Hans Nielsen Hauge

1771-1824. Norwegian lay preacher. A farmer's son, he was brought up in a pious Lutheran home, and in 1796 had a religious experience in which he felt called by God to exhort the people of Norway to repentance. He traveled throughout the country (1796-1804), usually on foot, preaching his message and gathering followers wherever he went. At the same time he started factories and other industrial enterprises. Itinerant preaching was not lawful, and his economic efforts were looked on with suspicion. Arrested ten times, he was in prison from 1804 to 1811. After a prolonged trial he was sentenced in 1814 to pay a fine for unlawful preaching and strong criticism of the clergy. Helped by friends, who came to be called “Haugeans,” he bought a farm near Oslo. During his last years relations with the authorities were friendly. Hauge wrote many books which had a large circulation. His preaching was pietistic inasmuch as it stressed personal holiness. Hauge is generally regarded as the initiator of the powerful Christian laymen's movement in Norway.