Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771-1824)

On a bright day in April, 1796, Hans Nielsen Hauge was plowing on his father’s farm, singing at the same time a hymn in praise of Christ. He had just finished the second verse—“Strengthen me within that I may learn the Spirit’s power. Make me Thy prisoner in word and thought”—when he felt such an uplifting to God that he was hardly longer conscious. He left the plow and, going home, climbed to the loft where he was accustomed to sleep and lay down on his bed. “Nothing in the world seemed longer worthy of interest. There was a glory which no tongue could express. My soul felt something divine and blessed.” It was the heavenly visitation to which John Masefield has given classic expression in his “Everlasting Mercy.” With sorrow over sin he was filled with desire that men should be one with him in this grace. “I heard the Lord’s voice saying, ‘Whom shall I send to invite to my great communion feast, calling them from east and west, from north and south?’ I replied, ‘Send me,’ for my heart was burdened with love for all men.”

This was his call. Henceforth he felt an overwhelming impulse to talk with men about their soul’s salvation. His nights were spent in Bible study. “I must speak His Word since I am driven thereto so that I have no rest in my spirit.”

He began to preach in farm houses and was treated with such scorn that he longed even to die if he could but escape the burden of his mission. When his parents doubted whether a peasant’s son could preach, he would say, “Well, unlearned fishermen did it for Christ, and if a farmer may not fish as well as they, he can at any rate sow the seed of the kingdom.”

Yet he himself was not altogether satisfied with this answer, so unheard of a thing was it then for a plain, unordained man to presume to evangelize. Fortunately there fell into his hands a book that convinced him of the validity of his call and from that time he passed through Norway crying with assurance, “Earth, earth, hear the Word of the Lord.” It was an old Danish translation of Johannes Tauler’s life. “This book,” said he, “taught me to draw out of the depths of the spring that spiritual water by which the heart is purified.” But it also gave him confidence in the mission of laymen in the kingdom of God, for it was through the teachings of the Waldensian layman, Nicholas of Basel, that the learned Strassburg theologian had come into the power so that “a single sermon thereafter bore more fruit than a hundred heretofore.”

This excerpt is taken from . . .
Evangelical Saints: 47 Biographical Sketches
by Ernest Gordon
Copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
Published by LITS Books
Available in paperback and Kindle, 250 pages
Order from Amazon. com

Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.