Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)
Gerhard Tersteegen  (1697-1769)

Gerhard Tersteegen

In the year 1697, a man was born in Moers am Rhein (Germany) whose 72 years of life have left deep traces in this world. These traces may not fade, because everything that can be read in them testifies to complete devotion in faith to the glory of God. This is the only way to explain the depth of his footprints, in which his love of God above all else, coupled with self-sacrificing love for his neighbor, is depicted. The fruits of his strong and yet simple-minded faith are so diverse that on these pages we would like to draw attention above all to the important works for the edification of the "inner man".
Over the course of 20 years, Gerhard Tersteegen handed down descriptions of the lives of so-called holy souls in three volumes, of which he was convinced that "Christ and his grace shine forth in all of them; faith, love and hope are common to all." He sought and found in the lives of these selected souls, as his statement expresses, the manifold spiritual fruits (Gal. 5) in order to praise them to posterity and especially to the evangelical brethren.
Tersteegen's literary activity was extremely productive and inspiring: on the one hand, he translated valuable writings by well-known mystics and made them accessible to posterity, and on the other, he wrote down his insights and experiences of the inner Christian life in the presence of God.
His extraordinary talent as a poet has given us a rich treasure trove of spiritual songs and poems.
In addition, Gerhard Tersteegen proved to be a personal spiritual guide in his environment and a spiritual counselor far beyond the borders of the Rhineland in his extensive correspondence. More than 700 surviving letters bear witness to this.
At the beginning of his fourth decade, following the call of Wilhelm Hoffmann, he reduced his ascetic, secluded lifestyle and began to speak publicly about the word of God in so-called conventicle meetings. In this way, he gained a reputation as a gifted lay preacher that reached as far as the Netherlands
and USA.

Translated with (free version) 12.01.24



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