Stern, Maximilian, Dd

Stern, Maximilian, D.D., a minister of the German Reformed Church, was born of Jewish parentage, Nov. 18, 1815, at Altenkunstadt, in Bavaria. He prepared himself for the study of medicine, and when sixteen years of age he was examined for admission to the surgical college in Bamberg, but was not admitted on the plea of his youth, as eighteen years was the minimum for matriculation. He remained at Bamberg, privately studying under the direction of a physician, and when, after two years, the time for examination again arrived, all his hopes and aspirations were dashed by a royal mandate from Munich ordering the school to be abolished. He went to Niederwern, and here he was surlily told by the chief justice that he must choose a trade, or the government would take charge of him. Having no alternative, Stern chose the first trade that he came in contact with. For a number of years he occupied himself in this way, and finally resolved to go to the United States. Before leaving his country, he went to see his uncle Hermann Stern (q.v.), who in the meantime had become a Christian. Stern, who was at that time a sort of a rationalist, rebuked his uncle for sacrificing his worldly interests for the sake of religion; but, before he left, his uncle had implanted the first germs of an earnest seeking after his soul's salvation in the heart of the worldly-minded youth. At Bremerhaven, where he was delayed, the Lord prosecuted his gracious work by bringing him in contact with a missionary (Rev. John Neander, a Presbyterian minister of Williamsburgh, N.Y.), who presented Christ to his consideration. In 1839 he landed at New York, where the Rev. John Rudy, of the Houston Street German Church, was the means of bringing him more fully to the knowledge of Christ, and by whom he was also baptized. For three years he lived in New York, and earned a livelihood by hard manual labor. In 1842 he went to Mercersburg, Pa., to study theology, and was licensed in 1845. From that time on he was one of the most active men in the German Reformed Church. He built many churches and organized many congregations. He successfully labored in Galion, O., for nine years; from thence he went, in 1862, to Louisville, Ky., where he also labored for nine years, when bodily infirmities obliged him to resign, in 1870. He was then appointed by his Church as missionary superintendent, but after one year's work he had again to resign. In 1871 he once more accepted a call to Galion, and when a year was over he gave up his charge, never to resume it. He went to Louisville, and after four years of inactivity, illness, grief, and longing for release, he died, July 6, 1876. Besides educating a number of ministers in his own house, Stern took an active part in the controversies which in former years agitated the Reformed Church, and was a very active contributor to the periodicals of his denomination. See the obituary of Mr. Stern in the Reformed Church Monthly, Sept. 1876, written by his son, the Rev. H.J. Stern, of Louisville, Ky. (B P.)

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