Some Remarkable Letters, Pertinent Here
Letter from Mr. Boltzius and Mr. Gronau to the Editor Urlsperger from Rotterdam, 26th of November, 1733.
It has pleased the dear Lord to use you as an instrument in the name of the Honorable Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, to give us miserable persons a very important calling. We are certain that we, along with other sincere servants of Christ, will zealously perform this most important matter for the great Lord of the Harvest and will prove all things well. Therefore we have accepted, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the Sheep, this unexpected assignment, to go with the dear Saltzburgers to America in spite of the fact that many public and private concerns threatened to hinder us in this resolution, but especially our great incompetence. We are emboldened not only because many true servants and righteous children of God pray for us and our important cause, but also that we have Jesus Christ as our intercessor with the Father. And if Emmanuel is always for and with us, what will fail or harm us? The Father has helped us to Rotterdam, and has not let us lack any good throughout our journey. May He be praised! Our sheep, the dear Saltzburgers, we await now with the greatest expectation. May the guardian angel of the Lord lead His little flock to us, sound in soul and body, and may much good be done by their example both on their way and here. And when we are permitted to continue with this short letter, we will take it as a certain sign of paternal favor and relate what progress has been made in the poor accomplishment of our vocation. May our heavenly Father give His rich blessings to your official functions, may you never lack the rich flow of physical and spiritual strength, which is the wish of our hearts, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius
Israel Christian Gronau.
A Letter from the Same Writers to Professor [Gotthilf August] Francke in Halle, of the same date.
Since our dear God let us arrive at Rotterdam yesterday, the 25th of November, with much satisfaction of body and spirit, our filial duty requires us to report to you immediately and relate to you obediently about the gracious assistance of our Father in Heaven. On our journey we have felt that the servants and children of God have accompanied us with their prayers and sighs, since not only have goodness and mercy in both spiritual and material matters followed us on all our ways, but also in enjoying God’s special favors we have been often reminded to look upon each and every one of them as the fruit of the heartfelt intercessions of our dear fathers and friends. Praise be to God, who has so far fulfilled in us that which has so often been wished for us, for example in the letter we received from you in Wesel, that the face of God may go before us and that our Redeemer may lead us. He has done so, to Him be praise to eternity! God has so comforted us that we cannot think of the journey ahead as either dangerous or annoying. We have Jehovah for a friend. With this mighty Lord we shall jump over the sea and all difficulties. If He only strengthen our belief, we shall continue to see His glory and have daily more reasons for His praise and be able to share it with others. Even though we are sometimes worried about our helpers and the dear children of the Orphanage1 and our hearts long for them and we desire to be with them, we nevertheless remember that we have set out according to the Will of God and are not entirely cut off from participating in the good things at Halle and the dear Orphanage. Rather, just as we have earned the sincere prayers of the many upright children of God there, we hope in the future to receive, for the joy of our hearts, written reports of the great deeds of God and how He is continuing His work. May God continue to shower His blessings, so that many of the students and children will not only be awakened to a righteous life, but will also be brought to it and well-grounded in it. When one leaves Halle, one should immediately attest what he has learned. One certainly does not come very far if one shows his conviction only for applause and, at best, becomes only a weak beginner in Christianity. It is not only from our own experience that we know the devil can soon overcome you on a journey through his many well-conceived plans, if you do not stand fast in renunciation and in communion with Jesus. Rather in our travels we have seen many examples of students who have brought much good from Halle and Jena, and have passed both oral and written examinations yet have from time to time forgotten the things of God and have been won by the love of the world because their foundation in Christianity has not been laid deeply enough and because they have not, through prayer, continued in watchfulness and struggle; yes, they have been diverted into many dangerous and shocking by-ways. It has given us sorrow in the innermost part of our hearts when sincere servants and children of God have told us that many of the ministers have looked out for themselves and did not bother themselves with their flock, except on Saturday evening at the confessional and on Sunday at the official religious services, and also at baptism and marriage, but otherwise acted in an unfriendly way towards righteous behavior and the children of God. May God dispel such horrow and un-Christian behavior and give us and all servants of God who sigh to Him the great joy of experiencing that even in our dear Halle the students may rightly learn to see the importance of their calling and their future responsibility, and that they will turn themselves to the living God, which is the best preparation. We wish that all who would like to be helped would industriously read the late Abbot’s Meditations, which can be found early in the Salt of the Earth, p. 1 and following.2 Since the Saltzburgers have not arrived yet and, according to the assumptions of some people, may not arrive for fourteen days, we have decided to make use of the above-mentioned book with the assistance of God. As much as possible, we shall seek an opportunity to become acquainted with those who have distinguished themselves either from the common rabble through an upright life or through outward practice and who can advise us as far as possible how to achieve their principles and the foundation of their hopes. May He Himself, the Giver of all good and perfect gifts, fill the spring richly again, from which many water courses of benefactions flow to our souls and bodies and may He never let them lack the means to refreshen many poor sinners. We remain moreover, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius
Israel Christian Gronau
The Letter of Pastor Gronau to Mr. [Johann August] Majer, Deacon of the Church of St. Ulrich in Halle and Pastor at Diemitz, of the same date [Rotterdam, 26th of November, 1733]. P.P
What you have shown us in true fatherly love and sincerity remains fresh in my memory and that of Brother Boltzius. Your blessings and those of other true servants of God, together with the laying on of hands [ordination], are still upon us so strongly that we detect great power from them on our souls during our voyage. As often as we think of what we have experienced in Halle and Wernigerode, our spirits are renewed and strengthened. May our dear God richly reward it all, as we daily implore Him. The more we think about our calling, the more certain we recognize from all circumstances that God has called us, and this again gives us much comfort and encouragement. As you will see from the Diary that has been sent to Professor Francke, our dear Lord has so guided us on our whole journey to Rotterdam that we have not been able to praise Him enough. I have had to struggle frequently with disbelief, often worrying what will happen in this and that case, how can I accomplish this or that. At times I have been in real need, and afterwards I have seen how the dear Lord has helped me, and have therefore been right confounded by my disbelief. This all serves to make me trust the dear Lord more through the grace of the Holy Ghost. When we took our oath to God in Wernigerode to be diligent and true to our vocation, we would have lost courage at promising such great things to God, if it had not been stated: “Through the Grace of God and the Holy Spirit.” And this it was that has always given us new courage. It is also through this that we try to awaken ourselves by daily consideration of God’s Word. The Holy Ghost, as the true advocate, represents us and seeks to make the grace of God in Jesus Christ greater and more glorious in us. Just as we can be sure that you have daily thought of us before God, we humbly beg you to continue; for the Lord will not let it go unheard. Even though we are poor and miserable creatures, God can still glorify His name through us; may He give us belief, wisdom, and all that we need. He has given us the will; He will also give us the accomplishment, as we believe in our dear Father in heaven. May the Lord be praised for all the goodness He has shown us so far. Let Him make us so thankful that we will offer our whole lives to His glory. May the dear Lord, through your toil and work, let the name of the Lord Jesus be always more and more glorified so that many may experience and taste that there is no place better than with our dear Saviour. May He press them more and more into His living breast, and let the good which is in Him ever more come into your soul, which is the wish of, etc.
Israel Christian Gronau.
Mr. Boltzius’ letter to Professor Francke in Halle, written at Dover, the 29th of December, new style, 1733.
That the true God has brought us to Dover after a number of vexing circumstances, and what many good things that we experienced through the arrangements of the Trustees you will have heard in more detail, partly in letter and partly through the accompanying Diary. God be praised for His ineffable grace, which has not yet ceased to show us so many spiritual and material benefactions. Among other benefaction He has let us celebrate Christmas on land, and has given us and our congregation so much joy for the Holy Gospel that it could hardly be greater. At the time Christmas was being celebrated in Germany,3 we often thought of Halle and of the many revivals that we had on this occasion and wished to be back there for a short time. But our true dear Father in heaven let us, to our shame, realize that He was also at Dover, and that He can let manna fall here as in the desert. How strengthened our heart is in the recognition of our dearest Emmanuel! How willing and happy He has made us to live and suffer for His sake. May He strengthen us in faith, and let us not forget what He has done for us miserable ones; even at this place, especially lately. Today we go to sea, in the name of Jesus, since He has given us a good wind because of our constant prayer. And since we take with us this Redeemer, who has led us so well so far, we are not afraid, but hope to end this important journey through His beneficience in health and in the glorification of His miracles. There are, to be sure, quite a few people who are sailing on our ship along with our Saltzburgers to be colonists in America, yet since we have been very well provisioned, we hope to have no scarcity of food, even though our people will have to endure some inconveniences on shipboard. Yet our congregation knows to sing truthfully with us: “Then also the bitter is sweet, when Thou, O God, art in our heart.” They will accommodate themselves like patient lambs to all situations, as we, God be praised!, have so far richly experienced. May God be heartily praised for everything, even for the innumerable benefactions that I, poor worm, received at Halle, both materially and spiritually, of which I cannot think without emotion in my inmost heart. May my heavenly Father for Christ’s sake be your rewarder, and bless you for all your fatherly love; and may His streams of eternal mercy pour abundantly on the dear Orphanage in which I was countless times quickened in body and soul! Amen. So it be. We think of you often, and are frequently encouraged and edified through such memory. May the true Emmanuel bless your salutory efforts in the rescue of many souls: with which heartfelt wish, I shall permit during my whole life, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
Pastor Boltzius’ letter to his Earthly Mother, written at Dover, the 6th of January, 1734.
I can well believe that it will be sad for you that I have gone on such a long journey and could not even come and say good bye.4 Please don’t think that I do not have filial love for you, for then I would not have accepted this calling, nor have asked your advice. I could not possibly refuse the calling, for then I would have been disobedient to my heavenly Father, who has assured me well enough of His will. Time did not allow me to take farewell of you in person. I had to hurry with my colleague to my dear congregation, which was already under way. Perhaps you think that the journey is dangerous and will injure my health. But you well know that Almighty God is everywhere, and in Him I believe. So far He has never let me be confounded by my faith, but has made me well and happy, even to my own astonishment, as I never was at either Berlin or Halle. Besides these benefactions, about which I cannot marvel enough, our dear God has given me so much physical and spiritual pleasure, that I could weep for joy. My congregation, to whom our wonderful God has led me, is still only small, but consists mostly of such people who have already suffered for the sake of Christ, who have their Christianity not only in their mouths but also in their hearts, and show it in their deeds. For this reason, not only do I love these upright people in my heart and wish to live and die joyfully for them in America, but they love me even more than I deserve and would share their hearts with mine if they could. As I associate with them daily and instruct them in the Word of God, I find much joy and satisfaction in my soul. The dear Lord has also provided in material ways. Not only have my colleague and I received free travel costs and traveling clothes, but books, bedding, and much household furnishings have been bought for us at the expense of benefactors in England. On the ship I enjoy such comforts as food, lodging, etc. that I could not wish any better. Nor have I been allowed to lack a minister’s frock, nor all the things that a minister needs in his church; for it has all been supplied. To put it briefly, I enjoy so many spiritual and material benefactions that I can not praise our Heavenly Father enough for it nor can I express my gratitude. My dear colleague [Gronau] loves me like a brother and helps to lighten the burdens of my vocation through his faithfulness and love. We have already put one sea behind us, God be praised; and now the longest part, between England and America is still before us. Since the wind is favorable we will sail today. And if the wind remains good, we shall, with God’s help, arrive at our destination in about 5 or 6 weeks, in the land that we long for, because it is said to be a good land. Many hundreds of Christians are praying for us, that I know, and therefore we do not fear the raging sea. Do you not know that the Lord Jesus still lives, whom the wind and sea obey? We have faith in Him, and He will not fail us. Read only what Isaiah 43:12 and John 14:13, 14 state. Should not our true and almighty God’s promises, which are made to me too, not give me comfort and joy? Therefore, dear mother, join me in thanking the Lord for the marvelous ways in which He has accompanied me so far and continues to accompany me. And do not be dissatisfied with God’s guidance, for it does not please Him when one complains about His ways and His government. And when you see what good our dear God has shown me in these circumstances, then it would seem that you begrudged it of me if you and my sisters are dissatisfied. Perhaps you thought that I should be a comfort in your old age, but who am I, poor worm, that I should be your comfort? Look on the living God, and call to Him with your children. He will give you comfort and will neither leave you nor neglect you. In whatever I may do, I will not neglect my filial responsibility. Jesus be with you in life and death, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
Extract from the Letter of Commissioner von Reck to the Editor [Urlsperger in Augsburg], written from Dover, the 8th of January, new style, 1734.
We arrived here safely on the 22nd of December and were received by the Honorable Society [SPCK] and Lord Trustees with many kindnesses and were supplied with many rich and abundant supplies through the fatherly provisions of the praiseworthy Society and the Lord Trustees. You have probably learned of this in detail from my last report from Dover. The Society gave every person 1£ sterling, and another benefactor gave a half crown through the Royal Court-chaplain Butienter. The Lord Trustees distributed shirts, shoes, stockings, and clothing to the Saltzburgers through Captain [Thomas] Coram. Besides what the Society presented me, I received today a very lovely present from the Trustees as well as a very courteous letter from Sir James Vernon. I experienced very much the same feeling as the Saltzburgers, that the footsteps of God drip with fat. I recognize that I am much too small and insignificant for all the grace and benefactions that my Heavenly Father has shown me. I praise, laud, and thank Him therefore very ardently. I sigh to Him daily that He will constantly keep you in the best of health, that He crown the coming year with many blessings, and repay you for all your goodness. The complete satisfaction of the Saltzburgers will be expressed in a letter from [Thomas] Gschwandel which accompanies this report. He wishes that [Bartholomeus] Rieser, who was left behind, may soon follow with another transport according to God’s will.5 On the 1st of January, new style, the English, French, and Saltzburgers of our transport swore allegiance to Captain Coram, as a member of the Trustees.6 At that time I gave a speech, reminding them of the wonderful guidance of God, the many benefactions that they had received, their faithfulness and indebtedness to God and their benefactors, the need of obedience and faithfulness to the authorities which they had promised in their oath. At the present time the number of colonists and the crew, which are 8, make a total of 90. On the 25th past Colonel [Jean] Purry arrived here from Carolina via London. He paid me his respects, congratulated me as his future neighbor, and stated that he had come in 50 days from Purrysburg down the Savannah river and across the ocean to London. He could not heap enough praise on the arrangements made by Oglethorpe, the fertility of the land, and the happiness of the future inhabitants; and he stated that Georgia can soon become like a kingdom in Europe if God continues to give His blessings. He showed me much respect; and the next day he visited our ship, which is named the Purrysburg, in his honor, and was very pleased with the good attitude of the colonists, their strength and health. He dined on board with us and left here on the 30th for Calais in order to go to Switzerland where he will meet the 300 before-mentioned Vaudois,7 whom he will accompany to Carolina next summer. The Society has given our church in Georgia a baptismal font, a cloth for the altar, and a large silver chalice, in addition to the one I received from you.8 This afternoon at 2 o’clock, God willing, we will set sail again with a very favorable east wind. Place me and the whole transport in your thoughtful and surely effective prayers, and I remain, etc.
George Philipp Friedrich von Reck.
A Letter sent from the Saltzburger Thomas Gschwandel in Dover to the Editor, the 8th of January, 1734.
I can not fail to write to you how well we have been cared for during this journey in both a material and spiritual way and that we are very satisfied because God sent us two pastors in Rotterdam, so that we are richly provided with God’s Word. We have no lack in material things like clothes and such. We were held up for a time at sea and some were sea-sick, but, God be praised, we are all happy and well now. The Trustees for Georgia and the Gentlemen of the Society have distributed money and clothes very generously among us. We also pray that God will let Bartholmeus Rieser follow after us soon. You are greeted from us a thousand times, and we commend you to the dear God.
in the name of all the company.
A Letter from Pastor Gronau to the Inspector of the German School10 at the Orphanage in Halle, the now Deceased Pastor Mischke, from Georgia, the 20th of March, 1734.
“The Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
My Redeemer has brought me, my worthy colleague, and all our beloved congregation to our destination in good health, for which may His name be praised from the bottom of my heart. It has therefore come to pass, what you told me as encouragement before we left; we were often placed in this and that troubled situation on the sea, but it did not harm us, but was rather of great use. For all things must benefit those who love God. Necessity teaches one to pray, as we have well experienced. It drives us all the more to Christ, and makes us hold to them in faith, and in this order we learn how loving the Lord is. Then one sees the father-heart of God, and knows for certain that He means no evil for His children. Then one realizes how sweet and gratifying His Bible verses are, especially those about His redemption. We have also realize how our Father has always wanted to prepare us better for our important calling in America, for here we will not lack suffering; since this verse will be fulfilled in both of us: ALL THAT WISH TO LIVE HAPPY IN THE LORD, ETC. Yet we are comforted, for we know that they go to heaven who suffer with Christ. Suffering in this world is nothing compared with the glory that will be revealed to us. If we taste so many good things here under our cross, what will it not be when we are freed from all evil? Our dear Saltzburgers are also comforted and happy. When our dear God permitted us to come in great danger on the sea, one woman, who until now had endured much, said: THERE IS NO CROSS FOR WHICH THERE IS NO COMFORT. Another said: INSTEAD OF BITTER WATER WE HAVE THE SWEET WORD OF GOD. Still another said: TWO HEAVENS DO NOT FOLLOW, ONE AFTER THE OTHER, which is an old Saltzburger saying. With these and similar proverbs they comforted themselves, and they served to revive our faith. We consider it a great benefaction, of which we are really not worthy, that our Abba [Father] has brought us to these dear people. As He revived us on the sea with them, He will do so on land; and He has already made the beginning. In that time of great danger, the husband of the woman mentioned above showed me a small prayer-book and in it a prayer about the wounds of Christ. With it he said that he had been reassured in time of danger. All in all we must say about the dear people that they consider Christ very important and like to hear us talk about Him and always want to know Him better. It is also my and my dear colleague’s wish, longing, and earnest resolution, which God awakened in us during our last experiences on the sea, that we wish to strive to know God, so that we can teach our dear congregation and others in this land about Him. Our dear God has opened for us a great door. These are unusual times: I can only wonder and praise God. I write this especially because I hope that it may encourage you, my dear pastor, to pray all the more for us, poor souls. What we have heard about the heathens [Indians] you may read in more detail in the Diary. If you in Halle pray for us frequently, then you will enjoy much happiness with us poor wretches. May the dear Father in Heaven reward you for all the faithfulness and love which you have constantly shown me, poor sinner, etc.
Israel Christian Gronau.
Letter from Pastor Boltzius to Mr. Neumann [Newman], Secretary of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, written at Savannah, the 22nd of March, 1734, and translated from the English [into German and here retranslated].11
The contents of the letters that we received at Dover from you were a wonderful evidence of the great favor you still show us, and therefore I live in the hope that you will receive these few lines as a sign of our thankfulness for your esteemed acts of kindness, and will overlook the mistakes of this letter, which I might make since this is the first time that I have written in the English language. Through the grace of God, we reached the coast off Charleston on the 7th of March, where our ship lay at anchor until we could get a pilot to bring us to Georgia. Since I, with the captain of the ship, and several other persons went on shore in Charleston in a small boat, we had the honor of meeting Mr. Oglethorpe and dining in the Governor’s [Robert Johnson’s] house. Mr. Oglethorpe received us very kindly, and sent the passengers on board our ship fresh water, food, good wine, and vegetables, so that they might, through this kind deed, have a change from the hard and salty sea fare. What happiness this made, can not be expressed. We left there [Charleston] on the 9th of March, and arrived on the 11th at Savannah in Georgia. Here a tent was put up for us. Also many good deeds were done for us here because of the care of Mr. Oglethorpe. We traveled to the land that we had for such a long time longed for and were to possess. All our fellow travelers were very happy about the green, fertile stretch of land on both sides of a river. Especially the Saltzburgers show a desire to get to work, with the hope, with God’s blessing, for success. Although our journey was not without many difficulties, still it was nevertheless of great advantage, and we have reason to praise God for His many benefactions that He has shown us in body and soul. A few of the people were sick, because they were not used to the movement of the ship, nor the ship’s food, but they were well again in a short time and no one died. They are all in good health now. Just as we have given these people a testimony of a true fear of God and Christian virtue so far, I assure you that we can still do so, for they have a great desire to hear the Holy Word of God and to do with their whole heart what God demands of man in the Holy Scriptures. They made the good resolution that they wish to prove themselves not only as good workers, but also as good Christians, as long as they live. In such a way they will adorn the teachings of Christ and set a good example for the inhabitants there and in neighboring places. Many of them can not read, because they lacked good instruction in Saltzburg.12 But for the love of the Word of God, they are very industriously learning, and we spare no possible effort to give them a helping hand. Only a few have Bibles and song-books, for which they have however a great desire. And insofar as our congregation succeeds (as we surely hope) to walk before God; He will fulfill His dear promises to them in His Word, especially what we find in Leviticus 26; and all their benefactors will have reason to glorify our merciful God and to receive the reward for the good they have done for us. I close this with heartfelt and best wishes, and remain with the greatest respect, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
A Letter from Pastors Boltzius and Gronau to the Editor [Urlsperger in Augsburg], written at Savannah, Georgia, on the same date [22nd of March, 1734].
We have taken the liberty of writing to you about our situation and the wonderful guidance of God from Rotterdam and again from Dover, which letters we hope have reached you properly. May the Heavenly Father strengthen you in body and soul. We hope through your fatherly communications, which we often long for, to be gladdened in the future, and from which we hope to receive encouragement and instruction. The true God has kept us well during our long journey (with the exception of a few Saltzburgers), and has strengthened us all in body and soul, and has let us arrive here in Georgia on the 12th of March, old style, after we had had to remain for a few days before Charleston, since we did not dare proceed farther without a pilot. How our dear congregation fared during our past voyage on the sea is stated in more detail in my Diary, which was sent to you on the 7th of March. Praise be to God, who let no one die or perish, although some were not so well on the sea. We can not stop wondering at this goodness of God, who did more than we hoped for. What God has often given and still gives us pastors in joy and real heavenly satisfaction among our Saltzburgers, no pen can describe. We sigh many times: “Lord, we are too insignificant for all the mercy that Thou hast given us, that Thou has made us miserable ones worthy to go to America with such upright people.” We definitely believe that our Redeemer will continue to be with us and keep these His children in His mercy, and will rescue more Christians and heathens from the snares of Satan. May He keep you in health and give you a long life, so that we may ever be instructed through your edifying and fatherly letters how we should walk in the house of God. With this heartfelt wish we remain, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius
Israel Christian Gronau.
Pastor Boltzius’ Letter to Professor [Siegmund Jacob] Baumgarten in Halle, written in Savannah, the 22nd of March, 1734.
Your love has formerly been so great for me, that I can remember it with only the greatest of pleasure. Therefore I hope that you will take no offense, if I take the freedom at the present time to write a few lines in English, of which I have now learned a little. Nor will I fail to ask you in your kindness in these poor lines, since the movement of the ship and other inconveniences have prevented me from acquiring more skills in this useful language. Moreover, I saw the necessity of not undertaking too much writing because of my health, which the salty ship’s fare and other things have given me some trouble. Yet, in spite of this I have through divine Blessing and without too much effort, attained an (although still slight) ability to read and discuss English books and pamphlets to some degree. However, to speak with Englishmen and to understand all the words in conversation, is still too difficult. The best that I learned from experience on our sea voyage was the salutory knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord; for all our danger has driven me to pray as never before. I lack the words to thank God for His kindness in assuring me through the Holy Ghost of His fatherly grace and love and in making me come to the decision to effect my salvation through the Holy Scriptures, with fear and trembling, and to spend the rest of my days in the glorification of His name among men. At the present time I like, with great pleasure and emotion in my heart, to sing the song: HOW CAN I THANK, ETC. God has also done much good for my body. For even if, from Dover to Carolina, I lacked the care that a weak and sick body needed, yet I must acknowledge with praise and honor to my Heavenly Father that, after a spell of sea-sickness, I was much healthier at sea than formerly at Halle. And the Almighty God has shown this great grace not only to me and my beloved colleague, but also to the Saltzburgers and their children, for their children were as healthy as fish, even though they, like the adults, had to endure many inconveniences. God also let our prayers help other people on the ship so that not one was unfortunate. I count this among the the greatest benefactions that God has let me experience in my life-time, that He has given me a calling to accompany a company of Saltzburgers on ship-board, so that I could learn in the school of my Saviour such things as had been unknown to me in all of my previous life. If only I had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy your companionship now, then I would use my time for the best in Halle and strive with God’s grace to prove myself true in all things. I believe that I shall never have the pleasure of seeing your face again in this world. God grant that we may be true unto death, so that it will happen that we together will come into the realm of eternal glory and remain there forever. May He reward all your love and good deeds with His grace. May He crown you with grace as with a shield, and may the same be true with you in your important office as is stated in Psalm I: IN ALL THAT HE DOES, HE PROSPERS, ETC.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
The Letter of the Apothecary, Mr. Zwifler, to the Editor, written from Savannah, the 22nd of March, 1734.
Praise be to God! As you will see, our journey has come to a fortunate ending. May the Most High be thanked for all His kindness to us. Even though we have been subjected to many dangers, God has in His mercy rescued us from them all and not let us drown in the deep sea. Because of the sudden departure of His Excellency, Mr. Oglethorpe, I am prevented from writing more, only asking that you will continue your fervent and thoughtful prayers for me. Yet let me say briefly that it is a beautiful and fruitful land that Oglethorpe has allotted to us. He has himself ridden over the land with the Commissioner. I and Thomas Gschwändel had to accompany them. We began the division of the land after praying on our knees, and singing the song: WHOSOEVER LETS THE DEAR LORD REIGN, ETC., and after the distribution ended we prayed again and sang the verses: AMEN, IT IS, MAY IT BE TRUE, ETC. Then the land and stream were named Ebenezer, as will be told in more detail by our worthy pastor in his reports. Yesterday Master Gronau left with 9 single Saltzburgers [for our land] and the others will follow as soon as some houses have been built, as is the custom here. God stand by us, and may the true Word of God keep us so that we can really appreciate what good we have from it by seeing the great misery not only of the Indians (who often come to our prayer-meetings), but also of others. From Commissioner von Reck you will hear more. I commend myself to your kind affection, and remain, with divine protection, etc.
Johann Andreas Zwifler.
Pastor Boltzius’ Letter to Professor [Gotthilf August] Francke, written from Savannah, the 23rd of March [old style) 1734. 2 Corinthians 1:10-11
You have, I hope, received my letters of the 6th of January, which contained the news of our experiences and departure from Dover. The dear Father in Heaven be humbly thanked that He deigns to let tell about our arrival in America according to our desire and duty. O what a good God we have, who not only reveals that He is good, true, and merciful to men through His word but also proves Himself as such to all those who fear Him and call upon Him. It has been 20 weeks since we departed from Halle, and at that time, God particularly impressed upon our minds the words in Isaiah, 49:10: YOUR REDEEMER WILL LEAD YOU. Similarly, we can now say in a loud voice from America to those we left behind in Europe: OUR REDEEMER HAS LED US, at the same time He has filled our hearts with faith and reliance. May He lead us even farther in this foreign land among Christians and heathens. Help us now to praise the wonderful and merciful God, all of you who (as we have often found) have formerly helped us. For God has done much for us and our congregation. Not only the two of us, but also all the members of our congregation arrived in America in good physical health. And if everything was not as comfortable as Flesh and Blood desires and as necessity would have required, the external shortages have led to the advancement of much good, for what the physical man has endured in the lack of care and comfort, the true Father has made abundantly good in our souls. He could have done for us in this life (as we think) no greater benefaction than to order us to go on this ship, for on it He has taken us into His school, and through the grace of His Holy Spirit has shown us the nature of our hearts and those of others and has given us, through His superabundant mercy in Christ, such instruction and insight that such lessons will be useful to us for our entire life, yes, into eternity, and will give us the means to praise the only good and gracious Lord. We have now come to our land with the needed resolution to devote all our time and powers to praising our glorious Emmanuel and to saving poor souls. He has begun to draw us to Him with the bowels of His mercy in that we are unable to express the sorrow of our hearts at the miserable condition of many wretched Christians and heathens in these regions. May He give us strength, wisdom, and the occasion to contribute something toward their salvation, and may He grant us more sympathy and concern for the salvation of all of them. And since our Saviour has already given us the desire to save other people, and specially the Indians, so that it will be our greatest joy if we might carry them to His bosom on our hands, we hope firmly that He will help us to overcome all difficulties in learning the Indian language.13 We are at present in the recently erected town of Savannah with our congregation, and do not yet know how many or which Indians we shall have as neighbors. But much we know from the mouth of Oglethorpe, that in all the lands subject to the crown there live an almost uncountable number of Indians, and that much good could be done for many of them. God help us and lead us. Our congregation is very small and, God be praised, is in very good condition. May the Father give us a glimpse of how we, in time that is not needed for them may use it in the best way, namely to increase this white European flock with a few swarthy Indians (who have, however, been washed in the blood of Christ) and to prepare ourselves carefully, both spiritually and physically, for this very, very important matter. May Jesus Christ fulfill His Words: I HAVE STILL OTHER SHEEP, THESE MUST I ALSO CARE FOR, and thus we hope that, through our future reports, we will awaken much praise of God.14 That the Lord will make known the ground of His knowledge and praise, we have been assured and made confident in the Psalms, which we have so far been reading in our prayer hour both morning and evening. To learn the language from the Indians seems impossible. We have, however, learned that in this vicinity there are a number of Christians who have taken Indian women as their wives and have learned the language from them and their associates; and from these men we could perhaps reach our goal. We will leave it to the care of the Father, to whom all souls belong; He will surely provide a way, for which we can thank Him. What we experienced during the journey and how matters are with us here, you will learn partly from the Diary, which we sent to London in haste at the beginning of March, and partly from what accompanies this mail, and is more detailed. We would appreciate it very much if some Jewish-German books by Professor Callenberg could be sent to us.15 There are some Jews here who do not follow the Jewish customs in eating, in celebrating the Sabbath, etc.;16 there are also some very fine persons among them. I remain, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
A Letter from Pastors Boltzius and Gronau to the Editor, written at Ebenezer, on the 6th of May, 1734.
That our dear God has brought us and our congregation on the 7th of March, old style, after many well-intended tribulations to the vicinity of Carolina, you have adequately learned from the Diary that was sent to you on March 8th, and also from the letters that followed soon after, and from those of other dear servants and children of God who have praised His wonderful grace. It has pleased the wonderful ruler of heaven and earth to detain us here and there and let us experience many things before He wished to lead us to the borders of our beloved Ebenezer. We have all experienced to our great profit not only that God did many wonderful things for His people in the desert, often in ways apparently contrary to reason, but that it is still His way in His wise regime, to lead per aspera ad astra, and to try those who wish to be His chosen people and live in His priestly empire, but then to reveal His love and friendship all the more abundantly after they stood the test. We have often learned from experience that the travelogue of the Jewish people is no unfruitful history, but that one can learn very much of trust, warning, and comfort, which have certainly been of incomparable value to our congregation, which has often been reminded of it. Among many others, one of the greatest benefactions that God has shown us on our journey, that He let the Holy Gospel of His Son Jesus Christ convert the heart of one of our fellow travelers, and that this has served us and our Saltzburgers for much physical and spiritual good.17 We find it unnecessary to relate the historical facts of our journey and the establishment of Ebenezer, since Commissioner von Reck will relate them orally better and also because all the necessary and important facts have been recorded in the accompanying diary. We live at present in great isolation and, as beginnings are always difficult, it is the case here. Yet God, who has helped us so far, will continue to help and strengthen the dear people physically. May He keep them not only in the fear of Himself but in unity of spirit, so that the one can make the other’s life sweeter, and his burden lighter. Through the help of your intercession, which we again most sincerely ask you to continue, God will remain our sun and shield nor will He abandon us or neglect us. Mr. Zwifler proves very true in his profession and helps us and the Saltzburgers as best he can with medication and other necessities. May God give you health and a long life, and then we will enjoy much assistance, advice and aid and will have much cause to praise the Lord. This is wished and petitioned from God by
Johann Martin Boltzius
Israel Christian Gronau.
Pastor Boltzius’ Letter to a Christian Friend in Europe, from Ebenezer, the same date as above [6th of May, 1734], Hebrews 4:9,11.
Since my friendly Saviour gives me time and opportunity to write you a few lines from America, I wish from the bottom of my heart to be able to reveal to you, to the honor of our great Emmanuel and for awakening your soul, what great things the Lord has done so far for me and my congregation. I do not find it necessary to relate the particular circumstances, since you have probably learned the important points from Halle. Of so much you may be certain, that the Lord has shown so much mercy to all of us, and especially to me, poor worm, on the whole journey and here in this land that I can take with me to eternity rich material for the eternal praise of our Saviour. Therefore, I do not regret that I have chosen so important a calling to go into such a distant land and through so many difficult circumstances. I hope also that I shall never regret it, for my Saviour is with me and has, during my pilgrimage, assured me more than ever of His tender Jesus-love and friendship. O, what a blessing it is to have a good conscience in you and a dear Abba in Christ over you and to rest in His love-filled Father-heart like a child in his mother’s womb! It anyone has been truly assured of that by the Holy Ghost, he commits no lie when he says with Assaph: LORD, WHEN I HAVE YOU, I ASK FOR NOTHING OF HEAVEN OR EARTH, etc. But how much it costs our dear God, who wishes to share the abundance of His grace with poor men even before He can bring his soul out of the uncertainty in which it has been since the Fall and in which it prefers to remain. The Enemy of our salvation is busily occupied in leading men from true tranquility to a false serenity. I will not even consider the unconverted persons of whom the Holy Ghost has often shown: they have no peace, even if they often dream of peace, rest, and security; rather I shall speak only about those that are anxious to escape from the coming wrath and try to enter into the eternal peace of the chosen in Heaven; yes, into that of our Holy God Himself. O, how often I have experienced to my detriment that one seeks peace for the poor soul and its awakening awareness through means and ways through which one can never find them. For example, one depends on his many and earnest prayers and his many good sentiments, one relies on his love of God’s Word and trusts the judgment of other children of God who consider him converted. One reminds himself that he has cast off much evil and is therefore much better than before. Through much reading and listening he comes to a good understanding so that he can give others good instruction. And when he is scorned and ridiculed because of his piety, his diligent prayer, and his reprimanding of others and because of his good works, then he is fully certain that he is converted and has come to the rest and peace of the children of God. And when any one speaks to such souls and disputes their imagined certainty and sureness, they look upon him as one who has had little experience in Christianity and does not know how to estimate the Grace of God in others. What a mercy of God it is when He does not let us find any peace in the aforesaid works, no matter how glorious they are in themselves or with what care they are practiced, but rather shows through His Word and Spirit that all these acts are partly the means and partly the fruit of true conversion and the peace found in God. Only through the article of justification does one come to the article of spiritual union with God and of rest for the soul. But an arrogant man does not wish to prostrate himself in the dust before the infinitely glorious and praiseworthy God and try to discover how deep he has fallen and how pitifully he has been attacked by sin in all the forces of his soul and body, how he hates God and all that is divine and is an enemy to his own salvation, etc. But if the Father of all mercies realizes His purpose with a person and makes him wretched, over burdened and, in a word, into a man who sighs at the magnitude and abomination of his misery, then He will take him to His Son, in His loving and shepherd-like arms to His heart and His wounds, where one who has labored under the law and the burden of sin is made equal, yea, better in spirit than the dove which, after it had found no place to rest its foot on the water of the flood, was taken into the ark and revived by Noah (the peaceful man). You will know through our own experience, God be praised!, whether this belongs to the forces of the future world and is the blessed beginning of eternal rest, when one says with heart and mouth: THUS I REST THEN, MY SAVIOUR, IN THINE ARMS. THOU SHALL BE MY ETERNAL PEACE; I WRAP MYSELF ALONE IN THY MERCY. The example of the late Dr. [Paul] Anton has been especially important for me in this point. Whoever has known this dear and God-fearing teacher could easily gather from his words, acts, and complete behaviour that nothing concerned him as much as to preserve the peace of God in his soul and to place himself safely and deeply in the wounds of Christ. This is attested in his splendid little book, Haus-Gespräch von der Erlösung [Postiles on Redemption], To you the example of the deceased is even better known and therefore more impressive. As far as I remember, I saw him only twice, once in a bookstore and the other time in church; and both times I received a very remarkable impression of the blessed and peaceful nature of his spirit. After his death I discovered, from the pulpit, the reason for it; namely, that he never separated justification from sanctification but, in his recognition of his sins had always kept his faith in the free and open well against sin and uncleanness in belief. And this is the way, as you know, if we wish the peace of our hearts to be preserved and strengthened. I made the resolution, and often renewed it on ship-board and renew it now once again, that, in the short life that is before me, I will work toward learning more and more about the Crucified Christ, in His bloody wounds and, without cessation in belief, to consider Him in my wisdom, justification, sanctification, and redemption, for which purpose God made Him for us, and to let Him be the chief content of my sermons. That holds true also of all temporal deficiencies in which one can easily be disturbed, especially in the direct suffering and temptation. If a person bases the peace of his soul on things other than Christ, no matter how good it may appear, such a foundation can easily be torn from him in severe suffering, and then where is his peace? Neither Satan, nor the world and sin can rob us of our Lord Jesus and His wounds. For poor sinners troubled by their sins the wounds of Christ as like sanctuaries in which they can hide from the blood-avenger are they used to sing in the beautiful song of atonement: HOW LONG WILL YOU STRIKE ME, YOU THOUGHTS? and THERE IS STILL ROOM IN YOUR WOUNDS FOR ME, WHO AM BURDENED, etc. There are also impressive words in the song: O GOD AND MASTER, from the 7th verse on, etc. And if God gives so much on earth, Oh, what will heaven be? Just hear what a sweet message there is in the previously cited words: THERE IS YET PEACE AT HAND FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD. We have in this life many enemies who begrudge us the peace we get from Christ and even more our glorious peace to come. Therefore, as long as we wander in the desert of this world according to God’s will, we have external strife and internal fear. But even that comes to an end, and we finally come out of our many troubles like other chosen children of God to the place where God will dry all our tears and eternal joy and peace will hover over our heads. A DAY OF PEACE IS AT HAND, WHEN GOD WILL REDEEM US; HE WILL TEAR US FROM ALL BONDS OF THIS BODY AND FROM ALL EVIL. ONE DAY DEATH WILL HASTEN TO US AND BRING US ALL TO REST. BE CONTENT WITH THAT. But there is one thing to remember in the cited words in verse 2: SO LET US BE DILIGENT, etc. If we wish to have the crown of life, we must have faith to the end in battle, in suffering, and in flight according the example of our dear Apostle Paul: I HAVE FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED THE RACE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH, HENCEFORTH IS, ETC., etc. 2 Timothy 4: 7,8: AND EVEN IF A BATTLE HAS BEEN WON, THAT MEANS NOTHING. IT WAS VERY TIRING, YET GRACE KEEPS YOU FROM NOTICING IT. AND HOW GOOD IT WILL BE TO REST AFTER THE TRAVAIL, HOW GOOD IT WILL FEEL. Oh, if all the people in the world only knew how easily we fallen sinners may be pardoned by God in Christ and if they would believe in their hearts the Gospel of Christ the happy message, that they can come from trial and tribulation to rest and revival. If it looks bad in Germany concerning this important matter, then it is unfortunately much worse and miserable here in America. After all, in Germany there are many messengers of peace, righteous teachers and good schools to teach the old and young about the redeeming knowledge of Christ. Also there is no absence of children of God who adorn the Gospel of our Saviour with their pious conduct. Here everything is lacking. Our marvelous God alone knows what He is intending to do with us two, His wretched servants. Our dearest ambition is to glorify our dearest and most meritorious Saviour by preaching the Gospel not only in our little community but also to all the people living near and far from us. Here we are, may He do with us as He wishes! If you will continue to pray for us, then you will be able to continue to praise the Lord with us for His ineffable mercy. Praised be the Lord, who has awakened you and other children of God to make hearty intercessions for us (of which we are well assured) and who has also heard you. Especially present to our dear Saviour the plea that, if more laborers are sent after us, none will be chosen but students who are truly converted and practiced in the ways of Christianity. I could still write about this and that, but, since this letter is tending to be too long, I must end it here and commend you and your whole house to the Lord Jesus and His inestimable love! The Lord strengthen you in your health, and may I receive many happy reports from you and your dear ones, whom I beg you to greet from me. Greet all the children of God who know and love me with the words of I Corinthians 15:58: MAY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AND GOD OUR FATHER, WHO LOVES US AND HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL CONSOLATION AND GOOD HOPE THROUGH HIS GRACE, ADMONISH YOU AND ALL BELIEVING HEARTS, AND STRENGTHEN YOU IN ALL GOOD WORKS, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius,
Pastor of the Saltzburger Congregation
in American Georgia.
A Letter from the Same Person (Boltzius) to His Mother, the same date (May 6, 1734).
My heartfelt love for you and my brother and sisters makes me enclose a letter to you whenever I write to Germany. May God so bless you that you will go in His way and learn to praise His inestimable grace along with us. Just as I told you in my last letter much about the goodness of God that has ruled over me and my dear congregation in America so I must now write the following that the mercy of God in this strange land is new to me every morning and His truth is great. So far I have remained in constant health and have not suffered any want as far as my personal life is concerned. And if you only knew what joy I have in my dear congregation and how much I am loved by all of them, you would rejoice with me and praise God with me that He has chosen me from all others to be the teacher of these upright people. I hope that you resigned yourself to my absence and to this long journey, especially now that you have heard for a second time that our dear God has let me finish this important journey from Europe to America healthy and safe, and that He has let me come to such good people. To be sure, this is a land where there are still no cultivated fields, vineyards, or gardens, but only forests. But through the blessing of God it will not be long before the land will be cleared of trees and bushes and brought to fruitful production. What is lacking in seed, cattle, and household goods is being given them in abundance. The soil is very light and easy to work, so that they need neither plow, horses nor oxen as in Germany. There are no stones or mountains here, but a flat fine land. Yet these pious people do not put their faith in all these matters but consider themselves Pilgrims who must go and hurry to a blessed eternity and eternal rest. In this world there is only anxiety, and even if it is sweet, it has been trouble and toil, which even you, my beloved mother, have experienced enough and still do in your daily life. Your time goes ever towards its end, and death and eternity come ever closer. How good it would be if you and your children sacrificed the short time that remains of your life entirely to the Lord Jesus, and sought to penetrate into His wounds through prayer and struggle against sin and the love of the world. If you are protected by faith, then the sin and worries of this life will not disquiet you; yea, even death and all evil will not harm you. It has so far been my practice to learn to know my dear Saviour rightly through the illumination of the Holy Ghost and to hold myself in true faith to His merits and His bloody wounds, like a child at its mother’s breast. Do the same, too, and pray with much earnestness or you will not come to Christ. The eternal ineffable salvation is well worth our being very earnest in prayer and in all Christianity and giving up all else, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
Another Letter from the Same [Boltzius] to One of His Relatives, [from Ebenezer] of the Same Date [May 6, 1734].
I do not doubt that you know partly from the letter I wrote you from Halle, and partly from the letter of your dear son, about my God-based resolution to go with the Saltzburgers to America. God has given you discerning eyes and has ever trained you in His wonderful paths since your youth. Therefore, I truly believe that you will rejoice more than sorrow at my unexpected departure and will, with me and other children of God, praise the wonderful God who has considered me, poor worm (which I in truth acknowledge), worthy of such an important calling, and has granted me courage and happiness for the undertaking. And you should know what our dear heavenly Father has done for my body and soul with His mercy on my whole, in itself very difficult, journey and how wonderfully and gloriously He has led me and my dear congregation. You must realize with me that I have not chosen this calling from my own choice nor for worldly opportunity, but according to the will of God and for His glory. I will not now mention the various trials of the divine providence that ruled over me because I hope Professor [Gotthilf August] Francke has sent you via your son, according to my request, the most noteworthy points. Rather I shall report only that this calling has been exceedingly advantageous for both body and soul. At Halle, because of the difficult mental work and the many vexations that you daily find among so many young boys, I found myself almost constantly dragging a sick body around and being a burden to others as well, even though, because of the fatherly care of the Directors, I suffered no lack of necessary care. Just the opposite, God has so strengthened my health from the very beginning of the journey that I have been able to perform my office both on the sea voyage and since without hinderance, even though we failed at times to get rest for body and mind as well as wholesome food and drink. He has accepted my soul in a hearty and fatherly way and has assured me poor sinner, in difficult situations on ship-board, of His grace and fatherly love for the poor sinners, and He has given me much insight into His Word and wonderful government. He has impressed my calling with many seals of His manifest blessings and has given me such joy in my very worthy colleague and the whole congregation that I feel wholly unworthy of it all. They all love me so much that I must be ashamed of my unworthiness, which teaches me to love them more ardently and not to spare my efforts for their good. My Heavenly Father has now brought me here per varios casus to America. What He wishes to do further with me and my dear colleague must be left up to His wisdom and beneficial care alone. We have both obligated ourselves to the Lord, to spend the short time that remains of our lives for the glory of our Emmanuel and for the salvation of men, be they who they may! He, the great House-Father and Lord of the Harvest, will show the opportunity for this. We do not believe that He has called us to this distant land only for the Saltzburgers, of which there are as yet only 40. Rather, as it has always been His way to begin with small and insignificant things and to execute His work splendidly through very wretched instruments, we believe that He will also work in our day and with us so that we and others may thank Him. The harvest is great in this New World too, and the true workers few. Many hundreds of Lutherans are supposed to be here, according to the statements of others, some in communities, others scattered here and there, who have no one to provide them with God’s Word or the Holy Sacraments. To date I have not been able to associate much with the Germans of our confession, not only because we have been in constant unrest and distraction for more than half a year, but also because our Ebenezer is several hundred English miles from Pennsylvania where many Germans live. For the Lord it is an easy thing to break a road where none exists and to give us poor servants the opportunity to proclaim His Gospel near and far, now that He has already kindled an ardent desire in us for this. At our settlement the people are now busy building houses and rooting out the trees, which is very necessary for preparing the fields but it is also very difficult, because one sees nothing but trees everywhere in this country. Yet in our congregation, neither the men nor the women are afraid of work, and the Lord, whom they serve in all truth, stands by them with His blessing so that we and others, who see and hear it, are placed in great wonder. Even though the food, which they receive free of charge for a whole year from the storehouse established by the colony of Georgia, is of such a nature that it does not give them so much strength and power to do this hard work as they got from the food they formerly had in Saltzburg, yet God blesses all this food and drink that they remain well and can do their work. Perhaps, among other needed varieties of food, our wonderful God will give us the opportunity and means of making the people some good beer which would give them more strength for their labor than plain water does. Grapes grow here in the woods in large quantities, but they are as yet wild and of not much use. The usual wine that is drunk here in Georgia and Carolina comes from the island of Madeira and costs very much even though it is hardly as good in quality and taste as good Franconian wine. The usual food of our people and others is salted beef and pork, rice, small beans, and a kind of long earth-apples called potatoes [yams], which taste sweet and are very satisfying. For baking bread they receive flour made of European wheat, but in small quantities, and also Indian corn or the so-called Turkish wheat. Sometimes they can also buy Zweiback of white and mixed flour. Likewise in Charlestown [which city lies in Carolina and is about 130 English miles from Ebenezer] they can buy white bread, fresh meat, chickens, eggs, and all kinds of food at a moderate price, but at least two or three times as high as in Germany. Except for Charlestown there is no city in Carolina or Georgia where there is any commerce. In Georgia the best town is Savannah, which gets its name from the large river that flows past it, but it is still poorly built and not in much order. Besides this town you find in the above-mentioned colony only here and there a few houses or rather huts … The dear Father in Heaven keep you in both body and soul, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
Pastor Gronau’s Letter to a Friend in Halle, also of the same date, namely the 6th of May (1734).
Praised be God, who has rescued us from the authority of darkness, and has placed us in the kingdom of His Son, through whom we have been redeemed by His blood, namely the forgiveness of sins. Praise be to God, who is good and pious and has always shown us sinners a better path that will bring us nearer to an understanding of His Son and of His Son’s great service, so that we may learn to know Him better and better as our Abba and our hearts will be filled with His sweet love so that we may be quickened inwardly and thus receive a foretaste of eternal life already in this restless world. Praise be to God, who has deemed both of us worthy to proclaim to others how good He is! Dear brother, you will agree with me in this, that our God, who has shown us such love, should be worshipped and praised. Even though we have been separated in body, my heart often sighs for you and I think of the tears that you shed when we parted. I remember especially the love and sincerity that you showed me and our whole association when we were together. Among other things I remember how you, dear brother, often talked about the late Abbot [Joachim Justus] Breithaupt, whose example you proposed to follow. The dear God in these last days has especially blessed me through the first Meditation from the Saltz der Erden [Salt of the Earth], from which I have recognized even more the importance of my office in which I have been placed by my Arch-Shepherd and thus has already awakened me to more earnestness and will awaken me even more through the grace of God. My wish is that you and I may be real Timothies. God has given the same outlook to my beloved colleague, Pastor Boltzius, who sends you friendly greetings. How things went with us on the journey, you will learn from the Diary. The peril that we suffered at times only drove us to much prayer and established a resolution in us not to seek anything in the new land but to learn to know Christ better, and to prepare our and other souls for salvation and grace. What I promised the dear God then, He has already made me remember many times in Ebenezer, which is the name of our new settlement. I have already tried to practice this resolution, and will continue to do so through the power of the Holy Ghost. You should not imagine our whole country except as a land of trees, bushes, water, and wild beasts, etc. The town, which was built about a year ago or was rather started then, is named after the river Savannah. Near it live heathens [Indians], about which you will learn more from the Diary which we have sent and from which I hope you will get information about many things. Several more places are established on the way up the river. The last place is called Abercorn. From this place we go by land through the woods and can reach Ebenezer in three good hours if we walk briskly. Past our village flows a stream, which we have also named the Ebenezer (I Samuel 7:12). Here it was all wasteland at first, but now a few huts have been built in which we shall remain until other more regular houses are built. I with 8 Saltzburgers came here first; the Saltzburgers had to erect a pair of huts so that the others would have a covering over their heads when they arrived. Our things are brought here from Abercorn on a sledge or sleigh. All this costs much effort, but it serves us for the best. Others, who live on the water, will have everything much easier, but the Father wishes to lead us in this way; may He be praised! ONLY REMAIN, JESUS, MY TREASURE, MY SAVIOUR, LORD AND SHIELD, AND LEAD ME AS YOU WISH; I AM YOURS, TAKE ME TO YOURSELF AS I AM. This is my study. The dear God has already given me much encouragement in these troubled circumstances. When the dear Saltzburgers come back from their work and have eaten their meal, then we hold a devotional service with them. It is our great joy when we hear one Saltzburger after another establish a good foundation in Christianity; and when we ask, “How does it go?”, they answer: “I had great distress in my heart, but God has helped me and has saved me.” They are overjoyed by it, and we with them. Now we hope that God will let us experience much joy here with the Saltzburgers as well as with others. Pray often for us, dear brother, so that we may glorify our Jesus who loves us and all people and loves the heathen so much, and who has said: I MUST GATHER THEM TO ME, etc. Concerning my house-keeping that you wanted to know about, while I was in Ebenezer, I had to take care of myself all by myself, even though I could not do it properly; but necessity has taught me many things. From now on I shall not give very much time to it, for I have something more important to do, which I have learned, along with many things, from the Holy Bible and the Saltz der Erden [Salt of the Earth]. It will not be possible any more, once we are all together and my official work gets started. How I shall make out with Pastor Boltzius, I do not know; we will lay it before the dear Lord. The people here in this country are so few that it is impossible to get any one that can give a hand. There are not many of the Saltzburgers and they have enough work for themselves. Yet the Father on high has counsel for all things. The person who brings this letter is our Commissioner [von Reck], who conducted the Saltzburgers from Augsburg to this place. Since God has shown him mercy on this journey and he has great love for the children of God, he has decided that, if God will lead him back to Germany, he will visit Halle among other places. This is the second letter that I have sent to you; I hope that I may soon see one from your hand. Another time I shall write in more detail, if God permits me to live; if not, we will relate the rest in heaven with even greater joy. Send my greetings to Pastor Mischken,18 as my dear father in Christ, to whom I also wrote last time. Greet my many dear brothers, who are still there, and also the preceptors of the orphanage. I can wish them nothing more than that the grace of our Jesus Christ be with them. Amen, may that be, Amen. Now my dear Brother, may Jesus draw you to Him so that you overflow and melt with love, and place on Him all the troubles that still oppress you. May He take you and me to Himself; may He strengthen you so that you may pray for me, for my colleague, and the whole congregation; I remain yours, etc.
Israel Christian Gronau.
Pastor Gronau’s Letter to the Boys in the Orphanage at Halle, of the Same Date [May 6, 1734, from Ebenezer]. In Christ Jesus Who loves us, and who has given Himself for us, My Beloved Children.
Even though I am physically separated from you, yet my soul longs for you and the love which I formerly had for you has not ceased but will continue with the grace of God, and will be more ardent and sincere. You may perhaps remember in what my love for you consisted. You could easily know this if you would only go back to the time when I was with you and remember that I wished nothing more than that you would give your hearts to the Lord Jesus in atonement and faith and experience and see in your study how friendly He is and learn that there is nothing better than to be with Him; for those who once experience this can more and more attain such a blessed and glorious knowledge. What I could not attain when I was with you, I hope will be achieved in my absence and that the dear God will bless the service of your dear preceptors. Oh, believe me, my dear children, whom I love heartily, your Jesus, as the good Shepherd, does not want a single lamb among you to go astray and to remain in error. Oh, no, He has thirsted for you on the Cross too and He does not want His precious Blood-of-God to be shed in vain for any one of you. He has taken charge of you as orphans and has brought you to this blessed orphanage, where He is working on your souls especially through His Word and calls constantly to you: “Come to me and I shall give you rest. Turn now back from the road of error; remain no longer in evil. Hear My Voice and follow Me; I will gather you into My Arms, and care for you, as is right. What has been lost, I shall seek; who has been wounded, I shall bandage, if anyone is sick and weak, him will I tend; those who are fat and strong, I shall protect.” Now read the wonderful song: WHERE IS MY LAMB THAT I LOVE, ETC.: then you will learn to know His Shepherd-heart rightly. Oh, how good you will have it, if you follow Him. Experience will show how He will press you to His bosom, and let you taste His love. In a word, He will give you life and in abundance. This His love will be a fore-taste of Heaven, and will cause you to seek not what the world can give you, but what is above. You will consider the world with all its temptations as nothing, and you will seek to follow your Shepherd like obedient sheep. So you will see that even if the whole world should desert you, Jesus will not leave you as orphans. You will have nothing to fear, for it is the Father’s pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Yes, dear children, the Father with His Son will give you all, Romans 8:32, both the material and the spiritual. He will give you atonement, faith, and forgiveness for all your sins, His grace, noble peace, the Holy Ghost as the pledge of your Heavenly heritage, yes, and finally the enjoyment of the Heavenly treasures themselves. What more could you want when all this is given to you? Now it is only necessary that you accept, that you bow simply in prayer and do not rest until you have attained this blessing from the Father. After this, try to keep good care of this treasure through industriously watching, battling, struggling, and continuous prayer. Nor will you lack on the material side either. To you shall be given as much as the Father sees that you need. Your studies will be blessed; God will also be with you in the future. Consider, dear children, how the dear God has loved you above many thousands of people, in that He has brought you to this blessed institution. If you apply all this well, you will have happiness and bliss from it; if not, you will have to answer for much more. At the last I beg of you sincerely that you will pray to God for me and my colleague, Pastor Boltzius, and our important task. Help us with struggle and with prayer; it appears that God has not sent us here in vain. Pray for us that the Word of God may be spread and be praised, as with you at the Orphanage. May the words of Jesus also be fulfilled in America, for He said in John 10:16: AND I HAVE OTHER SHEEP, THAT ARE NOT IN THE FOLD; I MUST BRING THEM ALSO, AND THEY WILL HEED MY VOICE. SO THERE WILL BE ONE FLOCK, ONE SHEPHERD. With this I close; I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, and remain, etc.
Israel Christian Gronau.
The Letter of Lorentz Hueber, a Saltzburger, to the Editor, written from Ebenezer, the 7th of May 1734.
Reverend Pastor, you are greeted a thousand times by me, my wife, and my four children. They say a thousand times thanks for all the good deeds that you did for us in both spiritual and material ways and for the way that you so sincerely cared for us on our journey. In spiritual ways you have given us pastors and teachers and in material ways you have provided the Commissioner, who has conducted us well and has cared for me most loyally when I was sick and very weak on ship-board by often sending me food and drink from his own table. I can not repay the Commissioner, so I will ask the dear God, who rewards all good deeds, to repay him. I also beg you to greet all the other pastors of Augsburg in my name and to thank them for all their benefactions to us, both spiriutal and material. I also ask you if you will thank all the Evangelical congregations from the pulpit for their benefactions. I especially ask you to greet Mr. Schauer, by whom we were given lodging,19 and we wish them all spiritual blessings both here and in eternity. And I thank Almighty God, who has led us so wonderfully and so truly, and has awakened many benefactors on our journey who have helped us. In Dover much was given to us, and in the new land where God has led us we are provided with food and drink. I can wish all these benefactors no more than divine blessings here and eternal life there. Finally, I wish you the mercy and grace of God, and remain together with my wife and children, etc.
55 years of age
and my wife Maria Manleiter
44 years of age
A Letter from Hanns Moshammer, His Wife, and Barbara Kräuer21 to the Editor, 8th of May, 1734 [from Abercorn].
Since I, along with my wife and Barbara Kräuer and her two daughters, have experienced much good from God through you, not only in material but even more in spiritual benefactions, we want to thank you from our hearts through this letter. The greatest benefaction of all that has come to us is that God has sent us two clergymen, who instruct us in the Word both clearly and purely about saving atonement and the forgiveness of sins. To this belongs the fact that we have had such a true Commissioner who has also cared for us in material matters. We also ask you to give friendly greetings to Pastor Hildebrand and all other pastors for so sincerely caring for us in Augsburg. Will you also greet the mayor [Morell] and Mr. Schauer, who showed us so much kindness, for which we thank them many times and wish them happiness and blessings from God both now and in eternity. With us, God be praised, it goes quite well, and we are in health except Barbara has become quite weak, but we hope through the mercy of God that she will soon regain her health.22 God be praised that we have no scarcity of food and drink and we hope that the good God will continue to care for us. May you be so good as to greet Hanns and Peter Pfeffer, one of whom lives with Leopold, the copper plate engraver. And if they could get to Saltzburg or send a messenger there they should report to our friends that things are not bad for us here so far. To be sure, we have had both trial and tribulation, but God has always saved us from it and we hope that He will not forsake us in the future. We hope that they will do us this favor for God and our salvation; turn from darkness, follow Christ, and not to shun any trouble or danger. For the Word of truth states: HE WHO DENIES ME BEFORE MEN, HIM WILL I ALSO DENY BEFORE GOD AND HIS ANGELS; BUT HE WHO ACKNOWLEDGES ME BEFORE MEN, HIM WILL I ACKNOWLEDGE BEFORE GOD AND HIS ANGELS. Oh, life in these times is short and uncertain; therefore we do wisely if we do not miss the time of grace, but return to our Father like the lost son. Finally, we thank you again and wish that God may give you His blessing, health, and a long life, and that through His work many may be brought from unrighteousness to divine bliss and that he may fight a good fight to maintain the crown of righteousness, which will be granted to him by the real ruler, Jesus Christ, not to him alone but to all who hold his vision dear. We hope that it may be fulfilled in him as Daniel says in Chapter 12, that: THOSE WHO TURN IN RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL SHINE LIKE THE STARS FOREVER AND EVER. We still think constantly of your benefactions and pray for you. Please think of us in your prayers. With this, we remain, etc.
And her two daughters.
Pastor Boltzius’ Letter to His Former Colleague [Mischke], the Inspector of the Latin School of the Orphanage in Halle, written from Ebenezer, the 9th of May, 1734.
I am going to trouble you again in your important work with a letter, which is due to my sincere love to you which, through the grace of God, is just as great and sincere now in America, as it was when our Heavenly Father deemed me worthy to live in your brotherly community and receive much good. Your great labor, which I know so well, will not let me hope for an answer from your hands; but I should be happy if I might learn, even from some one else, if you are well in body and soul. But I will not doubt of that, for the Lord, whom you serve with all your power in all important matters, is your shield and great reward and, as He has promised all His sons and children, you will lack nothing that is good. Let us only work comforted in the name of Jesus Christ and consume our strength for the kingdom of God. Eternity will repay us gloriously. Now we are widely separated from each other, and neither knows about the other’s work or conditions; in the future we will come together again through our Saviour, and our works will follow after us. The devil will not be able to cause either of us to be missing in blessed eternity, rather we will continue to apply all effort to attain the blessed rest of chosen souls, into which the Bridegroom of our soul has already entered. How I shall rejoice when I hear that the Lord Jesus has called you, a pious and true son, and has led you into His eternal happiness. And I hope to share this blessedness also, because I cling to my Saviour in faith and will never leave Him. I am, to be sure, not afraid of death, because I am reconciled to my Heavenly Father through Christ, and I have found rest for my soul in the wounds of Jesus, even in this present unrest. Yet, I wish, according to God’s will, to live a few more years so that I may still experience in this life what God plans to do in these later times with the dear Saltzburgers and the poor heathen in America. Yet let God’s will be done. So far I have, God be praised, been in good health, even though I have sometimes had spells of sickness, which our merciful God has soon let pass by. My dear colleague, who is a true Israelite,23 also experiences much weakness, and has had many predictions of his death. God forbid such a loss for the sake of His Son’s intercession! He preaches the Gospel of Christ with much clearness and power, and is very careful and edifying in his conduct. The Lord has bound us very close together. We both have some material wants, but the Lord has said: I WILL NEITHER FORSAKE YOU NOR NEGLECT YOU. This good and Almighty Father will complete this glorious promise in us too. The Saltzburgers received many gifts from the benefactors in England, not only victuals for a whole year but also many barrels of very good seed, oxen, cows, swine, chickens, and ducks, as well as all kinds of household goods and agricultural tools. Yet, because they are not yet accustomed to the land and this kind of life, and also because they are not used to such heavy work, it is very hard for them. But we do not notice that any one is sorry that he has left his fatherland, but rather they thank God for their rescue from their spiritual Egypt. Some have been tempted to be dejected, impatient, etc., but they have quickly overcome it. I consider it not accidental that Oglethorpe, the Governor of Georgia, gave me a fine young horse, which I shall use not only for exercise but also to visit the poor people of our Confession who have no minister. I hope that you will continue to remember me and my colleague, who heartily greets you, in your prayers. I for my little part will not neglect to pray for you and the dear Orphanage. With which true assurance, I close, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius.
A Letter from Pastor Boltzius to One of His Relatives, written from Charlestown, the 24th of May, 1734.
I hope you have received the few lines from Halle, in which I gave the tardy news of my decision to go with a number of Saltzburgers, in God’s name, to America. The Heavenly Father be praised for having deemed me worthy to live for 2 months already in this New World with my congregation. Others who first came here have been sick and some have died, but in spite of my weak constitution my eternal Saviour has kept me in health, both on the journey and here in this country. And so I believe that our good God will continue to care for my bodily and spiritual condition and give me the strength required for my vocation. All that is in me and about me, I shall dedicate to Him alone. What others seek in this new land, I do not seek, but rather I practice constantly so that I may have a pure conscience and better prepare myself, and all that hear me, for the heavenly Canaan and the New World. God help me! In this life we will probably not see each other again, since my present occupation and the dangerous conditions on ship-board, in which I lived for 9 weeks, makes it difficult, in fact impossible, for me to make the journey back again. Yet in heaven we will meet in eternity, if we continue to the end to hold fast to the right way that we have begun. The place where I live with my congregation lies in the colony of Georgia, near South Carolina, and has received the beautiful name of Ebenezer, as a reminder of the heavenly benefactions which have been so richly granted so far. I am writing this letter in the capital of Carolina, Charles-town, which lies about 150 miles from our community, and to which one must travel by water with many difficulties. This journey could not have been avoided partly because our present Commissioner von Reck, with his servant [Christian Schweikert], wishes to partake once more of Holy Communion in companionship with other Evangelical residents of this city, and partly because it was necessary for me and my congregation. God has awakened several people here, who have done much good for our Saltzburgers and have promised more, so that it was necessary to thank them for it, and we also had to attend to a few other matters. The dear Father in Heaven is taking very good care of my congregation and will help them to overcome all difficulties to which they are subjected because of farm work, food and drink, and other things. There is not time now to write any more. I hope to do so another time, as often as there is an opportunity to send letters and journals to England and Germany, etc.
Johann Martin Boltzius,
Saltzburger Minister in the American Georgia.
A Letter from Mr. Zwifler, the Apothecary, to Some Friends in Augsburg, written from Ebenezer, the 14th of May (new style), 1734.
It states in I Samuel 7:12: HITHERTO THE LORD HAS HELPED US. To Him be praise and thanks for it! For the first time, yesterday, on the 13th of May by the old calendar, we took our thanksgiving service in Ebenezer from the 107th Psalm for the great mercy He has shown to us; and we remembered His mercy, power and might, which He let us feel on the stormy sea. My dear friends, I am writing these few lines to you together so that you may see that God is with me and has shown His power in me not only by leading me here fresh and sound and without any stumbling block, but also by showing me a place for my life’s occupation where His honor is advanced and His name glorified. That everything goes well with me here, you can see from my yet facile hand. I am ready to admit that I am as well off here as I have been anywhere. Again and again I see here the blessing of God richly flowing over me, and perhaps much of it was due to the many thousands of “God thank you’s” uttered by our dear Saltzburgers, who had many hardships on our journey, which lasted 8 weeks on the sea. But God blessed my limited medicine so that I cured them all and not one, either large or small, died, but all came to shore well. I learned more on this journey than I ever had before: I leared by myself “Balbiren”, and also to bleed people, for which God so led my hand that I was fortunate and made no mistakes. I have opened the veins of more than 20 people, including both of the pastors, who willingly placed themselves in my hands. We live here in a good land, for which God be praised. There is no scarcity of wild game, Indian chickens [turkeys], and partridges; and good fish are abundant. We can not give enough thanks to God, who has provided us with all kinds of victuals, and continues to do so. We have received beef and pork, peas, beans, rice, flour, salt, butter, cheese, pepper, all kinds of roots, beside 60 kinds of seeds, also more than 20 cows, 7 horses, also oxen, and await still more gifts. We can not marvel enough at all the many benefactions that have come to us from the Trustees in England, and we are given even more than the other inhabitants. In this country we find honey and turpentine. This is enough for this time. I hope that God will keep you well for many years, so that I can send you more good news in the future. Moreover I commend you all to the care of the Most High and thank you for all the benefactions you have shown. May God let you fare well so that we can together praise the Giver of all good from now on and into all eternity, etc.
Johann Andreas Zwifler
Letter of his Excellency, Mr. [Jonathan] Belcher, Governor of New England in America, from Boston, to the Editor, the 3rd of July 1734.
I am sure that you are astonished, just as I would be, by the liberty taken by a person who is entirely unknown to you, even though your character is not so strange or unknown to me. We live in a time that can well be called the time of a dreadful falling away from God. However, because I have read the pleasant report of your care and endeavors to observe the cause and interest of our most blessed and glorious Jesus in this world, I discovered that God has not yet ceased to pour out His spirit and that He has awakened you to be an instrument for the glory of His great Name, for Whose Name alone may there be always honor and praise. This letter has the honor of being handed to you by the Baron von Reck, who has come here on his way back from Georgia to Germany. May God Almighty bless him abundantly for all that he has so kindly undertaken for the good of the poor Emigrants and reward him there in His glorious presence. But I wish that you, as a good steward of the Lord’s many blessings, will hear the blessed Euge on the great day that your Lord and Master shall appear: YEA, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, GO IN THE JOY OF THY LORD! This is and remains the prayer, etc.
J. V. Belcher