Van Vranken, Nicholas

Van Vranken, Nicholas a distinguished clergyman of the Reformed (Dutch) Church, was born in 1762 at Schenectady; pursued his studies for the ministry with Dr. Theodoric Romeyn and Dr. John H. Livingston; and was licensed to preach in. 1790 by the Synod of the Reformed Dutch Churches. Before entering upon pastoral work, he was principal of the Academy in Schenectady, which was the germ of Union College. After six years of successful teaching in this flourishing institution, he became the pastor of the Dutch churches of Fishkill, Hopewell, and New Hackensack, in Dutchess Co., N.Y. Here he spent his whole ministry (1791-1804), refusing all invitations to settle elsewhere, and serving his generation by the will of God until he was suddenly called from his labors to his reward, May 20, 1804. His people were waiting his appearance in church as usual on a Sabbath morning when tidings came of his death, of a rapid and violent inflammatory disease. His reputation is that of a learned, eloquent, fervid, evangelical preacher, whose labors were blessed with large additions to his churches, and with the constantly growing affection of his devoted people. — His literary and theological attainments were of a high order. As a pastor he knew his people thoroughly, and adapted himself to their spiritual wants with native tact and spiritual advantage. On communion occasions, after the old Dutch custom, he gave the bread personally to each communicant, and addressed them one by one, in Dutch or English, as he chose, with comforting words of Holy Scripture, or some pointed sentence fitted to each case. He was full of genuine humor, but maintained his dignity, while giving gentle play to his fund of anecdote and mirthful wit. He excelled in conversational talent. His manners were engaging, his personal appearance very fine and prepossessing, and his social qualities endeared him to all who knew him well. See Kip, Historical Discourse; Corwin, Manual of the Ref. Church in America, s.v. (W. J. R. T.)

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