Search This Blog

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Fick 6: Restored– humble, secluded home; America!

      This continues from Part 5 (Table of Contents in Part 1), publishing an English translation of C.F.W. Walther's biography of Pastor C.J. Hermann Fick. —
- - - - - - - - - - - -
      Although Fick's faith was seriously assailed at university, Walther traces how God worked in his life to keep the flame from being extinguished.  Fick did not throw off his faith completely, as I did.  And so as God pulled me out of complete disaster, so He worked in Fick's life.  And who better to describe how God works, than C.F.W. Walther?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
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, #15, 16, p. 114; 121.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
In Memory of Our Unforgettable Fick.
(by C.F.W. Walther; Part 6, cont'd from Part 5)

In so great a danger now was our Fick in Göttingen to lose his crown, so there is no doubt that although there his knowledge was very clouded and his faith was greatly weakened, that the faithful God has saved him from losing the cause of salvation altogether. By the grace of God he left the University in 1844, after three years of study, as a poor sinner who sought salvation alone in his Savior. He became in the same year a tutor at the house of his former teacher Pastor Arndt in Schlagsdorf in Mecklenburg, and just in this humble and secluded position, he was restored to faith by God's gracious governance. The instruction which he had to give to a [page 114, col. 2] whole circle of Christian-educated children in God's Word, especially through the catechism, led him back to his original simplicity of faith. He also soon realized for himself what God intended with him in Schlagsdorf. Already in his first letter from Schlagsdorf on July 3, 1844, he wrote to his father: “On the whole, I believe that my present situation is a salutary discipline for me, first of all through the work of the profession itself, which the more faithfully done, the more blessing it gives. Then the externally limited situation also teaches humility; I recognize more and more my nothingness to have everything in God. So, I hope, this time is a quiet time of inner recovery and recovery of body and soul.” This becomes quite clear from the following: In the letter just quoted above he had written:
“In the Lauenburg Consistorium” (at whose head then the excellent Superintendent [C.F.W.] Catenhusen) [see DL10, 115 f.] , “the strictly Lutheran tendency prevails such that recently a candidate only got a job on the condition that he renounced participation in the” (unionistic) “North German Missionary Society [Presbyterian]. You can think of how this direction grieves me.”  But after three months, our Fick was completely different. The aforementioned missionary society asked if he was willing to be sent by them as a missionary to the East Indies. His Lutheran faith now prevented him from saying yes.
He therefore wrote to his father on October 5, 1844: “I recognize in the Lutheran Church alone the true continuation of the apostolic church, its confession is also my confession, I am in a word Lutheran and so I can only as such be sent out with a good conscience.”
From a letter of Fick to his father of March 5, 1845, we conclude that at this time the well-known writing of our dear blessed Pastor [F.C.D.] Wyneken sen. must have come into his hands: The distress of the German Lutherans in North America. [German version]  This letter seems to have made such a deep impression on our Fick that he soon gave up all other plans.  He writes: “As my goal, I now recognize North America, where the plight of the brothers in faith and preachers of the Gospel is a crying one. I do not think that parting from you is an easy play, but the life of my poor soul pushes me to where I find the joys of life. I ask for your blessing, my father, to secure your Yea and Amen to my plan to go to America, for I must now soon take the preliminary steps to contact a society.”
As firm as our Fick was determined to serve the Lutheran Church here, he considered it his duty not to give up his private tutor's profession suddenly; indeed, the nearer the time of separation came, the harder it became for him. “For the sake of the children,” he wrote on December 27, 1845, “I could stay here for years to come, so sweet are they to me, and I have so much joy in them. “My heart breaks, when I think of it she must leave, but comfort me that no one can tear her out of God's hand.”
Fick then found out that district authority Baron Friedrich von Maltzan, hereditary land marshal of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a man of burning zeal for the kingdom of God, a truly noble personality, undoubtedly also inspired by Wyneken's account of the sad condition [page 114, col. 3] of the American Lutheran Church, submitted a scholarship for such candidates who have been willing to be specially prepared as American-Lutheran preachers. Thus, Fick turned to his highly esteemed patron Superintendent Catenhusen in Ratzeburg with the request to recommend him and his friend [A.G.G.] Francke to the Baron for the grant of that scholarship. The consequence of this was that Fick could write to his father on March 9, 1846: “Yesterday I learned from Superintendent Catenhusen by a letter from the Baron  von Maltzan that the same would be willing to support the work of the Lord which, as he says, sees instructed in us. He says of us: Hanover gave birth to us, Lauenburg raised us, Franconia” (in Loehe's institute) “will prepare us, and Mecklenburg will equip us with earthly means.”
So Fick and Francke set out for Neuendettelsau to receive the last preparation for the American ministry through [Wilhelm] Loehe (Löhe). On May 18, they arrived there. Loehe's personality impressed them as deeply as it gave them confidence. But after Loehe had introduced the two young men, who were highly enthusiastic for their profession, to the American Church circumstances, he expressed his opinion that it would be the best if, without any more theoretical preparation, they would go on in God's name to practice in America.  On September 3, 1846, they boarded the ship “Amazon” in Bremen, accompanied by Wolter, in order to head to the new home.  
In a short writing, while Fick was on board the ship  on September 7th that he gave the pilot for delivery to his father, he wrote: “No more land, only on the extreme horizon a narrow strip, which tells me where Germany lies. Farewell, my fatherland! Thank you for everything you have done to me, God be merciful to you and bless also the new home, which will soon take me into its bosom. My dear father, pray for me that everything works out well for me! Farewell your Hermann.”

[page 121, col. 1]
The journey of our Fick and his companions across the ocean was a very happy one under the protection of God. Already on the 12th of November, 1846, they all arrived safely at Fort Wayne. Here the three fresh, glowing young men, not only equally knowledgeable and equally gifted, but also lively in faith, and eager to serve the Lord, were received with great joy by the blessed Dr. [Wilhelm] Sihler, who had just celebrated his birthday. Only a few days after his arrival, Wolter took up the position of professor at the already existing so-called practical seminary, for which he had already been appointed from Germany. [2018-03-18: replaced pic of Sihler]

- - - - - - - - - - -  continued in Part 7  - - - - - - - - - - - -

Young Fick's Prayer for Germany… and America:
“Farewell, my fatherland! Thank you for everything you have done to me, God be merciful to you and bless also the new home, which will soon take me into its bosom.”
Thank You Germany!… for sending C.J. Hermann Fick. —  This story is far from over.  In the next Part 7

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments only accepted when directly related to the post.