Meyer, Hermanus, Dd
Meyer, Hermanus, D.D.
a noted Dutch Reformed minister, was born in Bremen, Lower Saxony, July 27, 1733. He was educated at the Latin school and gymnasium of that Saxon city, and subsequently at the theological academy in Groningen, where in 1758 he became a candidate for the ministry. Having received a call to the Dutch Church of Kingston, New York, he was ordained March 31, 1763, and sailed from London for New York, where he arrived in October of that year, and immediately assumed the duties of his pastoral charge. He found the Church sadly divided on the old quarrel of the Coetus and Conference parties as to ordination in this country or in Holland. He sympathized with the former, which was the liberal side, in favor of a ministry trained in America; but his efforts to keep the peace were vain. His pungent, practical preaching also made him many foes among the formal and worldly people. Thus, after preaching on regeneration, one of his Church officers said to him, "Flesh and blood cannot endure such preaching." "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," was his quick reply. The ecclesiastical difficulties alluded to above culminated in his suspension from the active duties of the ministry by an exparte and illegal body of Conference ministers in 1766. For nearly seven years afterwards, although this discipline was declared illegal, he remained in Kingston, preaching to his adherents in private houses. In 1772 he removed to New Jersey, as pastor of the united churches of Pimpton and Totowa (now Paterson). Brighter days had dawned. He was a member of the convention of 1771, which reunited the long-sundered churches. The General Synod elected him to two professorships in their theological institution-Hebrew (1784) and lector in divinity (1786), both of which he held during life; and in 1789 he was made a doctor of divinity by Queen's College. He died October 27, 1791, lamented as "one of the pillars of the Church." Dr. Meyer was a truly learned divine. In Latin, Greek, and Hebrew he was a critical scholar, and had made considerable attainment in the Syriac. He had long meditated a new translation of the Old Testament, but the ecclesiastical troubles of his life prevented its completion. He left "the, beginning of that work in a full translation of the Psalms of David, in Latin interlineations between the text, with copious commentaries and emendations in the finest German writing upon a broad margin." His person was small, his features fine and benevolent, his voice and manner in the pulpit good, and his delivery very animated. In theological sentiment he was thoroughly evangelical. His faithful preaching made him pre-eminent among the godly ministers of his day. Amiable and kind-hearted, punctual and exact, faithful as a pastor, and humble in his private and official walk, his severe trials chastened and exalted his sterling piety, and his last days were crowned with honor. His death was pre-eminently peaceful and happy. See Magazine of Ref. Dutch Church, 2:300; Sprague, Annals, volume 9; Corwin's Manual of Ref. Church, s.v. (W.J.R.T.)