A captain’s wife from Purysburg showed me letters from her husband and son which said that General Oglethorpe had raised the siege of Fort Augustine and had marched back to Frederica, because the warship being used in the siege could not remain as near to the land on account of the hurricanes and stormy winds which are now to be feared. Mr. Oglethorpe is expecting more help from North Carolina, and in a few months a new siege will be undertaken. We have resolved to celebrate a solemn day of prayer and penitence this coming Friday in our congregation, in which we would seek the countenance of the Lord, asking Him to turn aside the well-deserved judgments for the sake of His dear Son, or indeed, to withhold them, so that all the unconverted will be given time and space for penitence and the saving of their souls.
Tuesday, the 29th of July. This afternoon we had a great wind storm with immense torrents of rain, thunder, and hail; and we thank the Lord for causing this cloudburst to pass without damage. It came up more or less unexpectedly and would have been detrimental to me if I had been riding on the plantations, as I had planned. As almost always happens, this great wind once more tore down various old and half-rotted garden fences; hence the people will have more work to keep their pigs from harming the field crops, especially the sweet potatoes. Large numbers of peaches were thrown down, also whole branches completely hung with fruit were torn off. Because, however, most of them are ripe and can still be used, the damage is bearable. May God mercifully avert all dangers from travelers who are wont to meet them on the sea or in places near the sea.
This year God has very richly blessed our two gardens by the old torn-down cottages with peaches of all kinds, with which we can give joy and refreshment to many adults and children. Other people to be sure have some, and they thank God for them; but this year the Lord has granted us a special advantage in this material blessing, just as He did a year ago. We did not notice in Germany whether the types of peaches were also as varied as they are here in our gardens. I believe we have over ten different kinds, all of which have a very pleasant, wholesome, and refreshing taste, but different in each fruit. Some kinds come loose from the pit and have various colors, others grow tight around the pit and are either all yellow or yellow and red, or all dark red. Some taste quite sweet, others tangy, others have a wine-like taste and pleasant sharpness, others seem to us to taste like the big plums in Germany and have externally a round, pretty appearance like apples. God be praised for this benefaction! Who could have imagined anything like it a few years ago when we were still in Old Ebenezer! We often compare the old and the present times.
Wednesday, the 30th of July. The carpenter Kogler is selling me his house for 2 ь because he has moved to the plantation. I renewed my offer of it to the Ortmann woman.22 Here she is sheltered from rain and all kinds of inclement weather, she has a sound sitting room and bed-room, and good kitchen and stalls, so that she can be content and thank God. She is still keeping her lot (and little garden with it), and can make every use of it. We could not build her a house there.
Yesterday we finished the story of 1 Samuel 28 and were able to take from it much material to prepare ourselves for our forthcoming day of prayer and penitence. Today I read something aloud from the splendid preface to the penitential sermons of the late Professor Francke on Ezekiel 22:30 for this purpose;23 and I forcefully repeated some points especially pertinent for us, as much as the short time allowed. It is a very edifying preface, and God has blessed it in me and, I hope, in others. Especially impressive to me were the following meditations: “What was Israel’s wall and rampart other than that they did not sin against their God, but walked in the paths and commands He had given them,” etc. (see Judith 5:15-23). As long as they remained obedient to God they had no need for any other earthly fortress, such as they first made for themselves when they did evil before the Lord, Judith 6:1-2. As much as they did evil thereafter and sinned against God, thus did they make breaches in their proper wall and rampart, and then no other rampart and fortress built of stone and mortar could help them. Thereafter God did not look at such ramparts and fortresses as those; rather He sought amongst them themselves for anyone making himself into a rampart, etc. Likewise, just as many who are doing this not for form’s sake but rather with true hearts (which, namely, is required according to God’s word), just that many God will find who make themselves into ramparts and stand before Him against the breach. No matter how insignificant one may consider oneself, no one may think that penitence, prayer, exhortations to one’s fellow-man, and righteous demeanor in the fear of God are judged insignificant. How great is such grace that God will recognize him whom He finds standing before Him to be a rampart and will protect not just him but also others, etc.
Thursday, the 31st of July. The new construction in the orphanage, which is quite indispensable for housekeeping, is finished, except for one door and the floor next to the threshing-floor, for which boards are being sawed. Because the Lord has showed the footsteps of His grace especially in this work and has quite unexpectedly granted us the wherewithal to pay the costs, we feel ourselves bound all the more to praise Him, along with the carpenters. In accordance with that, I assembled upon the threshing floor, high above the cattle and pig stalls, with everyone belonging to the orphanage. We fell together upon our knees before God’s countenance and glorified Him from simple hearts for every benefaction He has shown the orphanage till now, in general, and above all in this construction. To our astonishment the workers have shown themselves extremely diligent, they have worked together in the best harmony, and not one has suffered the least injury, although one came close to having a bad fall.
Because this construction has proceeded so rapidly and successfully, Kogler and Rottenberger are not a little strengthened in the hope that the Lord will also give His blessing to the upcoming construction of the mill. On this occasion I sought to give them new courage for a joyful assault on this project, from which the country and our congregation can hope for so much good. What our miraculous God took away from the orphanage a short time ago, through the fire, He has now richly returned. Prior to this the diligent people praying in the orphanage often had their retreat in the burned stalls to consort with God through contemplation and prayer. What they had to do without for a short time they now have again, all the more conveniently. For there are not only three stalls here, which can be divided according to circumstances by thick boards, but there are also two large storage bins on the threshing floor for storing crops, all of which will also be applied to spiritual profit by the eager souls in the orphanage. For to a Christian everything is clean, and every place is sanctified by prayer and God’s word.
Friday, the 1st of August. This day was celebrated by all of us as a day of prayer and penitence, with teaching, singing, and praying as another great holy day. My dear colleague had as a text on the plantations Jeremiah 14:7 to the beginning of the 8th verse: “O the hope of Israel, the savior thereof,” and we set here as a basis Psalm 91:14-16, which words our dear God especially caused to occur to me last Sunday, to His praise, when I remembered with my family His gracious and miraculous guidance. What can excite the sinner more powerfully to penitence and complete surrender of his heart to God than holding out the sweetest and most treasured promises of God! If He could just come thereby into everyone’s heart! The children recited publicly the 85th Psalm, which they had learned by heart. In the evening we came together with the congregation in the town for prayer and sang the powerful hymn: Mein Heyland nimmt die Sünder an, etc.
Before the morning divine service an Englishman came to me with a letter asking me to help him get to Old Ebenezer. He had been interpreter for the Indians in the camp with Mr. Oglethorpe and was supposed to bring them home and take some others back. He delayed, at my request, until after church, when a horse and guide were given him. He said that Mr. Oglethorpe was at Frederica with all his men, waiting for some regiments of soldiers from England, and that he intended to mount a new attack on St. Augustine in October. Because he had too few troops, he could not get to the fortress, because they fired their cannons so heavily from within. To be sure, bombs were thrown into the place, but the Spaniards are said to have taken measures so that they fell into the sand and did little damage. In the meantime, although little else has been accomplished, Mr. Oglethorpe now knows the whole region around St. Augustine, because of which he expects a big advantage in the future. He caused no damage to be done in the fields, gardens, and houses before St. Augustine, except what the Indians did, because he hoped to put everything to better use than letting it be consumed by fire. Mr. Oglethorpe is said to have endured more hardships than any of his soldiers; and, although he was always ailing because of the constant dampness above and below, he was always at the front in all important actions.
There are many lies and slanders being spread in the country by Carolinians, which cause him some unease, as do those persons lost inside a fort. A captain deserted in the night, taking with him seven out-posts to get away in the boat. Mr. Oglethorpe’s camp might have come into great danger from it. He is now said to be in North Carolina; and things may go ill for him there. All those recruited in Carolina and in this land have to serve till the siege of St. Augustine ends. This confirms what I said to those at our place who let themselves be enlisted, that I could not imagine their coming back home in four months unless St. Augustine were taken by this time. They are supposed to have endured severe sicknesses, as have the Indians who are now coming home and who were in a bad way and still are to some extent.
Saturday, the 2nd of August. This morning we sought out a suitable place in Abercorn Creek to build the water mill with God’s help. On Leitner’s plantation we found a very beautiful site, which Kogler takes to be the best on all the plantations, and where we can hope that the mill will operate most of the year, except in the spring when the waters in the Savannah River (and therefore here) are at their highest. The mill is quite well situated for the plantations, for Abercorn, and for every place from here to Savannah, because from Savannah to here one can ride in a middle-sized boat in six hours, if someone will tear down Parker’s1 collapsed sawmill and clear the trees from the creek.
From our town, however, it is somewhat out of the way, since we must constantly go against the current when we take the flour from the mill, both on the Savannah River and on Abercorn Creek. Nonetheless, we will pay no heed to any inconvenience, if only a mill can be built in our vicinity, for which there is now the best hope. I hope the Trustees will bear the costs, as Mr. Oglethorpe assured me, even giving me twelve pounds sterling for a start. Constructing waterways is difficult work and causes many costs which a congregation as poor as ours cannot bear alone. The most pressing need makes this construction urgent, for our dear members are very poor and cannot always buy white flour. They would not have to do so if they could make their fine Indian corn into flour on a proper mill. They have been able to benefit from hardly half of it on the hand mills. These hand mills, especially the stone ones (for the iron ones are quite broken-down and unusable), consume much time and energy and no one who has not seen it and experienced it can imagine how much. Therefore every householder wants to work two or three weeks gratis (where needed), if they can just come by a flour mill.
Because the most pressing need makes this construction urgent, because Mr. Oglethorpe has become very much involved and even presented twelve pounds, as mentioned, along with mill stones and iron work for it, and because we find in the congregation a common willingness to help with the construction, and also because we expect much advantage to our own and other places in this colony, I believe it would be a kind of faithlessness not to have followed this mark of divine love and not to have made arrangements for this construction, but rather to have waited until we had the money in hand that we needed for it.
There were various Salzburgers, carpenters, and others present here, with whom I presented to the all-wise, kind, and almighty God the important construction we had planned, in the name of Jesus Christ. I made for myself and for them, in humility and faith, especially good use of the “I will, I will,” from yesterday’s penitential text, as also the last words: “I will show him my salvation” (which words contain in themselves everything useful for soul and body, now and forever). Quite certainly in this 91st Psalm the pious workers have trust that the lord will command His angel above them to guard them on all their paths.
Sunday, the 3rd of August. Prior to the morning divine service Kieffer’s boat came back from Port Royal and brought our box along, for which we had been waiting so long and fervently. After the prayer meeting, which was held once more today in place of the repetition lesson because my dear colleague held divine services on the plantations, we unpacked the books, linen, and medicines in the boat, because the box was too heavy to bring up the steep hill from the water. As far as we could tell at the time, everything, with a couple of exceptions, was undamaged; and this aroused us all the more to glorify God who let this gift come to us over such a long journey through so many kinds of danger.
Today we contemplated the gospel for the 9th Sunday after Trinity, Luke 16, on the unrighteous steward and received from the mouth of Christ very necessary instruction on how we should proceed with the goods and gifts God has entrusted to us so that we may not be unrighteous but faithful and good stewards of God’s many gifts. No one can do this unless he first, like the publicans and sinners (see ch. 15) becomes a child of Christ through a true conversion and learns to practice the first lesson of Christianity, which is self-denial, through which man is guarded from squandering and misusing temporal gifts and from avarice. We praised God with one another in the prayer meeting for the benefactions received; and we asked Him to admit our benefactors into the eternal tabernacles to His eternal joy for the compassion they had shown the poor in our congregation and to reward their love in this life too.
Of the books sent here through Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen’s kindness (actually requested for the Palatines), consisting of a dozen song books and two dozen of Arndt’s True Christianity and twelve dozen New Testaments, not a single one was damaged; and the medicine in the little box is undamaged except that some of the polychrest pills have leaked out. We have already written of these books to Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen, saying that from the fine supply sent for our congregation here we shared New Testaments, a few books on True Christianity, catechisms, and other books with the Palatines and other German folk in Savannah who asked for them. We said that we would rather do it for the people who would apply this noble gift well, knowing that the purpose of the gift is reached by only a few. Concerning the twelve songbooks, however, we are considering giving them to some of those in our congregation and some of those who attend our divine services, because the people in Savannah cannot really use them, as they do not know even the best-known melodies.
We have received several of these Palatine women at our place who have married here. We hope that they will use the songbooks well, although those do not go far enough to supply everyone. God be praised for all these gifts, and may He help us to use them for His glory and our own salvation. God’s favorable hearing of our poor prayer is strengthening the faith of the pious amongst us mightily. He not only caused these things to come to us at a time noteworthy for us on account of the recent day of prayer and penitence and today’s gospel text, but also prevented spoilage and great damage. As the shipper in Port Royal reports, the box stood under a pouring rain for a whole day right in Charleston. How gladdened are the poor, who in their great lack are being so exceptionally revived by the seventy-seven pieces of linen and are being inspired to the praise of God and to heartfelt intercession.
With this same boat I received a letter from a Palatine in Frederica,2 informing his daughter and her husband, Simon Reiter, that he and his family were lying in bed so ill that one could not bring a glass of water to the other. Since being in Frederica, he said, he had been burned out twice, and in the last conflagration had lost all his things, not even saving one little book for reading his morning and evening blessings (as his expression is). Hence he asked me to help him find a good book. And because he is at liberty to pay his own passage by degrees, he is asking me to persuade General Oglethorpe to let him move to Ebenezer because he hopes to be able to earn his bread here as well as there. He longs for church and school.
Monday, the 4th of August. The N.N. woman lamented to me her poverty and need, hence she asked me to remember her family this time at the distribution of the linen; for otherwise she would not know where to get shirts for them. I told her what pleasure it would give me to let her family share in the gifts the Lord had caused to flow to us from near and far, if there were the least hope that by doing it the intended goal would be reached with them and that they would be awakened to the praise of God and heartfelt gratitude to God and men. But, I said, till now her demeanor towards God, His word, and His good order had been so bad it could hardly have been worse. For my part I had decided to hold back and store away the physical things from those who till now had disregarded the spiritual gifts and benefactions of God, until an improvement resulted.
She wept and said the evil and disobedience of her family were her greatest burden and were driving her to intense prayer. But she said that amidst much prayer and beseeching she had nonetheless a hidden hope in her heart that God would take pity on her children and draw one after the other to Himself, because, she said, her oldest son was already more compliant and obedient than he had been some time ago. On account of this hope, which she has for her true improvement and conversion, I do not wish to pass them by but rather give them their share. But I assured the mother, so very burdened by her children, that I would gladly take away from her not just a portion of the burden, but rather the entire burden of her children, if she desired it of me. I said that this was why the orphanage was there, but I knew how much her children feared the place.
We had both gone to have ourselves bled today. Hence nothing was preached from God’s word, as is usually done, in the evening prayer meeting, rather we made music in praise of the great and magnificent God, who manifested Himself so magnificently, mightily, wisely, mercifully, holy, and justly over the entire face of the earth. The song was Singt dem Herrn, nah und fern; and then we prayed and praised His magnificent name, as much for all His benefactions in the realm of nature and grace, as also for the gift of the seventy-seven pieces of linen which were received yesterday and divided up today. May everything please God, for the sake of Christ!
Tuesday, the 5th of August. Today, instead of holding divine services on the plantations as usual, we called the people, men, women, and children, into town to receive what God has caused to come into our hands. There were in all seventy-seven pieces of linen, and both adults and children have been able to get from them a fine portion, worthy of gratitude.
Contrary to our expectations, they were in town already before 1 o’clock in large numbers. After we gave the signal, they were in our chambers where church is held, and we sang aloud the song: Lobe den Herrn, den mächtigen König der Ehren, etc.; and, after we had invoked the dear Lord to bless our undertaking, I reminded the listeners of the weighty words of the apostle: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with gratitude,” etc. Because God had bestowed on us a benefaction of books and linen worthy of gratitude, we should handle them as Christians in order to sanctify them through God’s word and prayer. Therefore, as we have always done before the distribution, I wished to lay something on their hearts for their edification and to pray with them and thank God for the kindness He had shown us in this matter too.
In the sermon I referred to a certain circumstance in last Sunday’s gospel (Luke 16:1 ff.) which I had noted in Germany, to wit, that in some places a pauper sermon is preached on this gospel. Because the dear Lord, who is also a God of the poor, directs the hearts of pious ministers to be patrons and, as it were, advocates of the poor with the rich of this world, the poor have therein a sign that God does not forget them because of their labor and toilsome circumstances or abandon or reject them; rather He loves them, especially when they are His children. I said He finds their poverty salutary, He cares about them and will know how to create means to fill every need. Now our miraculous God had arranged, contrary to our expectations, for the chest with linen and books, which was sent two years ago tomorrow from Halle and has passed through many dangers, to arrive this past Sunday much better than anyone could expect, and just prior to the sermon on the gospel; we should not view this as mere chance. God finds the right time; what should come comes neither earlier nor later, but just as He in His wisdom determines for His glory and our salvation. Although no pauper sermon has been preached on this or any other text for our poor congregation in Halle or the surrounding area, I said the dear Lord has steered the hearts of well-to-do people to contribute so much that this large supply of linen could be purchased. Over and above that He had awakened pious patrons and friends in Germany and England, and especially the Trustees, and made them willing to deliver such a heavy chest hither -- and we still did not have to bear any costs.
For that reason all those in the congregation who are poor in spirit and body, who come into all kinds of distressful circumstances of mind and body, may conclude, as it were, that God does not forget them, that He does not treat them according to their sins, rather He loves our congregation, and especially the God-fearing ones, in an incomprehensible way, because He, as usual, bears such a clear witness of His love and paternal care by sending such a great quantity of books, linen, and medicines. In this lay our duty, I said: 1) to use these and other benefactions of the Lord as loving bonds, seizing hold of them and thereby causing ourselves to be drawn to Him. What He gives us in linen, books, and other gifts was not the grandest thing, rather he wanted to lure us and incite us by means of them to the magnificent treasures. Luke 15 says: “Bring forth the best robe,” etc. Psalm 45: “The king’s daughter is all glorious within,” etc., cf. Isaiah 61:10 and Revelations of St. John 19:7-9.
I said God would much rather give spiritual than physical goods, because His Son truly merited the former with His death of atonement. This is a comforting gospel to those who, in penitence, have overcome the inclinations of the flesh. But if anyone does not use these benefactions as a bond of love for coming nearer to God the highest good, for him they will turn into a noose, and it will finally go with him as it did with the unjust steward, or as it does with all children of this world.
2) Our duty also lies in the last verse of the gospel: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteous; that, when ye fail,” etc. Since the dear benefactors are showing themselves so friendly toward us through their gifts and are proving to be such good friends of the Ebenezer congregation, it is Christian and fair, I said, for our mind to incline them once more through God’s grace, in love, gratitude, and intercession. Who knows in what want, i.e., in what physical and spiritual need, danger, and lack so many benefactors and benefactresses in Germany find themselves or could fall into in the current times. For such a person our constant Christian intercession should prove useful. Our prayers should be especially directed towards saving their souls so that they may be received into the eternal tabernacles, for the sake of Christ’s merits, through faith in Him which they actively prove through their love. Everyone will easily see, I said, that because the Lord talks of such poor people who take up their benefactors into the eternal tabernacle just as heretofore they were taken up by them in love and beneficence, He is not talking of all poor everywhere, but rather of God-fearing poor and his weak members, cf. Matthew 25. We must all become such if our prayers are to prove useful and profitable to our benefactors. At this we all fell upon our knees, praised God for His benefactions, and asked Him to recompense those who had given what we received today.
After the adults, numbering ninety-nine men and women, had received their share, the children, big and little all together fifty-eight, pressed around me; and I asked them where this pile of linen on the table before them came from. When they answered that it originally came from God and demonstrated it with “Every good gift and,” etc., and “Everything we have are gifts of God,”3 I told them what happened yearly in Halle (whence God caused this blessing to flow): namely, a gift of cake and a small book was distributed to the school children, of whom there were more than two thousand when I was in the school of the orphanage and Paedagogium,4 after their examination in spring and fall; before that they sang something and something from God’s word was said to impress their hearts. Such a distribution does not occur here, I said, but in another way; for God was bestowing on them so many books for which they and their parents did not have to pay; and, speaking of the present time, they were being presented with shirts, indeed a sign of divine providence, especially as He was working so earnestly and powerfully in their souls in church and school.
Not all children had it so good, I continued, as some of them knew from Germany and as some could and should be told by the adults; rather they had many advantages in spiritual and physical matters. For many children in Christendom fare as we would hear in the story of 1 Samuel 30 and as we would also hear on Sunday from a father5 of three children who are members of our congregation, who wrote from Frederica that not only he and his family were ill, but they had lost everything, even all their books, in a fire. Because our loving God had turned much harm away from them and once more was doing things for them daily, they might well become more grateful than many were till now; otherwise, I said, God could easily block off the little brooks which had flowed upon us till now.
After we had prayed, we gave each child three peaches and one of the shirts already cut. And thus this distribution was concluded, with great pleasure and praise of God. A few men who have performed many kinds of tasks for the benefit of the congregation received an extra piece of linen. Ruprecht Steiner also received a tablecloth for the church held in his house on the plantations, and a few pregnant women received some soiled linen for household use. A portion was also laid by for the men who have gone to war and are expected back momentarily, which they shall receive in the event we hear good evidence of their Christian behavior. It was very edifying to see the mothers carrying their children on their arms, some of whom were suckling. Only to God on high be honor and gratitude for His mercy!
Wednesday, the 6th of August. N.’s wife fetched a couple of shirts for her two little girls because she had not been present at the distribution yesterday. I also gave her her own and her husband’s share, because they gave me hope that they were endeavoring for a true conversion and because the man is willing to continue, as he has begun, the work meted out to him for punishment: clearing the city’s streets and public places of bushes and weeds. She now tearfully recognized that a curse clung to them and their entire household because of their sins, and she attested her regret that they had been disobedient for so long to what they heard from God’s word. I told her there was still time to turn around. God stil desired their penitence, for then they would have His blessing. If I should become aware of a true change in her, I said, I would take her oldest little girl into the orphanage so that she could go to school.
I have received, from the merchant Purry in Port Royal, a piece of unbleached linen (which, because it comes from Osnabrück, is here called Osnebrig or Osnabrig) for the workers constructing the stable and threshing floor of the orphanage. I had it distributed to them, to their great pleasure. It was cheap and very good. In this manner they lose nothing, although we cannot give them the old wage. Raising this building comes to something more than 12 ь Sterling, which does not count the lumber and shingles prepared last year. The boards being used for doors, floors on both sides of the threshing section, and corn cribs for the cow stalls cost alone about 4 ь Sterling. If Mr. N., who presented 10 ь Sterling for the purpose, should see the building, he would be glad to have used his money so well, giving new spirit not only to the orphanage but also to poor Salzburgers who thus had the opportunity to earn something. Perhaps one of his friends wil come up this time with my dear colleague, as he has wished for some time.
Thursday, the 7th of August. Since the last heavy rain, which fell continuously for a few days toward the end of last week, we have had pleasant weather and especially pleasant cool nights. We would hardly have expected such favorable weather during the dog days. Because the dampness has abated, the peaches are becoming remarkably beautiful, they are getting a very vibrant color and such a fine taste that with this especially fine fruit we can easily do without apples, pears and plums; for one kind is even better than the other in delightful taste. We have a great number of them this year, and many in the congregation enjoy them and are inspired to praise God for providing orchards for us even in this wilderness. Our friends in Germany can get no proper picture when we report anything of these peaches, for they have an image of German peaches in their minds; the ones here surpass the ones in Germany in size, color, and taste by far, as we learn from everyone who knows anything of German peaches. Here we conclude that also apples and other fruit, if things like that should grow here, would become likewise more beautiful here than in Europe. We have many apple trees, but they grow slowly and therefore will bear fruit later. None of the plum and pear seeds want to come up, although that type of seed has been planted often.
Mr. Thilo wishes to have another dwelling against the winter, because the wind sweeps through his cottage; and, even though the kitchen is large and roomy, it is inconvenient for spending the winter. The love I have for him presses me to be mindful of an improved dwelling. Hence I intended to borrow money for its construction, if anyone in the country would lend me something for a year without interest; for I trust in God that He will grant something for this purpose. Everyone in the congregation doubtless would help with this construction gratis, if only, as I mentioned, there were some money and the carpenters did not have the urgently needed mill construction before them.
Friday, the 8th of August. Mr. N.7 is not too satisfied that we are not yet building the church, but he does not know the cause. When he comes to us next week I will tell him in detail, and give him something written for the sake of others in England. Our people moved to the plantations in the spring; and until now they have been busy working on their cottages and their fields and establishing their households. In the fall God is granting them once more much corn and rice, but they cannot use half of this physical blessing if they have no mill. That too cannot be built for another year if we do not do it in the autumn, when the water is very low. Also, I have wished to wait for our dear Lord to grant us something more from Germany for the church so that we could arrange the construction accordingly, for making debts is not advisable. In addition, there is no hurry amongst us, because my house is very convenient for holding church services, especially since only a few people are present. We have only the one Kogler who can serve as master builder; and, since he is being used on other buildings in the congregation and has his own household besides, it would be impossible for him to resolve to work on the church, although I wished to persuade him to as best I could. Also, for the reasons already indicated, he said he could not get people here as helpers.
I was in Old Ebenezer with some carpenters to seek out the appropriate iron work for the mill, for which Mr. Jones gave written permission. The Englishman was not at home, however; and, although his wife had the iron material shown to us, we could still find nothing that suited us. Everything is lying there in great confusion, and it is too bad that so much must spoil that the Trustees have provided at such great cost and have sent here from across the great sea. Things look generally very desolate in Old Ebenezer because everything is collapsing, and there is no one who will even strike a nail to maintain the buildings.
Saturday, the 9th of August. Rauner died of bloody dysentery before he could be brought to Charlestown. And thus the two brothers in evil, to wit, Bach and Rauner, have passed into eternity one right after the other. Held, too, who was well off as a servant in the orphanage but went to war, is said to have died suddenly.
I received a reply from Mr. Lampton, the merchant in Charlestown, in which he offered to send me as many things for the orphanage and the congregation as I might desire, for which he would be glad to accept bills of exchange. He is willing to send everything to Purysburg, whence it can be fetched quite easily. Our congregation would receive a true favor if we could get the things we need directly from Charlestown, because they are a good bit cheaper than in Savannah.
Sunday, the 10th of August. Mr. Zuebli from Purysburg was with us yesterday with his daughter to attend our divine services. Now that he was once with us, it is his plan to travel the short way from his plantation to here often. It is a journey of only two or three hours. He lodged in my house and showed himself very pleased at all that he heard and saw in our congregation. He will soon send his little son to our school as a boarder in our orphanage.
Monday, the 11th of August. Mr. N.8 has promised to come today from Carolina with his friends; and, because they do not know the way any farther than Purysburg, my dear colleague has gone to meet them. He took a statement along in which a few reasons are given why it was impossible to build our church this summer. He wishes to present it to Mr. N. when he travels up there. As soon as the corn mill is built, the carpenters and others will proceed to the church. We have been able to give Mr. N. hope that the construction will be finished in the spring, and we hope to have a convenient place for public divine services. In the meantime we make do quite well in my house. If it is passable in the summer, it will be even more so in the winter, when the people are sitting close together and cause less inconvenience.
At noontime some people came unexpectedly from Purysburg to observe the orphanage and its arrangements. They stayed only a few hours and traveled back in the afternoon. I hear some of the gentry there are making efforts to take up land in our vicinity on the Carolina side, so that they will be nearer to us with their children. There is said to be land still vacant higher up towards Palachocolas, whereas the entire strip of land across from us has been fully surveyed. May God let only that happen which suffices to glorify His name, to further His kingdom, and to save souls.
Tuesday, the 12th of August. A woman lamented that her condition before God was still worthless. She said that in her perdition she could lament her need to none but the dear Lord. She wished that we would not impart so much comfort to her from the gospel when we conversed with her; she was not worthy of comfort, rather of an earnest reprimand from the law. As a sign of her unworthy condition she cited her laxity in prayer; she had to force herself to it. In prayer things became easier for her, and afterwards she felt a new power in her heart. I told her that two things exist in the faithful person: the flesh and the spirit. The two are opposed to the other so that they do not do as they wish. Laxity and disinclination to the good and to the zealous use of the means of salvation come from the flesh; but there will be something in the soul of the faithful person which will not be satisfied with such laxity and evil but will feel them to be a yoke and will sigh over them. The heart will be driven and inclined by means of all kinds of profitable notions to become obedient to the will of God as opposed to the will of the flesh, and to struggle through. If the struggle is crowned with victory, this will cause great pleasure and new courage in the soul. With this I referred her especially to this verse: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us . . . looking into Jesus,” etc. Thus that which she saw as a sign of an unconverted state was a sign of a state of grace in which all God’s promises proceed to the faithful person in his poverty of spirit and his sorrow at his sins.
At the beginning of the evening prayer meeting my dear colleague returned with his rowers from Purysburg, where he had waited yesterday and today for Mr. N. and his friends to show them the way here. However, no boat came up from Savannah, and therefore there must have been an obstacle to their journey here, which they had intended with such certainty. Mrs. Walpurger came in his boat to visit her eldest son, who had received an injury to his cheek beneath the eye. Mr. Thilo preferred not to do anything to it without the mother’s foreknowledge.
The dear Lord again gave her much edification in today’s prayer meeting. God has inspired her so powerfully by a certain image which was quite remarkable to hear, that she will remember it as long as she lives; and now she does not wish to rest until she has left the world and entered into the community of God through faith. So that she may have all the more opportunity to be edified by God’s word and good examples, it is as good as certain that she will move to our area and will not be deflected by any worldly judgment. She now sees the advantage of breaking through all human fear in the example of her children, whom she sent here. It was only through fear of people who dislike our place through sheer coarse blindness that she had held back her children from our school and from the opportunity to be reared in the fear of God.
Wednesday, the 13th of August. The Bacher woman has become ill this last week, and things have looked quite unfavorable for her. For this reason I took Mr. Thilo with me yesterday morning to her plantation so that he could inform himself properly of her condition. Because of the divine services being held on the plantations, I did not have time to stay with her yesterday. Hence I went today before noon and found her in a blessed state, as concerned her soul. She does not like to deceive herself, and therefore she subjected herself to my examination according to God’s word and told me the entire basis of her heart. She is a dear bride of Christ and is being prepared by Him for that wedding day by means of all kinds of external and internal purifications. It would take too long to set down the entire conversation I had with her, but God gave me a quite special pleasure from it. This visit pleased her very much, because her mind had been much oppressed by the memory of her former life. She was very comforted in the Lord.
Gabriel Bach’s wife would like to be properly instructed in the basic truths of Christian doctrine, and this must be done before we can admit her to Holy Communion. She moved to the orphanage as a maid some time ago, and there she has the time and opportunity to attend the preparation lessons for Holy Communion, which we now held three times weekly. They also work on her in the orphanage, which indeed is a great grace of the Lord. In such a way we become more closely acquainted with her, whether she might be suited for a wife to a young head of household in the congregation. From the psalms of David, which I established as the basis for the catechisations in the preparation lessons, I have had the desired opportunity to preach not only credenda but also agenda,9 and therewith the choicest verses were noted and learned by heart. In the first two lessons in the week they repeat the little catechism with the exposition and question sections, but in the third lesson the verses they noted and learned are recited.
General Oglethorpe wrote me a very friendly letter of the 5th of August in the following words:
Though God has not been pleased to prosper us with the Success of taking St. Augustine, yet we are to thank him for the safe return of the greatest part of our men, and that the Pride of our enemy has been curbed. Those men who came from Ebenezer, and that were in the Carolina Regiment, I have ordered to be sent up again to you. I recommend myself to your Prayers and am
Frederica 5 August 1740
your most obedient humble Servant
(The German translation follows)
This letter was delivered by the English boy John Robinson, who had formerly been a servant in the orphanage. He looked quite ragged and was covered with lice. He would like to be back at our place, but I sent him straight back to Savannah, as I had written to General Oglethorpe at the very beginning that I would not accept people who had left the service of the orphanage because I could not support them and because they had also caused much unrest and vexation. This Robinson could not complain enough about how badly provisioned the men in the Carolina Regiment were. Not only did the soldiers get dangerously ill, but some died for lack of water. Mr. Oglethorpe’s wisdom and paternal care are being much extolled, notwithstanding all the slanders of his enemies. Besides which, the Carolina soldiers wish to obey no orders; both prominent and lowly persons are said to have deserted, which the government will take very badly.
Thursday, the 14th of August. My dear colleague, Mr. Boltzius, travelled to Savannah today. May the Lord Jesus bless him and bring him back again to us soon. We prefer nothing more than to be together in Ebenezer, and it is not out of curiosity or desire if one of us has to leave the other for a few days. Necessity and the many circumstances which occur in the congregation bring about such journeys.
After school I visited the Schweighofer woman, who was just arising from prayer. I asked her whether she had obtained a blessing. She answered that her wish and desire in prayer was to receive more and more earnestness to struggle for blessed eternity. She saw herself quite unworthy of what the Lord Jesus was doing in her, as she tearfully attested. I said she should simply keep on with her prayers and tears, and sigh: “Oh, if only I could follow after you weeping like a little child until your heart embraced me ardently with its arms.” In this manner she would know the blessed mother heart of the Lord Jesus better and better and prevail over the Lord Jesus, as did Jacob in Genesis 32. At her departure she gave me her hand, saying I should forgive her for deceiving me in Old Ebenezer, for she had not yet been converted. I answered briefly that the Lord Jesus forgave that also.
Friday, the 15th of August. I visited the Bacher woman in the afternoon and found two women with her, both weeping. The one had the Little Treasure Chest10 in her hand and gave it to me. I read aloud to them, especially from page 128, and said a few things about it. Next I read aloud to them the last hours of the Countess of Schwartzburg, in the revised Collections11 in the eleventh chapter, which indeed was a fine reading and which the dear Lord blessed splendidly. She still has great pain but bears it patiently. Yesterday two women from the town visited her, and one of them could not have been more amazed at her patience. During the conversation I came to the matter of the Lord Jesus’ tears, of which we heard last Sunday and which so especially soften one’s heart. At that she said that last Sunday Hans Maurer’s wife had been so moved by it that she went with the Craus woman to her cottage and was unable to stop weeping.
Saturday, the 16th of August. This morning God helped me and the Salzburgers, my fellow travelers, to reach home again, for which I praised His holy name with some of those who had attended today’s home prayer meeting. We learned from the first part of I Samuel 31 what a blessing of the Lord it is when we find our family and home in a blessed state at the end of a journey. I have given the statement concerning the postponing of the church construction to Mr. N.,12 and he was completely satisfied with it. God willing, he is thinking of returning to London as late as next spring. He will be satisfied if in the approaching winter just the walls and roof of the church are built; for he well knows that no proper and enduring church can be built in this country for the money we have in hand. Hence he will endeavor with God’s help to collect more money for this purpose.
He is quite glad that we are building a flour mill. In the future he wishes to buy as much Indian corn meal from our Salzburgers as he needs for his extensive housekeeping in the orphanage.13 In like manner he is happy that our people wish to salt down beef and bring it down in his absence for a very fair price. To this end he gave me three barrels of salt, which is very rare.
He had been quite weak till now but has now recovered and can hold prayer meetings again, although on one occasion he so taxed his powers in the small church that, if he continues, he will soon injure his lungs. This coming Tuesday he is going on his sloop with some friends and servants to Charlestown, and from there to New England, whence he will return by land to Savannah through all the English colonies.
Mr. Jones paid me 12 ь Sterling for the mill construction; and, because I had the opportunity to write to Mr. Oglethorpe, I requested additional assistance for it and reported where we were going to build it and how we hoped to use it.
Because the people in the orphanage need winter clothing, I wrote to an honest merchant in Charlestown and asked him to send me all those things we cannot do without in the orphan house and for the herdsmen. Perhaps we will soon get a blessing from Europe with which to pay for these urgently needed things. I do not doubt that he will send us very good and fairly priced wares, as he has done once already.
Mr. Jones asked me to make known to our congregation and to the people in Old Ebenezer that the Spanish spy, along with a soldier confined in prison, had filed through his iron chains and thus broken out.14 Whoever finds them and delivers them to Savannah can expect 10 ь Sterling as a reward. The spy left a letter behind in the prison for a merchant in Savannah.15 It was written in Spanish, and, because there was no interpreter, I could not learn its contents. The merchant had shown much material kindness to this spy in prison and had spoken much with him in spiritual matters and had also advanced him money. He is surely thanking him for that.
A short time ago he had persuaded a boy confined in this prison to act sick; and, when he was taken under cure to Mr. Whitefield’s physician,16 he was to purloin all kinds of medicines from him. The boy did this, and was caught. The Spaniard practiced as a physician in the prison, and has been used much by common people. Many of Mr. Oglethorpe’s soldiers have deserted to the Spaniards, but they will be able to do no more harm to our colony than what the Lord allows them. We were very impressed recently in the prayer meeting with how the Amalekites burned the city of Ziklag, leading away men and cattle, but killing no one, because the Lord did not permit them to. Except for that, they were inclined enough to do it, on account of their old and new hatred for Israel and David.
Monday, the 18th of August. I visited several families on the plantations and found everywhere a great desire for edification through prayer and God’s word. Crause’s serving-girl is catching on very well and has paid careful attention to the preparation for Holy Communion. She is also faithful in external matters, so that the congregation can hope for a good housewife in her someday. The Bacher woman is still full of pain but at rest in her heart and certain of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. The dear Savior blessed the conversation about Him and His treasured love so greatly in us two that the hour I spent here was as blessed as hardly ever before. The husband, who was present, also received a share for the inspiration of his soul, although he does not equal his wife in Christianity.
Today Mr. Zuebli from Purysburg brought his son, a lad of fourteen years, to us for schooling and for boarding at the orphan house. He even wishes to make it possible to move close to our neighborhood so that he and his family may have more opportunity for the edification of their souls.
Tuesday, the 19th of August. Mr. Zuebli took the trouble today to travel to our plantations and to attend divine services there. He was pleased by everything here and recognized that the Lord is with us. In the afternoon he returned home and resolved to visit us soon again. It seems as if the Lord has awakened some people in Purysburg to be more mindful of their salvation than they were formerly and to avail themselves of the opportunity they can find at our place to edify themselves. May the Lord bless them in this to their eternal salvation. There is also a shoemaker in Purysburg who understands his trade very well and who has attested his great desire to be accepted here. He and his wife, who is a God-fearing woman, are not concerned with making a living, which they can also find in Purysburg. We like to be circumspect in accepting outsiders, so that no one will slip into the congregation to become a bitter root and cause discord.
Wednesday, the 20th of August. Today in the name of the Lord we started building a flour mill and rice press,17 from which our entire congregation promises itself great advantage. I prayed with the workers at the mill site and called upon the Lord to bless this important labor. Everyone amongst us who has learned to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth is commended to intercession in this important and useful matter. The carpenters, especially Kogler as master builder, are undertaking this construction with great joy, and everyone is willing to help with it gratis; and we do not doubt that the Lord’s blessing will be with this labor.
Yesterday they blocked off the inflow of the Savannah River into Abercorn Creek, where the mill is being built, and today the mill is as good as dry, as the water in the main river at this season is as low as hardly ever before, which is very advantageous when building along the water. I gave the workers hope that their labor could be paid not only by the mill itself but also with money I expect to receive from Mr. Oglethorpe in addition to the 12 ь already received. To all appearances the expenses will not be high; and, with divine support, much profit will ensue from such a mill as has long been desired in this country. Mr. Oglethorpe expressly told me that the Trustees will pay the expenses of the mill and that they will also maintain it, for which each person will have to pay a small portion from each bushel of corn.
I found N.N. sick in bed. His wife had just delivered, but she and her little child were fairly healthy. The husband edified me greatly through his conversation and was full of desire to hear something good about his Savior and to pray to Him with me. Here we say: “Jesus receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.” This man’s sins in the years of his ignorance, when he was still in his homeland, were indeed very great. When he repented they became quite bitter for him, nonetheless our friendly Savior has mercy upon him and has made him into a useful instrument for winning his wife and helping her become a true Christian woman and preparing her to be a good housekeeper.
Kalcher got the fever yesterday with much vomiting; and, although he had recovered towards evening, it attacked him hard once more today. He now sees and feels the usefulness of this physical weakness, and his tears flowed very heavily when he discovered the state of his spirit. He is becoming more and more familiar with himself and his Savior and also enters more and more deeply in hunger and thirst into His outspread loving arms, to be justified and saved. Therefore his faith is as it should be, to wit, a divine light and a divine power, which the Holy Spirit brings forth in Its workshop, namely, a crushed and battered heart, and preserves and strengthens in the poverty of the spirit.
Thursday, the 21st of August. For a week now, a few Indians have been with us who are not of the best kind. They go into gardens and fields and take whatever suits their fancy; and the people have to put up with it, because they do not like to get too near them. They received horses and all kinds of things as booty and gifts at St. Augustine.
The Englishman from Old Ebenezer who is in charge of the Trustees’ cattle told me that a short time ago some Indians who had returned from St. Augustine shot down one of his large fat oxen, cutting out only about 40 lb. of meat and throwing away all the rest. Hence it is indeed very good that our place is so distant and that there is no rum or brandy, otherwise we would have a great deal of vexation with them and no help from anywhere. Their dogs have already harmed the people’s swine often, and once they tore a cow almost to shreds.
Several people are getting attacks of the fever, but it seems as if they do not last long. They are also not as violent as previously. Being sick a little does not hurt. God is praised also for this paternal chastisement by all who recognize His salutary purpose in it. Cool and moist weather has come up; perhaps this has caused the fever, especially since many people do not or cannot hold to the rules of good health.
Friday, the 22nd of August. Today divine services were held on Pichler’s plantation, where the mill is being built, and the women also made their appearance. Most of the men from the town and from the plantations have been occupied with making the dam. Everyone must contribute his strength to this, because the largest oaks have to be brought into the creek. Carts and horses (which we also lack) could be of no service here. Much work has already been done, although yesterday’s heavy rain hindered the workers greatly and the water in the river rose. The unity of the people in this important work gladdened me greatly, and the words on the Dutch ducats occurred to me (as nearly as I remember): Concordia res parvae crescunt,18 which I cited to the workers in German. They were all very pleased and eager at the preaching of the divine word from 1 Samuel 30, and I believe the Lord has laid a blessing on the sermon.
Saturday, the 23rd of August. I was told in Old Ebenezer that an Indian had died on the path between Abercorn and Old Ebenezer and that his companions left him unburied, which is not their usual way.
Simon Reiter asked me to write a letter for him to his father-in-law in Frederica, who had attested in a letter to him a desire to move to Ebenezer. He and his wife wish to take all possible precautions so that he will not create a burden for himself if he advises his father-in-law to move hither. For this is a man who has, in his own eyes, been a pious man for a long time and has brought along letter and seal from his father-confessor concerning the matter: such people who commonly think themselves wiser than others generally cause much trouble. He advised him to travel here once and inform himself about our land and our good order; and he said that, if it pleases him and if Mr. Oglethorpe grants permission, the local ministers will not hinder it.
Monday, the 25th of August. Kalcher has been sickly for some time, yet in his tasks in the orphanage he shows all possible diligence and loyalty, although I wish, as I advise him often, that he would spare himself more until he has his health back. I see it as an item of God’s fatherly love that Bach’s widow has moved into the orphanage for a time and works there faithfully so that Kalcher’s burden has become lighter, especially since Christian Riedelsperger, his faithful co-worker, is helping with the work at the mill and Herzog is almost always sick. The above-mentioned Bach woman deports herself very well, is faithful and diligent in her work, and handles God’s word and prayer well. She is also very eager for God’s word in the preparation lesson for Holy Communion, so that we are quite hopeful that her return to Ebenezer will be profitable for her in body and soul.
Tuesday, the 26th of August. I cannot describe with my pen the joy I feel whenever I come to the workers at the mill. They are all of one mind, they attack the important project with communal strength, and they enjoy the support of the Lord in a special way. In regard to their communal labor, today’s story gave me the opportunity to give them many sorts of evangelical admonitions, which the Father of all grace will bless in them along with others. If I were able, I would gladly serve them some refreshment to show them my joy. Who knows what the Lord will do in the future. I have never seen such labor, since they are bringing the heaviest oaks and cypresses into the river for the dam and fit one tree upon the other. It would not be possible to make such an important construction unless all the men in the congregation strained every muscle at it. There are also a few grown boys and frail persons there who have their work according to their strength. The best thing is, they strengthen themselves and are strengthened in the Lord their God, through the word of the gospel and through prayer, and thus their work is sanctified.
The Kornberger woman called on me bowed low in her mind on account of her weakness in Christianity, and she shed many tears about it. She said she had previously deceived herself considerably with her literal recognition19 which she took for a spiritual and living one; and after God had made her recognize her self-deception, she did not wish to go to Holy Communion until she had had herself tested according to God’s word. She is poor in spirit, she mourns, she is hungry and thirsty, and thus the comfort of the gospel belongs to her and was given to her.
Wednesday, the 27th of August. Kogler is a capable and modest master builder, under whom the people like working.
The N. woman, who dwells in this area, asked me to call on her yesterday if my circumstances would allow it, because she had a certain request to disclose to me. But there was less to it than I had guessed, hence I led her from external matters to the still unaltered foundation of her heart and hastened home so as not to miss my preparation lesson with a few children and adults.
The Schweighofer woman is weak in body on account of quartan fever and is having some serious attacks which may well pertain to the apoplexy which crippled her entire side five years ago. She applies the feeling of her physical and spiritual infirmities very well in order to take better and better refuge through faith in her Savior. She lamented greatly on account of the inherent evil of her sin, although she knows for certain that her guilt and punishment are forgiven through the blood of Jesus and that the power and love of sin are broken through the spirit of Christ; but she is very conscious of her corruption and is poor in spirit but thereby rich in God and His grace, although she attributes the least amount thereof to her great increase in hunger and thirst for Christ.
Another woman heard with many sighs how much this widow lamented and humbled herself before God. When she was alone with me she said the Schweighofer woman lamented and humbled herself so, while she knew that she had never offended God with deliberate sins, rather had feared the Lord from her youth ever since her recognition. What should she not do, if only she could; for in her youth she had defiled herself with the most terrible abominations, which were being disclosed to her more and more, and in her anxiety over them she did not know what to do. At this, she wept bitterly. I believe the Lord gave grace so that this mourning heart was also comforted to some degree from His gospel. In the case of many penitent sinners, we must believe that they do not come forward on their own with the sins God has hidden from the eyes of men according to His wisdom and that they only confess everything because they think they will find rest once they are chastised before men.
Thursday, the 28th of August. A few days ago Mr. N.’s schoolmaster20 wrote me that he and his family were lacking meat, hence he would like someone from our place to bring some down. For this purpose three oxen were slaughtered, and the meat was salted and carried down today. Praise God who not only gives our dear people their just necessities but also gives some of them so much that they can sell something and others can procure something for their need. Who would have believed a few years ago that God would have brought things so far with us in so short a time. The Lord has helped Ebenezer till now!
Friday, the 29th of August. Late in the evening someone came into our cellar yard and took away some victuals several times and also lopped off melons and pumpkins in the field, carrying them off and spoiling them. Today we learned with certainty it was a Negro or Moor from Carolina who is in the orphanage’s corn field near the city and in the woods lying nearby. Last night a few men lay in wait and went after him today but could not catch him. He must have run away from Carolina, and was already detected several weeks ago in our region. In the open field he surely has it as good and better than with his master, although we do not know to whom he belongs, for they are kept everywhere very harshly; and hence there is almost no end to the stealing in Carolina on the plantations.
Because the white people in that place are not secure on account of the great horde of these ill-kept slaves, it was arranged that from Saturday evening all through Sunday, a certain number of white people have to patrol in every district all through Carolina. This is very burdensome for the poor who have hardly one or two blacks, but serves to assure the rich, who have fifty or a hundred and more. It is indeed a great and partly unrecognized benefaction that no black slaves may be introduced into our Georgia colony.
Saturday, the 30th of August. Today our boat came once more from Savannah and brought a letter from Mr. Verelst in London, in which he briefly reports that Mr. Whitefield has informed the Trustees that he has collected 966 ь for the orphanage in Savannah, 76 ь for the Salzburgers, and 148 ь for the poor in general, and that he wishes to know on behalf of the Trustees in what way the 76 ь were applied for the benefit of the congregation. An error must have occurred, for we have received no more than 52 ь, 19 sh., 9 pc. for the construction of the church, besides which Mr. Whitefield has brought along all kinds of iron work required for this construction, e.g., a bell. In all, the collection runs to 73 ь 18 sh., of which I informed the most praiseworthy Society as well as Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen as soon as I received it.
Sunday, the 31st of August. Yesterday, another three of the people21 who let themselves be persuaded to go to war arrived at our place and told much of the right great hardship they suffered before St. Augustine. Leitner and Rauner had to bury Gabriel Bach,22 who had been shot four times and who had been beheaded by the Indians. Rauner remembered much about that and wept and prayed much about it. He was indeed able to recognize that these were unmistakable judgments of God, from which later on Rauner himself did not escape either. It makes me think of what Senior Urlsperger, upon reading the report in the diary of Rauner’s evil deportment, wrote in his last letter: “Is this the man who promised so much good? etc.” May God let this sad example have a wholesome impression on everyone!
A man from a trading boat brought me a letter from Court Chaplain Butienter, which he had found in the Charlestown post office and redeemed because he knows me. It was dated as far back as the 30th of October 1739 and must have lain long in Charlestown. We have had no word for him for a long time, and hence it is pleasing to learn that he is still attached to us with sincere good will and shares heartily in all that the Lord does amongst us.
Monday, the 1st of September. Young Kieffer1 and his wife had a letter written today to his mother-in-law in Orangeburg in North Carolina.2 In it they let her know the opportunity they had here for the edification of their souls, so that they might find out whether she would like to resolve to move hither with her little children. They promise to care for her in every physical and spiritual way; and the son-in-law wishes to fetch her himself from Charlestown if she has the inclination to start out on the journey hither. This young married couple, who have their plantation almost opposite us in Carolina, have to make do with very meager resources; but, because the Lord is working very powerfully on their hearts through His gospel and because they know from experience man’s danger in living amongst the rough multitudes without the word of God, they wish to have their relatives here and to do their utmost for them.
Tuesday, the 2nd of September. The Indians who had built their shelters on the plantations have returned here today. The people out there will be happy to see these guests leave, for they are said to have taken crops from the fields there just as they did here. I met them on the path when I was just coming out of the meeting, and I was amazed that the men load up the women with a great cargo of hides, cooking gear, and children along with that; while they themselves walk practically unencumbered or can ride on horseback.
The people who returned home from the war are now getting their share of the linen which was distributed a short time ago in the congregation. They claim, and it seems so, that they heed the good in our place all the more since they were in foreign parts for some time and experienced all sorts of things. They wish to apply their short time of grace to preparing for the long and blessed eternity, to which end they are being urged privately and publicly whenever Bible stories are read.
Thursday, the 4th of September. A certain person had dealings with the Indians and bought from them colorful material for a skirt. But, because they regretted it later, they brought her money back and asked for the material. She refused to return it, hence the Indians requested help from me. It is very strictly forbidden, through a public proclamation of the Trustees, for anyone to trade with the Indians without special permission; and, because this N. woman has been guilty of this and also gave them too little for the material, I had to require her to make restitution of what she had purchased and take back her silver money. She resisted strongly but finally had to acquiesce, because otherwise I would have reported the matter to Savannah. For not only the woman, but I and others would come into danger of being harmed or killed by the Indians, as they had already uttered threatening words. The Indians otherwise are not used to trading in money, but these do it, only they take no other money than English or Spanish silver.
The Black who has run away from Carolina is still staying in our region and slips into people’s cottages during the night to do harm. At the Helfenstein woman’s place he even took a hunting knife, and hence it is that much more dangerous to catch him. This afternoon all men who were in the town went out one at a time to seek him out in the surrounding brush, but they came back emptyhanded. Yesterday evening as well, a few men endeavored to locate this thieving person, who was about to break into the Rheinlaender woman’s place during the prayer meeting. In the midst of this Kalcher would have come into mortal danger on account of a careless shot fired without need and permission by herdsman Nett, if our kindly and omnipotent God had not turned it away.
Friday, the 5th of September. Yesterday towards evening before the prayer meeting, the N. woman implored me to come to her place, but I was not up to it, and in addition I had to gather some strength for the prayer meeting we were to hold. Today she asked me to pardon her unchristian behavior of yesterday, and she showed herself in gestures and words to be very humble and penitent. God grant that she rightly recognize the foundation of her heart, which is still unaltered, and that she may in time be helped.
In today’s prayer meeting, and with divine assistance, we concluded our contemplation of the stories from the first book of Samuel and will begin the second book next. God be humbly praised for all blessings he has right richly shown us in this. May He bless the seed broadcast amongst the local people and outsiders, of whom a couple from Purysburg were present at this last prayer meeting, to the honor of His holy name and their eternal salvation, for the sake of Christ our treasured Savior. Amen!
Saturday, the 6th of September. Bach’s widow, who has been working for a time in the orphanage as a maid, has kept herself so well till now that we are hoping the Lord will attain His goal through His word, which she has heard publicly and in the preparation lesson for Holy Communion: that she undergo a heartfelt conversion to Christ and in His blood be purified of all her recognized and unrecognized sins. A few people have advised Leimberger to take her for his wife, for which purpose he saw me last week and today. It is now certain on both their parts, and tomorrow the banns will be published for them. She has cause to thank God for His solicitude, for in Leimberger she is getting an upright, very capable, diligent, and, in his husbandry, clearly blessed man. She has a very tractable, pliable mind, is very simple and modest; and therefore I am hoping she will let herself be steered towards everything good by Leimberger, who is quite knowledgeable in all matters, and will become a real helpmeet to him.
Sunday, the 7th of September. Today forty-eight persons were at Holy Communion. The Bacher woman, who is still not fully recovered, has had a special hunger and thirst for the Lord’s Holy Communion; and this time not even her weakness could hold her back from it. The Lord has also splendidly refreshed her through His gospel and through this holy sacrament, so that she now desires to abandon the world and be with her Savior much more than she did before.
Young Held has come back by land to his sister on her husband Gabriel Maurer’s plantation and would like to guard the people’s cattle if only they will accept him again at our place. He is one of the three servants who left the orphanage and went to war. His father died miserably. After he had returned again from St. Augustine without money, clothes and health, this young Held apprenticed himself to a slovenly shoemaker in Savannah, from whom he has now run away again. I prefer to have nothing to do with him, but I do not wish to stop him from staying at our place if the congregation, with the permission of the authorities, wishes to accept him as a servant and herdsman.
Monday, the 8th of September. I have finished a letter to Mr. Verelst and through him to the Trustees, reporting first of all, at their request, how much money Mr. Whitefield transferred to us for the benefit of the mill and church construction, and otherwise putting in a few presentations and requests.
Tuesday, the 9th of September. The water in the river has risen quickly and is getting higher and higher; this is causing some obstacles in building the mill. If they had built the dam as at the saw mill in Old Ebenezer, it would be ruined already. But it is of such soundness that the most violent water cannot harm it, even if the greatest ice floes crashed against it as in Germany. Two men were sent to the old saw mill on the Abercorn Creek to seek out the remaining nails and iron work. They indeed did their utmost, but they were in mortal danger on account of the strong wind and rising water. They both could swim and had no further injury except that one suffered the loss of a shoe. I would gladly have given him a pair from the orphanage, if only the means were there.
After the devotional hour on the plantations I had to mention a few things concerning the mill construction, so that no misunderstanding would arise. For the mill I had in all only 12 ь sterling, but there were many of the poor in the congregation working, in addition to the communal labor, for the purposes of earning something for clothes, flour, and other needs. Most wish to be paid, and I had to advise them that I could go no further than the 12 b would allow. Hence they would have to work in the hope that payment would ensue either from Mr. Oglethorpe or from the Trustees, or they would have to increase the days of communal labor, so that a few would not labor too much ahead for pay and then be hurt if by chance nothing more were given by benefactors for the construction.
I added the cause which moved me to discuss this with them, because I would like to avoid any misunderstanding. I said it had often happened to me, whenever I promised to give something to one or another person to help him in his poverty, illness, or other circumstance and then could not do it soon thereafter, that many had condemned me in their hearts and also in words and secretly closed their mind against me. My promise always includes the stipulation that the Lord give me the means for it. I had dared enough till now in the name of the Lord to satisfy those poor workers who would like to earn something for their extreme need in constructing the orphanage and my house. I was not going any further now, since I did not even know what the Trustees would decide regarding my house and the debts of the orphanage, half of which stemmed from Mr. Causton’s time.
Last night the Schweighofer woman became suddenly and dangerously ill. She had very violent pains in her body as if she were having miserere, which stem from a long-time obstruction which, out of bashfulness, she never disclosed to anyone. The dear Lord blessed a few of the things we used on her. Towards evening when I came to her, the first thing she said was that the Lord had demonstrated a great miracle of His kindness in her; she had never before had such violent pains in her life, and our pious God had nonetheless helped once more. She could talk no further for exhaustion. Thereupon we prayed for her and with her, which caused her the greatest joy and refreshment, and she always prays very diligently.
Wednesday, the 10th of September. Yesterday the men came from the plantations to lie in wait tonight for the Negroes who are staying secretly in our region and who break in at night here and there and steal. The prayer meeting was held only with the women and children, and something from the story of the first book of Samuel was repeated. The thieving people have on other occasions slipped into some of the huts during prayer meeting, but no one saw anything yesterday; and everything was quiet throughout the entire night too. There are said to be three together, two blacks and a woman, who even threatened the Indians who were with us, saying they would cut off their heads if they did not do as they wished. On account of that the Indians moved away apparently from fear.
The Spanish spy is also said to be staying in our vicinity with a soldier who was imprisoned with him for a long time, and to have been at the place of the Frenchman across from us in Carolina on Sunday, but to have run away when they saw a trading boat coming. The woods are being searched today also, to see whether we can find or catch some of these evil folk.
A man borrowed the emigration history3 of the Salzburgers from me, and in doing so he told me as good news that his wife was, to be sure, a good housekeeper, but that she was not displaying the earnestness that one must display if one wishes to be saved. To be sure, she prays both morning and night the prayers she has learned by heart, but he knows what happened to him when God caused his sins to fall heavily on his conscience. Need had often driven him to prayer then, and for this he did not simply use the prayers he had learned by heart or something from a book (for which he had especially used the Little Garden of Paradise),4 rather necessity and his feeling of misery had taught him to call to God. In addition, when she could not come to church or to the devotional hours on the plantations, he was displeased that she did not ask him what good things he had heard after he came home. Rather, he had to begin the conversation and tell her, otherwise she would remain silent. I admonished him just to keep on working on her untiringly, especially as she belonged to those of good will and was also quite attentive during the preaching of the gospel. Temporal things lie very much on her heart. This information serves along with many other things which I wish to apply profitably in the case of this woman, insofar as the Lord gives me grace and wisdom.
All men and women in the congregation who are concerned with their salvation recognize the grace and also the errors in one another, to advance the former and get rid of the latter. This pious man also wished for the opportunity to hear once more the entire Christian doctrine in its continuity, as it was preached last year to men and women in my house with regard to Luther’s catechism, especially the interrogatory part. His wife had also profited much from it. A short time previously I had recommended to him the forty-first chapter of the first book of Johann Arndt for reflective reading, in which he found a great deal of edification. He had also read the following expression: “If anyone is dissatisfied with his condition but rather wishes from his heart to improve constantly, it is a good sign in him.” This was very dear to him, for thus he saw himself.
Thursday, the 11th of September. Although the few Indians who had been with us for some weeks left a few days ago, today we got all the more of these uninvited guests. An old man who is supposed to be their king came to me, sat down at my table, ate his fill, and gave his son what he could not eat. The Englishman at Old Ebenezer had to have his corn guarded from these people last night, and hence there is concern here that they will do more harm than the previous ones. This evening I will admonish the congregation not to enter into any trade with these people; for in this way we may be rid of them that much sooner. If they bring meat into the house the people must not send them away but rather accept what they bring and give them something else for it, otherwise one will incite the Indians against us.
The Schweighofer woman is almost completely recovered. She is full of the praise of God and knows how to extol the Lord’s kindness in her recovery in the most glorious manner. The Kalcher woman loves her as a mother and strives with the greatest willingness to take care of her in both sound and ill days.
Simon Steiner showed me some verses which my dear colleague had left behind for him, at which he rejoiced as at a great gift. I recounted to him something from today’s preparation for Holy Communion and from yesterday’s evening lesson and opened the Bible to a few verses: especially I brought him back to the prayer at James 5:13 ff., which verses will be profitable to him in his remaining weakness.
A woman was sighing on her sick bed, weeping bitterly, and said: “How can I be so frivolous? In so many places I could have set a Christian example, and I have doubtless scandalized others through my behavior,” etc. I told her God found it necessary at times to rap our fingers on account of our excesses and to take us into more strict discipline so that we will begin to reflect and humble ourselves before Him in the name of Christ, and become more circumspect, etc., etc.
Friday, the 12th of September. Because the Salzburgers have been working on the mill till now, the devotional hour is still being held in Pichler’s dwelling, where the people from the plantations also attend diligently. The water has risen very high, so that the dam, which is built of stout timber, cannot be filled in. All sorts of materials are lying ready, and we are waiting for the water to fall once more so that the whole congregation can quickly get behind the work of filling it in. Twice now they have fetched the great mill stones from our place, which could not have been done if the water had been as low as previously. But the workers still have enough work in building the mill house of stout lumber and preparing other things for the mill. Kogler is designing things so that, when necessary, we can use two sets of stones and thus grind that much more at one time. Everything has a fine appearance. Something did come up which might have caused harm, but the dear Lord brought everything back to order.
I visited Ruprecht Zimmermann, who lives not far from the mill, to find out how things looked with his fever, whose symptoms were similar to typhus, so that I could give information on it to Mr. Thilo. He has greatly improved and seems to be out of danger. Because this fever is especially virulent, I admonished him to hold to a good diet, in which he is also obedient. A Salzburger went with me from Zimmermann’s hut to the mill and told me that till now, because he was working on the mill, he had been sleeping at Zimmermann’s place and had found much edification with him. He found him to be an earnest and solid Christian, but did not find himself in such a condition. This recognition gave me an opportunity to give him good admonitions.5
Saturday, the 1st of November. For a long time now we have received no letters from Europe. Because the letters and diaries we have sent are either remaining long underway or have been lost, perhaps because of the now dangerous sea journey, we are planning to write and to send along something from the diary as often as we get the opportunity for posting our packets. May God let us hear something joyful from our benefactors and friends and let the news of us, who are calm and blessed beneath the paternal care of God, become matter for His praise, as they have loyally commended till now the considerable circumstances of this colony in their prayer to the Lord, of which the previous letters testify sufficiently.
A few people from the plantations came here already on Saturday to hear the evening prayer meeting in preparation for Sunday. The Lord blesses it richly in those who are serious about assuring their salvation. In the morning the grass is usually very wet, and hence it is very inconvenient for the people when they enter, especially since the footpaths are quite narrow and rather overgrown with grass and bushes on either side. When they have more time they will make such roads broader and wider, as some already have done the nearer one gets to the plantations. These and similar inconveniences are a good test on the part of our listeners as to whether they are concerned more with God’s word than with physical convenience.
Sunday, the 2nd of November. There will be something for us to do in our ministerial office with a certain family, since all sorts of disorders and dishonesties are becoming apparent. They are all very diligent in attending divine services and prayer meetings, and their behavior at all exercises is so devout, eager, and zealous that it must be edifying to one who sees only the external things. They lack the “everything for Christ,” and through their concern for making a living and keeping house they lay many obstacles in their way which they cannot surmount; and therefore they remain distant from Christ and the life that is of God.
Tuesday, the 4th of November. My worthy colleague, Mr. Boltzius, has often acknowledged openly, with sadness and melancholy in his heart, what sorrow it causes him when those whom he has prepared for Holy Communion at times slip backwards and do not progress in the good with which they began. But just recently, when he was attesting this to me and could name but one single person for whom he had better hopes, I was able to point out to him someone on whom the Lord had shown great mercy for some time. The N.N. woman, who is becoming more and more solid in God’s grace and who has become quite familiar with this person after she had once more awakened, also wishes to give my dear colleague, to his joy, news of her current good condition. When she was still in school and had gone to Holy Communion for the first time, God had worked often on her heart; but when she came home, all her good inspiration was soon lost, because she saw no good example in her family. Now she lives on the plantations and there seeks to associate diligently with the N. woman to the greater advancement of her Christianity, which the Lord is also not leaving without His blessing.
Today I contemplated the story of Christ’s transfiguration, on the plantations as well as in town. Oh, how blessed and glorious indeed are the faithful in Christ! May the Father beckon them more and more to Him through His voice: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased, him should ye hear,” so that everything, sin, the world, and the like will vanish and nothing remain but Jesus. Indeed may He open the eyes of others also, so that they will recognize their folly and surrender themselves heartily to this glorious Savior. Then self-denial, the acceptance of the cross, and everything would become so easy for them.
Wednesday, the 5th of November. My (Boltzius’) trip from Savannah was finished today toward evening, and I glorify God that once more it was not in vain. I delivered our letters at the right time, for Colonel Stephens will immediately send a packet to the Trustees. No letters have yet arrived from London. It is being presumed here because of certain information that Captain Cornish, whose ship had the standard of Minerva, has been captured by the Spaniards. He has money, letters, and many things for this colony on his ship; and therefore the loss is that much greater. The Spaniards, we hear, are quite bold in that they attacked one of Mr. Oglethorpe’s captains quite near the Georgia coast. He had intended to travel to Charlestown with a few people to get new recruits, but this time the Spaniards were beaten back. It is being said with certainty that a new preacher is on his way for the city of Savannah, being sent by the Trustees themselves.
In Savannah a couple of Englishmen came to me, asking me to come to the two delinquents to be hanged at the end of this week, and to serve Holy Communion to the Spanish doctor, whom they took to be penitent.1 This, however, was not a part of my ministerial office, hence I had to decline; and I referred them to the preacher in Port Royal, who could be fetched promptly if it were seriously desired by the malefactors. It is indeed too bad that Savannah is now completely without a preacher2 since, as Colonel Stephens showed me in a note, there are still 172 men in the town, without counting women and children.
Thursday, the 6th of November. Last night Mr. Thilo’s little daughter died, after living some twenty weeks in this toilsome world, being healthy the first six weeks but constantly ill in the ensuing period. We made brief use of the verse from Matthew 18:14, “So it is not the will of your Father . . . that one of these little ones should perish.” It had been very edifying to me in Sunday’s repetition lesson, when I sought to place it in the hearts of the children.
Sanftleben was at my house with the Arnsdorf woman’s daughter,3 who had had a right slavish service for six years in Carolina and had been brought some months ago by the mother to our place. He wished the banns of marriage to be published this coming Sunday. He and she have promised not only to be diligent at home in repetition and reading, but also to attend my repetition lessons along with other good occasions. As far as I am concerned I am resolved to marry no one from my congregation who has not reached a basic awareness of the basic truths of Christianity. Because I can rely on Sanftleben’s diligence and faithfulness, which he will prove in the encouragement of her spiritual improvement, I have overlooked a few things in this matter.
Friday, the 7th of November. I traveled yesterday evening out to the mill to see the workers’ diligence and what they had accomplished in my absence. Even from a distance I heard the powerful roaring of the water, and this confirmed the good report I had already heard at home concerning the dam even before I looked at everything for myself. A pious man told me, with joy and happy words, that he believed many pious people were praying for the project because it was going so well. Indescribably much and great labor has been done here and is still being done between the walls of the dam and before the dam, to keep the water from its old course and lead it towards the mill, which stands some 30 feet away from the dam. People in Savannah and Purysburg asked me whether the mill would be completed, and therefore it is common knowledge that our people have undertaken a project which has not yet been completed after many almost royal sums have been applied to it.4 God will help us so that our enemies have no cause to rejoice, rather they will be shamed; and the Lord’s name will be praised by us and others. I was hoping to get some assistance from Mr. Jones for this construction, but he put me off until his return from Frederica, where he was thinking of traveling this coming Monday. He also wishes to bring from Mr. Oglethorpe the so-called bounty of the Trustees, in pursuance of which they have promised to give the Salzburgers one shilling sterling for each bushel of the crop gathered last year. By means of this money our dear people would be placed in a position again to buy themselves a few head of cattle, which will bring them great profit in their household economy.
On my way I became acquainted with a Carolina planter who pledged to bring our congregation thirty or forty head of young tame cows and calves next spring, each cow and calf for 27 sh. 6 p. sterling, which is very reasonable. Perhaps the dear Lord will bestow something on the orphanage so that we can buy a few head of cows and oxen for it too. What a benefaction it is that this year we have had to buy no meat for the orphanage, since God has blessed its cattle raising so notably till now. We would get no meat in Savannah even if we had the money for it,5 but there is no money now because our letters and the benefactions we are hoping God will send us from Europe have not come for such a long time.
Saturday, the 8th of November. We had rain yesterday, and it continued very heavily for the entire night. For a long time now we have had dry and right desirable weather, which has advanced the work at the mill considerably. The soil around the river is full of clay, and in rainy weather the workers could not take one sure step. Because it still looked quite dark this morning, the workers dispersed, especially since each of them had necessary things to take care of at home this last day of the week. Those small streams which are springing up mostly from swampy places have risen so high between here and the plantations that one can hardly get across with a horse. The water in the mill stream is also said to have climbed very high and to roar with full force over the dam but not to have harmed the earth itself. In the afternoon the wind veered towards the south and the heavens cleared up completely, so that at night we got frost and fine weather again.
The current work on the mill is now going through all kinds of trials and difficulties which we could not have foreseen previously, and that too is good, for otherwise no one would have risked anything, rather we would have looked upon a risk in faith without an external summons and capability for it as presumption against the tempting of God. But the Lord is supporting the workers, and for that we will bring Him much praise and gratitude. Towards evening Kogler was with me and recognized that, if the omnipotent and kind God did not bless the project and the labor of their hands, it would not be possible to build a mill in this country; human art and skill would not reach far. For (not to mention other difficulties) the soil is so light that, when water mingles with it, it completely crumbles and flows away with the water. The people have dug rather deep into a hill and are finding a type of sand or sandy soil which they sink into and in front of the dam6 for filling in, along with a lot of bushes and the so-called tree oakum (a certain moss hanging from the deciduous trees which looks like oakum),7 to drive the water higher and up to the mill. Yesterday we heard from the Bible story that the conquering of the fortress of Zion was difficult for David to achieve, but that, even though he was mocked about his intention, it was nevertheless not impossible for him. For the Lord, the God Zebaoth (as is expressly stated in 2 Samuel 5), was with him. Kogler accompanied me and said with moist eyes that he had again been much strengthened today.
Monday, the 10th of November. Last night it was severely cold, also yesterday during the day it was bitterly cold in the loveliest sunshine. The water between the town and the plantations has risen so high in the little creeks that my dear colleague could not get through yesterday on his horse, but rather had to make a large detour, where he still had to go by foot over a fallen tree and had to drive his horse before him. The weather and everything connected with it are very changeable in this country. We will soon learn how things look at the mill since the water has risen so fast. It is very advantageous for the work that we have dry weather again, which probably will hold for a few days.
A woman dealt her conscience a quite deep wound in her youth; and from time to time she can find no comfort, even if the most powerful comfort for assuaging the pain of conscience and healing spiritual wounds comes from the holy scripture. This soul is honest at heart and practices Christianity with such earnestness and purity that all who have eyes to see are edified. I hope the Lord will look upon her misery with grace and grant her a proper joy of spirit and certainty of the forgiveness of her sins, which she already received some years ago in the blood of Christ at her fundamental conversion before God’s throne of grace. This soul has often reached the point of savoring the friendliness of Immanuel in her heart and has received an assurance of the gracious forgiveness of all sin. But, whenever she hears or reads something on the occasion of the Bible stories, or otherwise, which resembles her case, what happened previously wakes up again, and many birth pangs return.
I visited the N. and N. women on their adjoining plantations, and urged the first woman to earnestness in prayer and wakefulness over herself, saying she would thus soon lay a good foundation in her Christianity, otherwise nothing would come of all her good intentions. The second used the most edifying and pleasing expressions of God’s kindness, which befalls her in many ways, even in physical benefactions. She remembered to her shame what she had lamented to me of her poverty, illness in all members of her body, etc., and how she had thereby revealed her lack of faith. She said God had done great things in her by and by, had made her completely well, had granted her and her family their physical needs, and had cared for her chiefly in her soul, but she was always too ungrateful for everything. I looked up for her the beautiful verse in the Lamentations of Jeremiah 3, 22-25.
Tuesday, the 11th of November. N.N. is becoming more and more convinced of his youthful sins and the miserable condition of his soul, so that he listens diligently, as much as his chronic fever and other attacks permit; and his long illness helps to get right to the foundation and to true penitence. Last Sunday afternoon the Lord’s word penetrated so deeply into his heart that, as he acknowledged today, he could hardly keep from weeping aloud. He lamented exceedingly over his corrupted youth and over the negligence of the ministers and superiors in his country; and, although an old minister wished to carry out his office scrupulously, he got only mockery and contempt as a reward for his loyalty and accomplished nothing. He intends to visit me and bare his whole heart. Arndt’s book on True Christianity, which was given to him, is proving most useful for him. It is only too bad that he cannot read very well. I do not doubt that, if he becomes a true Christian, he will also become faithful in his work. The Lord works powerfully through His word on young and old, and if they did not lack loyalty, they would all soon achieve a fundamental conversion and strengthening in goodness.
Mr. Thilo accompanied me to the devotional hour on the plantations because he wished to visit a child injured in its foot, to take some exercise on account of his current weakness, and to view the mill construction. He is amazed, as are we, at the extensive and very constant and also blessed labor of our Salzburgers; and he can now conceive better than before that the mill will be completed under divine blessing. At the same time the total of sawn boards was indicated to me: there were in all 2,134 feet, which Leimberger and Schweiger alone had cut with great industry. Today these two gallant workers were busy moving earth like the others, which can well rouse the rest to similar diligence.
Thursday, the 13th of November. This afternoon Burgsteiner’s little child was baptized in his cottage on the plantation. He dwells not far from the mill, so I went there too to visit the workers. The project is progressing well, which encourages the workers very much. Yesterday and this morning we had rainy weather, which made the labor on the bank of the river, where everything is muddy and slippery, difficult and dangerous. I had hardly returned home when a man came after me on horseback, reporting that a worker’s feet had been severely crushed by a large piece of lumber which was still to be laid on the dam, and hence he was seeking Mr. Thilo to ride out and look at the injury. I have received no further report as to whether the injury was serious. God grant that this accident redound to the good of this man and others. We have to recognize with gratitude that the Lord till now has turned away all dangerous instances in this so important labor, which the Salzburgers recognize as an especial kindness of God.
Friday, the 14th of November. The above mentioned man was, to be sure, dangerously close to having both feet crushed to a pulp when a large tree on the slippery, sloping earth unexpectedly skidded down too fast. But the kind Lord graciously turned away the danger so that, to all appearances nothing was broken, rather only the foot was bruised and somewhat hurt. At our meeting we thanked the Lord for turning away this and all other dangers, for till now no real injuries have occurred. In the Bible story we considered the beautiful circumstances in 2 Samuel 5 to strengthen our faith in the help of the Lord to be able to pay the costs of the current construction of the mill. Just as He was able, contrary to all thought and expectation, to guide the heart of Hiram, a heathen king, to come to David’s help with cedar wood and workmen, free and without recompense in his current want (for indeed at the beginning of his reign, with the troublesome circumstances in Israel, he had neither riches nor supplies), so too He still has the hearts of all men, high and humble, near and far, in His hands and can incline them to us in love and beneficence, as we have indeed had proof enough of the gracious solicitude of our King of Grace throughout this year.
Saturday, the 15th of November. For a few days we have had quite mild weather, but last night the wind veered toward the west; and it has become rather cold. Various people, including Mr. Thilo and his wife, are afflicted by quartan fever; and it seems to him as it did to us from previous experience that this fever has something contagious, in that commonly both husband and wife are inconvenienced by it if one is first infected with it. Because we have been receiving assurances from Savannah, with many examples, that the cautious use of China de China has not a harmful but rather a very good effect, in that those with fever are free from it after a few spasms and attain constant good health, Mr. Thilo is not disinclined to make an attempt with it on a few who desire it, especially since Doctor Ploss from Augsburg recommends this remedy highly.
The N. woman tearfully lamented that last Sunday her husband was again very disquieted by the powerful persuasions from God’s word, which he cannot elude, yet does not wish to obey. He is afraid of hell and would like to go to heaven, if only his heart did not have to be torn loose from everything in a fundamental conversion and his carnal mind nailed to the cross. She had the two youngest boys with her at home, of whom one is being prepared for Holy Communion. They have often been moved and brought to a denial of a few coarse things, but they do not desire a true conversion either; and my admonition today was aimed at that in the most heartfelt manner I could manage. If God’s word were satisfied with people who use the means of salvation diligently and earnestly, and if nothing more were required for Christianity, then N.N. and his children would be good Christians. But that does not suffice, as was pointed out to them and others last Sunday, with several examples. Yesterday evening in the prayer meeting, on the occasion of the important Bible story that was scheduled, I preached the contents of the important verse in Hebrews 5:8-9, from which the N. woman also received new encouragement to conduct her Christianity other than previously. She is now using better words than in past years. Whether it will come to the Truth with her, time will tell.
Sunday, the 16th of November. Some time ago, a few people had revealed a desire to learn the new songs in our songbook this winter as they did last year. Because their desire seems to be a very serious one, we have resolved in the name of the Lord to begin again this week the practice that was blessed in previous times and devote to it twice weekly, to wit, on Monday and Wednesday, one half hour after the evening prayer meeting. This time our first song, whose melody we will learn, will be: Sey hochgelobet, barmhertz’ger Gott, etc., for which we have the following melody:
Once again this morning it was announced that, God willing, we would hold Holy Communion in two weeks, that is to say, on the first Sunday of Advent, with those who would accommodate themselves to divine order according to the instructions they have been given; and at the same time everyone was entreated to see to it that no one would increase and enlarge his old ledger of sin, to his terrible judgment, through a hypocritical and unworthy partaking of Communion.
Monday, the 17th of November. I visited N. to learn how he had applied yesterday’s sermon and the prayer meetings of last week. He was planning to come to me and acknowledge his wicked way of life before and during his marriage and to request instruction in his ignorance and malice, which were more vexatious, he said, than the Prodigal Son’s. Unfortunately, he had lived like other unconverted journeymen and had wantonly dissipated what his mother had earned with the sweat of her brow and had struck many wounds into his conscience through heathen vices. He now wishes (as he expressed it) no longer to go to Holy Communion like a dumb beast, rather he first wishes to turn to God, and if I become aware of the signs of worthy communicants in him or her,9 then they wish to come. They have not learned the catechism at all yet, but they wish to begin now with the Biblical words in it, without the exegesis. They wish us to visit them often and explain to them further what they have not understood in the public sermon, and he had written down for himself the powerful verses he had heard in church. They have both been very ignorant; and, since their eyes are now being opened a little, it is now for them as it was for the blind man to whom people appeared as trees, until through the miraculous power of Christ he received his full sight. It is just good that they recognize and feel their misery and are sighing for help. The Lord Jesus will certainly help them if they faithfully apply the first grace.
Tuesday, the 18th of November. We again held our meeting on the plantations in Ruprecht Steiner’s house after we had been holding it for some weeks in succession in Pichler’s dwelling because of the labor at the mill, where all the men were together. The dam is filled in, hence only the carpenters are working on those things which pertain to the completion of the mill. Kogler told me the water which was supposed to be running over the dam has gone down somewhat, and he had now found a few small streams and ditches to which the high water was diverted but which were easy to block off if necessary. He will therefore be required to lead the water from the river to the mill wheel more deeply than he had previously thought. The Lord has helped so far, He will let us see His help further.
Friday, the 21st of November. Hernberger’s hut10 has been prepared as a dwelling for Mr. Thilo by as many people as we could get. It is a comfortable litle room with a fireplace, as is customary here in this country instead of an oven, and is provided with glass windows; and because he cannot store away all his things here, another hut will be set up for him as soon as possible. The dwelling he has had by now has been requested by the Rhinelaender woman, which I did not deny her, because it was standing empty and she has no dwelling otherwise, since Sanftleben got her plot when she left our place previously. It is difficult to get people for labor, since everyone is busy with his own construction. Last winter various people on the plantations already had timber cut for well protected houses, in the manner in which Ruprecht Steiner’s is built; and they are waiting eagerly for the mill to be completed so that the carpenters can help with the construction. We would also like to begin building the church, the sooner the better. We have progressed so far with the mill that, praise God! this afternoon the water was let onto the wheel. May God Himself lift all difficulties which are still there, according to His wisdom and kindness, and grant the construction people all necessary wisdom and insight. Their faithfulness and steadfastness cannot be seen without edification and joy. A pious Salzburger noted that in this external construction the dear Lord had given Kogler much spiritual profit for his soul and Christianity, as I too noticed today from his own avowal.
Saturday, the 22nd of November. I visited the N.N. woman to take up the catechism with her, to which she has otherwise paid no heed; but she was so weak from fever that I said only one or two things about her preparation for a blessed death through penitence and faith, to the necessity of which her waning powers should also arouse her. She told me a part of the course of her life, in which indeed many perverse things appear. She recounted everything with detestation and regret; and she attested that she considered it a special benefactin of God that she has come to Ebenezer. She had not recognized it previously, but rather had longed for her old life in N.
The N.N. woman is also ill. Her sins against the sixth commandment (among others) are awakening in her. She is getting free of them through restitution; and amidst sighs and tears she is bearing such witness of her previous blindness and malice and likewise of the grace of God now working on her soul that I have reason to rejoice and hope for her conversion. If God converts these two people in a heartfelt manner to Himself, He will indeed perform a special miracle amongst us.
I visited N. and his family. He is increasing well in his Christianity; and, when he accompanied me, he could bear witness that his wife was praying diligently and altering her attitude. She associates diligently with N.’s wife, who is steadfastly serious in her Christianity. However, her husband will not follow her in this, which is a great sorrow to her.
Sunday, the 23rd of November. The banns for Sanftleben and the Arnsdorf woman’s eldest daughter11 were published today for the last time, and they will be married this coming Wednesday. The bride has been coming for a few weeks to the preparation for Holy Communion and will continue to attend this lesson, which is held four times weekly around noontime.
God has granted us the grace, on this last Sunday of this church year, not only to be able to treat His holy word both in town and on the plantations to our edification, but also to come together in the evening prayer meeting as usual to glorify Him for all His kindness and benefactions and to beg for His further blessing and support for ourselves and others. May He further grant us peace and outer calm to conduct our divine services undisturbed, and let us gather His extensive grace for steadfastness in all trials and for all judgments which we fear by and by will fall upon us according to the prefiguration12 of the Jewish people, so that, in Jeremiah 45, we will bring only our souls away from there, for a prey.13 In the gospel for the 25th Sunday after Trinity we had the words of Sirach, ch. 16, vv. 11 & 12, as an introduction.
Monday, the 24th of November. On account of the mill construction hardly any men have been in town for weeks and, because I too had to attend to many things, I postponed for a few weeks the prayer meetings held Monday and Saturday in my house from 1 until 2; but today we gathered once more and had a very gratifying hour together. Previously, we used to read something from the Bible before we prayed, and now and then I drew attention to an edifying example, but that makes the time for prayer short. Hence we now praise God and speak to Him of our own and others’ needs immediately after the hymn, especially since there is no lack of opportunity amongst us to hear many good things. May God let this practice and also the singing lesson we have begun be commended to His blessing.
Tuesday, the 25th of November. Yesterday it was very cold all day, and last night and today before noon it snowed; but during the day, as is usual in this country, the snow melted away. No one is hindered in his field work by the snow or frost, but it is painful for us because we are used to warm days in this country. Ruprecht Steiner’s well protected room serves us very well for holding church in the cold weather, and the members all have seats there. However, because he needs the house for his household, he would like to see a house or good hut built for this purpose on the plantations. But now, since the people have plenty of work for themselves and because the church in town must be built first, there is little hope for it.
Kogler and a few others were occupied yesterday with forging the ironwork that will hold the millstone. Our locksmith has an extremely small bellows, and he could not have forged such strong iron if others had not helped him. Kogler and Rottenberger are skilled in all work and comprehend everything quickly when the need arises. The water in the river has suddenly fallen so much that we observe it quite clearly at the mill. Because it cannot take its old course on account of the stout dam, it presses into the little tributaries which lead toward the island and are probably going to have to be dammed up.
N.N. claims he would heartily like to become as God’s word would have him, but he cannot reach that stage, although he uses the means of salvation earnestly. He wept and asked me to tell him where the problem lay. I told him it could not lie with God, for He earestly desires his conversion and offers him every power for it from His gospel; therefore it lies only with him. His heart does not wish to be free of everything, I said, and therefore his conversion is not honest. I instructed him how to arrange his prayer and the treatment of God’s word and how to watch over himself, his prayer, and the heard and received word of God, and how he should wage his struggle against himself and his chief enemies earnestly and be perfectly steadfast in everything. If he performed his prayer with the proper earnestness, I certainly believe God would let him recognize from the sermons, or from a good book such as Arndt’s Christianity, what obstacles lie in the path to his conversion. When he recognizes these, he should apply faith in removing them. I also warned him not to voice his scruples, doubts, and frequent confusion of mind before others, as he has often done; for much harm and vexation come from it. He is an old sinner, like deep-rusted iron, which is expensive to clean and make shiny: a comparison he could well understand. I also admonished him to be acquainted with simple, pious people who would be very useful to him with their experience, for I know from the examples of various people that they have received much enlightenment and insight from the words of simple Christians and also remembered with blessings what they had seen and heard of Christians who have passed away. His wife corroborated that and recounted what had befallen her before she departed from Salzburg. The authorities wished to compel her to abjure the Evangelical truth she recognized, but this she could not do. When she returned home weeping, she met an old beggar seated at the fountain who inquired into the cause of her tears and lamentation and comforted her, saying that she just should leave the country and she would not lose a hair on her head, for every one of them was numbered by God. These words brought her much profit.
Wednesday, the 26th of November. Sanftleben was married today on his newly built dwelling on his plantation, to which he had invited a few righteous persons. We edified ourselves from the little verse in 2 Peter 2:9, which agreed very well with the matter recently preached from the gospel.
A certain person was also present; and, because she wishes to go to Holy Communion with her husband, I asked her whether she had the properties and marks of a godly person, such as were presented in the abovementioned little verse, and to this she replied no. The husband was at home, somewhat sick, hence I visited him and showed him that, as much as he fancied himself a good Christian, he still had not experienced what stands in verse 18 of the 26th chapter of Acts of the Apostles. Hence he should pray diligently for his eyes to be opened and should turn to God, before wishing to go to Holy Communion. We had very little opportunity to associate with him and his wife, nor do they hold diligently to God’s word and to good opportunities; they always know how to make excuses for themselves, but on bad grounds. I visited a few more persons on the plantations and found that they are diligently practicing their catechism and are already profiting from it.
N. is not treading in the path of his pious and very earnest wife. From his manifold errors I persuaded him of his still unaltered heart and talked with him and her of many sorts of necessary things; he accepted this and thanked me for my openhearted chastisement.
Thursday, the 27th of November. I called on the N.N. woman and reminded her of the verse: “Let your light so shine,” etc. She claimed the Lord was beginning to effect a true conversion in her, but, I said, she had vexed other people by her words and deeds, hence she would have to redress such vexations through a pious and righteous deportment and show other people, and therefore also the Landfelder woman with whom she was involved from time to time, by her Christian deportment that she was walking on the path of conversion. For else, if she did not prove herself cautious in words and deeds and shun all appearance of evil and still went to Holy Communion, she and I would be condemned and maligned as if I were partial. I told her at the same time that an annoying gossip between her and two other women on Saturday had given me the opportunity for this admonition. She took the admonition well and testified that she and her son would properly convert themselves rather than come to this holy supper as she had done previously. She had dishonored her Savior severely; with His support it should not happen again. From her I learned that N.N.’s wife also had sinned through hard words in anger and had committed an injustice against someone through ungrounded suspicion and accusations. Hence I went to her and discussed the situation with her in detail. She is earnestly intent upon reconciling herself with God and men.
Friday, the 28th of November. We resolved some time ago to thank the Lord our God at an especially scheduled hour in the orphanage for the harvest we have had. Yesterday at the prayer meeting we learned from the story of David how he not only made every effort to avoid everything that might serve to dishonor his great God, his allhighest Benefactor, and to disgrace His name but also brought Him honor and praise for all His blessings and also caused others to do so too, by which he also, as it were, paved a way for further blessings. 2 Samuel 5:17-24. Thus we encouraged one another to gather together this evening in the orphanage with all those who recognize the good hand of God that is held over us and to join together in praise of God. The late Pastor Freylinghausen preached a very edifying sermon to the Salzburgers in Halle14 concerning the 124th Psalm, which sermon I treated at this meeting. I reminded the listeners, both young and old, of the goodness of the Lord that has ruled over us not only previously but also now in this strange land that is surrounded by enemies; and I encouraged them to recognize their Evangelical duties. There was quite a nice group of us. May God be pleased with this exercise for the sake of Christ, His beloved son. When the mill has been completely built, we will also schedule a morning on the plantations to praise God both for the harvest and also for the construction of the mill and to call upon Him for His continued blessing.
Friday, the 29th of November. Two German men from Old Ebenezer had had their names written down under the Confessor is;15 but they did not come to me until shortly after the act of confession, and because there was no time remaining to test them according to God’s word, they had to abstain this time from Holy Communion. But they had not come in vain, for they attended the preparation for Holy Communion with the others and were able to learn many things necessary for them concerning Psalm 51:19; and in the evening prayer meeting they learned about the last part of the story from 2 Samuel 5, and also about the 144th Psalm, which pertains to it. One of them had forgotten the catechism he had learned in his youth and got this little book from me in order to familiarize himself again with the main items from it. On this last day of the church year the Lord has once more given us many good things from His word, may He make us faithful and grateful. From these two men I learned that General Oglethorpe is said to be dangerously ill and that there are doubts about his recovery. This news was supposed to have been brought from Frederica by an Englishman who was passing through. We do not believe it but wish to apply it to praying that much more diligently for this dear benefactor.
N.N., a former orphan girl, whom N.N. took on some time ago at her earnest request, has more than once insisted and is now insisting most movingly that she be taken back into the orphanage. Through all sorts of external suffering God has caused her to recognize her previous misbehavior, and He has more or less broken her obstinate nature. Physically she is rather sickly and not fit for hard labor; and, because she would like to be nearer God’s word for her true conversion, it may well happen that she will be taken back into the orphanage.
N.N. was formerly disobedient to God’s word; but now that she is striding nearer and nearer to death from a wasting disease, which appears to be consumption, she is beginning to be mindful of the salvation of her soul. Now, we are admitting her to Holy Communion in good hope. The Lord will help and find means to win even the frivolous children by and by.
Sunday, the 30th of November. On this first Sunday of Advent there were thirty-four of us at the Lord’s Table.
In this new church year the gospels are being used as the basis of the morning devotional hour, as is customary in our Lutheran church. Until now God has always given us much edification from it so that we could especially come to know our dear Savior in His merciful blessings. In this year of the support of the Holy Ghost, He will also permit us to apply everything to the proper preparation for blessed eternity. Afternoons we will go through the catechism with young and old, since the customary Sunday and holy day epistles, which are so full of power and sweetness, were preached and explained to the congregation last year. If I am alone in the town on Sundays, I plan to treat the catechism through questions and answers in the prayer meeting on Saturday, so that I will have extra time on Sunday afternoons to treat the material preached before noon, which has been blessed in almost all the members so far.
Monday, the 1st of December. N.N.1 has been in service for a year in N.; and, because his year is up, he is returning to our place. He had a proper longing for it so that, if he could not have fulfilled his wish, he would have gotten ill, as he said, and likely have died. God’s word amongst us has been very dear to him. His brother is still having it rather difficult in physical matters, and physical nourishment is difficult for him because he does not understand agriculture properly and has not the strength for it and otherwise has no assistance.2 Nonetheless he is constantly satisfied with God’s care and prefers to suffer hunger and grief rather than do without the edification of his soul and the advancement of good in our place. The one who returned to us is of a like mind. There are still other poor people amongst us in the congregation whom we would gladly succor in their need, if only the means were there. The purpose of the material gifts would certainly be reached in them. Concerning the Lord Jesus, it is often written in the gospels that the need and misery of men caused Him grief and that He had actually remedied them. He will also demonstrate to us in His time that the need of His poor members in our congregation lies on His merciful pontifical3 heart.
The news has come from Charlestown that the city has been burned almost to ashes in a conflagration. And, because many warehouses and the merchandise in them were burned up, the price of provisions and other wares are rising sharply. The sins of Charlestown are very great and because no penitence followed on the last penitential sermon of God, when through a pestilential illness quite many were suddenly carried off, God is coming with new judgments.
Tuesday, the 2nd of December. This morning we received the news that Peter Gruber had died suddenly on his plantation, where he intended to set up his cottage with four other men today. Previously he had complained about nothing but his old ailment, which often pressed his chest. Of him we can hope not only from love but also with reason that he has attained the peace of the people of God, for which he has longed for a considerable time. Since he married the pious Moshammer’s widow,4 God has worked hard on him through her service for his true conversion. Since worry about making a living had been his strong enemy in previous times and had done him much harm in his Christianity (about which he complained to me with many tears), God helped him to overcome this too and lightened his housekeeping and the first establishment of his plantation for him. Yesterday towards evening I visited him and his coworker at the construction and learned that while eating with the other men he had edified himself anew with the introductory words of Sunday: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand,” etc., words which brought him much spiritual profit. In the evening he attended the prayer meeting on 2 Samuel 6 and heard, among other things, the little verse in Acts of the Apostles, ch. 13, “For David after he had served his own generation by the will of God,” at which we reminded the people that after the death of a Christian nothing more beautiful can be said to praise him than that he served God and His will and therefore died as a faithful servant of God.
In the morning before his departure for work he had held quite an edifying conversation with the young Zuebli,5 who was helping him; and just as they were at the point of making a small fire at their work, he suddenly fell over and died. When I mentioned this unexpected instance of death during the sermon on the plantations, it made a special impression on the listeners, who had all liked the man. We all have cause to make use of this case, especially at the beginning of this new church year. God’s wisdom has ordained that at this time in the prayer meetings we are involved with the observance of the remarkable circumstances in which the ark of God was brought up to the fortress of Zion, in which we are given salutary lessons on the earnest attainment of salvation and on the faithful application of the treasured gospels of Christ. The body was placed in a coffin on the plantations and was brought to town at the request of the widow; it will be buried tomorrow in our churchyard.
Wednesday, the 3rd of December. The Gruber woman, as a true Christian, is very composed at this occurrence, which indeed affects her in flesh and blood. This can only be edifying to others who associate with her. She knows that one spouse is only lent to the other for a short time, as it were, and that, when it is pleasing to the Lord, He requests His own and takes it back. Zant was particularly affected by this death. He had received half of his nearby plantation from Gruber and enjoyed his help in every facet of his work. I admonished Zant to lament this current trial to the almighty and gracious God, his dear Father in Christ, in a simple manner and to beg for His gracious guidance in his current and future circumstances. If he can make me some suggestions as to how he can be lodged with someone for his physical labor, I wish to contribute my utmost to his maintenance, for he is worth it. The external arrangement of his housekeeping, which still has not been completed, has caused him many difficult struggles in his Christianity. Since the beginning he has received no good land. A good piece might have been sought out for him on Abercorn Creek, but for him it was too far from the town and from good opportunity for edification; and, since he was not married, he could not manage it alone.
The N.N. woman continues to ask for her little girl to be taken into the orphanage because she, as a widow, is not in a position to keep her three children in clothes and other necessities. I told her that what worried me was that, if her little girl came under exacting supervision and discipline, she would now and then take her complaints to her mother and cause trouble amongst us, which I could not allow. Also, I said, she would have to wait until the girl was free of quartan fever, in the meantime we would see what was best. We are hoping the Lord will cause His little well of kindness to flow over us, because we are once more in need. This year the field crops did not turn out as richly as we had hoped at the beginning, and the orphanage as well received much less corn and other crops than in the previous year. May the Lord just let us enjoy all these undeserved gifts with gratitude, in acknowledgement of all our unworthiness.
Thursday, the 4th of December. We are having little rain this year, rather almost always dry weather, hence the water in the river is as low as it has ever been. An Indian family that was with us once before has come back to our place. Now there is nothing in the fields, and therefore they will not be able to steal the crops from our people as before.
Our boat went to Savannah today; and, when it returns, we will learn whether Mr. Jones has come back from Mr. Oglethorpe. He wished to arrange with him various important things concerning our congregation; and doubtless he will do his utmost for our benefit, since he is an honest man and our friend and patron. Last year, Mr. Oglethorpe had promised the Salzburgers one shilling for each harvested bushel of crops. Other people in and around Savannah have received theirs, but the money did not reach as far as us. We also need assistance with the mill; and we hope Mr. Oglethorpe will fulfill this promise when he learns from Mr. Jones that it has been completed and that the expenses are not being applied in vain, as is the case of other constructions in this country. The congregation was also supposed to get seven horses for surveillance in our woods; and, because there are no horses to be had in this country and they have to be brought in from Carolina, Mr. Jones will endeavor to procure such horses from us as were brought from St. Augustine. Our congregation would need these horses especially because of their cattle, which run free in the woods. The congregation has only a single horse which has done much service at the mill and must be used everywhere.
Friday, the 5th of December. Before the devotional hour I was at the mill and found the carpenters at a new labor. They are building themselves three boats which they will find necessary for their own use, and one for the mill. The mill is completely finished and has a fine appearance. It lacks nothing but a little more water and then we could grind. The water is as low as it is wont to be in the dry summer, and we were resigned right from the beginning that we would be unable to grind at very high or very low water.
A few men also got together and built a stout bridge over a very swampy spot through which cows and horses could not pass without danger, and this is very convenient for us when we take the nearer way to Ruprecht Steiner’s on the plantations. One thing after another will be set in order if God gives life and health.
We suffer much distress because of the church discipline, which must be treated publicly or privately from time to time, according to the nature of the circumstances; and indeed we must let ourselves be judged. Also, if we do not always reach our intended goals, we have trouble and spiritual disquiet. Today I learned, to my comfort, that the N.N.6 woman often remembers what a great benefaction it has been to her from the start that we disciplined and awed her husband, who acted like a tyrant towards her first in Germany and then in Carolina. She could not break his anger until she humbly said she would be obliged to make known his demeanor to us. Whereas it had been like hell to live with him previously, she said, at our place she had had almost only good days. But with the husband we could not accomplish what we would have liked, hence God laid His judgments on him, for in Purysburg he lost his life in the water as a drunkard. And thus came about what he had often said to his wife in anger: he did not wish to die in Ebenezer. With N. and N. and his old mother7 we also have recalcitrant people who have to keep themselves within external bounds because of church discipline, but who otherwise allow nothing to be accomplished in them. May God convert them before His judgments come.
Saturday, the 6th of December. This morning I visited N. and his wife to learn how they were both conducting their Christianity. The woman is making fine use of what is being preached to her from God’s word, and she brought forth all sorts of edifying things from the treasury of her heart. At the beginning her husband was not in the hut, and she told me that some weeks ago he had begun to conduct his Christianity more earnestly than before. Because we could not justify him in a certain matter, but rather employed the necessary earnestness with him, he had decided to move away, but his pious wife set him aright. I told them both what I knew of the Gruber woman, to wit, that our loving God had blessed in her the word and example of her first husband, the late Moshammer, for her true conversion, and after the late Peter Gruber, who has now also died, married her, she had again increased in him the grace she had received and had given him an opportunity for true Christianity and proper preparation for blessed eternity. Whenever people travel the shorter path to the plantations, they always have to cross Gruber’s plantation, and therefore (God grant!) those who pass back and forth will often remember, to their salvation, the late man and his unexpected end.
After the home prayer meeting the Gruber woman stayed behind to discuss something concerning her external circumstances. I must marvel greatly at her well-composed mind, her insight into the will of God, which causes everything to happen as it should, her Christian resignation, and her good application of everything that took place with her dear husband. Her words were as impressive and edifying, if not more so, than what had been said in the entire prayer meeting preceding our talks. Her example (since she is only a poor simple woman who cannot read) reminded me of the beautiful words from Psalm 19: “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making the wise simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
The late Peter Gruber did much labor on his fruitful and well laid out plantation, for he not only protected half of his land with a good stout fence, but also prepared lumber and shingles for a snug cottage. Two years ago he had already cleared a large piece of land of trees and bushes, but he could not enjoy it because it lacked a fence until now. He had no neighbors and, because he could not complete the fence by himself, Zant went to his assistance and received one half of this plantation, as we were also willing to proffer him all possible assistance. But now the fence will be useless until God shows what might be done further. The widow lives near the orphanage and from it will enjoy all possible assistance with her little one-year-old son.
I did not find Ruprecht Zittrauer and his wife at home. I would have liked to examine what they have learned from the catechism and the word of God since my last visit.
N. and his wife are very diligent. He has taught her the words of the catechism without exegesis and will also continue with the remainder. God is still visiting these people with many physical woes in that they not only are very poor but also are quite frail. During the conversation, the woman mentioned her husband’s blood-letting, at which time she had noticed that his blood was very thick and sticky. I asked him whether he was fretting and was sad and anxious, for this gives the blood such qualities. He could not fully deny it, but he also testified that his sadness stemmed more from the miserable condition of his soul than from temporal things. Because he cannot yet achieve a correct essence of Christianity, I entreated him to find through prayer and reflection the cause of his lack of progress, which was not to be sought in God but rather on his part. Usually he is quite earnest, prays diligently, and likes to hear and read God’s word. May God just let him truly recognize his arch enemy, which indeed is selfishness!
Sunday, the 7th of December. In this church year, instead of the epistles, we will work through the catechism in the afternoon through questions and answers. Because my dear colleague seeks to edify the congregation every two weeks on the plantations and is therefore unable to treat the catechism on one Sunday in town, he intends to go over the matters he will preach out there on Sundays at Saturday’s evening prayer meeting with the children for the edification of the members; and this was begun yesterday, with the first commandment. May God give His rich blessing also to this labor!
The dear Lord has honored me with many blessings in the repetition hours, which I would like very much to maintain. In the evening prayer meeting on Sunday, we will have to make different arrangements, however, for a few children are slow in it and become sleepy. We are thinking of putting the lazy and inattentive children under the supervision of a man, perhaps the schoolmaster, who can read a few chapters from the Bible with them, and sing and pray; and this will be more useful for them than sitting idle and sleepy in the prayer meeting.
Monday, the 8th of December. N.N. remained behind after the evening prayer meeting to speak with me alone. He tearfully acknowledged that till now he had sinned considerably. His conscience, he said, had been awakened by the unforeseen death of Peter Gruber, and he had made the earnest resolution not to sadden us any longer through his impenitence and sinfulness but rather to let himself be instructed and brought to a true conversion. He wished to come to me after the evening prayer meeting as long as he was working in town so that I could instruct him as a very ignorant man. However, because my strength is rather exhausted after the prayer meeting by my daily labors, I cannot accede to this wish, as much as I would like to. He will easily find Christian people in the orphanage and elsewhere who will discuss and treat useful things with him if he is really concerned with this. I still don’t trust him.
Tuesday, the 9th of December. Simon Steiner is said to be very ill, hence arrangements were made for Mr. Thilo to go to him on the plantation. He is a beginner on the plantation, dwells at the farthest end, and is very poor; hence he cannot maintain himself in his bodily weaknesses as he should and his attacks are increasing. May our merciful, pious Savior accept all poor and distressed people among us and place us in a position to come to their aid in their troublesome circumstances.
Today we had a very cold north wind, which brought us a very hard frost during the night. The Indians’ fires ignited the grass in the woods near town and some pine trees; and, because the wind was blowing heavily, we were afraid that damage might be done to the fences near town. People were posted at watch to call others there if the need arose.
A woman had come to me in regard to some external matters, but she was very edifying for me with her spiritual conversation. She was living entirely with the aid of her Savior. These words were very important and sweet to her: “Were the Child not born for us, then we would all be lost. We have all been saved.”8 She lamented that the great salvation in Christ was still so little acknowledged by men; by nature they had no desire for it. She saw that in her little child with sorrow; it was happy to pray but, when it was time to pray and incline its heart and hands to Christ, there was much recalcitrance. She added that she feared a snake greatly but feared sin even more, for through it body and soul perish in hell.
Wednesday, the 10th of December. Someone told me something disturbing; and, because this person had often asked me to tell her candidly everything wrong that I saw or heard, I did that today when she gave me the opportunity in a conversation. She took it well; but, through fear of others, she was not frank, and this caused her to be anxious and to weep after I had departed. She had implored God tearfully and prayerfully to ordain for me to return soon to her dwelling so that she could confess openly and apologize for the falsehood. Shortly before the prayer meeting my heart was inclined to go to her once more, not knowing exactly why myself. But I soon discovered the cause from her many tearful words; and from this she could also take comfort that God had heard her prayer in the matter, although she was not worthy of it because of her lack of candor.
Thursday, the 11th of December. A man is learning to recognize that he has earned his sickness and still much greater distress through his sins. The sins of his youth are indeed right numerous. He is very distressed that he grieved his old, pious mother, a widow for thirty years, with his coarse disobedience and also moved to the new world without her knowledge and against her wishes. She has many sons; but they have all turned out badly and are scattered around the world so that she gets little information from them. He wishes to write to her what God is doing for him in America and to beg forgiveness for the sins he committed against her. May God help them both come to a true conversion. There is still disunity between the married couple sometimes; for it is hard to avoid what has once become a habit and second nature.
Friday, the 12th of December. Simon Steiner, who is dangerously ill and so far distant on his plantation that we cannot visit him as often as we would like, has a good treasure in his heart which he will now certainly use. Our loving Savior blessed him richly during the last Holy Communion service. At that time the confessional contained the little verse: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,” etc., and from this he recognized that God had let him feel his sins in previous times in just such a way as was stated in this verse, and thus he was admonished in the sermon. He said he had gone from one nook and cranny to another but his awakened conscience followed him everywhere, and indeed he had to feel how sin stirred up anger. He lamented herewith his lack of faith, etc. When I talked of the saddened and burdened sinners whom the Lord Jesus calls to Himself, and one thing and another came up which pleased him, he nodded to his wife and said several times she might take note of it, for that is what happens when a person converts and comes to grace, etc. The man is so poor that he cannot provide clothes and blankets for his little child, who is only four months old. I promised him I would have some old clothing provided for it. His previous illness stopped him from weathering his cottage, hence in this too he has had to get along badly in this cold winter.
Many people are wishing along with me that the construction of the church can begin after Christmas; and in this matter I admonished the construction people today. However, I do not know whether we will get to it, as they have lost so much time at the mill, contrary to expectation, and now wish to build dwellings they need for themselves; and in addition the time is again approaching when they should clear and prepare their land for planting. I would be sorry if we could not at least make a beginning of it this winter. Mr. N.9 would put an especially bad interpretation on it; he would have liked to see the church built long ago, for while in England he had strongly argued the necessity of this construction. Since he intends to go to England, he would like to give written and oral reports of the good application of the money that was collected. May God make possible what seems impossible and help to overcome all difficulties!
Saturday, the 13th of December. The dear Lord, in His wisdom and kindness has ordained that we observe, at this inspiring time of Advent, the 6th chapter of the first Book of Samuel, according to the schedule in the prayer meeting, from which we learn many things of importance through His grace and assistance, things which provide us beautiful opportunities for the proper perception of the present time of grace and for the appropriate preparation of our hearts for the celebration of Christmas. May the Lord only cause us to deal right faithfully with the good He has brought on our hearts and consciences through the effect of the Holy Spirit, so that His treasured name will be exalted and our salvation advanced. Because the circumstances of this story are very important, we are dwelling on it longer than we usually do. What matters is not to dash rapidly from one chapter to another, but to turn the divine truths, as it were, into succum & sanguinem.10
Sunday, the 14th of December. I received news from Old Ebenezer that Mr. Jones was still in Frederica with General Oglethorpe and would hardly come back to Savannah before Christmas. We are anxious to hear from him because he promised to put in every good word for us and to bring back the money for paying the shilling promised for each bushel of crops harvested last year. Kogler was at my house and told me that (praise God!) during the night between Friday and Saturday he got enough water for grinding. From his description I could see that he hopes to grind six bushels of fine meal in twenty-four hours, which will be a great advantage to our congregation. Praise God who has helped so far! May He deign to incline the hearts of the construction people to go with willing and faithful hearts to the building of the church so that we can gather more conveniently to hold public services. The old church hut has had to be torn down because otherwise it would have soon collapsed and might have injured people or cattle in falling.
Monday, the 15th of December. The news of the dangerous conflagration in Charlestown is being confirmed. In seven hours three hundred houses are said to have burned down, and amongst them the store houses of the most prominent merchants. Last week in the orphanage there might have been fire damage through the carelessness of a woman, if the Lord had not turned it away, for which His name be praised. This week several outbuildings are being erected which we have lacked till now. We still hope for a new influx of a material blessing from Europe. In the meantime we manage as best we can, and those who have done any labor in the orphanage give it on trust until we have the means to pay them.
Tuesday, the 16th of December. Our song hour, which is held Mondays and Wednesdays after the prayer meeting, is very edifying for all those who come to it with proper hearts; and the Lord grants us many blessings through song and prayer. Through the word previously preached in the prayer meeting the Lord awakens our spirits so that we can then sing and play in our hearts before the Lord all the more enthusiastically. In a few weeks we have been learning: Entzünde dich in Andacht, etc., Sey hochgelobt, barmherziger Gott, etc. Auf Zion auf! auf Tochter, etc. Eins Christen Hertz sehnt sich, etc. Wach auf, wach auf, du sichre Welt, etc. Das Leben unsers Königs siegt, etc. and Kommt seyd gefasst zum Lammes-Mahl, etc., which will also be sung publicly in the congregation by and by. God be praised for the beautiful blessing in song!
After the devotional hour on the plantations I went to the mill to have a look for myself at what several people had already told me. Although the water is low and has fallen since yesterday, Kogler had made six bushels of corn into fine flour during the night; and from this we can see that with good water more than the six bushels assumed recently can be ground in twenty-four hours on these two millstones. The sight of this now usable mill inspired me to great joy and much praise of God. It is my intention to thank the Lord publicly with the congregation at a time set aside for it. Who would have thought seven or only a few years ago that our loving God would help our Ebenezer so far that the first mill in Georgia and Carolina could be constructed here. Whoever amongst us has eyes to see marvels at the undeserved kindness of the Lord and is inspired by it to His praise and is strengthened in faith of further divine aid, without which our dear Ebenezer could not be what it is and still can be. We should now have a proper miller who understands the construction and can arrange, alter, and improve one thing and another according to the situation, since all such machines are indeed subject to change. Kogler, who built the mill with the assistance of the entire congregation, is best fitted for it and is also untiring in serving the congregation, but he is our most prominent carpenter, and his talent can be better applied. Perhaps the dear Lord will indicate someone who is fitted for it. In the orphanage we have a volunteer servant named Herzog, who learned the miller’s trade and ground a lot in Salzburg; but his hearing is poor and he is subject to many weaknesses of body and spirit and therefore might be incompetent for this, although the orphanage, for love of the congregation, will gladly let him go.
Until now we have had constantly dry, cold weather, but today we heard thundering, and thereupon we got heavy rain, which made my journey hither somewhat difficult. Through this rain the mill will doubtless get sufficient water. Above the mill a small stream flows into the land and finally drops into a creek or an arm of the Savannah River running towards Abercorn. This small river is now blocked with boards at its confluence, but if there is too much water at the mill we hope to lead it away by opening this small river so that there will be less danger for the dam. But we are nonetheless resigning ourselves to suffer all kinds of trials in the first year, and experience will indeed teach our people all kinds of things about it. But we already know from experience that everything the Lord ordains for us has to work to our advantage.
Wednesday, the 17th of December. Last night the wind stormed so violently that we thought it would tear down huts and garden fences, and indeed it did do some damage. It brought us such a freeze as we have never seen in Ebenezer. The thick ice stood throughout the entire day, even though the sun was shining hot. Towards evening the strong wind abated, and perhaps the harsh cold may also abate, especially since the weather here in the country is very changeable. Poor people suffer especially at night with the cold.
Thursday, the 18th of December. The cold has not decreased but rather increased. Everyone is saying we have never had a freeze like it and that it could hardly be greater even in Germany. Necessity will require the Salzburgers by and by to construct houses as stout as they had in their fatherland, for it seems to be getting colder every year. This probably stems from the woods being more and more cut down, giving more room to the free wind. In town it is colder than on the plantations.
This year the people have gotten very few sweet potatoes because the weather has been too dry and also because the mice have done much harm. Otherwise the same thing would have happened to them as to the pumpkins, which, as was recounted, froze by the hundreds if they did not lie in a proper, warm spot. In the orphanage there is an oven only in the room where the manager with his family and the widow Schweighofer dwell. When the cold is very severe the oven is enjoyed by ill persons during the day as well as by some girls who work at sewing. The remainder make do with a great fire in the well-protected cottage. I told them today that, if they feared God and thanked Him heartily for the many spiritual and physical benefactions they had already received, it would be an easy thing for Him to bestow one or more ovens for their comfort. Now the beautiful prefiguration of Christ, the Ark of the Covenant in Obededom’s house was in our minds, cf. Genesis 39:5.
For some time I have set the Psalms of David as the basis of the preparation lessons for Holy Communion and tried to preach from them, by question and answer, that which pertains to faith and the Christian life, with quotations from other biblical verses and also to have the basic and principal verses learned by heart. Amongst the ones being prepared there are a few married women, who are more in need of instruction than the remaining children. Because Pastor Freylinghausen’s Compendium Theologiae11 previously brought about much edification through God’s blessing when we went through it with a few preparatory students, I have begun once more to preach one article after the other from it simply and briefly, and to inculcate the subjoined verses as proof, clarification, and confirmation of the truth. The articles of faith adhere to one another beautifully at this point, and we also show the duty and comfort that flow therefrom, and we always have a fine thread of repetition at hand. May God give wisdom to me; and to the members of the class, who at this time number ten, i.e., two boys, six girls, and two women. May He give hearts and ears that are opened, so that the goal we are seeking herein will be achieved, to His glory and the salvation of us all! If we had more copies of such compendia we would give them to the preparatory students so that they could diligently repeat the Christian doctrines in them with their families at home. But I have been able to serve only the two women in this manner.
Friday, the 19th of December. We have long had in mind to schedule a special hour on the plantations, as we did in town, wherein we might mutually praise the Lord our God for His assistance during the construction of the mill as well as for the blessing of the harvest we received and invigorate ourselves through the divine word. This hour was held today at the usual place for public divine services. In the Bible story we first observed what is recounted concerning the blessing that originated in the house of Obededom for the sake of the Ark of the Covenant, 2 Samuel 6. Not only the faithful amongst us, but also strangers at our place have recognized and attested both orally and in writing that the Lord is amongst us with His blessing. Hence it is indeed a great shame for those amongst us who are still blind to the footprints of the Lord’s blessing to enjoy the divine kindness and nonetheless not to recognize and glorify it. Thereby we pointed out with examples what God had done just this year in other spiritual and physical kindnesses, but especially in the harvest and in the construction of the mill, for which He not only made the workers willing and joyful but also mercifully turned away all injuries and accidents.
This kindness of God should awaken the faithful to praise Him, but others should know that God wishes to lead them to penitence through it. Otherwise severity and chastisement will follow, as is to be seen in the case of Usa and other examples, cf. Luke 13:1 ff. Hereby everyone was inspired to true godliness which is inherent in the promise of this and the future life, as we were also able to recognize quite beautifully in the example of the pious Joseph, Genesis 39:4, and from the 128th Psalm, which were read aloud. Finally we knelt down and praised the name of the Lord and we called to Him to grant what is required for the building costs at the mill as well as to give His blessing to the intended church construction, so that the builders may cheerfully set about it with willing, faithful, and disinterested hearts.
Saturday, the 20th of December. The great cold and raw winds have died down, to be sure, but in place of them we had really cold rain storms yesterday afternoon and last night, and it was also cold and gloomy throughout the entire day. The water, which dropped quite low with the frost, is beginning to rise once more; and this will be very useful for the mill. Everyone would like to have some flour for the holiday, which is very hard to get from the hand mills, and also practically all of them are ruined.
Coming in from the plantations I met the N. woman, who had intended to speak to me regarding her serving girl, who would like to go to another woman. This girl was very spiteful and unruly at first, but subsequently she has improved so much that she may be very well employed. The N. woman told me that she had sought the change and improvement in the girl with much praying and imploring to God and that she had been heard therein (as she told with great joy). Because the girl had already been yearning a few weeks ago to go to the other woman, and the N. woman did not know what action would be proper according to God’s will, she and her husband decided to lay the matter humbly and diligently before the heavenly Father. He would arrange the matter of her remaining or leaving according to His paternal will; selfishness would only generate unrest. And since everything was right for her departure, they were quite satisfied if only the girl were aided in body and soul.
I believe that things would look better here and everywhere if everyone amongst us with bad children would act as this woman did and would not simply let others pray for them and work on them, but rather would do it themselves earnestly and diligently and also give them a good and constant example through a righteous Christian behavior. Many parents are not properly united, one is converted and leads an earnest Christian life, but the other does not. This causes great harm in raising children.
In the afternoon my dear colleague had visited the sick Simon Steiner and given him instruction and comfort from God’s word. He still has the difficult and dangerous condition he has long had, and the medicines he is using still have no effect. At the beginning of the week Mr. Thilo will have the opportunity to travel to him, as he finds it necessary himself. The good man is very ill in his badly protected hut in this cold weather; he is on the plantation farthest from us on the mill stream, hence we cannot go to his aid as often as might be necessary.
Sunday, the 21st of December. The weather is very changeable. Last night such a hoar-frost fell that the ground and trees appeared as if it had snowed. Nonetheless the cold was easy to take after the sun began to shine delightfully, and it bothered us little at the meeting. Today’s evening prayer meeting was as edifying to me, and doubtless to others, and as blessed in my heart, as hardly any other in previous times. We had put the children who had previously tended to be lethargic together under the supervision of the schoolmaster in a room in my house. He read through with them the edifying little book called Christ’s Gift,12 and thus we had space to bend our knees in good order. And, whereas we usually prayed alone in the prayer meetings (which are held every two weeks when we share the labor, one on the plantations and one here), today we let a few pious male members pray; and this doubtless gives others a good impression since it takes place very heartily. We are thinking of continuing in this manner. May the Lord bless everything for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ!
A young girl tearfully asked me to admit her to the prayer meeting; she will be admitted in the future because she is a child in whom we have good hope. Such good shall occur to other children if they let the preached word of God awaken them from their sleep of certainty and bring them to earnestness in their Christianity. Before the prayer we sing one or more of the privately learned songs; pious members see this as a great benefaction, and those who attend the divine services in town and can be present at the evening prayer meeting as well have an advantage over the others. Today we sang the two songs: Wach auf, wach auf, du sichre Welt, etc., Liebster Jesu, liebstes Leben, etc., which were sung aloud quite accurately and devoutly. Oh, what a pleasure it is for us to be in such a gathering! We hear from their prayers how heartily they praise God, and will do so even better in heaven, that, according to His wise providence, He has brought them together in this corner of the world to prepare for blessed eternity. Publicly and privately they request many blessings as compensation for the worldly Senior Urlsperger in particular and for other dear benefactors in Europe whom the Lord is using as blessed instruments for this purose.
Monday, the 22nd of December. In the recent hour of thanksgiving on the plantations I made mention of the sermon on the 124th Psalm which the late Professor Freylinghausen held for the Salzburgers who had come to Halle and with which we familiarized ourselves in the public thanksgiving in town. Today one of the leaders fetched a few such little books, and I wish to give a few to those people who want to gather together and edify themselves for them. We have good reason to retain such sermons as were held for the Salzburgers after their emigration, as a constant good reminder. The above-mentioned Mr. Freylinghausen edified another transport of Salzburgers with I Peter 1:18-19 and had the sermon on it printed, of which I sent out two copies. It is a very heartfelt sermon and well worth reading.
I received from a pious merchant13 in Savannah a short letter in which he reported that Mr. N.14 had returned from his long journey a week ago Saturday during the night. He reports at the same time that he was intending to return to London next month. Perhaps after the celebration the Lord will grant us time and strength to write a few letters to Europe, since with him we would have a good and safe opportunity to send along our diary, which once more is starting to become rather heavy. Oh, how we yearn for news of the circumstances of our dear fathers and benefactors!
Tuesday, the 23rd of December. Prior to the devotional hour I visited the sick Simon Steiner and sought to place a few Christmas verses in his heart. They were ones which he himself knew by heart and which he might most easily remember, for now his powers of thought and mind are very weak. He reminded his wife to keep the verses safe, so that she can recite them to him again. He has a longing and desire for God’s word as great as that of a new-born child for the mother’s milk. He added that, if God helped him recover, he would not remain on the plantation because he was too far distant from God’s word to hear it publicly and often. He was also suffering loss in his physical nourishment, to be sure, and had lost three pigs just a short time previously; but that did not cause him (praise God!) the least unease, rather he was concerned only with the salvation of his soul and with spiritual pastures. I consoled him by promising to talk further with him on this when God had made him well. Now he should only be concerned with comprehending the salvation of Jesus better and better, like Zacheus, and with gaining a sure footing in the gospel of the dear Savior, which was so comforting for all the mourners at Zion. He is making some improvement, and it would come sooner if he did not have to put up with so much cold in his poor cottage. He is requesting something for his extreme need, which will also be provided today.
A man from town attended the preparation for the holy celebration on the plantations; and, when he came to me, he attested his joy at God’s ordaining for him to hear what was preached about the story in 2 Samuel 6, cf. I Chronicles 16, for this purpose. He is one of those who thank God hundreds of times for leading them here. A woman said today that she thought to herself that the first thing she would do in heaven would be to glorify the Lord with a transfigured mouth for the grace He had shown her in Ebenezer and also to thank the worthy Senior Urlsperger for assisting her in moving to Ebenezer. Throughout the entire Advent season, we have been suckling, as it were, from the beautiful story, which we are still reading; and, because we compare other passages of the Old and New Testament with it, we are going through it slowly, to be sure, but from it we are receiving much edification through God’s blessing.
Sanftleben met with a severe accident on his plantation this morning, which God will cause to serve for his benefit. A wild cow knocked two teeth from his mouth and a hole in his head, and he would indeed have lost his life if God had not turned the danger away.
Today we heard that it did not seem too far to the Children of Israel to come to Jerusalem from every corner of their land, to please the Ark of the Covenant, and that they were rewarded for it spiritually and physically. I dwelt somewhat on the matter of I Chronicles 16:12-14, which presents the preparation for the priests and Levites and their simple obedience to it, and compared with it Exodus 19:10, 11, 14 and especially Genesis 25:1-5. I had occasion there to recommend our church construction as a Bethel for our congregation, out of love to God, who has till now been no less friendly to us than to the pious Jacob on his pilgrimage.
Wednesday, the 24th of December. An orphan girl named Magdalena Haberfechner15 has had an illness in her chest for some time, and her strength has waned to the point that Mr. Thilo has no hope of her recovery. She is vomiting off little stones which look like grains of rice. She was always of a quiet temperament, nonetheless the Lord has drawn her closer to Himself in this last illness. She was among the last children who took Communion for the first time after our customary confirmation ceremony, and at that time she had a fine beginning of Christianity. When she went to Communion with the congregation the last time in Advent she prepared herself very well for it, as the Kalcher woman recounted to me. Because her name is Magdalena, I only recently gave her Luke 7 for reflective reading, which she read several times (as she attested to me), and profited well by what was recounted therein about the great sinful woman. May God prepare her well through His spirit for a blessed journey home. She will find her pious father, who died in Old Ebenezer in the faith of the Son of God, before the throne of the lamb, on the other hand we have no hope for her mother.
The oft-mentioned pious merchant from Savannah today sent me by Kieffer’s son some sack cloth for the mill, which I had sought from him. We are also letting nothing prevent our physical rest towards and during the celebration. After the celebration one of us may perhaps travel to Savannah and, if we can get finished, deliver to Mr. N., if he is still there, a few letters and our diary for posting.
Thursday and Friday, the 25th and 26th of December, were the holy Christmas celebration. Quite early on the first holiday the Lackner woman16 gave birth to a young daughter. She came to Ebenezer amongst the womenfolk with Sanftleben, and soon after her arrival she married the shoemaker Ulich. After he died, she married the honest Lackner already on the 10th of December 1739, and has led a quite contented marriage with him.
Shortly before the midday divine service on the first day of the celebration, the consumptive orphan girl Magdalena Haberfechner died. Kalcher bore good witness for her. She liked to pray, yearned heartily for death and blessed redemption, and trusted her dear Savior to take her to Himself in His peace.
On the first holiday the divine service was held only in the town, and the people on the plantations were diligent in attending, although the weather was quite raw and inclement. For it rained during the night and throughout the entire day and thereupon froze, whereby the paths became very slippery. From the sermon the Lord has surely sent those desirous members much for their salvation and comfort, so that they will not regret their trouble and diligence.
It was, to be sure, quite raw and stormy both holidays, nonetheless we did not let ourselves be stopped from holding public divine services. If ever a Christmas celebration has been edifying for me and blessed in my heart, I can say it of this one, God be praised. He also strengthened us noticeably in our bodies. Shortly before the sermon on the first holiday the swelling in my cheek burst open on the inside, and I felt no more inconvenience. Also, while preaching God’s word at the prayer meetings before the celebration, it seemed as if I was lacking nothing and no pain was there at all. I have often thought of the little word that we found so impressive in the story 1 Chronicles 16:26, where the Lord helped the Levites, etc. The beautiful Christmas songs were sung aloud on all occasions in such delightful harmony and reverence and so accurately that anyone concerned with edification could have been edified quite remarkably by means of them. God be praised for the beautiful treasury of songs. It was astounding that this time only two people came to the celebration from N.17 I fear that the way is too far for them and the weather too inclement, and that in many hearts there is no desire for edification. For many a person the previously heard word may be too burdensome, and hence in his carnal attitude he does not wish to let himself be disturbed again.
Saturday, the 27th of December. This morning the deceased orphan girl was buried. Because it was cold all those days, we were able to leave her in the orphanage throughout the holiday. Kalcher and his wife are very joyful at her departure, hoping certainly to find her again before the throne of God. In the last hours she edified herself considerably with the example of the great sinful woman and the daughter of Jairus, whom the Lord awakened, and at the same time she let this be her prayer: “Lord, if only I have thee,” etc., and also, “Oh, Lord, how long; redeem me soon, I wish to die. When will my hour strike?” She lovingly reproved the bad manners of the other girls, and also indicated this or that thing which should be redressed. Finally, after requesting some tea, she fell asleep unnoticed and quite gently.
The ill Simon Steiner yesterday called for my dear colleague when he held the divine service on the plantations; but, because there was no time remaining yesterday to take the long road to him, he traveled out to him today and took some medicines along from Mr. Thilo. Some people wish to gather for mutual prayer, and they would like to have him with them, so he will spend the night there because the divine service tomorrow is to be held on the plantations anyway. On the other hand on New Year and on Epiphany we will seek to edify the congregation together in town from God’s word and also to go to Holy Communion.
Sunday, the 28th of December. It seems to me that N.N. is acting anew with earnestness to convert to the Lord. His prayer, which he rendered to God publicly in our home prayer meeting and in the customary Sunday prayer meeting, was full of humble recognition and acknowledgement of his misery. May God grant that everything take firm hold! Our loving God still allows us to feel some blessings from the preaching of His word; and He is graciously caring for our souls and has granted us right rich grace during the recent holy days for achieving our salvation. Hallelujah!
Monday, the 29th of December. A few months ago I had purchased salt in Savannah for the orphanage which now benefits us very much, since salt is rarer than flour in this country. Till now one more barrel of salt had been stored in the storehouse in Savannah; and, because we learned that all salt will, Regia Auctoritate,18 be taken for salting the oxen slaughtered for Mr. Oglethorpe’s soldiers, we sent the small boat down today to fetch said salt. On this occasion I wrote an answer to N.19 asking him to excuse me for not being able to come down before the new year, as I had wished, because of much work. In the meantime, he could report that we would begin the church construction in the name of God after the Feast of the Epiphany, although the Salzburgers have their hands full with their own building, field work, and housekeeping. He wished to have a few barrels of cornmeal ground for the orphanage.20 He will be served with that when the water has risen somewhat more and a proper miller has been appointed. Kogler recently said that, if it were not so cold in the water and there were more time remaining and if we had another pair of stones, he might bring it to the point in three days that we could grind with the lowest water.
I am now writing to the Trustees and to the most praiseworthy Society, because we desire to send our diary to Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen at the beginning of this new year. The status of our congregation is to be found everywhere in our diary, hence we will write no more than a few lines to Mr. Ziegenhagen, which our dear Fathers in Germany21 will interpret best. We are sending the most praiseworthy Society a report on our office and our congregation, to wit, that God in His loving kindness is ruling over us spiritually and physically, is keeping us all rather healthy, and has granted His blessing to the preaching of the divine word. We are further indicating that the Salzburger congregation in Ebenezer consists at this time of sixty-four families, in which are one hundred seventeen adults, both men and women, and seventy-two large and small children. Twelve children were baptized in the year just ended, seven couples married, one man, one girl, and five small children died, and three men, to wit Bach, Held, and Rauner, fell at St. Augustine.
We further report that God has helped the Salzburgers to build a stout flour mill on the so-called Abercorn Creek, which is now called the Ebenezer Mill Stream. They look forward to profiting from it. The people have neglected their own affairs while building it and would thank God if kind benefactors wished to contribute something for the payment of the mill’s expenses, as the Trustees were asked in this and in another letter in September. Likewise, we report that the Salzburgers are starting to work on the church construction, also that the orphanage can be carried on under divine blessing and that there are twenty-one persons,22 young and old, therein, being kept mostly by benefactions from Europe. We also report that the young Englishman, Bischoff, gave up the English school because the salary of 5 ь sterling was too meager, although he should have reckoned in his freedom, which was given to him. We wish to have a qualified person for this purpose. We are also mentioning the circumstances of Mr. Thilo and Schoolmaster Ortmann for their benefit.
I am thanking the Trustees in a letter to Mr. Verelst above all for the goodwill shown to our congregation till now, and especially, according to their last letter, 1) for having paid Captain Thompson 18 ь, 16 sh., 8 p. for the German servants sent to our place. But we believe that there was an error committed, in that the Captain accepted pay for people who do not belong to us or who died while still in Savannah; 2) that the mill has been completed and the Trustees are being asked to bear the expenses of construction. If some payment results, the Salzburgers would be encouraged and made capable of building a rice mill in a short time. The expenses run up to 89 ь sterling, to which Mr. Oglethorpe has already contributed 12 h. 3) Because the Salzburgers were occupied with the mill and other necessary labor, they did not plant as much land or grow as many crops as last year, and also ten men23 who went to war planted nothing and harvested nothing. I did not wish to cite other causes for the harvest’s not being so abundant this time, although it was blessed. They planted in all 154 acres; and from them they got 2,423 bushels of corn, 261 bushels of beans, 553 bushels of rice, and 385 bushels of sweet potatoes. 4) I recently commended Mr. Thilo, whose provisions from the storehouse are at an end, most strongly. I am also transmitting a copy of the letter written to Mr. Verelst in September, which once more mentions the still unpaid Swiss linen, my house, and the orphanage. May God give His blessing thereto!
In my prayer meeting at home today only a few pious women were present. The men, as I learned afterwards, had either gone to the mill or to other necessary business. A small book came into my hands with the title: List of the most outstanding Gifts and Benefactions of God according to the 3 Articles of our Christian Faith, etc.24 From it I propose to publicize one or two such gifts and benefactions of God each time before the prayer, and to look up the verses cited therein and lay them closer to our hearts. Thus we will always have good material for the praise of God and prayer. Today we begin with the first three gifts and benefactions of eternity: 1) God wishes to be our God. 2) God wishes to be our father. 3) We should all be God’s children, sons and daughters. Because I was unfamiliar with this small book previously, it is all the more dear to me now; and I believe the Lord has kept it for me till the right time and will (as has already happened today) send me and others much edification from it.
Tuesday, the 30th of December. The cold, which is greater this year than previously, is still keeping up, especially at night; and hence Simon Steiner, in his dangerous illness, must bear a great deal in his miserable hut. Kalcher carried something out to him today in his extreme need, and he admitted more clearly to him than he did recently to me that he and his wife had a yearning desire to be taken into the orphanage. If God should make him well again, he said, he would dedicate his time and his work to the Lord and the orphanage. In view of his illness I find it necessary to have him brought to a comfortable place for care; and, because Kalcher is fond of him and is not shy of additional labor, he will be fetched today in a boat from his plantation and brought into the orphanage. If the Lord sends him his health again, I see it as a benefaction for the orphanage, because we will indeed have need of the man’s help, since Christian Riedelsperger, who committed himself to the orphanage for one year out of pure love of God and the orphanage, will once more return to his own household and look for a loyal helpmeet. Simon Steiner is seeking only the one necessary thing, as are Kalcher and others in the orphanage, and therefore he is very suited for it.
Before the devotional hour I was at the mill to see if everything was progressing in good order. I was again inspired to much joy and praise of God, for people are recognizing more and more the great profit the mill is bringing to the congregation. There is grinding night and day, although there is still no miller present. Pichler, who learned something from Kogler, does as much as he can in running the mill. I believe, and I am learning too, that God is being highly praised for the benefaction He has shown our congregation in this. Because Kogler has indeed done all kinds of service for the congregation as long as he has been with us and has taken only quite meager compensation for his labor and now has shown right extraordinary industriousness and care at the mill and also great patience with so many helpers, I have made mention of his good services in the letter to the Trustees. I hope they will put us in a position to render him some reward, which he indeed needs, since he is almost as badly provided with clothes and other necessities as are the others. His dwelling is so poor, without even a kitchen, that others on the plantations likely have more comfort than he in regard to their dwellings. That is because he labors more for others than for himself.
During the prayer meeting yesterday evening our boat came back from Savannah. Mr. Oglethorpe desires a barrel of flour from our mill, which will be sent to him immediately. It is probably known everywhere, as we hear, that praise God! our mill is complete and serviceable. The Lord has helped us so far (1 Chronicles 16:26), may He be praised!
Once more we are having some inconvenience from a runaway black slave or whatever kind of fellow it might be. He has already stolen a few odds and ends of provisions and has been seen various evenings during the prayer meeting. Someone told me that the two miscreants and murderers who were in prison for some time in Savannah have been hanged. The Spanish doctor was taken down from the gallows and buried, but the soldier was taken down and hanged once more in irons at Fort Argyle or Ogeechy, where the murder was committed. A black slave who also had deserved death had to hang them, and for that he was given his life.25
Last year our cowherd Schneider had me write a letter to his close relatives in Pennsylvania, in which once more he requested his trunk and the things in it, which a good friend from Rotterdam had taken along with him. Today I received the answer that most of the German people on the ship had died and that the ship itself, when it came into the vicinity of Rhode Island, went aground, the helmsman and everyone else left aboard had fled, and therefore his trunk had been lost.26 This Schneider and his wife and children had wanted to go to Pennsylvania on the abovementioned ship; but, because he could not pay even half the passage, they did not accept him. Rather he was finally brought with other German people to his colony by Captain Thompson, and was taken on at his repeated request as cowherd in our congregation. Oh, may he and his family indeed gratefully recognize the benefaction the Lord has shown him through this, for which I wish to give him cause by reading this letter aloud. Since Schartner went to the plantations to guard the cattle in the place of Schneider, the latter is to become cowherd to the orphanage, and much good is being done for him and his wife (Sanftleben’s sister), also an opportunity is being given them to establish a household of their own.
Mr. N. still has quartan fever, and his wife is also always ailing. I am saddened that he has lost his chimney in this cold season through a sudden fire; for it cannot be built before the beginning of the new year.
Before noon I traveled to Kogler to talk a bit with him and consider the total expenses of the mill construction. Everyone will be satisfied with a modest wage for the hard and bitter labor, which caused much loss of clothing; and the workers will thank God if the Trustees pay the costs, as Mr. Oglethorpe assured us even before the construction. With the very stout dike a good foundation has been laid for all kinds of mills, which can be built with little expense by and by as needed. I am considering writing to Mr. Oglethorpe in detail about the matter when a barrel of flour is sent to him. On the road a pious man told me that another man, who had stopped at a plantation above Purysburg, had told him of the poor accommodations in the households even of the so-called gentlemen, although they have many Negroes or slaves; and he thought that many of the inhabitants amongst us had it better. He added that it was such a great benefaction to have the prayer of so many pious people with us, which accomplishes more than other human things. We certainly have to thank the intercession of righteous ministers and other pious Christians who bear the welfare of Ebenezer in their hearts for the fact that there has been not the least fear and inconvenience on account of the war, although we in this colony are closest to the Spaniards. News has come to Savannah that General Oglethorpe has recovered once more in Frederica. Mr. Jones would like to remain with him a few more weeks.
Today, I had the children and workers in the orphanage together to praise all the spiritual and physical benefactions which the Lord has shown us so richly in the year just ended and to arouse ourselves to an active gratitude to serve God from now on in spirit and in truth. Before the prayer I briefly made profitable use for them of what is found for our information and warning in Isaiah 5:1 f., and I showed that we now, especially in Ebenezer and in the orphanage, had come to the place of the ancient Jewish people and were enjoying the benefit of all spiritual care and providence from our gracious and merciful God, all to the end that we may be something for the praise of His glory. And, because God has not yet attained His goal in some amongst us, especially in the children, but rather they had shocked God with their behavior and had caused their superiors much sadness and sighs, it must by God’s grace be quite different from now on. God’s kindness must conduct them to penitence and its righteous fruits. They could all come into such a blessed state, that God could refresh Himself, all the saints, and all pious people by their example more than one can refresh oneself with a sweet bunch of grapes.
The Kalcher woman told me of a little girl who has been unattentive and frivolous until now, saying that God is tugging powerfully on her soul and is causing a holy disquiet in her heart because of her previous naughtiness. God has also visited four boys with quartan fever and they are now becoming quieter; perhaps the Lord will attain His merciful purpose in this way. In this connection I remembered the prayer we sent to God at the beginning of the church year, in which we prayed that He would show mercy on our children for the sake of Christ and, if He could not bring them to their knees and to penitence in healthy days, that He would draw them to Himself through bodily tribulations and sickness, etc. I reminded the children of this too today and inculcated the verse Psalms 7:13-14. May God bless all this to His glory and to man’s salvation and bliss!
Ever-merciful, pious, and loving God and Father, who, as great and glorious as Thou art, hast loved us from all eternity in Christ, Thy Son our most beloved Savior, with so great and splendid a love, may praise, laud, thanks, glory, and adoration be unto Thee for all spiritual and physical benefactions Thou hast shown so richly and steadfastly in the past year to us and our congregation, old and young, great and small. Thee we are to thank for our enjoyment of Thy word, of the holy sacraments, of external calm, of our health and physical strength. From Thee alone come all the blessings we receive from the preaching of Thy word and the partaking of the holy sacraments. We have felt Thy merciful presence abundantly in the performance of our office, and Thou hast granted us much right celestial refreshment along with many kinds of spiritual and physical tribulation in the blessings that Thou hast shown to our listeners. Thou hast also let our church discipline, which has been necessary from time to time, not be without good effect. Praise be unto Thee! How great is Thy patience, forebearance, and mercy, which Thou hast shown towards us all, especially towards the disobedient and disloyal souls! Grant us true penitence and let us find forgiveness of all our known and unknown sins in Christ and His blood of reconciliation. Let us spend the short remaining time of our life, especially the now beginning year, entirely to Thy glory and the salvation of our souls so that, when our course comes to an end either soon or late, we will gaze upon Thy blessed countenance and eternally praise Thee with transfigured tongues and mouths for all Thy gifts that we have enjoyed even in Ebenezer. Reward all our dear benefactors in this land and in Europe for all the spiritual and physical blessings that have flown through them to us ministers and to our dear parishioners and let us further commend to Thy mercy and blessing the state of our office and our households and the needs of all the members of our congregation and also of our dear orphanage. Continue to bless the preaching of Thy word (for which Thou hast wished to make us right suited again through Thy holy word) for the conversion of many souls and the strengthening of the grace in those in whom Thou has already established Thy kingdom of grace. Grant also, oh Lord, Thy blessing and aid for the important building of the church construction, which is to begin soon at the beginning of this new year, so that, begun in blessing, it will be continued and completed and all harm and accidents will be averted in this construction as in previous ones. All for the glorification of Thy name, the salvation of and mutual joy of our souls, and for the joy of those who wish, desire, and petition our good.
Amen, for Christ’s sake, Amen.