Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BERG, Joseph Frederick, clergyman, born at Grace Hill, in the island of Antigua, in 1812 ; died in New Brunswick, New Jersey. 20 July 1871. His father was a Moravian missionary, and his early education was obtained in the Moravian schools in England. In 1825 he came to the United States and continued his studies in the Moravian school at Nazareth, Pennsylvania, where he remained a few years as professor of chemistry. In 1835 he was ordained by the synod of the German Reformed Church, in 1837 licensed to preach, and became pastor of the Race street German Reformed Church in Philadelphia, which relation he continued until 1852, when he became pastor of the second Reformed Dutch Church in that city. He was elected in 1861 by the general synod of the Reformed Church professor of didactic and polemic theology in the seminary at New Brunswick, which chair he held until his death. In the early part of his ministry he preached wholly without notes, and as many as two hundred persons have applied for membership in his Church at one time. A challenge was once given the clergy of the city of Philadelphia by George Barker, a noted infidel debater and orator, to discuss the inspiration and authenticity of the scriptures. Two able clergymen had already been defeated in the debate, when Dr. Berg entered the lists. In the discussion, so completely was Barker defeated that he gave up the contest, and, as a result of Dr. Berg's reasoning, shortly after was converted, and became an active advocate of the faith he had so long labored to destroy. Dr. Berg published "Lectures on Romanism" (1840) ; "Synopsis of the Theology of Peter Dens," translated from the Latin with notes (1840); "Papal Rome" (1841) ; anonymous pamphlets: "A Voice from Rome"; "History of the Holy Robe of Treves"; "Oral Controversy with a Catholic Priest" (1843) ; "Rome's Policy toward the Bible" (1844) ; "The Pope and the Presbyterians" (1844) ; "Old Paths; or, a Sketch of the Order and Discipline of the Reformed Church before the Reformation" (Philadelphia, 1845) ; "Plea for the Divine Law against Murder" (1846); "Mysteries of the Inquisition and other Secret Societies," translated from the French (1846) ; "Reply to Archbishop Hughes on the Doctrines of Protestantism" (1850) ; "Expos6 of the Jesuits" ; "The Inquisition" ; "Church and State; or, Romish Influence," a prize essay; "Farewell Words to the German Reformed Church," and a vindication of the same in reply to J. W. Nevin (1852); "Prophecy and the Times" (1856) ; "The Stone and the Image" (1856) ; "Demons and Guardian Angels," being a refutation of spiritualism (1856) ; "The Olive-Branch ; or, White-Oak Farm," a conservative view of slavery, a novel (1857); and translations of Van Horn's German tales, "Europe and America in Prophecy" (1858).*His only son, Herman Casper, a clergyman of the Reformed Church, who was graduated at Rutgers in 1866, was in charge of a congregation at College Point, New York, in 1886.
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