William Krause

The Life And Ministry Of William Krause

John E. Hazelton, Hold Fast:

The eight or nine volumes of sermons and lectures by William H. Krause, M.A. (1797-1852), of Dublin, published after his death, are most valuable. They are models of expository preaching and there is running through them a deep and rich vein of spiritual experience. Would that there were more such preaching to-day and that his books could be read and re-read. A somewhat extended reference to him and the sphere of his work must be given.

God’s ways are unsearchable: He takes up a useless worldling out of the mass of his fellow-sinners, arrests him in his course towards “the lion’s den,” and turns him suddenly into the footsteps of the flock. “It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps;” and, when the Lord has some great work to accomplish for His Church, He often employs means the least expected (Joshua 6:4).

About 150 years ago, there lived a rich and worldly woman who was extremely anxious to see Garrick perform before he retired from the stage, and she prevailed on her husband to take her to London for that purpose. They both went and saw the great actor. But during their visit, the wife was told there was another individual, followed as much as was Garrick, by a curious crowd every Sabbath—a man who set forth strange doctrines! an enthusiast! a new light! a wonderful man! So, attracted by everything new, the lady thought she would hear the one as well as the other—Romaine as well as Garrick; for the former it was whose preaching drew such numbers to hear him. She was caught in the Gospel net; the message of salvation reached her soul, and she became a now creature in Christ Jesus. Her husband had returned to Ireland, when such strange tidings of his wife reached him, that, thinking she had gone mad, he went to London to fetch her home; but the good news reached him also. At her request he went to hear Romaine, and the word came to him in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. They returned to Ireland, and the first act of the renewed man was to lay himself out for the Lord, and the Bethesda Episcopal Chapel was founded by him; it became the birthplace of many souls, and in it the candlestick of free grace shone brightly for years. During a hurricane in 1839, Bethesda was burnt down, but speedily rebuilt for Mr. Krause, who for thirteen years proclaimed the doctrines of sovereign grace from that favoured spot.

Mr. Krause, with an only sister, was brought by his parents, when a child, from St. Croix, in the West Indies, where he had been born. Grace appears to have been possessed by his father, mother, and grandmother, whose memory made a deep impression on his young mind. His mother died on their arrival in England, and William was placed at school, at Fulham and afterwards at Richmond. By choice he entered the army, and was at the Battle of Waterloo, in 1815, and then it was an intimacy was formed between himself and a brother officer, Captain Dyas—one of those links in the chain of Divine providence from which many spiritual blessings were to proceed. To this friend, in 1821, he went on a visit to Kildare in Ireland; he was then a well-educated, fashionable, worldly man, untainted, indeed, by anything of positive infidelity, but a stranger to real religion, and in total ignorance of the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel. Introduced at once into the society of believers sound in truth, it was a new scene to him.

The Lord made the doctrines of grace quick and powerful to his soul. A lady gave him a Bible with copious marginal references, and it became his constant study, so that he could say with the prophet, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” A serious illness at this period was another means of establishing him in the faith, and after his recovery a strong desire arose in his heart to enter the ministry; it was doubtless created by Him whose love now reigned within, but it lay there ungratified for a long period; fifteen years were to pass before it was accomplished, yet he waited patiently the Lord’s time; it was a preparatory period of wholesome training, so that when, in the providence of God, he commenced to preach, he did so as one fully equipped and thoroughly furnished for the work he had to do.

At this period he commenced a more regular plan of studying the Bible. He rose at six for two hours’ reading and prayer. In the middle of the day two hours more were similarly occupied. In the evening he took up other reading, such as Ambrose Serle’s “Church of God,” or Abraham Booth’s “Reign of Grace.”

Our best lessons are got by heart in the school of affliction, and there he was now to become a scholar, and to learn lessons from his Divine Teacher in a pathway of tribulation. In 1823 he had married Miss Ridgeway, a young lady of great grace, who in a year and a half after her happy marriage was called to join her Heavenly Bridegroom. During her illness of some months Mrs. Krause was kept in peace and often rejoicing. Just before her death she said, “Lord take me! Oh, take me! Come, Lord Jesus!” And her husband writes: “After this she remained with her eyes closed, breathing in the most easy manner, as if falling asleep. She then suddenly opened her eyes, and with a countenance expressive of joy, said hastily, ‘Call everybody.’ I asked her if she wished for anything. She repeated quickly, ‘Call everybody to me! Call all the house, that I may magnify the Lord.’ These were the last words she spoke.” Her death left a void which another never filled. Yet a blessing remained behind in the little daughter who survived her mother, and who was to become the future sunshine of his home, and at last soothe his dying pillow.

In 1824 he left Ireland, but no door was opened for his ordination, and he remained studying for some time at Wakefield. He had been appointed to the curacy of Elvington, but tells us, “My papers have been objected to in consequence of my having been so short a time in this diocese. Now is the time to look into the heart. Disappointments often give us the clearest knowledge of ourselves and our motives. What has been my chief end in this business? Have I been seeking the Lord’s glory or only myself? If the Lord’s glory, now is the time to glorify Him and to submit in thankfulness to His will.” Still waiting, he took the entire care of the schools established by Lord Farnham, for the children of his peasantry, at Farnham, County Cavan. It is said of him, “He was distinguished by a holy sobriety, a quiet cheerfulness, and evenness of temperament; the expressions of the peace that reigned within. Large and comprehensive in his apprehensions of divine truth, the doctrines of grace suffered no mutilation at his hand, nor did he shun with holy boldness to declare the whole council of God.”

Having graduated in the University of Dublin, he was at length ordained to the curacy of Cavan, in 1838. He preached his first sermon at Bethesda from 2 Cor. 4:1; he writes, “The Lord kept me from embarrassment in the pulpit, but I had been much tried previously. I hear of ‘man,’ ‘man’ continually and what the people wish and say; I find it hard to rise above all fear of public opinion. The Lord enable me to see nothing but the glory of Christ!” Thus, with lowly views of his own powers, which were of no common order, Mr. Krause entered upon his great work in Dublin. The doctrines he proclaimed were those of free grace, which from the first he had received, and to the last maintained. There was no withholding what he knew for expediency’s sake; no fear or shame of what are termed “high doctrines,” or of the danger of proclaiming them before the unconverted. He never, as it were, kept back part of the price, and therefore the Lord signally favoured His servant. He honoured the work of the Holy Ghost and never left it as if the sinner could “come to Jesus,” but set forth the Spirit’s work to draw and apply. Few laboured with greater diligence; an hour every Friday was given to the Orphan School; his evening class for young men was productive of much edification, also his class for the young. The Monday morning prayer- meetings were seasons of rich refreshment. One who attended them wrote: “Our beloved minister entered exactly at half-past ten o’clock; and, doubtless, many can recall the peaceful countenance and quiet step with which he made his way, through the generally-crowded entrance, to the little table set by the open folding door by which the two rooms communicated, the laying his watch upon the table, and the few moments of private prayer.”

In 1849 Mr. Krause became seriously ill, and his work was never after entirely renewed. It was then he said, “Bethesda can do without me, but Christ cannot.” Yet he was spared to his loving people for three years longer, and then the Lord called him to be present with Himself. His last two sermons were delivered on Sunday, February 22, 1852; the first from 2 Corinthians 3:18, the last from Galatians 5:25; and on his return home he observed to a friend, “I hope I am acquiring that lesson I find it so hard to learn, that I am nothing, and that Christ is all.” Before leaving the pulpit he appeared to have a presentiment of preaching there no more; he did not seem willing to close, and at last said, “May the Lord keep a Gospel view of this subject before our minds; may the Lord impress His Gospel more and more upon all our hearts to the glory of Christ’s name. Amen.” His illness lasted but two days, and his sufferings were of short duration; of them he said, “Oh, we must remember it is all of the Lord; it does not happen by chance; I am so restless, I can hardly think, but the Lord’s hand is not shortened.” Just after this, spasms of the heart came on; but before further aid could be procured he had fallen asleep in Jesus.

William Krause (1797-1852) was a High-Calvinist Anglican preacher. In 1840, he was appointed to the chaplaincy of Bethesda Chapel, Dublin, a position he held until his death twelve years later.

Born on the island of St. Croix, West Indies, Mr. Krause was brought to England at an early age, receiving education at schools in Fulham and Richmond. After joining the army at the age of eighteen, he was enlisted with the Fifty-First Infantry, and fought against the Napoleonic forces at Waterloo in 1815. At the age of twenty-six, he visited Annefield, Ireland, to attend the wedding of his friend, Captain Joseph Dyas. It was through the eldest sister (Angelina Ridgeway) of Mr. Dyas’ fiancé that Mr. Krause was led to a saving knowledge of Christ. One year later they were married, she giving birth to Eliza in 1823. Ten months later, in September 1824, Angelina died of consumption, leaving a widowed husband and motherless child. Mr. Krause never remarried, but went on to earn a master’s degree in 1838 from Trinity College, Dublin. He ministered for two years as chaplain of Cavan, then eleven years as pastor of Bethesda Chapel, Dublin. On February 27, 1852, Mr. Krause died at the age of fifty-five. His only daughter, Eliza, thereafter married an Anglican preacher named William James Pollock. Together they had a son named William Henry Krause Pollock, who would become a world-famous chess master (1884-1896).