Gossiner, Johannes Evangelista

Gossiner, Johannes Evangelista, a prominent divine of the Evangelical Church of Germany, was born in 1773 of Roman Catholic parents, at Hausen, near Augsburg. He studied at Dillingen under Sailer (q.v.). and Zimmer, entered in 1793 the College of Ingolstadt, and, having been ordained priest, was in 1797 appointed chaplain. The profoundly evangelical convictions which he had already had for several years were strengthened by personal intercourse and correspondence with Martin Boos (q.v.), and they were certainly not weakened by persecutions from ultramontane zealots. In 1804 he was appointed parish priest at Dirlewang, which position he resigned in 1811 in order to accept a small benefice at Munich, which allowed him greater liberty in his evangelistic and literary labors. Having been deposed in 1817 on account of his. evangelical views, he was in 1819 appointed professor at the gymnasium of Dusseldorf. From 1820 to 1824 he was pastor of a German congregation in St. Petersburg; in 1826 he openly joined the Evangelical Church; in 1827 he became pastor of the Bethlehem church at Berlin. He died March 20, 1858. He wrote a great deal to the last. At seventy he bearned English, and translated some of Ryle's tracts when he was upwards of eighty. His writings, numbering (exclusive of many posthumous works) forty-six, occupy the presses of a separate book ands tract society. They enjoy unusual popularity, some having run through annual or semi-annual editions for many years. Among the best known of his works are the Schatzkdstlein (1824) and Goldkörner (1859). Up to the spring of 1858 he corrected proofs and continued.his correspondence. The summer previous he was Still able to train his vines. He established a missionary society, which during his lifetime sent out more than 140 missionaries. His life was, like the life of Abraham, one of wonderful faith. From humble little Hausen and the unnoticed struggles of a country priest, he rose to be the Father Gossner of a reverent, religious Germany. The story of his life is well told in a little volume pub, lished by the Carters, of New York. — Bethmann-Hollweg, J. Gossner (Berlin, 1858); see also Prochnow, J. Gossner, Biographie aus Tagebuchern. u. Briefen (Berl. 1863-4, 2 volumes); Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 19:572. (A.J.S.)

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