Levi Jung Biography
Levi Young lived in Northampton County, just north of Allentown. He was the son of David and Barbara Jung and the grandson of Peter and Susanna Jung. The census of 1850 shows that he was the oldest of five children. His siblings were Susanna, Elizabeth, Samuel, and Jonathan. On October 12, he celebrated his 22nd birthday.
I know little of Levi’s life before 1863 and almost nothing of it afterward. For most of 1863, Levi was working as a laborer on the farm of Stephen Trumbauer. This particular year is notable since the Civil War was raging in America. Levi scarcely noticed. At a couple of points, the war intruded into his life. His neighbor, William Beaver, was killed at Gettysburg and Levi himself was required to report for induction at Easton. Levi did not serve because he was able to raise the $300 fine that allowed him to be excused. What Levi remembered most was his trip to Canada. In November and December, Levi joined Eusebius Hershey and, for a time, Jonas Schultz, in a mission there.
Levi’s association with the Evangelical Mennonites came through his contact with Eusebius Hershey. It might be more correct to say that Levi came under his spell. He bought Hershey’s books in bulk to give away and listened to his preaching and took the opportunity to go to Canada with him.
March 19, 1962, was the day Young met Hershey. Eusebius Hershey had come to hold meetings in the house of Charles Gehman near Coopersburg. It seems that a group of young people had gathered to listen to Hershey. It may be then that Levi “found Jesus precious to his soul.” John Yoder, whose testimony is included in these pages, was certainly awakened in this series of meetings.
Levi attended the semi-annual conference of the Evangelical Mennonites which met at the meeting house on the Vera Cruz Road near Zionsville in June of 1863. The conference was full of Hershey’s desire to preach the gospel.
The Chairman (Hershey) laid upon the hearts of every servant the urgent need at the present time for more traveling preachers, and that God would expect more from our small society since we have a reason to believe that souls are being lost, which otherwise could be saved with the help of God and more willing itinerant preachers.
Brother Hershey gave a warm invitation to the brethren, suggesting that if anyone present felt himself compelled by God’s Spirit to do God’s work as a traveling preacher (because it is not man’s work) he should make himself known….
At the request of the Conference, Brother Hershey gave a short report about his mission work in Pennsylvania, New York State, Ohio and Canada since the last Conference. He was thanking God for the many blessings he had experienced and he expressed his appreciation toward the brethren and sisters for the many signs of love they have shown for him. Thereafter the Conference joined in praising God for such blessings. It was agreed that Brother Hershey, with God’s help, should continue in this work. (Verhandlungen 1859-1895 – pages 32-33).
Levi attended the next conference of the Evangelical Mennonites held in the Flatland Meeting House in Haycock Township in November, 1863. Again, Hershey reported. “Because Brother Hershey had received a call from Canada to serve there for at least one year as a missionary with the approval of the Canada Conference, permission was granted” (Verhandlungen – page 36). That night, Hershey approached Levi about traveling to Canada. Levi thought that Hershey must have been led by God’s Spirit to approach him. Later that month, he consented and on November 10,1863, he left to join Hershey in Canada.
After their return from Canada, Hershey and his companion reported to the conference held in June of 1864.
Brother Hershey gave a short but satisfying report about his six months of mission work in Canada, which included a report from Brother Levi Jung, who accompanied him. He reported about his income as well as his expenses. He also spoke about how God made their preaching effective, although he and his helper were only weak servants and that some souls were converted to God. Sometimes they had open air meetings where they proclaimed the word of the cross. Sometimes they had to endure abuse and insult, but to God be the glory. Brother Hershey intends in accord with his promise to go for the six more months to do mission work in Canada, to proclaim the word of salvation and give out the Bread of Life (Verhandlungen – page 37).
Later that year, Levi returned to the conference. He presented himself for ministry there and was accepted.
At the desire of Brother Levi Jung, who traveled with Brother Hershey for some time in Canada preaching the Gospel, he was asked by the Chairman to tell the assembly of his extraordinary calling by God to continue in this work. After examination of this matter and sympathetic discussion, consent was granted to have him ordained to be a servant of the Word of God.
Resolved: That Brother Levi Jung be licensed to visit families and to preach the Gospel wherever opportunity is given. It is our prayer that God will enable him to perform this ministry with success (Verhandlungen – page 39).
His time with the Evangelical Mennonites was short lived. On June 7,1865, the conference received word of his withdrawal from them.
Whereas Brother Levi Jung in former times was among us as servant of the Word but now has withdrawn from our Conference, therefore Resolved: That we wish him well physically and spiritually and advise him not to forget that the apostle says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We ask our brothers and sisters to treat him in a brother way if he desires to visit with us. We should not refuse if he desires to hold a meeting among us with the condition that our brethren too can participate in the worship service (Verhandlungen – page 42).
Levi had become aware of the ministry of John Holdeman of Ohio who had like other Mennonites been stirred by revival. After a great turmoil, he withdrew from the Evangelical Mennonites to join the Holdeman Mennonites . His parting from them seems to have been without rancor but his brothers in the Evangelical Mennonites expressed concern for him.
Levi’s spiritual sensitivity continued as he pursued his ministry of preaching and sharing the gospel. He traveled back to Pennsylvania to visit his biological family as well as his Christian family.
Levi’s later diary entries reveal his sickness and impending sense of his death. He died on August 14, 1868, just short of his 27th birthday. His obituary records that he died of a depression (Gemüthskrankheit). He was buried in the cemetery of the Saucon Meeting House in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania.
For a more complete biography, see Revival in a Young Man’s Life.