Sack, August Friedrich Wilhelm

Sack, August Friedrich Wilhelm, one of the most eminent German Reformed preachers of the reign of Frederick II of Prussia, was born at Harzgerode, Feb. 4, 1703. In 1722-24 he studied at Frankfort-on-the-Oder. The next two years he passed as tutor in the family of a French preacher at Stettin. Then he studied in Holland. Here he became acquainted with the chief theologians of Arminianism, from which his own views took a permanent coloring. From 1728 to 1731 he was teacher to a young prince in the neighborhood of Magdeburg. In 1731 he began to preach in Magdeburg, and rapidly rose in esteem and in office. In the last year of the old king Frederick William I (1740) he was called to Berlin, where he entered upon his ministry of forty years. It was a noble and fruitful career. He stood independent between the two prevalent partiesthe slavishly orthodox and the rationalists — holding to the good in both parties, and esteemed by the best in both. At the outbreak of the Seven Years' War he accompanied the royal family to Magdeburg, and there, for three years, was charged with the education of the crown prince. At the close of the war, he resumed his labors as cathedral preacher in Berlin. He preached his last sermon in 1780. He died April 3, 1786. The chief theological work of Sack is Der vertheidigte Glaube der Christen (issued first in 1751, again in 1773), a popular statement and defense of Christian doctrine, which is worthy of attention even today. In this work the author ably and safely avoids the two fatal extremes of dynamic determinism as to the action of grace and of the self-regeneration of the Socinians. "The objective conditions of salvation are miraculously prepared in redemption; the subjective appropriation of these conditions is left to human freedom. God cannot convert man without man; man cannot convert himself without God." Of Sack's sermons several volumes appeared (1735 to 1764). They passed through many editions. One volume of them was translated into French by Frederick II's queen, Elizabeth: Six Sermons de M. Sack (1775). In character Sack was worthy of his high position. He quailed not before tyrants, and was believing in an age of negation and infidelity. He stood by the side of Spalding, Jerusalem, and Zollikofer, a pillar of the Church, when obscurantist and neologist were laboring to bury it in ruins. His was noble blood; his son and his son's son have followed worthily in his footsteps. See Sack, Lebensbeschreibung (by his son [Berlin, 1789, 2 vols.]); Herzog, Real-Encykl. 20, 653-662. (J.P.L.)

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