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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fick 14: Last days; Trowel, sword, staff laid down; Gone home

      This continues from Part 13 (Table of Contents in Part 1), publishing an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's biography of Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. —
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     It is sad for me to end this narrative by Walther, for it has brought me close to both him and “our unforgettable Fick”.  It was also sad for Walther that he could not be with Fick in his last days on this Earth.  But it was a Christian sadness, a sadness couched in the hope of eternal rest with all the saints.
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This translation by BackToLuther (BTL), taken from Der Lutheraner, Vol. 42, Nos. 14 (July 15, 1886) to 18 (September 15, 1886). All underlining is emphasis from original. All highlighting by BTL. — This portion:– vol. 42, #18, p. 138-139.
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In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 14, concluding from Part 13)

So now we have arrived at the last time of the life and work of our unforgettable Fick. The Boston air had not weakened him, but it wonderfully fortified, indeed, rejuvenated him. But the Lord quickly and unexpectedly, in the eventide of this true servant, took from his hands

●  the trowel of the faithful worker,
●  the sword of the faithful fighter and
●  the shepherd's staff of the faithful shepherd,

and brought him to eternal rest, the eternal celebration of victory, to eternal refreshment before his face, taken from the suffering and quarreling Church, but joined with the triumphant Church of all the crowned.
Unfortunately, we can not report on his last days and hours on the basis of our own views. So here we just repeat what Pastor König Sr. of New York in the Boston Lutheran Gazette [Lutherischen Anzeiger] of May 15, 1885 reports of this time:
He writes: “It was his ardent wish that he would die in his office. To lie fallow, to stand idle in the market as an invalid, was a terrible thought to him. The Lord has also fulfilled this wish of his faithful servant. On Sunday, Jubilate (April 26), he confirmed, preached in East Boston in the afternoon, and performed three baptisms. When he came home, he spoke what he was not otherwise in a habit to do: ‘Now I want to finish work’. The evening was there for him: it had been his last job. On Monday he complained of chest pain; pneumonia became more severe, and on Thursday morning [April 30, 1885] the Lord called his servant home. Let us look at his end! Until shortly before his death, he was in clear consciousness, happily ready to go home. To his wife’s question: “What should we say to the congregation?” he replied:
That they should remain faithful to Jesus.” Then he began to fantasize, and in the last hour, to the amazement of his followers, spoke alternately and repeatedly in Hebrew, Greek, and English:

‘Jesus alone!’ and then: ‘Jesus my righteousness!’ From this he fell asleep gently and quietly; a blissful smile of peace hovered for hours on the face of the faint-hearted. On Sunday afternoon the funeral ceremony took place. After Pastor Biewend had read the 23rd Psalm in the funeral home and had spoken a prayer, the undersigned in the overfull church gave the memorial speech on the basis of the word: 'Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ (Matthew 25:23). Pastor Koren (from the Norwegian sister congregation) *) spoke
*) Pastor Koren jun. in Boston, in his first message, writes of the blessed death of the deceased for Der Lutheraner: “I only knew the splendid man for a year, but he was already like a father to me.” [Der Lutheraner, vol 41, May 15, 1885, p. 78 , col. 2; text here]

then some poignant words in English. At the graveside Pastor Biewend read the beautiful last poem of the deceased: ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ etc. (See Der Lutheraner No. 8, April 15, 1885.) [Text file here; editable]  and consecrated the corpse of the dear one.” So far, Pastor König.
But we ourselves know of no other words to close here than those with which we concluded the “Provisional Death Notice” in the Der Lutheraner of May 15, 1885: “With him,
● our Lutheran Church in this time of general decline loses one of its most loyal sons and its most lovely singers,
●  our Synod loses one of the most beautiful ornaments of its Ministry,
●  true Christians lose one of their most amiable models,
● his friends, of whom this writer counts himself, lose a Jonathan, to whom they all will certainly beckon with David: ‘I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.’ (2 Samuel 1:26)
The triumphant Church of the Elect, however, undoubtedly wins for it
a new star, which will shine like the glory of heaven forever and ever. (Dan 12:3)”
All we need to add here is that our Fick does not need a monument set by friends; he, the man with a humble heart of pure gold, without wanting it, by God's grace has set himself a monument with his writings that will receive his blessed memory, at least in the orthodox Church of America, up to what we hope will certainly be near the End of the Days.
Lord Jesus, “stay with us; for it will be evening, and the day has been spent.” Our soul must die of the death of that righteous one, and our end shall be like That End. Hallelujah! Amen!    W.
- - - - - - - - - - -  The End; ●  Part 15 - Epilogue: Fick's Last Poem  - - - - - - - - - - - -

      Along with his ‘unforgettable’ Fick, there was another man, his ‘opponent’ in the Altenburg Debate Adolph Marbach, whom Walther ached to be with in his ‘last hours’, (see ltr from Zurich transl. by C.S. Meyer, p. 649): “Already on the day before my return, on Wednesday the 6th of June (1860), my closest friend in my old fatherland fell asleep quietly as a confessor of Christ, the only Hope of his soul.”
      Dear God! How honored I am to have brought Walther’s glorious account and counsel from the life of “Our Unforgettable Fick”.  And so it then happened that this ending should occur on the eve of the greatest Christian festival of all – Easter, for I would erect another monument to “Our Fick” as I publish his last poem in translation – in the Epilogue to this series, the last Part 15.
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[In the following “Read more »” section is my English translation of the full notice of Hermann Fick's passing in Der Lutheraner.  Translation by BackToLuther from Der Lutheraner, vol 41, May 15, 1885, p. 78 , col. 2.]
The following is my English translation of the full notice of Hermann Fick's passing in Der Lutheraner.  Translation by BackToLuther from Der Lutheraner, vol 41, May 15, 1885, p. 78 , col. 2.
Provisional death notice.

We have just received from the Norwegian Lutheran pastor J. Koren jun. the following heart-shattering grief notice: “Boston, April 30, 1885. Pastor Fick’s wife has asked me to inform you that the beloved, dear Pastor Fick, this morning after a sickness of only three days, has gently and blessedly fallen asleep in the faith of his Savior. The wish he himself so often made is fulfilled: he died in his office. Last Sunday morning he still had confirmation in his own church and in the afternoon he preached in East Boston. On Monday he was seriously ill with pneumonia. He kept his consciousness until the last hour. When his wife asked him, just before death came, ‘What should we say to the church?’ he answered: ‘That she remains true.’ His office and his church was the highest in this world. May the dear God, who has taken this glorious man, give to the church again such a faithful shepherd! I only knew him for half a year, but he was like a father to me.” – With him is lost from
●  our Lutheran Church in this time of general apostasy one of her most loyal sons and her loveliest singers,
●  our Synod one of the most beautiful adornments of her Ministry,
●  the true Christians of one of their most gracious patterns,

●  his friends, to whom even this writer himself had been able to count this great fortune, a Jonathan, whom they certainly all will call with David: “I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan: very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.” (2 Sam. 1:26)

But the triumphant Church of the elect  undoubtedly wins with it
a new star, which shall shine as the brightness of the firmament forever and ever. (Dan 12: 3)   W.

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