Sack, Friedrich Samuel Gottfried

Sack, Friedrich Samuel Gottfried, a Prussian theologian, court preacher, and Church governor, was born Sept. 4, 1738. His mother was of a French refugee family, which explains a fondness which Sack had for the French language and literature. He studied at the University of Frankfort-on-the-Oder from 1755 to 1757. The next two years he studied in England, coming into contact with Seeker, the archbishop of Canterbury, Kennicott, Lardner, and others. On his return to Germany he acted as tutor to a young nobleman, whom he accompanied to Frankfort-on-the-Oder, and where he again heard lectures. He now associated much with Tollner. After preaching at Magdeburg (1769-77), he was called by Frederick II as fifth court preacher to Berlin. Gradually he rose to the first place. In 1786 he became a member of the high consistory, The years 1804-13 were spent in arduous devotion to the oppressed and suffering people of the capital. In 1816 the king conferred upon him the title of bishop of the Evangelical Church. He died Oct. 2, 1817. In theology Sack was independent of the traditions of orthodoxy, but he stood firmly on evangelical ground. God as a person and Father; the Son as Redeemer and Offering; the Holy Spirit as comforter; love to God in Christ as the spring of the Christian life — such were the elements of his theology. Though leaning somewhat towards rationalism, he yet firmly opposed the inroads which Kant's and Fichte's speculations made upon evangelical doctrine. He was one of the chief movers towards the union of the Lutheran and Reformed churches of Prussia, which was effected after his death. For some years he stood in the closest relations to the young Schleiermacher, and rejoiced in the promise of good which the latter would bring to the Church. When this young divine first issued his celebrated Reden (1799), Sack openly expressed his paternal grief at what seemed to him a leaning towards pantheism in this work. In later editions many of the criticized passages were modified. Sack was not productive; he was chiefly a practical worker. His published works consist of translations from English (Blair's Sermons) and Latin (Cicero's De Amicitia and De Senectute), two collections of Sermons, an Autobiography, and some minor Essays. See Herzog, Real-Encykl. 20, 662-667. (J.P.L.)

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