and then to deliver a German address in the Swedish
church, until the Germans can have a church of their own,
together with the necessary establishment. Accordingly
the Germans who still love the evangelical truth, and a
proper outward church order, much prefer to attend {in-
teresse) the Swedish churches here until they can also have
their divine worship in their own language as a people.
The means are hereby offered in a measure to spread the
Gospel truth in these wilds, whereby many of their brethren
and fellow-countrymen may be brought from wrong to
right, from darkness to light, and from the whirlpool of
sectaries to the peace and quiet of the true church. Where-
fore such Swedish Evangelical churches, for my humble
part, have best and heartfelt wishes, and I seek also and
pray Your Magnificence to kindly recommend, as occasion
offers, such churches with their ministers, to His Illustrious
Serene Highness and Her Highness his spouse, who is a
royal Swedish Princess, and also to contrive that your
interest may be earnestly brought to the notice of his
Serene Majesty of Sweden.

"I will here take occasion to mention that many others
besides myself, who know the ways of this land, maintain




Pleads for an Organ. 45

that music would contribute much towards a good Christian
service. It would not only attract and civilize the wild
Indian, but it would do much good in spreading the Gospel
truths among the sects and others by attracting them. In-
strumental music is especially serviceable here. Thus a
well-sounding organ would perhaps prove of great profit,
to say nothing of the fact that the Indians would come run-
ning from far and near to listen to such unknown melody,
and upon that account might become willing to accept our
language and teaching, and remain with people who had
such agreeable things ; for they are said to come ever so
far to listen to one who plays even upon a reed-pipe {rohr-
fifeiffe) : such an extraordinary love have they for any
melodious and ringing sound. Now as the melancholy,
Saturnine stingy Quaker spirit has abolished {relegiret) all
such music, it would indeed be a novelty here, and tend to
attract many of the young people away from the Quakers
and sects to attend services where such music was found,
even against the wishes of their parents. This would
afford a good opportunity to show them the truth and their

" If such an organ-instrument {Orgcl-Tvcrck) were placed
in the Swedish church, (for the Germans as yet have no
church, and the Swedish church is of a high build and
resonant structure) it would prove of great service to this
church. As the majority of the Swedes are young people,
and mostly live scattered in the forest, far from the churches,
and as we by nature are all inclined to good, and above all
to what may serve our souls, such as the Word of God
which is dead and gone, so are especially the youth ; and
it is so with the Swedish youth now under consideration.
When they have performed heavy labor for the whole
week, as is customary here, they would sooner rest on a

46 Dominie Justus Falckner.

Sunday, and seek some pleasure, rather than perhaps go
several miles to listen to a sermon. But if there were such
music there, they would consider church-going as a recre-
ation for their senses.

" Thus does Luther of blessed memory in one place
highly recommend the use of the organ and sacred music
for this very reason, that it is serviceable, and induces
young and simple and, says he foolish folk, to listen unto
and receive God's Word. It would also prove an agree-
able thing for God, angels and men ; if in this solitude and
wilderness, which as it were struggles under so many
Secula, the Lord of Hosts, with whom there is fulness of
joy and at whose right hand there are pleasures for ever-
more, would be praised and honored with cymbal and
organ, as he hath commanded. And it may be assumed
that even a small organ-instrument and music in this place
would be acceptable to God, and prove far more useful
than many hundreds in Europe, where there is already a
superfluity of such things ; and the more common they are,
the more they are misused.

" If now Your Magnificence were kindly to intercede
with his Serene Highness and Her Highness his Consort,
and also with such other exalted personages with whom
you are held in high esteem, and present to them the bene-
fit to be hoped for ; I doubt not, but that something could
be effected. There are in Europe masters enough who
build such instruments, and a fine one can be secured for
300 or 400 thalers. Then if an experienced organist and
musician could be found, and a curious one who would
undertake so far a journey, he would be very welcome
here. In case this could not be, if we only had an organ,
some one or other might be found here who had knowl-
edge thereof.

Colophon to Missive. 47

twtj tiHt ©kt^unCf It 2:^ aUt ^aa«i;f 611W man au(b
rincn crfa^mcnOrgamftcn uno Muficum fintm Ut
curicux , unt) 10 tmvoutt lH«Te t^un werte/ijcc wuP-
tc^(etrcl)C(«igcnc^mrei)n/tt)4rec^ otrt mtt)t/ unb
man ^4ttc vmmt Orgel/fomSc^te ficO cttra not©
cm obfctep anfcrtf Oi«r fin&en/l)erX(EDEri.







HE DIED. SEP^J3» 300 8
^_^^^ AGED 4-0 YEARS.

GLORIA DEI A. D., 1903.

Receives Letter.





54 Dominie Justus Falckner.

Sweden. What! you ask ; are you going to desert your
little flock?

"Wherefore, as I look around, no one has occurred to
me as a more suitable person to whom I can safely com-
mit my sheep than yourself. Only weigh the following
reasons :

"(i) The call will be plainly divine. Samuel, when
called of God, thought " Shall I ask Eli " whence is this?
Whence can it be, unless God has imitated the voice of
Eli ! So, be assured, God is calling you through me. So
far as I have heard from the people, all agree, and that to,
with great delight.

"(2) In Europe, you could have obtained greater and
more lucrative churches ; but I know that you have been
averse to this on account of the abandoned life of cour-
tiers and others. Here matters are very different ; guile
less scattered sheep, few, docile, obedient — thirsty and

"(3) You seem to have been called from the womb.
Will you bury your talent with a good conscience?

"(4) You have dignified me with the name of 'Father,'
receive, therefore, the exhortation of a father. If I can
persuade the Ministerium, you will be initiated (sacro or-
dini) into the ministry by our Swedish ministers.

•'If you decline, I will be compelled to leave my sheep
without a successor and this will be hard and difficult."

Justus Falckner for a time hesitated about accepting the
call, as he entertained some doubts as to the regularity of
such ordination. Unfortunately we have not the reply to
the above letter. However, in a subsequent Latin letter
Rudman seems to have set his doubts at rest and removed
all scruples from the mind of the German Pietist on the

Dominie Abelius. 55

In his letter, dated October 4, 1703, Dominie Rudman
writes :

"Episcopal authority for consecrating churches, ordain-
ing, etc., has been granted me unreservedly by the bishop,
especially with reference to a contingency such as this.
This was done previously in Pennsylvania among the
Swedes by Rev. Laurentius Lock,'' who ordaind Avelius "
there, etc. Besides you know that in Holland, Lutherans
have no bishop, and are, therefore, inducted into the min-
istry by the vote of the presbyters. You should have no
doubt whatever, therefore, concerning the fact of which I
assure you, that, if you prefer to be subject to his protec-
tion and promotion, the Bishop of Sweden, as I certainly
know will transmit his confirmation."

Falckner's answer to this letter was evidently his consent
to receive the Swedish ordination and take charge of Rud-
man's flock in New York under certain conditions.

"Dom. Lars, Carlson Lock (Lockenius) came to America in time of
Gov. Printz, about 1648, d. 16SS. He served the congregation at Chris-
tina and Tinicum for about forty years.

"From the above note it would appear that there was a Lutheran ordi-
nation in Pennsylvania before that of Justus Falckner. There is, how-
ever, no record of any such ceremony having ever taken place. The only
mention of an ordination on the Delaware by another presb3rter is this allu-
sion in Dom. Rudman's letter, which the latter evidently learned from
hearsay. Dom. Lock died twelve years before Rudman's arrival in Amer-
ica. The person to whom the allusion reien, Avelius, was a Dutch student
by the name of Abelius Zetskoorn, also written Selskoorn, who came to this
country and for a time performed divine service at Sandhook. He went to
Manhattan with a recommendation to the Lutheran Congregation at that
place. Governor General Stuyvesant, to get rid of him, sent him to Dom-
inie Lars Lochenius on the Delaware, where it appears that he taught
school, took upon himself to baptize children, and on Whitsuntide 1663
was permitted to preach a sermon at Tinicum. Shortly afterwards he re-
turned to New York, where he appears to have ministered to the Dutch
Lutherans and appears in the records as Dominie Abelius. Dom. Berken-
meyer in his list of Lutheran pastors of Manhattan mentions him as Goet-
water's successor.


Dominie Justus Falckner.

%m \





Admonition from Dominie Biorck. 57

The church council at New York, under date of Octo-
ber 27, 1703, wrote him to come to New York and preach
a trial sermon. This was followed three days later by a
formal call from the congregation to serve them as pastor.

Justus Falckner acknowledged both letters under date of
November 3, 1703, accepting the call, but refused to come
on and preach a trial sermon. As the congregation did
not insist upon the trial sermon, Dominie Rudman forth-
with made arrangements to sever his connection with his
New York charge and returned to Philadelphia to complete
his arrangements for the proposed ordination at Gloria Dei
at Wicacoa.

In the meantime, while Justus Falckner was preparing
himself for his new position, he received the following
letter from Magister Biorck, the Swedish pastor at Holy
Trinity Church (Wilmington). It was dated Christiana,
Nov. 19, 1703 :

" Since the Omniscient has known best how to direct

your resistance and departure to a good end, and to the
welfare of many, as is now apparent, by permitting you,
indeed, to come hither to this American desert, not to carry
away the talent entrusted to you, but, rather, to multiply
it, that the Father of the household may receive his own
with profit, for which a desert place very frequently offers
the richest [reward], and, thus, you have unawares, as it
were fallen into that, which you had previously escaped ;
your departure to this province was your mission, and call-
ing from God. You sought a hiding-place ; but He from
whom no one can hide is now seeking to call thee thence.
Come forth then to the light and profit of the public. For


Dominie Justus Falckner.




Admonition from Dominie Bidj'ck.


nothing will be more pleasing to God, than for you to de-
vote your life to the common good, particularly of souls ;
Since one who desires to profit only himself, not only does
not double, much less multiply his talent, but who rather,
with the useless servant, digs under the earth, will, at last,
like him, pay a heavy penalty for his folly. We have been
born not for ourselves, but for others, especially for God
and his Church, and for which your services are needed
here, more than they could have been elsewhere in your
native land, you have been brought hither without thought
or intention on your part."

The Ordination at Gloria Dei.

November 24,
1703, marks the date of
the most noteworthy re-
ligious service ever held
within the consecrated
walls of the old Swedish
Lutheran Church, Gloria
Dei, at Wicacoa in Phila-
delphia.'^ Of the many-
solemn and festive oc-
casions which have taken
place within these ven-
erable walls, both under
its original Evangelical Lutheran tutelage or the modern
Protestant Episcopal regime, not a single one has attained

"The question is frequently asked, when and what brought about the
transfer of the Swedish Churches on the Delaware, from the Lutheran
to the Protestant Episcopal fold? The change was gradual, and one 0£




GLORIA DEI, A. D. 1903.




Transfer of Gloria Dei. 6i

successive steps in which the language question, Swedish and English,
was the chief factor.

The Swedish Lutheran Church, according to the unaltered Augs-
burg Confession, was established on the shores of the South or Delaware
river as early as 1638. The colonists as an old document informs us
" influenced by a desire to preserve among themselves and their posterity,
those principles of religion in which they had been instructed in their
native land, erected churches at various points for the public ministration
of God's word."

For one hundred and twenty-nine years these churches maintained
themselves without any local charters or civil interference. During Pro-
vost Wrangel's pastorate it was, however, found that under the laws of the
province, they could not receive or hold any legacies or pious bequests.
To overcome this defect, Wrangel applied to Thomas and Richard Penn,
then the Proprietaries for a charter, which was granted September 25,
1765, under the name of the Rector, Church Wardens and Vestrymen of the
Swedish Lutheran Churches of Wicaco, Kingsessing and upper Merion,
then the standard formulze for a church charter.

Twenty years later Rev. Dr. Collin had the charter amended, that
whereas, the Swedish language is almost extinct, the vestry shall in
future have the right to elect ministers to supply said churches provided
always, that the said Rector and other Ministers shall be in the Ministry
of the Lutheran or Protestant Episcopal Churches and hold their faith in

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Online LibraryJulius Friedrich SachseJustus Falckner, mystic and scholar, devout Pietist in Germany, hermit on the Wissahickon, missionary on the Hudson : a bi-centennial memorial of the first regular ordination of an orthodox pastor in → online text (page 3 of 9)