Falckner, Justus, from his interest as the first Lutheran clergyman ordained in America, demands a somewhat fuller notice than would otherwise be given.
He was fourth son of Daniel Falckner, Lutheran pastor at Langenreinsdorf, Crimmitschau, Zwickau, Saxony, and was born there, Nov. 22, 1672. He entered the University of Halle, Jan. 20, 1693, as a student of theology under A. H. Francke; but on completing his course felt the responsibility of the ministerial office in the German Church of that time too great for him to undertake. Along with his elder brother Daniel, who had shortly before returned from America, we find Justus accepting at Rotterdam, April 23, 1700, a power of attorney for the sale of Penn's lands in Pennsylvania. In 1701 ten thousand acres of Penn's lands were sold to Provost Andreas Rudman and other Swedes residing on the Manatawny. By intercourse with Rudman or otherwise Justus was led to reconsider his views on the ministry, and was on Nov. 24, 1703, ordained in the Swedish Church of Wicacoa, Philadelphia, by Rudman, T. E. Björck, and Anders Sandel, all Swedish Pastors. His first charge was the pastoral oversight of the Dutch settlers on the Manatawny, near New Hannover; but shortly afterwards he was sent by Rudman to take his place as pastor of the Lutheran Congregations at New York and Albany. There he proved himself an earnest, faithful and diligent worker, ministering also as occasion permitted, until their organization became consolidated, to three congregations in New Jersey (on the Hackensack, in Bergen County, and on the Raritan) and two in the State of New York (Loonenburg and Neuburg). In 1723 the pastorate at New York became vacant either by the death or removal of Falckner. Michael Knoll, who became pastor at New York in 1732, states that Falckner died in 1723. The entries in Church registers which have been held to prove that when he felt the weight of years he retired to New Jersey as a smaller and easier field of labour, seem to he signed by a Daniel Falckner — whether brother, nephew, or son does not appear (manuscripts, &c, from Pastor Ko'hler, Langenreinsdorf; from Dr. B. M. Schmucker, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, &c. Details from these sources are given more fully in the Blatter fur Hymnologie, 1885, pp. 3-6).
To his Catechism, the first known publication by a Lutheran minister in America (written in Dutch and published at New York, 1708, as Grondlyche Onderricht, &c), three hymns are appended which seem to be translations from the German. The only hymn by Falckner translate into English is:—
Auf! ihr Christen, Christi Glieder. [Christian Warfare.] It seems to have been written while he was a student at Halle, and appears in the Geistreiches Gesang-Buch, Halle, 1697, p. 430, in 11 stanzas of 6 lines, entitled " Encouragement to conflict in the spiritual warfare." It is a vigorous and stirring hymn, and after its reception into Freylinghausen's Gesang-Buch, 1704, came into extended use, and is still found in many collections as in the Unverfälschter Liedersegen 1851. The only translation in common use is:—
Rise, ye children of salvation, omitting stanza 4 in Mrs. Bevan's Songs of Eternal Life , 1858, p, 10. Three centos have come into use—the translations of stanzas 1, 3, 9 in Dr. Pagenstecher's Collection, 1864; of stanzas 1, 5, 9, 11 in the English Presbyterian Psalms & Hymns, 1867, and the Temple Hymn Book, 1867; and of stanzas 1, 5, 11 in Laudes Domini, N. Y., 1884.
Another translation is: "If our all on Him we venture," a translation of stanza iii. as stanza ii. of No. 1064 in the Supplement of 1808 to the Moravian Hymn Book, 1801 (1886, No. 509). [Rev. James Mearns, M.A.]
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)