Friedrich Konrad [Conrad] Dietrich Wyneken,
An Evangelist among the Lutherans of North America.*
by J. C. W. Lindemann
1. The Missionary.
yneken came to America in summer 1838. In his native country, he had read in missionary journals that the German Lutherans in this country found themselves in great spiritual need — that many of them had neither pastors nor schoolteachers, their children were not baptized nor instructed, they never heard a Lutheran sermon and were not able to partake of Holy Communion, and that they became prey in great number to Methodists and other enthusiasts.
This great distress moved his heart, for he had experienced for himself how wretched it is for the one who doesn’t posses God’s Word and doesn’t know the Savior Jesus, compared to how fortunate he is who through faith has attained peace with God and the forgiveness of sins and is comforted daily by the Gospel. He had tasted and experienced God’s love in Christ Jesus; it in turn had ignited love in his heart, and this fervent love for his Savior impelled him now to leave his aged mother, his brothers and sisters, a comfortable life and magnificent prospects, in order to lovingly serve the spiritually neglected German Lutherans far away.
Wyneken at that time was 28 years old — he was born on May 13, 1810 — and, in this regard, was splendidly suited to pursue the difficult and strenuous missionary work among the Germans of North America. God had given him a powerful body, in which resided a vigorous and lively spirit. And he was not only endowed with a bright mind, but also with a strong will, so that presence of mind, a ready glance (rascher Blick), courage and determination stood out as distinguished traits. Yet, Wyneken had learned something fitting. Namely, after he had completed secondary school (Gymnasium) in his hometown Verden, he had studied theology in Göttingen and Halle. He certainly had absorbed very little about true theology, but he at least learned much that he could utilize excellently in the service of Christ when He drew him to the Father and filled him with holy missionary zeal. Having mastered English already, came in especially handy.
Already in Halle, he was pointed toward Jesus by Professor A. Tholuck, but when he became a private tutor at an official’s household after completion of his university studies, he had only advanced so very little in the right understanding of salvation, that he, in instructing the boys entrusted to him, first began sacred history with the Books of the Maccabees. Only in the home of pastor and councilor of the consistory von Hanfstengel, into which he entered a little later on also as a private tutor, he got to know Jesus and the way of salvation more fully. Now he turned completely away from the world with a determination particular to him and sought in all seriousness to follow his Savior on the narrow way. As private tutor, as educator of an aristocratic boy with whom he traveled through a part of France and Italy, and as temporary rector of the Latin school at Bremervörde, he had multiple opportunities to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and to confess his faith. It was the Bible from which he now learned true theology, through which the Holy Spirit made him into a proper theologian or man of God.
How solidly Wyneken was grounded in his faith at that time, how decidedly he confessed the same, is demonstrated very nicely by his conduct at the examination as candidate [for the ministry] which he had to pass not long before his departure to America.
The unbelieving councilor of the consistory M., to whom Wyneken’s determined Christianity was well known, had selected the doctrine about miracles, in order to test his knowledge and to embarrass him. He introduced the examination perhaps with the following words: “As is well known, miracles no longer occur nowadays. It only remains to be asked, if there really were miracles in former times or not.” He then asked Wyneken: “What do you say to that?”
Wyneken replied without further reflection: “God is a God Who does miracles daily and I am astonished that you, sir, question this.”
Surprised by this answer, M. asked further: “But you know, however, what Spinoza has written about this matter?”
Wyneken answered with friendly demeanor and steady tone: “Indeed, of what concern to you and me is that which this atheistic Jew speculates about! The Scriptures, the Scriptures, Mr. Councilor!”
The important spiritual gentleman had never heard of such boldness, especially since the wretched candidates otherwise were wont to sooner tremble than to contradict. He jumped up from his chair and brought forth a number of seeming proofs which were to justify his views.
When Wyneken was allowed to speak again, he, likewise, flared up, jumped up also and refuted eloquently, whatever the former had advanced.
Thus the examination turned into a disputation, to the great astonishment of the gentlemen at the green table and of the listeners gathered in the anteroom. The most remarkable thing, however, was that the modesty and amiability as well as the good humor of the candidate, which became apparent throughout all his undaunted contradicting, had won the heart of the examiner, so that he praised him publicly and gave him the grade of first-class.
This determined confessor of simple Bible faith then came to America in order to gather the scattered children of his church. A candidate by the name of C. W. Wolf accompanied him, who, no doubt, came with the same intention, of whom, however, only little is yet to be said.
It was the sincerely devout and most kind Captain Stürje who brought our dear Wyneken across the Atlantic Ocean and who put him ashore in Baltimore. This cherished man also had a heart for the American church, and he brought her a precious gift in his eager-to-do-mission passenger, who also preached to him and to his crew at sea.
Wyneken is completely unknown in Baltimore. He knows neither the name of a pastor nor that of any other man where he could have gathered information. He finds people after prolonged searching who claim that they are “Lutheran.” They take him to their worship service, but everything in it is so strange and peculiar. He is asked to preach a sermon and he complies with the request. “Brother Numsen” then calls upon him to lead a prayer meeting. Wyneken is willing to do that, too. He has them sing a hymn, reads a Scripture passage and then says a prayer. During the latter, the people start to moan and groan; soon, “Amen, Amen” is being cried out in hair-raising tones now in this corner, now in that one. Then, they sing again as Wyneken has never heard it before; the people start to rollick and are more and more noisy. The prayer hour is finally over. Numsen steps up to the highly astonished stranger and asks unctuously: “Well, Brother Wyneken, how did you like it?” He, however, answers briefly and bluntly: “I don’t know whether it is from God or from the devil! Lutheran it is certainly not!” – Now he had lost favor with the pious Methodists, for he had happened upon those – the so-called Otterbeinians -- and they had passed themselves off as Lutherans, in order “to convert” a Lutheran pastor, if possible.
Wyneken now wanders through the streets of Baltimore and searches for other Lutheran churches. He asks a German, whom he meets, if he wouldn’t know where a Lutheran pastor lives. He directs him and his colleague Wolf to Pastor Joh. Häsbärt [Haesbaert], who several years earlier had established the Second German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul’s Congregation. Its members had left the older Zion Congregation, because its Pastor Scheib preached the most deplorable rationalism and was protected and supported by the richest and most respected members. Pastor Häsbärt and his congregation thought at that time that they were true Lutherans, but they actually adhered to unionism. Lutherans and Reformed principally belonged to the congregation; and at the administration of the Holy Supper, the communicants were also served bread on a plate next to the hosts, so that everyone could choose to one or the other according to one’s pleasure.
When they arrive at Häsbärt’s house, Wyneken and Wolf explain that they are missionaries and that they have set out to seek out German Lutherans in the West and to gather them into congregations.
H. looked at them with suspicion, for then already there were many religious tramps, who, under the pretext of trying to help the people, sought only money and slothful days. He asks, where they were staying. They answer: “At Pastor Rossel’s.”
“Indeed,” says Häsbärt angrily, “he is a Methodist!” He didn’t like Methodists, for they had deceitfully stolen many a member of his congregation.
Wyneken says, he didn’t know that; they are strangers in this country; if he would make allowance for having taken lodgings at the Methodists out of ignorance.
Häsbärt likes his sincere and friendly appearance; his heart goes out to the strangers and has them stay with him. The next Sunday, Wolf preaches at St. Paul’s Church. In the following week, H. gets sick and asks Wyneken to stay with him until he recovers. However, the recovery is delayed. H. has to leave the city and moves to the country in order to get the needed rest. Wyneken takes care of the congregation in the meanwhile, for about six weeks, and visits the ill pastor frequently. Both get to know each other better and become friends, feeling kindly towards each other in brotherly love.
When Häsbärt is able to administer his duties again, he lets the new friend leave unwillingly. But Wyneken wanted and had to leave to begin his mission work before the start of inclement fall weather. H. says to him: “You are not to travel to the West on your own. I am writing to the mission committee of the Synod of Pennsylvania [executive board of the Mission Society of the Pennsylvania Ministerium]; it shall send you as its missionary.” He did that, and soon, Wyneken received the commission to go to Indiana to locate the scattered German “Protestants,” to preach to them, when possible, to gather them into congregations.
But before we accompany him on his missionary journey, we have to ask in all fairness: How could the Lutheran Wyneken serve the congregation in Baltimore which after all was in fact a union congregation?
He received no knowledge of the customary communion practice there. As long as H. was ill, the sacrament was not administered. Thus Wyneken saw nothing that could have offended his Lutheran conscience and that could have indicated the true spiritual position of the congregation. In addition, in no way had he at that time a clear understanding of the Lutheran doctrine in every respect; he had many an erroneous idea in his head and some particular fanaticism in his heart. His mind was then not focused so earnestly on the pure doctrine and on uniformity of doctrine; therefore, it could easily happen that in the intercourse with Häsbärt it escaped him where and to what extent H. wasn’t fully Lutheran. The times were different then as today. In those days many a one considered himself a good Lutheran, whom one could now hardly let pass as such. In comparison to many others, yes indeed, with all pastors in America of that time who called themselves Lutheran, Wyneken possessed a good understanding of God’s Word; but, naturally, he was missing much yet if one applies the right standard.
This must be said here, partly because it is altogether true, partly because neither the man nor his conduct could be understood properly. Only little by little, by the grace of God, has he worked his way out of his wrong perceptions and extricated himself from his sentiment-based Christianity of that period.
That’s why he later had great patience with the erring ones, as long as he could assume that they were sincere; and when he decidedly opposed the Methodists and other enthusiasts not only verbally but also in writing, he was very reluctant to judge the person, and confess humbly I was stuck a long time in this swindling disposition and know how hard it is to get out from it.” (Lutherische Kirchenzeitung, Vol. VI, p. 86, column 3)
But Wyneken was an upright and honest man through and through at that time already. He knew no pretense and hated all lies sincerely. He was, as already said, not free of many errors in doctrine, but he held these errors as truth, and he would have discarded them immediately, if there would have been a brother who would have convinced him of something better.
Integrity was a dominant trait of our missionary. Besides his speech, thought and action was sanctified by Christ’s love, transfigured, as it were. He associated with everyone frankly, cheerfully and amiably.
In September 1838, Wyneken began his missionary journey. He was able to use the railroad and then the canal until Pittsburg†. He bought a horse in Zelienople “and then trotted sprightly and chipper through the wooded country.” – Several weeks later, he wrote about his journey: “It has had for me, as a stranger to riding and such roads through the bush, many a difficulty, but also much that was pleasing, namely, when I was invigorated by a Christian brother. Although I was not to start my missionary activity in Ohio, I was compelled to by chance, as the world puts it, in Allen and Putnam Counties. Since several German settlements there had not heard any sermons for years, and entreated me in tears to remain with them for a while. I stayed in the two settlements for a week, preached every day and one time twice on as day; confirmed a young husband who had received instruction, but had not partaken of the Lord’s Supper, baptized thirteen children (ten of them at one time, mostly quite grown up already), a mother of two children and a grown girl of eighteen years, upon whom the grace of God seems to have especially taken effect. The people were so delighted to once again receive the Word and the Bread of Life that I couldn’t thank the Lord enough for His love in bringing me such hungry hearts immediately at the beginning of my official activity.”
According to his commission, he then went to Decatur in Adams County, Ind. He wanted to seek out the neighboring Germans from there. He meets an American in the bush whom he asks about the Germans, and who finds out from Wyneken what he is doing among them, why he came to this country, etc. The American says then: “If you are an upright pastor go into the house there; a man is very sick inside. But if you are like most of those who come from Germany then go over there to the rich carrier!”
“Then I rather go first to the one who is sick,” replied Wyneken; and entered Löffler’s house.
The husband was very sick. When the wife heard that he was a pastor, she said to him: “Well, you should have stayed in Germany!”
Wyneken asks then how her then how her husband was.
She replies: “Alas, he doesn’t hear or see anything; you can’t do anything with him anymore.”
But that doesn’t deter him to talk with the ill man. He sits next to him, says several consolatory Scripture texts into his ear and then also prays for him aloud.
Thus Wyneken made his appearance as a missionary!
Later after he had recovered again, Löffler acknowledged that he had understood every word and was amply blessed.
At Löffler’s house, Wyneken asked about other German settlers. They direct him to “old Buuck” as one who thought highly of the church and pastors. – Wyneken sets out.
About fifteen miles from town he meets a small girl in the bush. He stops and says [in Low German]: “My little girl, can you tell me where father Buuck lives?” — From the eyes of the child, who at first looks at the man with some apprehension, a ray of joy suddenly shines forth. “O, yes,” she replies cheerfully [also in Low German], that’s my father.” The child — it was Luise — then takes the stranger to the house and “Father Buuck” cordially welcomes the man who wants to bring the Word of God not only to him but all neighbors far and wide.
Wyneken never forgot the warm reception that he received from Buuck. That was his home, as often as he came out to “dear Adams County.”
A small so-called Lutheran congregation existed there then already. The same was also the case in Fort Wayne, which was only a very small town at that time. Till now, both congregations were served by Pastor J. Huber [Jesse Hoover], a Pennsylvania German, who had died not long before Wyneken’s arrival. The latter proceeded directly to Fort Wayne, visited the members of the congregation there and was immediately asked to stay with them.
Wyneken wrote a letter to Pastor Häsbärt on October 1st from Fort Wayne:
“I arrived here in Fort Wayne a week ago, have preached here and in two neighboring settlements five times already, have baptized and preached funeral sermons, and now the people would like to keep me. . . . I have said to the church council of the local congregation, they should write to the acting committee of your society; but I move on tomorrow and will be back again in four weeks, in order to find the reply [to the letter] here. I will gladly do the Lord’s will, and may He now guide the heart of the committee however He will. I am satisfied with everything, as long as I know for certain, that wherever I work, I work according to the Lord’s will.”
Wyneken started his first greater missionary journey on October 2nd. From Fort Wayne he first went “into the western part of the state of Ohio;” form there “northwesterly until Michigan City;” he then turned “back again into the area of South Bend (to St. Josephs City and Elkhart), Ind.;” from there he turned south and went “till Crawfordsville, Montgomery Co., Ind.;” from there, he took the road “through Clinton County” and marched “back along the Wabash to fort Wayne,” where he arrived again on November 16th. He had met many Germans abandoned by the church, had encouraged the formation of congregations at several places and promised help, if it pleases God.
Three weeks before Christmas (1838), the missionary, ablaze with love, wanted to undertake the second missionary journey, only his horse and Mr. Rudisill’s horse, too, were lame, so that it couldn’t happen. On January 2, 1839, he nevertheless left in order to visit the congregations near South Bend and Elkhart and in Mottville. He tells about this journey: “I had to lead my horse even on the first day and had to complete the remaining journey on foot. The traveling on foot on the slippery roads, the great hurry in addition, because at many places church services had been requested, on top of that, the preaching, made me so sick, that I was laid up two miles beyond Elkhart, and I could visit neither the congregation on the Harris Prairie nor the one yet to be formed. I regretted it tremendously; but what was I to do, since I was expected at a certain time in Fort Wayne, in Benton and another town not far from Wolf Lake, and, although I didn’t feel completely better again, had to return home?”
After he had returned, he wrote on January 25th to Pastor Friedrich Schmidt, the editor of the Luth. Kirchenzeitung:
“I believe the only way to accomplish anything properly in the vineyard of the Lord, is exactly this, to place missionaries in smaller circuits. The General Synod should make an appeal someday to the Lutheran congregations. It is certainly not right that two thousand churches and probably even more congregations cannot support more missionaries. These mere excursions and skirmishes upon the territory of Satan, I fear, help basically very little; we have to gain a proper firm foothold and take the land away from the devil step by step and send advanced guards ahead of the occupied land. Since we are lacking champions of Christ here, I am thoroughly convinced that a proper appeal to the German brothers in Europe, particularly to the mission societies (for the consistories don’t always have the right sort [of men] available), would put enough warriors into our gaps. Now, may the Lord help; one must only put the need upon Him in fervent prayer, or, as old Luther says, throw the beggar’s sack before His feet, thus the church will surely be helped. Thank God, that she at least has awakened and started to stir and to rub her eyes; she will then also one day look about herself and realize what has happened to her in her sleep; she will be ashamed form the inside to the outside. It is well that the Lord lives and reigns and does not sleep nor slumber, the faithful Shepherd of Israel.”
Wyneken shall tell us something in his own words about what kind of experiences he had on his missionary journeys. He reports in the booklet still worth reading, “Die Not der deutschen Lutheraner in Nordamerika” [“The Distress of German Lutherans in North America”]: “After I once was riding around during continuous rain and storm in order to visit a settlement in the Far West of which I had heard, I finally met a man with a rifle over his arm around noon; he was a German. I made my calling as missionary of the Pennsylvania Synod known to him, and that I was willing to preach in the neighborhood. The man was very glad to hear a German Lutheran preacher after seven years; he was also pleased with regard to his children who weren’t baptized. But when I asked him to inform the neighbors living scattered about in the woods that they should meet in his house, I found out that it was too wet in the bush for the hunter who had just come out of the bush. When I insisted, he had no time, although the next hut was hardly half an hour away; he directed me to a house on the road. The mother with six or seven children, small and large, came to the door; the same joy, the same request, the same answer; ‘but a hundred paces farther should be her husband cutting wood.’ I rode there; he hardly looked up from his work and had just as little time, and I, because I couldn’t even find anyone who would have shown me the way, Had to pass by a settlement which didn’t have a sermon or the sacraments for seven years! A hamburger, whom I found working in front of his house soon after, went calmly into the house with a ‘So,’ when he heard why I had come; he left me standing outside in the rain. In one town on the Wabash Canal, I had to get the men out of saloons, which I managed to do only after lengthy talking back and forth, although most among them had never heard a German sermon as long as they were in America and didn’t understand English.
“Often I had to baptize twelve or more children of different ages, often from ten to twelve years, at one time. . . . In a settlement to which ,as the world says, I only came to by chance, I took pleasure indeed in baptizing a mother of forty years, after her husband brought his two children, because she implored me in tears. . . . I also baptized a young girl of eighteen years in the same settlement, who was devout in the Lord, but who didn’t know the importance of baptism and who never found the opportunity for it.
“In the circuit that I served, I had two organized congregations which pretty much took up my time; nevertheless, due to the many requests, I couldn’t refrain from also preaching at other settlements on weekdays. I couldn’t accept them as congregations, partly because heathen ignorance prevailed among them which had to be overcome first, partly because I wasn’t able to assure the particular ministry (Seelsorge) among them for lack of time. One of these settlements consisted of a married couple who was confirmed, but the wife could read only a little, the husband not at all; further, of three or four unbaptized married daughters, a son of twelve years, at least twelve younger children and grandchildren of sixteen years and under. Not a single one of the children and grandchildren could read. Although I preached there at least every three weeks, and also talked to them after the sermon about the way of salvation, I nevertheless couldn’t find the time to instruct them, and thus I had to see an entire settlement with its descendants lapse into heathenism in front of my eyes without being able to help. At another settlement live at least sixteen Pennsylvania German families, who were baptized yet in Pennsylvania, who with their children and grandchildren, however, have now visibly lapsed into heathenism for want of instruction. Likewise, three other settlements where the parents in part were not being baptized, others were not confirmed, and although the parents asked me in tears to come in order to prepare their children, even the married ones, for Holy Supper through instruction, I had to refuse likewise in tears and could only promise to visit them now and then, and to point to prayer for help from Germany.”
That’s how it was at that time concerning the religious conditions of the Germans in northern Indiana — Wyneken had such experiences on his uninterrupted continuous missionary journeys. He saw unspeakable spiritual need during them, but he did not preach in vain. He became a rescuing messenger of God for many, and even today hundreds of fathers and mothers in Allen, Adams, Noble, Kendall, Whitley, and Marshall Counties remember the fearless, kind man, who shunned neither bad weather nor bad roads to proclaim the Good News of Christ; who incessantly became poorer in order to make them rich; who suffered the greatest inconveniences and nuisances, in order to bring them peace with God.
The Mission Committee of the Pennsylvania Synod granted his request indeed, it released him from its service and permitted him to serve the congregations in Fort Wayne as a called pastor, but it demanded from them, “they had to permit him to visit the members of our Church scattered in the surrounding areas from time to time, and even if they live forty or fifty miles away.” Such a stipulation was not necessary for Wyneken; he remained a missionary now as before; only he was now relieved of the duty to constantly wander from place to place.
Neither a church nor a parsonage existed in Fort Wayne. The miller Rudisill welcomed the pastor as a guest into his house as often as he came to town, and even furnished him his own room; and this the long-since deceased upright man did for two years.
The preaching at that time was done at various places according to if one or the other was willing to accommodate the meeting. Naturally, Wyneken also gave instruction to his confirmands; but often they gathered about him without having known where he was to find a place to sit with them. His tiny room at Rudisill’s house was much too small, also unsuited for it otherwise. He stood with the children in the rain at times and then searched for a dry spot. Kind neighbors invited him occasionally unasked to come into their house at times like this.
However, Father Buuck provided a house for the missionary after some time. Today there aren’t any parsonages like this one! It has now long disappeared; but he who is writing this has seen it; and the fortunate occupant has repeatedly described the furnishings, which it had at that time to him.
It was a small log cabin, perhaps eight or ten feet wide. The cracks between the logs were plugged only with moss, and the floor, consisting of tree trunks, was rough and uneven. There was no window, that’s why the door had to necessarily remain open when the pastor wanted to study, read or write.
And now the interior furnishings! A roughly constructed bedstead with a straw mattress and some bedding on it stood in one corner. The only table and the only chair were of similar construction. They were sawed out of two tree trunks; the table was a higher and larger log, the chair a smaller round one without any finishing or art. The luxury of a mirror was out of the question. When Wyneken wanted to shave, he looked at the door, or at the most, into a basin of clear water.
And in that house the dear man has experienced very happy hours! But he was very seldom to be found in it, for his calling obliged him to cross over field and woods, in order to locate the German settlements and to bring the Gospel to the children of his people. That was an extremely difficult and exerting task at that time, since hardly a beginning of good roads existed; the settlers until then were only concerned with providing the indispensable bread.
Often he traveled by night, lost his way and had to entrust himself to his horse in order to get back to people again. That was no hardship for him then; he suffered it gladly, because it was part of his calling as missionary.
Once when he was on a missionary journey, he lost his way in the woods. It got to be night; he was unable to distinguish anything and had to resign himself to his horse. Suddenly it stops. He urges it on, but the otherwise obedient horse doesn’t take one step forward. He is convinced that the animal has discovered an obstacle in the road; however, he can’t discern the nature of it. In the hope that people might live nearby, he begins to call out loud. After several minutes he hears a door open fairly close-by and a light appears across from him. He sees now that he is standing on the shore of a millpond; one more step of the horse would have thrown him into the waves! The man holding the light asks what was desired; and when Wyneken makes him understand his situation, the man unties a boat and rows over and takes up the lost one while the horse has to swim alongside. He remains sitting in the mill over night; the miller shows him the way the next morning.
One time he had gone out on foot. It got dark, but he thought he was still going in the right direction. Suddenly he is standing by a flooded plain, but logs are lying in the water, and he, being sure of the direction, hopes to be able to reach his destination if he jumps form log to log. He tries it; it works for a while; but soon he is convinced that the tree trunks are not lying on the bottom, but are floating. He doesn’t want to go back however, although it has gotten completely dark. He now sees a very large trunk nearby and others beyond it, which will take him to dry land again. He dares to take the jump, and sure enough, he is standing on the large log, but the thrust puts it in motion, and when Wyneken looks about, no other trunk is to be reached anymore. He has no choice but to hold out until rescue presents itself. In order not to falloff, he lies on the tree on his stomach and lets his arms and legs hang down sideways. Being very fatigued, he falls asleep soon and only the beginning day awakens him again. He now manages to escape the swamp and to reach his destination.
When the settlers, who had already gotten to know him, saw him approaching from afar, they greeted him joyfully, congregated about him, and listened desirously to his comprehensible, heartfelt, lively sermon. Time permitting, several hours were also dedicated to conversation, possibly in Low German idiom. He knew how to talk brilliantly, to old and young, men and women, about cows and pigs, about corn and potatoes, and yet always knew how to spice up his language. He associated with the people in the most simple and jovial manner, however always remaining the pastor.
The children, too, liked him, because he dealt with them in a childlike manner. Once he preached at the house of old Fülling. Wyneken stood in front of the table which had to serve as altar, turned his back to it and ardently proclaimed God’s grace to the Fülling people and their neighbors. A little girl climbs unnoticed by him on a chair, from the chair onto the table, and at once embraces the neck of the preacher with her tiny arms and snuggles up to him. The parents had certainly noticed that the child had climbed onto the table, but had not anticipated her intention and didn’t want to interrupt.
Wyneken sought to keep a proper black suit for church use, but which displayed most at the time many a sign of increasing age or of life in the bush. On his travels he wore whatever he called his own at the moment, no matter what color it might be or what fashion it might have originated from. During rainy weather he wore the following: the upper part of the body was covered by a cape of green cloth or fleece and the legs were in yellow trousers.
He had acquired these yellow trousers in the following manner. In the neighboring small town of Decatur, he visited the store of a Catholic man who was a drunkard, to buy various things. The man is just then measuring a piece of yellow material, the so-called “English leather,” for someone else. Wyneken, whose pants at that time looked quite lamentable, watched, and perhaps his eyes betrayed the thought: trousers of this material would do me good, too. “Do you want a piece also?” asks the storekeeper suddenly. Wyneken says: “No, I have no money!” “Well, if I were to give you a pair of trousers?” “I don’t want anything from you!” “So? Why not?” “Because then my mouth would be stopped, and I wouldn’t be able to reprove your drinking any more!” “So? Haha! Is that it? Well, here is the cloth; and now reprove as much as you like!”
Wyneken accepted the gift as a blessing from God, to Whom he had complained of his poverty. He took the material home and had trousers made from it. But when his vestry saw the new garment, they asked in astonishment: “Where in the world did our pastor get the yellow trousers?” They soon found out, but didn’t want for the Catholic drunkard to be able to boast of having given something to their pastor. They collectively filled a wagon with corn; one of them drove in front of the storekeeper’s house and unloaded it there. Now he was astonished. “What are you doing?” he asked surprised. “I didn’t buy your corn!” The other one, however, said: “Here is your money for our pastor’s trousers! You, fellow, shall not be able to say that you have to support our pastor!”
Wyneken recalled those times later with heartfelt joy and called them the “best of his life.’ He was poor at that time, very poor, since any support that he received, he gave to those that were even poorer; but he was of satisfied and cheerful disposition. He ate whatever God bestowed him through the poor settlers; he slept wherever they put him to bed — just as sweetly on hay and straw as in a bed which was offered him occasionally, often under the most peculiar circumstances. When he came home tired and exhausted, soaked from the rain, he always took care of his horse first before all things, repaired to his tiny room, ate and drank whatever he found, usually it was bred and cold, black coffee, and was thereby so content and took pleasure in his God, that he wished for nothing else and nothing better.
The Pennsylvania Synod again sent a missionary to Indiana in summer 1839. It was Mr. Johann Joseph Nülsen. He met with Wyneken on August 2nd in Fort Wayne and stayed with him for a short time. It is very important for us what he reported about Wyneken to Baltimore. On August 16th he wrote the following among other things to Pastor Häsbärt: “I met Brother Wyneken already after several hours when he rode from his residence, which is about a mile easterly from the city, at Mr. Rudisill’s to instruct the children in town. I accompanied him to one of his congregations in Adams County, where he likewise gives school instruction, and where he preached in to forenoon, I, in the afternoon. The people seem to be attached to him with great love, and the Lord has used him especially as an instrument of blessing for many a heart. We visited a house on the way to which the neighbors consisting of two other families came soon. That was a circuit of about eight souls who have been converted to the Lord more or less through his work. On the whole, he deals with the people simply and childlike. He also plans to introduce a church discipline, in order to at least produce outward discipline and to change the rude behavior of many Germans who want to join his congregation. He is wholly for having German schoolteachers come here, and I think also that here, where there are several settlements that consist almost entirely of immigrated Germans, several could be placed, and if they can teach both, in the English and the German language, also in mixed settlements. Besides, he desires to return to Germany in order to bring over still more candidates, of which, of course, here in the places visited by him, about six could be employed, if they were as content as he; satisfied just with clothing and food. But Brother Wyneken doesn’t even know if he’ll have that; in this regard he is so unconcerned about having nothing for certain, but is satisfied when he gets something, also if he doesn’t get anything. He has put me soundly to shame with his religious life.”
And now words may also find their place here, which Pastor Häsbärt wrote to Pastor Friedrich Schmidt in Pittsburg on August 26, 1839. They are the following: “Wyneken is a hero of the faith, as one is accustomed to find them only in olden, long passed times. O, how shameful is his example for so many of us who sit there in complete calmness and comfort, in abundance and affluence and do not offer up the least sacrifice to the Lord in His poor brothers!” (Luth. Kirchenz. II, 12.)
On September 10, 1839, Wyneken himself could write to Pastor Schmidt: “Here in Fort Wayne the Lord has bestowed so much mercy upon us that we have so far constructed our own small church, a frame building, to be able to hold worship services in it; also a building lot for a parsonage has been bought.”
This parsonage was built much later and consisted of a small room, which Dr. Wilhelm Sihler used later as a kitchen.
And Wyneken also gave Christian [catechetical] instruction on Sunday afternoons, when he was at home; for he realized very vividly that one has to particularly care for the youth, if better religious conditions are to be provided.
One time the lads began to become dilatory and neglectful in attending Christian instruction. He admonished publicly; he did so privately; but it didn’t help. He inquired then where they got together and what they were doing there. Regrettably, he heard that they played cards and engaged in idle talk. The following Sunday when Christian instruction should have started, he made the congregation wait a little and went to the house where his young parishioners were meeting. Suddenly and unexpectedly he stood among them, gave them a severe lecture, then admonished them amiably and lead them to the church.
He also took a firm stand against sin and worldly living in other ways. He hated dancing with all his heart, because it proceeds from the flesh and offers opportunity for many a sin. Whenever he heard that the young people were at a dance, he was very saddened, and he didn’t rest until those concerned had promised him not to take part in it in the future. On the other hand, he was not averse to permitted and proper joviality; indeed, he liked it when things were merry and lively in his presence.
He once had a man put in jail in Fort Wayne, because he had mistreated his wife, and Wyneken didn’t have him released until he promised in tears to change for the better.
He would admonish those gone astray and the perverse ones emphatically to abandon the way of sin and to throw themselves into the arms of Jesus Christ. He was wont to grip the hand of the person to whom he spoke; or he would seize him by the coat button or vest button, as though he wanted to prevent his escape; or he even stuck his finger into the buttonhole to hold on to the one being addressed. Yet he spoke sincerely, insistently; with his friendly eyes he looked ardently into the eyes of the person whom he wanted to win, and pressed for a fast decision. He was a passionate as well as a kind and pleasant minister [Seelsorger] everywhere.
At times he behaved in a way that made it seem as if he were unfeeling and unloving, but the success usually justified his method which he had used only to bring the person concerned to his senses – to male a strong impression upon him.
A man came to him in Fort Wayne and registered for the Lord’s Supper. Wyneken looked at him sharply for several seconds and said curtly: “You can’t go to Holy Communion!” “Why not?” asks the former. “Because you are a drunkard!” answered Wyneken just as short and definite. “What? I a drunkard?” says the man offended. From where do you know this? Who told you that? That terrible liar will come off badly! I want to know who told you that!” “Now, Wyneken says calmly, a man told me that who knows it best and whom you will not contradict!” – “So, who is it?” – “Come here; you shall see him!” replied Wyneken, gets up, grasps the man’s hand and takes him in front of – a mirror. He then says with warm sternness: “Now take a look! This man here with his bloated whiskey face, with the red nose, with the running eyes and trembling hands, he has told me it! Now look this man firmly into the eyes and tell me ‘no,’ if you are able!”
Then, however, he adds with a stirred heart: Look, dear man, you are a creature of God; He has created you in His likeness; by the precious blood of the Son of God you are saved; and you – whom God has so honored and esteemed – like a swine you are casting yourself into the mire of sin and roll around in it!”
The man grows pale, trembles and shakes, confesses his sins and asks dismayed, whether there is still help available for him, whether forgiveness can be hoped for. “Yes!” says Wyneken now; “sit down; you too, can yet be helped.” He preaches to mercy of God in Christ to him, and points out to him how he has to appropriate the same. When the man finally gets up and starts for home, Wyneken calls after him: “I almost forgot; you can come to the Lord’s Supper!”
At another time, Wyneken had called someone, who had conducted himself nastily, a “dirty pig.” That vexed the man, and he threatened publicly, that he would thrash the pastor for it. Several days later, they meet each other on the street. “See,” said Wyneken, “it is well that I meet you; after all, you want to give me a beating, there would be opportunity for it now!” – “Yes, that I will,” replied the former half embarrassed, half angry; “you have called me a “dirty pig!” “Quite right, and you certainly are it, too!” – “What? No one can say that about me!” replied the man angrily. Meanwhile an audience of about twenty people has gathered about both of them in order to see where this will lead. “This we shall see,” answers Wyneken in response to that altogether impudent defense. He turns to the bystanders and says: “People, all of you know this man for a long time already. What do you say? Whoever is of the opinion that he is a dirty pig, say yes!” – “Yes, yes!” yells the entire gathering. And the man? He went away quietly. But Wyneken rushed after him, talked friendly and encouragingly with him; soon he [Wyneken] was delighted to be able to boast of him as a reformed man.
Wyneken possessed great presence of mind and a remarkable, ready wit, so that he easily found the right words, almost never got embarrassed, and was able to stop the mouth of the scoffer, too. Only a few examples of it here.
Once he had stopped at an inn as they existed then, sat quietly at a table and ate his simple meal. A young fop entered, and asked him in an insolent tone: “Well, you certainly must be a parson [Pfaffe, a contemptuous term]?” – “Yes,” replied Wyneken with quick presence of mind, “you have to thank solely that circumstance that I don’t throw you out the door!”
A similar anecdote may find its place here also, even though this scene has happened much later. One time when Wyneken had returned to Fort Wayne after a lengthy absence and had entered Meyer’s pharmacy, he met an old acquaintance. “Hello, Mr. Wyneken,” said he [in English], “how do you do?” [He continued in German]: “Are you still that old Pietist?” “Yes,” replied Wyneken, “are you still that old miser?” He had enough and left.
Another time when he was in the same pharmacy and was just about to leave, a man came up to him, who occasionally heard his sermons, and said with a weighty air: “Tell me, pastor, do you actually believe what you preach? I don’t believe it!” -- “Just stick with that [opinion]!” replied Wyneken immediately. “And when the devil has you by the collar and drags you into hell, just scream on and on: I don’t believe it, I still don’t believe it!” With that, he mounted his horse and rode away. The smarty left also, but after a few days he returned to the pharmacy and asked for Wyneken and said: “That man has made me uneasy; I have to talk to him.” It happened – he became a believer.
Thus dear Wyneken worked in Fort Wayne and in the surroundings.
At the same time, he corresponded constantly with Christian friends in his native country, mainly for the purpose of gaining more workers for the vineyard of his Lord. In this way he succeeded to secure Mr. Friedrich Wilhelm Husmann in Bremen, who came to Fort Wayne in May 1840 and became a pastor in Marion Township. Wyneken’s letters convinced him that he was needed more in America than in Bremen.
Mainly also through Wyneken’s influence, a society was formed in Bremen at the same time, whose function was to win servants of the church for America and to send them over here.
For some time, Wyneken had wished to be able to travel over to Germany, in order to get help for his German brothers here. His letters, which he sent over, had not been understood the right way and didn’t have the intended result. He wanted to go there himself, in order to get the hearts and hands into motion through the oral, convincing word.
Pastor Schmidt wrote in his Kirchenzeitung (III, 87): “Brother Wyneken is considering to travel to Germany next spring, according to reliable sources, in order to make arrangements to obtain missionaries for the West from various missionary schools.”
Yet completely unexpected, Wyneken wrote on April 20th that he will not go to Germany (Kirchenzeitung, III, 124). He just can’t leave without having provided his congregation with a vicar.
However, he nevertheless received help entirely unexpectedly, so that he could begin his journey, which had also become necessary for him, since a painful throat ailment made all preaching nearly impossible.
In May already, a missionary, Knape, sent by Goβner [Johannes Evangelista Gossner] arrived, to whom he could turn over his congregations; and in June, three other missionaries, C. F. W. Drude, G. Bartels and G. Jensen, landed in Baltimore, of whom the latter went to Fort Wayne. He was sent over by the Stader [Missionary] Society, Wyneken trustfully turned over his congregation in Fort Wayne to him for the time of his absence (Kirchenzeitung,IV, 87).
Accompanied by his wife, he now started his journey. In October 1841, he embarked in Philadelphia, where Pastor [Karl Rudolf] Demme, at that time secretary of the Synod of Pennsylvania [Pennsylvania Ministerium], provided him with letters of recommendations to various mission societies in Germany.
Having arrived in his [former] homelqnd, he naturally sought medical help immediately for the ailment which had interrupted his blessed effectiveness; but soon he began to work for his brothers in America and to unfold an activity, which was to be crowned with great success.
First of all, he wrote to many influential persons, describing the spiritual distress of the [American] church, and asked urgently to think of means and ways to help the same. He desired chiefly men, who are ready to take over arduous mission work for Christ’s sake in our country.
He then sought to reach the same goal also through verbal lectures, presentations and requests. He sought the interest for the American church not only in his homeland and in the neighboring provinces; no, he undertook several long journeys, partly to discuss the remedy of the spiritual distress with influential men, partly, to recommend the matter warmly to societies and other associations.
Thus he hurried to Löhe [Johann K. W. Loehe] at Neudettelsau in Bavaria, whose word had already attained a certain importance in the circle of believers; he succeeded to win this man completely for his intentions. He promised help in every possible way, with advice and deed, with money and people.
Wyneken was the guest of manufacturer Volk in Nuremberg, through whom he got to know merchant Fabricius, in whose home mission studies (Missionsstunde[n]) were held. From there, he went to Fürth and gave a lecture at the school about America’s religious conditions. Pastor F[riedrich J.] Lochner, who then as a youth was an eye- and ear-witness, describes Wyneken’s appearance as follows:
“I hurried with the train leaving in the evening for Fürth. At my arrival, the schoolroom was already packed full. At eight o’clock, Wyneken arrived in company of the pastors of Fürth. After Pastor, at that time, now Councilor of the Consistory, Kraussold had led several verses for singing, Wyneken began. His animated portrayal of the state of the American church, the concrete portrayals of the effectiveness of his mission work, the original remarks, which partly pertained to the application and expounding of a Bible passage, partly sketched the difference in doctrine and practice between the orthodox church and the enthusiasts, was followed with the closest attention by all. He especially dwelled on the activities of the Methodists. The highlight of his portrayal constituted the description of a camp meeting. Arriving at the well-known moment, where individuals are asked to approach the penitent bench, Wyneken suddenly came up to those sitting or standing closest or close to him , seized some of them by the hand and asked them: ‘Don’t you want to be converted too?’ I can still see how some looked at the speaker startled, some even shrank back shyly, as though they feared that a Methodist conversion was to tale place in earnest! – At the conclusion of his talk, where he implored for help for the abandoned fellow believers, he pressed the then so numerous candidates in Germany, who waited eight till ten years for positions, while across the sea the hungry languished in the desert. – It got to be eleven o’clock when the Missionsstunde was ended; one was at a loss where the time had gone.” —
In Erlangen, he won over Professor Karl von Raumer, who likewise promised to devote his heart, mouth and hand to the church of America. With genuine enthusiasm, he [Wyneken] told of the kind and cordial reception he experienced from him, and of the truly Christian spirit, which he found in his family.
In April 1842, Wyneken was in Dresden, where he succeeded in calling a “Verein zur kirchlichen Unterstützung der Deutschen in Nordamerika” [Society for Religious Assistance of the Germans in North America] into being, which made it its mission to eliminate the need in America, partly, by sending persons suited to serve in schools and churches, partly, by contributing books and money. Later on, at the mission festival, Wyneken went again to Dresden and gave an impassionate and stirring address before a large gathering.
The Ev. Lutheran Mission Committee permitted to have people trained for America at the Mission House, and Mr. Wilhelm Hattstädt was the first pupil, who for that purpose entered the institution.
Also in Leipzig, Wyneken acted on behalf of his dear mission field; and a society for the remedy of the distress was formed here as well, which established contact with the one in Dresden.
With [Johann K. W.] Löhe’s and Raumer’s participation, Wyneken had written a small booklet, that has now been published in printed form by the title: Die Not der deutschen Lutheraner in Nordamerika. Ihren Glaubensgenossen ans Herz gelegt von Fr. Wyneken. [The Distress of the German Lutherans in North America. Enjoined on Their Fellow-Believers in the Native Country by Fr. Wyneken]. In it he outlines five points, namely: 1. how they (the German Lutherans) for the most part do without the benefits of the church entirely; 2. what grave foes they have in the sects and the Roman church; 3. what privations the American church suffers internally; 4. how threatening these conditions are for the future; and 5. what has to happen and how it is to be helped. (See Lutheraner, I, p.31.)
The booklet, vivid and composed in Wyneken’s lively language, aroused a great stir in the religious circles of Germany and obtained many respected friends for his cause.
Löhe immediately began to prepare qualified young men, to be able send them as missionaries to America, and yet in 1842 [Johann A[dam] Ernst and J[ohann Georg] Burger came over here, to take part in the mission work.
That “Distress Call” (“Notruf”) by Wyneken had also reached the ears of Dr. Sihler and went to his heart, and he decided before long, to go to America to dedicate his energies to the church there. He came in 1843 and with him P. Baumgart, who at first (1845) became a teacher in Baltimore, later pastor in Ohio. (compare, Lutheraner, I, p. 31.)
And still another valuable man joined Wyneken and came over with him in 1843. That was Mr. A[dolf Fr. Th.] Biewend, who, of course, I suppose, was not suited in the manner of his friend to do mission work, but who, besides having an affable gentleness and unpretentiousness, was endowed with an outstanding knowledge, and thereby would be able to render services to the church, which would be of the greatest value to it as soon as it began to organize itself. He was at first pastor in Washington in the District of Columbia.
Presently we want also to mention that Löhe, in 1845, had printed “in the name and mandate of likeminded brethren in various regions of Germany” a “Call from the Homeland to the German Lutheran Church of North America,” and had it sent over here. Besides his own, it bears about 950 signatures, names of men of all social positions and various vocations; certainly a sure proof that Wyneken’s word was not in vain.
It is impossible to say in short words how great a blessing Wyneken’s stay in Germany has been for the American church. Attention is only drawn to it here and thereby left to a future time to give it its proper due.
But we have not yet mentioned the greatest and grandest benefit of his stay in Germany.
As already told, Wyneken returned to America in summer of 1843. He disembarked in New York, traveled from there to Baltimore, where he once more, as well as his companion Biewend, entered the pulpit in Häsbärt’s church. His sermon then had made an unforgettable impression upon many listeners; it was as though he now preached yet more ardently, more earnest and clearer, more decidedly Lutheran, than he had formerly.
And, indeed, Wyneken had changed for the better during his stay in Germany. He was still the same sincere character as before; he had still the same love for his Savior and for his brothers; but so much has become clear to him over there, which he did not discern earlier; he had gained in the perception of the Lutheran doctrine – he was much more spiritually minded than before.
The lively intercourse with men like Löhe, Raumer, Graul, Trautmann and others, the more perfect insight into the conflict of Lutherans against the Union, the news about [Martin] Stephan’s emigration and about the condition of those deceived by him in the far West of America and other things had opened his spiritual eyes more fully, honed his religious conscience and increased his holy courage, to fight against all enemies of the Lutheran Church and to do his part in helping it to attain victory. That only the Lutheran Church possesses the complete truth, that it is the church that has returned to the Apostolic teaching; this had become clearer and more alive to him; therefore he wanted, more decidedly than he had until now, procure honor for his Savior and importance for the Lutheran doctrine for the eternal profit of his fellow redeemed and to preserve or restore its tried ecclesiastic systems.
What he once had perceived as truth, what pierced his soul, he now expressed freely and openly, — that asserted itself in all his actions.
He did that first of all in his congregations. These had been in danger of being led upon entirely wrong paths during his absence; and he had to be thankful for the watchfulness and faithful labor of Pastor F. W. Husmann as well as to God, that they survived as “Lutheran” congregations.‡ With the usual dedication and new, great enthusiasm, Wyneken resumed his work among them; but more yet than before, he strove to give them a truly Lutheran character. Although those who wanted to belong to the congregation had to subscribe to the Augsburg Confession previously, he now insisted upon insight of the distinctive doctrines — chastised the errors of the Reformed and the enthusiasts even more emphatically — he made it his business to even more earnestly preach the mercy of God in Christ, justification without any help of the sinner, the thankfulness of those justified in [doing] good works according to Apostolic and Lutheran manner.
This certainly did not please some, and Wyneken, too, had to experience that some, who previously had done well, went backwards.
Wyneken belonged, as long as he lived in Indian, to the old “Synod of the West,” which consisted of so-called Lutheran preachers in Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky. He was decried as an “Altlutheraner,” [Old-Lutheran] by his synodical brothers even before his trip to Germany, whose alleged endeavor was to make the people Catholic again.
Soon after his return, the synod held its sessions in a village in Kentucky. Wyneken was also present along with Mr. Rudisill, the delegate of his congregation. The former found an opportunity to defend himself publicly against the defamation; the latter, however, was filled with suspicion that things might not be quite right with Wyneken.
Wyneken invited the synod to hold its next conference in Fort Wayne. It agreed to it, came and could now closely observe the “altlutherische” congregation, slandered by many as being “Catholic.”
Rudisill was not completely healed of his suspicion; therefore Wyneken encouraged him to accuse him before the synod. He hoped, in this way, to find a splendid opportunity to confess the Lutheran doctrine and to cause the synodical gentlemen to stick their noses into the Symbolic Books, which probably were completely unknown to most of them.
It went just as he had hoped. The result was that R. and other congregation members realized that they, by no means, had a clandestine Catholic, but a proper Lutheran for pastor. They followed him much more closely now with sincere confidence.
Just at that time when Wyneken had to defend Luther’s doctrine against his own synod, he received the first issue of the “Lutheraner,” which has been published in St. Louis since September 1, 1844 by Pastor C. F. W. Walther. He had become convinced that he had nothing to hope for from his own synod; that periodical was therefore an angel of consolation for him. As soon as he had read it cursorily, he cried out overjoyed: “God be praised; there are still more Lutherans here in America!” He was filled with new hope for the church of this country; he saw the dawn after the gloom of night.
Wyneken had heard in Germany already about the “Saxons” in Missouri; but since he could not get their addresses, no contact had been established till then. We shall see later on how he got together with them.
About the same time, he found the opportunity to appear in yet a greater circle with a decidedly Lutheran confession. Even before his trip to Germany, he had written various articles against the Methodists in the Lutherischen Kirchenzeitung. In that booklet: “Die Not der deutschen Lutheraner,” he had described its doings and those of the Albright People truthfully, but very lively and vividly — more bluntly than it had been done ever before. Several copies of that writing were sent over here, and [they] incensed the Methodists, who, already drunk with success, thought to have put an end to the Lutheran Church in America. They raised vehement lamentations.
Indeed, they even wrote their own tract against him: “Warum bist du vom Glauben gefallen?” [“Why Have You Abandoned the Faith?” (“Why Did You Fall from Faith?”)], in which they most ignominiously slander not only Wyneken but also the entire Lutheran Church.
Wyneken was thus a courageous confessor of his faith then already, which was none other than that of Luther and of all his true disciples. He had preached this faith in Indiana, borne witness to it, and graced it with his conduct. He had truly become an “Apostle” to the inhabitants of that area! His God wanted to use him now as a witness at different places; we must accompany him there.
We still have to consider one more matter before we take leave completely from the “Missionary.” Although Wyneken, after his return from Germany, could hope that there they would possibly care of sending preachers, teachers and seminarians to America; even though he experienced the arrival of several of them, he did not neglect to do his part to put preachers of the Gospel into the field ripe for the harvest. He instructed two young men and guided them to serve the church by preaching and catechetical instruction. They were Pastors J.[(?) Gerhard Heinrich] Jäbker and C[arl] H. F. Fricke [Frincke]. Thus they were the first fruits of the Fort Wayne Preachers’ Seminary that later on took on an entirely different form through Löhe and under Dr. Sihler’s direction. Wyneken, however, made the beginning.
2. The City Pastor.
e have gotten to know dear Wyneken chiefly as missionary until now, thus we shall try to describe his effectiveness as pastor of two city congregations, Saint Paul’s Congregation in Baltimore and Trinity Congregation in St. Louis. He was “Pastor” indeed in the small town of Fort Wayne and in Adams County, too; but his work took on a different character frequently in the big cities. The missionary activity was over; what mattered now was to cleanse, to strengthen, to rouse older congregations to a new zeal. —
In December 1844, Pastor Häsbärt in Baltimore resigned suddenly, left the city and went at first to New Orleans, La., later to Brazil. The congregation decided before long to call Wyneken form Fort Wayne, whom it already knew through his sermons, which he gave in its midst, and from his earnest and, at the same time, kind dealings with the people, and in whom it had a cordial trust. Wyneken was shocked when he received the call. He wrote, that he, in case that he should accept the call, must strictly adhere to Lutheran doctrine and practice; he would insist on registration for confession, make the sign of the cross with his hand at the conferring of the benediction, etc.; it should therefore consider well if it could really use him and want him.
The congregation replied, it is certainly Lutheran, and it desires only a Lutheran pastor; it is very pleased with his insistence of adhering strictly to Lutheran doctrine and practice; he should come by all means.
He decided to obey this call, and his congregations consented to his departure, because they discerned this as God’s will that “their dear Wyneken” is to go to the East. However, he promised them — and wrote this to Baltimore also — that he would remain until another pastor was called and until he had accepted that call. Upon his recommendation, Dr. W. Sihler, at that time pastor in Pomeroy, O., was called, who expressed his willingness to enter Wyneken’s sphere of activity.
In the first half of February 1845, Wyneken gave his final sermon (Valetpredigt) [valedictory sermon]. How painful the farewell from his congregations was for him — how very sad they were, can only be felt by him who has known the intimate relationship which had been formed, in mutual love, between them. Only the “our God wants it thus” could console them.
On the back of his horse, which had carried him so often, Wyneken began his journey to Baltimore; his family remained for the time being. At first, he rode towards Zanesville, O. where about a year ago, his old bosom friend, G. Bartels, had become pastor. He was most cordially received by him and was able to take delight in the memories of their former life together. He then continued to Pomeroy, to visit Dr. Sihler. He had to talk to him, for he indeed was his successor in Fort Wayne, chosen by God. Both men knew each other at that time only through letters and articles, which had been published in the “Lutherischen Kirchenzeitung;” they had never met face to face. It was still the second half of February, when they got to know each other personally, and now intimate bonds of friendship ensued, which lasted untroubled until Wyneken’s death.
He now rode over the Alleghenies, sold his horse on the way, and arrived by stagecoach on March 7th in Baltimore. At the beginning, he lived at Mr. Franz Bühler’s on Mark[e]t Street, who subsequently became his very dear and intimate friend. When his family arrived in May, they occupied a small house inFayette Street, located in the old part of the city, which he exchanged later on for another in Park Street.
Old Dr. Daniel Kurtz, who had formerly been pastor at Zion Church and who had always willingly helped out the pastor of St. Paul’s Congregation when necessary, publicly installed Wyneken according to Lutheran rite. It was on March 9th. Wyneken gave his inaugural sermon on the same day.
Many pious hearts met him trustingly; but there were also people in the congregation who were distrustful — some, who feared his Christian resoluteness — others, who did not agree with his doctrine. It soon was clear to him that he would have to overcome many a conflict.
At first, he had to deal with the Reformed, who, until then, were as such undisputed members of the “Lutheran” congregation.
Immediately on the first Sunday after his installation, the Holy Supper was to be celebrated. The sexton had attended to the preparation of the altar. How startled was Wyneken when he stepped in front of the Communion table during confession and realized immediately that the sacrament probably had never yet been administered in a proper, in a Lutheran, manner there! The wine stood there in a large earthen pitcher, and, on the plate, the hosts and bread lay next to each other. What was to be done?
He immediately called the vestry into the sacristy and explained to them: the congregation was not at all Lutheran; he was deceived by the call; he could not possibly distribute the Communion! The good people were dismayed; they said: they didn’t know otherwise, only that they were good Lutherans, -- he may proceed as a Lutheran pastor according to his best conscience. They pleaded urgently, to administer the Holy Supper just this time in their usual manner, because else an all too great discontent among the communicants present was to be feared.
Wyneken, too, deemed this to be the best under the prevailing circumstances and proceeded accordingly. However, after the sermon, he asked the congregation to remain after the conclusion of the worship service. And now he explained that he has not found them as a Lutheran congregation, that it is rather unionistic, and that it would therefore be for the best, if they would immediately release him; were he to stay, surely much unrest and many disturbances would occur among such a mixed crowd.
But the congregation would hear nothing about him leaving; it desired resolutely that he should stay. “Well then,” declared Wyneken, “I will take the Lutheran and the Heidelberg Catechisms with me up to the pulpit and read and explain both of them starting next Sunday; then each one can see for himself on which side the full truth of the divine Word is found!”
Wyneken carried this out. He explained, from both catechisms, the difference between the Lutheran and Reformed doctrine; he reproved the hitherto existing practice at the distribution of the Holy Supper and showed from Scripture that it is impossible for the Reformed and Lutherans to be members of one congregation, which, if it wants to act honestly and Christian, can have only one confession.
There ensued a tremendous storm in the congregation. The Reformed thought themselves betrayed and most of them did not even have enough patience to listen quietly to Wyneken’s explanations; they also found erring friends among the Lutherans, who found fault with the methods of the new pastor and who wanted to maintain the former state of affairs. Fervent, often bitter, discussions took place not only in the congregational meetings but also in the streets and in the houses. Some children of Reformed parents had become Lutheran; others had married Lutheran persons; so it happened that daughters opposed their mothers; husbands opposed their wives. It was a time of trial; but the truth prevailed. The Reformed members left the congregation (on one Sunday, over eighty of them were announced from the pulpit as having left) and built a German Reformed church inCalvert Street. They naturally considered Wyneken as their adversary, and it lasted yet for some time before the agitation subsided.
Wyneken had to wage another battle against the phony Lutherans in his congregation, in the city, in the General Synod.
In the part of town called “Fells Point,” a German congregation existed, which claimed to be Evangelical Lutheran as well. Its pastor, C. G. Weyl, a son-in-law of Father Schmucker, was a spineless blatherskite. He was entirely fond of the “New Measures” (“Neue Massregeln”), had hardly an idea of Lutheran doctrine and was in his practice enthusiastic, unionistic (schwärmerisch, uniert), totally without principles. Wyneken, as former member of the “Synod of the West,” belonged at that time to the General Synod along with Weyl, but that did not hinder “dear brother” Weyl, to work against him. He spread the rumor, Wyneken was an “Altlutheraner,” a Jesuit in disguise, who even intends to deliver his congregation to the Pope, as is evidenced by wearing a cope (Chorrock) and by making the sign of the cross when giving the blessing. The rest, he said, will surely follow until the congregation is entirely Catholic. He sought, verbally and in writing, to stir up the members of St. Paul’s Congregation against their pastor and to have them cast suspicion upon him. Some individuals believed him and at least became distrustful of Wyneken.
Weyl, at that time, published “Die Hirtenstimme” [“The Shepherd’s Voice”], a paper which was to be Lutheran, which, however, only represented the recently concocted Neumassregel-Christentum [New-Measures Christianity] of the General Synod. For that reason alone, in all fairness, it should have been called “Wolf’s Voice.” It acquired further justification for this name by how it opposed the faithful witness Wyneken in the most shameless manner.
Wyneken, at the occasion of the thirteenth biennial meting of the General Synod, which took place on the third Thursday in May and on the days following in 1845 in Philadelphia, Pa., had given an exceedingly superb confession. He was unable to attend the first days of the meeting. In his absence, the synod decided to instruct the Committee for Foreign Correspondence to defend the General Synod against the alleged false accusations spread in Germany (for which Wyneken was blamed) that it was not orthodox, etc., and to ask the Lutheran societies there to send it available missionaries.
When Wyneken appeared at the synod and heard about the decision, he made the motion on the last day of the conference: “To send Dr. Schmucker’s and Dr. Benj. Kurtz’s writings, also a volume of the ‘Lutheran Observer’ and the ‘Hirtenstimme’ and other books and periodicals, in which the doctrine and practice of the General Synod is described, to Dr. Rudelbach, Prof. Harless and other editors/publishers in Germany of excellent Lutheran periodicals for scrutiny and thereby proof the orthodoxy of the General Synod to the Lutheran Church of Germany.”
The synod tabled this motion so dangerous for it. Wyneken, however, rose again and said: he didn’t expect anything else than this and for that reason he had formulated a second motion in advance and pocketed it. He pulled it out of his pocket very calmly and read it. He called for: “The General Synod should publicly disapprove and repudiate the previously mentioned writings of Dr. Schmucker and Dr. Kurtz, as well as the ‘Lutheran Observer’ and the ‘Hirtenstimme’ as heretical and deviating from the standard of beneficial doctrine!”
Such language had been unheard of until then at conferences of the synod. Everyone was appalled by such a incredible demand and did not think in the slightest to comply.
But what did wretched Weyl do? In order to assassinate Wyneken morally among the people who were not better informed, he reported the following in his ‘Lutherischen Hirtenstimme’: “Pastor Wyneken of Baltimore declared himself against the doctrine and usage, books and magazines of the Lutheran Church at various times and threatened to testify against them.”
But he did not achieve the intended purpose with his lies, not even in Baltimore. The sincere ones investigated the matter, and thus Weyl’s backbiting served only to bring the truth even more brightly to light. Wyneken published in the “Lutherischen Kirchenzeitung” (Volume 7. p. 92) a true portrayal of those events at the synod, which was at the same time a well-deserved chastisement of Weyl.
In the following year, he took the opportunity to write ion the “Lutheraner” against Weyl’s Lutheranism, when Weyl printed the “Rules of his Congregation” in the “Hirtenstimme,” which were full of false doctrine and false principles. But Weyl did not intend in the least to atone for his slander and false teaching; he, moreover, continued to spread suspicions and lies about Wyneken. He succeeded to strengthen the enmity of the insincere ones against Wyneken, so that some of them dared to write in newspapers that he wants to make his congregation Roman [Catholic] again. Even Weyl let his “Hirtenstimme” be used to spread the malicious lies; Wyneken’s church council saw itself compelled for that reason to defend him in the “Lutheraner” (III, 32).
He remained victor also in this battle; for, even though those of the General Synod did not cease to slander him secretly and overtly, he, however, had the truth on his side, and constantly more people were found, who joined him. His congregation learned to value him more and more and placed greater confidence in him; indeed, even many non-Lutherans, who certainly did not approve of his theological views, had to admit that Wyneken is a real man, a sincere character, an upright soul.
We want to mention right away here that Wyneken broke completely with the General Synod. Since it did not want any part of right doctrine and sound religious practice, he linked up more intimately with the “Saxons” in Missouri, with the “Franconians” in Michigan, with Dr. Sihler and those who had left the Ohio Synod with him, with whom he already carried on an active correspondence.
He was present at the meeting of these preachers, who gathered in September 1845 in Cleveland, O. to consider leaving the Ohio Synod and the establishment of a new orthodox Lutheran Synod (compare, “Lutheraner,” II p. 42).
After, in April 1847, the “Deutsche evangelisch-lutherische Synode von Missouri, Ohio u[nd] a[nderen] Staaten” had been organized, and Wyneken had conscientiously scrutinized its constitution published in the “Lutheraner” and had discussed it with his congregation, in summer 1848 he traveled to St. Louis, where that synod held its conference from June 21st till July 1st. He joined its membership, and his congregation, represented by Mr. Franz Bühler [Buehler], did the same at that time.
Much time and effort were required at that time to travel to and fro between Baltimore and St. Louis; several weeks were required for it; but surely Wyneken has seldom returned home more joyfully than at that time, since he had found a considerable gathering of likeminded, truly united Lutherans, and had been strengthened by their faith and by their brotherly love. He often testified to friends that he thanks God with all his heart to have experienced this.
His congregation, too, had gained new enthusiasm and renewed resoluteness by joining the Synod. After all, it now realized that its pastor, who had been slandered and suspected so very much, did not stand alone, but had many fellow combatants (Kampfgenossen), who endured similar experiences. It really needed this encouragement; for new foes had already appeared against it, after most of the fury of the battle against the Reformed and false Lutherans had hardly passed.
The nuisance of the secret societies was then already widespread far and well-established in Baltimore. It was particularly the Order of Red Men, which the Germans joined and of which they organized several lodges. Nevertheless, the Order of Odd Fellows was very esteemed, and it lodges were frequented far too much by the Germans. Several members of St. Paul’s Congregation regrettably belonged to these lodges also. Wyneken, who before long saw through the heathen, idolatrous doings of the orders, began immediately to witness against them. He pointed out their threat for church and state; he proved that they are enemies of the church of Christ, since Jews are also admitted to them, with whom the Christians have to pray and work together, and, in addition, they have their own chaplains (prophets), who have to conduct their alleged religious acts, etc. He spoke to those members of his congregation above all and urged them to leave the lodges. Thus, according to my knowledge, he was the first pastor in America, who publicly took a firm stand against the secret societies and who reproved their works of darkness.
What he said against the lodges in the congregation, what he said to individuals in his room, was distortedly reported at the lodge meetings. For that reason, the German secret doers [Geheimtuer] opposed him for that, mocked and maligned him. And they did not do this only secretly and in smaller circles; no, in the open street, when they strutted along in “solemn” procession.
He once stood in front of Bühler’s house and spoke with several friends. Suddenly a lodge of Red Men in full array turned around the corner and marched past in procession. All of them took off their hats and saluted mockingly as they passed by Wyneken, who, smiling serenely, observed this rudeness. Similar things happened often.
Well, Wyneken has neither destroyed the lodges, nor has he rescued all of his congregation members from them; but the victory, however, was here also again on his side. The congregation as such recognized the abomination of the secret societies and decided that no one, who belongs to a lodge and who intends to remain in it, should be accepted as member. Some, for example, H. Hn., let themselves be persuaded and left the society; others, for example, A. Hg., moved away, in order to be left in peace. And how blessed has Wyneken’s struggle against the lodges been for many other congregations! He began it with zeal for God’s glory and for the welfare of his congregation; we have only followed in his steps later on.
He defied all adversaries unafraid, and, yet, he was usually kind, too. He never lost his good humor even in the toughest battle – he never forgot to make a distinction between the weak and the malicious ones. He always kept in mind that the human foes were only instruments of the devil, and that the battle was actually his. He despised the devil as much as a righteous Christian is capable of, since he believed that Christ, his Savior, has overcome him. Because of that, he saw nothing lost, when from all sides adversaries stood up and behaved as though they would devour him. He could have laughed at that, if he would not have pitied those who let themselves be enticed by the devil!
Having now briefly mentioned his external struggles, we have to see what he did for the actual edification of the congregation, for its spiritual care.
Blessed Wyneken was very scrupulous about preaching. Of course, he had written down only a few sermons completely in Baltimore as well as in St. Louis, and, I suppose, never given one exactly as he had written it; but he prepared himself most conscientiously for the sermon, and only his own illness or necessary visits to the sick could prevent him from it.
Fear and anxiety about the sermon made him regularly ill every Saturday. He lost his appetite for food or drink then; he sighed and groaned then; he looked depressed and distressed then, he thought surely that he was sick then, and talked so fearfully that a stranger who did not yet know his ways, could have easily been mislead to fear a serious illness.
Until eleven, twelve o’clock at night, he sat and wrote after he had read Luther or other “ancients.” Now the sermon was half finished, but suddenly it is torn up and thrown into the wastepaper basket, for — it was wrong! The work begins anew. Perhaps the concept is rejected again, perhaps it finds favor. After midnight, the industrious man goes to bed to sleep fitfully a few hours. On Sunday morning, he is still “sick” and does not like to be disturbed. The sermon, the sermon presses on his conscience and mind. How is he to get through it this time! How is he to stand before God and the congregation!
Finally, he stands in the pulpit. He begins with a somewhat uncertain voice; he coughs — he makes a slip of the tongue – it seems as though he could find no words to express his thoughts; in addition, he makes a face as though he has given up all hope of getting into full swing this time. All of a sudden, however, powerful words drop from his mouth, for example: “All of us are over our ears in miserliness,” or: “All of our Christianity is mere hypocrisy, if we do not follow the example of Christ in our lives,” or: “Every Sunday, the Pharisee and the publican come to church” and now words flow from his mouth like a roaring stream over level plains and over jagged cliffs. Every trace of anxiety has disappeared; his eyes shine; every muscle in his face, every movement of his hands, his entire bearing testifies that he speaks of a matter close to his heart, which he has experienced himself, which he wants to preach into the hearts of his listeners, for which he wants to win all of them! Everyone is aware of it — he is not reciting a sermon that is merely stuck in his head — he testifies of what he has himself experienced, what God’s Word has worked in his own heart.
He preaches the Law harshly, so that the sinner is dismayed, trembles introspectively and asks fearfully: “What is to become of me? I am lost!”
But then, he begins to teach about the grace of God in Christ Jesus. He demonstrates that all men are redeemed — that even the coarsest sinner should not despair — that the reconciled Father in Heaven can help everyone — wants to help everyone. He describes the great love of God for the sinners; he depicts God’s desire to save everyone who is lost, he encourages to accept this mercy with believing hearts; he chides those who do not dare to seize the mercy, he entreats and implores to let themselves be reconciled with God — he does, in the best sense of the word, the work of an Evangelical preacher. He exhibited the heavenly treasures not only from afar; no, he brought them close; he laid them before the sinners and encourages them to grasp them confidently and cheerfully. O, many a man, quite many a man, has summoned up only after Wyneken’s sermon to fling himself with all his sins into God’s merciful arms and to take comfort in the full forgiveness for the sake of Christ’s righteousness.
The grace of God in Christ Jesus towards all men was the gist of all sermons of blessed Wyneken. In every one of them, a sinner could learn how he can be saved. No other work of God did he enjoy preaching about more than justification, but he also did not forget about sanctification. He earnestly demanded a righteous Christian conduct, family devotions, charity, compassion for the weak, etc. But he wanted to have good works done by the Christians only out of gratitude towards God; one never heard an utterance from his mouth to the effect that a man has to earn [God’s] grace. He, indeed, reproved the false teachings of the enthusiasts and papists with all sternness, with emphatic, strong words, since they violated the article of the universal and free grace of God.
Such sermons were very profitable and comforting for sincere people; but not everyone wanted to hear them. The German Sportsmen (deutsche Jäger), who had formerly attended church once a year in their dress uniform to honor the congregation, did this only once under Wyneken and never again, for he had taken no notice of them, he even had “thoroughly scolded” (“weidlich gescholten”) them.
The Odd Fellows and Red Men likewise did not like to hear him, for when they buried a “brother,” who had belonged to Wyneken’s congregation, he did not tolerate that they flaunted their beautiful aprons and other puppetry; he, indeed, had the impertinence to preach repentance to them and to maintain that they can be saved only through Jesus Christ.
Otherwise there were also great saints in the congregation, who clenched their teeth over Wyneken’s sermons, but all poor sinners – all those who despaired of themselves — were drawn to him and thanked God that He had sent this “Evangelist” to Baltimore. He was the first (Pastor Brohm in New York excepted), who in the East of this country, let the trumpet of the Gospel resound purely, clearly, strongly and emphatically. Thousands bless this man yet today for delivering them from enthusiasm, unionism and false Lutheranism through his preaching.
When the sermon was behind him on Sunday, all illness had disappeared. His disposition was cheerful; he was merry and happy, and could jest delightfully with his family or close friends.
He was not in the habit of saving drafts of his sermons at that time; they were destroyed directly. He wrote only the topic and the main parts in a book so he could see after a year, what he had preached at the occasion of every pericope. He did it differently at later times.
His sermons were fresh, powerful and, especially in the time of which we now speak, blunt in every respect. He liked to speak in “plain terms,” regardless if he said it in Low German or High German. “Instead of gaping about in the street, stick your nose into the Catechism for you don’t know it yet,” he could not only say this to the young, but also to the old. But even when he grew blunt, one could never be angry with him, for one could tell that he did not say it out of spite, but that it was in keeping with his well-meaning nature to express himself in that manner.
The sensitive members of the General Synod could not tolerate this bluntness in the least. At the beginning, they came to his church in Baltimore now and then to hear this peculiar man; this was especially on Wednesdays. Once, when Wyneken was so uncivil to speak in his sermon about “swine, who have rooted up the vineyard of the Lord,” they did not come again.
It happened that various people came to him after the sermon to complain about his assertions and expressions. On the 11th Sunday after Trinity, he had preached “about the two churchgoers” and pointed out that with the “poor sinners” always, even today, “Pharisees” come to church; he took the latter to task thoroughly and depicted them in his way. After the sermon, two old congregation members come and express their misgivings about whether such Pharisees are really to be found among them. Wyneken convinces them before long that they did not have to look for the Pharisee far off, but in the closest proximity. They left and did not come again soon to find fault with the sermon.
His sermons were abounding in metaphors as well. Excellent similes were constantly at his disposal, which were to illustrate the point he was presenting to his listeners. Thus he spoke once (it was in Adams County) about the difference between Gospel and Law. “See,” he said, “that is just like a horse with the whip and the oats. Applying the whip and spurs to the horse is an entirely different matter than filling its crib with oats. The Law is the whip; the Gospel is the crib filled with oats.”
Wyneken applied great diligence also to confirmation instruction and Christenlehre [catechetical instruction]. He catechized simply and vigorously, yet was always kind in doing so and showed an ardent desire to bring the milk of the Gospel into the hearts of the dear children. He used only Luther’s Small Catechism; he, however, prepared himself completely for the explanation of it. Directed by the Synod, he wrote also wrote a “Spruchbuch” [“Book of Bible Verses”] to go with the Catechism, which came out in print in 1849 and was later on repeatedly republished.
On of his confirmands, Dortchen S., was nearly deaf and, in addition, had a very weak mental capacity and memory. At the start, Wyneken was at a loss how to begin with her; but he found the right way before long. He had her come to his home several times every week throughout the winter and shouted the catechism, a small bit after another, into her ears, until she finally had grasped enough that he could confirm her in good conscience.
His school was uppermost in his thoughts, and even if he did not inspected it often, he attended to it most conscientiously. He saw a great deal of the teacher, inquired about everything, sharpened his conscience, cheered him up and gladly kept school for him when he was ill or if he wanted to visit Washington or other places. He was always more fraternal then paternal, even toward young teachers. In him they had a faithful friend indeed.
He was diligent and untiring in visiting the sick. At any hour of the day, in the middle of the night, he was ready to serve them. That he cared for many of the sick also physically will be told later on.
The most disgusting illness was no hindrance for him to visit someone, to lift someone, to lay someone down. He was therefore a very welcomed Seelsorger [minister]; after whose entering they yearned, toward whom the eyes shone, toward whom the arms were held out.
However, he never gave in to the sinful habits of the sick and did not permit them any license. In St. Louis there was a sick woman, who imagined that she could not pray herself; that she could not even sigh, and who for that reason asked Wyneken to pray with her. He gladly consented, as soon as she had made just one attempt to send a small sigh to God. However, she said she would not be able to do it, so Wyneken would not pray with her. He came several days; asking if she had prayed, but had to leave, without attaining his object.. Finally, she broke her willfulness and prayed; now Wyneken complied with her wish.
Wyneken was just as careful as courageous at congregation meetings. Frequently, he was exposed to vehement attacks, but they bounced off of his composure, his presence of mind and shrewdness. He did not move an inch; he was never at a loss for a good answer to the most unexpected questions, accusations, or charges. He understood excellently how to force the malicious adversary into the trap set for him, and thus reveal the antagonist’s own shame.
Once, he had refused the Holy Supper to a man, because he had committed adultery. The sin was not yet public; indeed, the circumstances were such that if the sinner wanted to deny the sin, it would hardly have been possible for Wyneken to proof the matter sufficiently. Haughty, until now so respected P., counted on that. He attacked Wyneken in the congregation meeting and demanded he should give the reason why he won’t give him Communion. Wyneken replied: He, P., certainly knows this reason; it is therefore not necessary to state it here. But the adulterer insisted in his will and several of his friends supported his demand vehemently. Wyneken asked him, if he knows what he had told him at registration [for Communion]. P. said: “Yes!” Wyneken asks further, if he can deny that the matter is exactly as he has said. To that, P. does not want to answer; he only wants to know why he can’t go to Communion! Wyneken persists, he has indeed told him; but if P. wants that the congregation be told, he may tell it himself. P. blurts out: “You have said [that] I am an adulterer!” “Quite right,” replied Wyneken, “so I have told you in private; you yourself have now blabbed it out and have to pay the consequences. Now I have to tell the congregation why I have said that.” Wyneken told [why]; unexpectedly witnesses were found who knew about the offence. P. stood there in his shame, haughty and unbroken; he left the meeting furiously, never to return.
Toward fallen persons, who discerned their sin, Wyneken was very compassionate and kind. Nothing annoyed him more than harsh, loveless verdicts about people who have done wrong out of weakness, or about such who are yet lacking understanding. He then would scold the “righteous ones” thoroughly and also rebuke the “wise ones” who at the admission of new members would say in smugness: “He is only missing the proper understanding!”
How very successful Wyneken was in awakening self-sacrificing devotion for spiritual purposes in his congregation in Baltimore, is demonstrated by the receipts in the Lutheraner, e.g. from 1847.
The overzealous Lutherans in his congregation caused not a little trouble for Wyneken. He was very slow and careful about introducing ceremonies even if they were very dear to him. He would rather have them never introduced than causing anyone grief by their use. Many of his “Lutheran” congregation members did not think so. They believed that a crucifix and candles on the altar are indispensable for Lutheranism. They demanded those things, they asked for their acquisition, they offered to donate them — nothing did any good — Wyneken did not let them be placed on the altar, because there were still people, especially old ones, who were not used to such things and who could not stand them. Once, several brothers dared “to donate” candlesticks and to put them “quietly on the altar, but they met with a nice reception. They received a firm reprimand privately and publicly, and their candlesticks never made it upon the altar. — Pastor H. also earned Wyneken’s ingratitude when he tried to introduce the liturgical service during Wyneken’s absence. It was never introduced as long as Wyneken was in Baltimore.
We have heard earlier that Wyneken was accused by Pastor Weyl, among other things that he wanted to lead his congregation back to the papacy. Wyneken hated the papacy from the bottom of his heart, because it makes the state of grace uncertain for the sinner; it extols the work of man as sufficient for the reconciliation with God; it perverts the Scriptures and robs God of honor, etc. It is noteworthy, however, that once a Roman [Catholic] priest actually made the attempt to convert our Wyneken. He lived near the beautiful Alphonsus Church, so that the priests employed there knew him by sight and only had to cross the street in order to reach his house. They must have heard of Wyneken alleged “intention of becoming a Catholic,” and one of these gentlemen had the audacity to visit him. Wyneken treated him obviously like every stranger, with great courtesy, told him, however, his opinion about the horrible papist teachings so clearly that the gentleman said goodbye soon very disappointedly and never came again.
Occasionally, Wyneken had to laugh about the shameful greediness of the people. When, for instance, after he had married a couple, the groom asked what he owed and to Wyneken’s replay: “that is entirely up to your free will,” he only offered a 25-cent piece while he concealed at least another one between the fingers.
It annoyed him though, when God’s Word and sacred rites were used for the attainment of worldly and temporal purposes. Among his parishioners was an old bachelor named Wolf, who had been very rich at some time, but he was impoverished now. He was over eighty years old. A niece of nearly 70 years kept house, assisted by a Black woman, who spoke German very well, the only one remaining of numerous slaves, who had been sold gradually or who had run away.
Wholly unexpectedly, the bachelor and his niece received the news that a rich relative had died and left them a large fortune; they are to come to Germany and receive it. However, a clause in the testament read, they can only enter upon the inheritance if they would bring proof that they are married. Both had kept house together for a long time already and never thought about marriage; but now the wedding had to take place hurriedly; else the inheritance would elude them. They requested Wyneken to perform the marriage and promised him great riches as thanks for it. It cost him a hard struggle before he assented; he would have given a great deal if this bridal pair would have sought the marriage from someone else; but finally he had to submit to performing it. He did it with reluctance. Of the great riches, not one cent came ever into his hands.
At the beginning of the year 1850, Wyneken received a call from Trinity Congregation in St. Louis. He vacillated for some time whether this was really a call by God and whether he had to accept it, since all serious Lutherans in Baltimore asked him to stay with them; but after conscientious scrutiny of all circumstances, he realized it as God’s will to go to St. Louis. His dear congregation released him in peace; but he had to promise to provide for a faithful successor. The choice fell upon Pr. [Ernst. G. W.] Keyl, who at that time worked in Milwaukee and has already entered his eternal rest.
When Wyneken had to leave finally, Pr. [Johann M. G.] Schaller was called to be vicar, who administered the pastorate until Pr. Keyl had been installed. Wyneken preached his farewell sermon on 1 Sam. 7:12 on February 24, 1850, and departed for St. Louis via Fort Wayne where he picked up his family. On Jubilate Sunday [fourth Sunday of Easter] 1850, he preached his inaugural sermon and ministered from then on in a very similar manner as he had done in Baltimore, until his election ad president of synod enjoined other duties upon him. The limited space which is allotted to us does not permit us to impart other facts about his life in St. Louis except for the ones already mentioned.
Only this should yet be mentioned here, that he had the pleasure in St. Louis to see his nephew [Heinrich Christian] Schwan again who had worked as pastor in Brazil for seven years and who once had promised his uncle to come to him in order to likewise serve the North American church.
3. The Synodical President.
yneken was also elected synodical president in the same year that he moved to St. Louis. He had acquired so much trust within two years that the synodical congregations conferred this highest office upon him. Accordingly, he was not only obligated to preside over synodical meeting sand to perform various important duties which he could carry out at his residence during the three years for which he had been elected, but he had also to “visit every parish of the synodical district at least once” during that time. By the assumption of this so very necessary and important office, Wyneken had approximately become such a “superintendent” as the one he had wished for in 1841already, only that the district was much larger than the one that he envisioned then.
Following the division of the synod into four districts, Wyneken was elected again in 1854 that is as “general president.” Although the synod had increased very much and the congregations in the United States and in Canada were widely scattered about, the president had the duty to visit all parishes within three years, to inspect congregations, pastors and schools, “if possible to preach a sermon in every congregation,” and moreover “if practicable to appear personally without delay when requested by any congregation of the synodical district for the removal of arisen disagreements,” etc. In addition, he was to attend the pastors’ conferences and the meetings of district synods and if requested “to give advice and answers,” etc. The synod required much of its general president, but Wyneken endeavored earnestly to render these important services, and he so well to the satisfaction of the synod that it elected him again in 1857. But the synod had now become so large that it was not possible for one man, even in best health and constant activity, to visit all congregations, conferences and district synods within three years; it was therefore decided then that the specified inspections are to take place within six years.
Since, with all his many presidential functions, it was impossible for Wyneken to also officiate as pastor of Trinity Congregation in St. Louis in any kind of way, especially since he had suffered much due to illness, he left this city in 1859 and moved with his loved ones to dear Adams County, where he spent the following winter in Pastor Jäker’s congregation for whom he preached occasionally. In spring of 1860, he moved into a small estate near Fort Wayne, which several well-to-do friends had given him; he lived there until 1864. However, he remained pastor of Trinity Congregation in St. Louis as before, for Pastor G. Schaller, whom it had called in 1854 already, was only supposed to be the vicar to Wyneken, whom they hoped to get back sooner or later.
When the general meeting of the synod was held at Fort Wayne in 1863, Wyneken desired very much to be relieved of the presidency. The excessive strain of the many journeys, etc. had aged him before his time; he yearned for rest and needed it too. Nevertheless, he gave way to the pleas of the synod to administer the important office yet one more year. His desire was met in 1864 only, when the synod elected Professor C. F. W. Walther as general president again and regulated his function in another way.
Thus dear Wyneken had administered the extremely important office of synodical president for fourteen years.
Not only his many letter (especially the ones to the synodical congregations) show how he viewed his office, but also, above all, the addresses and reports which he gave and submitted at the opening of the general synodical meetings. They are and remain winsome and a strong testimony of the clear mind, of the sincere love, of the great seriousness and zeal, of the thoroughly evangelical views of our dear Wyneken. Whoever does not know him yet, should read these documents and get a true picture of him.
The blessing, which God has bestowed upon the entire greater synod as long as he had been president, is not to be discerned at this time, much less to be described. That our synod has pursued the Evangelical direction, which so advantageously distinguishes the synod now from the many other religious bodies, it owes to him in a very considerable measure. At synods and conferences, in studies and at congregation meetings, he had a hundredfold opportunity to caution them to exhibit Evangelical praxis and to urge them on. How often has he appeared as God’s witness at synodical meetings and has shown the right aim and the right way with a few, often blunt, but always powerful and effective words! The Lord has also put him into these numerous councils as His instrument to let the words sound loud and clear – to clearly restore the eternal light of His Word to the American church!
And how more often than at synods has he courageously witnessed against sin, against greed, drinking, self-righteousness, confessed and defended the truth, given a deathblow to legalism, displayed and praised Evangelical liberty and helped it to victory, encouraged the disheartened, comforted the mournful, thrown the great saints to the ground. He was able to help the weak, the ignorant, the fallen and set them right with great — very great — patience; he shrank from neither time nor effort, neither heat nor frost. However, he confronted the clever, the arrogant, the self-righteous, all willful sinners with enormous seriousness and without respect of person. Whether someone was rich or poor, honored or despised by the world, it made no difference to him; everybody got to hear the truth, which was at the time the most beneficial and most needed for everybody according to Wyneken’s conviction and according to his very acute perception.
He dealt also with the pastors and schoolteachers likewise. He gladly acknowledged diligence, upright endeavors, successful feeble efforts; he willingly excused whatever was lacking due to weakness, but he earnestly reproved all false legalism in the sermons, all unscriptural (unevangelisch) ways in the administration of the congregation or in the collecting of any monetary contributions, etc. He was an acute and an unwelcomed president to the pastors, who did not study diligently, who tyrannized the congregations, who conformed to the world, etc., but to the afflicted, a comforter; to the disheartened, a mainstay; to those assailed by temptation, a counselor. He knew almost all pastors and teachers, who at that time belonged to the synod, through his inspections; he had been to their homes, had gotten to know their families; he knew their joys and sufferings, their struggles, defeats and victories. He was welcome as a father by everyone (possibly with very few exceptions); there was cordial, sincere joy on both sides whenever they met with him. Truly, such a bond based on true faith and genuine love as it existed between Wyneken and the synodals (Synodalen), existed after the time of the Apostles only in the age of the Reformation on earth! I do not say this in order to honor anyone unduly, not Wyneken either; I say this to the glory of the great God, Who has given us this cherished man and Who has so richly blessed us through him.
And, certainly, the congregations, which Wyneken has visited as president, remember him in greatest love and esteem. Of course, he was not welcomed at some places, because he called a spade a spade regarding the conditions that he found and relentlessly exposed them when needed. But on the whole, he was welcome everywhere, because those who are only little advanced, who still lack understanding, who are doubtful, who are suspicious had to realize before long that the man meant well, that he wanted only the true benefit, the eternal salvation of the congregation – that he did not want to dominate, but wanted only to serve.
It was especially the aged who felt themselves drawn to him in brotherly love and who speak with pleasure about the “Old President,” who spoke to them in “Low German,” who patted their shoulder, seized their hand and told them the truth appropriately, scolded them with a smiling face and pricked their conscience.
As long as people are alive, who have seen the “Old President” at their congregation meetings and in their pulpits, they will say of him: He was a deserving bondsman of the great God and a faithful servant of his synod.
He has sincerely taken part in all battles of his synod. He was always among the foremost in the war of the Lord according to the nature of the gifts, which God has bestowed upon him. He has also faithfully and courageously confessed the name of his Savior externally (nach auβen hin) and has willingly borne the disgrace, which fell upon him for His sake.
He traveled to Germany with Professor Walther in 1851. As delegates of the synod, both were to attempt to dissuade theur friend and benefactor Pastor W[ilhelm] Löhe from his romanizing and judaizing errors and to win him for the whole Evenagelical truth. Indeed, Löhe had a splendid edition published of his Kirchliche Mitteilungen – Zum Gedächtnis der Anwesenheit der ehrwürdigen Brüder Walther und Wyneken in Deutschland [Religious Notices – In Remembrance of the Presence of the Venerable Brethren Walther and Wyneken in Germany], and in it he seemingly gave way to the hope that the former unity would be restored; but fundamentally the split remained unhealed despite of all the work and effort, which the two delegates employed.
After both had returned, the dispute with the Iowans was added to the old dispute with [Johannes A. A.] Grabau [of Buffalo] which blazed up more and more vehemently. Wyneken has valiantly defended the divine truth through verbal and written testimony, strengthened his fellow combatants and helped overcome the opponents for his part. He was a genuine synodical president in this regard too.
As he, at times, has appeared t synodical meetings, has dealt with the people at conferences and inspections, what he has experienced, suffered and said there, will be best illustrated by a few anecdotes from that time.
Fairly at the beginning of his term as president, Wyneken inspected a congregation located far in the W est. The meeting lasted till midnight. The people talked very passionately; it was almost tumultuous, and Wyneken strove in vain to settle the dispute. The meeting had to be adjourned finally without having brought about reconciliation. The president stood in the dark vestibule while the pastor of the congregation, being the last to leave, extinguished the candles. Wyneken then hears several fierce opponents, mostly young men on the other side of the street, arguing vehemently about him and talking about wanting to thrash him. Without further consideration, Wyneken suddenly steps in front of them and says [in Low German]: “Lads, I want to tell you something: I am not afraid of the devil, and you think that I should be afraid of you. You really are pitiful fellows.” He preaches them a blunt severe lecture and walks away calmly. The men look at each other bewildered; they had gained respect for the Low German president and demonstrated that at the next meeting by quietly submitting. One of them became a worthy member of the congregation later.
In the year 1860 or 1861, he was in K. in order to make an attempt to settle the dispute about confession in F. in the following days. He paced back and forth with Pastor J. in the yard of a congregation member, deliberating the sad occurrences in the congregation. He whittled a piece of wood with his knife. B., a chief confession disputant, with whom was dealt shortly before, walked after him and cried: “Pastor J. has employed the wrong teaching about private confession!” Wyneken kept on walking calmly without interrupting his whittling and said only: “You are lying!” B. became even more passionate and screamed resentfully: “Pastor J. nevertheless has taught falsely about private confession!” Wyneken repeated calmly and briefly: “You are lying!” Proud B. became then angry and blustered: “I think you are afraid of me for you don’t even stop!” Wyneken, resilient like a youth, turned around quickly and said emphatically: “Listen you, I don’t fear the devil, much less one of his scales (Schuppen)!” The just-now ever so brave B. got scared and drew back quickly.
When the deliberation in F. were to begin, Wyneken had such fear that his heart pounded loudly. When he was about to go to the church, he said to Pastor J.: “Take along Luther’s booklet about confession as well as pen and ink. I will dictate three questions to you, first of all. These I will put before the people and the fellows shall either fetch their life on these or devour death!” After the congregation meeting had been opened, Wyneken’s fear abated and he was the fearless champion again. He dictated the three questions and demanded an answer to the first of them: “If Luther has taught correctly about confession?” The opponents of private confession soon realized where that was leading and the abovementioned B. shouted furiously: “People, the fox wants to catch us!” But now, Wyneken read Luther’s praise of private confession and then gave a speech penetrating heart and marrow so that all opponents rushed out and stayed away forever. The peace had now been restored.
A pastoral conference was meeting at Kirchhayn, Wis. in 1863, at which Dr. S. and several Norwegian brothers took part. President Wyneken had likewise promised his attendance, but on the night before the start of the proceedings, he was still missing. It grew dark already and most of those gathered thought this time they would not have the pleasure to see the much-loved president in their midst. Suddenly there was a knock on the window and a loud voice is heard: “Is there still room in the camp?” All recognized that voice, jumped up and called out: “Our president is here!” With a “hurrah, there you are!” he entered and was welcomed with shouts of joy.
An arrogant man followed him at a visitation and yelled: “Mr. President, I am also one of those who have fought against the union [church] in Germany!” Wyneken turned around and said calmly: “Would to God, you had fought against your old Adam!” The brave union fighter withdrew with a long face.
He had much to lament about greed of the people in one congregation. They said they had no money to raise for the poor and to contribute for general purposes of the church; they were only able to raise small collections and therefore had to console themselves that the Lord acknowledged the widow’s mite. Wyneken knew them however. In order to shame them, he said: “Well, then leave it at a cent! For all I care, give half a cent, and if you don’t have half cents, two of you can always give a whole cent in partnership!”
At another visitation at an old congregation, several disputes, which had caused all sorts of mischief for some time, were to be looked into between individual members and factions within the congregation. The longer, the more it turned out that it was only paltry trifles over which the brothers quarreled with each other. Wyneken told them that it was silly and childish to fight about such things at all, but even sillier and more childish to bring them before the president. He admonished them to bury the matters and to get along with each other. But, alas! The people were now offended; everyone wanted “his right” and have “the sin of the neighbor” punished. A terrible self-righteousness manifested itself even more distinctly. Finally, Wyneken said indignantly: “I wish, you great saints would commit a downright big sin in order for you to learn what sin really is; in this way, however, you are drowning in your great piety!”
At a visitation in H. C., Ohio, L. from C. accompanied him. After the worship service was finished, the sermon was reviewed while all the persons involved were lying in the grass and let the sun, which had been hidden for a long time, shine on their backs. L. thought then that the Law certainly was preached somewhat too harshly. “Now, now; the Law can’t be preached sharply enough! Yes, by all means real sharp in order that the people awake and come out from their safety! But naturally, afterwards all diligence must be employed to preach the Gospel very thoroughly, winsomely and kindly, so that the sinners will take heart and hurl themselves, just as they are, into God’s arms of mercy!”
He inspected the schools carefully too. He liked to listen to the singing of the children, and if they sang a hymn to his liking, he asked to repeat it. He did so once in the school of Pastor Str. The children had sung splendidly and raptly: “In the very midst of life Death has us surrounded,” etc. [LW 265] He desired to hear the magnificent hymn again; his request was met with pleasure.
Frequently, he had cause to be dissatisfied with school discipline. He hated all disorder, all carelessness and thoughtlessness; on the other hand, he loved punctuality, order and strict discipline. More so however, he demanded compassion towards the children from the teachers. Based on his experience, he said: “Seldom have I encountered a merciful schoolmaster!” However, he also accused himself thereby and regretted lacking so very much in merciful patience and uplifting love.
When the visitation was over, he could tell the congregations and pastors the plain truth without offending. Thus, for example, Pastor J. relates the following about him: “When Wyneken made the first visitation to me, I was still a new pastor. After the worship service and congregation meeting were finished, he took me by the arm and said, ‘we want to go a little into the bush now.’ Having arrived there, he sat on a tree trunk lying on the ground, put his hand on my leg and said, ‘my dear J., now I am president and I’m refining you; sometime, when you become president, you refine me.’ And then he reproached me with one wrong and another, and gave me directions on how to do things better in such a way that I couldn’t help to grow fonder of him with every moment.”
At another visitation, he said to a new pastor after the service: “My dear L., I am pleased with your sermon but the ending was dreadful! Do you know how it struck me? Just so, as if someone pours the best feed into the trough for the pigs and then beckons them over that they should eat. However, as soon as they come and try to sick their snout into the trough, he hits about them with a club that they get scared and run off. You see, you mustn’t only show the heavenly treasures to the sinners; you also have to encourage them to lay hold of them and take them home!”
At the synod in J., much was said about contributing for purposes of the church. Many a thing was said that sounded as though you could and would control the giving of Christians. Wyneken spoke decisively against it; he wanted everyone to have the freedom to give according to one’s own discretion and closed finally with the words: “I let no one peek into my purse!”
Instructive, encouraging, comforting and worthy of retaining are many of his appropriate utterances of which he availed himself at synods and conferences, at social gatherings and in private conversation, and which flowed spontaneously and unexpectedly – entirely original – from his heart.
He had preached a very cheerful and comforting sermon. S. came to him afterwards and lamented how hard it is for him to simply believe the Gospel. “Yes,” said Wyneken sighing, “it is exactly the same with me!” “How?” replied S. “You have just now preached so very cheerfully!” “Indeed, do you think that I believe so firmly what I have just preached?” said Wyneken and added: “O, who, after all, could at all times believe so firmly!” Thus he was aware of his weakness always.
Another time, he said sadly: “I may not go to confession any more. I always promise to change for the better, but nothing comes of it.”
Often, great fear and sorrow fell upon him.
One time, he came to A. to preach a sermon during a period of vacancy. Teacher B. picked him up at the train station and took him to Mr. P’s. house where the vacancy preachers had their quarters. There, they sat on a bench in front of the house and talked about this and that. When B. expresses certain concerns, Wyneken starts to console him superbly. When he had done that, he said unexpectedly: “So, you console me now’ I don’t know how to advise and help myself! Tell me at least a little saying.” B., somewhat surprised at first at having to console the president, said to him then: “The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleans us from all sin.” And now he was reassured again.
Associating with people, however, he let it very seldom be known what burdened his heart; the geniality, the appropriate wit emerged then.
Once, he and Professor C. had visited Pastor J. near Fort Wayne. They called on Farmer Konrad T. It was around harvest time and T’s. hands complained that they won’t ever get done with all the work. Professor C. consoled them by saying that it was just the same with him. Wyneken laughed then and said: “Yes, that’s how it is with farmers and professors, you want to do everything yourself and let God do absolutely nothing!”
When I said good-bye to him in October 1864 in Fort Wayne, he said cheerfully: “To finish up with, I give you a splendid piece of advice. When you get to A., you will find many large stones there on your way perhaps. If you cannot lift them, let them lay and just walk ’round them.” Excellent advice from an old experienced man. May his memory be a blessing for us.
4. The Family Man.
e have gotten to know Wyneken only in his official capacity as missionary, pastor and president until now; it is time that we take a look into his home and see what he was like as family man.
On August 31, 1841, he married maiden Marie Sophie Wilhelmine Buuck, the second-oldest daughter of “Father Buuck,” who had first taken him in at Adams County. Pastor Knape performed the wedding ceremony. Wyneken began his trip to Germany soon after the wedding, accompanied by his young wife. His oldest daughter, Luise, was born on May 23, 1842, followed by twelve children yet in the course of the years.
God presented him with two boys at one time, Martin and Henry, on December 15, 1844. After this event had become known, a poor man came to his house in order to console hi, because of his great addition to the family. “What is one to do,” he said guilelessly [in Low German], “one just has to carry one’s cross. Dear God will surely not let you perish!” Wyneken laughed out loud when he received this unexpected consolation. Indeed, he did not need any such, for he considered himself to be immensely blessed and rich especially by the birth of these children. He wrote his dear mother at that time: “Never have I been happier than today. Never have I more richly showered with gifts even at Christmas! Faithful God has granted me two healthy boys, and in honor of this event, I am wasting some money: two tallow candles are burning on my desk!”
Father Wyneken was devoted to his children with tender love. They were his riches and his joy. He saw them as certain proof of the fatherly mercy of his God, and he tried with great seriousness and diligence to raise them to His glory. He hated the modern silly, syrupy way with children, but was always friendly and kind towards them. He liked to give them joy, joked and played with them as long as they were little. A rocking horse made by Mr. Bosse, besides other toys, was at the service of the boys, and they increased at least at every distribution of Christmas presents.
When at Christmas of 1848, a friend of the family had painted and erected a “Christmas garden” with a “manger,” with the shepherds in the field and the three Wise Men; he was pleased with it like a child. He explained the individual figures to the little ones, told the Christmas and Epiphany story and was happy with them like a child at Christmas. In the afternoon when English-speaking visitors arrived and said such a representation was “Catholic,” he laughed at them and said: “I’ll wander about the world with this thing and let it be seen when I can preach no longer!”
Wyneken demanded obedience from his children, especially obedience towards their mother; he did not allow any backtalk and punished with the rod when the old Adam insisted upon acknowledgement and consideration. When the purpose was accomplished, daddy was friendly again and he was now the more so kind towards the punished child that it would not possibly be estranged from his heart.
Wyneken was a devoted, loving father towards his children at all times, as he was an exceedingly loving husband towards his wife always. The marriage of both these people was a very happy on in more than one respect. Often, one did not know what was prevailing foremost in their mutual attitude, love or deep respect. Certainly, both were present in great measure, and the matrimonial happiness, which the dear man enjoyed, contributed much to the fact that he always remained cheerful despite the constant temptations, great inner struggles and many outward disputes. He admitted at times that he could not thank God enough for the helpmate whom He bestowed him. He liked to jest with his wife; I heard him often say in a good mood: “Wife, your name is a contradiction;” but I have never seen him either silly and trifling nor harsh and indelicate. In the family room, he was a man of character, an example to his lodgers and to the congregation.
He held family devotions with his loved ones every morning. First, a hymn was sung for which a number of Raumer’s small hymnals was available in the family room in Baltimore. He then read a section from the Holy Scriptures and then all knelt down to thank God, to ask for intercession for church and state, for synod and congregation, for the poor, the sick, etc. At that time, he said the prayer freely from his heart, but it was simple and powerful. Wyneken was an especially earnest prayer, who carried his congregation, the church, the authorities in a praying heart and who, from experience, knew the God Who grants prayers.
At the table, he prayed before and after the meal, but he began the reading of a Scripture section only later on.
Wyneken was very plain and moderate in eating and drinking. The carefully prepared dishes were always available in sufficient amount to satisfy all table companions, but there were no delicacies. Water was the only beverage year in and year out. Only after he head become synodical president and as such had to accommodate various guests, his table was often set more abundantly and a bottle of wine was added as well. He required the latter for needed strengthening during the last years of his life, but he was always content with small quantities. He was not a teetotaler, but he was very moderate and careful in the enjoyment of alcoholic beverages. One never noticed the slightest careless effect o wine on him, and many may still remember how decisively he opposed frequenting pubs by pastors and teachers.
Besides his family there were boarders at the table regularly for a time in Baltimore. One of them was A. Hoyer, pastor since 1847. He did mission work in Maryland, had gathered a small congregation and took great pains to attend to them. He had his lodging at that time at Wyneken’s, and later on yet, when he had established his own bachelor’s household in Catonsville and “cooked and fed himself,” he dropped in often. The other boarder was Schoolteacher L. during the years q848 and 1849. Both occupied the garret together, used one bed and were very happy that they were living under one roof with Wyneken.
During meals, mostly about godly things and historic events were talked about; common city or street new received no notice.
Hoyer was frequently present only for meals; at those times there was that much more to be talked about, and at the table, travel plans, mission successes, adventures, etc. were told in a happy jumble. Also much was discussed about language, for H. eagerly studied English and always had a thousand questions about derivation and meaning of words, as to their similarity to good Low German.
One time at noon, Wyneken told how roughly and crudely a preacher in America is often treated, and not only by individuals and on the street, but even at congregation meetings. L. was indignant bout it and commented in youthful zeal: “Indeed, one must be able to remedy and restrain it! That has to change!” Wyneken laughed and said: “Yes, when I was as old as you are now, I thought I could reach into the wheel of the world and give it a new direction according to my wishes; now I let it whir however it wants: and you’ll have to learn this too!”
Life in Wyneken’s house was usually most pleasant and the daily relations with him were stimulating, profitable, interesting, and this was even more so the case when “strangers” dropped in, who almost constantly came and went. And not only Lutherans came, but also the Reformed, those belonging to the Episcopalian church and still others. Although visitors of this kind knew Wyneken’s religious position and his Lutheran resoluteness quite well, they nevertheless either wanted to see or speak with the worthy witness of Christ one time or they came again, since his cordial amiability, his sincere, many nature had compelled their love and deep respect. Also people, who were still strangers to the church, visited him and none of them went away without having heard a weighty word from him.
To the “strangers” calling on him, who surely served the church but did not share Wyneken’s conviction, belonged, for instance, Dr. [Philip] Schaff from Mercersburg, Pa., Pastor [Theodor] Fledner from Kaiserswerth in Germany, Prof. Fisk who worked at an American institution, but who had explored Greece and who could describe magnificently what he had seen. Neuhaus, missionary to the Jews employed in Baltimore, dropped in often, as did Dr. [John Gottlieb] Morris, pastor of the English Lutheran Congregation. The remaining gentlemen in Baltimore from the camp of the General Synod shunned the earnest confessor of the truth and did not seek his presence.
A friendly communication with Professor [Adolf F. T.] Biewend in Washington, District of Columbia was cultivated with diligence; the entire family was present at least once a year and Father Wyneken could then make use of French to his heart’s content which he spoke fluently.
In short, Wyneken’s home was a very open one, and he a very accommodating host in it, who gladly gave of his poverty and who presented the little he had in such a way that one gladly accepted it, one helped oneself [to it] with pleasure and one felt entirely at home soon.
Wyneken associated with all who entered his house, even with candid opponents, quite frankly and freely as well as very kindly. Theological things were in no way discussed constantly, they went from one subject to another; everyone related whatever moved him; Wyneken always contributed most to the pleasant conversation. His journeys in Europe and America and his various experiences, more so than his studies, had made him skillful at communicating old and new in a winsome, interesting manner. And since he was endowed with a great, apt wit and since he made he made use of it, he liked it too when his guests were cheerful, when they tried out their playful humor on him.
Wyneken liked to remember his time of youth. He talked of his (at that time still living and) still ever tenderly beloved and highly honored mother, of the great respect, which “we youngsters” had for her. He also knew to tell many a thing in an entertaining manner of his brothers, their studies and war service, and of his sisters, how they, for instance, had to work in the presence of foreign officers.
Then he also knew to recount very much from his student and candidate years. Thus, for instance, how he had preached his first sermon. After he had committed it to memory for weeks and could recite it almost as well backward as forward, he was to finally preach it in a small village church. He mounts the pulpit trembling and realizes immediately that it is impossible for him to make use of his concept, for the church galleries reach close to the pulpit and the peasants cannot only see into his book, no, they can take away his concept. He begins fearfully. Now it is time for a Bible verse, when — what is this? — the entire congregation joins in and recites the verse with him. He has never heard that before; it takes him by surprise, but he knows where he has to continue. He keeps on preaching until there is another verse, again the congregation joins in, but it is not quite so disturbing any more; he finally reaches the end successfully and from then on has the courage and enthusiasm to appear publicly.
He also knew how to vividly recount his trip to France and Italy — the first view of the Alps, the Gulf of Genoa, the stay at Nice — and much more connected to it.
Still more interesting, however, were the reports about his missionary life and his experiences in the West. He had an eye for everything; even seemingly insignificant things were important enough for him to notice and to remember; therefore he could now narrate interestingly and vividly. Father Wyneken knew how to entertain his household most interestingly about the game of the woods, about the many turkeys which were nearly crushed under foot while riding; about the wolves which had howled after him and which had snorted around the house in winter, or even had climbed to the roof; about panthers which had almost snatched a youth from his congregation; about marvelous rescues (how, for instance, a woman, who was snowed in with her children, was close to starving to death, and how a hunter unexpectedly tossed half a stag in front of her door); about Indians and their pig-drawing queen (Schweine zeichnende Königin); about isolated and poor settlers, but also about awkward and conceited ones, and about a thousand other things – but it always was done so that it had a connection with God and the extension of the Church.
With the most heartfelt delight, he remembered the former privations, his poverty, his traveling by day and night, being lost in the woods, his accommodation in log cabins, etc. Genuine joy from his soul sparkled in his eyes when he told how so many people had welcomed God’s Word with great desire at that time; how even women had come many miles on foot often on the worst roads in order to hear the sermon; how the people were afraid of neither storm nor weather to meat with him. “Oh, that was a splendid time!” he would then cry out delighted.
In all that narrating, even in all that jesting, one always perceived that this is a very solemn man who has peace with God.
Just as Wyneken surely took to heart and practiced the Word of God: “A bishop must be given to hospitality” (1 Tim. 3:2), he did also with: “To do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:16). Giving was a pleasure for him; he was graced with this virtue in a special measure and he did not practice it only for some time, but from his first appearance in America until his old age. He made himself poor in order to help others. The result naturally was that he never had money and that his housekeeping — according to human judgment — lacked much. For this reason, we talk about it here; otherwise it could have happened earlier already.
Several examples will demonstrate what he made of giving and doing good.
When he still lived in Indiana and the people in the surrounding settlements had force something on him — money or groceries — he seldom brought it home; he either gave it to someone in need who asked for charity or he gave it to poor people living on the way.
Once when he still had his accommodation at Mr. Heinrich Rudisill’s, he rode up in his stocking feet; he had given his boots to a poor man whom he met in torn shoes on the way and who had begged him for alms.
Another time, his father-in-law had given him money to buy a pair of boots because his were not waterproof any more. He went to do this, but he returned home again without boots and without money. He had met people on the way who needed the money more than he.
It is said of a very compassionate and generous person that he gives his shirt off his back if it has to be. Wyneken has done this literally in the following manner.
He entered a secluded house once in which several men were busy laying out someone who had just died. Wyneken had visited the dead person several times during his last illness. He noticed that the men were looking for something, which they, however, could find nowhere, because it was not here, namely a clean shirt. As soon as Wyneken realized what it was, he said: “Wait a minute; I know where there is one.” He stepped out into the woodshed and when he returned after a short time, he handed the people — a fancy shirt. His coat, however, was buttoned up to the neck.
Wyneken, as long as he was a missionary, paid very little attention to his clothing. Even his best suit was mostly threadbare, occasionally patched. It was very annoying to the congregation that its pastor wore such bad clothes. The yellow trousers especially, of which we told earlier already, were repugnant for it. He, however, liked them because they were “imperishable” and he wore them in town as well as in the country.
Everyone knew that Wyneken never kept any money in the house, that, therefore, he would not have any to buy himself better clothes. For that reason, Vestryman Ernst Voss collected once forty dollars for him (a very considerable sum at that time), brought the money with great pleasure and urged him to have a decent suit made. While Voss is still there, a poor woman comes to Wyneken and pours out her troubles to him. She says: her husband is laid up sick for a long time; the rent has not been paid for months; the landlord does not want to wait any longer; they have neither money nor groceries; she and her children are starving; in short, the need is very great. Voss listened to that for a while, but left when he noticed that he was superfluous at this scene.
The congregation hoped to see its pastor in new clothes soon, but he wore the old ones now as before. The matter seems rather strange to the one and to the other, and Voss asks him after several days if his new clothes were not yet ready. “New clothes?” Wyneken asks in return. “What new clothes? From where am I supposed to have money for new clothes?” “But, replied the former, very unpleasantly surprised, didn’t I bring you forty dollars which had been collected for that purpose? And now you don’t have any more money?” “Yes,” Wyneken said cheerfully, “see, that is entirely natural. Didn’t you see the poor woman who poured out her troubles to me with bitter tears that time? I gave the money to her, because she needed it more than I. Just see, my suit is still good enough.” Voss wants to contradict, but Wyneken says: “Come, come, don’t make a fuss; dear God can give me double the money again and a new pair of trousers on top, if I need it!” “Yeah, you say that,” replied Voss somewhat disheartened. “So,” Wyneken says now, “you doubt that? You are a fine Christian! Don’t you know what it says in the First Article: ‘I believe that God provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life’?” Voss is silent, but he makes a face as though he wanted to say: God had certainly provided you, but you have given it away, now see how you manage!
Both [of them] are going to the town together. They have not gone far when Postmaster R. yells: “Wyneken, here is a letter for you!” “From where?” he asks surprised and delighted, for letters then were a rarer phenomenon than today. “From Germany,” replied the former. Wyneken takes the letter and sees right away by the address that it is from relatives. He opens it and the first thing that he pulls from the envelope is a bill of exchange for eighty talers which his brothers are sending him, “so that he does not starve to death in the primeval forest.” He shows the bill of exchange to Voss and says: “Do you see? You doubting Thomas!”
They continue to walk and come to a store, whose owner, who also stocks finished clothing, stands in the door. As soon as he sees Wyneken, he says [in Low German]: “Pastor, please come in here.” Wyneken complies with his request; Voss goes along too. “See,” the merchant says now, “here I have trousers; they were made for a man who lives in the country; he is a man just like you; you would do me a big favor if you would just try them on before I send them; I would be able to say then that they fit him!”
Wyneken is a little annoyed and does not want to do it, but when the man asks him again, he goes into a corner, tries on the trousers and steps into the light in front of the merchant. “Well,” says he, “how do you like these trousers? They are fine merchandise, pants just right for a pastor!” “Yes,” says Wyneken, “something like this is not for me! As long as I have been a pastor, I’ve never had trousers like these; I couldn’t use them at all now.” “Well, pastor,” replies the former, the trousers are yours; you are to keep them; they were made for you and are paid for!”
Wyneken balks at accepting the present; he goes to the corner to put on his old, comfortable, yellow ones, but they have disappeared; he has to go home in the new trousers.
“Now then, Voss, what do you say now?” said Wyneken to Voss as he offered him his hand in parting. Tears stood in his eyes; he shook the hand of his pious pastor and left.
Wyneken emptied out his wife’s kitchen cupboard and the flour barrel often. Mostly, he had to keep to the latter, for nothing else was available that he could give away. Because of that, his good wife of then got embarrassed and complained about it. But he would say then: “Be of good cheer. Dear God is infinitely rich, He will see to it that you will have something to cook and bake again. Be undaunted! To give is more blessed than to receive!”
Once, his wife had a new cloth coat made for him. But since his old gray frock fitted more comfortably, he wore only it now as before and the new coat hung unused for some time in the closet. When the next trip to the synod was to begin, his wife wants to pack the coat, that has never been used, into his traveling bag. She opens the closet, but it is not to be seen. She looks for it everywhere, but it does not show itself. Finally, she asks her husband where he left the new coat. “Well, see,” says he, “a poor fellow cane once, a German candidate in straitened circumstances; the thing fitted him splendidly and he went away with it overjoyed.”
It goes without saying, that often miserable frauds exploited Wyneken’s generosity. A poor man came to him once in Baltimore who alleged that he had been well-to-do in Germany; it is hard for him to learn English, therefore he wants to return to his native country and requests a small contribution for the journey. Wyneken gave him his last half dollar, but then had the pleasure of seeing the one weary of America yet often in the streets.
After such experiences, Wyneken used to say: “It is a good thing that I didn’t cheat him,” and gave again whatever he had at the next opportunity.
Many similar such stories from his life can be told. He always had an open hand and was therefore, as I said, always poor. He was poor in Fort Wayne; he had only a paltry income. This climbed to five hundred dollars annually and a few incidentals in Baltimore, but he remained poor here, too, and owned only the most essential.
Mr. Friedrich Schmidt, the editor of the Lutherischen Kirchenzeitung, had written a letter to him from Pittsburg. It took a long time until he received an answer. When it finally arrived, it also contained an apology from Wyneken: he was not able to pick up the letter at the post office, because he did not have the five cents required for it.
When both of them were visiting friend E. in B., they teased each other about their poverty. Schmidt said: “Money is of no benefit to you; all you do is give it away!” “And you?” replied Wyneken, “can you show me a dollar?”
Wyneken remained poor in St. Louis likewise, and it was the same in Cleveland, although his annual salary amounted to almost double of what it had been until then and many a significant present was added to it. — But his Savior will reward him for what he has done for the poor; he will be rich then.
Wyneken knew nothing of the so-called pleasures which many family men, even pastors, sought outside their home and office. He even read the [Baltimore] Sun only to be somewhat informed about the events in this country; reading the paper was not a pleasure for him, much less a necessity.
In contrast, he liked to visit his congregation members, especially the aged, and socialized most fraternally with them. At times, wife and children were taken along to such family visits. He also liked to spend a few hours in the country. He was always a welcome guest at old Ebert’s, an honest Alsatian, as well at his married daughters, all of whom lived close to the city onHartford Road. Equally at the Becks. At times, he drove to the Horns in Franklin or to other people where he was able to see and enjoy country life a little.
Wyneken lived thus as a family man! As such, he did according to the doctrine which he held publicly as pastor. At home, he was the same God-fearing, conscientious man that he was in the pulpit and in his entire official life.
5. The Patriarch.
t remains only to sketch our dear Wyneken in the last years of his life. I am calling him now a “Patriarch” intentionally, for he was a remarkable “old man” (sonderlicher “Greis”) and it appears to me as though the latter name [Greis, old man] does not express what I want to say sufficiently. Wyneken had become a proper “right reverend” old man, I, therefore, call him by the name above.
Even before Wyneken had been relieved of his presidency, he was chosen (June 12, 1864) by Trinity Congregation in Cleveland, [Ohio,] whose pastor was called to another sphere of activity, as shepherd and Seelsorger. He was at that time still pastor at the congregation of the same name in St. Louis, and it had, until, then hoped that he would return to it. When he requested to be released, it was in no way inclined to do immediately. It felt to have first claim to him. Repeated entreaties by letter on his part and several deliberations by the congregation were needed before it let him go in peace. He had already written to congregation in Cleveland that he was certainly inclined to go to it, but only now could he state for sure that he had accepted its call. As he left the presidential chair on October 29th at the conclusion of the Synodical convention at Fort Wayne, he was pastor of Trinity Congregation in Cleveland. On November 7th (25th Sunday after Trinity) he was publicly installed into his office by his old friend and fellow combatant, Pastor W[ilhelm] F[riedrich] Husmann. The congregation, which had been taken care of by neighboring pastors for two months, thanked and praised God that it had in its pulpit this man, His tested servant, in its midst. It met him with the most heartfelt love and with the greatest confidence, so that he summoned up new courage to be able to continue to function further with blessing.
Wyneken, at that time, was frail, exhausted and nearly despondent.
The many strenuous travels, but more so, different sad experiences with ministers, teachers and congregations, numerous very alarming congregational meetings and a thousand different kinds of experiences preying on his mind, which were necessarily connected to his former superintendence, had worn him out and had broken him spiritually.
Here, however, he recovered quickly and noticeably. The congregation was not all too large; the majority of its members lived not far from the church and close together, so that he could easily visit them and associate with them; also order and peace prevailed among them. In addition, the climate was very favorable for him; and, what made living in Cleveland especially pleasant for him: on the East Side of the city, his nephew, Dr. H[einrich] C[hristian] Schwan, was pastor [at Zion] since 1851. Now he could enjoy his delightful company, he could “set down his hot pot” (“seinen heiβen Topf hinsetzen”) by him and wander back to the West Side nicely cooled off.
Truly, the old gentleman deserved to have some rest and comfort as compared to his former activity. Before long, he felt at home in Cleveland; his disposition cheered up again, and he discharged his duties with joy, by himself at the beginning, and indeed as thoroughly as many a younger man would not have done.
In preaching, he was still fervent and powerful, as in earlier years. But now he had experience to serve him, as it hardly served another. Just like a rich father of the family, he could impart old and new things for the profit of his listeners. Every sentence which he uttered gave the impression that it came from a tried, purified heart rich in experience. Yet, he was careful to speak very plainly so that he surely would be understood by everyone. At the beginning of the sermon, he was still overcome by a certain nervousness; when he had warmed up, his words flowed freshly and joyfully from his lips again. As it always was the case with him, it was even now: he surely did according the the Lutheran rule: “Tread vigorously; open your mouth” (“Tritt frisch auf; tu’s Maul auf”), but the third part, “stop soon” (“hör bald auf”), he forgot often. He preached long, not seldom all too long, and yet had to break it off, without having reached the end.
He still prepared himself carefully for preaching and used the book of homilies by Johann Brenz for that purpose. He now wrote the sermons in a book of homilies and saved them; however, I dare not maintain that they were written out in detail, and much less, that he memorized and preached them word for word.
He also carried out the remaining duties of his office with great conscientiousness and care. He especially attached great importance to the school. The sick found an untiring, ever comforting friend and helper in him. The aged, too, attached themselves to him particularly, and they experienced many happy hours with him in private intercourse also.
He earnestly kept up church discipline, and insisted upon good morals in the congregation – upon commendable propriety in the church.
When the congregation grew considerably through the arrival of many immigrants and “Father Wyneken” could no longer carry out the many official performances, it called an assistant pastor. The initial choice was Mr. Heinrich Crämer, and when he was called to Zanesville, Pastor Wyneken’s own son Henry was called, who remained with him until he was called as professor at the Practical Preacher Seminary [Concordia Seminary, Springfield, IL]. Wyneken also attached great value to civil order, and had the best of the city at heart. If he found an opportunity to that end, he stood up for the authorities and their ordinances.
The elevation of Germany as a nation caused him great joy. He was, in the best sense of the word, an admirer of great, noble heroes; he lived in the history of his race and had a warm heart for its weal and woe. For many years, he lamented that there were no more outstanding men that the generation of old warriors and heroes had died out long ago. Then the wars against Austria and France broke out, and men appeared at the head of the Germans, who were equal to the best champions of olden times. Wyneken took pleasure in Kiser Wilhelm, in Bismarck, [Generals] Moltke and Roon; it gladdened him heartily to see the “Old Boys” so united, so unassuming and humble. Yet, he was very far from becoming a political fanatic. The ungodliness increasing so very much in Germany did not let him get to the point of indulging in great hopes in regards to the well being of the new nation.
Although Wyneken had recovered somewhat from his ailments since coming to Cleveland, he was and remained an “old, broken man,” and he became more so from year to year. Rheumatism and arthritis stuck in his joints and tormented him very much; these were joined later by difficulties in breathing. In the last years, he placed the left hand on his back while preaching in order to support the weak small of the back; it became constantly more difficult for him to get up when he had been sitting, and the once so rigid knightly bearing, the steady, firm appearance, gave way to a bowed back, a staggering step, a laboriously moving along.
But despite getting frailer from year to year, his entire appearance was yet continually more patriarchal, constantly commanding high esteem. His God adorned him with charming dignity, with a wonderful sublimity, in order not to say majesty, which is usually imparted only to those who get to be old and gray in the school of the Holy Ghost. The furrowed face testified of great, partly very painful, experience. The blue, brightly shining eyes proclaimed a manly seriousness as well as sincerest, most sensitive good will; the high and wide free forehead betrayed a natural understanding and mother wit; enthroned upon it was a sunny disposition.
And this archetypical genuine Low German face was framed in a silvery white head and beard hair, which he usually wore somewhat long. Especially when he stood upon the chancel, this venerable, ingenious countenance radiated or shone as though a waft of the transfiguration was resting upon it – as though it would carry traces of relations with the living, majestic God. Truly, old Wyneken, in the last years of his life, was a spectacle which could remind one most vividly of the patriarch.
And he stood like a venerable patriarch not only upon the chancel; he also crossed the street like one. Whoever saw him daily did not pay attention to that; but many a one who caught sight of him for the first time, stopped, followed him with his eyes and asked astonished: “Who is the old gentleman?” He had no inkling about this; he did not know that people regarded him with affectionate esteem.
And what a position did he still hold in the Church! He certainly did not occupy a Synodical office any more; but was he not still the highly honored “Father Wyneken”? Did not even the brothers who were years older value him as a highly inspired and well proven servant of the God of heaven and earth? And did not hundreds of younger pastors, hundreds of schoolteachers look up to him as one who carried the marks of the Lord Jesus upon him? Did not many, who through his service were awakened or strengthened in their spiritual life, call him their “spiritual father”? And was not the reverence that he enjoyed a general one extending far across the boundaries of the Synod?
And now his position in the family! He was not only the son of a pastor, not only the brother and brother-in-law of six pastors, to be sure, and the uncle and great-uncle of such, no, two of his sons and three sons-in-law served the Lord – his Lord – in Word and Sacrament. These servants of the Church were his children, and already brought him a group of grandchildren. Wyneken was also in this respect a remarkably gifted father; and thus if we consider him in his old age from any one side, we have to say: he was a venerable patriarch!
Wyneken was a man of action; therefore, also a very excellent adviser in difficult situations in the practical Christian life, regardless if these concerned an individual or the whole Church. Because the school of life had largely shaped him, he knew the best advise and help in the practical area of Christianity. Speculation was far removed from him. Also, he was not an actual theological author. On the whole, he has written very little, and this little concerns practical Christianity. In Lehre und Wehre [Teach and Defend] are only two essays by him: “An Explanation of Pastor Loehe Besides Several Remarks Attached Thereon” (“Eine Erklärung Herrn Pfarrer Löhes nebst einigen daran hängenden Bemerkungen”) (I, 65 ff.), and “The Methodists” (XII, 78). The Lutheraner contains more than a dozen articles from his hand. “The Distress of the Lutheran Church” is a historical work (XI, 113 ff.) which he did not finish. Yet still interesting and very worth remembering are the “Letters” which he wrote under the assumed name “Hans” (V, 113; VII, 97; X, 97; XII, 115; XXIII, 52); the last of such work turned out best: “All respect for the blessed Harms! Only no deification of man and no cult or living or deceased saints in the Lutheran Church!” This is the last public word, which we have from dear Wyneken; a word of the tried man, who may speak thus, because he is not only a Christian and pastor, but also an old proven and esteemed hero of the faith.
But did not this man have any weaknesses at all? Only laudable things have been said about him until now; how about his sinfulness, his failings? It is necessary to speak about them too, so that it does not seem as though we had not noticed them at all — as if they are to be concealed purposely. Had he had write about his life, he would have written a very long chapter about his sins and shortcomings, for he was also candid in judging himself and he had a perception of the malice of his heart, [a perception] that is found only by a few today. His sermons, his catecheses, his admonitions, his consolations, his conversations testified of a deep self-knowledge. He was a “poor sinner” everywhere who knew nothing of his own merit before God, not even of renown before men.
Wyneken was of a melancholic-choleric temperament, and the natural weaknesses and bad behavior of it would emerge sometimes more, sometimes less according to circumstances. His old friend H. said of him with good reason about twenty years ago already: “He is a chivalrous man, but he also has chivalrous failings.” He could always flare up somewhat quickly; appear commanding, dispute pigheadedly, and in a certain “pious” wrath make demands, pass judgments, which not always came forth from the spirit but at times from the flesh.
With increasing age, these failings of temperament were more and more noticeable, to his own great regret. Saturdays, when he had the preaching malady, he could be very “short” with people who “got in the way,” especially the sexton, and very forcefully “dismiss” them and “send them home.” He was now often peculiar, irritated, sullen, and that not only in his house, not only in the relations with individuals, but also in congregational meetings. He liked to “carp” a little about all sots of things, about church and state, about bad windows and about church spires that had turned out badly. He was at times “somewhat disagreeable,” and not everyone could associate with him then.
No one understood him better than his wife. She knew him and could be silent or talk at the right time. She knew that the bad mod lasted only moments, and then whatever had escaped his mouth grieved him painfully. I have never seen her hurt and sensitive, but always ready to oblige her husband, especially when synodical and congregational worries made him a little “testy.”
Next to her was “Nephew Heinrich” [Schwan] who could always “rummage well” with the “old uncle.” He heard his complaints often and then diverted his thoughts with an anecdote, with a joke; but he also had the opportunity often to comfort him earnestly.
Whoever had known the dear old “Father” in the last years of his life will have to say that this sketch corresponds to the truth. Would he be able to see it himself, he would say: “All of this is regrettably true, only it has been shortened and softened and much has been concealed entirely!” He made no bones about being a great sinner; and , although his weaknesses revealed themselves in word and deed, yet one has to say, that as a rule he fought earnestly and chivalrously against his old Adam and willingly asked God and people for forgiveness as soon as he realized his fault.
A predominant trait of this pious Father was the great, unfeigned humility which is to be acknowledged of him the more so since he was sooner inclined by his natural disposition to the opposite. He, in truth, thought nothing of himself; in his eyes he was small and insignificant, not only before God, but also before people. He knew of nothing to brag about himself; the more so, however, of God and His mercy. He dealt with his parishioners as with brothers and sisters; then also, as inspecting president, he was a friend a helper, an adviser to the weakest pastor and teacher. He liked to associate with the children and the young folk; gladly accepted advice himself, let himself be chastised and corrected.
Proof of his heartfelt humility surely was that he, when his frailty did not permit him any more to work as actual pastor, became his son’s assistant. He himself moved that the congregation permit him that position; it consented in order to calm him and to make his duties easier.
Because Wyneken knew his shortcomings, he had pity for others. It is true, the meanness and the baseness of so many people could incense him, but he had heartfelt compassion for the fallen sinner. He hated nothing more than unkind judgments about others, and when he would keep quiet otherwise in response to much perverse talk, he surely opened his mouth when someone judged without mercy. He complained often that merciful love was missing from the admonitions and punishments at the exercise of church discipline. No sin was too great or too heavy for him not to think immediately about salvation from it; no sinner was too bad, too depraved to be shown love and kindness by Wyneken; he wanted to save, save; and he admonished and scolded only in order to save.
In the winter, 1874 till 1875, he was especially ailing. The terrible asthma did not allow him to find sufficient air in the low rooms of the parsonage; and yet he could not be outside much, because he had become very sensitive to the cold. His family realized that he would not be able to survive another such winter.
So they sought advice and help from friends and physicians. Finally, it was realized as the best by all that he should travel to his dear son-in-law, Pastor J[acob] Bühler, in San Francisco, California, in order to grow stronger , if it pleased God, in the climate there which is generally commended as healthy, and then either return to Cleveland restored, or, in case it would seem more suitable, to accept a call out there. The congregation, too, approved this plan, and thus the 65-year-old man decided then to undertake the far, tiring trip, although he was leaving with an apprehensive heart. His son was called as professor to Springfield and was expected there daily. The election of a new pastor had been attempted several times already, but had not yet succeeded; he thus feared that his dear congregation could be entirely with out a pastor for some time.
Beginning of October, he left Cleveland, which had become dear to him, and traveled toward distant San Francisco. He arrived in Chicago on October 7th and stayed several days with the family very dear to him of the merchant L. B. and continued his journey to California on the eleventh.
How he fared on the journey and in San Francisco, how there too his good humor alternated with gloomy hours, and how he had the welfare of his congregation and the entire church very much at heart, may be demonstrated by the following fragments of a letter which he wrote there to a friend in J.:
San Francisco, Cal., December 15, 1875.
My dear brother X!
. . . but I certainly have come several thousand miles nearer to the heavenly empire [China] and see its pigtailed citizens daily in the streets of this metropolis; . . . have visited them recently in their quarter of the city. Better to leave one’s nose at home for the smells are manifold and no odor of cologne among them. Although half roasted pigs, wonderful kinds of sausages and all kinds of bakery hang outside, I have not been able to decide to take a bite of anything. But the next time I want to visit . . . one of their restaurants which are wonderfully decorated on the outside. I visited their temple, but cannot give a description of it. . . .
MY journey was very favorable; faithful God and Lord was very gracious; splendid weather; always got a lower berth through the kindness of a young fellow-traveler, even though I always had the luck at the office of having the upper berths assigned to me despite my remonstrances of my age and the impossibility of climbing into the upper bed. The trip itself was endlessly boring. Always the same treeless wasteland till we came into the Cordilleras where it was interesting until Sacramento, but then everything was dry and dried up, desert and desolate again.
The weather until then was magnificent; always the brightest clear sunshine, often changing suddenly with unpleasant cold hours, so that here one always has to dress as in Cleveland in winter, or at least one always has to carry an overcoat. We now have the notorious rainy weather for three days, to the greatest delight of the parched soil. What effect the climate will have upon my physical health, I cannot say; until now I am suffering from a considerably persistent cold. Otherwise, I feel better on the whole, but I attribute it more to the wonderful idle life and the bliss to be with my children than to the climate. However, it is still hard having to be away from wife and home at my age. I daresay, I will not remain here. I am just not the man anymore to be able to start over again here. I could not try the neighboring cities until now; for I do not feel that well to risk it. Perhaps later, if it pleases God, to take my cold and to strengthen my voice. Everything is all right with me. He is very kind, and that just gives such great pleasure, that He is it also in the smallest matters of life, as I had to learn again in all segments of the journey. That one is not more thankful and does not grow in faith and confidence, demonstrates, after all, the inscrutable corruption of man. Or am I the only one? It is dreadful that the Lord carries matters to the point of gaining the heart in complete childlike trust only in a few cases. For that reason, my chosen funeral text for many years has been: O, I miserable man, who will deliver me, etc. [Romans 7:24]
This weakness of faith presents itself again also regarding my dear congregation, and a little more and I would have reproached myself vehemently for having left it before another pastor has actually been installed, even though I only did it, since it urged me at a meeting to leave, and I never thought that Pastor N. would refuse the call. How this is yet to be, God Knows; and if I only would firmly believe that He knows it! . .
Well now, the Lord certainly is faithful, He works according to His mercy and not according to our sins and follies. May He hear my urgent prayer and grant the congregation a faithful pastor and Seelsorger. They, too, are praying for that, this I know; what is more, the entire Christianity prays for them; and I should just be satisfied — If I only could do it better.
It is also like that with the filling of the school positions. All of this troubles me very and interferes with the full enjoyment of my happiness of being with my children and being a witness to their blissful living together.
Your letter, my dear Brother, was the first one that I received here; my heartfelt thanks for it; I had to wait long before I received one from home. . . .
I take your institution, as I do generally all institutions of the Synod, as well as all pious Christianity, in prayer before God daily. As long as it is well with them, it is also well with Christianity. Age always brings along many misgivings with it, although God does not suffer from decrepitude (Alterschwäche).
Now my dear Brother, I will conclude and look for the twins, who like the other children, give me infinite pleasure although age makes me too stiff to romp about with them, as I would like to. . . .
In cordial love, your F. Wyneken.
The dear man became convinced soon that in California, too, there was no cure for him. His cold and asthma tormented him more now than ever. In addition, the worries about his congregation agonized him, and although he was with his dear children and grandchildren, he missed the accustomed comfort, he missed the remaining children and his best nurse — his wife. He already was thinking of the homeward journey as the new year began,
Partly to keep him there longer, partly to see the dear children and to accompany the ailing husband home if it should become necessary, his brave wife traveled in the middle of winter, in February 1876, to San Francisco and took over the care of the beloved husband again, when she arrived there.
Wyneken, in the meantime, had preached several times; he did again on Judica Sunday [Fifth Sunday in Lent] (April 2nd) and with usual thoroughness pointed out from the specified text, John 8:46-59: From whence it is that the world cannot tolerate our Lord Jesus Christ. A sermon that he planned to give in San José had to remain undone, because his asthma caused terrible cramps and his entire condition got much worse. – He desired more and more ardently to be back at his congregation in Cleveland, and therefore, May 4th was determined as the day of departure.
On Tuesday evening, thus May 2nd, the dear Father wrote his last letter. It was addressed to his old friend A. Einwächter in Baltimore; deserves, however, to become generally known as a testimony of his sentiments and reads thus in its entirety:
San Francisco, May 2, 1876
My dear old devoted friend Einwächter!
I cannot mail the letter of my dear son-in-law without sending my cordial and brotherly regards to you and all your loved ones, as well as all my all friends as Muhly, Thiemeyer, Aichele, Treide, and whoever of them is still living. It always warms my heart when I think of my dear Baltimore and the many friends and brothers whom the Lord has given me there. May He keep us through His grace in the right faith until our end, that we meet again in Heaven before the throne of our blessed Lord and Savior. What joy that will be!
We have gone through a sad time, however as I hope, a time beneficial for our inner life. Bühler will have written you about it. I did not actually gain anything for my health by my stay here. I, personally, put up with it through God’s mercy; I know and believe that, whatever the Lord sends, is the very best that His love can find in Heaven and on earth. I certainly mourn for my dear congregation, for I probably will be able to render it little service. Thank God that He gave the congregation a very competent man in Pastor [Johann Heinrich] Niemann, Professor Walther’s son-in-law. In a few days, if it pleases God, we will start our journey back. I commend myself into your and the dear brothers’ earnest intercession. May faithful God have you in His holy keeping! My dear wife and I send our kindest regards.
In cordial brotherly love, your F. Wyneken.
On May 3rd, “he felt fine, went out with his wife, had a good appetite at supper, was rather happy and slept well during the night.”
On May 4th, “early in the morning, after six o’clock, he again felt tightness of the chest, but did not complain. He had hot cloths put on his chest and said to his wife: ‘Here, Mama, put it here right into the pit of the stomach.’ Pastor Bühler and his wife stood on the staircase in order to hear if there was possibly another attack.”
Mrs. Wyneken “went to the door and said: ‘I think this time it won’t be bad, it’s abating already.’ She looked around at the same moment; her dear husband laid down and turned his eyes upward somewhat. She cried out: ‘Come quickly, Papa is dying!’ When all of them were at his bed, he arranged his head, shut his eyes tightly, breathed twice very lightly and moved his lips” to speak. “Regretfully, one could not understand his last word; without a doubt, it must have been the name ‘Jesus’.”
In this manner, the excellent hero has breathed out his soul, passed away gently and blissfully. It was Thursday, May 4th, 25 minutes of 7 o’clock in the morning. The day specified for his departure put an end to his wandering in this vale of tears; he attained his eternal rest in celestial Jerusalem.
The time of his life amounts to a week less than sixty-six years.
The news about the death of the beloved Father passed through the United States with lightning speed and aroused partly sincere joy, because he had now attained the long-desired peace, partly deep grief for the great loss.
The news of his death reached St. Louis while the Western District Synod was meeting. A funeral service was immediately decided upon, which was held on May 7th (Jubilate Sunday) [Fourth Sunday of Easter] in the overflowing Trinity Church. Friend and colleague of long standing of the deceased, Pastor [Johann Friedrich] Bünger, gave the memorial sermon about Romans 7:24, 25, which words of God Wyneken had chosen for himself as funeral text already many years ago.
Meanwhile, the persons involved in San Francisco and Cleveland made the decision to inter the beloved corps in the latter city. For that reason, a funeral service was held on Saturday, May 6th at the scene of his death [San Francisco], at which Pastor Bühler preached “but nearly collapsed and the audience with him, al of whom had indescribably grown fond of the departed; and early in the morning on May 7th, the body, accompanied by Mrs. Wyneken and her son-in-law, left first for St. Louis, where it arrived in the evening of the 13th – it was the birthday of the deceased.
On the following day (Cantate Sunday) [Fifth Sun. of Easter], Prof. [C. F. W.] Walther gave a memorial sermon at Trinity Church -- where the body was laid out – about 1 Cor. 2:2: “For I determine not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
On May 15th, the corps reached Fort Wayne, where it, accompanied by pastors, students and many congregation members, was brought to St. Paul’s Church in which it was laid out. Numerous relatives and former church members (Kirchkinder) of the deceased from the city and environs turned up for the funeral service. Dr. W[ilhelm] Sihler preached the sermon about the first part of Proverbs 10:7: “The memory of the just is blessed.”
The grieving widow, in company of her son and son-in-law, completed the long, difficult journey during the following night. Early in the morning of May 16th, they arrived in Cleveland with their corps, where the preparation for the burial had already been made and where the body had been awaited.
It was laid out in the church for a short time, so that who so desired, could once more view the countenance of the fervently beloved Seelsorger. The funeral service took place in the afternoon. The large, beautiful church was jammed full with listeners; many had to turn back, because it was not possible to find a seat. Not only Lutherans had come to pay the last tribute to the departed, no, also the Reformed, Catholics, Methodists, and people entirely without a church. All had known, respected, and highly esteemed the “Old Pastor.”
The funeral sermon about Hebrews 13:7 WAS GIVEN BY pastor Th[eodore Julius] Brohm, also a dearly beloved friend and fellow combatant of the deceased of many years.
After completion of the sermon, Professor W[ilhelm] F[riedrich] Lehmann gave a commemorative address in the English language, “in which he also put a verbal sketch of the departed before the eyes of the gathering.” He did this in the name and direction of the faculty of the seminary at Columbus, O., which wanted to show its love and deep respect in this excellent manner for “Father Wyneken,” who was generally esteemed in the Ohio Synod also.
The interment itself was performed by Pastor Niemann “amidst cordial condolences and many tears by the physical and spiritual children of their Father who passed away in Christ.”
In the evening of May 28th (Exaudi Sunday) [Sun. after the Ascension], Pastor C[arl Heinrich Friedrich] Frincke finally gave a memorial address in St. Paul’s Church at Baltimore for its former, still unforgotten shepherd.
Remember your teachers who have spoken the word of God to you, consider their end and follow their faith. [Hebrews 13:7]
* This biographical sketch, drawn up by the departed Director Johann Christoph Lindemann, † [died] 1879 in Addison, appeared first in the Amerikanischer Kalender für deutsche Lutheraner [American Calendar for German Lutherans, the counterpart of the Lutheran Annual], 1877. He not only knew the deceased very intimately and esteemed him highly, but he also has acquired much information from persons who were closest to him. This portrait is reproduced here essentially unabridged, since the calendar is completely out of print and the information imparted here is of lasting value. [Pastor Lindemann was Pastor Wyneken’s immediate predecessor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Cleveland, O.]
[Translated from: Lebensbilder aus der Geschichte der christlichen Kirche. [Biographical Sketches from the History of the Christian Church.] Selected and Revised for Lutheran Readers of North America by Eugen Adolf Wilhelm Krauβ [Krauss], St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia Publishing House, 1912; pp. 734-794. By Sieghart Rein.]
† At that time, he also visited Mr. Friedrich Schmidt, editor of the Lutherische Kirchenzeitung [Lutheran Church Paper]. When Schmidt learned of Wyneken’s death in the year 1876, he wrote to a friend in B.: “I still remember, as though it were today, when I saw Wyneken the first time, 1838 or 1839, when he first went to the West as missionary. Trusting God, he put his hand on the plow energetically and courageously, and the Lord crowned his work. There are not many who are as self-denying as he was.”
‡ Jensen had become pastor in Pittsburg in 1842 already. He thus had left the congregations before Wyneken had returned.
 Students who had passed their pro ministerio examination received the title candidatus reverendi ministerii (candidate for the sacred ministry). (Lutheran Cyclopedia, p. 131)
 Literally: “Unafraid, he turned a courageous brow toward all adversaries and usually an amiable countenance too.”
 Literally: He liked to speak plain “German,” regardless whether he said it in Low German or High German.
 President Wyneken uses an unfamiliar idiom here: “. . . und daran sollen sich die Kerle entweder das Leben holen oder den Tod fressen!”
Letter of Acceptance of Call to Trinity Lutheran Congregation, Cleveland, Ohio
Ft. Wayne, den 5ten Oct., 64.
Gnade und Friede in Christo!
Der Ehrw[ürdigen]Ev. Luth. Dreieinigkeitsgemeinde zu Cleveland, O. Westseite.
In Christo herzlich geliebte Brüder!
Da meine liebe alte Gemeinde in St. Louis es auf meine Entscheidung ankommen lieβ, ob ich bei ihr als Pastor bleiben, oder dem neuen Beruf an Eure Gemeinde folgen wolle und müsse, so habe ich ihr gestern geschrieben, daβ ich nach bestem Überlegen vor Gott, den Beruf nach Cleveland als einen göttlichem anerkennen müsse, weil er mir einen meinen jetzigen Kräften angemessenen Wirkungskreis anböte. Ich benachrichtige Euch nun, geliebte Brüder, durch diese Zeilen, daβ ich den Beruf an Eure liebe Gemeinde nun bestimmt hiermit annehme. Der treue gnädige liebe Gott Seiner Kirche wolle geben, daβ diese nun hiermit geschlossene Verbindung zwischen Euch und mir zum rechten Segen für die Gemeinde und zur Ehre Seines heiligen und herrlichen Namens uns schlage. Betet nun recht fleiβig, daβ ich mit reichem Segen des göttlichen Wortes bei Euch einziehen und so lange es Ihm gefällt unter Euch wirken möge.
In herzlicher Liebe
u. Acht[un]g, Euer F. Wyneken.
Grace and peace in Christ! Ft. Wayne, Oct. 5th, 64.
To the venerable Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Congregation at Cleveland, O., West Side.
In Christ dearly beloved brethren!
Since my dear former congregation in St. Louis left the decision up to me, whether I want to remain as its pastor or whether I want to or must follow the new call to Your congregation, I wrote it yesterday, that after the best consideration before God, I must acknowledge the call to Cleveland as a divine one, because it offers a sphere of activity which is suited to my present abilities. I inform You now, beloved brethren, by these lines, that I certainly accept the call to Your dear congregation. The faithful, gracious dear Lord of His Church grant that the relationship herewith entered into between You and me joins us to be a true blessing for the congregation and to the honor of His holy and glorious name. Pray now very diligently that I may enter among you with the rich blessing of God’s Word and, as long as it pleases Him, I may work among You. In cordial love and
esteem, Your F. Wyneken