The Travel Diary
of the Two Pastors Messrs. Boltzius and Gronau Which the Two Have Kept from Halle to Georgia and for Some Time After Their Arrival in That Land.
ON November 7, 1733, we started out on our trip, in Jesus’ name, from Halle to Wernigerode. With much pleasure we remembered the good admonitions, farewell wishes, and verses from the Holy Gospel which had been given us for our journey by our faithful teachers and other Godfearing persons, such as Joshua 1: Iff. and 24:14ff; Isaiah 43:Iff and 49:10ff; Exodus 4:10-11; Jeremiah 1:6ff; Psalms 68:36, 62:9; Hebrews 1:14. We found particularly inspiring what had been read to us before our departure from the late Mr. Spener’s1 introduction to the booklet on nature and grace. The content of this dealt with the importance of the office of a shepherd of souls. When, on this occasion, we inquired about the best methods of teaching, it was recommended to us, first of all, that we should (1) endeavor, above all things, to reach a real and living understanding of Jesus Christ for ourselves, (2) be eager to obtain a thorough understanding of the state of mind of our listeners, and (3) strive to show charitable love to them and their material and spiritual misery. (4) We should take care not to comfort them without making individual distinctions, because through that many would become too self-assured and corrupted.
We spent part of the time on our trip in prayer and in singing a few hymns, and we also resolved to read diligently, from now on, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles to the Thessalonians and also to Timothy and Titus, and to make good use of them. At this time we made our beginning with the 6th and 20th chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. On reading the former we recalled what had happened once at a prayer meeting in Halle which dealt with the divine election of Stephen, namely, how the apostles at that time looked for pious and enlightened people to take care of worldly affairs, and how this is so much more necessary when spiritual offices are to be filled. May God give to others what He has granted to Stephen, namely, that they might be imbued with the right spirit and faith if they pray for it.
On November 8th, which was a Sunday, we held a short review after prayers of that which we had found edifying when reading the two chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, and we determined to undertake similar reviews in the future. During this review God gave us much comfort and pleasure, so that we spent nearly the entire morning with it and were inspired to many edifying discourses. Among other things, we were also led into a discussion of the 49th chapter of Isaiah, for our hearts were deeply moved by the unique love and affection of our Saviour which is described therein. At noon we arrived at an inn in Quedlinburg. Everything went well there so that we enjoyed our noon meal with much pleasure for body and soul, finding also an opportunity for agreeable conversation with parents and children. In the afternoon we entertained ourselves on the trip with an edifying discourse and, for our enlightenment, we read the 1st chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. On account of what is said therein about Judas we recalled the important hymn: “What a sorrow and fear shall not dwell with Christians,” etc., which we recited word for word, and then devoted our attention to the last verses of the hymn: “Enlighten me, O Lord, my light,” etc. While doing this we also recalled the inspiring life of the late Mr. Clauder, pastor in Halberstadt, and the hymn he wrote: “My God, thou knowest best of all,” etc., which was of great benefit to us.
As we approached the city of Wernigerode, we placed before God in humble prayer not only what we had been talking about but also the important purpose for which we had made our way here. When considering the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles and its 12th verse, for which we drew on Luke 4:52, we derived the following truth and conclusion: If our separation from our dearest friends is done according to God’s will and for His glory, we should rejoice in it instead of bitterly complaining. At the same time we took this from the 26th verse of said first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles for our strengthening: That Matthew became an Apostle because God had chosen him for it, and that he did not refrain from it because of his unworthiness, which, surely, he must have felt. In Wernigerode we were received with much graciousness and love; and we were particularly pleased when a room was assigned to us in the count’s castle, which was very comfortable and provided the solitude necessary for communication with our dear Saviour.
In the morning hours of the 9th of November we refreshed ourselves with prayer and an inspiring morning hymn in which God vividly recalled to us the benefactions we had enjoyed in Halle and awakened us to praise His name for them and to pray devotedly for our benefactors. When, hereafter, we received permission to pay our humble respects to His Highness the Count, we were again refreshed with many spiritual and material comforts. Then we began to sing the hymn: “Sing to the Lord near and far,” etc. The noon meal also was taken to the accompaniment of edifying discourses. At night we attended a pastors’ conference and prayer meeting and here again God gave us His blessing. After the evening meal we were strengthened once more by praying with others and in conclusion we sang the hymn: “Glory be sung to Jesus with Joy,” and also the hymn: “All men must die,” etc., which was sung to the Saltzburger tune.
On the 10th of November we enlightened ourselves by reading the 2nd chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. And when we later heard the story of the reception and of the conduct of the Saltzburger emigrants who had been in Wernigerode the previous year,2 we were much inspired by it, and we hope to make good use of it in the future with our Saltzburgers. Today we were also examined, at a meeting of several pastors, during which special attention was given to the article on the free will of man.
The 11th of November was set for our ordination. We prepared ourselves with prayer and were then led into the Count’s chapel, where, first of all, we made confession. The ordination sermon was given by the court chaplain, Mr. [Samuel] Laue, on the text Isaiah 44:3-5. In his application he made mention of the Saltzburgers and reminded his listeners of what they themselves had seen and heard of them some time ago. Then he turned to us because, by the will of God we were to go with a number of them to a strange land. Thereupon he prayed (1) that all the promises made in the text might be granted to us fully; (2) that God might give us many Christians and Heathens for a fruitful harvest so that, through our labors, they might grow like grass and willows by the water courses; (3) that our courage might not sink under adverse conditions, but that we might cling to the wonderful pledges of our Father; and (4) that we might prove ourselves brave and untiring against internal and external foes.
After the ordination the several pastors asked divine blessings for us and enlightened, encouraged, and strengthened us with Exodus 33, Luke 10, Romans 8:31-34, and Micha 5:3. May the Lord confirm all these wishes in His Grace, and may He not let us forget what He has done for our souls and how we felt when it happened! In the evening we attended the prayer meeting, which is held in the orphanage here. A rather large number of people attended, all of whom eagerly listened to the Word. God be praised for all the blessings which He has bestowed on us this day.
On the 12th of November, His Highness the Count had us taken, with his horses, to Osterwieck, where we were received with great kindness and refreshed with many a good deed. There a number of Godfearing persons assembled who wanted to join with us in prayer.
On the morning of the 13th we left Osterwieck, and on the way the insolent talk of a certain person gave us occasion to testify to the truth and to show him as well as others how good it is to be with Christ, and what bliss it is to know for sure that one is in God’s grace.
On the 14th we likewise made efforts to awaken our traveling companions to goodness. But because people, whenever they are urged to exercise serious care for their salvation, usually bring forth all manner of excuses, we resolved, when the occasion arises, to give them only a few important verses from the Holy Gospel, together with a brief explanation, and to leave them to their own conscience, since one rarely achieves anything with much talk. On the other hand they may well remember a widely known verse, and with it everything that has been said on such an occasion. Meanwhile, our heart was strengthened in God during the trip, and we found further opportunities to talk with our traveling companions about stimulating matters, e.g. how miserable they are, and how dangerous it is for people to wait until the end before being converted. We also talked about the great corruption of mankind and, on the other hand, about the great grace and compassion of God.
When one of our traveling companions made it known that he would like to have such good company on all of his travels, we showed how beneficial it is to spend one’s time in good company, and how many will regret, on their deathbed and in eternity, that they have insulted God by wasting their time in dissolute company. Yet we ourselves were forced to experience on this trip how you must feel if you find yourself in the company of people who spend their time in godless and idle chatter. This made us see the unspeakably great corruption of the human heart and also how great is God’s patience and forebearance which He shows to wicked mankind, and how highly it must be appreciated, on the other hand, if you are saved from such a state of corruption through God’s grace. On this day we passed through the city of Minden, and on the following, the 15th of November, the cities of Herford, Bielefeld, and Lippstadt.
On the 16th we passed through Hamm and Lühnen. Since we had received better company in the meantime, we tried to use more of our time for our own edification.
On the 17th we reached Wesel, where we were taken in with great love by the pastor there.
When, on the 18th, we continued on the stage coach, we received for companions two commissioned officers who conducted themselves very reasonably and modestly. We enlightened ourselves by reading from the 8th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, especially from its 34th verse, with which we compared the Acts of the Apostles 5:31 and Hebrews 7:25. In doing this, we were impressed with the fact that our Saviour Jesus Christ is sitting on the right Hand of God and speaks for us there. Thus we drew the conclusion that we could find comfort in our circumstances, for we were assured not only that some children of God were praying for us, but that, above all, the glorious and only begotten Son of God is representing us before His Father. We also rejoiced in the 2nd verse of the hymn “My Solomon,” etc., and especially with the words: “I am enveloped in your Grace, your Mercy is my blood of life,” etc. This reminded us of the verse Isaiah 49:10: “He that hath mercy on them shall lead them,” etc. The same evening we reached Cleve, where we remained through the following day, which was
The 19th of November. There we visited a number of persons who had been recommended to us. We were especially pleased with a certain friend who once had stopped going to church and taking Communion, but had been convinced for the better by the word of Christ: “Let both grow together,” etc. At the same time he realized how much damage was done him because of his refusal to listen to the divine Word and his failure to make use of Holy Communion. No less were we refreshed and strengthened by the inspiring conduct of others.
On the 20th of November we continued our trip to Nimwegen where we arrived on the same day. On the 21st we went from there on board a ship, on which we were somewhat delayed en route by a storm. On this occasion we had to put up with some inconvenience, but God made everything easy and agreeable for us. We recognized how good it is to become disaccustomed in time to too much comfort; at the same time this trip prepared us for our future sea-voyage. We took the opportunity to hold edifying conversations with the ship’s crew during off hours, and we also had an intelligent seaman read to us from the Dutch Bible. We finally arrived in Rotterdam, with God’s help, on the 25th of November. On November 27th, the Saltzburgers, for whose sake we had come here, finally arrived with their Commissioner von Reck. As soon as we had talked things over with them, we began
On November 29th, which was a Sunday, to proclaim the Word of God on board ship. Afterwards we catechized the old and the young and started to teach them how to find the various verses of the Holy Scripture for themselves. Because
On the 30th the Saltzburgers were assigned quarters in two houses, we made arrangements to separate in order to provide them with the Word of God3* in both houses. On December 2nd the Saltzburgers were again brought aboard a ship, which, however, did not leave the harbor until the night of December 3rd. During evening prayers we made use of the inspiring description which had been printed in Wernigerode about the conduct of the Saltzburgers when they passed through there. Our congregation was particularly pleased with this.
On the 7th our ship ran aground on a sandbar, and consequently we had to remain in the same place for several days. But we tried to put even these circumstances to use for ourselves and our listeners and looked upon them as preparation for that which might happen to us in the future. We made it serve to help us penetrate the fatherly heart of God more closely and to prepare ourselves, through His Grace, for anything that might happen to us. Meanwhile, we did not fail to take our distress before God, both together and individually. In His Grace He heard us and led our ship from the sand back into deep water, so that we did not even need the rescue vessel which, in the meantime, had been ordered to meet us.
On that day we nourished ourselves and our listeners with a good discourse on John 12:26, since we had chosen this Evangelist for our edification during morning prayer. On this day we were also delighted by a number of letters from Halle which had a very beneficial effect on us and our listeners. For our part, the reading of these letters encouraged us anew to be very faithful and useful to the Lord, who had chosen and honored us to be His servants and emissaries. Because these letters also told about the Saltzburgers in Prussia, we read them during evening prayer to our congregation, who received them with great pleasure. In addition we presented to them the example of the faithful Romans from Romans 1:8 and 16:19, as well as that of the Thessalonians, as shown in the first chapter of the first Epistle, v. 8.
On Friday, Dec. 11th, the day of the Suffering and Death of Christ, the story of the bitter suffering and death of our Saviour was again particularly impressive to us. During morning prayers we reminded ourselves and our listeners of it and, in accordance with the teachings in the second half of the 6th chapter of the Gospel of St. John, dealt with the nature and symbols of true and saving faith as is found especially in verse 40. God gave us much inspiration during this discussion, which was held in conversational style according to our custom. We have arranged our discourse for these prayer meetings in such a way (and shall continue to do so) that we do not speak without interruption, but ask questions in the course of it, sometimes of the children and sometimes of the adults. Also, we always find the quoted verses and read them aloud; and we let our listeners contribute something. If they make an error, we help them in true Evangelical spirit, and we find that this is not without benefit.
Furthermore, at each prayer meeting we remember to give them several meaningful verses which they can ponder alone until the next prayer meeting; and when we meet again we have a short review, in the form of questions, of the main ideas and verses which have been impressed upon them the previous time. Among other reasons for making them look up and read aloud the verses which are used for proof, explanation, and application are the following: (1) they gradually learn how to locate the books and chapters of the Bible better, (2) they get practice in reading, (3) we get more used to their pronunciation, and (4) in this manner those who cannot read become acquainted with the verses in their own dialect.
Our dear Saltzburgers also attempt to teach their children the most meaningful verses that are quoted in the prayer meetings. We gave one woman, for her children, the little Order of Salvation so that she might teach them the questions and answers therein, because this would be of great benefit to the children. She told us that it was just as necessary for herself and other old people as for the children and that she would make good use of the little book for herself. As very slow progress is made by ships on the Maass River, we did not reach the sea until the 19th of November.
December 20th, the following day, which was a Sunday, could not be used for the edification of all according to our wish and desire because we and our congregation were overtaken by seasickness caused by the violent movement of the ship. But we did discuss with a few of them 2 Peter 3 and Revelations 21 and sang the hymn: “A droplet from the vine” etc. We also edified ourselves, together with some of the Saltzburgers, with the Gospel and other verses that applied to us.
On the 21st we arrived near Dover but could not enter the harbor for lack of a pilot who was supposed to come from Dover to meet us and guide our ship through the dangerous waters.
On the 22nd we could do so, with God’s help, which caused great joy among all, although we had to do so in a great storm and with much cruising. As soon as the praiseworthy Society had learned that we had boarded a ship in Rotterdam, one of the Trustees [Capt. Thomas Coram] and the court chaplain Butienter were sent to Dover with instructions to make the best of accommodations for us and to make the imminent voyage across the ocean as comfortable as possible. In their company there is also a German by the name of [Junner] Matthiesen, a good and pious man, who serves as interpreter and regular foster father for us. These worthy friends had been waiting for us for nearly three weeks, with great eagerness; and when we finally arrived they received us with special joy. The Saltzburgers were at once refreshed with good treatment, after the many discomforts which they had had to undergo on the ship. At the same time we received from said emissaries letters patent, issued by the Trustees of the Georgia Company on November 21st, authorizing us to arrange our public worship according to the content of our dogma.4* We were no less pleased with an inspiring message from the court chaplain, Mr. Ziegenhagen, in which he had added some instructions regarding our future church establishment.
On December 22nd some of the Saltzburgers, particularly women who had become somewhat discouraged by the difficulties of the boat trip, let it be known that they would prefer to stay here in this country; but they were encouraged again and acquiesced. Afterwards, the Saltzburgers were taken off the ship by us and Commissioner von Reck and were led in pairs to a certain house where a meal had been prepared for them. Before the meal they sang a few songs which not only pleased those present very much, but also moved them almost to tears of sympathy and joy because the Saltzburgers showed themselves so very religious and unassuming during and after the meal.5*
Because the meal was started with prayer and song and was closed in the same way, some astonishment was caused among those Englishmen who were eating at another table and who were also to go to Georgia as colonists. After this we all went to the house that had been rented for the Saltzburgers and sang there: “Come, Holy Ghost,” etc. Hereafter the court chaplain Butienter gave the Saltzburgers a short sermon on 2 Corinthians 6:17-18. When he had finished, he gave to each person over 20 years old one pound sterling, and to those of lesser age a little less. Besides that each person received one half crown. This generosity was accepted by them with great humility and heartfelt thanks.
On December 24, during morning prayer, we brought to our hearers’ attention the special watch which God was keeping over them and told them how the Trustees of Georgia had not only bought in abundance all the necessary victuals for our imminent voyage but had also provided us with the vestments of our office and with an altarcloth, a chalice, and other things that we need for our service. After the prayer hour we retired with the court chaplain Butienter, who went over the church agenda of the Royal German Court Chapel in London with us and showed us how we might arrange our services to best advantage.6 For our noon meal we were invited by a French merchant, Mr. [Isaac] Minnet, who showed us great kindness. Here God fairly showers us with benefactions. Besides the fact that we unworthy ones enjoy here all the good that anyone could wish, we have also been given, for our voyage and our household in Georgia, a considerable stock of various goods, and, to be sure, everything in double portions. Thus God does infinitely more than we pray for or understand, Hallelujah.
On December 25th the court chaplain, Mr. Butienter, returned to London because his own affairs did not permit him to stay with us any longer and because he had completed his mission to us very well, to our great pleasure and to the Glory of God. Meanwhile, the above mentioned emissary of the Trustees [Coram] has stayed with us and will remain here until everything on the ship has been put in order. We had a very great storm for several days, and one ship was wrecked in this neighborhood. Thus God did us a very special favor by bringing us into the harbor in time and mercifully protecting us from damage. This we called to the attention of our congregation. During these days we remembered that Christmas was being celebrated in Germany at this time,7 which moved us to heartfelt prayer. On the 26th we received a letter from Halle, which gave us great pleasure.
On the 27th we explained to our congregation why we had not celebrated Christmas last week, as was done in Germany. In general, we find it very useful and necessary to explain to our listeners common expressions, such as watchfulness, struggle, etc., because we noticed that some of them understand the words but not their true meaning;8 and our question-and-answer lectures show us a great deal in which our listeners are still lacking. For our own enlightenment we read the late Abbot Breithaupt’s Ordination Speeches and the late John Arndt’s Commentary.
Regarding our congregation, we find it, on the whole, very good and useful to explain the theological truths to them with simple parables and examples that are well known to them, which we take from the Bible or from other sources. This not only makes everything easier to remember but also makes a great impression on the mind and makes it easier to recall it later. There arrived here recently a Mr. Purry, a native of Switzerland,9 who has already led many people to America, and for whom a newly built city there has been named Purisburg. He was very happy to see our Saltzburgers and he predicted much benefit for the land to which they were going. He and his people will be our closest neighbors and he let it be known that they would attend our services in Georgia because they had no pastors so far. He said that Mr. Oglethorpe loved the Germans very much and, since he had no children of his own, had taken them on, in a manner of speaking, as his children. During these days we also recalled the many spiritual and material benefits and the prayer and revival meetings we had enjoyed in Halle; we especially recalled the services in which we were consecrated for our office and voyage with prayer and many good wishes. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not the good He has done unto you. Hallelujah!
Because now, with respect to the calendar, we have to adjust ourselves to the English way, we are starting to arrange our diary according to it, and therefore, make the beginning
On December 21st, on which day our Saltzburgers were bound by oath and had to promise with hand and mouth to be subject to the English government, their present authority, and, as subjects, to show obedience in their enjoyment of the rights and freedoms of the land. On this occasion the following ceremony took place: There appeared before us Captain Coram, deputy for the Trustees, and also the captain of our ship [Tobias Fry] and an English merchant [William Sale]. In their presence Commissioner von Reck gave a brief address in which he praised the good deeds done for the Saltzburgers and urged upon them gratitude to God and to their benefactors. After they had promised obedience with a loud yes, a proclamation, written in German, was read to them in the name of the Trustees, which told them about the freedoms and privileges they were to enjoy in this land and also about their duties. Hereafter the names of the Saltzburgers were written on the bottom of the proclamation. Then the Saltzburgers had to touch the paper and were asked whether they meant to honor all of this. They confirmed it with a yes and then shook the deputy’s [Coram’s] hand.
In every respect, the dear Saltzburgers give us much pleasure. They are most attentive during the discussions of the Word of God and they are eager for the pure milk of the Gospel and give evidence of its power by their conduct. Among themselves, they remind each other of it, and they pray and sing. In their brotherly love for each other they are very devoted, and they have asked us to tell them always whenever we see or notice anything in them that needs correction. They seek to lead their children to our Lord Jesus through simple instruction and good examples, and these little lambs are so patient, obedient, and well behaved that our heart is overjoyed with them and we have reason to hope for much good in the future.
Our wondrous God has tried this His people in many ways on the short trip from Rotterdam to their landing in Dover, yet they have been able to adjust themselves and have not grumbled, just as we have not failed to instruct and cheer them up with the Word of God and especially with the example of Christ and of the Jewish people in the wilderness. They love us dearly and cannot give enough evidence of their love for us unworthy ones. They often praise the Lord in our presence, thanking Him for allowing them to leave their fatherland and their friends for the right to confess freely the doctrine of the Protestant Church, and for choosing them above many others to hear and to read His Word in abundance. To be sure, a number of them cannot yet read, but some of these are practicing now and others are happy that we have promised to help them with it in the future. OUR BENEVOLENT SAVIOUR HAS MADE OUR HEART SO FOND OF THESE UPSTANDING PEOPLE THAT WE CONSIDER IT A GREAT PRIVILEGE TO LIVE AND DIE WITH THEM. And even though there are some differences between them, God will grant His grace that they will eagerly follow each other in their good examples. Contrariness and meanness we cannot find in a single Saltzburger.
On December 22nd, the secretary of the English Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Mr. Newman, wrote us a friendly letter and sent us an English dictionary [Ludowig’s Grammar]. He told us, in the name of the praiseworthy Society, how pleased they were by our decision, which we had made in the Name of God, to go to Georgia with the Saltzburgers, and that he wished us great success there.
On the 23rd we gave our listeners instruction on how to prepare for the imminent celebration of holy Christmas. And
On the 24th we had a preparatory service with them and read them a passage from the little booklet Christ’s Christmas Gifts, which gave rise to many good discussions, so that finally, closing with prayer, we left each other in good spirits and with the sincere resolve to be very grateful indeed to God for the great love which He had bestowed upon us.
On the 25th, the first day of Christmas, we and several others awakened ourselves with the singing of some Christmas songs and with prayer, which made us quite happy and cheerful. By making us see His incomparable love for mankind God gave us and our listeners much blessing and refreshment. No less did our dear God,
On the 26th and 27th, bless the preaching of His Word, which was attended by several distinguished Englishmen. Although they understood nothing, these were moved to show the same through the attention and deference that the Saltzburgers had for the word of God. Since the little book Christ’s Christmas Gifts had meant much to us during the celebration, we started
On December 28 to read through it with our congregation during prayer meeting, and God gave our listeners much pleasure and joy through the simple presentation of His Word. When, during evening prayer, we encouraged our listeners with the Word of God so that they would not be afraid of the wild seas, one of them, who is usually poor in spirit and of great honesty in his Christian devotion, confessed that he had a very doubtful heart. But another gave him comfort, urging him not to be downcast because God has patience with us and because our dear Saviour will not break the bruised reed, nor will He quench the smoking flax.
On the 30th God again gave us and our congregation much nourishment from His Word, and we all had the heartfelt desire to end the old year with His blessing and to start the new one in the same way. We received a letter today from Mr. James Vernon, a member of the praiseworthy Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. In it he wished us God’s grace and blessings for our office and our undertaking and assured us of his friendship with very kind words.
On the 31st all of us were busy preparing ourselves for the Christian celebration of New Years Day; and
On the 1st of January, 1734, God gave us much pleasure and satisfaction in the consideration of Jesus’ sweet Name. Thus this year had a blessed beginning.
On the 4th some of our congregation showed great desire to receive Holy Communion before boarding the ship. We were very much pleased with that and arranged for a preparatory service with them. But only about one ninth of them appeared. When we asked whether the rest of them would not come this time, we received the following answer: they would like to, but they still lacked the right understanding or the right experience of the Order of Salvation and the strengthening truth of our religion. But we asked these to come to us too, and they soon came with great eagerness and confessed that they considered Holy Communion to be of the greatest importance and that they would fulfill all requirements very gladly. How would it help them, they asked, if they went and were not better afterwards but remained the same persons; therefore they would be very pleased if we would help them with our instruction. Hereupon we talked with them in simple language, within their grasp, about the importance and the benefits of Holy Communion, and about who should take it. For this we used the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th verses of the hymn “Jesus Christ Our Saviour,” etc., and compared with it Luke 15:1, where the Lord Jesus showed himself so full of love for the poor sinners who are eager for penance that it angered the devil and all the fiends of hell. At the same time we again showed them the right Order of Salvation and made them see how they could prepare themselves with prayer, individually and in groups, for such an important undertaking. Next we presented the doctrine of Holy Communion through questions and answers in our prayer hour, and we especially instructed those who still lacked in understanding. Because we lowered ourselves to their level in simple fashion, they gained great confidence in us and revealed their doubts openly before us. Many of them have experienced more than they are able to express in words, which usually is quite the opposite with many other people.
On the 5th of January Captain Coram asked us to report to London how we had been accommodated here by him so that the Trustees and the praiseworthy Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge would know whether he had satisfied the requirements of his commission. This we did with pleasure as we could give such testimony in full truth.
On the 6th, as the wind became favorable, we had to spend our time in Dover preparing for our departure.
The 7th. We were not able to leave yesterday because the wind again turned toward the west. And it seems that nothing will come of it today. The ship’s crew does not want to start with a half-wind because they could not get through the Channel with it. Everything has been thrown into some confusion so that we will not be able to take Holy Communion as we had intended; but we are continuing with the preparation.
The 8th of Jan. After the north wind started blowing we experienced a hard freeze here, having had sunny weather and rain until now. With this wind we left Dover today in God’s name, and we praised the Lord for all the kindness that was bestowed upon our bodies and souls in the English harbor.
The 9th. Just as most of the people became very sick at the beginning of the voyage, we too have become stricken by seasickness. But it is not as violent as it was on the trip from Rotterdam to Dover. Our true God has sent the most beautiful south-easterly wind which, it is hoped, will bring us through the English Channel in a few days. We are praising Him diligently for this kind deed.
The 10th. Today our bodies were strengthened again. With the favorable wind we passed this morning out of the English Channel, which is 300 English miles long. On the great ocean we considered the wonders of God, His omnipotence, and great wisdom. Our hearts were full of joy, and on the topdeck of the ship we all joined in the song: “Wondrous King,” etc. We also edified ourselves with a good discourse which once again moved one of those present very much, so much that he definitely resolved to give himself over completely to our dear Saviour, for he can see what bliss it is to have a gracious God and a clear conscience.
The water of the ocean is quite black. The cause for this is said to lie in its unfathomable depth, while the other seas are said to take their color from the bottom.
On the 11th, in the evening, the wind blew so hard that a large rope, which holds the mizzenmast, was snapped. This brought us into danger but also closer to God.
The 13th. During the hour of prayer we and our traveling companions found edification in the Gospel. We showed that for us and for them the voyage and the circumstances connected with it could become bearable and sweet if we considered 1) that we set out on this road in accordance with the Will of God; 2) that we have our Lord Jesus with us; 3) that at the place to which we are going we shall be able to achieve something for the Glory of God and the good of our neighbors, as did those in Jerusalem. God maintained a favorable east northeast wind for us today.
The 14th. Last night and today we had a calm, and the weather was very pleasant. As the wind had been somewhat cold during the last few days, we now felt a refreshing warmth. The setting sun presented such a magnificent view on the water and in the sky that one could only admire but not describe it. We reflected that if the creation is this beautiful, how beautiful must be its Creator!
The 15th. Today the wind changed to southwest and almost completely west against us so that we could not maintain our course. Whenever something on our voyage goes contrary to our wishes, we diligently remind our congregation of the 27th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. This we now not only understand better than before, but also consider it a great comfort that it is written in the Bible, as otherwise one might think of its as useless and superfluous. In the evening hour God heard our common prayer and again gave us a strong and rather favorable wind. During the day some of our company had remembered and had been very much impressed by the last words of James 5:17-18: “Elijah was a man,” etc. When the favorable wind had come, each of them revealed his thoughts to the others, and great joy and praise of God arose.
The 16th. Today we had a warm rain; it was accompanied by a strong northwesterly wind which hurried us along at a speed of eight and one half miles per hour.
The 18th. Today we have had a very weak but otherwise favorable north-north-east wind with which we traveled at about 2 to 3 English miles per hour. The sun shone so beautifully that body and soul were quickened by the grace of God which rises with the sun above mankind.
The 19th of Jan. Today it was even lovelier than yesterday, although we covered only a few miles because of the very weak southeasterly wind. During the week just finished our merciful God has shown us and our congregation much mercy. To the joy of our heart he has given us much insight into the treasures of salvation, gained through Christ, and has made us see the fruit of our labors in many a person. Hallelujah!
The 20th. Among other things we read to our listeners about the covenant of God with the faithful, from B. Arndt’s Informatorium Biblicum. Hereupon God, as we were to learn later, bestowed no little blessing. Whenever something from the Word of God strikes close to the heart, some of our listeners come to us and thank us in humble words; sometimes they even do this right after the prayer hour and in everyone’s presence, which moves us deeply. The wind grew stronger last night. God assured our hearts more and more that it was His good and gracious wish that we should accept the call to America.
The 21st. Today, in God’s name, we have made the beginning of going through the Psalms of David during our prayer hour, in simple fashion and according to our usual method, especially since it is noticeable that some of our listeners have high esteem for the Psalms. May God bestow His Divine Blessings on this also. Last night and today the southeasterly wind has been even better and stronger than before.
The 22nd. Today God permitted us to see a rainbow at sea for the first time and we made use of it to strengthen our faith. An east-southeast wind furthered our voyage by 133 English miles in 24 hours. At Dover we were given a considerable supply of brandy, moderate use of which has often been of great benefit to our congregation. Thanks to our Heavenly Father for this comfort.
The 23rd. The favorable wind still continues. We realize that our kind Father is hurrying us in order to take us out of danger and soon to America. May He be praised!
The 24th of Jan. This day again was as lovely as a summer day in Germany. With a southeasterly wind we came 141 miles closer to our Georgia in 24 hours. Until now we have pursued a course south-west and south-south-west according to the compass or magnet.
The 25th. Today our true God has once again granted us great inspiration from the 8th Psalm, and we have resolved anew to bring it about, with His assistance and grace, that the name of our glorious Saviour shall be glorified in us and through us, so that it may also be said in America: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Thy Name! The sailors informed us that we had passed the longitude of the Canary Islands last night and had reached the trade winds, which blow steadily for six months from an easterly direction and will take us directly to our destination. Whether that is so, time will tell. We hope to succeed better if we ask for favorable winds from Him who commands the wind and the sea. The first quarter of the moon appears in this region other than in Germany, for here the curve is on the bottom and the two points are turned straight up.
The 26th. We noticed that when the dear Saltzburgers buy cheese from the helmsman they show themselves as grateful as if it were being given to them. One of the Saltzburgers had fallen seriously ill and had lost all of his strength, but God has so strengthened him again that he could come on deck today. Whenever he was refreshed with wine and other things, he and his wife could not show enough gratitude to God and to those who were charitable to him. It is characteristic of most of the Saltzburgers that they accept even the least good deed with great humility and gratitude.
The 27th. Using the Gospel of St. Matthew (8:1 ff), we not only praised our Lord Jesus as an all-powerful and loving Jesus but also showed our congregation what a grave sin it is to have and to hear the gospel but, like the Jews, to lack its fruit, namely faith and Christian conduct. Compare Matthew 20 to 24. Through God’s grace we gave special emphasis to the last point because we have learned that there is no lack on the ship of those who disgrace the name of the Lord with ungodly conduct. Toward noon we learned that one of our pious hearers had applied this to himself, alleging he now had recognized quite clearly that (in his own words) he was still an unconverted man and that he was so disheartened that he wished he had never been born. He gave two reasons for considering himself an unconverted man: 1) because he did not arrange his life completely in accordance with the Word of God; 2) because he often showed impatience on the ship. We set him straight with the verses I John 1, and Isaiah 66:2 and with the examples of the disciples of Christ whom the Lord did not cast away because of their faults. We also let him read the beautiful Christmas song; “O Jesus Christ,” etc., which cheered him up again. The Saltzburgers were told to place all their clothing and bedding in the sun, since it was shining so warmly, but they answered that it was Sunday today and they would prefer doing it some other day.
The 28th of Jan. This afternoon at two o’clock all of us aboard the ship had a great scare which impressed our hearts and our congregation’s hearts very much (may God grant it to all aboard the ship!) and effected much good through God’s grace. When the captain’s dinner was cooking, the cabin boy who had to prepare it spilled the broth from the meat into the fire so that the steam penetrated throughout the ship and into the cabins. Since some sailors were in the powder magazine at that time, someone got the idea that the powder had caught on fire. He immediately called for water and came running on deck in great fear. Thereupon the captain and everybody ran to the bow of the ship and everyone thought his last hour had come. It is impossible to describe what a wretched sight this was and how miserably the old and the young were screaming. After the panic had passed, we called our congregation together and sang the hymn; “I shall, as long as I live here,” etc. We praised God in prayer and reminded them briefly of the verse from the 13th Psalm which we had considered in this morning’s prayer hour: I have trusted in Thy mercy. We closed with the verse: Let us come before His presence, etc. and reminded them briefly of the words contained therein: Fulfill your promised duty, etc.10
The 30th of Jan. The old Saltzburger who had hardly regained some of his strength in the past few days fainted again today and is now lying almost without strength and life. As soon as he has somewhat recovered they will bleed him. Also, one of the Saltzburger’s wives is in very miserable physical condition and she is getting worse because she has a nursing baby. Both are very dear people who know how to bear their cross. Among other edifying remarks, the woman said that she was still better off than her Saviour, because He had to suffer on the cross while she could lie in bed, etc. She wished nothing more than to have her children learn quickly how to read. She would like to take advantage of that now as she cannot hold a book herself because of her weakness. We covered nearly 6 to 7 miles per hour.
The 31st. Today the Saltzburger was bled. May God give His blessing for this. A certain person11 on the ship is no longer as difficult for us to handle as before. She shows herself respectful toward the Word of God, likes to be corrected, and asks for good books for her edification. With God’s help we hope that the labor done for her will not be in vain, for she now has no lack of good intentions. Today we had a very warm day and little wind.
The 1st of Feb. There are several sick and two nursing babies among the Saltzburgers for whom a soup of water and flour has to be made from time to time because they cannot eat ordinary food. Since last night the wind has been not only very weak but also quite adverse; thus there is little foundation to the sailors’ observation that the wind in this region blows for six months straight from the east, northeast, or southeast. In the evening after 8 o’clock, we were furtively overhauled by a ship which we had not noticed during the whole day. Our captain hurried on deck at once with his speaking-tube and called out to the ship, but he received in answer a shot from a cannon, which caused great commotion and brought everybody on deck. The captain ordered all sails to be hoisted. But God changed everything for the best. Our innocent mobilization and preparations and perhaps also the many people that were to be seen frightened the pirate ship, for which we took it, so much that it left us and gave the appearance of wanting to escape us. God be praised for having saved us from this danger too!
The 2nd of Feb. Last night and this entire day the ship has remained almost in the same spot, because we have had no wind. Because of the warm sunshine and the fertile rain, most of the little trees on the ship that are to be taken to Georgia are budding and growing leaves.12
The 3rd. This day again has been extremely calm so that we can not follow our course at all. We accept this quiet day as a gift from God, the better and calmer to celebrate the Sabbath of the Lord with our congregation. We found that one of our Saltzburgers had the catechism-sermons of the late Brent (in German), which we do not recall having seen before. They are full of strength and sustenance, and the true God has given us so much inspiration from them that we cannot express it. Through God’s grace we intend to make further use of them. If they were better known they would, without doubt, be of great value. The passage on page 5 should be specially noted by all teachers in churches and schools.
The 4th. The southwind today was still so weak that we could not quite make two English miles in an hour. We and our congregation are diligently praying to God about this and we hope He will soon send us a favorable wind again, although the crew members contend that, in this region, ships often lie still for many weeks. Some of the Saltzburgers are very weak. For these the quiet and lovely weather is very helpful.
The 5th of Feb. Last night our dear Father gave us a good southeasterly wind which increased in strength during the day; for this we have already sung a song of praise to Him and shall do so again. He arranges it wisely to withdraw the favorable winds from us from time to time, for otherwise we would take them for granted and would give Him little prayer and thanks. Toward noon, one of us mingled with the congregation, pointed out the favorable wind to them, and asked whether they had prayed to God for it constantly. All of them not only confirmed this with a joyous YES, but one of them pulled from his pocket a prayer book in which he had a bookmark at a prayer for good wind. This he had dedicated diligently to the Lord whom wind and sea obey. Hereupon we roused them to give thanks for the favor received.
The 6th. Our hearts long more and more for quick arrival at our destination because we notice much ungodly conduct with which our dear Father is being offended. This drives us and our congregation all the more seriously to prayer and attentive study of the Divine Word. Under these circumstances the Psalms of David which we are considering in simple fashion during our morning and evening hours of prayer appear sweet as honey to us; and, through God’s Grace, we understand them better than before. God gladened us with a southeasterly wind which advanced us on our way by 5 to 6 miles an hour.
The 8th. The time had come to consider the 34th Psalm. From this we learned that, although God let David, a man after His own heart, fall into great physical and spiritual distress, He did not leave him there. We also realized that this is still His way, and why such still occurs. Most of the Saltzburgers know well how to submit to God’s guidance. Today one of them said, among other things that he was glad to go so far and still have God’s word in abundance and that, if he and his countrymen were to lead a life pleasing to God (which was his intention), then perhaps others would be converted to the Lord Jesus through their conduct. They were not nearly as bad off as Paul on his voyage, who had to go hungry for fourteen days, since they had something every day. We were amazed to hear how powerfully and impressively they spoke to one of their number about his faintheartedness.
The 9th of Feb. Since yesterday the wind has become so excellent that we cannot wish it better and cannot praise our heavenly Father enough for it. When studying the 35th Psalm, verses 13 and 14, we gave our listeners some good advice regarding their future behavior toward friend and foe, according to David’s example. We also recalled what a good friend had told us in Rotterdam about the heartless behavior of most Christians towards the poor Indians. It happened on occasion that said Indians would seek shelter with Christians during their travels because they could not reach their dwelling place after nightfall; but, instead of taking them in and showing them Christian love, the Christians pushed them out like dogs and did not even offer them the least bite of bread. Thus it happened that they could be found lying dead on the road the next morning because, as they are largely naked, they had not been able to protect themselves against the cold of the night. But if one accepted them and gave them a piece of bread, that would give them the greatest pleasure and they would even give their lives for such a benefactor. Toward the others, however, they feel a great abhorrence. Noticing that our traveling companions had not been able to understand the 9th and 10th verses of the 36th Psalm, which we had discussed during the evening hour of prayer, we read them the last part of the biography of the late Provost Porst, which made such an impression that one of them asked to copy this biography. Until now we had set our course southwest, west-southwest, and westeast-south,13 but now we changed it to west-northwest and west by north.
The 10th. Our dear God graciously granted that today, Sunday, was spent by everybody on the ship, more so than usual, with the reading of the Bible and other useful books, even by the sailors. In this the Saltzburgers always led them with their good example. They are glad that God has heard their prayer and has made a certain individual much kinder and more friendly toward them.14 They have resolved to continue setting a good example and praying for him. We reminded them of the words of Solomon: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even,” etc.
The 11th of Feb. The French baker [Gilbert Beque], who joined the Saltzburgers in Rotterdam as a colonist, attends our prayer meetings regularly and makes use of what he can understand of the German language. The Saltzburgers speak well of him and are working on him to the best of their ability. He himself enjoys being among them because (as he says himself) he finds more good and honesty among them than among others. These dear people pray much for others, they set them a good example, and they wish for the salvation of all. Almost all the time we have had a good easterly wind.
The 14th. Some of our congregation (with whom we usually converse in simple fashion) told one of us today that before we joined them they had been worried about not being able to understand our pronunciation, as it had happened to them in the case of several sermons on their trip; but now they had experienced the contrary. They pointed out that two features pleased them above all others in our explanation of the Psalms: 1) that we strive diligently to show them the Lord Jesus with all the good that he has gained for us, etc.; 2) that we explain Scripture with Scripture, which not only introduces them to Holy Writ but also gives them a clear understanding of it. God be praised for His infinite Grace which He has bestowed upon us for the teaching of His word, especially the Psalms.
The 15th. So far we have had the most favorable wind, but this morning it became somewhat weak and towards noon we had a calm. Be it as God will! The hymn: “My soul sinks down,” etc. has been particularly impressive for us under our circumstances. We have clear evidence that our dear Saviour has blessed our efforts with another person. She15 formerly had great aversion against true Christian conduct and once in a while showed signs of great emotional upset over this or that. Because we noticed that she could not bear to be told about her defects under these circumstances, we found it advisable to take up her various excuses in our prayer meetings and to show the inevitable necessity of rebirth. We also did this in private and applied it directly to her. By and by this served to convince her and to make her resolve to become not only a mere hearer but also an active doer of the word, through the Grace of the Holy Ghost, as she acknowledged today with tearfilled eyes. May God continue to have mercy upon us and help us to grace the teachings of Christ with a holy and steadfast life, which brings great blessings and impresses particularly those whose minds are clouded with prejudice. In the evening a west-north-west wind arose which, however, soon died away. At night God gave us an excellent south wind, with which we traveled from five to six and one half miles per hour.
The 16th of Feb. On this trip we have constantly observed that, whenever an adverse wind came up, it was quite weak or it turned into a calm. Thus, even though we could not continue travelling, we were at least not driven back, which would have happened if the adverse wind had blown strongly. This also shows God’s kindness.
The 17th. Even though the wind switched again yesterday and finally turned into a calm this morning before sunrise, God gave us such a beautiful north-east wind that we could not wish it any better. In the evening prayer hour, when reading the 50th Psalm (with which we inspired our listeners to be grateful for the many divine kindnesses enjoyed at sea) we recalled the words from Genesis 35:1-5, in which Jacob is reminded by God of his vow in Genesis 28:20-22; and all of us made a covenant, just like Jacob, not to take with us to the new land the strange gods and all those things to which our hearts have been clinging, but to cast them into the depths of the sea with the help of our Lord Jesus. This notion made a great impression.
The 18th of Feb. This morning, through circumstances beyond our control, we were prevented from holding our prayer meeting, which pleased neither us nor our congregation. The place where our meetings have to be held is small and uncomfortable, yet this has not prevented us or our congregation from gathering mornings and evenings for praying and studying the Word of God. Towards noon a strong south and southwest wind arose, which developed into a violent storm about four o’clock and caused great consternation everywhere, especially since the wind sheared the one big sail from the main mast, under which one must huddle during a storm for the safety of the ship.16 Hereupon all of the yardarms were taken down and the ship’s crew made every possible effort to save the ship. But we took refuge in the Lord Jesus, whom wind and sea must obey. Our congregation also sang and prayed together during the storm while others howled and screamed.
In her great fear a certain person made solemn vows, and after we had pointed out to her the unfaithfulness and sin to which she was still subject in her heart, she promised with hand and mouth to work for her salvation with fear and trembling if the Lord would save us from this mortal danger. After six o’clock the storm quieted down somewhat, but our ship continued to be tossed about all night long by wind and waves. In this peril we learned what a comfort it is to know the Lord Jesus and to cleave to His brotherly heart in faith. Nothing else, no matter how good it seems, will stand the test. Learning this lesson properly shall henceforth be the task of ourselves and of our congregation. May God help us! The external and internal confusion on the ship did not permit us to hold our evening prayer hour; but we briefly urged our congregation to continue praying and imploring, which they did.
The 19th. All day long the wind continued to blow so violently against us from west-north-west and the waves were so high that we could spread only two sails in the wind while the ship continued to be tossed from side to side. When the Saltzburgers came on deck they were asked how it was with their confidence in God and to which verses of the Bible they had clung. Thereupon all the men and women not only quoted strength-giving verses but also showed happy confidence, which gave us much encouragement. At the evening prayer hour we sang: “Put your ways (in the hands of God)”, etc.; and we reminded them of a few verses and led but one prayer, as the circumstances did not permit anything more.
The 20th of Feb. Last night the wind died down completely and, because there was a calm, we had to remain in one spot. In the afternoon God gladdened us with an excellent south-east wind. Because we could not hold our prayer hour again in the old manner, we sang at first: “Praise and Honor to the Highest,” etc., considered the 51st Psalm, which was next in order, and closed after prayer with the hymn: “Thou art praised in silence,” etc. These hymns seemed to have been made for the circumstances from which our Lord had saved us and were most impressive. Also, many verses of the Bible became much clearer and more meaningful to us than before. Vexation teaches us to follow the Word. After the noon meal someone gave us a sum of money with the request that we distribute it among the Saltzburgers after our arrival in Georgia. This, it would seem, he must have promised to God during his peril. In this way the danger was destined to serve the Saltzburgers for their spiritual as well as their material benefit. So it is quite correct that all things work together for good to them that love God.
The 21st. Yesterday during the evening prayer hour a weak southeast wind came up, which grew stronger during the night so that today we covered a good stretch of the way. Two Saltzburger men have fallen sick, probably because of the great shaking of the ship. Mr. Zwifler is a very useful man in the practice of medicine who cares earnestly for all the sick on the ship; and so far his medicines have also been blessed by God.
The 22nd of Feb. Today the wind has been of such nature that we have cause to praise God. Toward evening the southwest wind drove the waves so high that there was some fear of danger, but our heavenly Father heard our sighs and gave us calm weather all night.
The 23rd of Feb. The ship’s crew are making such preparations that it appears that we are near land. On the entire ocean we have observed nothing extraordinary, even though we had previously imagined that peculiar and wondrous things would come into view. Occasionally some large and small fish would jump into the air, but the crew could not catch any of them although they cast hook and line out for them. Besides the fish some large white birds came into view now and then, also flying fish.
We have met only very few ships. With those that came close the captain talked through a speaking tube and inquired about things he needed to know. For more than half of the way we have seen in the sea that which is called “herbas flottantes” on the chart of America. This seaweed looks like moss and is yellow like straw, it has no real leaves, but contains in its center a few berries similar in size to unripe grapes. These berries sprout when their time comes, separate themselves from the old weed, and gradually grow as large as a hat. On the map this grass is marked for only a certain distance, but half of the ocean is covered with it. It does not grow very densely but in patches. The ships do not have to worry about it. An adverse wind rose in the morning hours, but we were not driven back because a calm followed it immediately.
The 24th. This was Sunday. In the evening one of us chanced to think about the doxology in the Lord’s Prayer, especially the words: THINE IS THE POWER, which we presented to God in prayer. He heard us, for the sake of His son, by sending a little east wind in the evening hours which started to move our ship and grew so beautiful and strong during the night that the next morning we could not praise the Lord enough for this benefit, which greatly strengthened us in our faith. Our congregation also were so delighted that we could hear many a “God be praised!” come from their mouths. Some said with Christian simplicity that, if they knew which hymn the Heavenly Father liked best, they would sing it with a thousand joys.
The 25th of Feb. In yesterday’s evening hour we read our listeners the late Brent’s explanation of the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. The last part of this applies particularly well to their present and future circumstances. On pages 197 and 198 this reads as follows: “When Elijah had fled from Jezebel and grew hungry in the desert, God sent him by an angel a loaf of bread and a jug of water. He could just as easily have sent him fancy food and drink; but He wanted to send him ordinary bread and water so that He might train His people not to want superfluity, abundance, and excess in material things, but only what is necessary for their lives. Indeed we must contemplate here the wondrous creation and rule of all things. For God could have created us and given us such food which, once taken, could have maintained us forever or for many days. He has shown some of His power in Elijah who, after having eaten the bread and drunk the water which the angel had brought him, was able to go for forty days and forty nights by the strength derived from this food. God could easily maintain our life in this world without food or drink; but in His great wisdom it has pleased Him to give us food which is soon used up after having been eaten, making us soon hungry again, so that, being hungry every day, we must pray to God every day and expect our food from Him at the proper time. And so that we should have no doubt about His kindness, His Son has given us this form of prayer: Give us this day our daily bread. With this He has made us understand that His heavenly Father is so kind toward us that He will nourish us not only one day but every day; and, even though not a grain might grow in the fields and not an apple on the trees, He could still give us bread from heaven and will do so if we remain in our calling, as He has shown with examples in the case of the children of Israel. Therefore, even though we do not have sufficient food and supplies for several years, we still have the Lord’s Prayer, in which are included not only the heavenly treasures but also all things necessary for our worldly existence.”
“Likewise, page 200: God will not permit him who follows Him to die of hunger. Man, he says, shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God; that is to say, we must always obey God’s word and call. For, although God may at times send us to places where it appears that we cannot get bread, He will, nevertheless, send it. Rather than let those whom He has called and who have followed His call suffer, He would change the order of nature so that bread would rain from the sky, a rock turn into a spring, and clothes would neither tear nor get old. And in Matthew 6:33, He says: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’.” This is a very precious book, and we cannot express how much blessing God has already sent us through it. There are others among those with us who like to hear it; and this gives rise to much profitable conversation and eliminates much useless chatter.
The 26th of Feb. This morning we heard our first thunder, and all day we had a soft, warm rain. Our voyage proceeded rather slowly but it is said that we are not far from land. In the evening we saw some severe lightning, after which we had a strong westerly wind against us.
The 27th. All day we had such a strong west-south-west wind that it resembled a storm. The ship was thrown violently from side to side and the passengers were in great fear. This peril again drove us to prayer and to the Word of God. Thus, through divine blessing, all of this has again done much good for our souls. The sun shone bright and lovely all day. The words from John 14:13-14 and Micah 7:18-19 were especially welcome to us. O how dear the Word of God has become to us, including the Psalms. Under the distressing circumstances we also found consolation in the Christmas song: O JESUS CHRIST, YOUR MANGER IS … etc. God be praised for all of these purifying trials.
The 28th of Feb. Last night the strong westwind died down. Although the wind was not entirely favorable, we were able to make some progress. During the prayer hour we praised God for protecting us and averting all danger. We used the next Psalm on our schedule, the 61st, which suited our circumstances very well. In the afternoon several of our Saltzburgers spotted a ship in the distance. This was reported to the captain, who observed it through his telescope. And since it neither went further away nor came any nearer and at times was even lost from sight completely, he assumed that it was a ship that had run aground. Because the sea was almost completely calm, he sent out five sailors in a boat to inspect everything carefully and take aboard any survivors. After more than an hour they brought the news that it was a capsized ship which must have come to grief during the last strong wind and that it was lying on its side full of water. They assumed that the crew had escaped, for the lifeboats were nowhere to be seen. They had not dared go too close to the ship because it was surrounded by many large fish which might well have bitten even living people who came too close. Our Father in Heaven be praised for having saved us wretches from all plight and peril!
The 1st of March. Last night God again gave us a very favorable wind which, we hope, will bring us to land with His guidance and in accordance with His will. May He do what pleases Him, for His will is the best. One of the passengers was truely awakened today by the Word of God. Previously he had decided many times to give his whole heart to God without being afraid of disgrace and suffering. This he assured us again today in moving words; he embraced one of us and thanked God who had led him to us and had shown him on the high seas the way to everlasting life. Only eternity will clearly show how much mercy our Heavenly Father has shown on most of us through His Gospel. May God give all of us faith and steadfastness.
The 2nd. Last night another very strong wind arose which was very contrary and which shook the ship considerably. But God has averted all danger. May He continue to help us for Christ’s sake. The words from Isaiah 41:14 provided us with much blessing in this peril.
The 3rd. This morning at 4 o’clock the wind changed and became so favorable that we covered many miles. But it was so strong that we could use only two sails, which made the ship look rather fearful and disquieting. Despite that, God provided us on this day with much edification from His Word and gave us superabundant consolation in our distressing situation. Holy Writ and the comforting verses therein are so blessed for us by our Father in Heaven that we often derive a heavenly pleasure from them and become strengthened in all of our trials of body and soul. For the edification of others and for our own memory we will record them. Psalms 62:12, 65:3; Jeremiah 17:5, 7ff. Isaiah 31:5; I Samuel 7:12; Exodus 10:26; Ezekiel 33:11; Micah 7:18-19; I John 2:1-2; Isaiah 16:14; Psalms 13:6; Luke 18:7-8; John 14.
In the evening, when we had assembled for our prayer hour, it was said that land had been sighted. This brought great joy to the Saltzburgers, and together we praised God with the song: “Lord God We Praise Thee.” And we vowed to have a yearly thanksgiving in His honor, on which we would use our diary to bring back to their memories the trials of the wondrous divine guidance.17 The expressions which some of them used were remarkable and bore witness of both the recognition of their misery and the infinite Grace of God. Among these dear souls we have almost a heaven on earth. Shortly before going to bed we were told again that people in Augsburg were diligently praying for our ship and that they would continue to do so until they had reliable news of our arrival in America. We remembered with pleasure what had been told us in Halle when we were given our vocation, namely: We could be assured that many right thinking Christians and Children of God, who would learn of our intention, would pray for us and our flock. This did much to strengthen our faith.
The 4th of March. In this morning’s prayer hour we had our listeners recite those verses to which they had clung most often until now. They brought up many edifying verses, particularly from the second chapter of Sirach, which we read to them and which gave us much strength. Last night’s rumor about seeing land was without foundation. A ship had been seen in place of it. It passed us today on its way from Carolina to Pennsylvania. But we know that we are not far from land and that we could reach it easily with the favorable northeast wind we are having if the captain were not making the ship proceed slowly. He takes this precaution because the water is not very high. One of the husbands among the Saltzburgers told one of us that his wife was grieving very much over her sins and over the wrath of God which was to be expected for them. We found her wailing and crying. But God granted the opening of her heart through the Gospel. (Compare Isaiah 40:1.) Another Saltzburger close by heard the consoling verses and afterwards thanked us in very friendly terms for the consolation and good instruction which he had overheard and which he himself had also needed badly. It is easy to preach the Gospel if you have such hungry and faithful listeners. The Gospel shall be given to the poor.
The 5th of March. This morning about 9 o’clock our Father in Heaven let the sun rise. We had prayed for this since yesterday when we thought we had come close to land. After sunrise one of the sailors called from the mast that he had sighted land and not long afterwards we could recognize it clearly from the deck below. Hereupon we assembled and made good our vow to God with the hymn: LORD GOD WE PRAISE THEE. The 66th Psalm, which came next in order of our readings, brought us great pleasure because it fitted our circumstances exceedingly well. At last we read from the 5th chapter of Joshua, with the admonition that those who needed it should use the last few days at sea to open their hearts.
The 6th. Although we had seen the land, we were unable to reach it yesterday or today. Rather, we were driven further out to sea by contrary winds. God’s ways with us are wondrous indeed. As soon as we sighted land an adverse wind arose, while until then we had had a calm. God is giving us time to drive out the false gods and to truly purify our hearts before landing. This we impressed upon ourselves and our listeners with diligence. During the prayer hour we also recalled what is written in the books of Moses about the Jews, who occasionally could see their land from a distance, but had to remain in one spot or wander from one place to another, in accordance with the orders God had given from the column of fire and smoke. A few days ago it was rather cold in this region but today we had a very lovely and warm day. God has heard our prayer and has again given us a favorable wind which, we hope, will bring us to Charleston soon.
The 7th. Although we have a favorable wind the ship will not proceed to Charleston but will anchor in a safe place and remain there until we get a pilot who can lead us to our destination. We got leave to go to Charleston with the captain in a sloop, as we wanted to have our vestments made there. But since no tailor there knows what to do, we will have to see if and how we can get them from somewhere else. This city of Charleston not only looks good from the sea but is also well built, though not expensively, and has no walls. We have especially noted the following:
(1) That everything here, with the exception of some foods, is very expensive.
(2) That there is money made of paper on which the denomination is printed with letters. If you give the people a gold or silver coin they won’t give back anything but paper. This money is valid in all of Carolina.
(4) That there are here many more black than white people, all of whom are very much urged to work but never urged to become Christians. Very few, perhaps not any, have been baptized. The rest live like animals, with respect to the Sixth Commandment18 and in other ways. Whole boatloads are brought here from Africa and offered for sale.
(5) That it is already very hot even though spring has just begun. The trees are already blossoming at this time, and the gardens are filled with cabbage, turnips, radishes, lettuce, and other garden produce.
(6) That we have met here also a few Germans who were very happy at our arrival and who will visit us for Holy Communion. The printer, named Timotheus, is also a German.19 He is the publisher of the local newspaper.
(7) That three weeks ago a ship with a rich cargo was burned completely right in front of the city due to the negligence of a cabin boy.
(8) That it is a great convenience to have many slaves to do the work; but this convenience is coupled with great danger, for the blacks, who are said to number thirty thousand in Carolina alone, are not faithful to the Christians and are very malicious.
(9) That we were received by Mr. Oglethorpe with great kindness, and that we had dinner with him at the governor’s [Robert Johnson], who is a very affable and good gentleman. Mr. Oglethorpe had many good things to say about the heathens who are to be our neighbors. We will include this in our report on the Indians.20* Mr. Oglethorpe also took care of the people aboard. He sent a whole steer, a barrel of wine, fresh water and vegetables aboard ship. He also sent a gentleman with us to the ship, who was to make arrangements for the people and, as he knew the land, was to take us to Georgia.
As we had brought our diary in order, and since a ship was sailing for London just now, we sent it to the court chaplain, Mr. Ziegenhagen. Time did not permit us to write much.21*
The 8th of March. Adverse winds did not permit us to return to our ship in the sloop, although we had left the harbor. A shoemaker from Nürnberg, who had come to America a few months earlier, told us that not only had they been at sea for fifteen weeks but also a great storm had broken all of their water barrels save one. And, when all of the sixty persons aboard were near death for lack of water, God had taken mercy on them and had sent an unusually hard rain so that they could fill many barrels and thus escape death. As there are opportunities in Charleston to reach Pennsylvania, we wrote a letter to Mr. Siron. We hope he will visit us, since we will need him for a number of reasons.
The 9th. Today our dear Father brought us back to our flock [on shipboard], which caused great rejoicing. God had kept all of them in good health, and they had provided edification for each other from the Word of God, as they told us to our great pleasure during evening prayers. They were also very much pleased with the latest benefactions received from Mr. Oglethorpe. One of them said God had sent wine, as He did to the Children of Israel, as a sample from the Promised Land. With this he alluded to the wine which had been sent them and of which all of them got a goodly share.
The 10th. Praise be to God who has let us spend this Reminiscere Sunday on the water. Again He has done great things for us. He refreshed our bodies with sound food and drink; and everyone on the ship was in good spirits because we were lying off the shores of our dear Georgia on a beautifully calm sea listening to the birds singing sweetly. It was very edifying for us to come to the border of Georgia on this day, as the Gospel teaches us that Jesus went to the border of the heathen lands after having suffered much discomfort and persecution from His own countrymen. Among other things, we compared with the Gospel the 32nd chapter of Genesis, in which we find that, while traveling, Jacob (1) thankfully recalls the many good deeds of God (2), is afraid of his fierce brother, yet finally (3) under prayer and tears (Compare Hosea 12:5) is freed from all fear and wins the blessing of Christ (Compare Ephesians 1, entire). The second point received special stress because some were worried that, as they had been told, they might be none too safe from attack by the enemy in their land. See Genesis 31:24 and compare v. 29. Likewise: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
The 12th. Last night, about ten o’clock, God helped us off the sandbar. Thus it was possible to anchor the ship for the rest of the night at a better place. If God had not sent an unusually high tide we would have been stuck much longer and would have had to work the ship loose with much labor. This was told us by some strangers who had come to see us from Georgia. All things of this sort strengthen our faith: for God answers prayers. Since Sunday we have been in the Savannah River, which presents a very gay view on both banks where a great many birds can be seen and heard. The river itself is three times as wide as the Saale at its widest point and is even wider than the Rhine. It is 16 to 25 feet deep and has many fish and oysters.
In Charleston a German carpenter [Rheinländer] came aboard, who wanted to go to Georgia with us. The captain urged him to go ahead of us in a small boat to Savannah, which he reached yesterday evening, since it is only two hours from our ship. He announced that our ship had struck a sandbar and that our people did not know much about the land. This caused an experienced seaman to come to our aid who quickly brought our ship to its destination at high tide. This happened about 12 o’clock noon. Nearly all of the inhabitants of the city of Savannah, which has been built up considerably in one year, had assembled at the place where our ship was to land. They fired several cannon and shouted with joy, and they were answered in the same manner by the sailors and the rest of the Englishmen on our ship.
Some of us were immediately taken ashore in a small boat and were conducted through the town, the forest, and the newly established garden. In the meantime, an excellent meal was prepared for us. The Saltzburgers, who were feasted with fresh meat while still aboard ship received some very good and healthful English strong-beer afterwards on land. And because much love and friendliness was shown them by the inhabitants, and because the beautiful country was much to their liking, they were all very happy and praised God for it. We, the Commissioner, and Mr. Zwifler were put up in the house of pastor [Samuel] Quincy,22* who had gone for several months to visit his parents in New England and whom we had met recently in Charleston.
The 13th of March. A tent was put up for our Saltzburgers, in which they are to live until Mr. Oglethorpe can come down from Charleston to see them. A Jew [Benjamin Sheftal], who had also received some land here, took the Saltzburgers in and treated them to breakfast with a good rice-soup. God has awakened some people here so that they are very friendly toward us and show great kindness. At times there are many large and small vermin here, among others some very small black flies which fly in swarms around people’s heads and hands and sting them. So that they won’t interfere with the work of the laborers, large fires are made upwind so that the smoke is blown over them and drives the vermin away. According to the inhabitants, the land is very fertile. There grows here a certain plant called myrtle, which has green berries. These are boiled and from the extract, which floats on top, people make candles which look very pretty and green but do not burn as well as the white candles.23*
The 14th of March. Last night we held our first prayer hour on shore in the local church where we have permission to continue as long as we are here. The inhabitants of the town join us and prove themselves very devout. Also Jews,24 of which there are said to be twelve families, attend and listen attentively. They understand some German. The church is merely made of a few boards nailed together and has neither windows nor choir but only a roof and walls. Yet it suits us very well and the Saltzburgers like it. Also, instead of glass windows the houses have only paper, linen, or just the open window frame. This afternoon someone led us to the Indians who live in this neighborhood. We found them in circumstances which made our hearts bleed. The members of our congregation had been there shortly before, and the pitiful sight had filled them likewise with compassion and sorrow.
In this sad mood we assembled for prayers, and God led us to the verse: FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD, etc., John 3:16. We were aroused to thankfulness toward God for the Holy Gospel, especially since we had seen among the Indians what a great pity it is not to have it. At the same time we gained hope that God will continue to show clearly that He loved the world, and still loves it. We were strengthened in the high hope of the 72nd Psalm, which followed in order, that God would show mercy to these poor heathens as He had done to others. We shall pray for them diligently. The counsel of man is very dear in this case, and it will not be easy to help them because their language is said to be extremely difficult to learn.
Mr. Oglethorpe arrived here today and received us and our Saltzburgers in very friendly fashion. He will now make arrangements to take our people to their destination. We had our midday meal with him.25*
The 15th, of March. Mr. Oglethorpe is a man of exceptionally fine qualities. Since it means a great deal to him to bring true knowledge of God to the poor Indians as well, he urged us today to learn their language which has only about one thousand primitive words.26 Our Saltzburgers have been cautioned very much to refrain from drinking a certain sweet-tasting brandy, called rum, which is made in Jamaica from a sugar base, because this drink has already brought death to many. Intelligent people who have visited them these days were favorably impressed with their devotion and general deportment. Consequently they predict much good for the land.27*
The 16th of March. Today an English army chaplain from Port Royal attended our service and afterwards accompanied us to our house. He was very much pleased with us and our listeners, assured us of his lasting friendship and assistance, and took it upon himself to have our vestments made after purchasing the necessary materials in Charleston. God be praised for this kind deed too! It is our plan to have Holy Communion together here in Georgia, and we are preparing ourselves and our people diligently during the prayer meetings. The dear people have been longing for it for some time, and we hope that God will give us much blessing. Through the fatherly care of Mr. Oglethorpe, the Saltzburgers have received two weeks’ provisions in bread, white flour, meat, rice, beans, sugar, etc. Later they will get their share for a quarter of a year so that they will be able to apportion and prepare it according to their own thriftiness and pleasure. In addition, Mr. Oglethorpe has given each of them six pounds of bread for a present and has assured them of his continued affection and care. The dear people are very much pleased with this goodness and they are praising God for it. Arrangements for our maintenance also were to be made; but we made it known that we had received our salary and that we did not desire anything but would leave such benefits to others.28*
The 17th of March. Last night a woman of our group gave birth to a son. As she says, God has done something extraordinary for her when He did not let her get to this point on the crowded ship, although her time had been passed four weeks ago, and even now God had saved her and her child from apparent danger of death.29 We made use of all this to exhort the couple in an Evangelical manner to a fear of the Lord, which in view of their situation, is the best gratitude to God for His kindness. Although spring has just begun, it has been so hot here for several days that the hottest dog-days in Germany could hardly compare with it. But at night, in the morning, and toward evening it is that much lovelier.
It is said that the heat does no harm to the field and garden crops because everything is refreshed nightly by very heavy dew which, however, is said to be very harmful for people. With each house goes a fairly large piece of land where the people keep their gardens and plant various vegetables and fruit. At present there is little green to be seen in the gardens because they have just been started. The houses and gardens are arranged in mathematical regularity, which will look very pretty after everything has been put in order. The people do not lack for horses, cows, chickens, etc. But milk, eggs, and other victuals (with the exception of pork) are five to six times more expensive than in Germany, partly because people do not yet understand animal husbandry and partly because said animals are not slaughtered but kept for breeding stock. Cows run around the woods day and night with bells around their necks and hardly anybody takes the trouble to look for them in order to milk them. The greatest trouble the people have here, which prevents them from sowing and planting, comes from the fact that there are so very many trees which stand crowded together. These they must first clear out, which is a very slow job.
Through God’s grace, this Sunday has again been a very happy and blessed one. Our listeners came to our lodging and announced that they would like to celebrate their Memorial Day this week and go to Holy Communion. We prayed with them and provided edification with a simple talk. We are trying, to the best of our ability, to be quite simple; for we have learned that our dear Saviour, who dealt in very simple fashion with His disciples and other people, gives His greatest blessing to simple conversation and dealing with souls. The dear people love us very much, and from this cordial love springs an unwonted respect which prevents them from being completely free, simple, and intimate in their dealings with us; and this we wish to prevent to the best of our ability. God will answer our prayers for this with increasing grace. God is very true as long as He sees that His servants seek only to save themselves and those who listen to them.30*
The 18th of March. One of us and the English pastor from Port Royal went to dinner today at a local merchant’s. There one could hear how, among themselves, they had many nice things to say about the Saltzburgers, such as that they not only give a good example to the local inhabitants with their industry and willingness to work (for today and last week they have helped with the work on the waterfront), but also with matters of religion. Twice a day they go from their tents to the local church, where we preach the Word of God to them for an hour and pray with them. Some Englishmen are always present and it is easy to notice their surprise when they see how readily the old and the young can answer our questions and can find places in the Bible. We wish with all our heart that we could put Bibles into the hands of all of our listeners; then God would bless our prayer-meetings even more.
The 19th. Mr. Oglethorpe, together with the Commissioner, Mr. Zwifler, Mr. Gronau, and one Saltzburger, had gone last Friday to the place where our dear Saltzburgers are to settle and to show them the place where they are to build their houses. Today they returned and related many good things about the fertile and beautiful land. Among other things, they also brought good reports on the Indians.
We had planned to have our Memorial Day here and go to Holy Communion together, but today we received news that tomorrow morning eight single Saltzburgers are to be conducted to our chosen location in order to build small houses for the women and children and the rest of the Saltzburgers. For this reason we will have Holy Communion with those few very early tomorrow morning. We arranged our preparation and confession largely after the agenda of the German Lutheran court chapel in London. Three Indians joined us who were very devout. Today we also had our first holy baptism, for the child that was born on March 17th. This was very edifying. All of our Saltzburgers marched to church in a procession; and, after a hymn had been sung and prayers offered, the child was christened according to the above mentioned agenda. At the end we concentrated on the children, showed them, by catechizing, what had been done to the child, and confirmed them in their bond of baptism. There were many people present, all of them very attentive.
Back in Dover we had learned from Mr. Purry that there were many Germans in Purrysburg who longed for a Lutheran minister. Since the opportunity presented itself, one of us went there and found there three families belonging to our Evangelical Lutheran denomination. The judge [Holzendorf], who is from Berlin, reads them a passage from a book of family prayers every Sunday. At the request of Mr. Oglethorpe, who was present, a sermon based on Galatians 2:20 was preached to these people. They were very pleased and resolved to make frequent visits to our place, which is only a few miles from Purrysburg, for the sake of God’s Word and the Holy Sacraments. They consider the Saltzburgers very lucky to have their own ministers. A short time ago they and the members of the Reformed church had a French student of theology for their preacher. But, as they accuse him, he led a shameful life and was mixed up in scandalous affairs; so they chased him away and, consequently, are now without a preacher.
The 20th of March. Very early this morning Mr. Zwifler and eight Saltzburgers, who are to leave today in order to build houses, came to Holy Communion, and some others of our congregation were present. After the hymn and prayer they were shown, in Matthew 22: Iff, something of the infinite grace of God toward poor mankind, and something of the means of gaining and retaining it. Next we celebrated Holy Communion according to the above-mentioned agenda and made it as impressive as God enabled us to. The English pastor from Port Royal, who was waitting here for the return of Mr. Oglethorpe, attended our Communion service as he had attended yesterday’s christening. He professed great pleasure and joy over our communicants and the general arrangement of our services. At the mayor’s [Thomas Causton], where he and one of us had been invited for breakfast, he spoke in a fine Christian manner about today’s Communion service. Next Sunday, the rest of the Saltzburgers will take Communion. They are all looking forward to it. Mr. Oglethorpe himself requested one of us to accompany the eight Saltzburgers to our settlement to instruct them in the Word of God before and after work so that they may not be led astray by the others who are to help them at the start with the building of the houses. Since I, Boltzius, have much letter writing to do and also have to celebrate Holy Communion with the rest of the Saltzburgers, the trip was undertaken by Mr. Gronau. Besides the victuals, the Saltzburgers, like the other colonists, have been given much household equipment, kettles, pots, pans, saws, shovels, guns, and whatever else they need for keeping house and tilling the soil.
The previously mentioned Jew and his wife are proving very eager to be of service to us and to the Saltzburgers; and he shows an honesty and righteousness the like of which one might seek in vain in others of his race and even in many Christians. This is illustrated by the following example, among others. By mistake, and while it was dark, the Jew’s wife had taken from a Saltzburger woman a whole crown instead of a half crown because, in her ignorance, the Saltzburger woman gave it to her for a half crown. When the Jew saw the money the next day and learned that it had been taken for something worth only half as much, he came to the Saltzburgers’ tent and asked for the woman who had not received enough change and gave her back a half crown with the words that God should keep him from having unjust property in his house since it could not bring any blessing. His wife had not taken it knowingly and deliberately, etc. This made a deep impression on the Saltzburgers. Since these two Jews love us very much and promise to visit us often at our settlement, we hope we will be able to preach the Gospel of Christ to these people also with good results. They are both from Germany and speak good German.31 What we have told them so far has been well received.
The 22nd of March. To the pleasure of everyone, Mr. Oglethorpe returned here today. Since he will go from here to Charleston tonight, and from there immediately to London, we have given him the continuation of our diary and some letters. Mr. Oglethorpe is strict in regard to law and justice, as was demonstrated to us today.32
The 23rd. Although Mr. Oglethorpe had planned to leave here yesterday evening, he delayed his departure until this morning because several important matters had come up. As far as we can tell from our short association with him, he is a gentleman who has great respect for God, His holy word and the Holy Sacraments. And he has great love for the servants and children of God and wishes to see the name of Christ glorified everywhere. God has so blessed his presence and his work in this country that he has accomplished in one year what others could not do in many years. And because the people have learned to know his fatherly spirit, his untiring work for their well-being, and all of his other excellent qualities, they were deeply moved when he had to leave. May God give him His blessing and guide him to his destination, and may He answer all our prayers for him. He has also taken care of us to the best of his ability.
This afternoon we had our preparation for Holy Communion with the rest of the Saltzburgers, based on the words from Joel 3:5: “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”33 Since we were convinced, as far as it is possible to judge people, that all those who attended this preparation were truly penitent, we preached them the pure Gospel, in accordance with said verse, and showed them not only that the road to forgiveness of sins and bliss is an easy one, but also that this bliss, which can be gained by all true penitents on this straight and narrow path, is important and glorious beyond measure. For explanation and further inculcation we read them the thoughtful parable on page 250 of the late Bugenhagen’s book, which was published by Mr. Lange in Bautzen and tells of the life and letters of this theologian. This was done with God’s blessing. After this they received general absolution in accordance with the above mentioned agenda, and also special absolution.
The 24th of March. God laid great blessing on this day and on our Holy Communion, as well as on our congregation in general and on one individual in particular. Yesterday her heart had already been exceedingly moved and contrite, but today the Lord has further convinced her that all of her sins have been forgiven and that she is a child of the living God. She is proving her faith with her deeds. God be praised for His infinite grace.
The 25th. Today an execution of judgment was held here in Savannah. A man from this place had been accused and convicted of inciting others, and of several other vices, for which he was to receive three hundred lashes under the gallows. He received the first hundred today. People here are very serious about punishing infractions. If this were not the case there would be little safety and quiet. There is much talk about red dysentery, of which many people are sick and dying. It is to be assumed that it comes from the great heat and from the disorderly way of life of the people in this region. So far the Lord has protected us and ours.
The 26th. We are all very much pleased to know that Mr. Oglethorpe has decided to name the river and the place where our houses are to be built Ebenezer. This name has already become known to many of the people living hereabouts. This little word brought us much joy and praise of the Lord at the end of our voyage, when we were still on the ship; and it will do the same for us in the future whenever we hear or say the name of our town or river.
The 27th. The previously mentioned malefactor was to get his second 100 lashes, and more than 50 of them had been given to him. But when an Indian saw this he felt pity for him, ran around the malefactor in a circle and cried: “No Christian, no Christian!”, that is, “This is not Christian.” And since the lashing did not cease, he embraced the poor sinner and offered his own back to the lash. This caused the judges to end the affair and to remit the rest of the rascal’s punishment. This afternoon an Indian husband cut both ears and all the hair off his Indian wife,34* because she had been sitting with a white man and was said to have been quite familiar in her conduct with him. The fellow had drunk too much, otherwise such cruelty might not have occurred. He hung around town for several hours with the ears and the hair and showed them to the people. Jealousy is said to make these people frequently very cruel.35*
The 28th. Mr. Oglethorpe had left orders to take our Saltzburgers to their place of settlement as quickly as possible. Because the Englishmen seem to be very slow about this, the Commissioner decided to leave last night with several able-bodied men to clear the trees out of Ebenezer Creek so that all of our belongings could be transported there by boat, it being impossible to get them there on land because of the deep swamps. Meanwhile, the Saltzburgers here are not idle. With their diligent work in the forests and on the ships they give excellent service to the people of this town and that is why they want to keep them here for a long time.36*
The 29th of March. Yesterday and today it has been cold here, which seems strange because earlier the heat had been so great. This cold weather must be considered a special favor of God, for it reduces the vermin and small flies which are very troublesome.37*
The 30th. Since God has brought us a calmer and more orderly life, we can now give more serious attention to the Saltzburgers’ children. They come to our room several times a day, where we instruct and catechize them in the important verses of the Bible and in Luther’s catechism. During prayer hour and at other times everything is reviewed in the presence of the adults, which serves not only to edify them but also to make them more and more familiar with the catechism and the verses of Holy Writ. As soon as we reach our destination, we will also start with reading, writing, etc. We only lack ABC books and catechisms, etc. May God give us an opportunity to work also with the English children who go about like lost sheep! Our desire for their salvation is very great. There are only eight Saltzburger children altogether, and two of them are not much over a year old.38*
The 31st of March. Today the Commissioner returned from our Ebenezer with several workmen. He had found so much danger and difficulty connected with clearing the river that he accomplished nothing. Although they cleared out a river with much hard and dangerous work, they had missed the right one because they did not know the country and had gone too far north. Thus they are forced to prepare a way over land, through the deep swamps. May God, who has helped us overcome all obstacles until now, also help us with this important and seemingly impossible task.
When I (Boltzius) returned home from the Saltzburgers after sundown, I was followed by a badly dressed fellow who begged me to help him overcome certain scruples that had weighed on his conscience for some time. He said he had been born and brought up in the Popish religion which forbids the eating of meat on Friday, especially during this time of Lent. But St. Paul teaches that one can eat anything that is offered for sale at the market. And since this rule of the Popists is contrary to the Holy Writ, he thought that it must be wrong. Did I approve of his conclusion?, etc. I cut him off very short and told him that it is a much more necessary and salutary thing to know what one must do to be saved. And I showed him briefly the order of salvation. In this manner, and through diligent study of the Holy Writ, he could easily learn to see the difference between the true and the false religion. His intentions may not have been very good. He seemed to be a fellow who had been a malefactor in England and had been sent here to work. There are a number of such people here.
The 1st of April. The Saltzburgers have again been given provisions for three months, and everything is so plentiful that we must marvel and praise God greatly. In addition to provisions they have received many tools that they will need for keeping house, constructing houses, and tilling the soil, and for their defense. And even though we had let Mr. Oglethorpe know that we were in a position to buy the necessary victuals for ourselves with our salary and would gladly leave the gifts to our congregation, we have been given, without our knowledge, as many provisions as the Saltzburgers. This good deed comes at an opportune time, since we have spent the biggest part of our salary for some very necessary things, clothes, some household equipment, and other items.
The 2nd. As a house has been completed at our place for the women and children, all of our belongings were loaded on a boat today in order to be shipped there. But there were so many things that the boatman could not take another except the Negroes, who had been given us as helpers for six months by a benefactor. Thus I (Boltzius), the medico [Zwifler], and the Saltzburgers have to remain here for several more days. Some of the Saltzburgers did not like to be separated from their belongings and became angry over it; but they were soon pacified. Mayor Causton, who is in charge of the local storehouse, has offered to give the Saltzburgers provisions for another 14 days, for those they received yesterday have already been loaded on the boat. Thus another benefaction has been provided. Another attempt was made to find the mouth of Ebenezer Creek. To do this, a boat was hewn out at Ebenezer and someone was sent down the river in it. But he came back one and one half days later and discouraged us from this enterprise by reporting many difficulties.
The 3rd of April. The oft-mentioned Jew [Benjamin Sheftal] has shown so much love and rendered so many services to us and the Saltzburgers that no one could ask any more. And whenever he was offered some money for his troubles he refused to accept it. For this reason the Saltzburger men who are still here have decided to cultivate his fields and to help clear out the trees in them so that he can regain what he has lost on their account. We have had several good discussions with him concerning Judaism and have given him several important points and notations from the Bible which surprise him somewhat. He and his wife are especially pleased with the brotherly relationship and the Christian conduct of the Saltzburgers; and since he has expressed himself to this effect we have made him see that our Christian teachings are holy teachings and that those Jews who are blasphemous are committing grave sins against God, from which we wish to keep him with all our heart.
We advised him to pray to God constantly and he would soon learn to recognize the truth. Both of them are greatly in awe of God and long very much to be saved. Thus we leave it to His eternal mercy to lead these people to acknowledgment of His Son. Among other things, he was very much pleased when we told him that we frequently read from the Psalms of David that, to be sure, the Jews were now being punished for their sins by God’s judgment, but that we hoped the time would soon come when God, according to His promise, would lift this people from the dust of contempt and plague and make it great again for the sake of the Messiah. He agreed with this, and when I asked him, from Hosea 3:5, who King David was, he replied that he was the Lord Saviour whom they would seek in the last days.
The 4th of April. The Indians are coming to see us often because now and then they are given some food and drink. They give us many Indian words when we show them the objects which we want to know in their language. Their king made it known in sign language that he was not pleased with the cruelty committed a few days ago by an Indian who had cut off the ears of his wife. It is good for our Saltzburgers that they remained here a few more days, for their work has earned them a good deal of linen, shoes, and other things.39*
The 5th. The boat which had taken our belongings and the Negroes returned last night so that now we can leave with the rest of our things. Praise be to God who has let us experience in this place so many good things for body and soul!
The 6th. One of our congregation, [Tobias] Lackner by name, has become so dangerously sick that we cannot see, with our human understanding, how he can get well again. He is stricken hard with diarrhea, is very short of breath, and extremely tired. Mr. Zwifler is doing everything in his power. We and the Saltzburgers would be extremely sorry if this man were to die, for he not only has true Fear of God, but also an excellent mind which makes him useful in various fields and kinds of work.
The 7th. Today we arrived at a place on the Savannah River called Abercorn. As the trip is impossible by water we will stay here until an overland route to our Ebenezer has been prepared through several swamps. Some people had tried to convince our Saltzburgers not only that it is well nigh impossible to prepare a road to the place where they were to settle, but also that the land itself is sandy and barren besides being very much exposed to enemy raids. Thus, during the afternoon service, we took the opportunity to show them, from today’s Palm Sunday Gospel in Matthew 21, how the true disciples of Christ should conduct themselves. They must go wherever the Lord sends them even though it may be difficult or seem absurd and contrary to good judgment. It is God’s way to lead His children through crooked and strange paths and still bring them to a blessed end, for He is a mysterious God. To this meditation we added the necessary application and read them nearly all of the 26th chapter of Deuteronomy and showed them what we would have to do if we wanted fertile lands, security from enemies, etc. That is, we should all awaken ourselves to the true fear of God and live in it constantly. On the other hand, the cause for barrenness and fear of the enemy is to be found in a contemptuous attitude toward God and His Word, etc.
Since God has let us come so close to our fatherland in this world [Ebenezer] at the beginning of Passion-week, we reminded them that the intentions of God, who does everything well and at the right time, were undoubtedly these: 1) That Christ and His suffering should be kept before their eyes during their entire lives and that therein only could they find the foundation for wisdom, justice, sanctification, and redemption. 2) That, with Christ and as Christians, they must continue to crucify the flesh with its lusts and desires, that the world must be crucified for them, and they for the world. 3) That they must prepare themselves in time for a period of suffering and a passionweek, because the children of God in this world must not and cannot be without bodily and spiritual fear and distress. This makes them resemble their suffering Saviour, which is a great honor (compare Revelations 7:14ff). God gave His blessing to this simple sermon, and the dear people decided to continue on their way in the name of God, no matter where He might send them; for they felt that God could have no evil intentions and that He would personally eliminate all difficulties and worries.
The 8th of April. Although we have had heavy intermittant rains in this region all day, the Saltzburgers have made a good start at repairing the road, after first asking God for His assistance at the place of their first labors. Since this work is for the common good and all Carolina and Georgia will benefit from it, the Commissioner has decided to request the authorities to give the Saltzburgers more than one year’s provisions, particularly since the dear people must now work on things of secondary importance and cannot get to their agricultural work for some time. Everybody who is able is working with great enthusiasm.
The 9th. A northeast wind brought a considerable cold spell today, which seems quite strange because it is usually very warm. Day and night we make out as best we can. Since no houses have been built so far, we are living for the present in a small and uncomfortable hut. But, thanks to God’s fatherly providence, this does not impair our health, although it prevents us from accomplishing as much as we would like to do. The people’s greatest trouble in all of Georgia stems from the fact that, before beginning to till the soil, they must clear out the woods which cover the entire country. At this place there are mostly oak trees, but at others there are pines, nut trees, etc. There are also many wild grapes, incense trees, sassafras, good herbs, etc.
The 10th. The Commissioner is very much concerned with the hard work which the Saltzburgers must do to prepare the way to Ebenezer, and it brings him much discomfort. Everything he does shows his earnest application and honesty. May God keep him in this Christian spirit!
The 11th. Today the Saltzburgers were busy with the distribution of their provisions. This was done in good order and in a Christian manner, even though the dear people have been subjected to much trouble and distraction. Mr. Gronau has been staying at Ebenezer with a few Saltzburgers, but he came to see us today for several reasons. He went back shortly because the Negroes, who are working for us there, must not be left unsupervised, and because the few Saltzburgers must have someone to edify them with the Word of God.
The 12th of April. All of this day we have spent as an important holiday in honor of our suffering and dying Saviour. We have based several public services on the passion story, for which God has once again granted much Grace.
The 13th. Last night Lackner, whose body had been sick and miserable, passed quietly and peacefully away to the Lord. Thus he will celebrate our joyous Easter in heaven with his dear Saviour, whom he loved sincerely during all of his life and sickness; and he will be in the company of all the angels and chosen souls. His parting was so quiet and calm that the others in the tent, who were near him, did not even notice it. He has long wished for this rest and departure from this life, and for this purpose had recently taken Holy Communion in Savannah with uncommon devotion and eagerness. He was a man with a good understanding, which he used to good purpose. He busied himself with the Bible, which he could read himself; and he prayed unceasingly and set a good example for everyone with his Christian and charitable conduct. His sickness seemed to be a consuming fever.
Since the late Lackner’s example had been very edifying for all the Saltzburgers, and since they loved him very much because of it, we considered it profitable to speak about his pious life and blessed departure from this world during morning prayers and to use it for the edification of everyone. For this purpose we chose, not without special guidance from God, the beautiful words from Hebrews 11:8-10: “Through faith,” etc. We pointed out how the content of this text shows a resemblance between Abraham and the late Lackner in four different ways: 1) in obedience to divine call; the former left idolatrous Chaldaea and the latter left Popery, etc., 2) in willing acceptance of much unrest and discomfort: v. 9: He was a stranger, etc., dwelling in tabernacles, 3) in patience and contentment! Just as nothing is to be read about impatience in Abraham, no one among us has found the least trace of impatience or discontent in the deceased man’s deeds or words, not even during his last terrible sickness. After his death it was found that he needed shirts and other things; but he had let no one know about it. Instead, he carried on in great need, patient as a lamb. 4) In his unusual longing for eternal salvation and his constant hope to obtain it, etc.
In our application we held up these four points as unfailing characteristics of true Christians and we gave them to our listeners for examination. We also eliminated the incorrect idea, which many have of Abraham and the other faithful men of the Old Testament, that these had been people in whom no sin was to be found but who were filled with such holiness and justice as is to be found in no one today. We showed how, with the help of Christ, we can become equally as holy, just, and pleasing to God as Abraham, David, etc., and we pointed out the road we must take to accomplish this. Because it is very hot, and since there are other circumstances which do not permit us to leave the body for any length of time, we made preparations for burial at today’s sunset. It was proposed to nail some boards together for a coffin, but this was thought to be unnecessary and superflous by the Saltzburgers, whose custom it is to bury no one in coffins except lying-in women. Therefore, after washing the deceased, they dressed him in his own clothes and placed him on a board.
After having been accompanied to the grave by an orderly procession of the entire congregation, the deceased was wrapped in a cloth and lowered into the ground. Before carrying the body out we sang the song: “As nothing is commoner than death,” etc., which was followed by a short prayer. This Sunday reminded us of God’s rest after the completion of His creation, also of the rest of our Saviour after His passion. We took the opportunity to show, from Hebrews 6:9-11, the rest which the Children of God may expect. And, to those present at the grave, we gave a few short precepts besides consoling and exhorting them, all of which our true God did not leave without blessing.
The 14th of April. Our dear God has used yesterday’s death, and the explanation of His Word which was given in connection with it, to prepare our listeners especially well for this Easter. Thus, just as God commands in His Word, this first day was celebrated with much praise of God and true awakening by young and old. The gifts God makes us with our listeners are to be wished for all worthy teachers. They pray for us diligently so that Grace and wisdom may be given us for the preaching of the Gospel in its true form. During sermons they are so attentive that it seems they want to seize the words from our lips. After the sermon we see with pleasure how one goes here and one there to ask, in sincere prayer, that his life be guided by what he has heard. And it is easy to see in their conduct that they are not mere hearers, but doers, of the Word. They consider it the greatest benefaction that the true Word of God is being preached to them. And they often say they would consider it a severe punishment from God if this were taken away from them, or if one of us unworthy servants of the Gospel should die. May our faithful Saviour keep and strengthen them in this spirit!
The 15th. Through the influence of others it would have been easy for some of our congregation to introduce into the solemn celebration of this Easter some of the shameful libertinism and free thinking which are, alas, so common throughout Christendom. But we made a special effort to fight this vigorously and openly during our presentation of the Word of God. The dear people have seen and continue to see many examples of people who think little or nothing of Sundays or holy days. If, as it happens, they are also being talked to and shown seeming advantages of such an attitude, it is easy to see how corruption could set in.
The 16th of April. The late Lackner had left a little money, which, in the name of God and with the consent of Saltzburgers, was used to start a relief fund. In the future, if God sends more, this will be used in times of need to help the poor and the pilgrims. May this simple institution please God and may He support it with His blessing. We have been promised horses, harnesses, and wagons with which to move our belongings to Ebenezer. But, since nothing has been sent and we have received no answers to the letters that have been written to Savannah, the Commissioner has decided to go there himself in order to press and expedite the matter in person. Meanwhile, some of the Saltzburger men have taken some provisions and cooking utensils and have left for our settlement where, with God’s help, they will continue to work on the road in all seriousness.
The 17th. Today Mr. Gronau came back to Abercorn again. He will stay with us from now on because he is no longer needed in Ebenezer, also because he might risk his health. In the afternoon, between 1 and 2 o’clock, we again had two terrible thunderstorms with lightning and heavy rain; but, thank God, they passed without damage or mishap. During this storm one of us was especially impressed by the hymn: “O God, thou depth unfathomed,” etc. Some benefactor has lent us a number of Negro slaves for a while. They are to cut boards for six houses, and they have made a good beginning at it. But since four of them have escaped already and it is feared that the others will do likewise, the Commissioner and their overseer have agreed to send them here so that they can help the Saltzburgers with the building of the road. And since they are supervised during the day and guarded by night, they will be prevented from running away and stealing, which they are apt to do because of the bad treatment they receive.
The 18th of April. This afternoon we both intended to visit the Saltzburger men where they are working. However, we discovered that, with God’s help, they had made so much progress with their work that we did not dare to go all the way to them to speak with them about the Word of God, because we would not have been able to return to Abercorn. In this country you must take great care not to lose your way in the forest. The paths are not yet well made, and you see nothing all around but forests, many swampy places, cane, etc. If you lose sight of the blazed trees, which let you recognize the way after a fashion, you risk the danger of getting completely lost.
The 19th. This day has been a very remarkable and refreshing one for us. God has not only provided much edification from His Word for adults and children, but He also has given varied and distinct proof of His fatherly care. For (1) we have learned from our Saltzburgers that, with God’s help, they have finished the road which had been considered nearly impossible to build. They have built seven bridges over swamps and rivers and, on this day, have gone to Ebenezer, partly to thank God for His help and partly to begin their work at said place. (2) The escaped Negroes have been caught and delivered here in Abercorn. After they have received their regular punishment (they are tied to a tree half-naked and are badly beaten with long switches while having to suffer from hunger and thirst most of the day), they must continue to help our Saltzburgers build their houses. (3) A certain captain, Mackpherson [Macpherson] by name, whose job it is to keep a watchful eye on the Spanish Indians with the men in his command, has written a letter to the Commissioner asking that a pasture be found for a number of oxen which he intends to send soon for the use of the Saltzburgers. It appears that this is a present form a benefactor whom we have not met.40* (4) Now that the road was finished we lacked horses to transport our belongings and provisions to our place. God, who knew our need, not only sent us four horses41* from Palachocolas42* but also caused a strong young horse, which has no owner, to come to Ebenezer, from where it has been brought to us. (5) A certain gentleman43* who lives among the Indians, not far from Ebenezer, has sent a gift of seed grain even though he does not know us but has only heard of us.44*
The 20th of April. Since there is no beer to be had in this country, the Saltzburgers have learned from the Englishmen how to cook a half-beer which they prepare from time to time for themselves. They take a few pieces of sassafras, a little syrup, and, instead of hops, some green pine-tops, which are boiled in a kettle of water. Those who want to make it better add a little Indian corn to it too. The inhabitants of this land praise this beer as being very good for the health; conversely, they consider water harmful, implying that it is responsible for dysentery.45 For ourselves, we prefer water and feel quite well drinking it, although occasionally we mix it with a little wine. Toward evening we again had a thunderstorm with heavy rains which lasted about an hour. Meanwhile, after singing a few hymns, we edified ourselves by using the 30th Psalm and I Samuel 12 to show the great goodness and grace of God.
The 21st of April. An Englishman in our shelter is dangerously sick. Since there is no preacher here and we are not yet able to preach the Gospel in the English language, we sent the schoolmaster Ortmann to him after first giving him instructions as to what he should impress upon this man and which chapter he should read him in English from Arndt’s True Christianity. The man was overjoyed with this. There is a great need here for ministers and teachers, for parents and children go along in a manner which grieves your soul. Toward evening another storm arose with much rain. It became very violent about ten o’clock and stayed that way. But, because of God’s blessing, it did no damage.
The 22nd. Because the weather is clear again, the people have begun to unpack their things in order to take them little by little to Ebenezer. We are all very happy that God will soon get us out of these restless circumstances and lead us into solitude where we will be able to serve Him and do our work without interference. The name of our earthly fatherland [Ebenezer] reminds us of the good deeds of God nearly every time we hear it, and it encourages us to glorify Him. Because there are no garden plants, we search the forest for good herbs. There are many healthful and useful plants to be found, such as spinach, young onions, hyssop, and leaves which we cannot name but which can be used very successfully in place of lettuce. During our hours of exercise we shall apply ourselves diligently to the study of plants with our apothecary, Mr. Zwifler, who knows this subject well. Perhaps we can then impart some knowledge to the others.
Today three men from Purrysburg came to see us at Abercorn. They asked if we could take the trouble to come to their place because the Germans of our religion who live there have long been desirous to take Holy Communion. We were very happy at this request but asked to stay there more than 1 or 2 days so that we could properly prepare the people for this important undertaking. To be sure, one of them said that the people would have to be worthy and well prepared, otherwise they would not have the desire for it. We easily proved this opinion to be wrong and they accepted with pleasure our resolution to visit them as soon as they would send a boat. These people also have many children whom they would like to send to school with us in the future if their poverty and the amount of work to be done will permit them to let them go, or if they can undergo the necessary expense for them. God, who loves all people in Christ, will show the ways and means. It cannot be in vain that both of us have a very great desire to work with children. Among the youth as well as the adults there exists a surprising ignorance of spiritual things, which can be recognized even in superficial dealings with one or the other. The ways of the flesh are deeply ingrained in them, and keeps them from prayer and from the Word of God. In addition, the poor people have no pastors or schoolmasters.
About 5 o’clock in the afternoon we again had a violent thunderstorm with rain. This roused all of us and drove us to prayer. Every day God gives His blessing to a certain person for the growth of her Christian spirit, for she uses the Means of Salvation, the Word of God, and prayer in all seriousness. She has already begun to increase the talents entrusted to her, especially with some French people;46* and this afternoon, to our surprise, she again gave beautiful testimony. It hurts her soul very much to see that so many bad people are being sent to the New World, people who insult God in the worst manner.47*
The 23rd of April. The Negroes who have to cut boards for our houses have shown several Saltzburgers some honey and some bees in the forest. They have given them a large quantity of the honey, which is said to taste as sweet and delicious as that which is raised in Germany. There are said to be many bees in the forests, and the Saltzburgers can be expected to make good use of them in due time. Likewise, there is an abundance of fish, birds, and game, especially in places that are not frequented by the Indians who shoot all of it.
The 24th. Our dear God has awakened some rich people in Carolina, who wish to make a gift to our Saltzburgers and send to them 30 head of cattle, twelve of which arrived last night. God be praised for this gift and good deed. Because of the recent heavy rains the road to Ebenezer is very soft and wet. This makes it rather hard for our dear people to transport their many belongings and provisions there. Wagons are not to be had in this region, so our people are using a sledge until they can build a wagon.
The 25th. This afternoon we again had two thunderstorms and rain; but they did not present as frightful a spectacle as on previous days. Among other things, we made good use of Exodus 19 and 20 and also the 18th Psalm. Today an Englishman died in the very hut in which we are staying with the Commissioner and Mr. Zwifler. He left his wife and two very small children in great poverty. Except for the one in Savannah, they have no minister able to give them instruction from the Gospel in the proper preparation for death. The people at this place have been here barely four months, and already death has claimed 4 men and 2 women. O, what special blessings our Saltzburgers are receiving! We remind them of this frequently and not without good effect.
The 27th of April. A man from this place showed us two unusually large snakes he had shot. They are called rattlesnakes,48 because they have many rattles on their tail that make a noise like peas in a hollow and dry nutshell. These snakes are dangerous above all others but, because of the kind care of the Creator, they must give people warning with their rattling so that they won’t come too close to them. There is a root here that looks like a black hellebore, which is said to be very good for snakebite if some of it is eaten and a piece put on the bite at the same time.
The 28th. Some of the Saltzburgers are in Ebenezer and others in Abercorn because their provisions and belongings have been only partly transferred. For this reason the two of us have separated so that one can hold services and prayer hour in Ebenezer and the other in Abercorn.
The 29th. Several Englishmen have offered to come to Ebenezer to visit the Saltzburgers and to look over the land. Time will tell what this means.
The 30th. All afternoon and into the night we had thunderstorms and warm, soaking, and fruitful rains.
The 1st of May. Because of the accumulation of water and the the softness of the road the transportation of our belongings and provisions is proceeding very slowly and with much difficulty. But the Saltzburgers are bearing everything patiently and they thank God for everything.
The 2nd. A few days ago an Indian came to the neighborhood of Abercorn in a small boat, with his wife and two children. Because we had done several things for him, this morning he brought us a whole deer so that we could give large pieces to the Saltzburgers that are still here, and also to some of the other people. Because we gave him, in return for this gift, some rice, bread, brown sugar, and syrup, he came back in the evening with another half of a deer. We offered him some brandy but he would not take it; and we could see from the expressions of the wife and children that they too thought brandy to be repulsive. A young Saltzburger man got into a heated argument with a carpenter who had spoiled one of his axe heads. Since this caused some bad feeling among the Englishmen present, we went to see the man, impressed upon him how wrong his anger had been, according to the Gospel, and brought him to the point where he went to the carpenter and apologized for the trouble he had given him. We continue diligently to show the people what it means to follow Christ, and God is giving His blessings for it.
The 3rd of May. Today a sloop arrived from Savannah which brought our Saltzburgers ten large barrels of various seeds to be used in the fields and gardens. God be praised for this blessing.
The 4th. Today we received the recently promised cows, with some young calves, which had been given to the Saltzburgers by some benefactors. The animals are very wild and it is difficult to take them to Ebenezer. This is explained thus: In this country, partly because of lack of feed, partly for the sake of convenience and from lack of knowledge, livestock is permitted to run loose in the forests day and night. If you want the animals for milking, they are chased home by dogs. Mrs. [Maria] Huber, an old49 woman with four children, caught dysentery very unexpectedly and is suffering greatly.
The 6th. Mrs. Huber continues to get worse and she seems to come closer and closer to death. Earlier, especially on the ship, she was very much concerned and anxious about the forgiveness of her sins; but now she is very calm and prepared to die happily in her faith in the Redeemer, even though she must leave behind many still uneducated children and an old husband whom she loves with all her heart. We attempted to console the man with yesterday’s Gospel for the third Sunday after Easter and spoke to him about the cross of all true Christians, and of its glorious end. To this he gave us the answer that the cross which he was bearing according to God’s will, for sake of his wife and children, was very small and beneficial compared to the misery of the Popery from which God had saved him. He had to praise God, he said, for having saved his wife from it as well. At first she had not wanted to follow him because the priests had fooled her into thinking that their religion was the true one and ours false. He continued that he was unable to convince his simple-minded wife until he fell dangerously sick. He told her that, if he were able to leave his sick-bed in time for the departure, she would have to conclude that the Evangelical religion was the true one. Thereupon he prayed to God with all his heart, asking that He grant mercy to him for the sake of his poor wife, and give divine proof through him. God heard him and made him strong again, which had a wonderful effect on her; and she continues to praise God for it to this day. O, How the Lord provides in accordance with the weakness of His children!
These two people are living together in a simple, Christian manner, and they love each other dearly. When the sick woman was able to get up for a little while in the afternoon, the old man took her on his lap and sang her several songs; one of which was: “Christ is my life.” He also spoke about this and that for her edification. He held her in his arms for about two hours. But since he could not go on any longer, because of his age and his tendency to faint, she went to bed again. In the evening we held prayer meeting and sang the song; “My soul is calm,” which ends with … “at the end the best will come.” We could see by her expression and the manner in which she folded her hands that this made a particularly deep impression on her.
The 7th of May. Mr. Oglethorpe, whose departure has been delayed by important affairs, has written a letter to the Commissioner assuring him of his continued good will and care for the Saltzburgers. He also promised to send, in addition to the cattle already received, small farm animals such as pigs, chickens, ducks, etc. In addition he has sent orders to Savannah to do everything for us and the Saltzburgers that we may ask. God be praised for all of his gifts. Today the Lord deigned to let me see Ebenezer. Until now I have had to stay in Abercorn for the sake of three sick peopie and for other important reasons, while Mr. Gronau stayed with the congregation at Ebenezer. The dear people have made good progress in cultivating their land. In order to make things easier they have paired off in twos so that they can help each other. The site they have chosen for their houses and fields looks very attractive and appears to be fertile. They are free to choose land for their fields wherever they wish. This is impossible in other places where more people have settled by this time. The city of Ebenezer may be regarded as a key to Carolina and Georgia because all the commerce of the two provinces that is carried by land must pass through this place.
The 8th of May. It had been intended to make preparations for digging a well and to present the matter to God. But, through God’s fatherly care, we found a fresh spring coming from a hill so that, if the water is pure, we will be relieved of this care and trouble. We recalled the words from Isaiah 65:24: “Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”
The 9th. Because we must have a place where we can hold prayer-hours and services until the church is built, a roomy shed of boards will be built for this purpose at a healthy place. It will also serve as our living quarters until our two houses have been completed. Building is going along rather slowly because we have been assigned only one carpenter. At present the Saltzburgers cannot help him because of their own work, for it is high time to get the seed into the ground if they expect to have a harvest this year.
The 10th. The many spiritual and material benefits which we have enjoyed and continue to enjoy oblige us to praise the Lord, our God and highest benefactor, on a special day and to dedicate one and all of us anew to His service and glory. Next Monday has been chosen for this, and several people will have Holy Communion with us two then. We would have waited until the patients were well again were it not that the Commissioner has to hurry back to Germany but wishes first to praise God in public with our congregation, to which he has been looking forward for a long time. In the Contribution to the Building of the Kingdom of God we discovered today the letter which a man from Pennsylvania had written to Germany reporting on the conditions there. We recall having seen it once before in the Leipzig paper. We put it to good use for the Saltzburgers so that they could see from it how graciously God had guided them on the high seas and what advantages they had now over many thousands of Germans. The reports on the miserable circumstances of so many people in that region have increased the Commissioner’s determination to journey there. He had previously decided to do so, but now he is more anxious, for he wants to see for himself the extent to which the letter is correct. May God have mercy on all the miserable people in the land. There are many of them.
The 11th of May. Today God gave us an unusually fruitful rain; and thus He moistened the fields of the Saltzburgers, who have worked diligently. This strengthened their faith, since their hopes for rain had not been in vain. They had clung to this hope even though the Englishmen had told them that the rainy season was over at this time and that they had done wrong to put their seeds into the somewhat sandy soil.
The 12th. One of us called on a woman, who had registered for Holy Communion but is not a Saltzburger, and sought to awaken her conscience. However, nothing could be done with her and she tried to hide behind the evasions of the Old Adam and other empty excuses; and we therefore invited her husband to supper. He seems to have honestly given his heart over to God, so we asked him to assist his wretched wife vigorously. This has been done with good results.
The 13th of May. By common consent this day had been set aside as Memorial Day and Thanksgiving. Our congregation gathered twice to recall the benefits they have enjoyed and to praise the kind Giver for them in public. Our morning sermon was based on the words of the wandering Jacob, in Genesis 32:10, which had impressed us on several occasions both on our voyage and here in Ebenezer. In simple fashion we impressed upon their minds the divine benefits received so far, and also our duty according to Jacob’s example. In place of the introduction we gave them the 107th Psalm, in which our former circumstances and our present duties are impressively described. God has not let it be without blessing. In the afternoon we intended to impress upon them the words from 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. This, however, could not be done because the Commissioner, who is to leave tomorrow, wanted to take leave of the Saltzburgers and wanted to tell them this and that for the glory of God and for their salvation. This farewell speech brought deep emotion and tears on all sides. May God bless this dear man and grant that he may enjoy at sea and on land the fruits of our sincere prayers and of his great devotion to his task.
The 14th. Today the Commissioner departed from us. He was so overcome with heartfelt emotion that he could scarcely speak. We have commended him to God and the promise of His grace. He has the power to strengthen him further and to give His inheritance to all who are sanctified. Since Mr. Boltzius has decided to accompany him to Charleston, I, Gronau, will continue with the diary. In the evening I visited 2 sick Saltzburgers. One of them, Mrs. [Margaretha] Schweighofer, was very calm because she knew that she had been bought dearly with the blood of Christ. She surrendered herself to the Will of God to do with as He wished and only asked that we let her children be commended to us. The other one was Hanns Gruber. I spoke to him about our dear Saviour and His beautiful name Jesus. This pleased him very much, as I could perceive from the circumstances.
The 15th of May. In the morning I again visited the sick and found Mrs. Schweighofer a little better. She has resigned herself peacefully to the will of God and is concerned only with her children, whom she wants to see brought up in true Christian knowledge. It would have been her greatest grief, she said, if she had been obliged to leave her children in Saltzburg. She had feared this, but God had prevented it. On her journey a Catholic priest had tried to take one of the children away from her, but she had seen this and grabbed it away from him. She still remembers this with great pleasure.
Since I now have some tranquility, I have started, in the name of God, to hold school for the Saltzburger children in Ebenezer. First I pray with them, then I recite some verses for them for our mutual awakening; afterwards I have them read and I finish up with more prayer. I also showed them how Jesus instructs them: “Come with me to my school.” Sirach 51:31.50 And I told them that although our dear Saviour was not visible in the flesh, He was actually present, nevertheless, and was using my poor self to show them in school the way to Him. Therefore they must pray to Him diligently, whenever they go to school, so that He will bless everything. The grown people also want very much to learn how to read, but we don’t know how they can find the time for it because they have so much work to do.
The 16th. Our dear God be praised for having given us the sense to seek nothing except the glorification of Jesus in us and through us. As we see that God has not left our poor and meager service without blessing, we are happy to thank God and to let it serve us for further encouragement. On this very day one of the Saltzburgers came and said that nothing concerned him more than getting to know Christ well and that he also wished to learn how to read. So I told him to begin in God’s name, that he would succeed somehow.
The 17th. Various happenings tend to bring discouragement at times. But when we see how God helps to conquer everything we are strengthened in our faith and we learn that everything must be achieved through hard struggle. Other servants of God have had the same experience.
To one certain person I showed the wickedness of her heart and told her she must know how she has lived until now. She replied she did not know how it happened, but she had more love for the Word of God in Augsburg than she has now. I told her I knew that she used to have greater love for the Word of God and that, on the ship, she had once recited the 91st Psalm to me, providing much edification for me at the time. That she no longer had this love came from the fact that she would not accept and use for her true conversion the work which the dear God had done on her heart through His word because she was being obstinate. She would now get angry, as she once confessed, whenever God touched her heart with the preaching of His word. We told her that she must consider how much our dear God loves her and that He does not wish her death; she must consider the dear price paid for her salvation; she must become truly penitent and struggle with herself until God should have mercy on her and she might truly say that all of her sins had been forgiven and that she had become a true child of God. This would bring her great happiness and she would again learn to love the word of God. These words were so blessed by God that she was moved to the bottom of her heart. She asked forgiveness for everything and promised to struggle toward that end. O Lord, all praise for this belongs to Thee.
Another person was quite angry that he had been accused by an Englishman of a theft of which he was completely innocent. When I attempted to inquire of him how matters stood, he immediately spoke in very harsh terms. When I showed him in all kindness how this was not fitting for followers of Christ and how one must show the spirit of love, gentleness, etc, he at first contended that this could not always be. But he must have given it some thought, for after I had had another talk with him he recognized the truth and promised to do his best. Thus our mighty God helps us. Praise be to Him; He will continue to help in the future.
The last words which Hermann Guden’s wife spoke to her daughter have been very inspiring for me. They are to be found in the Household Conversations of the late Dr. [Paul] Anton, p. 14 ff. Since, through the grace of God, I do not seek anything except a better understanding of my Saviour and the directing of my dear congregation toward that end, I have read them the last words during the evening prayer hour.
The 18th of May. Thinking about Sunday this morning I recalled the example of Solomon who, for his reign, asked nothing but an obedient and wise heart. This I also asked of our dear God. He heard my prayer and gave proof of it on this very day. For it has been Mr. Oglethorpe’s pleasure to give me and my colleague, after the departure of the Commissioner, supervision over temporal affairs. We have accepted this but, in order not to let it interfere with our important office, we have asked for the help of Mr. Zwifler. Problems are reported to him first and, if they do not amount to much, he handles them. Today the Negroes did not work well and claimed that we had ordered them not to work any more. For this the carpenter took them to task and one of them threatened him, the carpenter, with an axe. Hereupon Mr. Zwifler was sent for immediately so that he could bring the Negroes in with a musket. This was done, but they were brought to me. I did not know what to do with the poor people and I begged God for guidance. After the affair had been investigated long enough I called the carpenter and asked him what was to be done so that the people would not get too much or too little punishment. I suspected various answers, but he immediately told the people to go back to work, and he whipped the one that had threatened him. I thanked God for having arranged it in this manner for the poor people could easily have been given too much punishment, which might have made them run away.
Schwendel [Thomas Geschwandl] visited me this afternoon. I read him the above-mentioned account for his great inspiration, and I was much refreshed by his visit. He said, among other things, that he wished to go to heaven soon. But if God intended for him to struggle longer he would ask for nothing except steadfastness. I visited Hanns Gruber today and told him how much Christ loved him, that He wanted to forgive him all of his sins, and that He had died for that purpose. He began to cry. But I guided his thoughts toward the Saviour and prayed with him. He seems to come nearer and nearer to his end.
Now that I am alone I see more and more what it means to be responsible for others, as problems frequently arise which take some time to solve. When my colleague is here I leave most of them to him and I am satisfied with the way he handles them. But now I see that if one presents all of his misery and worry to our dear God and begs Him for wisdom, He will so arrange everything that His name is glorified. God refreshed us greatly with today’s study of the Gospel, in that He made us see how much blessing it will bring to pray in the name of Christ. At noon a large herd of oxen, cows, and calves arrived from Carolina. By order of Mr. Oglethorpe, six oxen were given us for slaughtering. This is renewed proof that God will not abandon us in this land. Praise be to Him!
The 20th of May. Yesterday and today God gave us a very fruitful rain which very much refreshed our land and its produce. When I first came to this place there were a number of circumstances which made me to have to struggle against lack of faith. But I have finally become convinced that God has done everything to lead us to this place and none other. And if I still had doubts about this I would commit a grave sin against my Father in heaven. The Lord be praised for this, and may He strengthen me in this faith! May He strengthen others as well. If we will only serve Him and seek to please Him in Christ, we will see that He will continue to be with us as He has been with us in the past.
This evening we have started preparing ourselves for the imminent Holy Pentecost, using the preparation which the late professor Francke wrote on Revelations 22:17. Our dear God has given His blessing with this preparation to many a soul in Germany, including my poor self, and He will do the same in America. The beginning has been blessed already.
The 21st of May. God accompanies us through many a trial; He has brought us through them safely in the past and will surely do the same in the future. Until now I have had to prepare my own food at this place, and even though we hired one of the Saltzburger girls she was not able to get much done. But now God has helped her so that she can take care of the food and also watch the house. Now when I have things to do, such as visiting the sick, I do not have to worry about having things stolen. The house cannot be locked and the Negroes are very bad, always happy when they can steal this or that in the way of meat or other things. Our dear congregation has many trials too. But we must understand this: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” In the past our dear God has given us many benefits, and today He has again given us 5 cows and 1 ox. From this we must learn that He will not abandon us. And when He sends us adverse conditions He tests us with them to see whether we are as willing to accept the bad as we accept the good. We can do no more than beg God to make the people see this and thus awaken them to serious prayer and, above all, make them search out Christ; for then the Father must give us everything with His son, since He cannot possibly leave His children. They must leave all worry to Him, the Creator.
In the evening hour we read them what my colleague, Mr. Boltzius, has written from Savannah. After heartfelt greetings to his dear congregation he reports that, thanks to God, he is well and that, if they wish him to return in good health and to remain with them in Ebenezer, they must pray for him with diligence and continue to love God and each other with all their heart. If they were to quarrel or cause other disorders he would be much hurt upon his return. I should urge them to careful conduct. If they angered the Englishmen who are watching them, it would amount to a great desecration of God’s and Christ’s name. I explained all of this and added some advice, which, as I have found already, was blessed by God.
It is not surprising to find an occasional mistake among people who have had as little instruction in true Christianity during their lifetime as these people have had. However, this makes it all the more beautiful that, whenever one of them makes a mistake and is told about it in the name of God, he acknowledges it and promises improvement with hand and mouth. We will continue with our prayers and not tire of our work; and, as long as there is hope for improvement, our faith will be strengthened. Many a sinner has been saved so that he can say with St. Paul: “I obtained mercy.” Some among us have good intentions and try to live in Christ; but, because they are not on solid foundations and because various circumstances tend to interfere, it happens easily that they continue to show some of the Old Adam. However, when this is pointed out to them they readily see that they have done wrong. These, says Christ in John 15:2, must be purged by His Father so that they can bear more and better fruit. One’s judgment of them is quite different if one is constantly with them and can see the whole picture.
The 22nd of May. This morning our dear God has laid to rest a Saltzburger by the name of [Balthasar] Fleiss. He was really a babe as described in Matthew 11 and Luke 10, to whom the Father revealed what the wise and the clever do not know. He was simplicity itself. As I have often been alone with him in Ebenezer while the rest of them were at Abercorn, I have known him that much better. Nothing mattered to him more than the Lord Jesus, and he was like a patient lamb, even in sickness. [Georg] Schweiger, who brought me the money Fleiss had left for the relief fund, was very much moved because he had known him especially well. He would have liked to use this money for the purchase of a special penance bell. I prayed with him.
The above mentioned places in Matthew and Luke are remarkable in their application to the deceased’s life and conduct, especially because our dear Saviour says to His disciples in the latter: “Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” These words would have been very fitting for a funeral sermon. But at the grave I recalled the words from John 17:24: “Father, I will that they also,” etc. I preferred these words because they have a direct bearing on tomorrow’s celebration. Thus I first applied them to the late Fleiss and then showed all those present that true believers can always have solace in this world, in spite of all crosses and suffering, if they carry in their souls the living hope that some day they will be where their Jesus is.
The 23rd of May. Today we edified ourselves by considering the Ascension of Christ. We resolved to have Christ for our only treasure on this earth so that our hearts will be with Him always and He may finally take us to Him as His members.
One of our flock has been considering some teachings of Christianity to be impossible, for example to love your enemy, etc. But he sees that he is getting nowhere with that, that the Word of God teaches him otherwise and also offers the power and strength to carry out what it advocates, and that nothing can be accomplished without Christ and without true conversion. So he said that everything would turn out all right, that we should have patience, and that all could not be accomplished at once. We showed him that one must not miss the period of grace.
The 24th. Matters are getting steadily worse with Hanns Gruber. He sent for me this morning. I spoke with him about our dear Saviour, how He had come to save the sinners, including him, how He would cleanse his unclean heart with His blood and take him unto Himself. This he accepted willingly. Everything shows that he has true love and esteem for the Lord Jesus, and that he clings to Him. This gives us hope that in His great love He will look after this little sheep. After having spoken with him and learned of his condition as best I could, I prayed with him briefly, which pleased him very much. Today a great deal of seed was distributed among the Saltzburgers. They do not cease to marvel at the many benefits which they receive even though they are strangers. We use this to urge them on to thankfulness toward God and we pray even more for our benefactors.
The 25th of May. Toward evening I visited the said Hanns Gruber. Things looked very bad. God lets him live on only to make him even stronger in his faith in the Saviour.
Some time ago the Negroes found a beehive which the Saltzburgers placed close to their shelter so that they could better tend the bees. But so malicious are the Negroes that, late at night after the Saltzburgers had gone to sleep, they stuck some burning lightwood into the tree. Fortunately our dear God made someone get up and see the fire; and he immediately called another person who removed the lightwood. If this had not been done, great misfortune could have befallen us, for the shelter of the Saltzburgers could easily have caught on fire in which case few things would have been saved. Some of them, particularly the sick, might have burned up. Praise be to God who prevented such misfortune!
The 26th. After divine service I went to see the sick [Paul] Schweighofer, who, with his wife, has had to bear much misery during our voyage. They have been made very humble. Although they have three small children, one of them still nursing, they are very calm and satisfied with God’s dispensation. The man said: “Our dear Saviour had it otherwise. He did not even have a place to rest His head, while we have that and much, much more.” When, at his request, I read him today’s Gospel, he said that the Gospel had given him much comfort when he left Saltzburg. During the application of the Gospel we especially pointed out to our dear listeners that it was not enough for them merely to leave Saltzburg, for Christ says: “Whosover he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” At the end we read them the hymn: “Struggle righteously”, etc. May God grant us His blessing for everything! And may He be praised a thousand times for having kindled the strong desire to wish and ask for nothing except that Christ shall illuminate all thoughts, desires, words, and deeds, and that the truths which look small in the eyes of the world, such as: that “for my sake Christ died, was buried, arose, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God,” will fill our hearts through the testimony of the Holy Ghost; and that our dear congregation will struggle toward the same end.
The 27th of May. As our dear God has given us three additional carpenters, the work of building is making good progress. The Lord be praised! In addition, things have been more comfortable for the Saltzburgers. The houses are to be covered with boards instead of shingles, thus relieving them of much work. Always our Father in Heaven does things to make us feel ashamed of our great lack of faith. Today Mr. Zwifler and several Saltzburgers went out in search of clay for making an oven.
The 28th. Today I rode to Abercorn to visit the sick there and to strengthen them with the Gospel, and this pleased them very much. May the Lord Jesus give it His own blessing! Since I have to take care of the preparation for Holy Pentecost in two places, I took along a printed one which [Johannes] Moshammer will read to the rest. The mail, which goes from Charleston to Savannah every 14 days, passing through our place, brought news today that the Commissioner and Mr. Boltzius arrived safely in Charleston. We thanked God for this during evening prayers. We, especially I, desire very much for Mr. Boltzius to return to us soon with renewed strength of body and soul, and we pray to God for it.
The 29th of May. All day long our dear God has refreshed our soil and its fruit with a very fruitful rain. Just as He is giving us earthly rain at this time, He will soon refresh our souls even more with the heavenly rain of the Holy Ghost, which we have learned in good measure from the beautiful preparation for the celebration of Holy Pentecost. This gives me solace for the poor physical condition in which I find myself at this time. Toward evening I visited the sick among the Saltzburgers and spoke with them. When one of them thought I was about to leave, he asked me to pray with them first. This shows how much these people like us to visit them, talk with them about the Word of God, and pray with them. God be praised! As the Saltzburgers have put into the ground all the seed that they could plant this year, they have begun to build small houses for themselves. Up to the present they have been living together in one shelter, which gives them little comfort. But everything cannot be done at once.
The 30th. The beautiful rain has kept on all of last night and until this morning. The Lord be praised! Toward evening an Indian came to see me and I asked him in and gave him something to eat. He carried his household goods with him, a skin and a blanket on which he slept, a small hatchet, a pot, a bottle, etc.
The 31st. Early in the morning the Indian rose from his bed, which he had made under a tree, and went into the forest to shoot some game. He returned about one o’clock carrying a whole deer on his back. He cut it into pieces and insisted that I take the one I wanted. This I did, but left the rest to the Saltzburgers who gave him rice for it. It is good to get some fresh meat here, especially for the sickly persons with whom the salt meat does not agree. Praise be to our Heavenly Father who thus cares for us. On the occasion of some trial or other which God may impose upon us, I may say to the dear people: Our dear God imposes this upon us to give us time to think about the many promises we gave God at sea, and how many we have kept. We must try to make up for what we have missed.
The 1st of June. Since we finished the preparation for Holy Pentecost last night with Revelations 22:17 (The Lord be praised for the awakening He has given us with it!), I used today to read to the dear people about the great revival that has been going on for some years in a certain place in Pomerania. They finished work early today, hence they were all in time for the prayer hour. First we sang: “Come, o come you breath of life,” etc. Then we read them about the revival. At last we implored God to give His blessing to Pentecost, which we were to celebrate for the first time in this land. We ended the hour with the hymn: “Honor be sung to Jesus with joy,” etc.
The 2nd. Today I showed the dear listeners how God wishes to fill their hearts with the most wonderful gift of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost, how the triune God would find a lasting dwelling place in their souls if only they would let their hearts be filled, if they would go to the right well and draw from it. Toward evening we had a very heavy thunderstorm, and with it such terrible lightning that our eyes were quite blinded. Praise be to God who averted all mishaps. With the Saltzburger who stays with me at night I sang the song: “Where shall I flee,” etc., which moved him greatly.
The 3rd. This noon we again had a strong thunderstorm, but it did not last long. One of the Saltzburgers came to see me at noon. We were mutually inspired, and together we prayed to God for the blessing of Pentecost. It gives us the greatest pleasure to see how one person after another gives proof of his seriousness and devotion to Christianity. God be praised for having checked all the evil which the arch-enemy tries continuously to plant on holy days. Although I have been very weak, God has given me sufficient strength for the preaching of His word during the last two days. May He be praised for that, and may He grant that the word which I have been trying to impress upon the hearts of the dear listeners will bear the fruit of eternal life!
The 4th of June. This afternoon our dear Lord refreshed me very much with the late Dr. Anton’s Household Conversations on salvation. I quoted them in the evening prayer hour and showed the great happiness that comes if we not only know from books that Christ has saved us from all sins, from death and the power of the devil, but if we also experience the same in our own souls and can say with the conviction given by the Holy Ghost: I am one of those saved by the Lord. It was good news for me to learn that Pastor Boltzius is in Abercorn. I thanked God for this privately and again publicly during the evening prayer hour. Today, particularly this afternoon, our dear Lord has so strengthened my body that it looks as though my strength will gradually return. Thanks be to our Father in Heaven for all His Grace.
The 5th. Today my esteemed colleague, Mr. Boltzius, returned to Ebenezer in good health and strengthened in body and soul as we prayed to God that he would. The Lord be praised for His kindness and faithfulness and may He help us further. This evening the best four Negroes were taken away from us although our benefactors had promised the Commissioner and Mr. Boltzius in Charleston to leave all of them with us as long as we needed them. These four could work as much as the other ten who are still here, and the latter have said that they will run away at the first opportunity because the four of them have been taken away. It is such trials as these, sent by God, which are to urge us to greater seriousness of purpose with our Christian religion.
The 7th. This evening Gruber received Holy Communion. He had a great desire for it and was very much refreshed and strengthened by it.
The 8th. Today Mr. Boltzius was sent for from Purrysburg where he is to baptize a child and to give Holy Communion to those who have longed for it for some time.
The 9th. This afternoon, while reviewing this morning’s Gospel with our Congregation in a short question and answer period, I read them a passage from a little tract entitled: The End of a Righteous Person who was drawn still Closer to God on his Sickbed and Death. From this we saw what we learned from Nicodemus, namely, no matter how many good qualities a man may show, he cannot be saved unless he is reborn and experiences a change of heart; even if he hopes to be saved, his hope is dead and not alive. When the man described in the little book was disabused of his false ideas by the Holy Gospel, he gladly bared his soul and acknowledged that all was not well with him. Then he prayed and struggled with himself without letup until God had mercy on him and he could say at last: “Now I have won, all of my sins have been forgiven,” etc. It went on to say: They that sow in tears shall reap with joy. And since he had shed many tears, his joy afterwards was that much greater. We will read the rest at evening prayer.
On the 5th of this month, last Wednesday, a man left Abercorn in a boat in an effort to find our river so that we can bring our belongings in by water. At noon today the man arrived at Ebenezer. He says his boat is about 2 English miles from here. That’s how far he has been able to come up the river. He brought along a man he met in a canebrake, who had run away from Mr. Causton because he had to work off some debts. We were obliged to arrest this man. Tomorrow he is to be taken to Abercorn and from there they will take him to Savannah and deliver him to Mr. Causton.
Last night we heard a terrible screaming when one Negro cut another one’s leg seven times with a knife. These poor people lead a miserable life, know nothing about God, and exist like animals. May God have mercy on them. When I visited Gruber this morning, he talked to me more cheerfully than he had done in a long time. Mr. Boltzius had brought a little wine with him, and we gave some of it to Gruber, who was much strengthened by it. In our last letter to Mr. Causton we made a special request for some wine for the sick. It came today. God be praised!
The 11th of June. During this evening’s prayer hour we finished the tract End of a Righteous Person; and we saw how the man won so magnificent a victory after the long struggle that he was not afraid of the devil, death, hell, or anything else. He said, among other things, “I am in the Lord Jesus, and the Lord Jesus is in me. And because I am His sheep, Satan may as well refrain from trying to tear me away from Christ.” We used this to show our dear listeners that it is a great bliss to have such joy at the time of death and to have such a firm foundation in Christianity that even the gates of hell cannot shake it. May God bless all this!
The 12th. Today God brought Mr. Boltzius back to us from Purrysburg in good health. He related, among others, 1) that, before letting the people take Communion, he had two preparations daily to instruct and awaken the people, which they attended regularly. 2) That they took Holy Communion with great reverence and eagerness and praised God from their hearts for having honored them with this good deed quite unexpectedly, for they are not to receive a pastor until they have a hundred families of our denomination living in Purrysburg. 3) That he baptized a child on Sunday, after the sermon, and that all showed orderly and Christian behaviour during and after the ceremony. 4) That, although most of the people had very little, they showed him every conceivable kindness and would have shared their hearts with him. 5) That some of them wanted to send their children with him to Ebenezer so that they might be instructed in the Christian religion, reading, and writing, and that the older ones might be prepared for Holy Communion. But, since there is no way of caring for them day and night, he was not able to grant their wish at this time.
The 13th of June. God has heard the prayer we gave recently when sending a letter to Mr. Causton, who has not only sent what we requested for the sick but has also given us sugar, ginger, and spice, which is a kind of pepper. God be praised for guiding the hearts of men like the water courses.
The 14th. Last week two single persons, Georg Schweiger and Anna Hofer, told us of their intention of entering the state of holy matrimony, not only because God had caused them to like each other, but also because living conditions made it highly necessary. We used the Word of God to urge them to enter this holy state, established by God Himself, as is becoming to Christians, not according to the ways of this world but with much prayer and Christian thought. We read them several passages from the Bible that deal with this matter, and they were much impressed with them. The following Sunday we made public announcement of their intention to our congregation, and together we presented it to the Lord God in prayer. Today had been chosen to join them in Christian fashion. Before noon the bride and groom came to our house, accompanied by some of the Saltzburgers that had been invited. We sang the hymn: “O Holy Ghost, Come Visit Us,” etc. and gave them a few points regarding the corrupt features of married life existing even among Christians, also some rules governing the Christian aspects of marriage. Finally we pronounced them man and wife. Afterwards we invited the bride and groom and two Saltzburgers to dinner and used this to show them how they should in the future enjoy their food with thanksgiving, and spice it, so to speak, with Christian conversation.
We have intended for a long time to hold conferences with our congregation as the occasion demands; but so far we have been prevented from executing this good plan by necessary trips, the duties of our office, or other things. Today we had the opportunity to start with it in the Name of God. We chose the hour after the noon meal for it, as they cannot work at that time because of the extreme heat but have to sit still in a airy spot until 3 or 4 o’clock. Upon receiving word, all those who were not sick came to our room. They showed with their presence, also with words, that our plan pleased them very much, since it would provide the means, with God’s help, for the maintenance of our good relations, for the prevention of misunderstandings, suspicion, and disorder, and for the consideration of steps to be taken for the common good. Our conference started and ended with heartfelt prayer. And since there were so many problems to think and talk about we spent two whole hours, yet everyone was pleased. On this first occasion God gave us His blessing and we could distinctly feel His gracious presence. We hope that this work, begun in His name, will contribute to the physical and spiritual well being of our congregation, and we shall continue to pray for it. From now on we shall keep a separate book for the conference.
The 15th of June. Because there are still three sick persons in Abercorn, we make trips there as often as possible in order to strengthen them with the Word of God. Today Mr. Gronau made the trip, accompanied by Mr. Zwifler. These patients have Moshammer and his wife52 to tend them, two Christian and very pious people. Said Moshammer knows much about true Christianity, and thus he is very useful to the sick not only in their physical but also in their spiritual needs. It represents great self-denial on his part that he is willing to tend the sick and thus is being kept from working his land in Ebenezer. We talked about him during yesterday’s conference and the Saltzburgers have decided to repay his efforts, and the faithfulness he is showing also by guarding the provisions still at Abercorn, by helping him with the preparation of his land and the building of his house.
Today’s mail, which passes through here on its way from Charleston to Savannah, brought an inspiring letter from the Commissioner in which he tells us that God continues to open his heart to better understanding, that he is diligently practicing prayer and wakefulness, and that he intends to remain true to the Lord who has accepted him. He asks us to pray for him. He also reported that he had experienced further proof of God’s fatherly care, for when he was about to board the ship a rich merchant who had learned about his voyage came to him and offered him a present of 100 pounds sterling. He has also been offered several thousand acres on which to settle if he should decide to return to Carolina, but his heart is set on Ebenezer.
The 18th of June. Sunday a week ago, that is to say on the day of Holy Trinity, we announced to our congregation that we would celebrate Holy Communion on the second Sunday after Trinity and would take Holy Communion ourselves. All those who wanted to partake of the holy sacrament came to see us today and we gave them some instruction in the proper preparation. It is our intention to gather all of this week in this manner and to prepare ourselves with prayer and the study of the Word of God. May God help us!
Again we have received from Savannah provisions for a quarter of a year consisting of salted meat, herring, cheese, butter, flour, rice, and Indian corn. We thanked God for it, finding ourselves quite unworthy of such benefactions, especially because, through God’s blessing, we had not used up all that had been sent before.
The 20th of June. As Huber and his wife are very weak and near death, one of us has again gone to Abercorn to strengthen them with the Word of God and also to contribute something to their physical care. God must have put it into Mr. Oglethorpe’s heart to make us a present of a young horse. With it we can comfortably take such necessary and useful trips as these. They would be quite difficult otherwise. God be praised!
The 21st. The Commissioner had given permission to some people to move to Ebenezer with us. But Mr. Causton would not agree to this because all those who want to settle in Georgia, and that includes our place, must first obtain permission from the Trustees in England.
As we can truthfully praise the fear of God and the skill of the German glazier [Rheinländer] from Charleston, Mr. Causton has agreed to recommend him to the Trustees. In the meantime his belongings are to be transported here free of charge and he will receive provisions for one year for himself and his family, provided that he obligates himself to remain with us or the Saltzburgers for one year.
The 22nd. The great weakness of Huber and his wife required that one of us make another trip to Abercorn. Because of their condition we prayed briefly with them and left them several short verses which they could use as supplications. Their desire for deliverance is very great. This afternoon the Saltzburgers assembled at our house to further prepare themselves for Holy Communion and to receive absolution. God again put His blessing on this hour for which He is due all the honor.
The 23rd. This afternoon we received news from Abercorn that God had delivered the good Huber from his unrest and had given him eternal rest through temporal death. He had been longing for this with all his heart. At the very last he said that the dear Saviour would accept him and take him in even though he was a great sinner, because He was a Saviour for all the poor penitent sinners. The very night of his death he said, among other things, that he knew the Saltzburgers would soon take Holy Communion in Ebenezer but that he hoped to take it soon in heaven with his dear Lord Jesus. His entire body had been in great pain caused by gout and swollen feet; yet, by the Grace of God, his patience was even greater. Although he was a simple soul he knew how to make good use of the Holy Gospel and how to strengthen himself with verses from Holy Writ. He was poor, and he left four still uneducated children. But he lived happily with the things God gave him and let it be known that the Heavenly Father had not left him wanting.
When he left Saltzburg, he said, he had had a small sum of money but, through God’s blessing, he now had twice as much, and the Lord in whom he and his wife trusted would not forsake him. He made good use of the Sundays, going into the forest, either alone or with his wife, in order to meditate and pray over the Word of God that he had heard. And he urged his children to do the same, thanking God that they were learning and hearing more truth than he had learned in his youth and in his old age. He was not worried about his children when he was on his deathbed, for he knew that God is the father of all orphans. Of these two devout married people and true Israelites who had no falsehood within their souls it can truthfully be said what is written in Luke 1:6 about Zacharias and Elizabeth: “They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” It took very little to make their example useful to our listeners in this afternoon’s lesson. God be praised for all the spiritual and worldly good deeds He has done for them since the beginning!
The 24th of June. This morning one of us and a few Saltzburgers went to Abercorn to bury the late Huber. The sick widow and the orphaned children conducted themselves like good Christians during the burial. They are resigned to the will of God.
Mayor Causton is proving himself to be very friendly and favorably disposed toward our Saltzburgers. In addition to what the sick received recently we were sent a barrel of bread for them today. They need this very much since we still have no baking oven here. For the two of us he sent a little wine in order to make up for some of the damage that had been done to the things we had bought in Charleston.
The 25th of June. Today we received the good news that Mr. Causton had sent a boat with some men to Abercorn, who are to bring some of our provisions closer to our settlement by water. Our dear listeners were overjoyed to hear this, and some of them set out immediately for the place where the things have to be unloaded in order to build a small shed there. Everything will have to be carried to Ebenezer overland for 2 or 3 English miles because reeds, bushes, and fallen trees in the river prevent boats from coming all the way to us. But this route is not as far and difficult as the one from Abercorn. God be praised for this provision!
The 26th. This afternoon the two men who had found the waterway to our settlement came to see us and asked that a few Saltzburgers come with them to get acquainted with the right way. They offered to talk to Mr. Causton so that a good boat would be sent to us soon in which we could carry enough provisions to last all of our people for a quarter of a year. In time, they said, as the number of our people increased, the river could be cleaned out and made navigable all the way to Ebenezer, but it would be difficult to do so. At present the things must be put ashore a good hour from here and must be brought in with horses.
The 27th. All of the Saltzburgers that are not sick have started to clear the way and to prepare it so that our provisions can be brought up on horses and sledges. The preparation of this road is very troublesome since they have to build bridges over the river and over several swamps. But they do not care because they expect to make good use of it. Most of them have completely ruined their socks, shoes, and trousers. For this reason we have written to Mr. Causton and asked him for such garments.
The 29th of June. Until now we have retained twelve Negroes who had to cut boards and timbers for the public buildings. But today they were recalled. Mr. Causton sent word that he hated to do this and that he would do everything in his power to prevent an interruption or stoppage of our construction.
The 30th. Our morning service today was attended by two Englishmen who proved themselves to be very devout. We did everything we could to treat them well, hoping it will make them realize that we and our congregation are not the kind of people that we have sometimes been made out to be. One must wonder how it is possible for people to make up and spread such stories about us as we frequently hear. May our dear Saviour continue to hold His hands over us so that distress at home and abroad will not harm us but drive us to more prayer and wakefulness.
The 1st of July. An adult single woman has fallen dangerously sick. But, thank God, she is the kind who, should she die, would surely join the Saltzburgers who preceded her from our congregation to eternal rest and salvation. Even when she was well she had a strong desire to leave this vale of tears, and she continues to wish for the same.
The 2nd. One of us had intended to go to Abercorn today to visit the sick Mrs. Huber who is said to be very near death. However, our congregation and others who had recently traveled between here and Abercorn advised strongly against it. For nearly three months we have had frequent rains by day and by night, so much so that the rivers are very high. The road and the bridges which the Saltzburgers had built earlier by the sweat of their brows are mostly ruined. To go on foot now is very difficult and traveling on horseback is very risky as the bridges have holes in them which cannot be seen because the water running over them is several feet deep. Thus it must be considered a special favor of God when He showed us recently a nearer and better way on which we can bring in our provisions.
There are blue berries in this region like those in certain areas of Germany, but these are two or three times bigger and tastier. Some of the Saltzburgers have cooked them and found that they do not harm one’s health.
The 3rd of July. We find it very necessary and salutary to help and strengthen our people in their trust in God, on whose blessing everything depends. In the evening prayer hour we had occasion to say a few things about the land of Canaan, such as how significant it is that the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to whom God had given the promise of the land of Canaan, had to suffer death and crop failures in the Promised Land. Because many bad people lived in their land and there were great rocks, wild, bloodthirsty animals, lack of water, and other inconveniences, they must have begun to question whether or not they and their descendants were well provided for in this land and whether it might not have been better if God had given them this or that, etc. But they left no room for such thoughts. Instead, they trusted in the almighty Lord, knowing that He would neither forsake nor neglect them.
The 4th. This afternoon an Englishman came from Savannah to see me in Ebenezer and asked me to go to Savannah with him to marry him to a widow. He had brought a boat to Abercorn for this purpose, and he hoped that I would comply with his request because he could not get an English pastor to perform the ceremony. I told him that our vocation covered only the Saltzburgers and others of the same religion. If I were to perform the marriage as requested, his countrymen might not be pleased, but it was my heart’s desire to serve everyone to the best of my ability. I added that I had already written to London to get this point cleared up, but that no answer had been received so far. As he was very insistent I agreed to perform the ceremony if he would 1) bring an order and permission from Mr. Causton, vice-governor of this province; 2) get me the marriage book from Savannah, which I needed because the ceremony would have to be conducted in English. He was satisfied with this and left after having eaten with us.
The 5th of July. One of the two Negroes that had been left behind died today, and he was himself responsible for his death. Many of them have the foolish idea that they will return to their own land after death, something for which they have no hope during their lifetime. Therefore many of them kill themselves by hanging, stabbing, drowning, etc. For this reason their owners must treat them very carefully, especially during the first year. Those who are born in this country are much more intelligent in this and in other respects. They are also much more useful and faithful, but, for that very reason, also much more expensive. Some of our people have helped to bury the Negro.
Mrs. Huber, who has been lying sick in Abercorn until now, all the while longing for early deliverance, passed away this morning very quietly and peacefully in the Lord. We knew of her great weakness and would have liked to visit her more often, but it was impossible because of the swollen streams and the ruined bridges. The pious Saltzburger Moshammer, a man of great experience in Christian matters, helped her spirit greatly. This evening a single woman, Maria Reuter, died quite unexpectedly. She had had a bad swelling in her feet and the lower parts of her body. Good medicine was administered to her, but it must have been too late. When she suddenly became weak, we were called but could not reach the Saltzburgers’ shelter in time, since our little house, as stated, is a good distance away. The two women who died today loved the Lord Jesus very much. Like other pious women, they followed Him throughout their lives and suffering, and we have no doubt that they entered into the Rest of the Lord. Mrs. Huber was buried tonight and some of the Saltzburgers went to Abercorn for the burial. God willing, the deceased Reuter woman will be buried tomorrow morning, as early as possible. The third person whom we seem to have lost is our apothecary, Mr. Zwifler. He went into the forest early yesterday morning but has not been seen since, even though others went to look for him and shot muskets frequently. This loss hurts us all the more because he was a very useful and experienced man. May God have mercy upon him and cause him to use what little time he has (if he is still alive) to prepare himself for blessed eternity.
The 6th of July. Since Mr. Zwifler is no longer with us, we have to take on additional affairs that are not really part of our office. These cause us much distraction and trouble. Today we have been busy with the distribution of some of the provisions. May God keep our people in the spirit which they have now; it makes the performances of such worldly chores easy for us.
The 7th. A rumor was spread to Savannah that I, Boltzius, had been lost in the forest. By order of Mr. Causton a captain and five Indians set out immediately, together with an Englishman who knows how to speak with the Indians. They arrived here this evening. These people have provisions for three days and at the break of day tomorrow they intend to go into the forest and start searching. They will continue until they have found Mr. Zwifler, dead or alive. At noon today four more Indians arrived, who went into the forest for the same purpose.
The 8th of July. We have ordered the shooting of one of the cows that escaped into the woods; and we intend to do the same with the other four as there is no hope of bringing them back alive. The meat will be brought up from Abercorn today and will be distributed among the people at once. We have no lack of food, thank God; and Mr. Causton has offered to send everything necessary for the maintenance of life and good health.
The 10th. In today’s evening prayer hour we started reading the little tract, printed in Wernigerode, which is entitled: Edifying Remembrance of the Saltzburger Emigrants, etc., for we know that it did a lot of good on a previous occasion. Perhaps it is the pleasure of the Lord to use the present circumstances of our listeners to awaken and strengthen the good in them. We humbly ask the Giver of all good gifts for this.
The 11th. The Indians who had been sent here to look for Mr. Zwifler have departed again because they could find no trace of him. It is assumed that he intended to shoot a tiger or some other evil beast, that he did not hit it well and was devoured by it (Genesis 37:33). Those who were sent to look for him report that the region to which he went is such that a person with a little sense cannot get lost very easily.
The 12th. One of the Negroes who cut the boards for us had been badly wounded and cut by the Negro that died recently. Mr. Zwifler had been treating him, but today he was taken by a surgeon from Abercorn. The departure of the Negroes has deprived us of some advantages but it has also freed us of much disquietude and worry.
The 13th. Toward evening Br. [Matthias Braunberger], who is not a Saltzburger,53 had someone tell us of his great weakness and ask us for something to strengthen and refresh him. We not only sent him that, to the best of our ability, but one of us went to see him and found his body very weak but his spirit in such condition that there is good reason to hope God will accept his soul. He is truly repentant of all of his sins which, he says, are very great, and he is shedding many tears over them. His greatest grief comes from the fact that he cannot quite accept with assurance the service of Christ and the forgiveness of sins: But he believes that God will finally look upon him with favor, for Christ’s sake, because it cannot have been in vain that He saved him from many dangers of death and gave him this protracted sickness. He will never again let anything prevent him from preparing himself for eternity, he said. Hereupon we gave him consolation from the Gospel but we also found it necessary to warn him about the guile and wickedness of the heart, for which purpose we used the 32nd Psalm. Then we earnestly urged him to give his heart over to God completely; and he agreed to this willingly, prayed with us, and tearfully asked for forgiveness of the sins which he had committed earlier and which had grieved us.
The 14th of July. A week ago and again today we were hoping that surely the mayor of Savannah, Mr. Causton, would keep his promise and come to see us here in Ebenezer to inspect the houses that have been built at the expense of the Trustees, and to make arrangements for those yet to be built. However, we waited in vain because, as we learned toward evening, he had to go to Charleston. We are looking forward to his early arrival because we have to take up a number of important matters with him besides wanting to ask for several things for the Saltzburgers. We cannot do much with letters, for his many important affairs would easily let him overlook a number of things.
The 15th. One of our Saltzburgers, [Jerg] Schweiger by name, was moved to go into the nearby woods today in order to pray. There he came upon Mr. Zwifler, whom we had considered lost. However, he could not persuade him to come with him, and consequently he came running to us full of joy. One of us went immediately and found him in a miserable state caused by lack of proper bodily care. Most of his clothes were torn to shreds or lost, and what he had to say was very confused. He insisted he had been close by for eight days but had not been able to get his bearings and come to our settlement. Meanwhile he had stilled his hunger and maintained his life with blueberries. He was so weak, emaciated, and miserable that he could hardly stand on his feet. God be praised for this new proof of His care!
The 16th of July. Having rested and refreshed himself with decent food and drink, Mr. Zwifler is gradually regaining his strength of body and mind. Today he spoke quite coherently, saying he is sorry he spoke in such a confused way yesterday, as he well remembers having done. On the first day he had pursued a deer which he had shot and had become so completely lost that he could not find his way out of the wilderness even though he used the sun and other means of trying to find his directions. He said he had also met an Indian who offered to lead him out but that they had lost each other during the night. Early yesterday it seemed to him as though he could see Senior Urlsperger and two pastors well known to him, who showed him the way to some recently built houses. He followed this way and saw our houses; but the sight of them did not make him happy, for everything seemed like a dream to him and he was under the impression that he had always remained in Ebenezer and had only just left to go shooting. Thus it is another good deed of God that a Saltzburger found him and told us about it, for he might have gone back into the woods again.
THE 14th of May. Very important reasons compelled me to accompany the Commissioner to Charleston. Before starting his seavoyage he wanted to take Holy Communion in said town, together with some other people of our confession who are longing for it because he had been prevented from taking it with us when the wine had failed to arrive. In addition I wanted to carry the thanks of the Saltzburgers to their benefactors who have sent them cattle and other farm animals, and I wanted to arrange other things for them and make some purchases. Our dear God has given me good physical and spiritual preparation for this trip. Today we traveled as far as Purrysburg, where I became acquainted with some of the souls who were very much pleased at our arrival in America. I also was able to buy a little wine to be used in giving Holy Communion to two sick Saltzburgers in Abercorn. This town of Purrysburg is built up high on the bank of the river. Since a good many people of means are living here, it is to be hoped that it will become a fine city in a short time. The people here tend to their fields and gardens with much diligence, and you can already buy meat, eggs, and garden vegetables here more easily than in Savannah. People here were very friendly toward us, and some of them asked one of us to come back soon in order to serve them Holy Communion.
The 15th. This morning we returned to Abercorn. The sick married couple [Huber] were very happy to know that they were to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ on this day. We had a short preparation for them and discussed with them the words: “Whosoever cometh unto me,” etc., explaining the great love of the Lord Jesus for even the most miserable of sinners. God blessed this presentation of the Gospel as well as the celebration of Holy Communion for both of them, especially for the woman. She had previously been very troubled, but now she testified joyfully and with shedding of tears to her firm belief that the Saviour had accepted her and had forgiven all of her sins. She would die gladly now and would not worry any more about the many children whom she must leave uncared for, especially as I had promised her with hand and mouth to take care of their bodily and spiritual needs after her death, to the best of my ability. One of those present who observed her happy certainty over the forgiveness of her sins was worried because he was not yet able to sing and speak of such certainty so joyfully. We set him straight in a short time from the Word of God and told him of the signs assuring us of grace; but he must remain true to God, continue on the path on which He is leading him through the Holy Ghost, and He will send the hour in which his heart will taste the sweetness of His Grace.
At three o’clock in the afternoon we departed for Savannah and arrived there after dark. We could hear the Indians playing their drums and singing when we were still some distance away. They do this when those who have been off hunting for several weeks return to them safely. They build a big bonfire and sing and dance around it while one of them beats on a small toy-sized drum. Mr. Causton received us most cordially and provided us with food and lodging.
The 16th of May. We were told about two slaves that had been brought in as prisoners. They had strangled and drowned their sick master even though he had always been very kind to them. Their misdeed had remained unknown for some weeks but God, in His wondrous ways, had finally revealed it. We learned that some people here have had terrible things to say about our Saltzburgers and have accused them of many bad things, but they have been defended by Mr. Causton and others. Many are vexed that the Saltzburgers have been given so much livestock, seeds, etc., which they did not get themselves; so, in their jealousy, they invent all sorts of calumnies. I have written a summary of the accusations to Mr. Gronau, asking him to exhort and counsel the congregation to show Christian and careful conduct so that the name of Christ will not be blasphemed by the enemies of His name.
It happened that we met the two benefactors from Carolina here in Savannah and were able to give them our thanks for the thirty head of cattle they had sent us. Their actions and words were such as to give the impression that they are constantly in awe of the omni-presence of God. When I let someone know my thoughts on the matter and stated that the very looks of these men had been edifying for me, I was told that I had not erred in my thoughts about them, etc. We received news here that Mr. Oglethorpe had left for England on a warship. Thus we will not be able to see him again in Charleston as we had wished and hoped.
The 17th of May. Last night we learned that a big skiff was here which would soon leave empty for Charleston. This opportunity suited us much better than taking a large periager54 (this is the name for some long and deep boats that can carry more goods than an ordinary boat, and are usually propelled more by two sails than by oars) because on the latter you must often remain on the water for three or four weeks while it is possible to reach Charleston in five or six days in one of the skiffs which also carry a few small sails.
The 18th. On our boat we had a Jew from Savannah who did not look like a Jew but was full of malice, which he showed with words and deeds. Because he had dysentery he was made to disembark at Port Royal so that others would not be contaminated from sheer disgust. When we landed here the two boatmen who have to sit at the oars also disembarked to gather some mulberries which grow here in large numbers. In their negligence they had failed to tie up the skiff and pull in its sails, so the wind blew it far away from land and into the river. Nobody wanted to swim after it and bring it back to land and therefore we could easily have lost all of our belongings if divine providence had not made us see a small boat with three Negroes in it who did us the favor of bringing the skiff back to land for a small tip.
The 19th of May. Very late last night the skipper brought us to a plantation he knew within the limits of Port Royal. The people here were very kind to us, provided us with food and drink to the best of their ability, fixed a good bed for us, but refused to accept any pay whatsoever. It is a very good thing to find, during a trip, a few good people in whose house you can rest up, for (except for a very few places) there are no inns anywhere. We left with the tide, as early as possible; but we could not get far because heavy rains, strong winds, and a thunderstorm forced us to land. The bad weather passed quickly but the skipper did not dare go any further because he feared more rain and wind, so we stopped at a house in which some Negroes were living.
We must pass through a dangerous place called the Sound, where we have to go out into the sea a little way. The Commissioner urged the skipper to go on, but he would not agree. Not long afterwards we had rain and a storm that was so great and of such long duration that we would surely have perished in the water had we continued with our trip. At the same time there were loud claps of thunder, and one of those present was very much afraid. We took this opportunity to tell this person about the wrath of God and His anger over the sins of the people and their unwillingness to do penance. He was a man who had felt the Word of God on his conscience and had made many good resolutions but had constantly rejected them again. We told him at the same time about the happiness of truely converted Christians. In the evening we told the Negroes some stories from the Bible, such as the creation, the fall of man, the birth and suffering of Christ. Some of them were very attentive and filled with wonder and showed themselves eager to learn about the Christian religion.
The 20th of May. Today God gave us a very favorable wind which advanced our boat much faster than had been done by the wicked and lazy oarsmen. After sundown we had a sudden shower and thunderstorm that were terrible to behold. But God be praised! Shortly before the rain He brought us to a high bank, which is called a bluff here, on which was a house in which we found shelter from the weather for ourselves and our things.
The 21st. In the afternoon we had another heavy rain and thunderstorm but it did not last more than half an hour. We could not land anywhere and had to protect ourselves as best we could. Our captain does not know the way very well and we made a small detour. People who have not traveled this way often can easily get into the wrong river because there are very many of them, which people here call creeks. They don’t always stay in the regular rivers but choose such creeks, which are also called cutoffs and which frequently bring you a good deal closer.
The 22nd. Today God sent us the most wonderful wind which could have taken us to Charleston in good time. But, since the skipper slept too long and the hands spent a great deal of time preparing breakfast, we arrived too late at a small creek which we could not pass because the water had run out and therefore we had to wait until the water ran in again. Meanwhile the skipper caught some sea crabs which frequently hide in the mud but are easy to get out when the water has run out. When we came out of the narrow creek at high tide we had the current against us and our beautiful wind had died down. Thus it cost us much labor and some danger to reach Charleston late in the evening.
The 23rd. In Savannah we had been told about the best place to find lodgings in Charleston; and at the inn we found some very fine and friendly people and got every comfort at a moderate price.
The 24th. of May. As it was my desire to go home soon, I busied myself these days with the procurement of a number of things for myself and for the Saltzburgers. Several Germans of our Evangelical faith called to tell me that they wanted to go to Holy Communion with the Commissioner. They had been wanting it for a long time, and therefore I had to agree to remain here until Sunday so that I could properly prepare these people with the Word of God for their important undertaking.
The 25th. Many distinguished people here are very polite to us and urge us to come to dinner at this place or that, but we had rather be spared because these things subject us to many distractions. Today all those who wanted to go to Holy Communion came to see me so that I could speak with them about the Word of God. As much as time and place would permit, I told them about the importance and the glorious value of Holy Communion and showed them briefly what pertains to true Christianity. We arrange it so that those who can hear us only once or twice will learn the most necessary truths and take to their hearts the order of salvation and a few major verses of scripture.
The 26th. Today I found a very welcome opportunity to get back to Ebenezer in a few days; and for this reason I had to decide to depart on this very day. Therefore I asked the communicants to come at five o’clock in the morning to my quarters, where we sang a few hymns together and I then impressed upon their hearts a few practical truths from today’s Gospel. After the sermon we all knelt down and the Commissioner offered a moving prayer to God for all of us. After giving absolution and serving Holy Communion I made ready for the trip. I thought it remarkable that a German cobbler had registered for Holy Communion but did not come to my room until after Communion because, as he claimed, the house in which I lived had been locked up. Afterwards I learned that this man is given to drunkenness and wanton company. I had not seen that in him but rather had presumed him to be good, judging from his words and actions. Thus I was very happy that he had been prevented from coming to the Table of, the Lord. A glazier and his wife (who came from the Palatinate) attended Holy Communion and showed much devotion. Their love for the Word of God and the Holy Sacraments is so great that they do not wish to remain in Charleston but want to move to Ebenezer. They have many children who will be added to our small school.55 These two people will also be of great help with our household chores.
The 27th of May. The strong wind that had been so favorable for us blew us on a sand bank very unexpectedly and with the greatest of violence. If God had not been holding His hand over us we would have fallen into the water with all our belongings. We had to remain here until the water rose again and lifted us off the sand. My traveling companions were very ill mannered; but I paid no attention to them. Instead I sang, prayed, and read the Bible. Whenever I sang a hymn they kept quiet and were very polite. Nevertheless, the truth was not kept from them.
The 28th. As our skipper knows the way very well he went the shortest distance through several creeks so that we covered a large part of the trip today. In this country one sees more water than land, and in most places the land is so low that the water often floods it. If people want to settle here they must look for bluffs or high banks.
The 29th. We had rain all day long. It became particularly strong as we were passing through a dangerous sound which is called Bloody Point. The passengers continue to be wild and insolent, paying no heed to admonitions. In the evening we reached Port Royal, where we stayed in order to get dry since the rain was continuing. The innkeeper with whom I stayed was very nice and spoke very highly of our Saltzburgers. He told us he had heard that many Saltzburgers were at sea and on their way to join us. I had heard this report on several occasions.
The 30th of May. The reader, or schoolmaster, lead me to the local church, which is of cedar, well built and very pretty. He also took me to the local pastor [Jones] and introduced me to him. He is a very friendly man of whom it is said that he preaches well and leads an exemplary life. He likes our Saltzburgers and has a good opinion of their devotion and industriousness, about which he had heard. As the rain continued all morning, we could not depart until the evening tide. We continued into the night because we had bright moonlight.
The 31st. Since God sent us a most beautiful wind we arrived in Savannah toward noon, as I had wished. Mayor Causton received me most cordially and provided me with lodging in the house of the pastor, who is still away.
The 1st of June. There was a boat here from Abercorn in which I could have left yesterday, but the people with it cannot be persuaded to leave once they get to Savannah. The town is still small but is already provided with three inns. Since I could not leave this evening as I had hoped, I had to remain in the pastor’s house. A certain judge came to see me to announce that they were having an important meeting tonight for which many gentlemen from the country around Savannah had come into town because they had to discuss many important matters. They did not know a better place for it than the parsonage, he said, and he had just come to tell me about it so that I would not be upset over it. Nothing bad would transpire, he assured me. I asked him briefly whether he thought it right to choose the Saturday before Holy Pentecost for this, etc. I also gave him a verse to think about: “The Grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men.” But God so disposed that they stayed away and left me alone and in peace.
It remains to be reported that a number of persons who behaved very badly last night are very much ashamed and humble today. One of them came to apologize with troubled countenance and, because he had been drawn into bad company for the first time and had drunk his fill, his head was buzzing so that be became very melancholy and was quite, beside himself. He was bled, we gave him words of encouragement, and put him to bed. His friends remained with him and watched him, but nothing would do any good. As I learned later from his nurse, he thought of me often. And when he saw me he offered me his hand, apologized, and asked that I pray for him. He repeated this as often as he saw me. But there is no evidence that this example had made an impression on others.
The 3rd. Last night a thunderstorm rose and this morning we had a heavy rain which drenched us. But at last, in the afternoon, we came to Abercorn where I found the three Saltzburgers as sick as I had left them. I had wished with all my heart to be in Abercorn or even in Ebenezer for Pentecost. This would have been easily possible if wicked people had not prevented it. It hurt me even more when I was told that a number of people had come from Purrysburg to Abercorn on the first day of Pentecost in order to hear the Word of God. The way to Ebenezer had been too long for them.
The 5th. Today I returned to Ebenezer in good health and strengthened in body and soul, as I had asked of God. The Lord be praised for His goodness and loving kindness, and may He continue to help!