Hauge Institute

The Vision

 The vision behind Hans Nielsen Hauge's versatile activity was based on the calling God had given him through the spiritual experience in 1796.  In a newspaper article in 1802 Hauge formulated it this way:

My calling is to love God and my fellowmen.

This was the vision for all his work in a nutshell.  Preaching, working and production were all a part of serving man, the community, and God's kingdom on earth.  Riches and other excess funds were simply gifts from God, which one should use to serve one's fellowen and the community.  One was not supposed to use profit for personal aims such as luxury and excesses, but to reinvest in promising projects to create work, and so contribute to others' remunerative work and a possibility for them to improve their lives and those of their nearest and dearest.  A Christian should not consider himself above business transactions, quite the opposite, he should engage in it with enthusiasm when the opportunity presented itself because in this manner, he could set a good example for his fellowmen.  Everything one owned, both capital and other material goods, should be kept in stewardship for the good of one's fellowmen and the community.


At a time when the middle classes were fighting desperately to hang on to their privileges for their own benefit, this was a completely new thought.  Instead of working for one's own personal gain by deliberately suppressing the weakest in the community, that is to say, the poor and the unemployed, Hauge and his Friends drew them in as partners in the creative process; they then received their due reward and a share of the profits.

The driving force, the inspiration and guidance were, for Hauge, to be found in a single book: the Bible.  He always had the Bible with him in a bag or in his pocket, and during free moments he would bring it out to read, study and feel renewed.  He lived with it in all phases of his life.  The word of God inspired and guided him, but he was sometimes challenged about that which he taught when he came upon questions and complications which could not be answered by his simple catechism.  In these instances, he had to struggle alone, and had no-one but God and the Bible to lean on.  He spoke of his doubts and scruples in this manner:

The Driving Force

I conversed with the Lord concerning the matters I was struggling with, both about the fundament of God's word and how I was to make His name known for the purpose of bringing the people to repentance. Then it was that He clearly spoke to me in the Spirit providing me with the right answer. Thus it was when I picked up the Bible, it would often fall open upon the page which provided the answer to my very question, or upon that page which worked to my edification and guidance.

Hauge possessed great biblical knowledge.  In his letters and writings, one finds innumerable references to verses from the Bible; as an example, his book, "The Christian Doctrine" of the year 1800 contains 1340 such references!  Hauge had read much in the Bible and studied it thoroughly, but he was still surprised by his own knowledge of the Bible.  He observed that when he penned his first writings, many Bible verses came to his mind, which he himself was not aware that he had learned, and other deeper thoughts came to him, whence he knew not.  He mentioned his childhood as a possible source for this knowledge.


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