Helmuth, Justus Christian Henry, Dd
Helmuth, Justus Christian Henry, D.D.
a Lutheran minister, was born at Helmstadt, in the duchy of Brunswick, in 1745.. His father dying when he was yet a boy, he left home without the knowledge of the family, and was overtaken on the highway by a nobleman in his carriage, who entered into a conversation with him, and inquired whither he was going. The lad informed him that he had left home because he was angry with God, having prayed earnestly to him during his father's illness for his restoration to health, but God had not answered his petition. Interested in the artless reply of the innocent boy, the nobleman took him into his carriage and afterwards sent him to Halle at his expense, to be educated at the Orphan House, and afterwards at the University. His first sermon was preached in the chapel of the Orphan House, and among his hearers was Bogatzky, the author of the Schatz-Kastlein (Golden Treasury), who predicted the future greatness of the young preacher. He was ordained by the Consistorium at Wernigerode, and was sent by the theological faculty at Halle as a missionary to America in 1769. The first ten years of his ministry he labored in Lancaster, Pa., with great acceptance. In 1779 he accepted a unanimous call to Philadelphia, where he continued the pastoral work as long as his physical strength admitted. For eighteen years he was professor of German and Oriental languages in the University of Pennsylvania, from which institution he received in 1785 the degree of D.D. In connection with his colleague, Dr. Schmidt, he organized a private seminary for candidates for the Lutheran ministry, which was in operation twenty years. In the pulpit he had more than ordinary power. His preaching was characterized by great unction and overwhelming pathos, and often produced wonderful results. During the prevalence of the yellow fever he visited the sick and dying without fear. He buried 625 of his members. He died in the 80th year of his age, Feb. 5,1824. He was the author of a work on Baptism and the Sacred Scriptures, published in 1793; also of a practical treatise on Communion with God; numerous devotional books for children, and a volume of Hymns. He edited likewise the evangelical Magazine, published for some years in Philadelphia in the German language. (M. L. S.)