Der Bruder, dessen Todestag sich heute zum 150. Mal jährt, gehört sicher nicht zu den bekanntesten in der Geschichte der Brüderbewegung; tatsächlich sind sich die Historiker noch nicht einmal über seinen Namen einig: Während Brewer1, Rowdon2 und Ouweneel3 ihn Griffith nennen, heißt er bei Beattie4, Langford5, Embley6, Coad7, Rawson8 und Stunt9Griffiths. Diese Diskrepanz findet sich allerdings auch bereits in zeitgenössischen Nachrufen: Das Hereford Journal schreibt Griffith,10 die medizinische Fachzeitschrift The Lancet dagegen Griffiths.11 Selbst das offizielle britische Testamentsregister Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration kann sich nicht entscheiden und bietet beide Formen: „GRIFFITH otherwise GRIFFITHS“.12
Wer war John Griffith(s)? Geboren wahrscheinlich 1799 in Wrexham (Wales),13 absolvierte er ein Medizinstudium und machte sich ab 1825 in Hereford einen Namen als talentierter Chirurg. Als 1837 durch die Predigt Percy Francis Halls eine Brüdergemeinde in Hereford entstand, schloss Griffith(s) sich ihr an und wurde bald einer der „führenden Brüder“ am Ort. Brewer schreibt über ihn:
Dr. John Griffith, the leading surgeon of the city, who threw open his heart, his house and his purse; he was an energetic man, full of love for the Gospel – would converse with his patients on their soul’s greatest need, keeping Capt. Rhind’s pictures of the Tabernacle on his consulting room table, explaining and enforcing the different teachings of the various parts. Some of his more wealthy visitors were offended and left, but soon returned because of his professional ability, so that his faithfulness was ultimately to him no loss.14
For long years the good doctor was remembered as the great tract distributor, often throwing the Gospel messages out of his carriage as he went his rounds, which were by no means confined to the city. Of a kind and benevolent disposition, Dr. Griffiths had a hospitable heart of love for the people of God, and it is said that whenever a gifted brother came along he would invite brethren to breakfast to meet him; and as on Lord’s Day many would come long distances – some walking miles for the purpose of remembering the Lord in the breaking of bread – the doctor would have a cold luncheon laid out in a large room in his house for any – rich and poor alike – who cared to partake of it.15
Leider kam es 1849 zu Spannungen zwischen Griffith(s) und Hall:
Capt. Hall was a deep thinker and teacher, not having much fellowship with the direct Gospel testimony to the world, for he was not an evangelist of late years at least.16 Dr. Griffith on the contrary was an evangelist, and did not so much care for the deep teaching and wonderful expositions of Capt. Hall. The one was all for teaching the saints, the other was all for testimony to the world. Hence a growing coolness grew up between them, which culminated in an open rupture. Capt. Hall retired with his followers, and met in St. Owen Street, afterwards connecting the meeting with Mr. Darby’s.17
Griffith(s) und die urspüngliche Gemeinde in Hereford blieben in Gemeinschaft mit den Offenen Brüdern (denen sich auch Hall nach der Sufferings-of-Christ-Kontroverse 1866 wieder anschloss, allerdings nicht mehr in Hereford, sondern in Weston-super-Mare).
Ab 1852 begann Griffith(s)’ Gesundheit nachzulassen, sodass er seine berufliche Tätigkeit einschränken musste. Er starb am 2. Juni 1866, heute vor 150 Jahren, in seinem Haus in der St. Owen Street in Hereford. Das Hereford Journal widmete ihm eine Woche später folgenden Nachruf:18
DEATH OF JOHN GRIFFITH, ESQ., SURGEON. – The medical profession has lost one more of its most valued and skilled surgeons of this city. Mr. Griffith was the senior practitioner, and kept up a lucrative practice, extending from its commencement over 40 years. He succeeded his esteemed uncle, Mr. Griffith, who was Mayor of Hereford. The deceased has for a lengthened period suffered from physical debility, but while in good health he led a very active life, taking a leading part in most of the religious controversies of former days. He was a leading member of the Hereford Protestant Association, and was selected as one of a deputation to the Roman Catholics of Ireland. Some 25 years back he seceded from the evangelical party in the Church, and joined a new sect then springing into maturity, and familiarly designated the Plymouth Brethren. A diversity of opinion, either in discipline or doctrine, caused this new branch of dissent to sever themselves into two divisions. That difference of faith was never healed, and they in a turning point of time became separated and formed two “rooms,” where their tenets are regularly and systematically inculcated. We believe that Mr. Griffith, with his wonted energy, lent his purse and influence to the congregation which settled at the Barton. He had a peculiar habit of having long devoted himself to the distribution of religious tracts. We doubt if any single-handed gentlemen, at his own cost, ever gave so many thousand books and leaflets to the people in the highways and byeways as the deceased. His death occurred on Saturday last, to the regret of numerous friends, who knew how to appreciate his work and “labour of love.” The deceased was not married.19 The funeral took place on Thursday at the burying ground at the Barton, when a large congregation was present, the service being conducted by Mr. Mansel20 and Mr. Seward21.
Der Nachruf in The Lancet vom 30. Juni 1866 hebt naturgemäß mehr Griffith(s)’ medizinische Leistungen hervor, vermittelt aber ebenfalls einen Eindruck von seinem Charakter:22
Mr. John GRIFFITHS commenced practice in Hereford in the year 1825. Having passed his examinations four years previously, and made what was in those days the professional “grand tour,” he was appointed surgeon to the Hereford Infirmary, which post he held until 1839, and was specially noted for his operative skill. His health failed in 1852, and from that time he restricted his practice. During the latter years of his life he refused to see any new patients, though many old friends continued to avail themselves of his professional services to the last. He finally sank from renal disease, but never thoroughly rallied after an operation for calculus in the spring. He died on the 2nd of June, in the sixty-seventh year of his age. He was of an eminently original mind, somewhat brusque in manner, and a man of many whims; but his kindness of heart, his practical charity, and his unswerving rectitude, together with eminent professional skill, which gained him great local repute, will long cause his name to be remembered and respected.
Als letzter Beitrag in der Reihe über Henry Craik folgt hier noch ein Nachruf, der heute vor 150 Jahren in der Zeitung The Bristol Mercury erschien.1 Im Vergleich zu den eher allgemein gehaltenen Lobeshymnen in der Western Daily Press entwirft er ein wesentlich lebendigeres und differenzierteres Bild Craiks (einschließlich einiger Schwächen). Der Verfasser war Richard Morris (1813–1894), Baptistenpastor an Craiks Wohnort Clifton.
THE REV. HENRY CRAIK.
By the Rev. R. Morris, Clifton.
Scotland has seldom given to the south a richer gift than that received in the life and character of Henry Craik. Scotch adventurers may be found everywhere, while her sons of toil, genius, and culture adorn every land; but in the career of our deceased fellow-citizen we have lost one whose adventurous spirit was controlled by a deep-toned piety, and whose ripe scholarship and unadorned eloquence of life and tongue made his presence amongst us of incalculable worth. Happily, in his case, he was a man of appreciated goodness and felt power. He was the last to desire a complimentary epitaph when gone, but the first to wish to hold a place after death in the memory and affection of the good and faithful.
We sincerely trust the memoir to be published of this esteemed servant of Christ will give to the public a definite and living portrait of his character. The events of his life were simple; they were neither startling nor unusual. By the side of his esteemed colleague, the Rev. Mr. Müller, it appears tame and unimpressive. The Orphan House and its christian missions have so striking an effect from their diffusive beneficence, and the thrilling report of their dependence and yet increasing progress, that the quiet ministrations of Henry Craik have almost escaped the attention of the public. But his life and character were full of incident and meaning. His character was unique, his life singular. They may be made productive of great good. Though dead, he yet speaks. We sincerely trust that the voice coming even from the grave will be listened to by many an obedient ear and loving heart.
We would respectfully urge the estimable man to whom his papers have been entrusted,2 rather to delay the memoir, than fail in infusing into the detail the genial spirit of our departed friend.
His appearance was at times almost grotesque, and but for a watchful home, we suspect it would have been as alien from the ordinary secular, as from the clerical garb. We have sometimes been with him when the broken umbrella, his faithful friend, and the oldest hat have, by mistake, been donned for the best attire. The collar of the coat was looking after the sleeves, and the necktie had comfortably nestled itself behind the head. When in such a state he had just come to the surface after a deep digging for a Hebrew root, or a dive into the depths of authorities to see whether the Keri of the Hebrew should be admitted into the text. His intense devotion to the study of the Scriptures made criticism a recreation, and in his most humorous, impassioned, or depressed moments it was never unwelcome. When amidst beautiful scenery, and affected almost to tears by its witchery, a passage of the Divine word would come to crown the scene. But with it would occur the readings and interpretations that reverence or enmity had ever suggested. Nor did this break the spell. If a critical friend was present, nature would have to wait, till the moot point was settled. Then the landscape came afresh, the more fascinating and beautiful that it had not rebuked his momentary forgetfulness of its charms. Poetry and sentiment at times lured, but never mastered him. He could enjoy the one and indulge the other. But they were recreations enjoyed, but not obeyed.
His unsuspicious nature and purity of character were without weakness, but not without peril. They exposed him to deception. When doubt of truthfulness was awakened, his watchfulness and resoluteness proved that his simplicity was only guilelessness, and his trustfulness the triumph of charity. He was ever ready to confide, slow to detect, but when deceived indignant in rebuke. Intentional deception he could not endure. To be acquainted with him was to respect him, and to know him was to love him. His trustful conversation, kindly fellowship, Scotch reminiscences, love of fatherland, English sympathies, devout spirit, made him, to the few, more of a model friend than he had been accepted by the many as a model preacher.
An oppressive sense of responsibility checked indulgence in mere literary pursuits, yet he found time to keep abreast of the current literature of the day, and watch with deep solicitude the phases of the controversies that were disturbing the Church of Christ. In some he took an active part, in nearly all a deep interest, and if he had lived, this winter would have witnessed his indignant condemnation of the modern attempt to create a church, or reveal a religion, without a creed. He had purposed a series of lectures to remonstrate against this attempt. While holding with an eager grasp the old standards of the evangelical faith, he grew in catholicity of spirit. His reading had become more liberal, his public services less confined, and his friendships more extended.
In his early life he had passed from the home culture and discipline of an estimable Scotch clergyman to a tutorship in the South of England.3 The education of home and of the University of St. Andrews had prepared him to do honour to his new position. He was highly esteemed, and still true to his early devotion to classical studies. An apparantly [sic] accidental association with Mr. Müller, gave young Henry Craik fitting opportunity for the revelation of his power. He became an earnest acceptable preacher of the Gospel. Adopting the views of the Baptists, his course was in the main prescribed. He did not join the Baptist denomination, but, with Mr. Müller, came to Bristol, and sought to establish a Christian Church. An open and unpaid ministry was the principle on which the attempt rested. They met with many suspicions and much opposition from the religious public. Both these honoured men, with instinctive wisdom, gave themselves mainly to work. The one to become the prince of our philanthropists, the other the model student and preacher. In each department success came.
Religious controversy was to them an unwelcome employment. Teaching, preaching, and working, their loved service. The small company soon became a formidable following. Generous and liberal helpers unexpectedly sprang up, and from the East the tribe travelled West, until Salem and Bethesda chapels became the accepted substitute for the name of a sect, and Ashley-down Orphan Asylum the evidence of a noble beneficent triumph. Faith in the Word was honoured in the chapels. Faith in the Work was blessed in the Asylum.
Of Mr. Müller we need not write. His monument time has already reared. Those structures of real magnificence, that form the home for nearly 2000 orphans, both conceal and reveal the nobility and simplicity of his character. His deceased friend claimed no such honour. His devotion was emphatically to the Divine Word. He laboured and watched to catch its very whispers, while his hearers received from his lips the fulness of its counsels, and the wealth of its revelations. Biblical words were to him as caskets. He suspected a jewel in each. He erred sometimes, but not often. The grammatical value, rather than the spiritual force of a passage, would captivate him. The form became more important than the principle it embodied. But these instances were few in contrast with the abounding of fruitful and sober exegesis. We would pass them by, if veneration for his memory did not demand an exact likeness of our friend. With these admissions, we leave Mr. Craik, confessedly, one of the very best commentators that Holy Scriptures ever had. Through him for thirty years their infinite variety and resource have ministered to the guidance and consolation of thousands of hearers.
We would confess our deep regret that he has left behind him commentaries on only one or two portions of the Scriptures. His independent criticisms on Alford, Bishop Ellicott, Tregelles, and Scrivener have been gracefully appreciated by these learned men, and they probably would share the regret that so successful a student and critic had not lived to record his matured judgment in a written commentary on the text. His work, however, is done, and the absence of the teacher should make the student the more solicitous, habitually to be taught of God.
As if impelled by some pre-monition of his approaching removal to his better home, he had long indulged the hope of visiting the scenes of his early days. The opportunity came, and he joined his honoured brother’s family, sojourning amidst the lake scenery of his native Scotland. To him, more than to many, such companionship, scenery, and associations would yield intense joy. A joy the purer, in that so much of Heaven would be blended with the scenes. But disease brought disappointment, and soon he was compelled almost to hasten back to his home at Clifton. From this there was one continuous descent to the grave. A long and painful illness ensued. Loving hearts and medical skill and care joined to stay the hour of departure. He himself had the impression that his work was not yet done. To his honoured brother, with another friend present in this chamber of sanctified affliction, he expressed the wish that he might yet bear the fruits of bygone labours into the earthly storehouse of his great Master. His desire seemed natural. Such stores as he possessed could not, in human seeming, be spared. They were more needful for earth than heaven. But not so was the decree of infinite wisdom and love. By such discipline are we taught that though God puts such treasure in earthen vessels, the vessels are not the treasure. They may be broken, but the riches remain.
The last days of our departed friend were those of suffering and exhaustion. Amidst all, peace reigned. His soul stayed itself on God. There was no exultation, but much tranquillity. Neither doubts nor distrust disturbed his last moments. All was peace. Once he said, as we were standing by his bed-side, “God’s presence is precious; I feel its value; it is my stay, my hope; but it is good to have about me and in my chamber those I love. I feel how merciful and kind it is of my heavenly Father to give us these objects of human affection and sympathy. I like their presence; they help and cheer me.” His beloved wife4 and dear daughter5 were moving about his tender heart, and soothing its sorrows, and assuaging its pains. They were ministering to his peace. And thus in them his keen eye of faith and love saw his Lord. They to him were gracious and needed gifts from His hand. The last words addressed to us when passing round his bed of langour and pain were, “Dear M—, when you hear it is all over, give God thanks.” These words followed us. They enjoined a duty we knew to be well nigh impossible to obey. It would require great resignation and faith to praise God for taking away such a man and such a life as Henry Craik’s. But we have learned already that often an apparent loss is a great gain. To him this must be, and to us it may be true. We may, then, calmly say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” It is all over; let us give God thanks.
He was carried to the grave on Tuesday, amidst the sorrows and regrets of thousands. Whether by design we know not, but with marked propriety the Cathedral bell was tolling as the funeral passed through College-green; and in Bath-street the shops and offices of the Jewish merchants and traders were partially closed. The day was gloomy; the very heavens seemed to sympathise with the sorrowing crowd. A long line of carriages and mourners followed the remains to the cemetery, and there thousands were waiting the interment. Among them were nearly all the Baptist and Independent ministers in the city. A clergyman, Mr. Doudney, was present. Two brethren officiated, and gave utterance to the sympathy and sorrow that prevailed. All was genuine. Each seemed to be bearing a heavy burthen. It was felt to be a time to mourn and weep. A master in Israel had fallen. But the sorrow was not as those without hope, for all felt, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.”
Bristol has lost many citizens and benefactors during these last twenty years; the broken columns and massive monuments of our cemetery tell of losses that no language can express. But of all, none surpass that which has been sustained by the church and the world in the death of Henry Craik. Neither mural tablet nor marble monument is needed to perpetuate his name. A multitude now and many hereafter will trace their likeness to Christ to his ministration. It will be increasingly seen how largely the Divine Spirit used him to awaken to life and mould into spiritual beauty the new creature in Christ Jesus. And in the impress of the Lord stamped on the new character, shall be traced the faithful work of the under-servant who laboured for such a joy and such a reward. “They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever.”
Let us breathe the prayer that we may follow in his steps, so that “to live may be Christ, to die gain.”
Es ist frappierend zu sehen, wie sehr Henry Craik nach seinem Tod von seinen Zeitgenossen gefeiert wurde und welche Prominenz er demnach zu Lebzeiten genossen haben muss – Vergleichbares ist mir im British Newspaper Archive sonst nur noch bei Georg Müller und Robert Chapman begegnet. Schon einen Tag nach seiner Beerdigung bot der Bristoler Buchhändler und Drucker William Mack Porträtfotos von Craik zum Kauf an:
Drei Tage später, also heute vor genau 150 Jahren, erschien in der Western Daily Press sogar ein Nachruf in Sonettform – eine solche Ehre dürfte nur den wenigsten „Brüdern“ zuteilgeworden sein:
Heute vor 150 Jahren wurde Henry Craik auf dem Friedhof Arno’s Vale in Bristol beigesetzt. Auch darüber berichtete die Western Daily Press in größter Ausführlichkeit (31. Januar 1866, S. 3):
FUNERAL OF REV. HENRY CRAIK.
A stranger visiting Bristol yesterday could not fail to observe that a funeral ceremony of unusual importance engaged the attention of the citizens. The leading streets and thoroughfares were occupied by groups waiting to see or to join the procession which carried, in sad solemnity, the body of a beloved minister to the grave. The route was a long one of four miles, extending from Hampton Park to Arno’s Vale. The funeral left Mr Craik’s residence about 10.30, but it was after twelve when the long line of carriages – the longest ever seen upon a like occasion – reached the cemetery, where hundreds had been waiting for hours in the rain and cold of a gloomy, wintry morning. The weather must, of course, have deterred many from going out, but at every part of the route the funeral was met by sympathising spectators. In Queen’s Road, at the Triangle, a body of ministers and friends joined it. At Counterslip we observed a large number of the workmen of the great sugar-house1 – many of them had been accustomed to Mr Craik’s ministrations in the room provided for the purpose at the works, and they evidently felt the loss which they had sustained. At the railway station and other parts, cabs and carriages filled with ladies in mourning testified to the feeling in which Mr Craik’s memory was held. As might be supposed, the other name associated with Mr Craik’s for the long series of 34 years – the name of George Muller – was frequently in the minds of the mourners, and many expected to see him yesterday. He could not attend, owing to severe indisposition, which has kept him for two or three Sundays away from his usual public duties. We may be sure, however, that no one more sincerely mourned the loss of “Brother Craik,” as he always styled him, than the great founder and director of the Ashley Down Orphan Houses.
At the cemetery it was found impossible to admit even a small proportion of the immense crowd seeking admission to the chapel – a crowd which extended beyond the portico and spread itself over the cemetery, waiting patiently for a glimpse of the coffin as it was carried to the grave. Major Tireman2, a prominent and able preacher among “the Brethren,” was chosen to officiate in the chapel, and the Rev. Mr Victor, of Clevedon, at the grave.
The chief mourners were the three sons of the deceased, Mr Conrad Finzel3, Major Tireman, Messrs Howland, Acland, Rickards, C. Lemon, and the Rev. Mr Victor. Eight deacons of the Bethesda Chapel were present, viz., Messrs Martin, Butler4, Feltham5, Pocock, Withey6, Jos. Matthews, Isaac, and Captain Beecher. In the other coaches were the Revs. Aitchison, Robinson, and Larkins, and Messrs Horne, Davis, Wright, B. Perry, Jno. Thomas (Clevedon), B. Thomas, Elliot Armstrong, Wm. Stancombe, Hatchard, Shoobridge, Chapman (Barnstaple), Hake (Bideford), Lawford, and Hallett. In a carriage in the procession were Mrs Muller and her two sisters, and nearly 30 private carriages followed in the rear. Amongst those who had joined in the procession to show their respect for the deceased, were the Revs. N. Haycroft, M. Dickie, R. E. May, H. I. Roper, E. Probert, R. P. Macmaster, J. Tayler, T. A. Wheeler, Dr. Gotch, D. A. Doudney, E. J. Hartland, U. Thomas, and Messrs H. O. Wills, F. Wills, Griffiths, Grundy, Gould, Mack, Poole, G. W. Isaac, Batchelor, &c. When the coffin had been deposited in the chapel, Major Tireman, having read the latter portion of the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and offered up prayer, founded an address upon the 13th verse of the 14th chapter of Revelations: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write – Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” He remarked that when the beloved disciple John heard that voice from heaven under circumstances of humiliation and depression, the companions of tribulation, he was led to see far greater revelations of the coming kingdom and glory of the Lord whom he loved than he had ever experienced before. So they might believe that the cloud of great and deep sorrow under which they were labouring would be made subservient to a deeper spiritual experience and a deeper spiritual joy. It was not said blessed are the dead. There was nothing blessed in death – it was the struggle with the last enemy that had to be destroyed – it was a penalty to be paid even by every redeemed son of Adam because of sin. The reason of the blessedness was that they “died in the Lord.” Of whom could they with greater truth say this than of their beloved brother? They had, indeed, the comfort and satisfaction of knowing that he died in the Lord. They had a comfortable assurance that he lived in Him, and that was to them an assurance that he died in Him and inherited His blessings. If it could be said of anyone that he lived in the Lord it could surely be said of him whose remains, surrounded by the accompaniments of sorrow and death, were present in their midst: eminently he lived in the Lord, and to him to die was gain. This was the testimony of thousands, and it was not only written in the hearts of those present, but it was a living epistle known and read of all men. Little did he (Major Tireman) think when last in that place, to witness the consignment to the silent tomb of their brother, Mr Hale7, who was suddenly taken in the midst of his labours, and when he heard their dear brother address them, that he himself would be the next to go; and much less that he should occupy that place and speak a few words over his remains. But God’s ways were inscrutable, and he (Mr Muller) who was his colleague so long – who was his friend and companion so many years – was himself unable by sickness to perform those last duties. Might God long spare him, and not add sorrow to their sorrow. Pleasant and lovely were they in their lives, and in death they were not divided. He was laid aside in God’s providence, and this alone prevented him from paying a last testimony to their brother. He (the speaker) was there because Mr Muller, and the family of the deceased, would have it to be so – not as one worthy to address them – but as one who yielded to none in respect for the character and integrity of life of him with whom he had been united for 15 years in the closest ties of friendship. The delight of our eyes was gone. Of him it might be truly said – Si monumentum quæris, circumspice – “If you seek his monument, look around” – in the sorrowing hearts and tearful eyes of the thousands of sorrowing sons and daughters of the Lord. Surely when he fell a pillar was broken in the house of our God. They had lost one who for 40 years devoted his life to the services of his God and Master. All his vast energies, and qualifications, and endowments were employed for one purpose – that of making more and more clear the Word of God. He lived for one purpose, and died for one purpose. The great delight and consolation of his soul was to make clear the Word of God, and he rejoiced in displaying its untold beauties to others. He left, like Peter, no legacy to the church, but he leaves his name, his works, his character, his example, as a lasting heritage. He combined fervent piety and zeal with childlike simplicity. His very sensitiveness and acute sensibilities may have been a hindrance to the work he was engaged in carrying on. He could not go from house to house without deep feeling on the occasions of sorrow to which he was called to minister. If his character was aspersed he was never moved to any unchristian feeling, much less to any unchristian act. “He was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost, and through him much people were added to the Lord.” His loss had made sincere mourners of them all. They would not be able to feel it as they desired just then; but they would feel it in days and years to come, and feel it deeply. They rejoiced, however, in his blessedness, and in the rest he had from his labours. He had gone to realise the full enjoyment of those truths in which he believed here, and on his dying bed his eyes lighted up with fire at the prospect of being in the fellowship of the blessed. Could they look upon his last remains and their sorrows not be moved? This was the last they should ever see of their much-beloved brother, whose presence they had so often welcomed and which had struck joy into so many hearts. Never again would those lips speak the words which flowed from him like rivers of living water. Never again would those eyes light up with fire and that tongue become the pen of a ready writer, and those hands be lifted up, as they were when he spoke of things concerning the King. Never again would his footsteps fall on the threshold of that place wherein they all so loved to hear them fall, and where he so often gave good counsel and advice. Should their sorrows not be moved? Never again would they hear his little cough with which he entered the room, and which gave an indication of his presence amongst them. Could they think of such things and not sorrow? Major Tireman, having given a few words of earnest and affectionate exhortation to the bereaved widow and family of the deceased, concluded with prayer his deeply-affecting discourse, which was imperfectly heard in the crowd and pressure.
The coffin was then removed to the grave, and, having been lowered in the earth, the Rev. Mr Victor, of Clevedon, addressed the assembly in an earnest and Christian manner. He said the grave over which they met was hallowed, because the sting of death was taken away from him who now was lying within it. The grave was hallowed because of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had made it impossible for this tomb to retain their brother now committed to it. “I am,” said the blessed Saviour, “He that liveth, and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of death and Hades.” “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in Me shall never die.” On this dreary, wintry day, whilst this body was committed to the tomb, the spirit that in-dwelt in it was soaring on high – a lovely bird of Paradise, hymning hallelujahs in the bosom of their blessed Lord. These were hallowed remains in this hallowed grave, because the body was redeemed as well as the soul by the precious blood of Christ – the body was once in-dwelt by the Holy Ghost, through whose power its senses were engaged and employed for their Master in the skies. The eyes saw for Christ, the lips spake for Christ, the hands were lifted in the service of Christ, and in intercession for many. Hallowed memories gathered around this grave. The memory of the just is blessed. There was the remembrance of their brother as a devoted husband in the Lord – a fond father, a faithful servant of the risen Son of God, who declared the whole counsel of God – a brother beloved, who was constrained to love all who loved the Lord Jesus. Hallowed memories were here, of words faithfully spoken to saints and sinners, of prayers offered in deep affection and fervent desire, of a consistent life maintained by the grace of God. Besides these hallowed memories they had hallowed hopes. Here lay a sower of the seed. For many years the precious seed of God’s truth had been cast by him into the hearts of the sons of men. Fruit had appeared, but the righteous had hope in his death, and the abundant harvest was yet to be seen. How many would be a crown of rejoicing to their brother in the day of the Lord. They had hallowed hopes – they sorrowed not as those without hope. They were anticipating the coming day, the morning without a cloud, when these remains should come up, because of their union with Christ, and spring into beauteous immortality. The spirit that in-dwelt in the body would then be re-united with the body, and they who were the children of God would then with that glorified saint cast their crowns at the Redeemer’s feet, and their immortal lips join with him in ascribing for ever and ever “Salvation to our God who sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” He (Mr Victor) would affectionately ask, before they separated, could they who were mourning say, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain?” Had they peace through the blood of Christ? Did they know the power of the resurrection in creating them anew, and raising their expectations, and causing them to long for the return of their beloved Lord. If not, might God grant that the prayer just now offered might be answered, that their beloved brother, though dead, might yet speak to them. Mr Victor then offered up prayer, and the mourners having taken a last look upon the coffin – the inscription-plate of which simply bore the name, age, and date of death of the deceased – the vast assemblage left the cemetery. We do not remember a funeral which called forth such unfeigned marks of sorrow and respect.
Heute vor 150 Jahren starb in Clifton (einem Vorort von Bristol) der engste Freund und Mitarbeiter Georg Müllers, Henry Craik, im noch nicht sehr fortgeschrittenen Alter von 60 Jahren. Über sein Leben habe ich bereits 2010 einen Wikipedia-Artikel geschrieben, sodass ich hier auf einen biografischen Abriss verzichte;1 stattdessen möchte ich die Aufmerksamkeit auf die erstaunlich ausführliche Presseberichterstattung lenken, die sein Tod auslöste.
Die Bristoler Tageszeitung The Western Daily Press widmete Craik am 24. Januar 1866 gleich zwei lange Artikel. Auf Seite 2 hieß es unter der Rubrik “Topics of the Day”:
One of the most devoted, learned, and amiable labourers in the Christian vineyard, the Rev. Henry Craik, passed from his labours into eternal rest late on Monday evening, in this city. Under date March 29, 1832, there is the following entry in the Narrative of the deceased gentleman’s fellow-labourer, Mr Müller, so well known throughout the Christian world as the founder of the Ashley Down Asylum for Orphans: – “I went to Shaldon this morning; brother Craik has left for Bristol for four weeks. I think he will only return to take leave, and that the Lord will give him work there. [What a remarkable presentiment, which came to pass, concerning my beloved brother and fellow-labourer.]” From that period, if we except the short interval of leave-taking which Mr Craik spent with his former flock at Shaldon and Teignmouth, he has, until struck down by his last painful illness, devoted himself to the work of the Christian ministry in Bristol with a zeal which nothing could damp; and we only state the simple truth when we say that while he was beloved by the people who had the benefit of his ministrations he won by his pure, consistent, Christian life, and by the devotion with which he threw all his energies into the performance of his work, the warmest esteem and the deepest respect of persons of all creeds capable of appreciating worth of more than an ordinarily rare kind. In another column a narrative of Mr Craik’s life will be found. It is necessarily imperfect, as indeed it is impossible to do justice to such a life within the brief limits of a newspaper article. He laboured long in this city, and the spirit in which he laboured and the faith with which he rested upon the promises of the Master, whom he served for the means necessary to enable him to prosecute his labours, were purely apostolic. Ever since, and for some time before, he came to Bristol, Mr Craik, like the colleague who now mourns his loss, depended for his living upon the willingness of the people to whom he ministered. With a faith which we need not say is rarely exhibited in these doubting days, he trusted not in man, but in God, for the “food and raiment” which he required. The dominant thought of his life was not how he might increase his store of the goods of this world, but how he could best promote the spiritual interests of his fellow-men. One, if not more than one, of the universities of his native country, on two occasions, offered him, as a mark of appreciation of his rare scholarship, the degree of D.D., but on both occasions he declined the honour. His modesty was as conspicuous as his worth, and his memory will dwell long in the hearts of all who had the privilege of his acquaintance.
Das angekündigte Lebensbild folgte auf Seite 3:
DEATH OF REV. HENRY CRAIK.
Our readers will receive this announcement, we feel sure, with deep and unfeigned sorrow. A truly good man – a great man, in the sense of high intellectual as well as high moral qualities – has been removed from us, after 34 years’ service as a devoted Christian minister in this city. Mr Craik’s death was not unexpected. A painful illness had confined him for several months to his house. In the summer, when upon an excursion in Scotland, the symptoms of a wasting internal disorder became apparent by increased feebleness and incapacity for study. Medical advice was sought; but it was not until he returned home to his residence in Hampton Park, Redland, and had consulted his own medical attendant (Mr Burleigh), along with Dr. Symonds, that a correct diagnosis was obtained. It was then found that Mr Craik was suffering from collapse of the pylorus – a disease always dangerous and difficult of cure, and one which soon showed the usual effects in his case. When the writer saw him, some three months since, he was painfully struck by the sad change in Mr Craik’s appearance. Although he was then able to drive out a little, he was a mere shadow of his former self; he was debarred from reading – a severe deprivation of one of his chief pleasures – he could not even bear the excitement of another reading to him, except at infrequent intervals, and he seemed altogether like a man who was slowly nearing the last stage of decay and dissolution. Yet his old cheerfulness and geniality were but slightly diminished; while his confidence in the end, his faith, his hope, were expressed in the same unaffected, unfaltering, manly tone and manner which always characterised him. To meet death was not to meet an enemy of whom he was afraid – it was to meet the conqueror of death, the Master whom he had served so lovingly, so cheerfully, and so acceptably, as many can testify in this city and elsewhere. Mr Craik lingered on, gradually growing weaker and weaker, until Monday night, when he died very calmly and peacefully. About nine o’clock a change was observed by his family, and an intimate friend and neighbour (Mr Charles Lemon) was sent for. The pulse was found to be gradually falling, and at 11.23 it ceased. It is common enough to praise men when they are dead, and to indulge indiscriminate laudations of them. Of all this Mr Craik had an instinctive abhorrence. Himself without a particle of pride or affectation – although he had, being among the first linguists in England, much to be proud of – he turned with surprise and regret at the assumption of superiority in others, especially when he knew, as he easily could know, that it was pretentious and unwarranted. We are only employing, however, the language of truth and soberness, when we say that Henry Craik’s religion was of the loftiest and purest description – that it was untarnished by worldly considerations, and that it combined as much of the spiritual and human nature in felicitous proportion as we have ever found or expect to find again. His very simplicity and child-like trustfulness charmed all classes. His piety, never ostentatious, never bordering upon personal merit, was so transparent that you could not help feeling and recognising its power and influence. The priestly character he could not assume, nor the perfunctory style of duty which some who disown the title of priest are apt to fall into. His whole life, his very soul, he gave entirely to the service of his Master and the welfare of his fellow-creatures. As he lived, so he died, in faith and hope. Who that knew him doubts his destiny? Of some men we may have doubts – of Henry Craik we can think only as we think of the saints and martyrs who walked for a while upon earth in a pilgrim’s journey to Heaven. Thousands will sorrow after him – his bereaved flock, and especially his self-sacrificing colleague, Mr George Muller, with whom he commenced his ministry in Bristol, and who regarded him in the truest sense as a brother. By the whole Christian community of this great city his memory will be cherished with affection, his character will be reverenced, and his life and labours will long be remembered with admiration and gratitude.
By the first part of Mr Muller’s “Narrative,” we find that Mr Craik left Teignmouth, where he then was a minister among “The Brethren,”2 for Bristol, on a visit of four weeks, on the 29th March, 1832. Mr Muller states that “it was there [Teignmouth] that I became (in 1829) acquainted with my beloved brother, friend, and present fellow-labourer, Henry Craik.” Mr Muller, at Mr Craik’s solicitations, followed him to Bristol, and on the 22nd April preached at Gideon Chapel, then occupied by the Brethren.3 It is well known that these remarkable men made a wonderful impression during this their first visit to the city. An entry of the “Narrative,” dated April 29, 1832, says: – “Brother Craik preached this evening at Gideon for the last time previous to our going. The aisles, the pulpit stairs, and the vestry were filled, and multitudes went away on account of the want of room.” The next entry, May 15, shows the decision to accept the invitation to settle in Bristol. “Just when I was in prayer,” writes Mr Muller, “concerning Bristol, I was sent for to come to brother Craik. Two letters had arrived from Bristol. The brethren assembling at Gideon accept our offer to come, under the conditions we have made, i.e., for the present to consider us only as ministering among them, but not in any fixed pastoral relationship, so that we may preach as we consider it to be according to the mind of God, without reference to any rules among them; that the pew-rents should be done away with; and that we should go on, respecting the supply of our temporal wants, as in Devonshire.” This last sentence means a great deal. In Devonshire these truly apostolic men literally laboured “without money and without price.” Occasionally they were reduced to such straits as to have neither money nor food; yet their wants were always supplied, without appealing for aid to friends or neighbours. They made no bargain in Bristol for salaries or residences. “A cheap lodging” at 18s a-week, consisting of two sitting-rooms and three bed-rooms, was deemed sufficient for them and their families. It was the year of the cholera, and during four months they held every morning a prayer meeting at Gideon, from six to eight o’clock, at which from two to three hundred people were present. Mr Muller says: “Though brother Craik and I visited many cholera cases, by day and by night, yet the Lord most graciously preserved our families from it.” That Mr Muller fully estimated Mr Craik’s preaching power may be seen by an entry of Oct. 1st, 1833: – “Many more are convinced of sin through brother Craik’s preaching than my own. This circumstance led me to inquire into the reasons, which are probably these: – 1. That brother Craik is more spiritually minded than I am. 2. That he prays more earnestly for the conversion of sinners than I do. 3. That he more frequently addresses sinners, as such, in his public ministrations, than I do.” Mr Craik’s preaching drew a large and intelligent congregation to Bethesda Chapel, Great George Street – this place of worship having been secured when Gideon was found inadequate. It was not popular preaching, being deficient in manner and style, and without any of the gaudy rhetoric which is commonly relied on to fill chapels. Mr Craik had but one object in view – to instruct and impress his hearers, and in this he always succeeded. No one could complain that Mr Craik did not understand the text on which he preached. Whatever the subject might be Mr Craik was certain to master it thoroughly. His language was chaste and scholarly. Words singularly forcible and apposite were employed to convey his meaning upon topics to which he had given special attention. Frequently there was much warmth, always great earnestness, in his pulpit addresses and his prayers. Many thoughtful and pious members of the Church of England were drawn to Bethesda Chapel on the Sunday evenings to hear Mr Craik, and were not the least sincere among his numerous admirers. Mr Craik also preached, alternately with Mr Muller, at Salem Chapel.
Our own idea is, that Mr Craik’s forte was the professor’s chair rather than the pulpit. As a Hebraist he had few equals, still fewer could be named as his superiors; and among his friends and correspondents were some of the first scholars and divines of the day, including our own diocesan (Bishop Ellicott), with whom a strong intimacy was maintained, – the Bishop being fully alive to the extent and variety of Mr Craik’s learning and ability. Mr Craik had been a pupil, at Edinburgh University, of the late Dr. Chalmers, and was educated as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland, in which his brother (Rev. Dr. Craik, of Glasgow) occupies a conspicuous position. But the trammels of Presbyterianism were over much for him, and he became a decided Nonconformist, embracing the Congregational form of church polity. His habits, however, were too retiring to allow him to mingle in controversial strife. Only once do we remember his appearing in public to give his views on the connexion of Church and State. It was in 1860, at the Broadmead Rooms. A correspondence followed in these columns, his opponent being a well-known clergyman who figured on the same side at the July election of members of Parliament.
We understand that Mr Craik kept a diary, in which he has given the leading events of his interesting career, his correspondence and intercourse with eminent men of his time, and an account of the establishing of that great national institution, the Ashley Down Orphan Houses. This will shortly be published, we believe, and will form a valuable history of the thirty-four years’ life and labours of Mr Muller and Mr Craik – two of the most remarkable men, two of the most honoured servants of the Church of Christ, who have ever appeared in this or any other country.
Auf derselben Seite findet sich unter der Rubrik “Deaths” noch folgende knappe Notiz:
On the 22nd inst., at Holyrood Villa, Hampton Park, Clifton, the Rev. HENRY CRAIK, deeply and sincerely regretted by a wide circle of friends and admirers.
Über Craiks Beerdigung am 30. Januar erschien in der Western Daily Press ebenfalls ein ausführlicher Bericht, den ich mir für einen separaten Blogeintrag aufhebe.
Da die Brüderbewegung keine neue Glaubensgemeinschaft sein wollte und sich daher auch keinen offiziellen Namen beilegte, dauerte es eine Weile, bis sie in der Öffentlichkeit als Gruppe wahrgenommen wurde. Der früheste Hinweis auf die Gemeinde in Plymouth, den ich im British Newspaper Archive finden konnte, stammt aus dem Jahr 1833 und identifiziert sie nur durch den Namen der Kapelle, in der sie sich versammelte (Providence Chapel):
Bereits 1836 war im irischen Westport die Bezeichnung Darbyites in Gebrauch. In einer Notiz über den Kirchenaustritt von John Marsden Code heißt es:
Im selben Jahr ist Darbyites auch im Google-Books-Corpus zum ersten Mal belegt:
Der Name Plymouth Brethren lässt sich – sowohl im British Newspaper Archive als auch in Google Books – erst zwei Jahre später nachweisen. 1838 druckte die Hereford Times einen kurzen Artikel der Sunday Times über den Gottesdienstbesuch in Hereford nach und listete dabei als kleinste „Dissenter“-Gemeinde auch die „Plymouth Brethren“:
Einige Monate später erwähnte die Zeitschrift The Evangelical Register die „Plymouth Brethren“ im Zusammenhang mit dem Kirchenaustritt von William Henry Dorman (Erstbeleg des Namens in Google Books):
Die Formulierung “known as” deutet darauf hin, dass der Name bereits eine Weile in Umlauf war; dennoch ist auffallend, dass die völlig verschiedenen Corpora von British Newspaper Archive und Google Books sowohl bei Darbyites als auch bei Plymouth Brethren jeweils auf exakt dasselbe Jahr verweisen.
An manchen Orten mussten diese Namen zunächst noch mit lokalen Sonderbezeichnungen wie Newtonites (Plymouth), Hallites (Plymouth, später Hereford), Müllerites (Bristol) oder Chapmanites (Barnstaple) konkurrieren. Aufschlussreich ist z.B. folgende Notiz aus dem Monthly Magazine vom Oktober 1839 (Google Books):
In Plymouth selbst dürfte es am längsten gedauert haben, bis der – hier wenig aussagekräftige – Name Plymouth Brethren sich als Gruppenbezeichnung etablierte. Noch 1840 kam ein Artikel über den Neubau des Saals in der Ebrington Street völlig ohne diesen Namen aus:
Die Bezeichnung Providence people spiegelt offenkundig noch den ursprünglichen Versammlungsort, die 1831 von Wigram erworbene Providence Chapel, wider; bemerkenswerterweise wurden Zusammensetzungen mit Providence zu dieser Zeit aber auch in anderen Städten verwendet – und hätten so vielleicht durchaus eine Alternative zu Plymouth Brethren werden können. In Exeter, etwa 70 km nordöstlich von Plymouth gelegen, hieß es z.B. im April 1840:
Im benachbarten Crediton wurde der Name im selben Jahr zu provident society verballhornt (was wörtlich etwa „Fürsorgegesellschaft“ oder „Unterstützungsverein“ bedeuten würde1):
Im Laufe der 1840er Jahre scheint sich schließlich Plymouth Brethren als Bezeichnung flächendeckend durchgesetzt zu haben. Darbyites begegnet noch einige Male vor allem in irischen Quellen, nimmt dann aber auch ab – möglicherweise weil das Wort in den 1850er und 1860er Jahren eine neue politische Bedeutung bekam: Die Anhänger des britischen Premierministers Lord Derby, eigentlich Derbyites genannt, wurden in der Presse oft ebenfalls (fälschlicherweise?) Darbyites geschrieben (die Aussprache ist dieselbe). Hier ein Beispiel:
Im Zuge meiner Recherchen im British Newspaper Archive und anderswo konnte ich einige Lebensdaten von „Brüdern“ präzisieren oder korrigieren – insbesondere von solchen, die in Henry Pickerings Chief Men among the Brethren1 enthalten sind. Bekanntermaßen schwankt die Qualität und Exaktheit der Artikel in diesem Sammelband erheblich; oft sind nur die Geburts- und Todesjahre und nicht die genauen Tage angegeben, manchmal kann man selbst die Jahre nur dem alphabetischen Inhaltsverzeichnis entnehmen, und einige Angaben sind auch schlichtweg falsch. Hier meine Erkenntnisse (in alphabetischer Reihenfolge).
Francis Christopher Bland (1826–1894)
Bei Pickering wird Bland nur „F. C.“ genannt, im Katalog des Christian Brethren Archive „Frederick Christopher“. Tatsächlich lautete sein erster Vorname Francis, wie man u.a. in seiner Todesanzeige lesen kann (zum Vergrößern anklicken):
Nach Pickering starb Brealey Anfang März 1888. Der Taunton Courier vom Mittwoch, dem 14. März 1888 datiert seinen Tod auf “Tuesday morning”, womit vermutlich eher der 6. als der 13. März gemeint ist:2
Adelbert Percy Cecil (1841–1889)
Bei Pickering und in den meisten anderen brüdergeschichtlichen Werken lautet Cecils erster Vorname „Adalbert“; zeitgenössische Presse und Adelsverzeichnisse überliefern aber einheitlich die Schreibweise „Adelbert“. Hier eine der ersten Meldungen seines Todes:
William Henry Dorman (1802–1878)
Pickering nennt – ebenso wie Rowdon im Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography3 – nur Dormans Todesjahr; das genaue Todesdatum (14. September) erfährt man aus der Pall Mall Gazette:
Samuel Trevor Francis (1834–1925)
Vom Dichter des Liedes „O die tiefe Liebe Jesu“4 kennt Pickering nicht das genaue Geburtsdatum. Hier können inzwischen sogar moderne Internetdatenbanken weiterhelfen, z.B. das Center for Church Music: Francis wurde am 19. November geboren.
Percy Francis Hall (1801–1884)
Als Geburtsjahr Halls gibt Pickering 1804 an, was von allen späteren Darstellungen übernommen wurde.5 Halls tatsächliches Geburtsdatum – der 20. März 1801 – erschien jedoch bereits 1888 in einem genealogischen Periodikum6 und 1928 im Schülerverzeichnis der Westminster School.7 Das Todesdatum hingegen überliefert Pickering korrekter als die zeitgenössische Presse: Nach der mir vorliegenden Kopie der Sterbeurkunde vom 15. Oktober 1884 starb Hall am 11. Oktober, wie auch Pickering schreibt, und nicht am 13. Oktober, wie die Bath Chronicle behauptet (das Alter wird allerdings sowohl in der Sterbeurkunde als auch in der Zeitung falsch angegeben – ob Halls 20-jährige Enkelin Gertrude, die den Tod meldete, nur eine ungefähre Schätzung abgab?):8
James Lampen Harris (1793–1877)
Harris’ zweiter Vorname wird von Pickering als „Lampden“ wiedergegeben (ebenso von Noel9 und Rowdon10). Die meisten neueren Darstellungen (z.B. Embley11, Coad12, BDEB13, Stunt14, Burnham15, Grass16) schreiben dagegen „Lampen“. In der zeitgenössischen Presse findet sich ausschließlich die letztere Form;17 hier zwei Beispiele:
Nach Stunt war „Lampen“ in Plymouth ein verbreiteter Nachname, der wahrscheinlich in Harris’ Verwandtschaft mütterlicherseits vorkam.18 Die falsche Form „Lampden“ dürfte erst durch Pickering in Umlauf gelangt sein.
Thomas Shuldham Henry (1835–1894)
Henry ist der einzige „Bruder“ in Chief Men, für dessen Geburt Pickering noch nicht einmal ein Jahr anzugeben weiß. Nach der Todesanzeige im Londoner Standard starb er am 1. Januar 1894 im 59. Lebensjahr; er muss also 1835 geboren sein:
Henrys Tod datiert Pickering übrigens auf den 2. Januar – ob man ihm oder der Zeitung Glauben schenken kann, ist ohne eine dritte, unabhängige Quelle nicht zu entscheiden.
John Eliot Howard (1807–1883)
Als namhafter Pharmakologe wurde Howard 1891 mit genauem Geburts- und Todesdatum in Band 28 des Dictionary of National Biography aufgenommen. Dennoch nennt Pickering auch 40 Jahre später nur sein Geburtsjahr, und um das Todesdatum zu erfahren, muss man wissen, auf welchen Wochentag der 20. November 1883 fiel:
He was taken ill on 20th Nov., 1883, but no danger was apprehended until Thursday morning, when he gently fell asleep in Jesus at his residence, Lord’s Meade, Tottenham.19
(Der 20. November war übrigens ein Dienstag; Howard starb am 22.)
Albert Midlane (1825–1909)
Von Midlane, dem Dichter des im englischen Sprachraum sehr populären Liedes “There’s a Friend for little children”, schreibt Pickering, er sei verstorben “just as the morning of Lord’s Day, February 28, 1909, was approaching”.20 Aus der zeitgenössischen Presse geht hervor, dass der genaue Todeszeitpunkt vor Mitternacht lag, kalendarisch also noch am 27. Februar (so auch das Oxford Dictionary of National Biography21):
Thomas Blair Miller (1840–1905)
Pickering erweckt den Eindruck, als sei der Sohn Andrew Millers am 11. September 1905 gestorben:
On 11th September, 1905, he set out for Skegness for a few days’ rest, and whilst there was seized with another shock, from which he did not recover.22
Der 11. September 1905 war ein Montag. Nach Auskunft der Aberdeener Zeitung The People’s Journal starb Miller aber an einem Dienstagabend, also erst am 12. September:
John Usticke Scobell (1803–1883)
Den zweiten Vornamen Scobells ersetzt Pickering eigenartigerweise durch die Initiale N. Über den Todestag (Pickering nennt nur das Jahr) finden sich in der zeitgenössischen Presse unterschiedliche Angaben; laut The Cornishman war es der 3. Januar (ein Mittwoch):
In einem ausführlichen Bericht auf derselben Seite ist ebenfalls von Mittwoch die Rede:
Die Royal Cornwall Gazette nennt demgegenüber den 2. Januar:
Charles Henry Scott (1848–1919)
Von Scotts zweitem Vornamen teilt Pickering nur die Initiale H. mit. Wir erfahren das Datum von Scotts Beerdigung (10. Oktober 1919), aber nicht das seines Todes; nach dem Sussex Express war es der 6. Oktober:
Pickering nennt – ebenso wie Stunt im Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography23 – nur Strongs Todesjahr; das genaue Todesdatum (17. Oktober) findet sich z.B. in der Exeter and Plymouth Gazette:
Clarence Esme Stuart (1827–1903)
Stuart ist – neben Wigram – der vielleicht prominenteste „Bruder“ auf dieser Liste; insofern mag es erstaunen, dass bei seinen Lebensdaten noch Korrekturen notwendig sind. Die Angaben bei Pickering sind widersprüchlich: Als Geburtsjahr wird im Inhaltsverzeichnis 1823 genannt, im Artikel selbst aber 1828; das Todesjahr findet sich überhaupt nur im Inhaltsverzeichnis und fehlt im Artikel ganz. Spätere Darstellungen (z.B. Arend Remmers’ Gedenket eurer Führer) übernehmen meist die Daten 1828–1903. Tatsächlich wurde Stuart jedoch bereits am 29. Mai 1827 geboren, wie eine amerikanische genealogische Zeitschrift 1967 in einem Artikel über die Familie William Penns am Rande mitteilte;24 auch Stuarts genaues Todesdatum (8. Januar 1903) wird dort erwähnt (ebenso auf der Website Global Plants, die Stuarts Testament zusammenfasst).
William Trotter (1818–1865)
Von Trotter scheinen bisher ebenfalls nur die Geburts- und Todesjahre bekannt zu sein (siehe z.B. Pickering). Das genaue Todesdatum (5. November) dokumentieren verschiedene Zeitungen, darunter der Leeds Mercury:
William Henry George Wellesley (1806–1875)
Trotz seiner adeligen Abstammung weiß Chief Men auch von diesem „Bruder“ nur die Geburts- und Todesjahre anzugeben. The Peerage liefert die genauen Daten: geboren am 2. Februar 1806, gestorben am 21. Dezember 1875. Das Todesdatum lässt sich auch durch Zeitungen bestätigen, z.B. durch den Essex Standard:
George Vicesimus Wigram (1805–1879)
Über Wigrams Lebensdaten herrscht trotz seiner Bekanntheit einige Verwirrung. Pickering führt nur die Jahreszahlen an (die unstrittig sind). Als Geburtsdatum wird je nach Quelle der 28. März (The Peerage, Brown, BDEB25, ODNB26) oder der 29. März (STEM Publishing, My Brethren) angegeben, als Todesdatum der 1. Januar (DNB, Schaff-Herzog, Remmers, My Brethren, The Peerage, BDEB, ODNB) oder der 1. Februar (STEM Publishing, Brown). Was das Geburtsdatum betrifft, wird man wohl der Datenbank England Births and Christenings 1538–1975 vertrauen können; sie nennt den 28. März. Beim Todesdatum hilft ein Blick in die zeitgenössische Presse: Die Pall Mall Gazette datiert Wigrams Tod auf den 1. Februar, die Daily News berichtet ausführlich über seine Beerdigung am 6. Februar:
Das falsche Datum 1. Januar ist möglicherweise durch das renommierte Dictionary of National Biography (Bd. 61, 1900) in die Literatur eingedrungen; My Brethren zitiert allerdings sogar eine angebliche Sarginschrift, die den 1. Januar genannt haben soll, und datiert die Beerdigung auf den 7. Januar! Da die Zeitungen den Ereignissen zweifellos näher standen, wird man ihnen wohl eine höhere Glaubwürdigkeit zubilligen können.
Es folgen noch einige Personen, die nicht in Pickerings Chief Men enthalten sind.
John Beaumont (1823/24–1896)
Dieser heute nahezu vergessene Evangelist wird auf STEM Publishing als Liederdichter vorgestellt, jedoch ohne Lebensdaten. Dem Zeitungsbefund nach starb er am 27. September 1896 im Alter von 72 Jahren; er muss also zwischen dem 28. September 1823 und dem 27. September 1824 geboren sein:
Henry D’Arcy Champney (1854–1942)
Kurzbiografien Champneys finden sich auf STEM Publishing und My Brethren. Die Zeitung Western Daily Press nennt sein genaues Todesdatum (5. September):
William Henry Darby (1790–1880)
Über John Nelson Darbys ältesten Bruder ist nach wie vor erstaunlich wenig bekannt; The Peerage kennt noch nicht einmal sein Todesjahr. Nach zeitgenössischen Adelsverzeichnissen27 und der Pall Mall Gazette starb er am 20. Februar 1880:
Auch das Geburtsjahr Feredays wird unterschiedlich angegeben: Zur Auswahl stehen 1861 (Grass28), 1863 (eHymnBook, STEM Publishing) und 1866 (Dickson29, STEM Publishing, The Cyber Hymnal). Nach dem England and Wales Birth Registration Index ist Letzteres korrekt – Fereday wurde im zweiten Quartal 1866 geboren. Dies stimmt auch mit der Angabe in seinem Nachruf überein, wonach er bei seinem Tod 93 Jahre alt war.30 Das genaue Todesdatum lässt sich anhand des Nachrufs nur auf die Monate vor September 1959 (dem Erscheinungstermin des betreffenden Witness-Hefts) eingrenzen.31
Richard Holden (1828–1886)
Holden, ein Missionar der „Brüder“ in Portugal, wird auf STEM Publishing mit dem Todesjahr 1886 erwähnt. Eine portugiesische Website teilt seinen Geburtsmonat (August 1828) und sein genaues Todesdatum (7. Juli 1886) mit.
Walter Alexander Lickley (1909–1996)
Der australische „Bruder“ Lickley, durch zwei Bücher auch hierzulande bekannt,32 ist auf STEM Publishing als noch lebend verzeichnet; nach der Trauer-Website HeavenAddress starb er am 26. September 1996.33
Hamilton Smith (1862–1943)
Smith starb nach STEM Publishing am 23. Januar 1943. Die Zeitung Western Daily Press, die ein knappes halbes Jahr später den Wert seines Nachlasses veröffentlichte, nannte dagegen den 22. Januar als Todesdatum:
Welche Angabe richtig ist, wäre nur durch eine dritte, unabhängige Quelle zu klären.
William Henry Westcott (1865–1936)
Westcott wird auf STEM Publishing mit Geburts- und Todesjahr erwähnt. Nach der Anzeige in der Yorkshire Post starb er am 9. November 1936:
Eine einzigartige Fundgrube für historisch Interessierte ist das British Newspaper Archive, in dem zurzeit 261 britische Zeitungen aus dem 18. bis 20. Jahrhundert mit zusammen über 8,5 Millionen Seiten digital zugänglich sind (allerdings kostenpflichtig). Ich habe dort in den letzten Wochen viele interessante (teilweise auch kuriose) Funde zur Brüdergeschichte gemacht, von denen ich hier einige mitteilen möchte. Ich beginne mit dem Leben Julius Anton von Posecks, der bekanntlich ab 1857 in England wohnte.
August Jung schreibt in seiner Poseck-Biografie,1 der plausibelste Grund für Posecks Übersiedlung nach England sei „eine überaus liebliche Erscheinung“ gewesen: „Christiane Wilson, die seine Frau werden sollte“.2 Ihr Alter bei der Heirat 1857 gibt er mit 50 an; dass sie zwei Jahre später noch ein Kind zur Welt bringen konnte, sei daher „fast ein biologisches Wunder“ gewesen.3 Woher Jung den Namen und die Altersangabe hat, verrät er nicht; laut der Heiratsanzeige im Reading Mercury vom 18. Juli 1857 lautete ihr Nachname Davies und nicht Wilson:
Der Name Christiana Davies wird auch durch den England and Wales Marriage Registration Index 1837–1920 bestätigt. Die Bezeichnung „Mrs.“ im Reading Mercury deutet allerdings darauf hin, dass sie schon einmal verheiratet (und jetzt wahrscheinlich verwitwet) war. Vielleicht war Wilson ihr Mädchenname?
Noch seltsamer ist Jungs Altersangabe von 50 Jahren. Nach den bei FamilySearch zugänglichen genealogischen Datenbanken war Posecks Frau ganze 14 Jahre jünger: Erst bei der Volkszählung 1871 wird ihr Alter mit 50 angegeben, bei der Volkszählung 1881 folglich mit 60 und bei ihrem Tod 1896 mit 75 (ich sage „folglich“, aber nicht immer stimmen die verschiedenen Datenbanken so exakt überein!). Ihr Geburtsjahr dürfte demnach 1821 gewesen sein; damit war sie vier bis fünf Jahre jünger als ihr Mann und bei der Geburt ihres Kindes 1859 nicht 52, sondern 38 Jahre alt.
Ihr Tod wird im Londoner Standard vom 24. April 1896 gemeldet (ebenfalls mit der Altersangabe 75):
„Bis heute konnte nicht geklärt werden, welchen Beruf v. Poseck in London ausgeübt hat“, schreibt August Jung. „Noch kann man wählen zwischen Professor der Philosophie bzw. Philologie, Sprachlehrer oder Missionsprediger. Oder vermochte er etwa alles gleichzeitig zu sein? Bedenkt man, dass er in der Grenzstadt Saarbrücken zweisprachig aufgewachsen war, dass er als Gymnasiast Latein, Griechisch und Hebräisch gelernt, vielleicht sogar gelehrt hatte, dass er ein gutes Schulenglisch sprach und es in jahrelangem Umgang mit den ‚Brethren‘ entscheidend verbessert hatte, dann spricht alles für Sprachlehrer. Promoviert und habilitiert hat er sich zu keiner Zeit.“4
Dem Zeitungsbefund nach zu urteilen war Poseck tatsächlich „alles gleichzeitig“ (bis auf Philosophieprofessor). Das Wort „Sprachlehrer“ trifft seinen Brotberuf wohl am besten, aber er nannte sich auch „Professor“ – damals anscheinend keine geschützte Bezeichnung für einen Hochschullehrer, sondern verwendbar von jedem “who makes a profession of any art or science”, wenn nicht gar “a grandiose title by professional teachers and exponents of various popular arts and sciences, as dancing, juggling, phrenology, etc.”5
Zuerst scheint Poseck noch mit einer Privatschule (der „Brüder“?) in Verbindung gestanden zu haben, wie die folgende Anzeige aus dem Reading Mercury vom 11. April 1857 (also drei Monate vor seiner Heirat) nahelegt:
Über die Schule informiert das zeitgenössische Buch Our Schools and Colleges wie folgt:
Die obige Zeitungsanzeige deutet allerdings darauf hin, dass Poseck von Anfang an auch Privatunterricht erteilte, und darauf scheint er sich später beschränkt zu haben. Bereits im August 1857 nennt er in der Zeitung nur noch seine Privatadresse:
Die vollmundige Angabe “of the University of Berlin” mutet im Zusammenhang mit “professor of the GERMAN and FRENCH languages” etwas seltsam an; schließlich hatte Poseck in Berlin nicht etwa Deutsch und Französisch studiert, sondern vor allem Jura (1838–41).
1870 zog Poseck nach Southsea und bot auch dort per Zeitungsannonce seine Dienste an; sein Repertoire hatte er inzwischen auf Italienisch und klassische Sprachen ausgedehnt:
Vier Monate später genügte folgende Kurzanzeige:
1872 zog Poseck innerhalb Southseas nochmals um:
Sein Lehrangebot erweiterte sich stetig; 1876 bot er z.B. an, Schüler auf “Cambridge and Oxford Examinations” (vermutlich Zulassungsprüfungen der dortigen Universitäten) vorzubereiten, wenig später sogar auf “Naval and Military Examinations”:
1877 nannte er sich “German Master at the Royal Naval Academy, Anglesey College, etc.”, was wieder auf eine Verbindung mit schulischen Institutionen hinzudeuten scheint:
Eastman’s Royal Naval Academy war eine Privatschule in Southsea; ein Anglesey College konnte ich nicht ermitteln:
Die letzte Annonce Posecks, die ich gefunden habe, stammt aus dem Jahr 1878:
Ob er danach seine Privatlehrertätigkeit zugunsten einer Festanstellung aufgab, ob er keine Anzeigen mehr nötig hatte oder ob er – mit knapp 62 Jahren für damalige Verhältnisse sicherlich noch recht früh – in den Ruhestand ging, bleibt offen.
Auch Posecks Predigttätigkeit wird in den Zeitungen immer wieder erwähnt. Zum ersten Mal 1859 in der Bury and Norwich Post:
Posecks Themen waren recht vielfältig. 1862 predigte er z.B. in Leamington Spa über die Wiederkunft Christi:
1870 ging es in Ryde auf der Insel Wight um ein „höchst praktisches“ Thema:
Vergleichsweise ausführlich und sehr wohlwollend berichtete der Wrexham Advertiser über eine Vortragsreihe in Denbigh (Wales) im Juli 1871:
Gelegentlich wurde auch durch Anzeigen zu Vorträgen eingeladen, so z.B. 1860 im Birmingham Journal zu einer Evangelisation für deutsche Immigranten:
Auf Deutsch predigte Poseck 1862 auch in Leamington Spa:
Abschließend noch zwei Einladungen zu Vorträgen für Gläubige, vermutlich in den jeweiligen „Versammlungslokalen“:
Poseck starb nur zweieinhalb Monate nach seiner Frau. Auch seine Todesnachricht erschien im Londoner Standard; mir liegen davon zwei Schnipsel vor, leider beide schlecht lesbar:
Hier mein Versuch einer Textrekonstruktion:
VON POSECH.—July 6, at 2, Algernon-road, Lewisham, Julius Anton E. W. Von Posech, in his 80th year. Funeral on Thursday, 3.45, at Lewisham Cemetery.