Daily Reports of the Two Ministers
Boltzius and Gronau
From the 1st of January to the End of the Year
Tuesday, the 1st of January 1740. Already yesterday evening our merciful God awakened our spirits through His word, which was contemplated from the first part of 1 Samuel in preparation for the New Year in order to perceive the grace of peace and all blessedness which the Savior has earned for us and has offered to us so far through the gospel and will therefore continue to offer us in the future according to His great unmerited mercy with His hallowed heart (cf. Genesis 35:2 ff. and John 5:2 ff.); and on this New Year’s Day our dear Savior has revealed His abundant grace especially to us and has most lovingly beckoned the greatest sinners, especially the shy and timid souls of which there are many among us, to the good that lies in His dear name of Jesus, which, as I saw, had a good beginning.
Oh, all our forfeited grace has been richly restored by the great Savior, who is God and man in one person, all our great debts have been paid superabundantly, and God has been fully reconciled. What more could be wished by the miserable sinners who are sighing under the burden of their sins? Everything that lies in the dear name of Jesus shall be granted them without their merits and through pure mercy. May God bring us all to the point that our Christianity will no longer fare so meagerly and miserably but rather we shall be right blessed in Christ with all sorts of spiritual blessings and heavenly goods, etc. Yesterday evening the rain ceased and this evening the strong wind; and therefore we could hold the prayer meeting yesterday and the repetition hour today, and during them God held us in His peace and gave us much edification. Our dear congregation find much refreshment in our singing sessions and home prayer meetings, so they come regularly and a whole room full of them assembled again this evening. They would remain together many hours encouraging each other through song and prayer if our strength and circumstance allowed it.
This evening we learned the beautiful four-voiced hymn, Mein Salomo, dein freundliches, etc. and made a start with the glorious hymn Lasset uns den Herren preisen und vermehren, etc. The Lord is with us, and we feel His merciful presence; and the refreshment that we have from this is uncommon. He dwelleth amidst the praise of Israel. I often think of the beautiful song and prayer hour that was held in my day in the house of the worthy Professor Francke under his direction on high holidays and on which our dear God always placed much blessing. Who could have thought only a few years ago that the Lord would also do great things in this wilderness? Oh, His praiseworthy name must be made known from the rising of the sun until its setting so that the whole earth, upon which the Creator has been so greatly dishonored until now, is filled with the glory of the Lord!
Wednesday, the 2nd of January. During the past holy days our dear Lord has granted the people in the orphanage a very special blessing; and today, when I visited there, I found them all of good cheer. They pray there very diligently and zealously, and the leaders there are right seriously concerned with the children’s salvation. Therefore we do not doubt that God will bless their prayers and admonitions in the children, who until now have not wished to bend themselves to divine order. My dear colleague is also trying in every way to lead the orphans and school children in truth to Jesus. Experience in Halle has taught us not to cast away all hope right away if blessings do not immediately follow in the work with young people: in the case of many of them the word which has been sown in their hearts has become active and borne fruit only after several years.
Thursday, the 3rd of January. The English youth, Bishop, who has been engaged as English schoolmaster, performs his duty loyally, to be sure, and is becoming ever more skillful in drilling the children in speaking English; but he is much too lax with discipline, and the children do not yet have the fear of him that is necessary. Therefore we must lend him a hand to improve the order in his classes. We would also undertake such practice with the adults if only they had enough time. I shall ask whether some of them wish it and would like to gather for a few hours, say in the evening, in which case I shall try to see whether it will be possible to teach them enough to understand and speak a little. In time this language may become indispensable because we must often deal with Englishmen.
Friday, the 4th of January. We can hardly express the longing felt by the poor in the congregation (which most of them are) for the long awaited linen; and our marvelous God must have a very good and salutary purpose for wishing to have the gifts, which have also been in danger between Hamburg and London, come to us so slowly this time. The schoolmaster in Savannah, Mr. Habersham, has written to me that the preacher in Savannah, Mr. Whitefield, is expected at any moment in Savannah. He has sent an entire sloop full of provisions and all kinds of things for Savannah from Pennsylvania or New York; and, since he departed some days before the sloop on horseback to come to this colony overland, people are surprised that he is not yet there.
Saturday, the 5th of January. Since most men work all week on their plantations and there are not very many people at home, I wish to hold the prayer hour in my house all week, for which purpose I made the beginning last night. Sunday evenings the people are back together again, at which time we assemble once more in our meeting house. Yesterday evening God granted us a right special spiritual enjoyment from the story of David’s anointment in the middle part of 1 Samuel 16. May the Lord let it lodge for a long time in our souls!
Sunday, the 6th of January. Today we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany. Just as the dear Lord has granted us great blessing in previous holy days, so He did today too. The dear Lord has been especially active recently; He has opened His whole heart to us and will continue to do so. We cannot tell how much God has done in us; and, through His mercy, I shall not forget it. I do not know when I have had such blessed holy days. May He make me and others right loyal and grateful, and may His unending and eternal love motivate us henceforth even more zealously and give us a firmer foundation through its recognition. The main lesson of today’s gospel, Matthew 2:1 ff., was that the Lord Jesus came not only for the Jews but even for the heathens, consequently for all men, whereby we were reminded of the great mercy that God has shown to us in our ancestors and were aroused to be grateful to God with mouth and heart. We sang the song Singt dem Herrn nah und fern, etc., with four voices; and during the evening prayer hour we thought especially of the servants of the Lord among Jews and heathens. May the dear Father be pleased with all this in Christ His Son.
Monday, the 7th of January. God has granted a holy day blessing to N.N. so that he must now believe that God desires him too. Some time ago he said that, because nothing wished to come of his Christianity even though he prayed diligently, he thought he must have sinned too much in his life. But now his eyes are opening better. I told his wife that it was impossible for God not to wish to accept a sinner. After all, He sent us His son and showed full well how He was disposed toward the world. Therefore, I say, if nothing will come of his Christianity despite diligent prayer, then his heart cannot be honest, it must still be clinging to something that he does not wish to let go. God will run toward the sinner while he is still on his way and receive him with a thousand joys. We cannot cause the dear Lord any greater joy than by coming to Him in truth and asking His mercy, then His fatherly heart will truly open itself. May the dear Lord help us to recognize His love better, and may He so transfigure His Son in our souls through the Holy Ghost that He will be dearer to us than the whole world! Amen!
Tuesday, the 8th of January. A Salzburger who was concerned last year with the search for God’s grace but later let himself again be ensnared by the world has now been mightily reawakened; and the spirit of God has him so in His power that I believe that, if he remains loyal, he will lay a firm foundation and partake of the grace of God so that he will not let himself be turned away again. He told me something about his circumstances, whereupon I told him that the Lord Jesus is nearest with His help when people feel themselves abandoned by everyone and do not know where to seek advice and refuge. Such people He calls unto Himself, and they cannot come too late to Him. He will receive and refresh them and take his dwelling among them.
I called on another person and asked her about the blessing she had received on the holy day, and she answered that she had not come to church much because of the internal and external pains1 she had had. Therefore, I told her that, if she would not give herself as a captive to the Lord Jesus and come to Him bare and naked, she could not be helped. May the dear Lord have mercy upon her!
Wednesday, the 9th of January. Two of the recently bought cows have already died; but we do not hear the people lamenting or weeping about it even though they had cost them a great deal and they had earned the money with the sweat of their brow. Rather, one hears the opposite. One of them belonged to Gschwandel. After the service I came into their hut, and the wife told me that her husband had sent such a message here from the plantation but told her at the same time not to grieve. She also told me that her husband had already lost other cattle, yet he was quite content and could well resign himself to it. Another woman joined us and said that in her fatherland, Austria, she had served a peasant who had lost many cows through death but that he had remained comforted, whereas his wife had always grieved and been depressed. He had spoken with her; but when his wife remained so full of anxiety, he had gone out and prayed.
Thursday, the 10th of January. Several pious women gather under our supervision and awaken each other mutually. Yesterday they came together again and edified themselves through singing and praying. Today one of them said that it grieved her that she had to move out to the plantation and that she could not think of it without weeping. She wished to apply the time that she was still here well so that she would get to know her Lord Jesus rightly. During the holy days the dear Savior had granted her great blessings also.
Friday, the 11th of January. Our exceedingly loving God has not only planned an eternal blessing for us from the past holy days but has actually granted it. Just as the holy days were most blessed for me (Gronau), I also learned today from three people that the Lord had granted them His blessing too. The heart of the heavenly Father and of the Lord Jesus has become better known to us. May He make us right grateful and let our only concern be to come ever closer to such recognition. Meanwhile, since my dear colleague, Mr. Boltzius, has journeyed to Savannah, the dear Lord has granted us much blessing from the contemplation of the stories in the New Testament, as I have heard from others too.
Saturday, the 12th of January. Yesterday evening I visited a Salzburger family, in which the wife had already been in dark circumstances for a long time; occasionally a light dawns, but it does not last long. I spoke with her according to her circumstances, and I believe that it was not entirely in vain and that God Himself wishes to give His blessing. She told me what had been so comforting to her, namely, that the Lord Jesus had required St. Peter to forgive his brother seventy times; how much more would He do it. Two other men joined us and we all prayed together. It is so comforting that the Lord Jesus says in Matthew 11, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father”; then for this reason we can receive everything from Him. May He grant us to believe it rightly, to keep good faith in Him, and to receive everything from His abundance!
Sunday, the 13th of January. Today with the aid of the Holy Ghost we especially considered, from today’s gospel, the right sweet words of the Lord Jesus, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business”? These are surely right sweet words; for, if a man learns to recognize them as a living truth, then he can call the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ his own Father as well and afterwards always find himself in those things that are his Father’s, and, as was shown in this afternoon’s epistle, also in those things that are in the Lord Jesus Christ, so that he will partake of His nature and become ever more transfigured in His image.
Our dear God is also showing great mercy to the younger N.,2 who is still at our place. His eyes are now opening much better than in the past and he is seeking to dig deeply and so to give himself to his Savior in such a way that nothing will frighten him from His love or cause him to turn away from it. The Salzburger Hertzog met me as I was going to the church this evening; and, when I asked him what he was doing, he answered me with good cheer that the Lord Jesus was still with him and had not yet abandoned him.
Monday, the 14th of January. In the afternoon I visited N.’s youngest son, who has been sick for some time and has not been in school for several days. I asked him whether the dear Lord had been able to achieve His purpose with him? I had recently told him what the dear Lord was seeking through his sickness, but he had to admit that God had not yet achieved His purpose. His mother reminded him how often she had admonished him with tear-filled eyes to reflect upon it. I spoke with him according to the nature of his circumstances, and he said on his own that he now wished to give his heart to the dear Lord. May God help him in this!
Today, when I was writing a clean copy of the diary and came to the 8th of January, where it says that I believed that things would now change for a certain Salzburger, I wondered to myself whether there was truth in him and whether he meant things honestly. Just then the man entered my house concerning some external matters, so I took the opportunity to speak with him again. He said he knew that it was not hypocrisy, and he told me something from yesterday’s sermon and repetition hour that had gone to his heart. He also said some other things, from which I recognized his honesty,3 and this gave me much pleasure. May God give him further grace! For later reading I gave him the late Professor Zimmerman’s The Boundless Recognition of Jesus Christ.4
Tuesday, the 15th of January. This afternoon a Salzburger woman came to us with her little daughter just as I was about to read something to my wife from Johannes Arnd’s True Christianity;5 so she remained, listened, and finally prayed with us. After the prayer I asked her little daughter to pray with her; and then, at her mother’s request, she had to recite the verses and prayers that she had learned, and these were very edifying to hear. She had already learned quite a number. Finally I recited to her the little prayer that had been learned by the Countess of Solms, who went to her blessed eternity at the age of four and whose example stands in the Contribution to the Building of the Kingdom of God.6 This is, “My Abba, hear my weak and childish babbling, and let my sighs be pleasing unto Thee in Jesus’ name.”
Wednesday, the 16th of January. Three men from the congregation were sent to Savannah on Monday to bring me (Boltzius) back to Ebenezer; and this evening, God be praised, I arrived here with them healthier than when I departed. I have reason enough to praise the Lord greatly for all the mercy He has shown to me and, through my poor service, to the congregation and the orphanage. I was able to put order into the storehouse accounts for the building of my house and for the provisions received so far and other necessities for the orphanage; and I straightened out with the storehouse manager those matters for which I had to travel to Savannah several times in vain. My sojourn in Savannah was extended for quite a while, for which reason the time seemed long to me; but I have been resigned to it by the fact that I found everything in the congregation in a very orderly and Christian state and that my trip was not in vain.
On the 11th of this month Mr. Whitefield arrived in Savannah via Charleston. He was pleased to see me; and it was pleasing to me and profitable to the orphanage that I saw him early after his arrival in Savannah, because he will soon have to stop giving away so much. He is very generous and will have to use more than he could have imagined in England for the orphanage he is planning to build, which is to be very extensive, and to pay the other expenses of his very large household. This has already occurred this week, in that he has held back various things that he had thought he was bringing for our orphanage, probably because he learned from the builders what a great sum of money would be required to complete such an extensive building as the orphanage with its appurtenances. He is very cordial and means well with God and man. He received me with much love, showed much affection for our congregation and orphanage, and promised to look out for our establishments as best he was able.
From the blessings that God put in his hands he gave me the following items at this time for the orphanage: a barrel of beef of about 200 pounds, one barrel of flour of 190 pounds, a small keg of butter of 40 pounds, eight skirts of heavy cloth, seven flannel camisoles, twelve pairs of men’s trousers, six pairs of boys’ trousers of coarse linen, twelve bonnets, twelve boys’ caps, sixty-two yards of coarse linen, several towels, six mattresses for children with little blankets for them, shoes for everyone in the orphanage and a few additional ones for other people, and other necessities; for example, material for handkerchiefs, a hat, a used iron mill, etc. For the construction of a church for the Salzburgers he had collected 73 ь 18 sh. Sterling, of which he paid me 52 ь 19 sh. 9 d.; and with the remainder he bought a large barrel full of hardware and locks for the church and also a fine bell, all of which he delivered to me in good condition.
He requests that the church construction be begun as soon as possible so that he can see how far this money will go. He intends to go in three months to New York and especially to Pennsylvania and even to England in order to collect more money for his establishments at which time he will remember our church too, if the present money does not suffice. Because people have spread the rumor that he has been applying the collected money to his own use, he requested me to send a report to our friends in England about what he has delivered; and this I did by writing about it from Savannah to the worthy Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen and to Mr. Newman and also to a benefactress who is unknown to us and who sent each of us 36 sh. May the Lord be praised for this very great blessing, and may He abundantly fulfill all His great promises, which He has given his children, on our known and unknown benefactors in this and other lands. May He grant us grace and wisdom to manage all the gifts entrusted to us well, so that the construction of the church we are to build will proceed in faith in His holy name so that much praise will be given Him both during and after the construction and much edification will be given to our neighbors.
Mr. Whitefield preached the gospel of Christ very purely and with great power, particularly the article concerning God’s justification of poor sinners through faith alone without regard to past, present, or future works. He does not speak from a written outline, as other preachers in the Anglican church do, but from the abundance of his heart. He conducts the daily prayer meetings in a most edifying manner and urges his congregation most forcefully not to rely upon the opus operatum, since they must come to a new birth and life that comes from God if they wish to be, and to be called, true Christians.7 He has brought several righteous young people, both men and women, to help him establish his institutions, especially a Christian doctor;8 and he intends to help all suffering people in this country in both physical and spiritual matters. Through schoolmaster Habersham he has taken up five hundred acres of land where he wishes to build his orphanage and charity school for children of all faiths.9 The place lies two hours south of the city, so that the children will have nothing to do with the noise of the city. In Purysburg he is buying a large plantation, where he wishes to establish a Negro school and to buy some young Negroes who will go to school and do their work on the side.10
On Sunday I preached the word of God to the German people and was asked by them to hold Holy Communion with them as soon as possible; but in this I must use every possible precaution, for the lives of most of them do not concur with God’s word, as I clearly said and proved to them in the afternoon when they wrote down their names.11
A severe sickness has brought the shoemaker Ade to a recognition of his disorderly life, and he has resolved to convert himself to God. In order to have a better opportunity for this he is earnestly requesting us to accept him and his wife and children again; and he has made this request not only to me but also to one of the leaders of the congregation. We need a shoemaker; and, if it were true that he wished to use our place to restore his soul, then we would like to do what we could for him. The difference between here and other places he can almost grasp with his hands.
Captain Thomson is still in the neighborhood of Frederica with his ship, and I would have liked to see him come last week or at the beginning of this one. Our dear people are waiting almost in agony for the linen; and I have been told that some of them in their extreme need of shirts have had to help themselves by borrowing. Mr. Jones,12 who is now taking charge of all the Trustees’ major affairs in Mr. Causton’s place and is our good friend, wished to give me his own pirogue in order to go to Frederica to fetch our things. This would not have cost me anything, but we were afraid that we might miss the captain, who is awaited any day at any hour, and we would travel in vain. Also, my journey home was dearer and more necessary for me than such a long, and to some degree dangerous, trip.
Thursday, the 17th of January. In the afternoon both the adults and the children of the orphanage joined with me to praise God, who had again shown us so many proofs of His care through the things we had received from Savannah. We sang the song Lobe den HErrn o meine Seele, which the children had learned by heart. I tried to encourage them toward the praise of God and gratitude toward God and men for all these and similar charitable gifts and showed those who were not yet converted that the purpose of the gifts of God was to lead them to penitence and that, if this did not follow, then something more severe would follow because God is a holy God. At the same time I reminded them of the misery of the disobedient boy from Purysburg who was among the orphans at first but who now runs around with the Indians to the great harm of his soul and to the great sorrow of his old mother.13
To the obedient and pious ones among the children and adults I could say that they were able to praise God for these benefactions that were actually donated for them and to pray for the benefactors. Such people we would first let enjoy that which God had provided; and this would continue as far as possible into the future in case the others would cease insulting our good and pious God, who doeth only good, etc. We finally fell on our knees, praised God, and prayed for our benefactors. Some children cried and again promised much good. Something was given to everyone, but the best gifts for the disobedient were held back until they should improve. This blessing of the Lord gave great joy to the people in the orphanage and to some other people who participated in this or that benefaction.
Because it rained hard all day and also during the evening there was no actual prayer meeting as there usually is every day; but a few people came to my room to practice singing the songs they did not otherwise know, and finally we praised our good and pious God for everything that he had given to the orphanage and the whole congregation through the hands of Mr. White-field.
Friday, the 18th of January. Mrs. N. is increasing so greatly in the power of Christianity that she and we have reason to praise the name of the Lord, who wishes to have mercy on even the most miserable sinners. She also said that the indolent and inconstant N. has been more serious since last taking Holy Communion and that he has been much impressed by what had been laid on his conscience from God’s word.
Saturday, the 19th of January. Many people have shared in the gifts that were given to me to distribute, and they thank the Lord publicly and privately and pray for the unknown benefactors. I often think of the beautiful words of Job 31:19-20, which can serve to comfort all wealthy people and encourage poor people to be grateful.
Sunday, the 20th of January. On this day of the Lord we have tried to edify each other with singing, praying, and the preaching of the divine word, and the Lord has blessed such efforts in us and, we hope, in our congregation. The learning and singing of the edifying and hitherto unknown songs from both parts of Freylinghausen’s songbook14 lures many people to my room during the week and on Sunday, at which time we bend our knees before the throne of our Father who has been reconciled through Christ. In the recent past we have learned the emphatic and very beautifully composed songs: liebster JEsu liebstes Leben, etc., JEsu gib mir deine Fülle, etc., Ihr Kinder des Höchsten, wie stehts, etc., Gott den ich als Liebe kenne, etc. May God let the evil spirit be driven out as by David’s spiritual music and let much edification be caused by the Holy Spirit through this practice.
Monday, the 21st of January. For some time it has rained very much, and therefore the river has risen very high and several of the Salzburgers’ plantations on Abercorn Creek are unusually flooded, whereby they are hindered in their work. If the trees were felled and the land were prepared for planting, this inundation would cause no damage, but now we are worried that they will not be ready with the preparation of the land before the planting season. Thus some obstacle must always arise, as we greatly need tribulation.
Last night God let the hour of help come for Mrs. Gruber and mercifully delivered her of a child. Because of her sickly body she has so far been in miserable circumstances, but God has shown that He can do superabundantly more than we request or understand. She herself prays with confidence. And Jesus lets Himself be asked, but never commanded.
N. is registering for Holy Communion, which is to be held next Sunday. Some time ago God pulled him mightily with ropes of love, especially during his last sickness, but afterwards he again slipped back into spiritual apathy and also seems to have made his wife’s Christian progress difficult. He now recognizes himself quite well, and I instructed him to penetrate into a new strength and to prepare himself properly for eternity during his old age, which is no longer a handbreadth long. Our communal prayer meeting, which is still held after the midday meal on Mondays and Fridays, was very impressive for me and others. The pious listeners let the last blessing they received from Savannah through Mr. Whitefield incite them to a hearty intercession for him.
In this evening’s prayer hour we are beginning the 17th chapter of the first book of Samuel, which has been more edifying for me than at any other time previously. It was well shown that this chapter stands not only for the sake of the external story, but mainly for the sake of Christ, whose prefiguration15 was David with his struggle and victory, as well as for the sake of the Christians in the Bible, whose duty it is to keep fighting the good fight of the faith, into which they have entered through holy baptism, to the very end, for the crown of righteousness will finally follow, witness 2 Timothy 4. The stories are full of morals and good teachings, which may not be neglected. Rather we try especially to apply them in order to get to know Christ our Savior out of the Old Testament too and to incite each other mutually to the righteous nature that is in Him; and to this end we always compare the New with the Old Testament.
Thursday, the 24th of January. We now have rather many children and other needy people in the orphanage; therefore we cannot accept many who would like to enter. May God continue to dignify us with His blessing so that we can refreshen many thereby.
Yesterday and today we have had colder weather than at any time this winter. The wind from the north was very strong and will hinder our people on the boat no little bit on their return from Savannah. Yesterday evening only a few people heard the ringing for the prayer hour, as has happened to them several times in strong wind. Therefore it is a benefaction well worthy of thanks that we have received a bell for this purpose, which is now being fetched with other things on the boat.
Friday, the 25th of January. To our amazement our large boat arrived here yesterday after the prayer hour and brought, along with other things for the orphanage and some other members of the congregation, the bell and a large barrel of all kinds of hardware, which Mr. Whitefield had bought in England for church construction. We praise the Lord for this new benefaction and call upon Him for wisdom to arrange the construction in such a way that His name will be glorified and the salvation of our congregation will be furthered. The bell weighs ninety-one pounds without the clapper. It is our intention, when the bell has been hung, to use it first to call the people of our village together to praise the Giver of all these and other gifts and to pray for the benefactors.
This evening we heard various things about the humble, obedient, and loyal behavior of David toward his father; and at this opportunity the fifth commandment16 was called forcefully to the attention of the listeners with all its promises and all its inherent threats.
Saturday, the 26th of January. N.N. brought me a very moving and humble letter from his mother in which she again begs us to accept her and her family.17 She recognizes and admits her former misbehavior and will gladly submit to all order, if only she can be with the gospel again. I referred her son to Mr. Oglethorpe; if he wishes to accept his mother with her children again, as I think he will, then neither I nor the members of the congregation would be the least bit opposed to it. May God ordain everything as is best for His glory and for these people. Thus much I have understood from some honest men of the community, that they would bear with all the trouble from the mother if something could be won in even one of her children. They lovingly hope that she will really improve herself, as she promises both orally and in writing, now that she has learned how one can ruin herself through obstinacy and disobedience.
Yesterday evening during the sermon I thought of Mrs. N. while I was speaking of the children of Belial, i.e., such as do not wish to bear the yoke of Christian order, and of their spiritual and physical judgments. We have already learned from her, from the late Rott,18 from his wife, who is still living in Savannah, from N. and others that God does not leave the disobedient and recalcitrant unpunished. May God make us all wise.
This afternoon a bell-frame was made on my house for the bell, and this evening we rang for the prayer hour with it for the first time. Most of the congregation, both young and old, were assembled; so we remembered the good deed that the Lord had shown to our congregation through the service of Mr. Whitefield and offered joint praises to His name. I told them that Christian people in England with trusting and willing hearts had contributed so much money that not only this bell but also a whole barrel of hardware and 53 ь, less 3 d. in cash money had been collected and sent to us for building a church. And, because the donors and benefactors had no other purpose in this than the glory of God and the good of their neighbors and had therefore contributed with simple hearts, it now behooved the workers who would be employed in building the church to do their work with simple faithful hearts and to deny all false and greedy desires regarding wages and gain. At the same time it was proper according to Divine providence for no one to work for nothing but rather for everyone to gain a physical blessing from his work, for which he should be grateful. Whenever we hear the sound of the bell, we should be moved to the praise of God for all the benefactions we have received in this strange land and to a cordial intercession for our benefactors. It has a very pleasant and penetrating sound and is to be rung several times every day at set times, and especially at five o’clock in the morning, as is necessary and useful for dividing the day and keeping good order in all external activities.
Sunday, the 27th of January. For the past few days and also today it has been very cold; and, because a strong west wind is blowing, we have been considerably disturbed in the church hut. Twenty-eight of our people went to the Lord’s Table; and there would have been more of us if we had not had to hold back some of them for well founded reasons. Some have become sick and therefore prevented by sickness. On Tuesday some of them had to fetch a large ferryboat for the Trustees from Abercorn to Palachocolas, and the wind made the trip up there so difficult for them that they did not return home in time. We are planning to hold Holy Communion again in four weeks, at which time those who have been unable to come will have an opportunity to do so. May God grant that everything redound to His glory and to the salvation of our souls! He is indeed exceedingly loyal and keeps after us in all ways to tempt us and bring us to His Son and all the treasures of Salvation He has merited.
This evening we held the repetition hour in my house, and our merciful Lord blessed it greatly in me and others. Whatever could not be preached and covered this morning concerning the beautiful gospel Matthew 18:1 ff. was now covered in the catechismal repetition; and to this was added the main teaching, which flowed from the last part of the gospel. Not only lack of faith but also false faith are the cause of all evil in time and eternity. Many in the congregation are unwilling to consider themselves disbelievers but prefer to understand the word to refer to the infidels outside of Christianity; and therefore we endeavor to show them that false belief is just as dangerous as disbelief, indeed, that it is in certain respects more dangerous than outright lack of belief.
Before the repetition hour we played and sang the glorious Liebster JEsu liebstes Leben, etc.; and a half an hour later many more people gathered in my room again, as is customary, in order to continue learning the new edifying songs. Yesterday evening we began, and today we finished, learning Mein Freund zerschmeltzt, etc., also Meine Seele, wilt du ruh’n, etc. The next ones will be Der Glaube siegt, und bricht, etc., and Wachet auf ihr faulen, etc. Because the middle voices are sung and the discant and tenor are constantly alternated with the bass during the singing, such variation is very edifying; and the people are becoming all the surer in the tones and melodies. Their zeal in this is very great, may God consecrate it to His glory and may the communal prayer that is always sent to him after the singing be pleasing unto Him in Christ.
Tuesday, the 29th of January. In today’s evening prayer meeting we learned from the Bible story what a dreadful end was met by the arrogant, defiant, and insolent Goliath. His last words were bragging, reproaching, and cursing; and in him the proverb was fulfilled that “Whence the curse comes, thither it will return,” for the stone struck his forehead like a thunderbolt and sent his wretched soul into eternity. On this occasion, I had to think of N.,19 who sinned greatly and grieved other people again just a few days ago with swearing and cursing. Now we see nothing but malediction and misfortune in every corner of his hut; and everything is deteriorating because of his continuous quarrelling, discord, and even fighting with his wife. Therefore, we cannot prophesy any good outcome for him unless he repents. We requested his neighbors and others who might have occasion to consort with him to work on him as best they can so that his soul might still be saved and to repeat to him in a Christian way what I must now say about him in public, because I assumed from his previous wanton absence from prayer meetings that he would not be present this evening either. A little girl remained behind and told me that he had been at the meeting and had bumped into the door of the little room where the meeting was held. It pleases me all the better that he heard it himself.
God grant that he feel the wrath that he has merited so far through his un-Christian and vexing behavior during the period of grace with true humiliation rather than in eternity with the defiant Goliath and all godless people. The English boy Bischof20 told someone in my house that he had heard this N. cursing a pious Salzburger yesterday while chopping wood. This caused him to sigh and to marvel that God could witness such wickedness and insolence: if God wished he could punish him with his own ax. He had not even finished with his disgraceful speech before he chopped a serious wound in his left hand, through which he is now hindered in his work.21 I shall remind the boy to tell the miserable man in simple words what he had thought; or, if he is too bashful to do this, as it appears, then I shall do it myself.
Wednesday, the 30th of January. Mrs. N.22 has been very sick in her head for several days and has had to suffer very great pain; but, since she does not think that any of her affliction is by chance but accepts everything from the hand of her heavenly Father, she is very patient and always content. She is very edifying for all the people in the orphanage and for those with whom she has dealings and is a fine example of a godly widow. Her largest girl23 is to go into service with my colleague, for which she already has the age and strength. I discussed the necessary details about this with the mother in the presence of the daughter and found in her an attitude that I might well wish for all parents; for if all parents had such an attitude, then child discipline would be better than it now is.
Through the departure of this girl a place is becoming vacant in the orphanage, but it will soon be filled again. A half year ago Veit Lemmenhofer engaged a servant24 who actually belongs to the orphanage and whom he would like to get rid of because he is not doing him the services he had hoped for, and therefore he is reverting to the orphanage. Held25 in the orphanage is his father; and I am hoping for some improvement in both of them, since they are coming together at their own request. The boy has a flexible and willing disposition, but he does not have as much strength or skill in work as the others. He promises much good and wishes to help the orphanage director loyally, and therefore we will give him a try. From God’s word he has been convinced of the way of active Christianity and of his own lack of it, and he has now firmly resolved to convert himself fully to God.
Thursday, the 31st of January. I spoke about the church construction with Kogler, to whom it would actually be entrusted, and told him I wished it could be done as soon as possible. However, because of the Salzburgers’ circumstances, it seems almost impossible to begin the main construction until after the harvest, however much they would like to work on it before then. They must move to their plantations. There they will have their hands full with preparing the land for planting; and, because they need dwellings for themselves and stalls for their cattle, they will need the remaining time for building. Their cattle have increased and therefore they must give thought to getting much fodder, for in this country they can make no hay except for corn leaves, bean shells, rice straw, and the grass that grows on cultivated fields. Agriculture is their primary and most necessary work, and consequently I would not wish to put an obstacle in its way with any building.
Perhaps it will please the Lord to grant us, in addition to the beautiful sum that has flowed to us through the service of Mr. N. and from Mr. N.,26 as much more as might be required to build a spacious, durable, and comfortable church, for which we do not wish to contract any debts. For we believe that it is the intention of the benefactors, while causing no unnecessary expenses, to arrange the church in such a way that the intended purpose will be achieved; and from previous experience we can trust the dear Lord to give us whatever is still necessary for it. The beginning is there, and we commend the means and the end to Him and His fatherly care. Because Mr. N. would like to see a beginning of the construction before his return to England, we will lay the foundation in a few weeks and set the ground joists on it, and from this he will be able to see how large the building will be.
Friday, the 1st of February. Yesterday and last night we had an unusually strong wind that caused people much work by overturning the garden fences and blowing the shingles off the huts and stalls. The cold was, and still is, very great and causes much pain to the poor people, who have little protection and poor huts. On the plantations they are first arranging their house construction in such a way as to preserve their health better than has been possible so far. They are helping one another, and therefore it costs them no cash money. It is colder here than in England, so one cannot live here well without stoves; and it would be desirable if new colonists would bring with them iron stoves like those cast in Germany.1 They are highly regarded here, and we would be happy to get them. The earthenware that is made by the potter2 in Savannah is not durable and not very usable; and for this both the clay and his firing and glazing is responsible.
During today’s evening prayer hour I was greatly impressed by the union of Jonathan’s and David’s hearts through the bond of a sincere and disinterested brotherly love, which reminded us not only of our duty but also of the benefactions we have received from the Lord Jesus, who has done great things for us wretched and fallen sinners, who are not worthy of love, by winning for us the garments of salvation and (as Jonathan did not do) even putting on our rags and filthy garments of sin and letting Himself be punished in them in our stead. If we will submit to His order, He will reveal Himself in us in His love for our eternal glory and comfort. While reading the 17th chapter of the Bible story we were reminded not only of Christ’s struggle and victory in general but also of various special details and especially of their glorious results; and I believe that the verses that were cited not only impressed others as much as they did me but also contributed much toward our understanding of such enigmatic stories, as for example Isaiah 40:11 and John 16:27-33 (Cf. 14:30-31). At the same time the beautiful song Der edle Hirthe GOttes Sohn was read out loud and commended to them for further reflection. The expressions that dear David used in his psalms and in which he referred to what he had experienced under God’s loving and beneficial care become much more living and impressive when one has become well acquainted with the very peculiar circumstances of his story.
We have encouraged each other to read the psalms of David often during our heartfelt prayers, and we select those psalms that seem to have been tailored for special cases or refer to them. In contemplating David’s cordial brotherly love we played and sang the first part of the song Ihr Kinder des Höchsten, wie stehts um die Liebe, etc. In the next song hour we will learn the instructive song of the late Dr. Richter, Der schmale Weg ist breit genug zum Leben, etc., and repeat those we have learned before. Since the prayer meeting is being held in my house and we are nearer the light and are more comfortable than in the almost tumbled down church hut, we often sing one of the new songs at the meeting for the praise of God and for our own encouragement.
Saturday, the 2nd of February. Mrs. Helfenstein is asking for her oldest boy,3 whom we have had here among the orphans along with another one4 from the earliest times, to be sent home. We will grant this, since we take the poor widows’ children to lighten their load; but when the children have reached the point that they can be useful to their mothers or kinsmen, then we gladly dismiss them, for the orphanage is not seeking any advantage for itself but only the glory of God in the Christian nurture of the children. She wishes to teach him, like the oldest one, whom she has with her, the trade of red and white tanning, which she understands well and through which she now has the opportunity to earn something. We will gladly advance her whatever we can for this. She has again received some good parcels of already cultivated land in the community, which the children are to plant for her in the spring.
The eighteen year old English boy John Robinson has long been requesting his liberty in order to begin some farming on his own in our place like the English boy Bischoff, and he will therefore travel to Savannah next week with our boat to seek such redemption from the authorities. He does not wish to leave our village, and we have been able to keep him in rather good order so far by threatening to send him away. He should serve three and a half years. It is our practice to have in the orphanage and in its service only those people who wish to be there and who do their work with willing and contented hearts. If anyone is not pleased with the arrangements and thinks he will find things better if he moves, we let him go after giving him good admonitions and warnings.
A pious woman complained to me that she has again lost all her courage in her Christianity, because she has remembered many old sins she once committed in Germany. Even though she has freed herself according to divine law from the disloyalty and unrighteousness she has committed, she still remembers much that belongs to the old leaven which she must purge; and she is afraid that, if she does not recognize everything, God will no longer forgive her anything but what she recognizes and confesses, etc. I told her various things about the proper use of the law and the gospel and tried to protect her spirit against these very usual anxieties, against scruples and doubts, and against all suspicion and to encourage her to a childlike trust in the Father, who has been entirely reconciled through Christ. I was aided in my purpose particularly by the beautiful song Es ist das Heyl uns kommen her, etc., in which the office of the Law and of the gospel is singularly presented and the penitent sinner is shown, in the knowledge of his sins and despite all contradiction from his conscience, how he can and should cling with a simple and grace-hungry heart to the rich and ample grace of God, which is offered him in the gospel entirely without his deserving.
As soon as I speak to her again, I shall recite and explain to her the last three verses of the song Mein Salomo, dein, etc., where it is stated so forcefully in verse 9 “If only my heart could see Christ, etc., and have absolute faith in grace, let no fault in me be so great and grave that it could keep me from such sight of love.” Verse 10, “When my frailty strikes me down before Thee,” etc. Otherwise she makes good use of the songs in our songbook and finds much edification, instruction, and comfort in them. Concerning the song that we learned not long ago, she said she could sing it only with great shame and sighing, because she could not truly say of herself what is said in this song.
Sunday, the 3rd of February. Bach is resolved to move at the beginning of this week from us to Fort Argyle or Ogeechee but would first like to be married at this place to Margaret Staud (who has already been mentioned in this diary).6 I recently told both him and her that something important must be done before the marriage, namely, she would first have to acknowledge her well known abomination of fornication before the entire congregation and publicly show her penitence and remorse for it, which she has expressed to me several times, and thus free herself publicly, in so far as it can be done before men, of the great vexation she had caused. They were both very difficult to persuade; but they finally agreed to it yesterday and therefore this unpleasant matter was disposed of this morning after the sermon in a Christian fashion.
What I first communicated to the congregation was the following: “I must announce to your Christian love that Gabriel Bach and Margaret Staud wish to be married; but an important obstacle stands in the way, because of which I cannot agree to the marriage until it is removed. To wit, the said Margaret Staud has sinned dreadfully against the seventh commandment in Savannah through fornication and inchastity, and this abomination has been so public among Englishmen and Germans that it would cause me and our community great reproach if I were to marry her to Bach without first disposing of these disgraceful things in Christian fashion, as far as can be done among mankind. Since she has prostituted her body, which was dedicated to the Lord Christ in holy baptism, my efforts so far have been to convince her through God’s word of her grave sin and to bring her to true penitence. And in order that she might have an opportunity to come to a recognition of her sin and to penitence, I have allowed her to dwell in our village and to profit from good instruction. During the time that she has been here she has learned the catechism of our church along with a few Bible verses and has often declared to me that she sincerely regrets the sins she has committed and that she earnestly wishes to invoke God through Jesus to make another person out of her and to accept her as His child.
“But now, since she has caused the said great scandal, it is necessary to put an end to it publicly before the marriage. And now you, Margaret Staud, must admit before God in this Christian community the things you have confessed to me. Therefore I am asking you now first of all whether or not your conscience tells you that you have sinned grievously against God by violating the seventh commandment. Tell me your opinion.” (She answered, standing, with a clear but sorrowful “Yes.”) “Further, you must explain to yourself how your heart and spirit feel about this, whether you sincerely regret this dreadful sin, which is a terrible abomination before our holy God and all righteous people. Tell us your opinion about this.” (Bowing her head and her spirit, she again said “Yes” and wept bitterly). “You have reason to regret it in your heart and humbly to beseech God for remorse and divine sorrow because of it; for it is a sin that draws down God’s temporal and eternal judgments. I shall now call your attention to two verses, namely Hebrews 13, ‘Marriage is honorable,’ etc., but ‘whoremongers and adulterers,’ etc., and Galatians 5, ‘Now the works of the flesh are manifest,’ etc.
“Therefore you should closely follow the admonitions that have been given you publicly and in private, do true penance, and persevere in prayer that God will show you mercy in Christ and cleanse you with His blood from this ugly sin, as from all your sins, and clothe you with his righteousness in which you can stand again before God. For know to your comfort that God has already converted and accepted into His mercy sinners such as you are, only they have not continued in sin but have had to cease sinning and become obedient to the teaching of the Lord Jesus. If you will do this too, then all pious people on earth who hear of your conversion, and all angels in heaven, will rejoice at it. For there will be joy in heaven among the angels of God for every sinner who repents. Now I hope” (I added) “that, this matter now having been settled before the congregation, no one will object if these two people are now married; for it is better for them to be given to each other properly than for them to live in an irregular and scandalous way. May God grant that everything proceed in an honorable and orderly way among us and in all congregations, Amen.”
Hereupon the matter which had been settled was presented in public prayer to our dear Lord; and we prayed that the dear Lord would give this sinner true penitence and that, on occasion, he would awaken the consciences of others in the congregation who have been mired in secret sins or perhaps are still mired in them, so that their sins will be recognized, regretted, and forgiven here rather than be revealed and punished there before all people.
Until now I have been unable to give Bach any hope of being able to live in our community but always advised him that he would first have to reform like the prodigal son and that the said Staud woman would have to do penance also. However, since she has gotten along well with us so far, has good recommendations from other people, and has shown a great desire to remain here with the word of God and a good opportunity to be better instructed from God’s word and has also freed herself publicly from her bad behavior, I sent them word today through Sanftleben that, if they still wished it, I would assign them farmland in the community again, provided they would promise to submit to good order among us and that he would drop his acquaintance with dissolute Englishmen.
However, as I learned from him, Bach has already obligated himself to move to Ogeechee (a frontier station against the Spaniards). Meanwhile, he will have the hope of moving back to us again if he finds it suitable and if he remains in good repute. I am truly pleased that (as I have been assured by Sanftleben, who is very close to them) they are not embittered against this church penance. She was in the church again this afternoon and was very attentive as usual. Oh, if only everyone would believe that church penance is just as necessary and salutary as the discipline of children in their parents’ home. To be sure, caution is necessary in this, to keep everything in proper limits.
Monday, the 4th of February. Shortly after six o’clock this morning I married Gabriel Bach to Margaret Staud in the presence of witnesses; and before the marriage I spoke a few words. I said something about the serious words of the Savior in Mark 5:1820 and showed in the application how much had been done so far for them, as well as for other still unconverted people in the congregation, by the loving Savior, who loves even His worst enemies and is kind even to ungrateful and wicked Gergesenes. To wit, He has sought to pull them out of their miserable condition and into the spiritual freedom and state of grace, if only they had not resisted Him. But this they would not do from this moment on, but rather throw themselves at His feet in humility and obedience, and then He would have mercy on them too. And now they would be in a position to proclaim to others in that dark place, where they would meet no one better than the man in the text among his countrymen, how great a blessing the Lord had shown them and how He had had mercy on them. Consequently, it would be entirely contrary to the conduct of this man and also contrary to the will of the Lord Jesus, if they were to resemble wicked people and act like them, etc. We again gave them hope that they might be able to return to our place sometime if they wished and we heard good reports of them.
Because our large boat was going to Savannah today, they went on it; and both of them, particularly the woman, took heartfelt leave of me, by which I perceived that she had not taken the church penance as a disgrace but rather as a benefaction. I have good hopes for her that she will let herself be saved; and at her departure I thought of the words of the Lord that say that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before the generation that is full of bourgeois honesty and self-made piety.7 My dear colleague also traveled with the boat to Savannah, to request and to load up the things we hope have arrived with Captain Thomson. The dear Father in heaven acted very kindly and wisely in freeing me of this journey, which several circumstances had required; for in the afternoon I suffered an attack on and in my throat so that we feared it would turn into angina. However, because I could keep myself warm and keep a diet both day and night while taking certain medicines, the attack subsided under the blessing of the Highest, who again let me receive a blessing for my soul through this discipline of the body.
Tuesday, the 5th of February. I hear that our loving God has blessed His holy word, which was preached last Sunday, by encouraging several souls to great seriousness in their Christianity, for which His holy name should be praised and glorified. By using the beautiful Sunday epistle for Septuagesima Sunday, my dear colleague conveyed the two points that it indeed costs a great deal to be a Christian,8 but that it is worth the effort to become and remain a Christian. In the morning and in the repetition hour four main points were presented and amplified for a correct understanding and application of the important gospel Matthew 20:1 ff., these being: 1) it is a dear and unmerited blessing of God that He has called, and still calls, mankind in both the Old and the New Testaments for work in his spiritual vineyard. 2) It is uncommonly harmful if a man does not remain mindful of his unworthiness but lets himself be seduced to spiritual arrogance and false intentions through the advantages he has received from God. 3) The heavenly Father is so kind that He does not let His children serve and suffer in vain but rather richly rewards their work and suffering partly here but chiefly there. 4) God reckons the reward for good not according to the duration or difficulty of the work, but according to the loyalty, simplicity, and honesty of the worker. In doing this my dear colleague found the hymn Du meiner Augen-Licht, etc. very impressive; and therefore we have decided to teach it to the listeners in our song hour, too, as we did this evening, to our very special mutual enjoyment. The text is very emphatic and the melody gives it a lovely charm that insinuates it all the more emphatically into one’s spirit. It is our earnest resolution to hasten forward anew toward the crown, and may our merciful God give His blessing in this!
Wednesday, the 6th of February. As much as my now weakened physical constitution allowed, I visited a few people; and God strengthened me noticeably in it. I found only women at home, with whom I edified myself through good conversation. On such occasions we learn how the dear Lord is working on their souls through His word and what obstacles there are here and there, some of which they have caused themselves, often with good intentions, and some of which have been caused them by other people and by personal matters. We can not only help them with these right away but also arrange our sermons according to them, since many people lie sick with these matters. The people often mention the catechism exercises that were held in my house before Christmas, and they still feel these help in furthering their Christianity.
Last Sunday I spoke lovingly and earnestly with a penitent sinner but could not be content with her because she believes more in Moses than in the Lord Jesus.9 To be sure, she lets herself be chastised, frightened, and humiliated by the law but will have no trust in the gospel. Rather she makes excuse upon excuse and is making no progress. But today I heard from another woman that my words had taken root; and this pleases me very much because at first I was somewhat worried that she might not have rightly understood what I had said to her. May God give us proper wisdom in our intercourse with our parishioners. Edifying songs make a deep impression; and, when we read them such songs as are edifying and impressive, we win the desired opportunity to have the kind of discourses with the people that suit them; and they have a guide for remembering the admonitions that are given them so they can pray accordingly.
Thursday, the 7th of February. Mrs. N. told me that she had heard someone praying very fervently and had noticed other signs of a good beginning in her Christianity. Thereupon I remembered the wife of N., who also began to pray fervently a few weeks ago but then slackened. Therefore I went to her immediately to speak to her about her indolence and the necessity and blessedness of evangelical conversion, and the dear Lord richly blessed this. She spoke out this time more freely than ever before; and this was a sign that my exhortations and prayers had penetrated her heart. It humbles me greatly that I am so often ailing and must give so much time to rest and taking walks because of my frail health, for which reason I cannot visit the dear parishioners as often as they themselves would like. My dear colleague calls on them as often as his schoolwork and other duties permit.
Kieffer’s oldest10 son stays with his brother a great deal on his father’s land, which lies in our neighborhood, and always avails himself of the opportunities to edify himself; and the Lord always lets this serve him for much good. This evening I had occasion to speak a good deal with him about his condition and about how good a change of disposition can be, and not only he acknowledged what had been lacking in him until now but also resolved with God to convert himself to God in righteousness. His words came from the depth of his heart and gave me great pleasure. I gave him the exceptionally beautiful song Du meiner Augen-Licht, etc. to read, from which he could thoroughly recognize not only the blessedness of a Christian but also the way to achieve it.
Friday, the 8th of February. My dear colleague returned yesterday with his traveling companions after having had to fetch the chests, for which we have had to wait for so long, all the way from Captain Thomson’s ship at Tybee (at the mouth of the Savannah River). God be praised for the beautiful blessing which He has guarded for us by water and land all the way to here. We will distribute the linen in such a way that every man will receive a shirt, whereas the women will get some clothing of equal value. Dear Mr. N. and Mr. N.,11 a friend, received my dear colleague very lovingly and again gave the orphanage and him some gifts. We hear from Savannah that General Oglethorpe has taken two small fortresses from the Spaniards and has captured some fortresses from the Spaniards and has captured some Spaniards, whom he is keeping very well and not in the murderous manner of the Spaniards.
Saturday, the 9th of February. At about the time of the evening prayer meeting we called the congregation together to awaken one another to the praise of God for the benefactions we have received. First we sang the song Danckt dem HErrn ihr Gottes-Knechte, etc., then we read Senior Urlsperger’s printed letter, addressed to us, which tells of the righteous eighty-eight year old Salzburger Schneller, who died blessedly in Augsburg. Then, according to his method, we presented several points that suited our purpose and plans. The wisdom of God, that doeth everything in its own time, marvelously ordained that we should receive both this cordial letter and the gifts from Augsburg in the very week after Septuagesima Sunday, when Senior Urlsperger’s letter was written.
Because the noteworthy points are mostly connected with the important matters in the gospel Matthew 20:1 ff. and well clarified by the late Salzburger’s example, I took the occasion to remind the congregation of the most important materials presented last Sunday and to illustrate and apply them through this example, e.g., what a divine blessing it is that God has led our Salzburgers, like the late Schneller, into the spiritual vineyard of the Evangelical Church, in which they should be workers even if they do not belong to the upper orders. The said example beautifully shows what kind of work even ordinary Christians have. Likewise, God is so kind that his children’s work and suffering are repaid here and there, as can also be seen in this example. Even though our Salzburgers are not in a poor house as he was, the Lord is still doing much good for them through benefactors and has especially verified in them His promise that stands just before the said gospel passage, namely, in Matthew 19:29, because what they are enjoying here in a material way they did not have in Salzburg. Whosoever hath eyes, let him see it well. Ingrates are blind, and blind men are ungrateful. But the greatest reward for grace is kept for honest workers in their blessed eternity; and now this blessed man will enjoy the blessedness that the dear apostles, martyrs, and all believers have enjoyed from the very beginning, and all this through grace (Matthew 19:28, cf. Revelations of St. John 3:21).
Likewise, it does great harm if man does not remain in the recognition of his unworthiness but lets his advantages mislead him into arrogance and false purposes. This blessed Schneller remained ever in the recognition of his unworthiness while receiving and enjoying his benefactions and thus revealed his righteous attitude, by which he serves our people as a shining example, especially on the occasion of the present distribution. I informed the congregation at once how abundantly our worthy Lord and Lady von N.12 had contributed to the gifts from N. and also how dear Mr. N. had sent a length of calico especially for the second transport. Finally we prayed for ourselves and our dear benefactors and undertook the distribution, which proceeded in very good order.
All benefactions were received with a very humble and grateful spirit and with wishes for rich reward. A Salzburger said he had just read the verse in the Treasure Chest,13 p. 161, “I shall keep my grace for him forever,” etc.; and this eternal mercy (Cf. Psalms 89:2); and we unworthy ministers, who have again shared in these gifts according to their instructions, and also our dear congregation herewith cordially wish this eternal mercy (See Psalms 89:2) as a reward for our dear Mr. N. and all our benefactors and friends, who have also wished us so much good in letters. We made every possible effort to make the portions as equal as possible; and it turned out that every family received a shirt, of which there has been a general lack among the members of the congregation. In addition to the linen, twenty-two pairs of mixed men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes have been sent, which, together with the linen, is a right dear and necessary gift, not only because the shoes here cost very much but also because they last only a few weeks or at best a couple of months with the work in the field, whereas the German shoes are of better leather and are more firmly sewn.
Should the dear Lord sometime arouse some benefactors to contribute a chest of such goods to the members of our congregation, who are all poor and are mostly true members of Christ, much good could be done through this benefaction. However, this should not be through self-will, but through the will of the Father; for He has already sent us through His human instruments more than we deserve, as several in the congregation have recognized and acknowledged. The many yarns, fasteners, buckles, needles, shears, knives, etc., as well as the black, brown, and brightly colored material and the linen for aprons and bonnets have caused much joy and praise of God during the distribution. The Father looked out even for the smallest children and let them receive blouses, winter skirts, stockings, and bonnets. Oh, that the hearts and mouths of both young and old might overflow with the praise of God for them. The beautiful supply of all sorts of edifying books and tractates we consider a gift to our church. They will well increase our church library, and we do not doubt that much spiritual blessing will flow to us and other hungry souls in the congregation. God help us make truly good use of these; and then it will be easy for Him, the great Lord who supports all things through His mighty word, to let us also receive the books that are in the chests from our dear Halle and have been left behind.
Sunday, the 10th of February. While preaching about the stony ground in today’s gospel, I could not help but remember what we experience in carrying out our office. Because we not only have to use our ministerial office with disorderly people but also have to make decisions regarding squabbles and complaints and to pronounce judgments and aid the suffering and innocent party, we may offend many who think they are in the right even when they misbehave. As a result they not only act rude and immoderate and burst out stonily with gestures and words but even harden their minds against our spiritual office and keep away from our sermons. But I showed how irresponsible it is and what sighs it extracts from us, which do not please such people. What can the good word of God do against that? And why do they wish to avenge it and reproach the person who reveals it? It seems as if such people come to church only to please the minister and stay away to taunt him (oh, such miserable defiance!), if he does not act according to their liking. But with such ill behaved people we would not avoid any offense or bitterness even if we had nothing to do with worldly affairs but delegated such things to a regular justiciary.
During the repetition hour I read the congregation the very impressive letter from worthy Pastor Riesch of Lindau, which he had actually directed to those Salzburgers who were formerly under his spiritual supervision and care but had also directed to the others as well; and this letter is especially dear to me because its content applies to the entire congregation. This gave me an opportunity to add some things that were necessary for its application, and this was very profitable. The letters from our Fathers and friends in Europe always make a great impression on our minds and therefore generally awaken our zeal for piety. He and also our worthy Senior Preu have written something to us both that is very necessary for us and reveals in almost every line their fatherly love and affection for us unworthy beings. May God make us ardent in our intercessions for their worthy persons and offices, since there is nothing else we can do to repay them.
After the repetition hour a pious Salzburger spoke to me concerning Pastor Riesch’s letter to the congregation, which he wishes to utilize for himself and his sick wife. At the same time I encouraged the righteous souls in the congregation not only to pray zealously for our benefactors, Fathers, and friends privately and individually (as they do anyway) but also to call on my colleague and me diligently (for which there is a special opportunity on Mondays and Fridays) so that we can thank the Lord communally for all His benefactions and implore Him for a correct use of them and pray for our dear patrons, both known and unknown. For this is good and also pleasing unto God our Savior.
Monday, the 11th of February. This morning I had the orphans and other children of the community before me in order to distribute the few remaining gifts such as fasteners, ribbons, yarn, and sewing needles, since on Saturday some of them had received shoes and the smallest had received shirts, skirts, bonnets, etc. I had already told them publicly on Saturday and now repeated, in a few words, that I did not consider it by chance that God had held back the other two chests of linen from Halle, from which I had promised them some shirts as in former times. The behavior of most of them did not yet concur with God’s word as much as we could wish; and, by holding back these blessings that were already in sight He was showing that He can give and take away all His benefactions, even those they are now enjoying. This they well deserve, but they should recognize this humbly and become more obedient and grateful through God’s mercy.
I now wished, I said, to give them what I still had. To be sure, it was very little, yet they should remember the verse they had heard yesterday: “To him who hath (and well uses the little that he hath) shall it be given,” etc. If the dear Lord should see them using these gifts gratefully and caring primarily for the chief values of the Kingdom of God, then God would give them more, perhaps even the beautiful supply of linen that had remained behind. For, I continued, God acts like pious fathers and mothers who give additional gifts to, and gladly cause great joy for, those children who know how to use their earlier gifts better than before.
During today’s prayer meeting in my house I read something out of two letters from the Bohemian pastors in Berlin14 and told the assembled people something about the work of the Lord in Bohemia during the great oppression and about the great tribulations that the emigrants are experiencing at the place of their present sojourn. This was in part so that they would be encouraged to praise God for all the advantages we are enjoying here and partly so they would intercede heartily and zealously for these oppressed co-religionists. Oh how useful such reports are for us! Oh, Lord, what are we and our people that Thou lettest us enjoy so many more advantages than so many honest souls! Oh give us hearts in which burn an everlasting fire of mutual love and gratitude as well as merciful compassion for our poor fellow members! We acknowledge with most appreciative thanks that we have received so many edifying letters and diary extracts concerning the dear Bohemians. Some Salzburgers have received very impressive letters from their patrons and friends, for which they are full of joy. They generally communicate these to us and thereby give us an opportunity to help them benefit from them.
Tuesday, the 12th of February. A woman called on me and revealed that she had sinned against her late parents and other people’s property through disloyalty and that this had caused her much disquiet until now and had not let her grow strong in her Christianity. When N.’s15 sin was publicly disposed of, she had wished to confess and to free herself of sin, too; but she had always postponed doing so. She had told her husband about it, she said; and he was willing to give her as much money as she needed from the pay he was earning, which I was to give to a poor person. I showed her how much more was demanded if she were to win the merciful forgiveness of her sins; and therefore she should not be content with this confession and restitution. Her husband is still frivolous; and because I seldom find him at home because of his work in the field, I told her various things she should say to him in my name for his salvation. I particularly recommended to him frequent company with N., who is his neighbor on the plantations; for he would receive much spiritual advantage from him during and after their work.
Hertzog had calculated in advance that he would not have quartan fever, but rather good days, on Invocavit Sunday and the Saturday before it, so he asked whether we might be able to let him go to the Lord’s Table, which was to be held at that time. I gave him a couple of little books from those that have just been sent to us from Augsburg. He read them in my study and found that they suited his circumstances especially well. Therefore, whenever he found a passage that was particularly useful to him, he called out to himself: “God be praised and thanked!”; and he repeated this very often in his joy. Upon leaving, he said that this gift was dearer to him than if I had given him some crowns. In both books there are prayers and sighs for all occasions. Previously he has always complained that he did not know how to express his troubles as well as he would like, and therefore he was very fond of prayers that inspired devotion.
In a conversation with a woman I came to the beautiful expression in the song we are now learning: “Now indeed Thou hast received me, as I was imploring to come to Thee. My heart could well feel it when your glance of grace touched it.”16 With it I gave her the admonition to make good use of this experience, which she has surely had in both her previous and her present dwellings during her very often dark struggles, and thus to restore her sinking courage with it. She remembered the corner in which she, with her awakened and active conscience, had lain and struggled during the dark night, while no fear came to her from without. Therefore she did not know, she said, how it came about that she is now so fearful and cannot pray undisturbed in the dark. She has had this trouble, she continued, ever since another pious woman had said that late in the evening, while she was praying in the garden, something white had brushed by her face very swiftly, by which she was, to be sure, startled but not disturbed. She always thinks of this, even though she struggles hard against it and even recites such strength-giving verses as “Not a hair shall fall from thy head,” etc. I told her something about the verse, “Within, fear: without, struggle,”17 likewise “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walketh about seeking,” etc., and it is also written “and know that these same sufferings (pathemata) afflict your brothers,” etc. In how many ways the old skulker tries to disquiet true believers and impede their course.
Wednesday, the 13th of February. This afternoon a big storm arose, which was the first of this year. After the prayer hour we had another one, which brought us a heavy rain, just as the first had done. My God let it all pass soon and without damage!
Thursday, the 14th of February. Toward the evening yesterday God freed Mrs. N. from her bodily burden and granted her a young daughter. Her condition was very dangerous and difficult; and, because the child was very weak and almost strangled, I baptized it soon after its birth in the presence of the sponsors. I was told that during the time of Mrs. N.’s great pain and suffering she showed that she had a firm foundation of Christianity that had revealed itself in patience and in a childlike praise of God despite her physical weakness. This made a fine impression on all those who understand the mind and speech of the faithful. Without doubt she will now praise the dear Lord very much for the mercy He has shown her and the child (which will be a good example for her husband), especially since the child lived to receive Holy Baptism. She greatly wishes for the Kingdom of God to be increased through new arrivals, and she sighs and weeps a great deal when things do not proceed properly here and there.
A worthy friend of children has sent us a little packet of inspirational verses, some of them inscribed in torn out hearts and some in figures with legible letters; and this afternoon I distributed them among our school children after a prayer and necessary admonitions. They could say most of them by heart and showed a great desire to commit the rest to memory, for which purpose they wish to pass around the little slips, which had been given to them individually, until they have all learned them. With simple children one must practice Christian simplicity and condescend in every way so that some good will be planted in their tender hearts. In this regard I remember the words of the apostle, “I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Because our dear Mrs. von N.18 caused much joy to both adults and children the last time through all sorts of benefactions, I asked the children whether they would like to send her as a sign of gratitude some little verses from God’s word that they had stored up in their hearts in school. I found them quite willing to do so; and every one of them, even the smallest who can hardly speak, recited a verse or an edifying rhyme for me, which I have written down to my own great joy and will send along in Christian simplicity.19 May God place a blessing on this childlike simplicity for the sake of Jesus, the great friend of children. Before their departure I distributed a few small copper engravings, which Mr. Engelbrecht of Augsburg sent in rather great number as presents.20 For that too we gave most respectful thanks. They all deal with Jesus Christ, and may the Holy Ghost inscribe His image and living recognition in all hearts.
Friday, the 15th of February. Many people in our place have planted cotton, some less, which serves them well, since stockings are expensive and not much good. We have already had a large but light wheel made like those used by the wool spinners in Germany, on which a woman has begun to spin cotton. Now others are following her and thereby accomplishing more than when they used the small wheels that are driven with the foot. Our clock maker, Mueller, is a very skillful man, who can copy almost everything he sees; and he is making such spinning wheels for the people. It would be good if we could manufacture more of the things that pertain to clothing.
For our spiritual music we could well use a clavichord, or, if it were possible to make, a clavi-cimbel or regal organ, which would contribute to the glory of God and to our edification. Such a thing is not to be had here in this country, except that a Swiss in New Windsor, whom they call Landeshauptmann,21 is said to have one. The clockmaker,22 who fabricates all sorts of things, does not understand music, otherwise he would try to build a little clavichord. We also lack strings for it. May this too be commended to the providence of God, who has made possible many things that seemed impossible. A few days ago a woman told me that in the song O GOtt, du Tieffe sonder Grund, etc., she had noted the beautiful expression “And what is called impossible is the least of Thy works.”
After our private prayer meeting I distributed among the people a few little books, which were sent to us this time in considerable numbers. They were very pleased with them, expressed their appreciation well, and were most grateful. They also wished their benefactors all divine blessings for their souls and bodies as a reward. We cannot make much use of the unbound and ungathered materials, because we have no one who can bind them.
A woman23 whose parents are in Frederica asked me with tears to write a letter to her people there and to tell them how well the heavenly Father has cared for her both spiritually and physically and how gladly she would like to share such grace and gifts of God with them, if it were only possible for them to get away from there and to come here. I wrote it for her. Another man, who gets along rather miserably in a physical way, expressed the sentiment that he would rather let go of a hundred thousand doubloons than to leave this place now that God has begun to bless the word of reconciliation in him and to let him feel His mercy. Our merciful God is still showing himself very powerfully in these souls. Hallelujah!
Saturday, the 16th of February. Mrs. N.’s youngest baby died yesterday evening and was buried today. In the afternoon I visited her and found her much strengthened in soul and body and saw in her an example of what it means when “My heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.” Before the child was carried away, she heard with right heavenly pleasure the song Alle Menschen müssen sterben, etc., sung by the people who had gathered for the funeral. She knows no tribulations of the flesh, on the other hand she feels inwardly how much it costs to be a Christian.24 She had considered herself pious already in Germany; and she said in this connection that her prayers had come to her easily but that she is now learning better and better to recognize the value of a truly struggling prayer. Formerly, when she first realized how much she was still lacking, she thought that if she, like other people, did not have so much work in the world, she would be able to conduct her Christianity with more seriousness. But now she realized that it was a miserable excuse of the Old Adam to say that poor people, who are busy enough with getting their food, cannot do so.
Ever since early childhood the verse “And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things,”25 etc. has reminded her to praise the Lord for His many blessings; and she counts it among the chief blessings of her life that God has not only led her out of Salzburg but has also brought her into this wilderness to His word, where He has shown mercy on her soul. Before the departure of the second transport she had refused to accept the call to Ebenezer; but afterwards she prayed a lot about it. When the third transport was being collected it seemed to her that she had rejected the mercy God had offered her and had sinned thereby. Her mistress, a laundress in Memmingen, had also contributed much to her resolution to move here through her Christian speeches and arguments. While she was taking Holy Communion the last time God had assured her of His mercy especially during and through the evangelical expressions in the song Frölich soll mein Hertze springen, etc. Even though her heart vacillated again subsequently and became fearful, our pious Savior has nevertheless continued with His comfort and refreshment. Her husband heard her and my words and thereby received many necessary admonitions. His wife is ahead of him in her godly zeal. He said that his former father-confessor had his schoolmaster tell him that, if he did not accept the call to America, he was kicking away his fortune; and these serious words animated him to hurry after the third transport, which had already left Augsburg.
Another Salzburger had received a couple of letters as answers from a pious benefactor who judged him to be a pious and godly man. But this caused the man to weep and to regret that he had written anything, since his words had been misunderstood and he was being considered better than he really was. He was therefore unwilling to undertake writing any more letters, even though he felt obliged to write a thank-you note for a monetary benefaction he had received. I explained the benefactor’s expressions and showed him, from Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” etc., “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness,” etc. Because he must be counted among those who are poor in spirit, who mourn, and who are hungry and thirsty, the Lord has already called him blessed, provided he will not reject God’s mercy. This condition is a thousand times more blessed than anything the richest and most honored men of the world can boast of with their fortune and happy circumstances.
The dear man could not do enough to describe and lament sufficiently his previous blindness, in which he had presumptuously thought himself pious and had been considered so by other people, and to accept in humility the mercy God had shown him. At his departure from Germany he had no other purpose but to leave the rough and wild crowds and their public vexations and to come to some rest; but he had not thought of the main obstacle that lay in his way and had believed that he would have to remain behind for the sake of his old parents in order to edify them from the word of God, for it would be irresponsible to leave them. However, because God had seen that the departure would lead to the salvation of his soul, He Himself guided the hearts of his parents to advise him to make the journey to America; and God had even used a righteous man, who had presumably written a recommendation for him to Mr. Urlsperger.
Sunday, the 17th of February. Yesterday evening, when I had the congregation together again in the prayer meeting, I delivered the cordial greetings and benedictions that had been transmitted to our congregation by several of our dear patrons, such as Senior Preu, Pastor Riesch, Master Hildebrand, Mr. Kaltschmidt, etc., in their most recent letters; and this gave me an occasion again to tell my listeners many good things for giving their Christianity a firmer foundation and for increasing the good they had begun through God’s word. Our worthy Mr. Hildebrand has again sent various fine tractates both from himself and from Pastor Kleinknecht for our and the congregation’s use. May the Lord grant him and us good fruit from this, and may He richly reward him with much blessing in his office before God and man for his love and kind thoughts.
Today we have had a very enjoyable Sunday together, in which our loving God has blessed His word for our salutary recognition of Christ, the Savior of the world and Physician of poor sinners. Since the Lord Jesus refers in the gospel Luke 18:31 to the prophets of the Old Testament and says that their prophesies about Him, His passion, and His glory would soon be fulfilled, we were admonished that in the Old Testament we should seek and recognize only Christ as He was made for us by God for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Most people do not know what they should seek in the Bible; others, who think they can do better, observe only what is commanded or forbidden them and do not wish to respect Christ any more than Moses, and for this reason they slip into a condition of legality and self-sanctification and do not rightly experience the power of Christ, the power of His reconciliation and justification. This point was elaborated along with others in the main lesson, which was -- and this was the greatest benefaction, for which the consummately righteous would praise the Father of all Mercy in eternity -- that the Lord Jesus was sacrificed for the sake of our sins and was resurrected for the sake of our justification.
Monday, the 18th of February. The Salzburger Hossler called on me this morning and asked me to write to the benefactors who sent the recent gifts to him and other poor people. He named several dear benefactors, for example N.N., etc., to whom I should report in my letter that he and the others consider themselves unworthy of the benefactions but that God knows how much they need them, and they are wishing God’s blessing as a reward on him and the other benefactors. He also wished me to add a few verses, such as “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,” etc. and “The Lord Jesus was delivered for our offenses,” etc., and “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,” etc. Hossler sends many greetings to the pastor in Leipheim and to all his benefactors there for all the benefactions he enjoyed there.
N.N. would like to write his brother in N. a serious letter, but he does not think he has enough wisdom and ability to do so.26 He can clearly see from one of the letters he has received that he finds pleasure in the world and creature comforts and dislikes the hard work in this country. His dear brother knows from experience the obstacles there to true conversion and right penetration into the Kingdom of God, even though dear Mr. N.N. applies all effort, love, and seriousness to guard their souls so that they will not be swept away by the currents of vexation and mouth-Christianity. With great humility and grateful recognition of God’s miraculous love for him he expressed his certain belief that he would have been lost if God had not torn him free. Advantageous service with one’s employer is indeed pleasing for the flesh, but it is a great obstacle to the soul.
Tuesday, the 19th of February. The splendid little book A Short Instruction to a True, Pure, and Apostolic Recognition of Jesus,27 which was sent to us this time in many copies, is being much sought and eagerly read by our congregation at our recommendation. May God bless it abundantly in all, for I know that it has greatly blessed the students at Halle. If any book is necessary and salutary for theological students and for ministers and teachers in churches and schools, it is this one. And, since the dearest truths of the gospel are presented in a nutshell, it is easy to read through it several times. And here too one could say, “The longer, the better.”
A pair of men’s shoes cost 5 shillings or more; and the poor are to be pitied if they do not take care of them properly. If it is true, as it is claimed, that the widow Helfenstein can prepare leather for shoes as the tanners in Germany do, then it is to be hoped that the shoes in our village will become cheaper. I am sending to Charleston for a barrel of the oil necessary for preparing leather. Here in this country people pay only 2 Sh. 6 d for a raw ox-hide and only 2 Sh. for a cowhide, and yet shoes are very expensive. We could use a couple of shoemakers here. A short time ago Hans Schmidt wrote to his pious brother in Regensburg; and in his letter he invited his sister’s son, who is said to be a good and pious shoemaker; but he could not get away at the time of Schmidt’s departure to come here. It would please him and us to know whether the letter arrived properly. It was enclosed with the letters to Augsburg.
Wednesday, the 20th of February. N.’s daughter brought me a letter she had written especially for Court Preacher Ziegenhagen, but also for other benefactors. Upon reading it through, I find that she had remembered something from the examination for her confirmation, which deals with the order of salvation according to God’s word, but at the same time I see that she did not write down some points in the way she had previously understood them in her preparation for Holy Communion. God is working mightily through His word on her, her brothers and sisters, and her parents; and they all make diligent use of good opportunities. The clockmaker28 is among the men who would like to learn to read the notes if we had time for it. Mr. Thilo is taking the trouble to teach several women, among them his wife, the primary rudiments of vocal music in my house. He is also trying to teach the alto notes to Mrs. Helfenstein’s oldest boy,29 with which voice we are not yet supplied. The boy has a good voice and shows interest in this.
God has now caused a beginning to be made with the public preaching of the divine word on the plantations. This year we wished to make public use of the regular Sunday epistles for Lent, which we have omitted as long as we have been in this place; and the passion story as a basis of the catechisation has been postponed from Invocavit Sunday until Good Friday. This time we are planning to go through with it on Wednesday, piece by piece, both out there and here; for this a beginning was made today in God’s name, at ten o’clock by my dear colleague on the plantations and in the prayer meeting by me in the town. This year the story is taken from the gospel of St. Mark. On the plantations they give their signal with a horn and are soon gathered in Ruprecht Steiner’s house. It is certainly not by chance that the first sermon held on the plantations was a sermon of gratitude, based on Joel 2, for the abundantly received harvest and the second was a Passion sermon. God make us thankful for all His goodness, which lasts forever and comes upon us fresh every morning; and may He make us especially thankful for the meritorious suffering of Jesus Christ and help us to love above all things the recognition of His power in our souls and to follow in His footsteps. All this takes a glorious end, for it leads to the Kingdom of God.
Our dear people are now experiencing some physical suffering and hardship, since they must get established again on the new land. However, they are not afraid of it, because they hope gradually to establish themselves on their own land. In this they will at least have God’s word nearby.
Thursday, the 21st of February. We are giving our congregation much joy with the little books that were sent to us from Augsburg. To be sure, we first intended to keep them with the books that belong to the church library. However, because several copies of each kind have been sent and they will become better known and more useful to the people through distribution, we have decided to give them to those who ask for them and of whom we know that they will make good use of them. May God also reward this benefaction! The people are on their plantations and will not be able to hear the word of the Lord as often as when they were at home until better arrangements can be made. Meanwhile, such little tractates stand them in good stead; and they can discuss them and lend them back and forth. Among others, we are very fond of the little tractate, The Necessary Examination of Oneself before Taking Holy Communion,30 and we hope for much benefit from it in the congregation through God’s blessing. God has granted His church an uncommon treasure in this little book, which we have already utilized in the congregation and (may He be thanked a thousand times for it!) with good effect on several souls. May our merciful God place much blessing on it on Saturday in the confessional, when I plan to read some points from it and impress them on the confessors. Dear Senior Preu, who had it reprinted in Augsburg and wished to make it especially well known to his congregation and put it into their hands and hearts, has served as a shining example for all righteous ministers who are concerned with their parishioners’ salvation and has shown how they should be disposed, namely to apply the labor of other servants of Christ for edifying the flock entrusted to them. How salutary it would be if others would follow him in this and make its very clear and emphatic contents known to their parishioners, both young and old, at every opportunity. The blessing would certainly show itself soon.
Friday, the 22nd of February. Several members of the congregation have a great longing for the Treasure Chest that was printed in Halle,31 which they could use with profit at their work or on trips or at other times when they cannot take the Bible in hand. If we could receive a few copies, they would cause great joy. My testament, to which the extract of the Halle Hymnal32 is attached, has become torn and almost useless through long use at home and during travels, and therefore I would consider it a benefaction if I could get another so necessary and useful book.
Saturday, the 23rd of February. In today’s preparation for Holy Communion I acquainted the confessors with the chief themes from the aforementioned tractate Necessary Examination of Oneself, etc., for which purpose I read slowly and loudly those points that especially suited our parishioners’ present circumstances. From it God gave much edification to me and, I hope, to others.
Sunday, the 24th of February. God has given me much strength and blessing for the preaching of His word; and I praise the Lord for His very special mercy, which he has also shown even to my poor self. Oh, how dear to us is the article of reconciliation! Oh, if only we could properly grasp its power and correctly enter into this element of God’s mercy, which suits us fallen sinners. As our main lesson we had “The Lord Jesus has become obedient unto His heavenly Father through His deeds and sufferings,” which He did not do only as an example for us, but primarily for our sake, in our stead, and for our reconciliation. And now our reconciled God demands no more from us than that we 1) penitently realize that we have sinned against Him and regret this from our hearts, 2) that we place a good trust in Him that He will accept us in His mercy for Christ’s sake and let the achieved reconciliation flourish in us, for in His word He shows himself far more ready to grant us mercy than we are desirous to request it. He begs, “Let yourself be reconciled with God.” 3) We must make the honest resolution not to insult our good and pious God again but to live to His glory, for which there should be no lack of strength. I was deeply impressed by the late Pastor Freylinghausen’s lovely hymn Es ist vollbracht, etc., which we wish to learn soon. There were seventy-four of us at Holy Communion.
Mrs. N.33 was reconciled again with the congregation in the following way and thereupon admitted to Holy Communion. “I must announce to your Christian love that N. has prepared herself to go to the Lord’s Table today with the congregation. It is her earnest desire to be reconciled with God and man and, since she believes and hopes that our dear God has forgiven all her sins for Christ’s sake, she is asking forgiveness from everyone whom she has insulted knowingly or unknowingly in this place. She regrets everything from her heart and hopes that the congregation will forgive and forget just as God not only forgives sins but also forgets them and thinks of them no more in all eternity. May God give much grace to her and all of us who now wish to approach the Lord’s Table so that we can come to it with a penitent, humble, and grace-hungry heart and, as we promised before His countenance yesterday, praise Him from now on with pious Christian behavior and thus bring the fruits of penitence and faith.
“Because now, through God’s mercy, she recognizes better than previously what advantages God gives our town, especially in spiritual matters, over other places in this country, she yearns to be back at our place for the sake of her salvation and for the sake of her young children, whom she would like to have raised in the fear and admonitions of the Lord so that someday she can die in peace and without reproach from her conscience. But I shall leave this to the dispensation of God and the judgment of the authorities. If God should guide their hearts to give her permission again to move here, I hope that no one will have anything against it but will rather wish and invoke God to let everything work out for the glory of His name and for the true salvation of our souls. She does not wish to move here to anyone’s loss, and she well knows that by leaving this place she lost her rights to her former plantation and house lot. Therefore she, along with her son who is also here, testifies publicly that she will not claim, either now or in the future, the former plantation and house lot that her husband34 had previously won by lot but rather leave their owners in peace, unenvied, and undisturbed and be satisfied with another plantation that will be assigned to her. May God let everything take place in an honorable and orderly way among us.”
Monday, the 25th of February. A woman told me that she thought it was all over with her, but yesterday in the repetition hour the dear Lord let her recognize otherwise. She looks forward with pleasure to this hour and it would greatly pain her if she were on her plantation and could no longer attend it, for then she would have to be at home in the evening because of her cattle. God be praised! Today was too much of a blessing.
Tuesday, the 26th of February. Today I had a very simple and edifying conversation with a person who has comprehended the Lord Jesus properly. She is very simple and also right sincere, and she makes good use of all that she hears. Recently, at the conclusion of the prayer meeting, she said she had heard someone sing the verse, “Cling firmly to the faith in Jesus.”35 Thereupon she had thought to herself, “Now you too will cling to Him,” and, through the grace of God, she did not wish to let go of Him again. For six years she had had enough fear and sorrow. She would often call on another woman; but all she could do was weep, so she had to marvel at the other woman’s patience. But now she was through,36 she said, and did not wish to let go of Jesus. Some time ago she had especially felt His grace, but now she was learning to trust Him better even without feeling Him. Yet during her conversation she broke out with the words, “Sometimes I feel such joy that I cannot express it and cannot tell other people about it.”
While she was in her former sad condition, she said, she had always wished she would finally break through so that she might give a joyful answer to the question of how she feels. She had always had to complain to us, and therefore she wished for once to say something joyful and now God has heard her prayer. Concerning St. John the Baptist she said that he had already been filled with the Holy Ghost in his mother’s womb, yet he said, “I must decrease.” By this she wished to show how much more important humility is for us. Therefore it was such a pleasure for her to hear from the sermon that the devil can accomplish less with the humble. I am unable to record such a simple conversation as simply as I would like to, otherwise even more edifying things would appear here.
Wednesday, the 27th of February. Today I had an opportunity to speak with Mrs. N. and her son.37 I have thought several times of going to them, but I was afraid I would not strike the right tempo. Today, however, I felt an especial inclination to do so, so I did it with the hope that God would stand by me, which He did. She did not contradict me, as she had formerly done, but listened quietly and gave the appearance of approving of what I told her. Time will tell whether she will accept my words for her true conversion. May God grant it! At least we should not lose courage but rather continue working even on the recalcitrant according to the example of God, who is kind even to the ungrateful and wicked.
Mrs. N. is now very comforted. She knows she is free and has grace; and she hopes not to lose her courage even if temptations come.
Thursday, the 28th of February. Concerning Mrs. N. (who was mentioned under the 24th of this month), I spoke as much as necessary with the authorities in Savannah; and they will take all precautions, both orally and in writing, against all the disorders that we fear and the vexations that arose here previously because of her and will give her permission to return to us, but in cautious terms.
Among the German people39 things appear very confused and disorderly, and therefore they can almost grasp with their hands the reasons that are preventing us from giving them the Holy Communion they have often requested. In N. I found an opportunity to remind N.40 about his miserable and dangerous condition. He not only admitted it himself but also thanked me with very courteous words for the seriousness which we had to use in chastising him for his disorderliness, especially with regard to the fourth commandment; and he revealed his good resolutions. I happened to have the little book about the dreadful end of the Spira41 and of an atheist in London with me, which I gave him with the admonition to separate himself from the shameless people in N.42 who make fun of heaven and hell, as well as from all disorderly people. Otherwise he will not make the least beginning in his conversion.
Friday, the 29th of February. On the boat Bacher suddenly suffered an attack that looked like epilepsy; and it seemed that he would at once give up his spirit. I utilized this and whatever else he and his wife had experienced in their household so that they would learn better to tear their hearts away from everything through the grace of God and to hold only to the one God, in whom alone rest and blessedness can be found. Last Sunday God granted this man such a blessing from His words of reconciliation that, with tears of joy, he cannot sufficiently praise our eternally merciful God. I then showed him that even this mercy must go through tribulations and that one cannot lose this grace and goodness any more quickly than through worrying about one’s daily bread. Through such worries Satan takes the word from many people’s hearts so that they do not believe and are not saved; and our Savior warns against economic worries just as emphatically as against other coarse works of the flesh.
Saturday, the 1st of March. Poor Burgsteiner has a little four-year-old son who has been very sick and miserable for a long time. Since he has received little physical care because of his parents’ poverty and has not been kept warm enough, he has come very close to death. Now we have taken him into the orphanage; and Mrs. Kalcher is taking much trouble with him, even though she herself is very weak physically and has two small children. It is through her own volition that she has taken on this new burden, otherwise I would not have presumed upon her. Kalcher and she are both intent on doing much good, without personal gain, for the glory of God and the service of their neighbors, including the poorest children. They do not spare themselves but trouble themselves both day and night for the good of the people in the orphanage. I regret that I am not in a position to reward their loyalty and honesty even a little bit. But they suffer gladly for the orphanage and hope with faith and patience that God will again send a physical blessing.
It is a great blessing of the Lord that the Salzburgers have been so strengthened in their bodies and can constantly perform the heavy work they have with building houses, cultivating the land, making fences, and so many other things. The Lord well knows what is good and useful for us. Things seem worst with Eischberger and his wife, since they have both been frail for a long time and incapable of heavy work. Should the dear Lord again place something in our hands for the poor, we will gladly let them enjoy it before anyone else, for they need it and are worthy of it.
The clockmaker, Mueller, also suffers such attacks, that seem serious to me. He is a skilled and very useful man; and this time in Savannah I recommended him highly in order to help him earn something. He can make almost anything he sees, and God is working very powerfully on him. He attends divine services and all good opportunities with unusual pleasure and great attention, and he is happy that God has ordained that he not remove to the land but remain in town with a good opportunity for edification. For he has made a certain contract with a certain German man1 to work his land on fifty-fifty shares, for which he will redeem him in Savannah with a bond and advance him provisions. His son,2 an industrious youth, is working together with the share-cropper.3
Sunday, the 2nd of March. Today we announced to the congregation that we will celebrate commemoration and thanksgiving day next Saturday, for it is again the anniversary of the day that God, in His wisdom, goodness, and omnipotence, brought us into this land, where we have received so much spiritual and physical good under His divine guidance and where He has preserved us so far. Two of the vestrymen requested that this celebration too might be held on the plantations, because otherwise not all of the women would be able to leave their household duties. They would like to gather undisturbed for the whole day.
Tomorrow most of the men in the community will assemble and improve the path to make it convenient for riding and walking, for they wish to facilitate things for us in every way, in so far as possible. On my last journey God disposed things so marvelously that I was able to buy a tame and useful horse. Such are very rare in this country, and one must fetch them with great difficulty from Carolina, and in this one can be cheated. In the hot summer our health would suffer if we had to go back and forth on foot.
Monday, the 3rd of March. An Englishman from Carolina, who came here from Old Ebenezer, is said to have brought the news that the province of South Carolina has recruited five hundred men for military service, clothed them, and supplied them with all necessary equipment in order to send them soon to aid Mr. Oglethorpe against the Spaniards.4
There are now more women in my home prayer meeting, because some of the men are busy on the plantations and some are busy making fences. It appears that God has given some of them a new awakening in their hearts so that they are beginning to become serious in their Christianity. A Salzburger complained of his sloth and added that it was being proved in him and others that “The first shall be last and the last shall be first,” etc., for some, who had been awakened again through the word of the Lord, were showing more earnestness, etc. A pious woman said that she is heartily glad when she hears that this or that person has truly turned to Jesus, but she is soon depressed when she realizes that she herself has not achieved it. I find in her and the above-mentioned man precisely what is written in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst.” Because they do not wish to deceive themselves in their work of salvation, they appropriate much from the word of God that is preached and whch really ought to be said of the unconverted and lukewarm Christians. The song Es ist vollbracht, etc., which we learned a few days ago and repeated yesterday in the song hour, has impressed me and others greatly. Its dear author, the late Pastor Freylinghausen, has also achieved5 and, after much work and struggle, has come to the Lord Jesus, to whom he has directed his listeners and readers so vigorously, wisely, and evangelically in sermons and writings. His office and example remain indelibly in my memory, and may the Lord never let me forget what I have heard of him and seen in him.
Tuesday, the 4th of March. N. and N.,6 who are sisters, are showing themselves to be very honest in their Christianity, and during my visit I found them very edifying. They are reaching the right point in their Christianity, namely, like souls troubled in their hearts by their perdition they are seeking their salvation in Christ alone and are hungering and thirsting for it. One of them said that she had told her sister several times that they were reared in their home like honorable heathens. They were admonished to much external good and were warned against theft, calumny, lying, and other coarse sins, and that was their and their family’s Christianity. In Germany they had already learned that what man can accomplish through his natural power will not suffice for salvation; but they had come no further than to a literal recognition, and even in it much was lacking. However, our merciful God has already opened their eyes and let them experience His mercy, yet their hearts still vacillate and they sometimes become depressed. At the same time N. complained that the devil had laid many obstacles in her and her husband’s way before their last Holy Communion, but God had removed it again out of their path. It saddens both of them that they must move out to the plantations, since they will not have such close contact with the pious women with whom they have kept company here.
Concerning another pious woman I was told that she cannot think of moving without weeping. She had already wished several times to take leave of me and thank me for all the good that she and her family had enjoyed, but her sorrow would not let her do it. To be sure, nothing would give us more pleasure than to be able to keep our congregation together under our supervision; but we must resign ourselves to the move, since necessity and their physical well being and even the providence of God require such a change. God give us wisdom to adapt ourselves properly to all situations that arise.
Wednesday, the 5th of March. The people are expressing great pleasure that the word of God is now being preached to them on the plantations. My dear colleague goes out every Wednesday morning and reads them the passion story from the gospel of St. Mark, and here it is read Wednesdays and Thursdays in the evening prayer meeting. I had intended to visit Ernst and his wife at their plantation, but because of shortness of time I could get no farther than to Ruprecht Steiner’s plantation, where I preached something out of yesterday’s evening prayer hour, and then we prayed together. The dear people are very pleased when we visit them, and it is very useful both to us and to them.
Since the action has moved from Savannah to Frederica, very few sloops come to Savannah, and therefore some things are not to be had, or only very expensively. It is difficult and sometimes dangerous to have things brought from Charleston, because the ship crews are generally careless with the goods entrusted to them. They bring everything in open boats or pirogues; and, because they are sometimes fourteen days underway from Charleston to Savannah, much is spoiled or damaged by the rain.
Thursday, the 6th of March. A pious merchant in Savannah7 sent me a calendar, which he had procured for me in Charleston; and with it he sent me a very sincere little letter in which he revealed to me the troubles and desires of his heart and movingly implored our intercession. Since God is leading him to a true recognition of himself and of his Savior, the great Reconciler of the whole world; and, since he has a righteous guide in Mr. N.,8 God will surely make of him a splended vessel of His mercy and a valuable instrument of His grace for other frivolous and disorderly people of this place. He has especial natural gifts which the Lord will use for much good if they are sanctified.
We both went to N.’s plantation to speak a few words with him and her about their salvation. When they told us about their physical want, this gave us an opportunity to remind them of their former state of sin and to tell them that they thereby deserved far more than their present poverty and sickness. We also showed them what salutary purpose God had in these well deserved afflictions, namely, they should penitently recognize their misery and perdition like the prodigal son, turn from the paths of perdition, and humble themselves before Him, then God will rejoice at their penitence and change the curse into blessing. They asserted that they now recognized the hand of God that was striking them better than before and promised to follow the good advice we gave them by showing them the 15th chapter of Luke and the 8th chapter of the first book of Arndt’s True Christianity.
In the hope of improvement we promised him a pair of shoes, which he had requested strongly, and also gave him the assurance that, should he and his wife convert themselves through the grace of God and begin a new life, we would gladly show our joy even through physical gifts; for, because of their annoying behavior, we had been prevented from considering them like other orderly members of the community. We knelt down together under the open sky and asked God to have mercy on these poor people and their two children and to bless in them the words we had spoken. This visit came to them entirely unexpectedly, but pleased them very much, as was shown by both their tears and their sincere thanks. Oh, may the Lord Jesus accept even those great sinners like lost sheep and set them aright, as He has done for so many others!
Friday, the 7th of March. Because many Salzburgers have moved, or are moving, to the plantations with their households, those men who have remained in town have joined in protecting an already planted field with a high fence. This has, to be sure, cost them much work, but not as much as they first assumed; because they all worked on it with right unusual industry and unity. They have divided the land in such a way that each of them is receiving as much as he himself can desire and has time and strength to plant. How greatly it pleases us when everything proceeds in a Christian and orderly way among our parishioners. How advantageous are harmony and mutual assistance even in external occupations.
Saturday, the 8th of March. Today we held our annual commemoration and thanksgiving celebration, at which the Lord did much good to our souls. We two alternated so that in the morning one of us preached the word of God at the plantations and the other in the town; and in the afternoon we did it again so that the entire congregation heard both texts expounded and applied. My dear colleague had as his text Galatians 2:19-20, “I am crucified with Christ,” etc. I had the words from Job 5:19, which dear Mr. N. sent to us and our congregation some time ago to encourage us when he had received reports of our manifold trials and tribulations, from which time I have always found them most impressive. From them I showed that in their manifold tribulations the children of God have good hope that everything will turn out all right. In the main lesson I reminded them that our true God has verified this His word of promise in us and that this should arouse us to the praise of his name and to further sincere faith in his help and care.
We have now been in this country for six years. Each year has had its particular tribulations and trials, but the Lord has helped us through all of them; and this should surely strengthen us in our faith and confidence with regard to our seventh year, even if poor crops, danger of war, or other hardships should arise. (Cf. Job 5:20-24). At this time I was greatly edified and comforted by the little verse from Psalm 68: “We have a God who help-eth.” The children have learned the 91st Psalm by heart and recited it publicly. In the evening we sang the two beautiful songs Lobe, lobe meine Seele, den der heisst HErr Zebaoth, etc. (in which Ebenezer is mentioned) and Singt dem HErrn nah und fern, etc. Between them we prayed and praised our heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost for all the blessings we have enjoyed, especially in the last six years, and called upon Him for further blessings.
Sunday, the 9th of March. Because the church hut is very uncomfortable and almost dilapidated, we began yesterday and today to hold divine services in my house, as we have done so far with the prayer meetings, for there is room in it for that too. God be praised for the good opportunity He has given here to me and my family for our dwelling and to our congregation for its edification. A man came to see me and told me that, to the praise of God, the word of the Lord has been especially blessed in him and another person who is staying with him; and it seemed to him that someone must have revealed to me what suited his circumstances, because the lesson applied to him so well. We learned in the main lesson that what Satan has corrupted in man the Lord Jesus can set aright, provided man does not willfully resist Him. To emphasize the first important point I used the two verses Ephesians 4:18-19 and Isaiah 53:6. “All we like sheep have gone astray,” etc. I was deeply impressed during the repetition hour, and the Savior did much good to my soul. We sang with all voices the edifying song Mein Heyland nimmt die Sünder an, etc., which we had received printed for different voices and which we had distributed to our listeners.
Monday, the 10th of March. A pious and simple Salzburger, who cannot write and generally has a rather weak mind, told me how he makes use of the word of God that is preached to him and others; and I was particularly pleased when he said that, as soon as he returns to his hut, he reflects silently on the words he has heard and prays with them, otherwise he loses them quickly, as he has noticed in other people too. He was very happy that my dear colleague preaches every week on the plantations. One has, he said, not only a body that must have food and sustenance, but also a soul that must be cared for, for otherwise we would live like cattle. Some time ago he received some Bible pictures, whose meaning he well understood; and he was especially pleased with the Lord Jesus, who was represented under the cross in His lovely image; and he used very fine expressions in describing Him. I thereupon thought of the words of the blessed Luther, who called Bible illustrations Laicorum Biblia9 and, in his desire to edify simple souls, left them in the Evangelical Church in his great wisdom.
I found a pious woman reading Arndt’s True Christianity. She had the Bible lying beside her and said they were her two best books; but she complained at the same time about her lack of understanding, of which she had become well aware while reading. During the conversation she stretched her hands toward heaven and said with very friendly and joyous gestures: “God has shown a most miraculous love for me by bringing me here and having mercy on this miserable worm.” People sometimes say that God performs no more miracles; yet on her, she said, He had done nothing but miracles by saving her from perdition and bringing her to a faith in the Lord Jesus. To be sure, even in Old Ebenezer He had let her come into many dark states of mind to which she could not reconcile herself; and she had not had the heart to reveal it to one of her ministers until God Himself had miraculously ordained it. For then she realized that these were the right ways by which God was accustomed to lead the deeply fallen to eternal salvation.
All the pain and suffering that she had often felt in her conscience and soul were now dearer to her than all the treasures of the world, since the Lord had let the light of His grace dawn in her. She could hardly praise sufficiently the blessing God had shown her from His word yesterday and during the thanksgiving celebration or sufficiently praise His holy name. Another woman who was there also praised the good guidance of the Lord so far and could hardly degrade herself enough in view of the unworthiness caused by her previous sinful life. She prayed; and, in presenting to the dear Lord her perdition and the inner yearning of her heart for His free grace in Christ, she used words that could only be edifying for anyone who heard them. She also said that, even if she could be set on a royal throne, she would rather choose the poorest hut in Ebenezer in place of it. God be praised for the blessing my soul received in this assembly.
Tuesday, the 11th of March. Mrs. N. informed me sorrowfully that she and her family are moving to the plantations at the beginning of next week and that she finds it very bitter; yet she must obey the will of God, who has so ordained. She is concerned only with the salvation of her soul; and, since the daily evening prayer hour and other good opportunities for edification have been very useful for her, she regrets very deeply that she will have to forego them. She praises the dear Lord sincerely because her oldest daughter has acquired a thorough knowledge of Christian dogma through the instruction she has had so far in the church and school and has acquired through practice the gift of relating in an orderly and edifying manner what she knows and hears. The Lord Jesus is working very powerfully in her, so that people have every good hope for her. With tears the pious mother thanked us for all the spiritual blessings shown to her and her family and requested us very movingly to visit her out there. I hope the Lord will use her as a blessed instrument on other people at the plantations, for she greatly yearns to edify herself with other people.
Concerning N., who is her neighbor in the town, she told me that she had not lost the awakening that she had again experienced but was loyally applying the grace she had received for her conversion. She believes that, as soon as she has moved to the plantations and been weaned from her former acquaintances who do not really strive for heaven, things will go even better with her. I believe that, in the case of the plantations, to which most of the people are moving, God not only has the bodily welfare of our congregation as His aim but also will seek to fulfill the real work He has begun in many of them and also give us opportunity and strength to benefit both young and old in this main purpose, for which He has already given us the will and grace.
Yesterday I had planned to ride out this morning and visit the workers; but yesterday evening we had a heavy rain and thunderstorm; and in the night a real gale arose, which remained very cold and raw all day. After the rain we saw much yellow stuff on the streets as if it had rained sulphur.
Wednesday, the 12th of March. After the strong wind had receded and the sky had become clear, we had a violent freeze, which was a hard blow for the peach blossoms, the sprouting grape vines, and other delicate things. Because it has been as warm and pleasant as in the spring for some time, the new grass has sprung up frequently where the old was burned away, and this has been a great blessing for the Salzburgers’ cattle, which have been in a bad way because the meadows have been grazed off on all sides. Some time ago a part of the cattle were driven into the open woods because of lack of fodder, but they often return to their houses and huts because they are accustomed to the warm stalls and the fodder they find there. Therefore the people worry less now than formerly that they will run away. It is very advantageous for the community and the orphanage that the orphanage’s cattle and a few head from the rest of the herd have been separated and sent with their own herdsmen to the orphanage plantation more than two hours from our place; for in this way the cattle near the town have decreased and the orphanage cattle have fattened visibly on the new pasturage. Cattle raising is very advantageous, but the beginning is most difficult, especially for the orphanage.
N.N.10 is a disinterested friend of the orphanage and is one heart and one soul with Kalcher and the other pious people there, since he fears God from his heart. He greatly benefits the orphanage with regard to cattle raising and serves it very profitably in many situations; yet from this he feels no loss but rather the blessings of the Lord on every side, as he himself acknowledges.
I visited a couple of women, especially the wife of N.N.; and it pleased me to note that they join together nicely and edify each other mutually. I spoke with one of the women about the great reward of grace that will follow a true Christianity, in which a man remains faithful until the end. I warned her against indolence in prayer and other good exercises; and I told her in advance that the more seriousness she shows through the grace of God to reach Christ and to come through Him to the Father, the more obstacles will arise both from without and from within. But nothing should be able to turn us away from seizing our eternal salvation. I was deeply impressed yesterday evening by the little word “Jesus-Love” or the heartfelt love that flows from the Jesus-Heart abundantly and, according to their circumstances, not only upon the true believers but upon all those who would like to be helped; and therefore I told her this and that about it in order to encourage her to a good trust in our good and pious Savior. This is very advantageous at the beginning of conversion and sweetens the struggle.
I learned here that, in the absence of their husbands, the women make good use of the little books that were given them recently. Another woman called on me and said that the verse “I will bring her into the wilderness and speak comfortably to her” applied to her very well: the Lord speaks only kindly to her and she feels it well in her heart. She remembered the call to America with great humility and much praise of God and said that God really had to force her to the good. She begged her husband with tears to sign up for Prussia or Ulm,11 but he prayed to God to reveal His will to him and to lead him only according to His will and bring him and his family to such a place that they could be saved. When he signed up for America she became very depressed and disquieted, but now she praised the Lord for His good guidance.
The song Wenn meine Sünde mich kräncken, etc., which we sang today in the song hour, was very impressive for a person among us because it tells in very pleasant terms how we should properly utilize the dear passion of our Savior. We sing it in all four voices to its own melody, which we shall incorporate into this diary for our own remembrance.
The song Geheimniss voller Lieb, etc. has become very dear to us too because of its very important content. We learned it in the previous hour and repeated it this evening.
Thursday, the 13th of March. A miserable man from Savannah who came to us out of the woods in which he had been lost12 is somewhat more cheered in spirit than before, now that he has rested up and been refreshed with warm food and a good night’s rest. Dr. Thilo found it necessary to bleed him, and this was done today. The patient would not have agreed to this unless, as he said, he had felt assured that he was among Christian people who cared only for his good. Yesterday his mind was still very disturbed and half delirious and he could not explain how confused and topsy-turvy everything was in his head. He looked upon everyone as his enemy and still had no desire to read in the Bible, although he liked to hear the word of God. He is wearied of his life in Savannah; and while he was straying in the forest it seemed to him as if he were better off there than with his master. He did not care whether he ever found his way out again but merely followed the high and dry ground, even when he discovered a footpath, until he finally came upon our settlement quite unexpectedly.
We are doing everything possible for him and adjusting ourselves to his weak mental condition in order to win and strengthen his confidence in us. He told us that in his journeying he had run from one land and place to the other and had therefore seen many lands and cities but had merely harmed himself all the more thereby. I then expressed the wish that he rest his body and soul here, for which he should pray to God too. He himself wished nothing more than this and promised to obey in all things and submit to all work and good order, if only he could be kept here. We are letting him live in our old hut next to Zuebli13 so that he will have someone to assist him in physical and spiritual matters. This will be done faithfully by Zuebli, in whom this poor man has already placed his trust. He is receiving much good from the orphanage and other people.
God blessed the visit of a pious Salzburger woman in her and me so much that we were both filled with the praise of God and took leave of each other with great pleasure. At first she was not at home and I spoke with the maid that she has with her about various things required by the state of their souls. The woman joined us and I repeated what I had said to her, and she again promised me to pay better attention from now on to God’s word and to good admonitions and to ask the Lord Jesus for another heart so that she too can someday reach the blessed place to which her brothers and sisters have already gone ahead of her. The woman complained that so far her maid is not yet serious in her Christianity; and she said she feared that she and her husband did not admonish her enough or pray for her enough or set her an example of pious behavior. I asked the girl who was to blame, whether God or man, that she is not yet a true Christian; but she answered, “I myself.” I explained her situation to her with the admonition first to pray to the dear Lord for a thorough recognition of her miserable condition so she might properly believe the article she had learned in school about the lost and damned souls (which all people are before their conversion).
The woman, who had her infant before her in its cradle, said that its name was Johannes. I admonished her to remember, with her husband, the beautiful example of the parents of St. John the Baptist, of whom it is written, “They were both righteous before the Lord,” etc. She remembered the words of St. John, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It must be the chief goal of our Christianity that we become ever smaller and Christ ever larger. One should notice how much worldly people are harmed by not recognizing their misery and therefore placing no importance on Jesus Christ. Consequently it is a great blessing that He reveals the perdition of His children more and more so that only Christ becomes great and all.
She had, she said, existed some six years in her misery and had sighed for a state of grace and for certainty of it; but finally God brought the work He had begun in her so far that she could call God in Christ her father and herself His child. From time to time things look dark in her heart and she begins to doubt and to think that she might be deceiving herself; yet the Lord has given her grace to break through again, for she pays no attention to her fancies and to her sensitive feelings but adheres to her simple faith in God’s promises to penitent people who hate their sins and regret their frailty. On our recent holy day God blessed the example of Mary in Luke 10 in her greatly, etc.
At this time I told her what I had read, just before coming to her, to a girl about a pious virgin in Alexandria, who preferred to have her teeth knocked out of her mouth and have her cheeks pierced and finally be burned at the stake rather than deny and blaspheme her dear Savior. Because this girl was also named Apollonia,14 I admonished her to imitate this Apollonia in her sincere bride-love through His grace and then she too would come to the same blessed place of joy where that Apollonia will be eternally after undergoing struggle and pain. Once she comes into heaven, she will look around for this martyr and be joyful with her forevermore.
She (the woman) should do the same thing with Mary (whose name she has borne since baptism). How pleasing it would be for her if she imitated her here through the grace of Jesus Christ and could meet her there face to face. We also discussed the recent hard labor of Mrs. Hernberger, and she said she had implored the dear Lord in great simplicity just to free her from her bodily burden, since things looked pretty bad anyway, and to do whatever He wished with her and the child. When the birth pains actually began she reminded her heavenly Father of His promise “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Then she felt His help right clearly, and it seemed to her during her most violent pains as if God were standing by her and she was suddenly freed from all pain and worries. When she holds her child in her lap, then she wishes and prays that it too may be a child of salvation, for it would be very fine if parents and children could someday be together again, etc.
Friday, the 14th of March. I had to speak with Mrs. N. concerning her serving girl, whom she had kept out of the reading class to work at home, even though she is very far behind in her reading. At the same time I made an effort to awaken her and her husband out of their complacency and reminded them particularly of the edifying example and death of the late N.N., to whose struggle for penitence and suffering of soul they had not at the time been able to resign themselves because of their literal ignorance. I held up to the two of them several emphatic verses, such as “Strive to enter in,” etc., “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, etc., and “Not everyone who saith unto me, Lord, Lord,” etc. I showed how a worldly mind, in which they are too mired, hinders people in their conversion and finally casts them into the pit of perdition; and I warned them that they would not be helped by the empty use of the Media paedagogica15 and selfmade comfort from the merits of Christ. At the same time I admonished them to call upon God for open eyes, otherwise they would not be convinced of their misery, no matter how much good was said of them by people.
Here I met Mrs. N., who soon departed. Because Mrs. N. told me that she often visited her, I admonished her not only to have a good conversation with her but in particular to be sure to tell her that, if a person wished to become a Christian, he must learn in advance to believe that he is not yet a Christian and must first lay a firm foundation for his recognition of his deep misery. It is not enough, I said, for a man to acknowledge his coarse sins: the abomination lurks in the heart, and the Savior tells honorable people of the world that they are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness.
I called on another family; and their bloodletting today furnished us with matter for a very edifying conversation about Christ’s blood of reconciliation, which He allowed to be bled through His uncommonly great love and through which He atoned for all the sins of mankind and made good our wicked condition. The husband complained of his blindness, because in the past he had recognized far too little the necessity, importance, and utility of this dear reconciliation of Christ; and I therefore explained this comforting thing for him even more through a parable of a miscreant who is in prison awaiting death; and in the application I showed that our holy and just God could let the misdeeds of men go unpunished just as little, or even less, than a just secular judge could and that the penitence and penance for our sins would be comforting only to those who recognized and felt the magnitude of their sins. We finally came to the very important verse in the Revelations of St. John 22:14-15; and the words “Right to the tree of life,” penetrated most unusually to his heart, and he spoke about it with very impressive words.
Saturday, the 15th of March. This morning I visited some plantations; and on one of them I received much refreshment through prayer and conversation concerning the principal theme of Christianity. A man whom I asked about the condition of his soul confessed freely and accused himself most bitterly. I gave him some instructions as to how he could win his true salvation while still doing his work. May the Lord Jesus give us wisdom, which is around His throne, to handle all our parishioners rightly according to the condition of their souls and to give each of them the lesson most pertinent to him alone. May he convince those of their perdition whom all our arguments can merely persuade to admit that we are right and to approve the outward sound of our words, while remaining just as they were.
Sunday, the 16th of March. A Salzburger from the plantations called on me; and I could well understand from his words what wish he is constantly bearing around in his heart, namely, to be found among those few chosen souls who force their way16 into the narrow gates of God’s kingdom. He complained that he had previously had entirely wrong ideas about the order of salvation and had merely held himself back despite all good instruction. He is very sorry for his parents, who were left behind, and fears not without reason that they still hold the erroneous opinion, as he did previously, that all baptized Christians will go to heaven if only they live orderly lives. Another young Salzburger, who complained to me yesterday on the plantation about his misery, had promised to come to me and pick up the New Testament and another good booklet; but, because he did not come (presumably through bashfulness), I sent them by this man, whom I admonished to read the booklet to him and see to it that he wins his confidence and that both of them help each other toward the good. The former is of such a nature that, despite all his convictions and although he uses the means to salvation diligently, he just goes his own way and lacks the advantages that come from Christian intercourse with others.
Monday, the 17th of March. Today our marvelous God ordained a great tribulation for the orphanage. Kalcher, his wife, Mrs. Schweighofer, and Christ had been in my house for prayers; and, as soon as they had returned and knelt again in prayer, a fire began unexpectedly in the cowshed and put the entire shed and its appurtenances in flames. To be sure, the people came running to their help, but the heat from the fire was so great that no one could approach it and therefore they could do no more than protect the orphanage itself by pouring water on it so that its dry shingles and boards would not be ignited by the great heat and by the flames that were driven against it by the wind. Next to the cowshed there was a spacious and newly-built pig-sty, along with a chicken coop and another long little building that served the needs of the children and other people. A calf and some brooding hens were burned too, because no one could reach them. Praise be to God, who tempered this chastisement with much mercy. Above all, this sad affair occurred by day and at a time when there was little wind and there were no cattle at home except for the above-mentioned calf.
Here in this country one can build only with pure wood; and the pine and fir wood is very resinous, for which reason the shingles, boards, beams, and posts catch fire quickly, especially because everything is unusually dried out and made quickly flammable by the strong heat of the sun and the dry winds. May God hold His hand over the orphanage and the remaining buildings and let this tribulation, which has indeed humbled us, serve as matter for His great praise. And may He turn the sighs and tears of the pious people in the orphanage into songs of joy, especially when we see Him showing us a new blessing for reconstructing these indispensable buildings that are now mere ashes. It is said that a little boy carried a lightwood torch through the shed and thus caused this misfortune. The authorities in the orphanage are very cautious with fire; but, if the Lord does not protect the house and the city, then the watchman watches in vain. Yesterday someone recited to me the verse, “Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it.” May He let us apply this, and everything else we meet in our pilgrimage, properly and according to His will. Concerning this loss a beautiful verse from Psalms 74:12 occurred to me while I lay before the countenance of the Lord: “For God is my king of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”
N. prayed more earnestly in the prayer hour than I have ever heard him pray before; and from his moving utterances I could clearly understand that the Lord had given him a fine blessing from his Word yesterday. I believe that the sad sight of this loss by fire has given his soul a new and salutary impression, as it did mine. In this regard Kalcher made excellent use of yesterday’s gospel about the feeding of the multitude of hungry people; and, along with others, he strengthened himself in his trust in the help he hopes from the Lord.
Tuesday, the 18th of March. The poor man who came to us after getting lost begs earnestly to be allowed to remain with us. He has offered to guard the community’s cattle, for which he is probably more suited than for any other work. Because there is something else to arrange for the congregation, I have resolved in God’s name to travel to Savannah and to see whether I can have the said man donated to the congregation.17 Many Salzburgers have a good supply of corn which they would like to sell because they need clothes and other necessary things; but they know of no opportunity because everything is so cheap. I shall endeavor to persuade the storehouse manager to purchase a good quantity, for which our people would take linen, flour, nails, etc. God give His blessing to this!
Wednesday, the 19th of March. This evening after the prayer hour I returned home, God be praised, sound and contented from Savannah. Again the Lord has not let me travel in vain but has granted His blessing to everything I had to arrange for the congregation so that I can recognize from this that the trip took place according to His will and under His guidance. What can be more pleasing and comforting than to be certain of the merciful and pleasing will of God even in secular undertakings?
The authorities were touched by the miserable mental and physical condition of the stocking maker who recently came to us after being lost; and Mr. Jones, who is the most prominent man in the council, was very pleased that we have taken care of him and intend to do so further. I therefore obtained permission to keep him here and to assign some work to him according to his limited abilities.
The storehouse manager is kind enough to buy a quantity of the Salzburger’s corn for 18 pence cash per bushel, and he gave poor Bacher back 10 Sh. for the rather spoiled flour he recently bought in the storehouse. And for this too I am pleased that the journey was blessed. In Purysburg a wealthy German widow18 spoke to me and asked me to accept her two children into our orphanage for pay so that they might be kept in school regularly and under good supervision. There would be more of them who would send their children here; but they prefer to give supplies of corn and rice rather than money, which would cause the orphanage a loss. Meanwhile, if only the means were present, we would be most willing to serve the parents, even at some financial loss, for the sake of the poor straying children. May the Lord look into this and ordain everything according to His will!
Thursday, the 20th of March. In addition to the already mentioned very important buildings, various necessary tools and vessels in the orphanage were destroyed or made useless in the fire; and now we must await a new physical blessing from the hand of the Lord in order to replace them. Kalcher is very frail, and because of the reconstruction of the burned buildings a great burden of work rests on him in the planting season. May he be helped by the Lord, to whom he has entirely dedicated himself. I spoke with the children about this fire damage, from which they should profit both spiritually and physically. Because we have now learned that both the children and the servants have been using fire very carelessly even though Kalcher had used every caution, we will have to make much more serious and strict regulations for safety’s sake. Mainly we see that the hand of the Lord that has struck will also bind and heal. If the children and adults implore Him earnestly, He in His mercy can divert greater damage and can easily replace what we have lost.
Friday, the 21st of March. I spoke with a Salzburger at his work about the great disquiet that our dear Savior had and willingly bore for us both day and night during His passion, through which He sweetened all disquiet in our lives and changed it into a blessing and salutary medicine. Also, all the rest and refreshment that we have by day and night we owe to His meritorious disquiet and passion; and this we should always keep in mind.
Saturday, the 22nd of March. I journeyed this morning to the plantations and returned later than I had expected; but I did not mind this because I had had much pleasure in being with the people. I spoke with them a bit for their edification, especially about the meritorious passion of our Savior, and gave them some gospel verses for their use. It was also agreed how we could provide for the poor man who came to us after being lost and assign him a job that he can and is very willing to do, namely, guarding the cattle of some of the Salzburgers who live at the end of the plantations. In this way he will be able to find his maintenance in clothing, food, and other necessities most easily and suitably. Everything is arranged in an orderly way on the plantations; and I am very pleased with their unity, their contentedness in all their difficult circumstances, and their communal help and aid. They would be very pleased if we could preach to them twice every Sunday. However, because at present we cannot separate and can serve them with a sermon only once, namely in the morning, they prefer to come to the town in order to have the entire divine service until the Lord makes it possible for one of us to move out to them entirely and to supply them with the word of God on weekdays and Sundays. We shall present this weighty matter to the Lord in our prayers and implore Him to let His will be done and to show us which of us two should undertake this new change. Neither our present good dwellings or anything else will hinder us in this, if only we recognize the will of God. This much every knowledgeable person will recognize: if I had had to wait for a house to be built for me on the plantations, I would have had to get along for a rather long time in the miserable hut, to the harm of my health and my office, because they cannot think of building a church or anything else because of the great work necessary for cultivation and getting established.
Sunday, the 23rd of March. N.19 called on me before the afternoon divine service and greatly praised the kindness that God is showing him and said he now felt an earnest desire to become another man. His heart was especially moved by the words that were preached to him last Wednesday on the plantations concerning the passion story. Sometime ago he requested us to take him on as a hired hand in the orphanage, as God has gradually ordained, and this causes him great joy. He is guarding the orphanage’s cattle in the forest and is proving very loyal. He loves Kalcher as his father and he receives from him and her (as he himself admits) more good in spiritual and physical ways than he ever received from his parents. He has come into very good hands, and I hope something good will come of him if he remains true to the good he has received.
Today the people, including those from the plantations, attended divine services zealously; and some of them remained for the repetition hour. This pleased me, because they themselves could sufficiently perceive the basis and grounds of the good hope I had that some of the listeners would not see death forever but would come into eternal life. I had only been able to touch upon this matter in the main lesson. Oh, if only, through God’s aid, everyone wished to be sincerely obedient to the truth that is presented to them earnestly and emphatically so that we might well hope that they would all be saved! Unfortunately, however, when we examine the state of Christianity of many of our congregation according to God’s word, we must fear that many of them will come to the wrong place, unless they allow themselves to be warned in time.
In today’s song hour we learned the two splendid songs Seelen-Weide, meine Freude, etc. and GOtt wills machen, dass die Sachen, etc., which were extremely refreshing for me and, I hope, for others too. The evenings are now becoming rather short, and therefore we must somewhat restrict the song hour and the appended prayer meeting. We will have to see whether, when the days get longer, we can find another hour; for various members of the congregation receive great pleasure from such practices. In this way we can gradually familiarize the whole congregation with exceptionally beautiful songs which, because of their unknown melodies, would otherwise remain obscure and unfruitful like a treasure in a field. Likewise, those we have already learned can be sung to the congregation, often polyphonically, in the prayer meetings and repetition hours.
Monday, the 24th of March. One of the vestrymen of the congregation asked me in the others’ names to have divine services held on the plantations twice on Sundays at least every two weeks, because some weak people and especially women in a family way cannot make the long trip. We will have to adapt ourselves to their wishes and fulfil their request, even though we would rather see the divine services held regularly on Sundays and holy days in the town, because everything can be organized better and carried out more edifyingly when we two are together. Some of the people find it hard to forego the evening prayer meeting; and, now that they are out there, they are learning to appreciate the blessing of the daily communal edification through the word of God, song, and prayer.
A man called on me after the evening prayer hour and thanked the dear Lord with very sincere and simple words for having ordained that he has his land near the town and can edify himself daily, for he values this more highly than all temporal advantages. For, even if one of us should move out immediately and live permanently with the people, the building of a house would be postponed for a long time for the previously given reasons; and it is to be feared that only the nearest neighbors could come to the evening prayer hours unless similar daytime arrangements could be made without harming their field work. We shall present such circumstances to our dear Lord in prayer, and He will dispose everything in this case according to His will and our salvation, just as He has led us wisely in former times and arranged everything better than men have been able to understand.
Tuesday, the 25th of March. N. is mired in all sorts of secular entanglements; and by his misbehavior he has attracted the disrespect of many people. Because he does not find as much love here as he would like according to his carnal desires, he complains and is amazed that I do not let him and his wife go to Holy Communion. I told him that I could well believe that he was passing judgment on me but that he would understand the situation better once he had become a true Christian. I then reminded him of an old matter, well known to him, which I had opposed for his own good. Although he and his wife could not accept it then as love, he could now see palpably that I had meant well with him. I also explained to him why we do not visit him so often in his hut as we do others in the congregation, namely, he and his family do not accept the publicly preached sermons and he can never tell us anything about experiencing the power of the word and therefore we must begin preaching to him all over again, which is not the purpose of private visits. He claimed that he did not know how to go about converting himself to God, and this is a clear proof that he is a fruitless and vain listener. He is more beside himself than in himself, his mind stands open to anyone, even the wickedest, and to every thing that occurs, he is constantly distracted, he is never quiet, he neither reflects on the word seriously, nor devotes himself to vigil or prayer, but is satisfied merely with hearing and reading. I gave him the booklet Dogma of the Commencement of Christian Life,20 etc. and told him how he should use it and that he should free himself of wicked company at home and elsewhere and seek instead the acquaintance of an honest Christian. He asked me to pray with him, and he shed many tears in doing so.
I had great pleasure in the orphanage and discovered that the most recently preached word of God had taken root and been well discussed. Mrs. Schweighofer had just returned from visiting Mrs. N. and could give me the good news that that woman is showing true seriousness in her conversion. Oh, how much it pleases me that God has brought about so good an acquaintance between these women, who have otherwise been so very different. Mrs. Bacher has moved from Mrs. Maurer’s neighborhood and gone to the plantations, and Mrs. Schweighofer is taking her place.
N.N., who is moving to the plantation tomorrow, took a very emotional and tearful leave from me and my dear colleague, who had just returned; and he commended himself to our continued supervision and spiritual care. He was very touched that I could tell him I had just been thinking of him in my prayer at the very moment he entered the room. I was very pleased with his words about his spiritual condition, in which he accused himself greatly and revealed his good resolutions; and I hope that he too shall be among those who shall neither see nor taste of death in eternity. If God wins him completely, then He will win others with him; for his personality makes a great impression on his acquaintances and colleagues, who are very attached to him. As a remembrance I gave him my Treasure Chest,21 and out of it I read him the dear verses on p. 101. May God stamp all this in his soul! He would have been pleased if one of us had been able to come to his house and say something good for his edification, but the time was too short.
Again it is probably not by chance that this change of moving out to the plantations has taken place precisely at the time of Christ’s passion. In this regard I remembered that we too came into this strange land, into the land of our earthly pilgrimage, at the time that the passion of our highly meritorious Savior is celebrated in the Christian church. Therefore this circumstance should again teach the people that, despite all their work in external occupations and in addition to their use of the means of salvation, they should be chiefly occupied with Jesus Christ crucified and His dear reconciliation. Even if they have just as many trials and tribulations out there as here, these will not harm them, for the sake of Christ’s sufferings, but will contribute to their spiritual good, provided Christ with his merits means everything to them.
Wednesday, the 26th of March. After the prayer meeting yesterday we had a thunderstorm and a quickly passing rain, which was most necessary for the soil, since the time for planting has arrived. Our two boats had been sent to Savannah full of corn; and, because they were still on the water at the time of the rain, it must have been disappointing for the people that their corn got wet; yet we hope they will resign themselves to everything like Christians. After our song hour we prayed for them too. Discontent with the providence and guidance of God is a very grave sin, against which one must ever warn oneself and others.
I showed a woman what must take place in her if she wishes to be saved; and I learned that she is, to be sure, lacking in the true essence of Christianity but that she is nevertheless on the way to reach it, for which purpose the necessary means have been shown to her. Some time ago her husband treated her very roughly, and consequently she suffered much in her health and Christianity. However, after our marvelous God had brought her husband to a recognition of his misery and to a right serious Christianity through His word and severe bodily chastisement, he is treating her in a Christian and reasonable manner, which is of great spiritual value to her. The husband was on the plantation, so I could not speak with him.
Mrs. Cornberger informed me that she would move with her husband to the plantation tomorrow, and she wished to pray beforehand with me and ask God for His blessing. She believes it is the will of God to undertake such a change, otherwise she would not be able to resolve to make it. I told her I was convinced that the people had received their present fertile and very conveniently located land as a gift from the hand of God, and I said that many honest souls had not only desired it for us but had also prayed for it. Therefore everyone could undertake his work there with joy, he would have the dear Savior there just as near as here, and arrangements would soon be made for more edification. God is working very powerfully on her neighbors, Kogler and his wife and others, and I hoped they would advance each other in the good. This woman has a small child and feared she would not be able to come here to attend divine services on holy days, so she requested a booklet, which was the story of Christ’s resurrection, as published by Professor Clausewitz.22 Because her husband is in need of good admonitions and prayer, I made an appointment with them both for the evening so that I could pray with them before their departure. They both came after the prayer hour, and I hope the conversation and prayer will not be without blessing.
Thursday, the 27th of March. This afternoon I visited several plantations; and in two successive huts I had an opportunity to say something about their salvation to the assembled people, who were thirsting for the word of life, and to pray with them. Because they live right near each other, they can assemble quite quickly in one spot, and they do so at the least suggestion and let no work interfere. To my and their edification I repeated something from that part of the passion story about which my dear colleague had preached something both out there and here. Before departing I admonished the dear people to Christian unity and edifying assemblage together. Were I to hear reports of this, I said, then it would bring me to them all the more often to edify myself in their company; and the way would not be too long or difficult even on foot, since we can seldom have the horse, because it always runs away and there aren’t enough people to find it. Nearly everyone has new neighbors, and this frightens some pious but bashful people; and therefore we are making efforts to awaken them to Christian trust in each other. I hope our dear Lord will crown my weak efforts with a blessing.
Friday, the 28th of March. A Salzburger registered for Holy Communion, which is to be held on Good Friday. To the praise of God he told me among other things that as long as he lives he will remember Invocavit Sunday, on which the dear Lord blessed the dear word of reconciliation in him more abundantly than ever before in his life, even though he had often heard this edifying and comforting matter of our redemption and reconciliation through Christ. His heart had felt such a great and heavenly joy at this, he said, that he could not express it; and, even though it is no longer in his heart as much as then, the memory of it still gives him much spiritual contentment and arouses him daily to praise and pray to God.
This morning, before the sun became too hot, I again had a group of people together in the middle part of the plantations, with whom I sang a song, preached something from the passion story, and prayed. Under way I met a Salzburger woman to whom I said these words: “Teach us to number our days,” etc. She said that she had just been bearing them in her mind and greatly regretted that she had been unable to attend our meeting yesterday or today. She also told me how difficult it was for her to move out here and how many sighs and tears it was costing. A psalm, namely the 42nd, which had been quoted in the prayer hour and which she read at home, had put her mind at ease again, to wit, where it says “Why art thou cast down, oh my soul?” and “Hope thou in God,” which last words she had especially noted for her own information. She also knew how to quote the last words of the 91st Psalm right powerfully: “Because He hath set His love upon me, therefore will I deliver Him: I will set Him on high, because He hath known my name.” Everything that I told her and that she told me impressed me deeply and well strengthened me to continue my journey.
Saturday, the 29th of March. Today I had an opportunity at two places in the plantations to preach something from the passion story to the assembled people, who were thirsting for the word of life. May God bless me in this and them for the living recognition of Jesus Christ. I greatly enjoy going out there, and the exercise is good for my physical condition. May the dear Lord just grant me enough strength of body and soul to be able to do it often. I found a sick man in his hut, who was very pleased by my call. He wished nothing more than to be thankful to his Savior for the great love with which He loved all men until His death.
Sunday, the 30th of March. Today the gospel of Christ and His dear reconciliation was preached to the congregation both out there by my dear colleague and by me here; and, since the dear Lord has strengthened us in our bodies quite visibly for this we can trust in Him that He will find a good place for His word, which is so comforting to us sinners.
Because the repetition hour was held instead of the catechisation, we had a song hour and a prayer hour in the evening, at which many people from the plantation were present. Our dear listeners’ uncommon desire to hear the word of God and their great constancy in visiting all great opportunities let us hope that our loving Savior will receive if not all, at least most of both the young and old into his shepherd-arms. Oh, if only this would occur soon, and if only we could see it in all of them!
Monday, the 31st of March. This morning Ruprecht Zimmerman and Margaret Berenberger were married, and in keeping with present circumstances we made use of the verse “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” etc. Because the Berenberger girl has served loyally as maid in the orphanage, something to eat was prepared here for the bride’s party and her friends. Afterwards they came together to our private prayer meeting and blessings were requested for these newlyweds. We received rich edification from the fifth chapter of the gospel of St. Luke, which was read in order, and later I heard from a Salzburger in the fields, who had been present, that it had made a very salutary impression on him. At his departure Zimmerman told me that he had resolved never to forget the golden verse, “Behold, that is God’s lamb,” etc. as long as he lived.
Because at the weddings in our congregation we do not have to fear anything un-Christian or anything that might hinder the worthy preparation for holy days, we do not hesitate to marry those who wish to be married during the passion period or even, as occurred today, during Holy Week. I believe that even the very fact that such an important act is performed on a holy occasion can impress them all their lives, especially if they are told that the crucified Jesus with His reconciliation can and must be their only concern in their married state, if their married life is to be refreshed and blessed and if all their trials in it are to be salutary and bearable. This Ruprecht Zimmerman is right seriously concerned with his Christianity and is also a very loyal, even if weak, worker and has already established himself on his plantation so well that he is not behind the others who have more strength. Therefore the Berenberger girl will be well provided for by him both spiritually and physically. She will live on the plantation very near the Egger woman, who married Lackner; and, if they are both so united in Christ and help each other in all sorts of situations as Lackner and Zimmerman have done so far, then it will be a very enjoyable and useful friendship. Mrs. Lackner is very content with her husband and has enjoyed constant health ever since she has been on the plantation, whereas formerly she had always been sick.
Tuesday, the 1st of April. Mrs. N. is still dragging herself around with all kinds of anxieties and complains bitterly, whenever we visit her; and the comforting arguments we read to her from the gospel generally do not stick very long. She complains of sloth, a hard heart, disloyalty, and many other things; and she believes herself incapable of receiving Christ’s comforts because of them. The results of her long-lasting quartan fever she considers to be the results of disbelief, and she sometimes casts away all courage. It has even occurred to her not to come to church any more or to take Holy Communion because it does not make her any better, even though she receives new awakening, instruction, and comfort when she does come. She finds in herself no willingness to leave her life for the sake of Christ, as she used to do, and from that she concludes that there is no Christianity in her. She says that she does not feel her sins properly and feels no real remorse for her perdition even though she sheds the bitterest tears in discussing the plight of her soul. She finds in herself only disquiet and affliction and is assured this is not because of temporal things, for they do not lie in her heart at all; yet she cannot believe that she is worried about her sins and the perdition of her heart. I answered these and other complaints through God’s word and through examples that are known to me in the congregation, and I prayed with her. I directed her especially to the little verses on p. 193 of the Treasure Chest,1 to which I had referred only a short time ago to my great comfort and in which comfort and advice enough can be found for sinners like her.
With many tears she complained especially that in Germany she had let herself be misled through the example of pseudo-evangelical people into conforming to the world and had thus become disloyal to our dear Lord, and for that reason He had probably cast her away.
Thursday, the 3rd of April. This morning we celebrated the commemoration of the institution of Holy Communion; and, by using the regular epistle 1 Corinthians 2, we put into the main lesson what was to be preached to the congregation, namely, “Holy Communion is a very dear treasure, of which none but worthy communicants should partake.” Right after the sermon those who had registered for Holy Communion were detained, and we undertook our customary service of penitence and confession with them. God be praised for all the strengthening I had received this time too from the good hand of God, despite a few attacks of fever.
I have again earnestly revealed to N. and his wife their external respectability2 and their vain expectation of attaining salvation in this way; and I have shown them some evidence from which they should recognize their carnally minded and greedy hearts, but they have no lack of excuses. Both of them are still willfully blind and do not follow the instructions that are given them both publicly and privately for being saved from their blindness.
This evening I neither preached God’s word nor repeated the morning sermon, because I wished to save my strength for tomorrow. We sang a couple of very edifying songs about Christ’s passion and prayed between them, and this gave me as much blessing as a sermon would have had. I hope it was so with the others, who prayed earnestly also.
Friday, the 4th of April. Yesterday afternoon torrential rains fell, accompanied by thunder; and in the evening between nine and ten such a strong storm wind arose as we have never yet seen in this country. It caused much damage to the huts and especially to the garden fences, so this morning the people had the work of raising them again. As it happens every year, today was solemnly celebrated as the great day of reconciliation of the New Testament in commemoration of the meritorious passion, death, and burial of Christ. We preached twice to the congregation about the last suffering, death, and burial of the Lord Jesus; and the repetition hour was held at the usual time. The tears of the people both during the divine service and in my room were witness that their hearts had been penetrated by the dear word of the Lord’s passion and the reconciliation He had instituted. There were forty-two of us at Holy Communion.
Saturday, the 5th of April. N.3 is taking his child out of the orphanage again because it is not getting any better; and, since we are afraid that it may die unexpectedly, he would like to have it home in its last days. It would be better for the child to remain here; but, because the parents’ love and longing for it are so great, we must go along with it. It is said that it eats dirt and ashes whenever it can, just like Pichler’s little girl, who has the same deathly pallor and bloated belly as this boy has.4
We have no remedy against the so-called fever clot,5 or the hard thing in the left side of several people who are always sick with it and have recurrent fever. We do not hear of these symptoms in Savannah; and, once the people there are cured of their fever, they know nothing more about it. But here the people often contract it again, and some of them drag themselves around with quartan fever for a year and a day.
Today we held our preparation for the holy Easter celebration at two o’clock, early for the sake of those who must return to their plantations. From Matthew 12:40-41 we contemplated the example of Jonah as an excellent prefiguration of the passion and resurrection of our Savior; and from verse 41 we warned each other against the footsteps of the Jews, who little respected the gospel of Christ and the grace that was offered them and therefore must bear their judgment both in time and eternity. In the evening we had a song and prayer hour, for which several eager people gave us the opportunity and waited for it eagerly. We do not doubt that the Lord has prepared us a true Easter blessing that will be taken away by those grace-hungry souls who, having contemplated the suffering of Christ, have built in themselves a suffering and sorrow because of the sin that has induced such a great wrath and caused the Lord Jesus so much trouble and toil in atoning for it. The Easter-materials are especially suitable for such people.
The 6th and 7th were the Easter Celebration.6 Our merciful God has strengthened both of us right paternally in our minds and bodies so that we have been able to present our dear listeners with the holy gospel of the richly comforting resurrection of our dear and highly meritorious Savior and its splendid and blessed fruit and thereby to persuade them to come to Him themselves and not to be so timid. Then they would find abundantly more in Him than we are able to babble about. By looking at them, we could almost tell, as the blessed Luther said, that they not only saw the smoke but also felt the fire and not only heard the words but also experienced their power in their hearts, as it is written in Luke 24:32. We hope to learn more about this from them through private visitations. The dear Lord granted us not only good weather, which was not too warm, but also right great physical quiet and rest; and He did not let us hear anything that might depress our spirits. On Easter Monday my dear colleague held the morning and afternoon services out on the plantations; and, because the repetition hour here was early, we held a song and prayer meeting in the evening, as we had done on Easter Sunday.
Tuesday, the 8th of April. This morning two couples were married, namely Johann Jacob Kieffer with Anna Elisabeth Depp7 (who has served in Charleston) and Heinrich Bischoff8 with Sibylla Friederica Unselt,9 who until now has been in the service of my dear colleague and still has three sisters in our village. The youngest is still in the orphanage, and the two oldest have been married in the community for some time. Before the marriage we contemplated the beautiful little verse in Romans 4:25, “The Lord Jesus was delivered for our offenses,” etc., which was most impressive for me, and, I hope, for others too, because of the passion and resurrection materials which we have been contemplating until now and which are still fresh in our memories. Oh, what a treasure we have in Christ, in His death, and His resurrection. If only all men could know it!
Today I travelled to the place where the orphanage cattle are guarded by Schartner, to which Kalcher showed me the way. I learned from him that the selection of a place for the cow pasture was made by him and Christian Riedelsperger, who makes common cause with Kalcher on the basis of an earnest prayer; and the details of this impressed me very much. That the prayer was heard can be seen not only from Schartner’s honest and loyal behavior but also from the fortunate progress of the stock-farming there. At first some people could not prophesy any good for this undertaking, since the place is some three hours from the town and, from previous experience, they could not rely on the loyalty of the herdsman, who was at first full of fear. As a result there are now some clear signs of jealousy because everything is prospering under divine blessing. This stock-raising is so arranged that it does not cause the community the least trouble and does no harm to their cattle, because the establishment is situated between Ebenezer and Abercorn, far away from the plantations and further than the community’s herdsmen ever come. To the contrary, the community enjoys a great advantage from this; for some forty head of cattle, both large and small, have been taken from their herd and the number of cattle has become smaller near the city, where there is a lack of pasturage.
The orphanage itself does not have that many cattle, rather Kalcher himself, the widow Schweighofer, and likewise Christian Riedelsperger have their cattle with this herd; and we too have added a few head. If the surveyor should come again, we intend to have this region assigned to us as a plantation for the orphanage. If the orphanage servants were loyal, a ranch could be established out there under divine guidance and all sorts of small and large animals could be raised for maintaining and increasing the orphanage; but now the entire burden rests on Kalcher’s neck. Hertzog, who does his work very loyally according to his conscience, is very weak physically and almost consumed by the quartan fever he has had for so long. Some have enough strength and also their regular sustenance, but they do not work as Christian servants should according to Colossians 3:2-3; and the orphanage has more trouble than help from them.10 The Lord Trustees cannot imagine how much trouble people always have from the servants in this country and with their maintenance. May God incline their and other benefactors’ hearts to a generous contribution to these little institutions and free us from the debts that we must make because of our lack of clothing and food.
Wednesday, the 9th of April. Because the people on the plantations wish to continue hearing the word of God during the week as they did during Passion week, my dear colleague went to them again this morning to preach something to them about the beautiful gospel Luke 24:36-47. Since God, according to His great kindness, began during the holy days and in the midst of all my resulting work to free me from all my previous bodily ailments and to increase my strength right noticeably, I have decided to ride out a few times each week and work on young and old. My dear colleague will gladly aid me, even though the school will require him to do his work here. We will do all in our power to keep our congregation from lacking spiritual care, for which purpose one of us two will provide them with divine service on Sundays about every two weeks.
To alleviate the situation for the congregation, we had intended to divide the time between us two that one of us would fill the ministerial office here and the other out there and even move out there for that purpose. However, after we had looked at our contracts and instructions, we saw that we were obligated as pastor and adjunct for official duties in a single community and not for separate and divided functions. Therefore we cannot arbitrarily undertake such separation, because otherwise Ebenezer could no longer be looked upon as one but as two communities, each of which had its own pastor. For this the resolution of our dear superiors and a new vocational contract are necessary.
Meanwhile we will serve the people out there as has been shown and has already been done up to now until we learn what our dear Fathers, particularly his Worship, the worthy Senior Urlsperger, might resolve about it before God, since various points in the diary will have familiarized him with the external condition and the location of the plantations, which one can reach from here on foot in an hour. Wet and excessively hot weather will make the path and the trip back and forth rather inconvenient; but what did the apostles do? What do all loyal preachers do for their affiliated churches? And what do hungry listeners do in places where they have to go a long way to a sermon, as I once saw to my great amazement in Thommendorf in the case of the late Pastor Maederjan! May the Lord give us all wisdom!
Our dear Savior has relieved Mrs. N. of a great part of her sorrow and anxiety; and He also blessed the repetition hour on the second Easter day, in which the main lesson preached was that, although the Lord Jesus has entered into His glory, He still has the same kind and loving Jesus-heart that He showed formerly to suffering and miserable people during his condition of abasement. On His throne of joy He is just as kindly disposed to sinners as he was when despised and suffering. My Savior accepts all sinners. The greatest impression was made on her by the very evangelical verse from Isaiah 61:1-3, which praises and depicts before the eyes of all penitent and suffering sinners, the office of the Lord Jesus toward all sorrowing persons in Zion and toward all their misery that is specified here and in Luke 4. To clarify this we had the very beautiful example of Joseph, who, even in his state of glory, had a brotherly heart that was ready for reconciliation, forgiveness, and generosity.
During her sickness, which increased after her blood-letting, she thought she was very slothful in prayer and hearing God’s word, etc. and did not feel any true zeal; and therefore I told her something that the late Professor Zimmerman11 (whom she knows very well from the explanation of the song Es ist nicht schwer, ein Christ zu seyn)12 told me about his lack of joy in prayer and childlike trust in God during his bodily ailment and how one must act during it. The dear Lord knows how to make a distinction and does not treat a sick child like a well one. However, beginners in Christianity have a strong obstinacy of mind; e.g., they wish to have their sorrow and feeling of sin, their recognition of their misery, etc., according to their will; and they wish to be led as they perhaps see in other examples, whereas this, like all other wickedness, must first be crucified. I opened the Bible to Ezekiel 34:16, which verse was very impressive for her, along with the parable of the many chidren in one house who do not eat in the same way and the one about the clay, the potter, and the many pots of various kinds. She told me that Mrs. Krause had spent the holy days in much spiritual sorrow, which, however, did not end entirely without consolation. Even before the Easter celebration she had suffered great distress because of moving out to the plantations, but she was freed from it when I met her underway and spoke to her a bit from God’s word.
As I entered her hut, Mrs. N.N. called to me that God had granted her a beautiful blessing during the holy days; but, as I probably saw, she had wept a great deal. She had had two reasons for this, which she received at the beginning of the divine service by the reading of Mark 9:17 ff. The first was that the miserable person in v. 21 had reminded her of the great goodness of the Lord, who had done so much good for her and her brothers and sisters, of whom so many were together in one father’s house, and how He had mercifully blessed her and her family in this place, where He had warded off the kind of evil that had afflicted this son and even more evils, which she had surely deserved through sin, and had made everything turn out well.
The second reason, she said, was her great ingratitude toward this great kindness. If she were now in Salzburg, she would be hearing very miserable sermons as previously. The liberation of the Israelites from Egypt was a great blessing; yet she considered the liberation of the Salzburgers from their spiritual Egypt to be even greater, for which she cited several reasons. For example, we did not first have to occupy the land through warfare, we had divine services nearby, we did not have to support the ministers ourselves, we were richly supplied with the gospel, and God also granted us what was necessary for our bodies. Now she is grieved that she and others recognize these blessings so little and praise God so little, etc.
When I asked her whether her husband had also received a blessing according to his circumstances, she said he could proudly say that all the sermons convince him that he is worthless and cannot please the Lord as he is; and at the same time he complains of his lack of great sorrow and remorse for his sins, etc. She told me in what way she was trying to lead him straight; and I was pleased, among other things, that she was directing him to the words: “Today you are living, today,” etc. God wishes to take us today, she said, and give us grace for penitence; and therefore he should not always lament but rather earnestly struggle to the Lord Jesus by denying all things and asking Him for a sincere heart that is pleasing to Him. She believes that her husband is being held back from a real breakthrough because she is so full of faults and does not shine as an edifying example for him.
Burgsteiner informed me that his five year old child, whom he had recently taken from the orphanage to his plantation, died this morning. Toward evening yesterday his condition had already changed, and he told his mother that she should read something to him and that his father should pray so that his bodily pain might subside. When his father asked him whether he was thinking of the Lord Jesus, who had died for him, he answered “yes” and died soon afterwards. The father was quite well content with the poor child’s departure to its rest; and I am pleased that I did not make much objection when he requested to take it home, as people assumed I would. We have no cemetery on the plantations but must now seek one out, since this is our first corpse. My dear colleague will go out early tomorrow to help bury the child with song, prayer, and God’s word, whereas I shall leave at about four o’clock for Savannah, because I have definite news that Mr. Oglethorpe arrived there from Charleston last Saturday.
Thursday, the 10th of April. The dead child was buried this morning. I read the 11th chapter of the Gospel of St. John and examined the words of verses 25 and 26 for communal edification. Those are very sweet words, which make us realize how much we have in the Lord Jesus and how we must be, through His power, if our death is to be a mere sleep. Various people went to the burial; may God grant that these verses were blessed in them all! A pious woman said that this was a good beginning on the plantations and that she wished everyone would imitate this child.
During the recent holy days Mrs. Schweighofer enjoyed a true Easter blessing; and she wishes nothing more than her Lord Jesus and to be right obedient to Him. Mrs. Flerl recently said that, if Mrs. Schweighofer called on her every day, she would not regret the time she spent with her. Whenever she came to her, she complained a great deal about herself; yet when she (Mrs. Flerl) also began to complain about herself, Mrs. Schweighofer could not do enough to comfort her. Afterwards, when she prayed, she could not praise the dear Lord enough in her prayers.
Friday, the 11th of April. Our dear Lord has also granted an Easter blessing to N. He is very happy that the dear Lord has led him out of Germany and has brought him here to a better spiritual recognition. Everything is different with him now, he says. He is quite contented, even though the dear Lord does not let him receive as many physical advantages as the others. The last time I preached the word of God on the plantations, I announced that I would catechize the parishioners in the afternoon about what I had preached in the morning, if only I knew that they wished me to. When I had an opportunity to speak with this N., he brought up the subject and said he had spoken about it with two others who were also of the same opinion that it might well be a good idea. If I would ask him something, then he would answer as well as he could; if he did not know it, he thought I would tell him. This man is very simple and honest; he is already an old man, and one of those who cannot read.
Saturday, the 12th of April. Today at midday, God be praised, I finished my trip, after accomplishing much good with Oglethorpe and otherwise. He is still very affectionate toward our congregation; and, whenever he can do us a real favor, he does so gladly. Before reaching Savannah I had received a letter he had written in Charleston, in which he announced that he needed people for the siege of St. Augustine; if any men in our place wished to serve they would receive 6 ь Sterling for four months, in addition to provisions. The rumor had reached our town that all men would have to join the war against the Spaniards, and they were pleased when I could report differently after my return. The province of Carolina is obligated to help Mr. Oglethorpe with several companies, for which volunteers are being accepted here and there in Georgia and Carolina. A non-commissioned officer came here this afternoon to look for some people who would like to volunteer and to inform them about the enlistment conditions. Righteous people do not let themselves be used for this purpose, but rather those who like to roam around and find pleasure in such a life.
During my absence N.13 has become restless in the orphanage and has been entertaining plans; and for this the poor man is to be pitied. Until now he has felt God’s grace abundantly in his heart; and, because he does not use it loyally, I fear his judgment is not far away. Likewise N. and N., father and son,14 who have been disloyal and selfish servants so far, are moving out with him. To be sure, this is a judgment over the poor people, but it can be very welcome to us to get rid of these disloyal and ill-behaved people, who do not let themselves be chastised by the word of God, especially since Kalcher and his wife have had only difficulty with them. Therefore we will limit the fieldwork as much as possible, and God will find some other way to maintain the widows and orphans. These people are now reverting to the Trustees, who, as I have heard from Capt. Thomson, are very exacting about their payment. Now let them earn their passage money themselves.
In this country it is very difficult with hired men and women. Free people will not hire themselves out, because they wish to establish their own households or because they can earn more from daily wages than from being in service. If you have servants who have been indentured and have to pay for their passage, then they are disloyal and yearn for their freedom.
Sunday, the 13th of April. During the afternoon divine service General Oglethorpe himself came to us; but he waited patiently until its end and did not allow the soldiers from Purysburg to make any noise on his account. Already on Thursday evening he had set out from Savannah toward Palachocolas to meet the Indians; and, after receiving them and sending them to Savannah, he travelled back down by water. He was again very kind; and his paternal concern for us and the whole land made such an impression on me that I cannot describe it. He shrinks from no hardships and arranges everything so that it will be easy and comfortable for the people. He gives all sorts of salutary advice and helps in every way to put it into operation. And, even though he achieves his end in only a few matters because of the disloyalty and wickedness of the people, he nevertheless continues steadily in making good arrangements and never lets things anger or grieve him. He is very pleased with the progress in our town, as if he benefited from it, and offers every possible assistance.
He has given us a pair of very beautiful millstones, which are more than three feet wide and nine inches thick; and we have hope of receiving the hardware that belongs with them. He is advancing the money that is necessary for building a flour mill; and, later, to pay the costs, we are to give back something from every bushel, as is customary in other places. We have been needing a cannon on the plantations to give a signal now and then to the scattered people in case of emergency, and now he has given us one along with 20 pounds of powder. At about five o’clock he left us by water to supply the Indians at Musgrove’s cowpen and send them on.15 With him was the king of the Cherokees, who is a very moderate, intelligent, and spirited man. Mr. Oglethorpe’s presence did not disturb us in the least at our divine service. Because he departed early, the repetition hour could be held, and in the evening the song and prayer hour.
Monday, the 14th of April. This morning our cowherd, Hans Michael Schneider, was married to Elisabeth Sanftleben. During the ceremony I cited the verse “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” for them to contemplate in their hearts and asked whether they might wish to put themselves under the rod and staff and into the care of such an omnipotent, very wise, and kind Savior. Grimmiger, who had formerly wished to marry her, has given up all claim to her. Since we know that this Schneider lived very peacefully with his former wife, we can only hope these two people will suit each other well.
Our large boat was sent to Savannah today to fetch the millstones, the cannon, and three sheep which Mr. Oglethorpe has given me. There are all sorts of difficulties because of the boat, which might be too weak, and for other reasons. Because the people do not know what to do unless one of us is with them, my dear colleague has undertaken to go with them. The stones are very heavy, and we fear that there may be danger in loading and transporting them. May the Lord in His mercy avert this danger!
The German shoemaker Reck of Purysburg16 is a non-commissioned officer among the companies that are to be raised and was already sent here on Saturday to enlist the people who wish to let themselves be used in the war. He obtained a few of them here, among whom is N. When he informed me that he wished to perform military service, I warned him against being in too much haste, which he might regret after it is too late. He should well consider his frail constitution,17 and especially the danger to his soul. I fear that the judgments are already upon him as one who has received the grace of God so far in vain and rejected it. Despite this he accepted 15 pence bounty money and allowed Reck to invite him as a guest of the Frenchman in our neighborhood in Carolina.
Before the marriage Mrs. N. came to me and said with tears that she was sorry for N.’s soul. She and others had begged God in their prayers to free him from this dangerous company; and soon thereafter he felt remorse, wept, and regretted his hastiness. She begged me to help him get free. Reck was agreeable to this, but he claimed from him the bounty money and the costs of the banquet, at which much may have been consumed. Every Salzburger dislikes this way of life and thanks God with us that no one is being compelled to take part in the war. Otherwise no one would be able to refuse to obey the authorities.18 Only Leitner, who is a Salzburger and who, to his great harm, has been a soldier at Fort Augusta together with the renegade Stephen Riedelsperger, let himself be talked into this out of love for 6 ь Sterling, which was promised to him as pay in four months; and he thinks that he is compelled to do it by his poverty.
Tuesday, the 15th of April. Nett, the cowherd near the town, asked me this morning to give him permission to go to Augusta as a soldier, too, because he hoped to earn in four months enough to be free, which was also the intention of the above mentioned Robinson and the two Helds, who have now freed themselves from the orphanage. I said that I did not wish to hinder him, if he could supply me with a hardworking man who could graze the cattle; otherwise he could not demand it. These people imagine that the siege and capture of St. Augustine, the frontier fortress and the key to the Spanish plantations, will be very easy; but they may well experience it quite differently. They are also mistaken if they think that the servants will have to serve for only four months and then be freed; for it is the general opinion that they will have to bring the money they earn to their employers, who have given their consent and are risking their servants. Then they will have less time to serve because of the money they have earned. Or else, if they are Trustee servants and let themselves be maintained, they will have to serve in the field as long as the war lasts and will receive soldier’s wages for the period of their service. I shall write to Mr. Oglethorpe and announce that the three disloyal servants19 are now free from service in the orphanage and are being returned to the Lord Trustees, so they can use them however they see fit. Kalcher has had a lot of trouble with them, and it may be the answer to his and our prayers that they are leaving and thus putting an end to the disquiet.
This morning I visited most of the plantations on horseback and am planning, God willing, to go out again to preach something from God’s word. The dear people are devoted to us with a special love, and it is a great joy for us to be with them. Rain has been lacking for a long time, and the earth at this planting time is very dry and as hard as iron.20
Wednesday, the 16th of April. Today, in the name of the Lord, I made a start with expounding the stories of the Old Testament for the people on the plantations, just as is done in the town, because several people had revealed a desire for it. The same stories that follow in regular order in the town will be contemplated there too; and I am planning to treat them twice each week there. Because I have a whole hour each time for my sermon, I can contemplate them the same way in both places, for the sermon in town lasts only half an hour. The people, men, women, and children, assemble with great eagerness and are not hindered by it in their work because this meeting is held at midday, when they would rest anyway, in Ruprecht Steiner’s cool house. Because the trees now have much foliage, the sound of the horn does not reach as far in winter, so the cannon we received from Savannah will be very serviceable.
My dear colleague has returned from Savannah with the Salzburgers safe and sound and has brought the two millstones, even though they are large and heavy; and thus he put to shame those Englishmen who, both here and in Savannah, imagined the transporting of these stones in our boat to be dangerous and impossible and prophesied no good outcome. In today’s evening prayer meeting we praised together our kind God, the Giver of everything, including these good gifts. May He make us grateful for everything and teach us to pray zealously for our benefactors.
Because of the servants who have left the orphanage and have enrolled for military service I wrote to Mr. Oglethorpe and sent the letter along. I hope he will have received it in Savannah, although he has resolved to go to Frederica with the Indians as soon as possible. I find it necessary for good reasons to include the letter here:
Most high-born, most honored Sir:
Your Excellency’s especial goodwill towards me and my congregation has filled my heart with so much joy that I wish only to have the opportunity to display in a few ways my humble gratitude for the so numerous and undeserved displays of love which have been shown me and my flock since we have been here and also a few days ago in Savannah and Ebenezer. Your Excellency may be assured that a common prayer from all of us accompanies you everywhere on land and water, whither the providence of God directs your paths, in the firm faith that the almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth will support and bless your important undertakings, whose goals are most praiseworthy, to the honor of His Royal Majesty and for the best of his subjects. I humbly take it upon myself herewith to report to Your Excellency that three servants of our local orphanage, by name John Robinson and Held, father and son, have announced their intention to me of enlisting for the seige of St. Augustine. I cannot oppose them in this, notwithstanding that much field work is now necessary. Because these persons prefer to serve in the war rather than at the orphan house, and because they have shown themselves, utterly without cause, to be constantly discontented, I beg to ask you to use them amongst your troops only until they have earned their passage and have received their freedom. Because of the present scarcity of provisions in the orphanage I would not know how to maintain them if they should wish to return to serve there after four months. Nevertheless, I would not wish to keep them from getting the same benefits which would accrue to others from here, if they should return in the future as free men and should want to settle down in Ebenezer and can produce a certificate for their good behavior. However, if they could not do this, then I would ask your Excellency to forbid them to live amongst us.
Moreover, I wish you a safe departure from Savannah, and I commend myself and my congregation to your continued paternal favor and care and remain
Your Excellency’s most
Johann Martin Boltzius
Thursday, the 17th of April. Mr. Oglethorpe would like to help in every way to enable the people at our place to get an additional livelihood along with the agriculture. He would like to cause some of the money which is leaving the country for trade and work to flow to this place. He has also suggested that some people should take up brickmaking, because we have here the best clay in the colony and are situated very conveniently for getting the bricks downriver. In the same manner he would like our people to start planting wheat and oats; they would do very well by delivering produce like that to his regiment. Such crops grow well here and are better and easier for our people to plant than rice and Indian corn. With God’s help, it may well come to the point, when the trunks and roots are rotted enough, that they will be able to use a plow. The mill which we are now expecting so confidently will surely encourage the people toward German crops.21
Friday, the 18th of April. The N. woman still has fever, but she is satisfied with God’s will. She is also better able to put up with her husband than she could formerly. She is quite insignificant and humble in her own eyes and thanks the dear Lord for every benefaction and also for the hut where she dwells, although it is simple enough. They are both very poor, and he said he had almost let himself be persuaded to take up military service. She held him back, however, by rebuking him with a verse from a hymn and other quite Christian remonstrances. It would be very appropriate in their case if we could give them some assistance. As heartily as we would like to, we are incapable of it until our own dear God once more grants us some funds.
I see it as a sign of God’s solicitude that Christian Riedelsperger, an honest Salzburger, has resolved in the name of the Lord to accept a calling to move to the orphanage for a period of time and attend to the work there with Kalcher. Although he is not seeking a wage, I will see to repaying him for his kindness if the Lord enables me to do so.
Saturday, the 19th of April. The Salzburgers thank God heartily for not being forced to take the field against the Spaniards, because they can easily imagine the disorderly life on the campaign. Nonetheless, I heard some say that, if need be, they would not refuse to obey the authorities and let themselves be used to protect the country. May the Lord keep His hand over us and our country.
Sunday, the 20th of April. The worms are doing great harm again this year, which may stem from the severe drought.
Once again we divided ourselves so that my dear colleague preached the word of the Lord all day in town, and I on the plantations. In the evening we were together again and held a prayer hour, during which a few new hymns were sung between the prayers. Out there I had only two children whom I could catechize concerning the divine truths preached this morning. The children caused me great joy, however; for I found that they had not been slothful listeners but rather, they could give a quite good account of all they had heard for the edification of the adults. If the children are wide-awake and attentive, a great deal is contributed in edification; and it also makes the catechism easy and fruitful. God be praised for all the help and strength He has bestowed on me in this.
Monday, the 21st of April. I visited N’s plantation and spoke with him and her about various things concerning true Christianity. Things still look poor for them. There is no earnestness at all when they pray and say the word of God and try to attain salvation. They do feel their physical needs and make many complaints as often as we come and ask for all sorts of assistance; but they do not recognize their corrupted hearts and do not wish to recognize them, no matter what I tell them. I am often at a loss to know how to begin to accomplish anything meaningful with them. It is as if a particular spiritual judgment were hovering over them and a few other people in the congregation so that they will not change in the least and will not let themselves be persuaded to.
We try to show them most clearly, from holy scripture and from examples found in the Bible, the path through which they can be saved by God’s grace from their perdition. If they do not apply these things to themselves during the sermons and prayer meetings, then we do it in friendly and circumspect terms whenever we visit them. Some own up to it and berate themselves and leave it at that. Others become secretly embittered and complain among other people that all we do is condemn them in a manner not meted out to them by others; and they take it more as a burden than as a benefit that they are not hidden for a long time here as in large congregations, but rather are known quite promptly by their ministers, both inwardly and outwardly. Hence we work on them according to their circumstances.
Another man remained with me after the home prayer meeting and had a heartily edifying conversation with me concerning the good that the Lord is doing in his soul. Zant also came and said he had resolved to enlist for four months military service, but he noticed that because of that the people in the congregation did not like him. An expression a man used in the prayer meeting about those who had gone away caused him especial disquiet. I explained the expression to him and told him what I had recently been saying, to wit, as we read in 1 Samuel 23, that in this important plan he, like David, should seek to become certain of the gracious and pleasing will of God, and he should strive to enter right into the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that if it came to dying, it might be said concerning him: “If we die, we die to the Lord,” etc.
I said that the life of soldiery was not sinful in itself, although more sinful things adhered to it than to other ways of life. Rather, I said, since people have to be employed here also, he could accomplish something useful for the honor of God to the best of his neighbor, if only he were first certain not just of what is admissible but rather what is pleasing to the divine will, and therefore stood in God’s grace. He said he had implored God concerning the correct mood and inclination of his mind and that he had felt from the beginning an inclination for military service and still felt one. Nonetheless he hoped with God’s help to return. He did not wish to stay away longer than four months, if God should spare his life; he would be sorry if others looked askance at him because of his military service. He is quite an honest man, but he does not understand farm work. Because he has no wife, the work in the field with cattle and things that otherwise come up in housekeeping are very difficult for him, and his Christianity suffers harm. He has long desired to become a servant in the orphanage, but he never communicated it to anyone, otherwise I would have accepted him gladly. If God should lead him back to us and if he still desires to accept that kind of service, we will probably find the means for it, for the orphanage is the physical and spiritual salvation of adults and children. Since he does not know what God has decided concerning him, he has made arrangements for his livestock.
Tuesday, the 22nd of April. Last Sunday it was announced on the plantations that I was resolved, with God, to come out twice a week, to wit, at noon on Tuesdays and Fridays as desired by the congregation, and to present the stories which we have in the city at the evening prayer meeting and which eager souls have wished for a long time. God sent us much edification from 1 Samuel 22; and the great desire of the dear people encouraged me no little during the recitation. At the end a few stayed and attested their joy that the remarkable story of David and what I had quoted from his Psalms had reminded them anew of God’s good paths which He has walked with them from the beginning for their salvation, to His praise and to their recognition of their duty. The little verse: “When my father and my mother forsake me, then,” etc., whose true meaning was clarified from the story, reminded them of the kindness of the Lord. It meant that, although they had been forsaken by all their family and people in Salzburg had prophesied great evil for them when they departed, our faithful God had received them by means of beneficent people in Germany and afterwards here in this country and had cared for their souls and bodies so remarkably. And, since we have seen the danger incurred by servants who, if they want favors and good things from their worldly-minded masters, sin to please them and are obliged to conform to their wishes, it is indeed a right great benefit for our people that they have been saved from such temptation and have been directed and held to a Christianity pleasing to God.