Bruin, Willem (1759-1826)

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Willem Bruin (born 1759 at de Rijp, died 22 October 1826 at Westzaan) was pastor of the Mennonite church at Kolhorn, Wieringen, and Westzaan (op het Noord), all in the Dutch province of North Holland. He was one of the lay preachers who distinguished themselves by unusual capability in the ministry and in writing. Deprived of his parents in early childhood, and entirely without means, he grew up in the orphanage of his home town de Rijp in North Holland. In spite of his extraordinary talents, evident in his schoolwork, he was taught the carpenter's and mill-builder's trade, in which he did competent work. In his youth he applied himself to religious studies, stimulated by de Groot's book, Over de Waarheid van den christlijken Godsdienst (On the Truth of the Christian Religion). At the age of 22 he was baptized.

His pastor P. Hartman recognized his great gifts and his interest in religious questions, and suggested that he become a preacher. But there was no fund to finance his training; so Bruin devoted all his spare time to studying alone and with his pastor. After six months he preached his first sermon in the vacant pulpit of the church at Kolhorn and Barsingerhorn (1783) and was called to serve there as preacher after passing an examination conducted by the preachers Jan ten Kate and Sybrand Martens and being declared capable of the service. In 1784 he became a minister on the island of Wieringen and in 1786 in Westzaan, where he served with great blessing over 40 years (1786-1826).

The following titles are evidence of his literary work: Het lot der menschen na hunnen dood (Haarlem, 1793); De levensgeschiedenis van Jezus . . . (1794); Gemeenzame Beschouwingen over den Godsdienst (Amsterdam, 1795); Godsdienstige en wijsgeerige beschouwingen van de jongste Staatsomwentelingen in Europa (Amsterdam, 1799); Proeve over de wijsheid van God in het ontwerp der Evangelische Bedeeling (Amsterdam, 1810). For his paper, "Kan men met grond beweren, dat de menschen immer alleen door middel van hunne menschelijke rede of redekavelingen . . . tot de regte denkbeelden van Godlijke zaken zouden hebben kunnen komen?" (1796), he received the silver medal of the Teyler Theological Society at Haarlem. Besides all this he published a novel and some historical studies.


Doopsgezind Jaarboekje (1837): 114-125.

Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 286.

Author(s) Christian Neff
Nanne van der Zijpp
Date Published 1953

Cite This Article

MLA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. "Bruin, Willem (1759-1826)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1953. Web. 5 Dec 2023.,_Willem_(1759-1826)&oldid=144892.

APA style

Neff, Christian and Nanne van der Zijpp. (1953). Bruin, Willem (1759-1826). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 5 December 2023, from,_Willem_(1759-1826)&oldid=144892.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 1, pp. 450-451. All rights reserved.

©1996-2023 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.