The Indefatigable Dr Muhlenberg: An American Saint

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In 1845, on a winter evening in the Church of the Holy Communion in New York City, Anne Ayres was consecrated the first Sister of the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion by the Rev. Dr. William Augustus Muhlenberg. This momentous event receives the sparsest mention by Sister Ayres herself within the 524 pages of her work, The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg, published in 1880. In the few lines that are included, Ayres humbly refers to herself in the third person, employing a narrative style nearly reminiscent of St John the Evangelist with the reverent distance it inserts between the author and her subject,

The first Sister was consecrated one winter evening in the church, at the dispersion of the congregation after daily service. Besides the pastor in his surplice within the chancel, and the Sister in her accustomed dress kneeling at the rail, the only other present was the good old sexton, waiting to put out the lights. The whole was as simple as it was solemn.[1]

Sister Ayres adorned the title page of Muhlenberg’s life with the epigraph, VIR ANTIQUA FIDE ET VIRTUTE, “A man of ancient faith and virtue,” a most fitting description for one who came to embody (what he joyfully insisted on calling) “Evangelical Catholicism.” In describing what might be called his “anti-party” (given his strong aversion to all partisanship), Muhlenberg wrote of Evangelical Catholicism in 1851, “Of course, in common with all churchmen, we profess to be Catholics. We do not repudiate the Creed. We believe in the Holy Catholic Church…But we believe in Christianity, not as an abstraction, but as an institution – a divine institution, adapted to all mankind in all ages…”[2] Muhlenberg gave his life to this holy adaptation of the Church to the destitute mankind he encountered in the streets and slums of New York, a holy adaptation that eventually took shape as a church (The Church of the Holy Communion), a church hospital animated by a Protestant sisterhood (St. Luke’s Hospital), and a community so otherworldly that it nearly defies description (St. Johnland).

But before he was feverishly attending to houses of refuge for suffering brethren in New York, William Augustus Muhlenberg was a boy of German Lutheran descent in Philadelphia. His father, Henry, died when William was nine years old, and, unable to understand the German of their Lutheran congregation, he gained his mother’s permission to attend the local Episcopal Church, Christ Church. The rector, Bishop William White, would become a dear mentor to Muhlenberg, later ordaining him a priest on October 22, 1820. Early on, the beauty of the Episcopal Church’s divine service cemented Muhlenberg’s “ecclesiastical aestheticism,” though it would never become a rival to what Ayres described as “his immovable evangelic faith.”[3] As he read for holy orders under the care of Bishop White, William would regularly accompany the Rev’d Jackson Kemper on his visits to the sick, writing of those experiences, “Students of divinity ought to be acquainted with such scenes. Mr. K. told me he had never been in a sick-room before he was called to visit one as a clergyman.” William’s love for the Church truly blossomed during the course of these preparations for ministry, writing of the revival of the Episcopal Church under Kemper,

Oh! that it may increase more and more, until our church shines forth in her primitive splendor; then will all see her excellence…I count it one of my greatest Christian blessings that I am in communion with a church that has no other foundation than the apostles and prophets, that preserves in simplicity the primitive orders…

Muhlenberg was eventually able to spend himself in the service of the church he had come to love, beginning with a three-year diaconate, then his first curacy in 1820 at St. James’ in Lancaster, PA. As incredible as it may sound, the 24-year-old Rev’d Muhlenberg almost immediately conceived of his ministry as encompassing the care of those in the wider community of Lancaster, particularly regarding public education. He began with a Sunday school. A schoolhouse was erected and soon a hundred children were benefiting from the parson’s industry. Within this schoolhouse began the long, curious history of future priests and bishops being raised up under Muhlenberg’s tutelage. Though never marrying or having children of his own, the Rev’d Dr. Muhlenberg was a father to hundreds upon hundreds of young men. His spiritual progeny ever after considered themselves “the Doctor’s Boys.”

Leaving Lancaster in 1826 for what he originally conceived of as a brief stay in New York to visit family before going abroad to pursue further studies, the Lord’s providence brought Muhlenberg to be serendipitously prevailed upon to provide pulpit supply at a nearby congregation in Flushing, NY. That one extemporaneous sermon prompted an invitation to the rectorship, which was negotiated down to a six-month interim position. During this time in Flushing, he once again discovered a need for Christian education, a need he felt the tradition of the Protestant Episcopal Church was particularly suited for “in her catholic faith, in her venerable rites and chastened forms, in her enlightened reverence for antiquity, in her habits of subordination, and in her love of genuine Protestant liberty.”[4] Hence the Flushing Institute was born, a boarding school for boys with a course of study “preparatory to college.”[5] Though it should not pass without mention the strategy and tact with which Muhlenberg accomplished the founding of the Institute, for here is one vein worth tracing in the gold mine of his genius for those with ears to hear, a golden touch that marked all of his efforts: the Reverend Doctor knew how to work with (or, perhaps we should say, circumvent) bureaucracy. He possessed that rarest of virtues, prudence. Sister Ayres mentions, almost in passing,

The building [for the Institute], a commodious and sufficiently imposing structure, did not come about without some of the friction incident to mortal affairs; disagreements among the Trustees as to locality and other details. Mr. Muhlenberg stood quietly aside watching the progress of things until, at one moment, a shipwreck of the whole scheme seeming imminent, he stepped forward, and in a way of his own, carried it over the breakers.

“The heart of the righteous studieth to answer,” we read in Proverbs, “but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.” Whether stirring up interest in some noble work, appealing to the wealthy on behalf of the poor, or navigating some intractable administrative morass, the Reverend Doctor used wisdom. Nearly two decades later, when first considering the prospect of a church hospital, Dr. Muhlenberg offered this counsel on “how to begin a work of charity,”

Don’t begin by announcing your object, and calling a meeting of all who are friendly to it. Some will come who think they know all about it as well as yourself. They will give advice, propose plans, suggest methods of proceeding, etc., which may seem very encouraging, but will end in taking the matter out of your own hands, or in making it altogether another thing from what you intended; or, through a division of counsels, it will come to nought. No; begin in a quiet, natural way. Let the thing grow by its own life under the fostering care of the few who understand and entirely sympathize with you. It may be small and weak, but if it is a germ of genuine charity, it will take root and vegetate. Then ask all who will, to supply the nutriment for its further growth; but not to trim and fashion it after their own notions. If they help you, thank God and take courage. If not, have patience – it will not die if it be a plant which your Heavenly Father has planted. If it be not, the sooner it dies the better.[6]

Behold the Doctor’s ruthlessness with his own creative abilities! He does not sink all of his emotional capital into the success of any one venture; he is serving God and not afraid of the possible shame of failure in the world’s eyes. The nigh-reckless joy with which he attends to his endeavors reflects the humility of a heart offered in thanksgiving to the Lord. “His fertility of mind in plans and projects seemed inexhaustible,” Sister Ayres writes, “Not a hundredth part of his conceptions came to shape…”[7]

One very famous so-called failure serves to illustrate the gratuitous nature of Dr. Muhlenberg’s creative drive. Following the success of the boarding school, the Rev’d Doctor resolved to establish an institution of higher education: St Paul’s College. He laid the ground for this project by purchasing seventy-five acres north of Flushing in 1835, thereafter known as “College Point,” although he had already invested all his private means in the boarding school and was in significant debt. The land for the projected campus was beautiful, bordering the East River for over a mile and including a high knoll overlooking the bay. The college was to be built on that knoll. The cornerstone was ceremonially laid with “enthusiastic anticipations” on October 15, 1836. The Good Doctor could not have foreseen the Panic of 1837. Subscriptions had flowed in up until that financial crisis. The funds he had available only provided for the construction of the basement story. The building was never to rise above that initial foundation.

The basement story jutted out on picturesque College Point for years to come, a seemingly all-too-appropriate encapsulation of Luke 14:28, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Muhlenberg was forced to content himself with provisional wooden structures for St Paul’s College, though the entire project (including the incomplete construction) would be sold off a few years after he returned to parish ministry.

How did William process this embarrassment? How did he receive so public a disappointment? Was the abandoned structure a splinter in his mind and heart? Sister Ayes gives tantalizing glimpses into the inner life of her pastor, often speaking of his depressive tendencies, how the joyous stretches of intense activity were often punctuated by a collapse into melancholy. Early in his ministerial career, the Rev’d Muhlenberg wrote a hymn that became something of a hit, “I would not live alway,” inspired by Job 7:16, “I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.” Here is its first (of six) verses,

I would not live alway – live alway below!

Oh no, I’ll not linger when bidden to go:

The days of our pilgrimage granted us here,

Are enough for life’s woes, full enough for its cheer:

Would I shrink from the path which the prophets of God,

Apostles, and martyrs, so joyfully trod?

Like a spirit unblest, o’er the earth would I roam,

While brethren and friends are all hastening home?[8]

Ayres suggests the hymn is an example of the “vein of melancholy” that colored Muhlenberg’s otherwise cheerful disposition, a tendency she felt he shared with “all earth’s greater souls.”[9] Indeed, many years later, after his beloved mother passed away in 1851, the Rev’d Doctor spent hours in his study, numbly flipping through her old Bible. When a friend asked how he was feeling, his answer was, “More like a man than a saint.”

It seems impossible then that Muhlenberg would be untouched by the false start of St. Paul’s College, accompanied as it was later in 1837 by the death of his only and beloved brother, Frederick. And yet we find he labored on in 1838, opening the college with what wooden tenements he could adjoin to his existing Grammar School, a grouping of structures erected at the foot of the same knoll crowned by those unfinished works. He dug up the leaden box containing the Greek New Testament he had placed in the cornerstone at the Flushing Institute and replanted it under the college. Working in the shadow of his most public failure, he would continue in the vocation God had given him. Often mocked and dismissed by his brother clergy for his pursuits, Muhlenberg writes in one letter, “Brother O. only laughs at my scheme; Brother W. cares nothing about it…But there is not much use in going about asking the opinions of different persons…I trust I embark in the attempt with an eye to the glory of God, and the best interest of my fellow creatures; I may therefore humbly hope for success.” He then includes two lines from the hymn, “At anchor laid, remote from home,”

But I can only spread my sail,

Thou, thou, must breathe th’ auspicious gale.[10]

The Rev’d Doctor entrusted the success of his efforts to God and would not linger at the doors his Lord had closed.

In 1843, after fifteen years in Christian education, Muhlenberg reportedly began to feel “stale,” writing, “I fear I shall be an irritable old man if I remain surrounded by these vexations, without a chance of rallying my strength.” And so he took a holiday. Leaving St. Paul’s in the capable hands of his professors, he sailed for England, a trip he had long wanted to take but especially now that he had acquired a cautious interest in a new church movement much in the ascendancy known as “Tractarianism.” Though Muhlenberg was resistant to certain aspects of the movement, Rev’d E.A. Washburn, another American cleric of the 19th century, acknowledges,

…there were at the outset, certain features that won the sympathy of many devout minds. To them it seemed the awakening of the sleeping forces of the church of Christ. Who does not remember how it kindled Christian art and poetry, created new plans of charity, built free chapels and threw off the cold formalism of the service? With men of the large spirit of Dr. Muhlenberg, it was impossible to regard it without appreciation of such true features.[11]

Intent on exploring this Oxford phenomenon further, the Rev’d Doctor made the journey with letters of introduction in hand, and his famous tenacity eventually brought him into the company of none other than Edward Bouverie Pusey and John Henry Newman themselves. The details of these meetings as recorded by Muhlenberg in his diary are fascinating, and I’m afraid require quotation at length:

June 26th, 1843. We breakfasted according to invitation with Mr. Newman, in the common room at Oriel College. Mr. N. talked a great deal, continually introducing new and indifferent topics, apparently with the view of preventing my introducing any. He was exceedingly polite, but did not seem altogether at ease. He was gracious as possible, but gave no encouragement to intimacy. He said nothing which could be repeated to his disadvantage, or which he might not have said to any one the most hostile to his sentiments. The simplicity of his manner did not strike me as altogether real. He is not transparent, yet seems to be artless. If he were an accomplished Jesuit (which God forbid I should say he is) his manner would be, I fancy, just what it is. I do not believe that he is in any secret understanding with Rome – but I have no doubt that he and his immediate friends and followers have more sympathy with the Romanists than with any class of the clergy in his own church. He made tea for us, put the butter on our plates before we sat down, and got up from the table several times to do little matters while we were at breakfast…

Sunday, Sept. 17. Heard Mr. Newman at St. Mary’s from Isaiah – ‘All things new.’ (Completely himself.)…Dined with him in the common room at Oriel…He asked questions about the American Church – said ‘that as so many of our clergymen came over from the Dissenters he thought they might be likely to go further, i.e., to Rome.’ He bade us good-by, very kindly. Welcomes the coming, speeds the parting guest. K. thinks I am too suspicious of Newman.[12]

I will leave it to the reader to decide whether Muhlenberg’s suspicions were confirmed. His impressions of Dr. Pusey, on the other hand, could not have been more different:

Called on Dr. Pusey at Christ Church College. He sent word by his servant woman that he was sick, but that he would see me. I hesitated at first, but went in – found him lying on his sofa, his room rather in confusion, filled with books, papers, etc…Thinking I had come on a begging expedition, Dr. P. said he feared I would find them so much oppressed by their own objects, that I could not do much, but I soon relieved him of his mistake. He then talked freely and very kindly. He dwelt upon the want of men – men of plain, good sense and warm hearts – to labor among the common people, for which they would be qualified without a university education. I told him that in America we felt the same want, and that some of our bishops would be glad to have provision made for ordaining men, as deacons, to advance no further in the ministry. He thought they would have to come to that in England. ‘Such men,’ he observed, ‘might be more useful in certain situations than better-educated men. They could enter more into the feelings of plain people, and use their plain language, often more expressive and affecting than our Latinized English both in conversation and preaching.’ He said he noticed a great increase of seriousness among the young men of the university, and on this and other subjects connected with the prospects of the church spoke as a devout man full of faith in God.

The comparison, needless to say, is instructive. The emphasis in Muhlenberg’s recollections of his conversation with Pusey on evangelizing the lower classes and generally lowering the raised nose of certain rarefied strands of Anglicanism resonates with a sentiment he would express twelve years later during another stay in England, while observing parish restoration projects, “There is certainly a great deal of zeal, all over England, in church restoration and decoration; a sign I would hope of a genuine revival of religion – but – but – the temple at Jerusalem was restored with surpassing grandeur, and was still being adorned, when it was about to be destroyed, not one stone to be left upon another. With all the good that is doing in the Church of England I can’t help fearing for her, so long as she is so little the poor man’s church…” Dr. Muhlenberg’s prophetic musing is worth pondering, not only for the Church of England but indeed for Anglicanism throughout the Global North and West.

Invigorated by his English perambulation, the Rev’d Doctor found that he was ready to enter a new season of ministry back home, having concluded “he had possibly done enough for education” and was considering the possibility of a church, “At this time, an ideal parish occupied his field of vision…” Muhlenberg became intent on establishing a “free church in the City of New York.” [13] This vision would become incarnate as the “Church of the Holy Communion,” a name chosen to emphasize “communion or fellowship in Christ, of which the sacrament is the divinely appointed bond.”[14] All his life, the Rev’d Doctor was grieved by divisions in the Church and looked to his own parish as an expression of the “Evangelical Catholicism” he hoped would become a unifying force across Protestant denominations. “Here let there be a sanctuary,” he proclaimed at the laying of the cornerstone on July 24, 1844, “consecrated especially to fellowship in Christ, and to the great ordinance of His love.”[15] In many ways the spiritual heir of St. John Chrysostom, Muhlenberg’s parish became a hub of liturgical beauty, evangelical preaching (“I was never so taken up with the chancel as to forget my great duty was in the pulpit,”[16] he once remarked), and intense concern for the poor. In particular, this compassion for the least of these blossomed into a variety of charities and initiatives.

The Sisterhood of the Holy Communion grew out of the parish, partially inspired by the development of Lutheran deaconesses. Per the Rev’d Doctor’s own careful guidelines, the sisterhood was to be “a community of Christian women, devoted to works of charity, as the service of their lives.”[17] The sisters’ activities would soon become the lifeblood of what would eventually develop into St. Luke’s Hospital (“No Sisters, no St Luke’s” became one of the Doctor’s mottos).

But Muhlenberg, as always, was not afraid to start small. During one summer of cholera in 1849, he was visiting some poor families and found one family essentially running a free summer school out of their home to help occupy the otherwise idle masses of impoverished children. Muhlenberg writes that he “proposed that they should take a day of recreation in the country. ‘We have no money for that,’ the mother replied. ‘You shall have the money.’” And thus was initiated the “Fresh Air provision” of the Church of the Holy Communion, essentially a scholarship for poor families to have country retreats. The overwhelmingly charitable spirit of the Church of the Holy Communion also gave rise in 1847 to the first “church Christmas-tree for poor children,” in which wealthier families in the parish provided gifts for poorer families and “in unloading the heavy boughs and distributing the fruit to the expectant, eager hands, feasted themselves upon the blessedness of giving as better than receiving.”[18]

St. Luke’s Hospital became a legal corporation in May 1850, but it was not until 1853 that the 57-year-old Muhlenberg (“abundant silvery hair” standing out “like the nimbus in some old saint’s picture” according to Sister Ayres) brought some friends, without explanation, to a plot of land at the corner of Fifty-fourth Street and Fifth Avenue, uncovered his head, and shocked them all by saying, “Now we will consecrate this place for St. Luke’s Hospital,” whereupon he offered a prayer that would not be answered for many years.

The hospital started with three patients, but the Sisterhood of the Holy Communion only had their own dwelling in which to house them. So, they improvised with a “rear-tenement of an alley, very near their own dwelling.”[19] It would be five years later, on Ascension Day 1858, before the sisters could move the patients under their care (nine in total) into the newly constructed hospital on the land where Dr. Muhlenberg had offered his prayer. St. Luke’s Hospital was given the motto Corpus Sanare Animam Salvare, “To heal the body, to save the soul.”[20]

All his life, the only money Dr. Muhlenberg possessed seems to have been immediately earmarked for the care of others. Truly, he was a priest in the kingdom of God, an intermediary of the Lord’s grace. When St. Luke’s Hospital began in earnest in 1858, he could think of no better home for himself than within its walls. He allowed an assistant pastor to attend to his parish for some time but eventually resigned from Church of the Holy Communion so that he could minister full-time at St. Luke’s. The Good Doctor called St. Luke’s a “Hospital Church” and clearly thought of himself as its Rector. Indeed, before the patients’ wards even became serviceable, the central hospital chapel was opened to the public for weekly worship, and the architectural design of the hospital was such that the chapel became its heart. The Rev’d Doctor’s preaching would echo down the wards from the pulpit, which he called the “long drawn aisles” of his cathedral. And while St. Luke’s was a thoroughly Anglican institution, Muhlenberg never had much time for the pettiness of church divisions. On one occasion, a sister came running into his room to inform him that a Methodist minister was praying aloud in one of the wards, to which the Good Doctor replied, “Indeed! Make haste back, my dear Sister, and stop the prayer before it gets to heaven.”[21]

Dr. Muhlenberg seems to have clearly understood the hospital to be his final resting place. It was his retirement plan. As time brought him into the winter of his earthly life, he became a ubiquitous, tottering, holy presence in the halls of the hospital. The anecdotes that Sister Ayres records of this time seem almost reminiscent of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Following a common monastic trope, the Rev’d Doctor began to encounter constant visitors within his ambulatory hermitage. Mothers would bring their children for blessings, a request he was happy to oblige, but when the conversation turned to his sanctity, “…he would, at once, interrupt them, very commonly by joining his hands with theirs and proposing to say the Lord’s Prayer together.”[22] On another occasion, a mother boasted that her children had been blessed by the Pope and an Emperor (?), and when she offered them for the Doctor’s blessing, he humbly declined, “Excuse me, madam. I possess no such power,” making holy use of paradox for didactic purposes in a manner common among saints and their Lord. Muhlenberg’s accessibility to the public of course made him vulnerable to abuse. A poor young man he had taken in his employ as an act of charity was found to have stolen one of the Doctor’s watches in his absence. Upon discovering the theft, Muhlenberg is reported to have put on a common pair of iron-rimmed glasses, smile, and remark, “Well! now I haven’t another earthly thing to take care of.” He knew where his treasure was. There also was his heart.

The Rev’d Doctor’s final foray into relief for the poor involved a project called “St. Johnland.” At the age of seventy, having developed church schools and a church hospital, Muhlenberg endeavored to build a Church Village. The concept took hold of him through “his daily observation, as a clergyman and philanthropist, of the sore disadvantages of the city poor, in their tenement-house abodes.” It was essentially meant to be a Christian community that offered affordable housing and means of employment to poor families of the city and, notably, “to elevate family life among the poor.” Again, as with St. Luke’s, this holy passion was birthed in prayer. One April day in 1867, Dr. Muhlenberg and some friends interested in the project were standing on a hill that overlooked the proposed settlement. The Rev’d Doctor looked out and prayed, “Ten years more, oh! my Father, if it please thee to set forward this work, and then…” He became silent and gazed into heaven. As Sister Ayres notes, “Precisely ten years, to a month, and his mortal remains were laid beneath the sod on the summit of the knoll where he was then standing.”[23]

St. Johnland began with a church. The Church of the Testimony was dedicated on October 8, 1870, as the cornerstone of the village and immediately began holding regular worship. As he grew older, the Doctor could not attend to the affairs of the project as he had others in the past, but his passion never waned. Once at the hospital, a widow nearing death asked to see her children, aged four and six. Following her death, Muhlenberg gathered the children in his arms and said, “You shall go to St. Johnland, my dear children!” To all he encountered, he was a father.

In 1877, at the age of eighty, William Augustus Muhlenberg became a patient in the hospital he had built. He was attended by the Sisterhood he had organized. The Doctor received his last communion from Bishop John Barrett Kerfoot, who as a boy had received his first communion from Muhlenberg. On Good Friday, as his condition worsened, he heard from St. John’s gospel of the raising of Lazarus. Upon hearing the words, “Whoso liveth and believeth in Me shall never die,” he responded, “Yes, those are glorious words. Those are my death words. This is the happiest day of my life.” His final utterance from his mortal frame was “Good morning.”

He was found at his death to be in possession of forty dollars. Not enough to cover his burial. Another worldly failure now arrayed in heavenly splendor. If it please you, Lord, grant us your servant William’s prayers. Amen.

Notes:

  1. Ayres, Anne. The Life and Work of William Augustus Muhlenberg. Harper & Brothers: 1881, p. 189.
  2. Ibid., p. 238.
  3. Ibid., p. 17.
  4. Ibid., p. 80.
  5. Ibid., p. 101.
  6. Ibid., pp. 205-206.
  7. Ibid., p. 89.
  8. Ibid., p. 74.
  9. Ibid., p. 71.
  10. Ibid., pp. 92-93.
  11. Ibid., pp. 160-161.
  12. Ibid., pp. 165-167.
  13. Ibid., p. 175.
  14. Ibid., p. 177.
  15. Ibid.
  16. Ibid., p. 198.
  17. Ibid., p. 253.
  18. Ibid., p. 211.
  19. Ibid., p. 259.
  20. St. Luke’s Hospital continues today as Mount Sinai Morningside.
  21. Ibid., p. 318.
  22. Ibid., p. 468.
  23. Ibid., p. 409.

 


Daniel Logan

Daniel lives in Birmingham, AL, with his wife, Laura, and their three children.


'The Indefatigable Dr Muhlenberg: An American Saint' have 7 comments

  1. October 25, 2022 @ 8:35 am Sudduth Rea Cummings

    Thank you for sharing about one of my clergy heroes! While a student at GTS in the last century I was eager to attend a Sunday service there before the diocese of New York foolishly closed it and sold it. Last I heard it was now a night club–a tragedy for the larger church.

    Reply

  2. October 27, 2022 @ 12:31 pm Kurt Hein

    Wonderful essay. I wrote a paper on his father Henrich in seminary, who was also an incredible and holy man. The apple did not fall far from the tree.

    Reply

  3. October 27, 2022 @ 5:57 pm Sudduth Rea Cummings

    Do you know where he is buried?

    Reply

    • October 31, 2022 @ 2:19 pm Daniel Logan

      Dear Fr Cummings,

      Thank you for reading. Dr. Muhlenberg was buried in St Johnland Cemetery there in Kings Park, NY. His grave is marked by a tremendous monument to the Savior he faithfully proclaimed. As Sister Ayres records on p. 510,

      “The ‘monument,’ of dark polished Aberdeen granite, is composed of a solid but gracefully proportioned cross upon a handsome massive cube, heavily capped; the whole standing ten and a half feet high, with a foundation six feet in depth. It is placed at the head of the grave, and indestructible and immovable, so guards the sacred spot. At the intersection of the arms of the cross, one on each side, are the ancient monograms of the ‘Alpha and Omega’ and ‘Jesus Hominum Salvator.’ Dr. Muhlenberg had left in writing: ‘If I have a tomb-stone, I want these words on it – ‘I know whom I have believed,” and therefore on the west front of the cube those words are engraven.”

      God bless you – DL+

      Reply

      • November 5, 2022 @ 2:43 pm Sudduth Rea Cummings

        Thank you for the descriptions of his burial monument–it reflects the man! I am just disappointed that I never knew about it or saw it while I was a student at GTS. There should be a pilgrimage to his grave every year on the date of his death.

        Reply


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