Jonas Theodor Meyer
Rev. Jonas Theodor Meyer, was born in Crivitz, a small town in Mecklenberg, January 30, 1819, and died in New Jersey, March 14, 1896. His early Hebrew education he received from a Polish Jew in the Cheder, and then he was sent to relatives in Schwerin, where he studied in the Gymnasium, so that at the age of fifteen he was in the first class. As far as religion is concerned, he was taught to fear God, but he knew very little of the love of God, so that he only lived to appease the divine wrath by ascetic practices and good works. This did not satisfy his soul, and he resorted to worldly pleasures, but neither did he find satisfaction in them. At this juncture he met with the writings of R. S. Hirsch, the then leader of orthodoxy, and with those of mystic Plessner, which awakened him somewhat from his spiritual slumber. He then began to study the Scriptures, and trusted to God's grace and mercy for the pardon of his sins, yet he found no peace. Thereupon he came in contact with Dr. Holdheimer, the leader of the Reformed Jews, and by him was appointed teacher in Schwerin, in 1841, and subsequently recommended as Reformed rabbi to a congregation in Butzow. But the Reform movement at that time went to extremes. The rabbis denied the belief in the Messiah at a congress, from which Meyer dissented. He was placed in a predicament between the extremes of Orthodoxy and Reform, in neither of which he could observe vital religion, so he began to study the New Testament. At first only its sublime ethics attracted him, but by and by it was the Person and life of Christ which drew him by the Holy Spirit to Himself. Then he met the missionary Dr. Schwarz, and from him he heard the Gospel, and attended the lectures of Neander on Galatians, and those of Hengstenberg, on the history of the kingdom of God, on the Old Testament, and on its Christology, and was baptized by Dr. Schwarz, July 18, 1847. In 1848 he left the University of Berlin and went to Scotland, and studied theology at the College of the Free Church at Aberdeen. Afterwards he became assistant Professor of Hebrew to Dr. Duncan in New College, Edinburgh. In 1857 ne was ordained by Dr. Candish to do ministerial work among the Germans in Edinburgh. In 1858 he was sent as a missionary to the Jews in Galatz, Roumania, whence he was transferred in 1862 to Ancona, Italy. From there he was sent in 1867 to Amsterdam, to succeed Dr. Schwarz, who went to London. In 1871 he was requested by the English Presbyterians to take charge of their mission in London, in which he laboured ardently and successfully until his retirement in 1894.