A Short History Of The Missionary Society At Hermannsburg, North Germany -- By: G. Haccius
BSac 45:177 (Jan 1888) p. 133
A Short History Of The Missionary Society At Hermannsburg, North Germany
The Hermannsburg missionary work is, to an almost unequalled degree, a personal one. Louis Harms, from whom this river of life flowed forth, was the chosen instrument of God. In his heart it rose by the Spirit of God, by his personality it was directed, and with the peculiar powers of his spiritual life it was filled. Its history, therefore, will not be intelligible without a glance at this man; and the early history of the Hermannsburg missionary work will be essentially his own early history.
Born in the period of Rationalism, on the fifth of May, 1808, at Walsrode, where his father, an earnest and estimable clergyman, was settled, he removed with his father, in 1817, to Hermannsburg, whither the latter had been transferred—a demoralized parish, in the midst of the Lüneburg Heath. Trained to labor and to control himself, to obey and to love the truth, he passed a favored childhood. He was characterized by great reverence, and by love for his home and village, by the fresh, courageous spirit of youth, and a frank, open nature. He studied with great industry, till 1824 at home, till 1827 at the Gymnasium in Celle, and then till 1830 at the University of Gottingen. Here he studied theology. Yet the lectures of the rationalistic professors did not satisfy him. He therefore sought to satisfy himself with philosophy, mathemathics, physics, and the study of lan-
BSac 45:177 (Jan 1888) p. 134
guage. Thus he studied Chaldee, Syriac, Sanscrit, etc. But his heart remained empty. Then the Lord stretched out his gracious hand towards him. “My teaching,” says the Saviour, “is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from myself.” So it was with Harms. That was his earnest effort. He strove with all his powers for a life of righteousness and purity; he desired to do God’s will. Therefore he was permitted to perceive that, in the Holy Scriptures, he had to do with the divine revelation, which was not given to be criticised by an unbelieving intellect, but to be received by a believing heart. As, one night, he read the seventeenth of John, the divine light shone bright and clear into his soul. He then had inner experience of the truth and the divine power of the gospel. That was the hour of his new birth. He searched the Bible now with renewed earnestness and an enlightened spirit, and, after a brilliant examination, entered, well prepared, upon life. He had acquired rich and varied knowledge, and the conspicuously talented youth had become the thoroughly educated minister. But, above all, he was a true believer, with the glow of the first love in his ...
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