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Monday, March 5, 2018

Fick #3: Walther exclaims: such a father! (Fick’s)

      This continues from Part 2 (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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      Walther took over a year after Fick died to research the details of this biography before he began publishing this account.  He took great care to bring us the intimate communications between father and son.  Walther gets at the heart of the Fick family, especially the father–son relationship. Young Fick will be headed for some rough times in his education in Germany, but we will also see what “a mighty fortress is our God”…
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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 from vol. 42, #14, p. 106.
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In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 3, cont'd from Part 2)

How powerfully the Spirit of God, after our Fick had been transferred to the Gymnasium at Ratzeburg in 1836 (called the Cathedral School), was now working on him who had matured to a boy not yet seventeen. We see this from a letter addressed to his father of December 1, 1838. In it he writes, among other things, as follows: “O my father! that Christ honored me for being a competent tool in his hands! It is this thought that occupies my soul, which I cherish, where I am. Oh! how must it be otherwise inside me that I should be worthy of it!  What follies and defects must I still discard, which faith, which love still win! But the grace of our LORD and the love of Jesus Christ will not spurn me, the poorest of all sinners. Certainly I am in my faith. O father! how can I not thank God enough that He opened my eyes for me at the right time! How could I have ever felt happy, if I had not been in the profession to which you and dear mother in prayer and supplication determined for me!  

When I'm always looking at the peelings and [page 106, col. 2] lost the very core of it. What more beautiful thoughts can my heart think of than that I should one day, even strong and vigorously through Jesus ​​Christ in the Gospel, spread and testify to it? So I wished to become a missionary, for I always thought of their profession as the most blessed and glorious of all. Yet I will gladly become a preacher of my fatherland, if this is more welcome to your wishes, for these are and must be worthy, sacred, and weighty in this, as in every other thing. O Father, what a delight rushes through me, to offer peace, inner peace of mind, once to stand there! How he does raise so abundantly and effusively all the other wishes that I have for my future life! O what heavenly pleasures are enjoyed already on earth by a faithful servant of Jesus ​​Christ! How joyfully will he renounce all earthly pleasures, when he is blessed with a believing and loving heart!
Yes, Father, that is what I desire, what I ask and pray for; but before I get to that, I would like to have to be quite different. Oh! if sometimes my heart is so cold, and all love seems to have completely left me, yes, then I often mourn very much, then I want to quarrel. When I look at my sins, as they often so often press me down, I would despair. But then I can recall the love that overcame death for me, which I deserved much more harshly and bitterly! O then I often feel light again and free of all oppressive awareness of guilt! Father! the Holy Ghost still has much to work in me, oh please, pray also as Paul also says: if one feels so weak, ask a strong one, that he pray for him, then it would probably be better. So, dear father, I have written to you what seemed to me the most important thing of all; I would not know how to write much else.” etc.
We must exclaim here: O happy father, who has such a son! But we must also add: And oh happy son, who has such a father, as our Fick had! He answered his son on what he had just said:O joy! Today salvation has come to my house!”.  To which the son replied immediately, namely on January 4, 1839: “Dear father, yes, I feel it, I have found the divine joy, and by giving you this find, the most beautiful of my life, the best of all my knowledge, I gave you an unspeakable joy.

And how else could it be? Is it not the most precious treasure that the earth can give to the mortal, which by the grace of God has also become to me? Am I not infinitely rich in that I have the One  in which to us here already everything what is a true peace and true blessedness and there the everlasting salvation is given? And how I am happy that I could give you pleasure in doing so. When I wrote to you of my discovery, how many other fathers would have quite indiscriminately been excluded!
Ah! I feel the terrible weakness of man without Christ: without Him, he does not know his powers — and falls.
Therefore it is my greatest request to the Lord, that He is with me in all things, that I never let Him out of my heart, that He will become the first I within me. [Gal. 2:20] For the man without Christ is a game of passions and evil desires, and his heart is only too open to the devil, who creeps around peering as it were and runs where he finds a bare place in the heart.”
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      We see that young Hermann Fick has a piety that "out-pietys" the Pietists, like the piety of his biographer Walther.
      Walther could not contain himself!... as he reports of a father's joy over his son's growing faith.  Walther would have all father's take note of this example!  Here is pastoral theology in action. What Christian father, while reading this, would not see failings in himself, and plead for God's mercy! What Christian, thinking perhaps of a family member who may have lost the faith or who is struggling with their faith, would not offer a prayer, while reading this narrative, for their loved one to the throne of Grace.— In the next Part 4

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