The full tract is below.
Note: For another tract by Dallmann and a brief introduction to this new series, "Tracts of the old Missouri Synod," click here.
Below is his address to the 1917 Synodical Convention. The convention was held June 20-29 in Milwaukee. You can find the Proceedings of the 1917 Convention here. Pfotenhauer's address was given in German, but the English translation is given below.
Though given a little over a hundred years ago, the address is incredibly timely for our current situation--pestilence, wars and rumors of wars, the anniversary of the Reformation, the temptations of unionism and laxity.
Pfotenhauer understood the dangers surrounding the Synod and directed the Christian men who were at the convention to cling to the treasure of the Gospel which they had received from the mercies of Christ.
Alas, it cannot be denied that in some respects we are not as our fathers were, that there has been a let-up in confessional definiteness and earnestness, in the love to God’s Word, in indoctrination, in the thorough instruction of the youth in the Catechism, and in the life of godliness. Oh, that we, as a synod might remain faithful and hold fast that which we have! Against us are the devil, the world, and our own evil flesh, as also the history of the Church, which shows that the Gospel did not continue in any one place for more than a few generations. For us are the mercy and grace of God, through which He, without our merit or worthiness, desires to retain among us the treasures of the Reformation.
It is certainly worth reading in full:
Each essay reworks the treasures from the German speaking Missouri Synod in differing ways. Some summarize, some essays extensively quote, and others more extensively rework and synthesize previous essays. For each essay, I will try to provide some information about the author and give a brief review of the essay.
If we men presume to correct God's account of creation through inferences from the present condition of the world, we are indulging in unscientific conceit and pretense which does not become a Christian or any man for that matter. The disagreement between geologists concerning the age of the earth a man is so great that they can speak of the assured results of geology only if they completely give up the use of that small amount of reason which we still have after the Fall. Some are satisfied with a few hundred thousand years, other demand millions of years. Among these gentlemen a million of years is a mere trifle. They are very generous; a million more or less does not matter, but is that scientific?
R. Pieper, South. Distr., 1910, pp. 26, 27, claims that the waters beyond the firmament are nothing but the clouds...Some of the delegates of the Southern District did not agree with R. Pieper's views on the firmament. They did not think that the firmament was the atmosphere surrounding the earth, but the star-spangled vault of the sky, that the clouds were not the waters beyond, but rather under firmament. The waters beyond the firmament were, in their opinion, not fog or vapor, but water whose nature is unknown to us.
R. Pieper mentions especially the meadowlark and the nightingale. If a man has an ear for these voices, they sing into his heart the wisdom and goodness of his Creator, and admonish him to join them in the praises of the Creator, forgetting useless, heathenish cares and worries.
The Story of Our Church in America is a brief survey (33 pages) of the history of the Missouri Synod. While it is certainly not comprehensive, it offers a overview of the Missouri Synod's first 75 years. Of special note are the first three chapters which give a brief sketch of Lutheranism in North America before the founding of the Synod. Attention is given to the work of the Synod in education, publishing, and both home and foreign missions. The book has a wealth of pictures of the principle founders and leaders of the Synod as well as hand drawn maps that add a nice touch. Though originally published in 1922, the last chapter (of the version I have) includes an Addenda of supplementary material from 1932.
Thedore Graebner goes out of his way to thank a Mr. Bendix Taenzer of St. Louis, the artist of the maps. Graebner states that, "No such maps illustrating the history of American Lutheranism, and especially the work and development of our Synod, have ever been printed before." (The maps from the booklet are included as pictures below.) As a lover of maps myself, and a firm believer in their importance in teaching, I cannot help but echo Graebner's exhortation concerning their usefulness: "They deserve earnest study, and, once their meaning is well grasped, will deepen our realization of divine favors conferred upon our Church."