Life work of Louis Harms
His Funeral Sermon
Think of the words of St. Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain;” and can we not apply these words to this sleeping disciple of the Lord? Oh, are they not the greatest that one can testify of himself, the highest and most glorious that he can attain, the most acceptable offering one can bring the Lord? Souls which His love has redeemed, renewed hearts, which shall live because of their love for Jesus is his glory in eternity.
Did not our sleeping brother belong to these? What was it that made his teaching so earnest, his words so convincing, that breathed through his zeal, animated his prayers, made his exhortations so effectual—what was it other than that Christ was his life?
Why was it that his heart was the heart of the congregation, as to the faithful mother the home is her heart; that he had sympathy for every member of the community, turned not away from the erring, but held out a helping hand to the weak and fallen, sought the sinner, gave the repentant advice and comfort, turned sinners from their way and delivered souls from death; why was it, except that Christ was his life?
Why was it that his life was so self-denying, that he found his highest joy in the service of God's kingdom, day after day, year after year, without recreation or rest, working for those in the distance, forgetting not those who were near and working for those who were near, forgetting not those in the distance, to Christian and heathen stretching out his helping hand, by his persevering spirit, his free-will offering to the holy mission work, founding the mission-house, yea, making of the Hermannsburg community a missionary society. Why was it save that Christ was his life?
Why was it that he never quailed before difficulties, feared no failure, counted not derision, opposition, nor condemnation, no anger of the poor world disturbing his serenity; but battling with the powers of darkness he kept onward; what was it save that Christ was his life?
And what, with many discouragements, arduous labors, difficulties, innumerable pains of the body, mighty in weakness, kept him faithful in the manifold branches of work until the breath left his body? Oh, to the praise of Him whose grace is sufficient, in whom the weak is made strong, it was that Christ lived in him.
Early was the heart of our brother given to Him, and early has the Lord taken him. When scarcely more than a youth he followed the Saviour with an earnest determination seldom seen, and even while candidate in Luneburg many were won to the Saviour through witnessing his belief. With his serene and mild glance he saw the innermost of one's heart. If they were candid with him, then could he give right counsel and help.
In his face was evidence of inward battles and pain through which he had passed, but over all was the light of peace, speaking in every tone and action. This it was which made him calm over trials which agitated others. Christ became more and more his life; in self-denial and renunciation, he crucified self, disclaiming all merit and self-praise, placing himself among the most unworthy of sinners.