Sunday, the 1st of January 1741. A beginning has been made again with the word of God, in the name of Jesus Christ, upon the souls of our listeners, who came in large numbers from the plantations despite the rainy weather. May the Lord give His blessings on planting and growing in the coming year, for which we all plead to Him today and beseech Him diligently all the time with the help of His spirit. Since the teaching of the redemption and the propitiation, which occurs through Christ, the innocent and untainted lamb of God, is most damaging to the realm of Satan and since this is especially necessary for the poor in spirit and for those who mourn, even here in our Ebenezer Zion, it is my resolution before our Lord to propagate the gospel diligently in our parish as it has been done in the past with the grace of God.
Today we had at the beginning 1 Peter 1:18-19 and meditated upon the gospel of the majesty and importance of the work of our salvation. During holidays and also today my dear colleague has omitted the catechism hour and taken festival-passages as the basis for the catechization. Today he interpreted the beautiful words of the Revelation of St. John 21:5-7 and presented the congregation with the three main benefits included in the three verses as a New Year’s gift. May our Lord bless the beginning, as well as the middle and the end, because He Himself is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
Friday, the 2nd of January. This morning a man who is anxious about his salvation handed me a piece of paper through my window, in which he revealed the desire of his heart to me in writing so I can see that the gospel has worked on him. By this light he finds that everything which seemed to be good to him before now turns out as sin and hypocrisy and that all self-made comfort vanishes like loose whitewash when the rain strikes it or when it is shaken. Since he was on business he could not stay with me (which may result from his bashfulness). Therefore, next time I will take the opportunity to talk to him and to recommend to him the little word “faithfulness.”
I was at the mill twice today, once before the devotion hour at the plantations and the other time with Mr. Thilo. As often as I come there, I am awakened to further praise of God, since the mill is a real material blessing, and the truly beautiful flour cannot be seen and tasted without particular emotion and pleasure. Now more than ever one can see that the native Indian corn is a precious gift of God. In some parts of Germany a similar kind of corn is also planted -- called the Welsh or Turkish corn -- but I hear people who know it and have eaten it say that there is as much difference between that corn and ours as between wheat and barley flour. The former causes an acid stomach; this one, however, does not bring the slightest discomfort, rather the thin gruel made from it is even recommended as beneficial to sick people.
One man told me that people would now hardly need half as much corn for their household, since the flour made at the mill expands much during cooking. The bread that is being baked from it in my house, mixed with only a little wheat flour, is whiter, tastier, and more nourishing than the bread that is baked from the pure wheat flour of this country. Today a barrel of flour will be ground for General Oglethorpe at his request as a sample, which I will myself take to Savannah next week and send on to Frederica. I am afraid we will have many outsiders because of the mill; may the Lord mercifully keep us from all confusions that otherwise happen in mills and also grant us a reasonable and conscientious miller. Somebody brought the message from Frederica that provisions are very expensive and almost unobtainable there, undoubtedly because Mr. Oglethorpe’s warships and soldiers use very much. They bake their bread from sour flour; and it is said that, as soon as it is taken from the oven, the people grab it and quarrel about it. Oh what good our Lord does for us!
On my way back from the mill I met a man with a load of corn on his back, who asked me to let him come to the Lord’s Table next time. He complained that he was not yet the way the dear Savior would like to have him; but it is his sincere intention, he said, to become more and more honest.1 This much he knows: the Lord has forgiven him all his sins: the word of the Lord has persuaded him to trust in Him and believe that He is veracious; he trusts in this His word of truth. These and other words he said with such humility and joyousness that even his facial expression impressed me in a special way. One could notice that he had prayed sincerely to our Lord Jesus before his walk, even though he had just overcome his quartan fever. I was glad that Mr. Thilo was present to hear such an impressive testimony concerning the power of the word that is being preached among us. We went through his plantation; and, because everything there was in right order, I pointed out to Mr. Thilo the blessings of the Lord and thought of the example of Joseph: The Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand.
Saturday, the 3rd of January. When I came home last night my mind was overwhelmed by the benefaction our Lord had given to our congregation by the mill, therfore I sat down and wrote a letter to General Oglethorpe about its quality and great usefulness; and I hope he will not regret that the costs of the mill, which he promised that he and the Lord Trustees would pay, are so high; for building is expensive here. I informed him 1) that the 12 pounds Sterling which he donated to the mill six months ago have been used up for the construction. I reported that, with the help of God, the mill is now capable of grinding day and night, and that I am sending a barrel of flour to him as a sample.
I told him that at first the Salzburgers had had the intention of building only a small mill in a small river not far away from the town for their own use, which would have required only little work and expenditure. However, when the stream was inspected, they found many inconveniences, which made it necessary to look for a more suitable place near the plantations on the branch of the Savannah River which runs towards the old sawmill,2 and to build the mill there. There the mill dam caused much difficult work, but the people undertook it with much courage and faithfulness, hoping that the mill, which is now situated on a navigable river, will serve not only themselves but also many other people in the colony.
They erected two walls of the strongest oak and cypress up from the bottom of the river and filled them up with masses of sandy soil, bushes, moss, etc., all people working together, whereby the Salzburgers acted with zeal and seriousness, which I noticed with great pleasure. From this dam the water is now being led to the mill in such great quantity that not only the pair of mill-stones which we have now, but some more could grind if we only could get one or some more pairs, especially those lying idle in the storehouse at Savannah. Then the mill would be able to serve almost every inhabitant of this colony. The expenses of the mill amount to 89 ь Sterling, but I can assure Mr. Oglethorpe that the workers demand only low wages. Should he help them receive their payment, the sooner the better, it would encourage their industry very much, since they are poor and need the money to buy clothes and other necessary things.
I also reported that Kogler, the builder of the mill, is willing to build a rice mill, if only the money were available. It would not cost much, since the mill dam and enough water are already available. 2) I mentioned Leitner, who is a good smith but has neither bellows nor anvil nor tools; and, since we need a smith in our community very badly, especially now for the mill and the projected church, I asked Mr. Oglethorpe to help him get a forge. The man assures me that in London he was promised bellows and tools, which were taken aboard the ship. However, since the provisions and tools of the third transport were brought to Frederica during the confusion of those days, he has never received these things which he needs for his profession.
3) We need one or a team of strong draught-horses to carry the heavy lumber for the church to the building-site, and for that we also humbly ask Mr. Oglethorpe. The trained oxen of the orphanage had to be slaughtered last fall because we were in want of meat. I reminded Mr. Oglethorpe in humble terms of the promise he gave me, e.g. to give the orphanage some horses, which we now need greatly for the construction of the church. And, since he has asked several times about the intended building of the barn, I reported that it was built last summer in the Salzburger way so that it now serves different purposes, e.g. not only as a barn but also as stalls for cows and pigs and with a threshing floor above it.
4) We are now being incommodated by a pilfering Negro or a runaway Moorish slave from Carolina, who has already stolen provisions and chickens. Since Mr. Oglethorpe gave the laudable order several months ago to provide seven men from our region with seven horses in order to keep the woods and surroundings free from disorderly people, I asked him to put this order into effect. Also I recommended the carpenter Kogler as a skilled, industrious, and interested builder of the mill.
[Some men have been proposed to supervise the grinding in the mill. I was told privately that one of them is partial and will give some people advantage over others. I had not judged this man in such a way and am amazed that others testify to it with certainty. I thought to myself that it surely would be a very bad and improper thing if the congregation noticed these bad traits of partiality in their ministers and superiors, since many eyes are turned on them. May God give us wisdom in our work to avoid the smallest appearance of partiality, because otherwise great harm can be done. However, one cannot completely avoid suspicion, especially in the case of Holy Communion, since not everybody can be allowed to partake of it.]
A young man called on me to talk about going to the Lord’s supper. He confessed that he was not yet converted to God, although he is trying but not coming to the right end. Therefore, he understands that he must prepare himself better in advance for partaking of the Lord’s supper before he actually comes. He made the resolution to pray earnestly for the recognition of his sins. I gave him Arndt’s True Christianity and instructed him to read contemplatively Book 1, chapter 8, at which page I happened to open the book.
Yesterday, in passing a woman on the plantations, I asked her whether she lives peacefully and in a Christian way with her neighbours. She answered this affirmatively and showed that she had made friends with the neighbor’s child. Since, however, something had happened between them a few months or weeks ago, my question awakened her and her husband’s conscience so that the husband came to me this morning to confess that the Devil had caused discord once, but that everything was all right again. The following proverb we like to apply to our congregation: “There are three beautiful things, which both God and mankind. . .”.
Sunday, the 4th of January. [Pletter is usually a serious Christian, diligently using the means of salvation and edifying himself together with other pious people. However, in some ways he is ignorant, sticks to his opinion, and is stubborn. He has to be expelled from the Lord’s Table this time again, since he cannot be convinced that the suspicion of theft he has against a quite guiltless man is sinful: He will forgive him, yet he still thinks of him as a thief in spite of my endeavor to show him that he is mistaken and it is only his suspicion.] Since I could not convince him, I need now the honest and reasonable Ruprecht Steiner to convince him of his misconception. We must wait to see whether he will be successful.3
The said Steiner attended the prayer hour in our house at noon yesterday and edified me very much with his wholehearted prayer. He has the pure poverty of spirit, thinks himself unworthy of all the benefactions God has conferred upon him, and does not stop praising Him for all He has done for us nearby and far-off. The intercessory prayers of so many upright ministers and Christian people in Europe for Ebenezer are a special reason for him to praise our Lord.
The young Kieffer would like to go to our Lord’s Table together with his brother on Epiphany next Tuesday, but they will be prevented from doing so by a troop review at Purysburg on Monday.4 I hear that they do not have any holy days at Purysburg, except that the name of Sunday is known to them. Therefore, they do not scruple to call the people from the plantations for a military muster on New Year or other holy days. Most people there do not respect divine service; and therefore God lets them be burdened with such tasks and burdens, from which the Lord spares us entirely. Oh, what a pity that the blind people of the New Covenant do not know and do not want to know what a majestic and blessed service the divine service of the New Testament can be, as we heard it yesterday during our prayer hour in the example of the divine service on Mount Zion, which took place without sacrifice in pure spirit and truth. 1. Chronicles 17.
Zant called on me after church and complained about the barren and withered state of his mind, which has troubled him since the Christmas holidays. Before Christmas and during the first Christmas holiday God granted great peace to his soul, but it disappeared soon afterwards. He says he finds his heart now heavy and apathetic, without being able to find the right words for prayer etc.... He does not dare to go to the Lord’s Table this time: the example of Uzzah, whom God put to death besides the Ark of the Covenant because of his sacrilege seems rather terrible to him. His youthful sins trouble him more and more. Since he feels the malady of his soul, I advised him earnestly not to neglect the means of salvation but to use them eagerly: our Lord Jesus is the Physician and calls sinners, as he considers himself, to come unto Him... etc.
From the maxims of our dear Savior that I quoted and from my comforting him in his situation he gained new courage; he gave me his hand, thanked me cordially for the instruction and wanted to attend it again in the name of God. He asked me to inform him whenever I hear or see anything objectionable or punishable about him. I wish we could help him also in his external life, since he has neither a helpmate nor a regular household.
Monday, the 5th of January. N. [Mrs. Rheinländer] appears to be trying harder than ever before. She came to me the day before yesterday and again yesterday; and she recognized and confessed all her many offenses against me, my dear colleague, and others. Since she sinned with others in the congregation during the time of her rebellion against any good order, she now calls their attention to their offenses too. She believes that the Lord has imposed a lot on her, but has also forgiven her for doing wrong, so that this time she is going to the Lord’s Table with joy. I believe she speaks the truth, because she has apologized to a person for sins which formerly she did not even recognize as sins but always tried to whitewash. It now appears that many offenses were directed at us and our office. May God make her atone for that. I am pleased to hear that N. [Mrs. Rheinländer] is also appealing to other persons’ consciences.
[Mrs. Landfelder and her husband wanted to go to the Lord’s Table the other day and again now. He is purposely ignorant, and she is wicked and has often cheated me in going to Communion. Today I spoke to both of them, trying to convince them that they still lack atonement, etc. The woman became so emotional that she turned her husband against me the same way Mrs. Spielbigler had done another time using the same language. I wish God may enlighten and advise them, otherwise I shall never again let them go to Communion. May God give us the wisdom to treat such people the right way.]
Old Mrs. Rieser5 told me that God has blessed her husband with the lovely example of David, which we have heard from 2 Samuel 6, that he was not satisfied with public worship but returned to bless his house, not leaving the consecration of his house only to the priests and Levites who were around him. The said Rieser has prayed eagerly alone, but seldom with his family, which has apparently harmed them. But, since he has been bending his knee together with his family, God’s blessing has shown in him too. [Their son and Mrs. Rheinländer’s son also wanted to go to Communion. They both have resolved to prepare themselves for this holy event. The young (Johann Jacob) Zübli gave a good testimony for Rheinländer, so that I hope he will convert to our Lord together with his mother.]
Tuesday, the 6th of January. After last evening’s prayer hour a young German girl from Old Ebenezer came to me with a letter from her father asking me to help him leave his service and come to Ebenezer and to the Salzburgers.6 He and his family have much to suffer and do not have the freedom to celebrate holidays like Epiphany today, but they have to do their work even when other people gather to praise the Lord for the grace he has shown in Jesus Christ. He is a baker and miller by profession and he offers to give the congregation all his faithfulness and good services if we will employ him as a miller and furnish him with a plantation. He and his family are in the service of the Lord Trustees under the supervision of a very evil Irishman at Old Ebenezer. I have noticed that people of our flock would prefer somebody from our own community rather than a stranger as their miller, since a loyal miller is very important. Meanwhile I wish that the good man could be freed by paying some money. Recently, when I mentioned him in Savannah, I was given good grounds to hope so.
The day before yesterday, the Sunday after New Year’s Day, we first had the verse Psalms 4:4, “But know that the Lord hath set apart...”,)7 which was explained even more by the important points of the gospel Matthew 2:13 ff. Since I did not want to start the story from 2 Samuel 7 yesterday, I read them a very edifying example from most recent history, whereby we could delightfully and impressively learn from a pious woman of distinguished rank how wonderfully and blessedly the Lord leads those who are obedient to Him through many afflictions and struggles to His eternal glory. He leads them according to His counsel and accepts them finally in glory. I know in the case of myself and several people in my house what a particular blessing the Lord granted us by this edifying example, so I hope He has presented the same edification to our dear congregation, who have attended in rather a great number. Oh, may He let it be fruitful until eternity! We held confession yesterday until after one o’clock, whereby we learned according to the word of God in six points what a precious treasure and delightful benefit we have in Holy Communion, which our Lord Jesus has instituted as a distinct testimony of His tender love for poor mankind.
Since many people have a long way to go home and the days are still short, various men and women stayed overnight and participated, I hope to their spiritual benefit, in last night’s evening prayer. Praise to the Lord who strengthened me to hold it. Today the Lord has again extended His kindness upon us. Some thirty people went to the Lord’s Table, and from the delightful gospel we have learned enough in the morning and afternoon about the precious treasure which we have in Jesus Christ and His grace. May everything be blessed by the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10.
Wednesday, the 7th of January. [My dear colleague, Mr. Boltzius, travelled to Savannah this morning. He is taking along a barrel of flour for Mr. Oglethorpe and the letters together with the diary; and he will try to take care of other matters too. May the dear Lord bless his journey and bring him back home to us soon again.]
Recently a certain man came to me and complained briefly about the anxiety of his soul. He has often resolved to come to me for this reason but has always been prevented from doing so. Once he was even in front of my door but went back again. A few months ago he was here and revealed to me some bad sins which have stirred his conscience; but in the following days his small sins (as they had seemed to him) have grown bigger in his mind and he cannot find his peace any more. The other day in the evening, when I was holding the prayer meeting with a few people at the plantations, he was among them and felt very happy, but that feeling soon disappeared. Now he was here, wanting to tell me a great deal; but he could only say a few words because of the sadness of his heart. I referred him to Him who, during the past days, has been presented to us so often as the Savior of sinners, and who has called out “Come unto me all ye...” etc... and “I will give you rest...”, when sin and burden afflict you. At last I prayed together with him, and he took leave. May the Lord Jesus teach him to understand the Word of the Covenant simply and keep to it, even if his heart says only “no”.8 The past holy days have indeed been very blessed days. Today I heard somebody giving a good testimony about it and wishing nothing but faithfulness.
Thursday, the 8th of January. Simon Steiner is becoming weaker every day. Mr. Thilo has given him medicine, but it does not help. This evening I sent him with his (Mr. Thilo’s) permission some Essentia dulci in order to see whether the dear Lord will bless it. Some time ago, when another person was sick, this medicine did splendid service through the blessing of the Lord so that, in spite of her misery, she became healthy again. When I visit Steiner I consider his debilitated condition and do not talk much with him but only tell him about his Jesus, which alone is pleasing to him. Today I told him that, even if he is so weak that he cannot remember anything, he should only bear in mind the one word “Jesus” and look upon Him as the originator and achiever of the [our] religious faith, who has started the good work and will also complete it. In the evening he wished for old Mrs. Rieser to sit up with him at night, and she is willing to do so.
Friday, the 9th of January. Last evening I [Boltzius] finished my journey (from Savannah, from which I started the day before yesterday) so far that I reached Sanftleben’s plantation, together with my three traveling companions; and this morning I went home by land where I found my house, my dear colleague, and his family healthy and cheerful in the Lord. The Savannah River has risen very high, so that the return journey was difficult for the people. This time I had much pleasure on the boat with my pious travelling companions, who not only did all the troublesome work of rowing in brotherly harmony but also disclosed their blessed frame of mind by quite edifying conversations. It was very impressive to me that they not only remembered the edifying things that happened during the recent past, but even one or more years ago, and that they praised God for them. They also turned to their advantage the blessings which our loving God has shown to other members of our flock, men and women, and also children, by His Word. Praise be to God, who does not turn away His grace from us but grants it to us new every morning.
[I was lucky to have chosen the right time for my letters, as there was an opportunity to send them to Frederica to General Oglethorpe. At the same time Colonel Stephens was assembling a pack of letters to the Lord Trustees in order to send them via Charleston as soon as possible. Monsieur Jones is not yet in Savannah but is still busy with Mr. Oglethorpe. Maybe he will still be there when the letter to Mr. Oglethorpe arrives, the extract of which can be read under the date of January 3rd. I have much confidence in him and believe that he will support our community as best he can. He is always so kind to us as to provide lodgings for us in Savannah even during his absence. May God repay him!]
Our mill has caused a great sensation in Savannah, since this is the first that has been completed in this region. I heard reasonable people say that one can obviously notice that the presence of God is with us, etc. Oh, if only the people in our community would realize it and lead a pious life in the sight of God, it would be easy for them to turn away their misfortune by means of grace, just as when the mill was threatened by the ever rising waters in the first year.
What was reported to us the other day turned out to be true, i.e. that food in Frederica is very expensive, because many sloops coming in from New York or similar regions are being captured by Spanish privateers or freebooters. An Englishman who escaped from St. Augustine has reported that Mr. Whitefield’s schooner (a vessel similar to a sloop with sails) was taken by the Spanish and brought to St. Augustine, a fact that we had only presumed recently. [Not only Mr. Whitefield but also other members of his family had travelled to Charleston to attend the wedding of their doctor before Whitefield’s departure for England.9 Therefore, I was unable to arrange the matters concerning our orphanage, as I had intended.]
I have felt very much distressed that, when Mr. N. [Whitefield] was preaching recently in Savannah, he attempted very fervently to show through the word of God from the Old and New Testament that Christ’s merits are not universal and that God does not want every man to be saved but has predestined most of them to perdition, and has elected only a very few ex absoluto decreto to eternal life. [This unfounded and unconscionable theory he must have absorbed from the Presbyterians in New England or where he has been last, for that was not his theory at first, as I clearly noticed in a conversation with him about the commentaries of Monsieur Henry.10 He has an exceedingly high opinion of the pious theories of the Presbyterian Church and I fear that its prestige and specious arguments have drawn his mind to this clearly disgraceful theory against the very essence of love and the definite clear evidence of the Holy Scriptures. He has made a great effort, vocal and written, to refute the printed sermon of Mr. John Wesley, which was printed recently, and which emphatically contradicts the article of absolutum decretum of the Presbyterian and other churches, although some of his expressions and statements sound rather harsh. Something therefrom is to be printed soon (so that everybody shall see what harm the various journeys of Mr. Whitefield and the neglect of his ministry have done in Savannah). What additional disharmony and partisanship this will cause between him and Mr. Wesley in England, for each of them has many followers. I have no confidence in Mr. Whitefield any more, since he not only keeps these terrible doctrines in his heart but even teaches them in public with much insistence. He has always been very kind and generous to our congregation. May God repay him for that, particularly by enlightening his spirit to realize the truth; meanwhile his nature and strange procedures please me less and less, but I do not wish to give any details.
At Epiphany we heard some dear verses, such as: “The living God is a Savior for all men, but especially...” etc., “The salutary mercy of God hath appeared to all men...” etc., “Who is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only...” etc., “God wishes all men to be helped...” etc. While traveling back I remembered the coming Processus Judicii Matthew 25 especially verses 41-46, saying that it would not be true or upright of our Judge Jesus Christ to impose the guilt for eternal perdition upon mankind, since according to the substance of the dogma of absolutum decretum this is God’s own doing.11
The dangerously ill Steiner sent for me and wanted consolation from the word of God and wished us to pray with him and for him. I eagerly told him the words of Psalms 91:14: “He shall call upon me, and I will answer him...” He cannot pray with his mouth anymore, since he is too weak and has to suffer great pains in his chest. But he can still request through the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which he was seriously reborn as a child of God [with hard birth-pains] which has made him, as a new-born child, eager for the rational pure milk. I reminded him of two examples of souls who petitioned Christ, whom He has helped too, namely the woman with the issue and the man with the palsy (Matthew 9). At last we knelt down and asked God in the name of Jesus Christ to have mercy upon this sick man, as He knows it will be useful to his soul and body. He likes to have Kalcher with him, who was already his good friend in Lindau and who has given him much help in religious and bodily needs.
While I was trying to encourage him he often looked at me and nodded his head to show his believing approval. He is also very pleased that God, through the orphanage, will provide for his wife and child, whom he will have to leave soon as widow and orphan, and that He will prepare a table for them; for they would be badly off at the plantation after his death. When I was leaving he took me by the hand and pressed it as much as he could, but he was unable to say a single word. May God help him, like Simeon, to believe in Jesus, the Holy Lamb of God that was given to us sinnners as our own, and to press Him in his heart so he will rest in peace! Some time ago this dear man was in great remorse for his youthful sins, since he felt nothing but horror and terrible threatenings of the law and saw no consolation anywhere. How could one act with such a soul, if one believed in the [pernicious] theory of absolutum decretum? Nobody could say with certainty that, according to divine dispensation, there would be enough grace left even for the greatest sinner, this expression having been a blessed beginning of Evangelical conversion many times before.
After dinner I visited Simon Steiner again. I had hardly entered the room before he was taken with a bad attack of coughing, and he seemed to be trying to spew out something that was rattling in his chest. Since he could not turn over, Kalcher helped him and held him in his arms. We fell down on our knees and did the same thing as the trusting man who carried the man with the palsy: namely, we commended him to the Lord Jesus’ mercy. While we were praying he fell asleep and was at once relieved from his pains and struggle. He truly gave witness of a real Christian fervently concerned with the salvation of his and his wife’s souls, for which reason we will keep him in good memory. His latest illness started with a dry cough, whereby he felt violent pains in chest and back. After awhile it likewise seemed to be boiling in his chest and at first he emitted a stinking red sputum, and finally a white one. I fear that he at no time during his illness observed a strict diet but went into the water in his feverish condition or lay down in the dew or in very cool and fresh places during the day, from which nothing but bad things occur. If people do not notice the harm to their health right away, but rather become healthy again for awhile, then they will not believe that foolish behavior during a fever will have such sad consequences. [If Mr. Thilo also attributes the illness of the deceased to that and, if I am not mistaken in my conjecture, then I wish to admonish our people by this example to use precaution with their bodies during both healthy and sick days.]
On the large and very uncomfortable boat we used first at Old Ebenezer and later at this place too, some people suffered harm that they did not notice until some time later. The labor on the boat was excessively hard and lasted for five or six days, whereby the rowers became very hot; and, to cool off, they drank much water and poured it over their bodies too. In the evening, when camping in the woods, they looked for the coolest places for their presumed recreation. Such hardships and dangers nobody has ever had in this country, and other prospective colonists coming from Europe to Ebenezer will not experience such things as this. But, thank God!, He has helped us a great deal and turned all the people’s bodily hardships to their spiritual advantage!
Saturday, the 10th of January. [Zettler, a young man of our community, went a year or more ago to a quite able but very unreliable shoemaker at Purysburg to learn his trade from him, but the latter also persuaded him to go to war.12 Now he writes me that he feels quite miserable, is provided with very bad food, and has to work at night also, since his master hangs around all day at the tavern. He is asking me to get him released; and, when I came to Purysburg on my way home from Savannah, he requested it also by word of mouth. I never could or would advise him to go to this master.13 but this good-for-nothing fellow does not want any good advice, and, if everything does not turn out well for him, he puts the blame on others. I advised him to talk to Kieffer at Purysburg, who after his return from St. Augustine had persuaded him to go back as an apprentice to this master. I also told him to consider whether he had learned the profession well enough to be able to make good shoes and earn his living, otherwise he had better wait until he understands his job. However, with a master like this, who is a drunkard and has no fellow-worker, there is but little to learn. At Purysburg things seem rather wretched, even on the Day of our Lord.]
We had both walked to the mill; and at the sight of this great material benefaction that the Lord has given to us we were both awakened to praise God. Now that a floursack has been manufactured, as good as possible, we can grind nine bushels in one night, while before, when we had to separate the flour from the chaff through a sieve, only ten bushels could be ground in twenty-four hours.14 If the people had the same sack cloth as in Germany, there would be no difference between the wheat and the Indian corn flour. As far as we know, one cannot get material of such a kind in this country. The water is rising very high and rushes with great force across the mill run, but it is also flowing over the bank of the river on one side where the land is low, and it is seeking a way along the dam to flow off across the flat country. Some men were occupied with the builder Kogler to prevent this incorrect course so that no holes will be washed out, especially since the soil is extremely loose and light.
Besides the 89 ь Sterling which covers the cost of the mill, some incidental expenses will arise, because one thing and another will have to be undertaken to strengthen the building when experience in this strange country reveals it; our dear God in His wisdom and mercy will provide for this. He is being much praised by pious people for this benefaction; and, since He lives among the praise of Israel, He will also be among us with His blessings, for His presence is a strong and effective presence. When some knowledgeable people in Savannah heard about the cost of the mill, it seemed to them slight and trifling for this important project, especially since a person who had worked with the accounts of the storehouse told them that the cost of the mill dam at Old Ebenezer had amounted to ca. 1000 ь Sterling but it had been completely ruined by the bad foundations. I was pleased to hear that, since it strengthened my hope that the cost of our mill would not seem too high to the Lord Trustees and General Oglethorpe.
Sunday, the 11th of January. Hertzog, who is a voluntary servant at the orphanage, complained to me that he has lost all blessings during the Christmas holidays. Some people tried to induce him to become miller at our mill, and, therefore, he feared that he would have to leave the orphanage and experience all sorts of new uneasiness. Last Saturday he was again told -- with good intent -- that he should grind tomorrow morning for the orphanage and, at Kogler’s desire, start certain experiment with moistening the corn,15 the advantage of which would be to make the flour even more delicate. By this he was once more very much depressed and unable to listen calmly to the word of God. He would consider it very bad if he had to stay outside the orphanage even for one day or night. [This poor fellow has many physical and mental defects; and those who have to get on with him need much patience if they do not wish to irritate his spirit. There is also much obstinacy in him despite his good nature.] His candid report was of great value to me and persuaded me to use every possible precaution myself and to cause others to do so in arranging external matters on Sundays and holidays, so that people with weak wills will not be hurt. We gladly conform to the people’s needs in all things if it can be done in conformity with the word of God and for the sake of God’s Kingdom.
Monday, the 12th of January. N. [The young16 Kieffer] has definite information that everything looks corrupt and miserable at Orangeburg in South Carolina, here his mother-in-law lives with her children.17 Therefore, he asked me to write to her again in his name, asking her to move here. He hopes they will be pleased here, since they will be shown the way to life by the word of God. He promises the mother and her children every possible bodily provision, as long as they will be satisfied with the gift of God.
Because of the holidays I have interrupted the preparation hours for Holy Communion for a few weeks. Today we met again for this purpose and repeated in summary everything that has been explained recently according to the instructions of Freylinghausen’s compendium18 about the essence, persons, and attributes, as well as the first act, of God, i.e. the creation of all creatures and especially the angels. Before the lesson we baptized Rottenberger’s little child, who was born last night happily and healthy. He gave him the name of David, because the example of David from the stories that we have considered in the past impressed him very much and were beneficial to his heart. I said to him: if God grants life, one should remember the child of the right David, of whom this David is a prefiguration, i.e. the Beloved of God Ephesians 1:6 (because this means David) on whose dear merit he is being baptized today.19
Tuesday, the 13th of January. [Mr. Stewart (the most intimate friend of Mr. Whitefield) has, as recently mentioned, sent us his letter-diary covering his travel from Savannah through Pennsylvania to London as a present, which I have read today. I must confess that, while reading it, I was most uneasy, the cause of which anybody who reads it even with only half attention will easily understand. It is especially sad that he has absorbed the wicked doctrine of absolutum decretum and was very eager on the ship to impart it to his fellow travelers. He looks upon it as sublime a doctrine as the mystery of Holy Trinity, and one which one must believe whether or not one can support it with all the terms of the Holy Scriptures. The thought occurs to me why people of such kind do not speak of Holy Communion in that way and believe simply in the Scriptures, that bread and wine are not mere symbola significativa sed exhibitiva,20 so that, according to the assurance of Jesus Christ, His real body and His real blood are being adminstered to us, which they, however, cannot comprehend by common sense, as they say, although faith in this article contains nothing against God’s glory, love, and omnipotence, as the theory of the absolutum decretum does. To be sure, it sounds rather annoying, for example, when Mr. Stewart (p. 37) writes the following: “Who will say, that Judas was not appointed from Eternity to betray Christ? et raised up for that very purpose as much as Pharaoh?, etc. et p. 78 in short, all our salvation is according to the Election of Grace, without which we could never have obtained it, but must have been blinded as well as the rest of Mankind (Romans 11:7) who were also appointed (1 Peter 11:8) et ordained to their Condemnation (Jude 4) as the Elect to their Salvation.”
[May God illuminate him and his likes so they will be sobered and freed from these and other dangerous errors. I would have regretted it if I had found the name of Ebenezer or our names in this journal, since others might conclude from that that we too believe in these and other theories, e.g. of the millenium of Christ on earth.]
The weather has changed completely. Up to now there has been very strong frost or cold rain, but yesterday it became warm, and a rather violent wind brought us rain at night. Today, however, there was lovely spring weather. The river water is starting to fall considerably. Just as we previously observed the wind while travelling by sea or on boat trips, we now watch the rise and fall of the water, which can be observed very well at the mill. Prior to the edification hour I went to the mill to see whether the high water had done any damage to the dike, especially to the loose soil on one bank of the river; but to my joy and to the praise of God I heard that everything was in good order. At the mill they work hard day and night; and people of our community are well provided now so that they are able to grind at the mill for people from Purysburg and Savannah, too.
Pichler, a reasonable and skilled Salzburger, whose plantation and household are situated near the mill, has been appointed as miller. From the members of our parish he takes not more than 2 quarts from a bushel instead of the grinding money, which is little, since a bushel has 32 quarts, but enough for him. From strangers he is said to take 4 pence. If in the end there should be some money left over, especially when we have two sets of stones for grinding, something will be laid aside for the maintenance of the mill.
The 14th of January. This morning some men took four calves to Savannah for sale. They are very welcome there and are well paid for. The fifth one they had to leave behind because of lack of space in the boat. Every year a rather large part of them are butchered, and another part is sold principally to Savannah, since our people are in need of the milk from the cows for their own households, and because they could not maintain as many cattle as they would breed in a short time if all calves remained alive, for at Old Ebenezer the Lord Trustees have many cattle, which need a great tract of grazing land. At this opportunity two barrels of flour from our mill were brought to Savannah, and a full bag to Purysburg. Our people have agreed to ask 6 Sh. for a hundred pounds of flour, which includes the cost of grinding and the transport to Savannah.
[I wrote to Mr. Whitefield’s schoolmaster /Habersham/ and informed him that he could have flour for the orphanage and that a hundred pounds would cost 6 Sh.; and the Salzburgers promised to deliver it to Savannah. One barrel of flour has already been ground for them. The Indian corn flour brought from New York to Savannah was also sold for 6 Sh., but there is a great difference between this coarse, spoiled flour and our fresh and fine flour. For the coarse rye flour one had to pay 8 Sh. per hundred pounds.
[Mrs. Rheinländer was asked by a letter with a little gift to come to Charleston as a midwife, whereof she told me this morning. I was pleased to hear that she realized the danger in which she and her children had been in Charleston and Purysburg. She did not want to accept the responsibility for letting herself be moved by her own advantages to let her own soul and those of her family fall into new danger, especially since she thought that God was beginning to bless her contrition also in her children and lead her to the right way. She hopes to find her food and bodily needs here too, and I confirmed this with the sentence: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God...” etc. Her talks, tears, and testimony gave me more and more good hope that her behavior may not be a hypocrisy but the truth and that the Lord really has begun a good work in her previously very vain and arrogant soul.]
At Mrs. Rottenberger’s house, I met two pious women visiting her with gifts of food, as is customary among the Salzburgers for a woman in childbed; they both spoke a kind word to her for her happiness. This good company pleased me greatly and did a great deal of good to Mrs. Rottenberger, so that, with tears, she revived her plan to devote the rest of her life to praising the Lord and for the salvation of her own soul. The pious women spoke with great humility, praising God for the admirable deeds He has done for the deliverance of their souls and telling how much they regret, now that they feel the strength and sweetness of Christianity, having spent too much time with amusements while rejecting the grace of God conferred upon them. They marveled at the great love and mercy of God, who has not disinherited them now, in spite of the many and heavy sins they previously committed. He has granted them mercy and the promise of eminent glory in eternity after the short life of labor and trouble, which was explained to them also in last night’s prayer meeting (2 Samuel 7:1 cf. Sirach 51:35).
This testimony of the woman in childbed was, no doubt, more impressive than if a minister had given it. I reminded her of the grace which God had shown to her soul during a painful sickness, while she was still living in her old hut. She had, however, not fulfilled her then given promise; and it is her fault that she is still without grace while in a dangerous condition, etc. One of the women remembered her former blindness; and, in order to illustrate it, she related that she had heard the prayers of the deceased Simon Steiner at Old Ebenezer in the open air until late at night, but had despised him because of his constantly repeated uniform words (autologies). At his sickbed she admitted it and apologized for it, because she could find no peace without doing so. She applied the saying to herself: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him. . .” etc.
The 15th of January. Nine months ago Riedelsperger, a pious Salzburger, became a voluntary servant at the orphanage for God’s sake, since he had seen how big a burden Kalcher had to bear with the housekeeping. Circumstances now make it necessary for him to take care of his own household. However, since Kalcher cannot be left without a good helper, we are in some trouble. At present we have to economize as much as possible at the orphanage, as our dear God has not provided us with earthly blessings from near or far off for some time. If our kind and almighty God would bestow on us some material goods and enable us to buy provisons and clothing and other things necessary for its maintenance, we would take courage to ask a pious family of our parish to co-administer the orphanage. As it is now, we cannot expect it of anyone. It is written in next Sunday’s gospel: “Mine hour is not yet come. . . .” Since these words of our Lord contain a wonderful promise, I consoled Kalcher with this sentence today.
I prayed with Riedelsperger about his intended change and found him willing to remain a few more weeks at the orphanage. He would gladly devote his service and time to the orphanage for a longer period if only his unrest were not too great and the labor too heavy. If God would give us the means to hire another Christian man as a servant, it would be very beneficial to the workers and the children and then he would not long to leave the orphanage. They have many cattle, pigs, and poultry there, which Kalcher and Riedelsperger have to take care of besides their other business, because we cannot get a maid. One cannot get rid of the livestock because, if we had to buy all the meat, the orphanage could not exist.
Mrs. Steiner does not want to leave the orphanage after the death of her husband but is willing to stay there, since she recognizes the hand and will of God. She has a very little child at her breast and can help a little with the outside work, but not as much as she could work in her own household. May God give us wisdom to find out His will with regard to the orphanage in all trials and tribulations, and may all labor done in and outside the orphanage for the children reach its blessed purpose for Christ’s sake.
The 16th of January. At the mill I have observed that the rush of water over the mill wheel occasionally splashes over the wooden millrace and washes away the loose soil beneath, through which a sinking of the channel might be caused by and by. The carpenters did not have enough boards to build the millrace sufficiently high, and Kogler is too shy to request labor from anybody without the greatest urgency, since there is no money to pay even a little. Today I demonstrated the necessity of the improvement, which Kogler confirmed; and right away I found some people willing to saw as many boards as are required, which could not be other than pleasant to see.
It means nothing to build something if there is money on hand, or if there is a certain hope of getting the building costs repaid. How gladly I would praise God if He would incline General Oglethorpe and the Lord Trustees to pay the costs so that I could remunerate the dear and disinterested workmen for their faith and trouble, even to a slight degree, all the more since they are poor and in need of clothes and other things.
Last Tuesday on the plantations we read the precious story from 1 Chronicles 17, which belongs as a supplement to the story 2 Samuel 6. We learned that David had ordered a twofold divine service, one at the top of Mount Zion in front of the Ark of the Covenant, which was performed without the Levitic ceremonies in the spirit of truth, as a beautiful prefiguration of the divine service in the New Testament and the heavenly Zion. The other divine service was held near the old tabernacle and the remaining vessels of the sanctuary on the heights of Gibeon. At both places there had to be melodious music to assure that the grace of God would be everlasting.
Of the seventh chapter of 2 Samuel we made only a beginning, since by means of the “Connexion” we recognized in David the good virtue of continuance in the devotion to the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and from that we could take many salutary admonitions, for one must say to many of us: “Ye did run well: who did hinder you?” Inconstancy in good and faithlessness for mercy received are the main reasons that some people do not become really converted or become genuine servants of God. From the attitude of David toward Michal, who was too pious and too eager for David, we could learn to understand the words of the Savior, Luke 14:26.
Today we heard the important points: (1) that God had given David repose from all enemies around him; (2) how he used the great benefit of physical peace. At the first point we remembered that, before achieving peace, David was involved in much restlessness, struggle, and combat according to God’s intention. But the Lord helped him to conquer all this and come to peace, which partly furnishes a pleasing prefiguration both of Christ, who, after the struggle and effort, is sitting at the right hand of God, and of the true successors of Christ, who only after struggle and effort can expect the crown (and this only by God’s grace) : “For no one is crowned, except he . . . etc.” “I have fought a good fight . . . etc.” “He that overcometh, the same . . . etc.” At the second point we remembered that most people misuse physical recreation and peace, although it is such a rich jewel, as well as other gifts of God for many kinds of sin and will therefore receive an all the worse verdict. See Daniel 4. David did not behave like this, but used his peace for the glory of God and for his own and his people’s salvation. Thus the first believers have also done: Acts 9:31. “Then had the churches rest . . . etc.”
In the application it was shown that we also had to thank nobody but the merciful and almighty God for the physical rest we have enjoyed for seven years in this peaceful country. He has fulfilled His merciful word on us, upon which we meditated some years ago at the memorial service (Psalms 81: 14-17), even though, unfortunately, not all people have been obedient to Him and walked in His ways. Since we do not know how long our marvelous God will grant us this quiet time of mercy, everybody should arouse himself to apply it as a preparation for forthcoming trials and tribulations, which -- according to the first example of the first believers in Acts 9:31 -- consists of building ourselves into a living temple of the Lord and walking in the fear of Him. Thus we shall be filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit, by which the first Christians were sent to the most grievous tortures and were made joyful. Another beautiful thing about David is that during his leisure days he acquainted himself with the Holy Scriptures and tried to learn from them the divine promises and his own duties (Deuteronomy 12:5, 9-11).
He also experienced a feeling of holy shame at living in a big king’s palace while God’s Ark of the Covenant stayed under the carpets. On this occasion I pointed out very simply that I myself was also very worried about the fact that a convenient house has been built for a poor and miserable person like myself yet no place of worship has been built for the congregation. Therefore, I asked the listeners to read the two chapters of the Prophet Haggai, whereby they, as I hope, would be moved to find the necessary means to build the church, laying aside all other, even necessary, occupations, whereby I would be delivered from my grief and secret discontent. In this connection it is a certain relief to me that in the past my house has been used as church and school too. And even though I and my family have only one room to live in in wintertime and I certainly have some difficulties in my studies, this obstacle is still not as great as the eventual sorrow would be if God had not ordained that this house be used for His glory and for the good of the congregation. It often is very useful for us to make such comparisons as this one with David; our dear Savior had not the where to lay his head, and many believers from the past and the present, of whom the world was not worthy (Hebrews 11:36-38), must live in misery. To us God grants an easy life in this country, which should bring about humility, gratitude, satisfaction, etc.
The 17th of January. When coming home from the plantations last night on foot, I was very tired; and by and by chills and fever overtook me, together with a strong headache, which finally disappeared at night, when the fever vanished after a strong outburst of perspiration. I hope that this fever will soon pass away with the help of God so that I will not be prevented from my official duties. Last night I had to cancel the prayer meeting. I have noticed that people who take care of themselves during a fever get rid of it much faster than those who try to be strong and expel it by walking, laboring, etc.
We have very pleasant weather now, as if we were already living in the springtime. People on the plantations are very busy preparing the land for planting. Since the soil is very rich, the land is full of thin and thick trees, brushwood, and reeds; and people must work hard before they have cleared a small piece of ground and prepared it for planting. The saying applies well to us: “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou ...” etc.; they have probably never worked in such a sweat in winter or summer as in this country; but they work with the greatest pleasure and enjoy thereby the blessings of God. Especially the mill and its great advantage encourages them to even more diligence in agriculture.
Kogler explained to me how easily a rice stamping mill could be built:21 but I cannot request new work from him at the present time, since up to now I have been unable to pay anything to him and others. What good would a stamping mill be for the community? During the heavy farm work the men tear up many shirts, especially because of their very heavy sweating: perhaps the Providence of God will ordain that we receive some linen from Europe. What God has bestowed on them from Halle and Augsburg is still in use, and this great present is remembered with much gratefulness and praise of God.
The 18th of January. The oldest of the two sisters who are serving in my house was attacked by a severe malady some days ago. Since last night her pains have relented. The Lord, her Physician, to whom she was referred briefly yesterday because of her spiritual and physical condition, has surely done this so that, for her salvation, she will be able to hear the evangelical and grace-laden sermon even on her sickbed (which, according to her own choice, is in the little chamber beside the church room). In the past she has been strongly awakened to recognize, bewail, and confess her deep corruption, and has eagerly invoked her Savior to help her. However, because of her subtle faithlessness and sloth, she has not experienced the treasure which says: “Thy sins are forgiven, be comforted”! This touches her heart very much!
Her sighing and praying are fervent; and it is her honest intention not to live for the lusts of the flesh, but in accordance with God’s wishes. She is thankful that God has not sent her to the plantations, where her sister is living, but into a town, to a place where she is able to hear the word of God every day, etc. Among us sickness has often been a blessed remedy for spiritual recuperation. The youngest sister, who also works in my house, is being prepared together with others for the Lord’s Table. Her great desire for the word of God and her hearty private prayer gives me good hope that she, for the salvation of her soul and the special blessing of Christianity, can be admitted to the Lord’s Table. There is no hurry about it, and the young people are given enough time to penetrate the beneficial cognition of Christ.
Until this day the beautiful hymn: Nun will ich mich scheiden von allen Dingen . . . etc. was almost useless for us, since the melody was not suitable for singing in a public gathering. Therefore, we have chosen another melody, which is not difficult to learn. God be praised for the blessings He has bestowed upon several people, as has come to my knowledge, from this beautiful song from the time the melody was taught to them. Tonight at the repetition hour we sang for the first time in public, besides this aforementioned song, also the wonderful song: O wie selig sind die Seelen . . . etc. Up to now we have been waiting for the printed melodies from Halle, published in a special booklet, hoping to find therein also the melody for the mentioned song. Now its beautiful content has obliged us, however, to impart the melodies to our congregation in the same way as we sang them in Halle. Mr. Thilo thinks that the customary melody known to us differs in some ways from the notes. However, it cannot be changed once the young and old people have become used to the melodies, since this would bewilder people who learn by ear and by singing it many times and do not know the notes at all. Moreover, we attach great importance to avoiding all wrong expressions not only in the texts but also in the tunes, which is possible in a small congregation, especially at the beginning and with docile people. We want to put down the notes of both songs for retention and memory:
The 19th of January. This morning a boat loaded with corn left for the mill. I traveled on it to Ernst’s plantation, but found neither him nor his wife at home because they had gone to Mr. Thilo with their little child, who had been injured. [From their little girl, approximately 7 years old, I heard that her father does not beat her mother or curse anymore, though he is sometimes mean and angry. I exhorted her to be good and] I went to Sanftleben, who lives next to them, intending to examine his wife about the catechism and what she has heard in the praeparatio ad sacram coenam.22 But she had gone to town together with her brother to help with the hog slaughtering at the orphanage.
When I inquired of Sanftleben, who frequents the devotion-hours at the plantations despite his remoteness, about his Christianity, I learned that, by the grace of God, he wants nothing else but to save his own and his wife’s soul. He complained of not yet having reached the certainty of God’s grace in spite of the great efforts he has made; for he always hears that one must and can come to that point. I indicated to him the serious use of the means of salvation, through which he would find the order prescribed by our wise, holy, and just God to sinners for their salvation; it would be especially necessary for him to realize and feel his fall and his great sinful state. Then, by the effect of the Holy Ghost, a longing, crying, and yearning for the help of Christ would be procured for him; and our Lord Jesus Christ would never fail to confer the same upon him as He promises in so friendly and kindly a manner to the weary and burdened souls who let themselves be brought to him (see Matthew 11:28 and elsewhere). I have in mind to give him the serious instructions of the late Prof. Francke on 1 Peter 1:17-25 concerning the important and blessed modification etc. for an attentive study. He said he has abandoned his first love, whereby I pointed to the bystanding words: Revelations: 2:5.
On my way back home I met N. [Ernst and his wife, and told them what I had heard from their little daughter, which the mother affirmed, and he could not deny.] He is burdened with a sickness of his chest and throat. In view of it I reminded him of the late Simon Steiner’s sickness and admonished him to realize his dangerous spiritual condition and to make repentance in time. He lies in the most deplorable darkness and, what is more, in the power of Satan, even if he cannot believe it: he should pray to God to make it known to him. I also explained to him how he should arrange the contents of his prayer. Since he spontaneously quoted something from yesterday’s sermon, I showed him that he should pay careful attention to those passages in the sermon suitable to his condition, i.e. how he should manage to honestly convert to God, which is scarcely ever omitted in the sermons. He confessed now (as he had never done before) that he felt unworthy and unprepared to take Holy Communion and therefore did not wish to register for it until he has changed. I recommended to him to hurry and save his soul.
It is very impressive to me that the pious listeners, when praying publicly in the meetings, earnestly remember the little children who have been baptized in our community and pray to God for their spiritual and bodily blessing and especially for the grace to remain steadfast in their baptismal covenant, which they surely include in their private prayers too. I have heard from honest family fathers that, when looking for sponsors and godfathers for their children, they look for those in the congregation who also pray eagerly for their children and would take care of their welfare in case of the early death of the parents. I hope that we, if the Lord lets us live long enough, will see the fruit of such prayer in those children.
The 20th of January. I visited N. [Mrs. Landfelder] and her husband and found their minds in a better condition than some time ago [when one could not permit them to the Lord’s Table because they showed various symptoms of an unconverted character]. I told them something about the saying: “Bring forth therefore fruits meant for repentance . . .”, and said that all external things without real atonement and change of heart are worthy of being rejected by God. But, if a good tree is planted, the fruit will certainly follow and God and the holy angels will rejoice about such a changed condition according to Luke 15. Likewise, I said that a Christian likes to be chastised, as seen in the example of the mother of Jesus from yesterday’s gospel. Because wisdom from heaven lets her say: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil. . .” etc. With the Old Adam one cannot fare well. They should indeed believe that I was well disposed towards them, even if I treated them harshly, etc.
When their little daughter entered the courtyard I heard her say something unseemly, for which I reproved her with love. Afterwards I took Mrs. Landfelder aside and told her how much damage children have to suffer, when even she, as I know, utters all sorts of bad words when in a rage, whereby she not only causes annoyance and brings harm upon herself, but also becomes incapable of punishing the children for their own benefit. [I also told her and her husband what I had heard from Ernst’s little daughter.] May God grant them to do atonement!
During the prayer meeting we still have the inconvenience with the aforementioned evil person who is loitering about in our vicinity and from time to time steals hens or whatever he can find, especially in my dear colleague’s barnyard. We lie in wait for him, but at those times he does not show up. He must be a very skilled and sly thief. If one single man can cause so much trouble, what would happen if God permitted many people, especially the open enemies of this country, to disturb our peace. This reflection should oblige us to even more thankfulness and hearty prayer.
Zettler has now returned to us from his bad and slovenly master and wants to remain in our community and no place else. He was not bound to stay there, since his master took him to war and held back half of his pay, but Kieffer at Purysburg had persuaded him to try it once more with this master. However, since this master feeds him like the Negroes (which is not better than feeding dogs at our place), and furthermore he has to suffer many curses, threats, and other annoying things, he does not want to work there for another day. I am astonished at the abominations that happen there. The young Kieffer -- a short time ago on the boat -- talked to the shoemaker N. [Reck] about his dangerous condition and received the answer that he would convert as soon as he moved his land in our vicinity in Carolina. This miserable man, however, does not know what he is talking about.
[The young Kieffer was accompanied by his brother-in-law [Depp] from Purysburg, a member of the Reformed Church. Since there was an opportunity to talk about his married state, I asked him about the text and the good admonitions his preacher had given him and his wife at their marriage. I heard, however, that they were married without the word of God and only by the reading of some commandments and ceremonies and that the father was very annoyed that not even the benediction had been spoken on the newly married couple. It was no benefit, but rather a Species Judicii Divini,23 on Kieffer’s house that his eldest daughter, who had the good opportunity to marry a pious and skilled man in our community, is now married to a member of the Reformed Church who is ill informed in religious matters and is also of bad reputation, and under such wretched and unedifying circumstances as were shown during the marriage ceremony. God have mercy on all the misery that exists in Christianity and especially in this country.]
Today it rained all day long; but, since the edification hour was to be held on the plantations in the morning, I dared to make the journey out there in the name of God in spite of my physical weakness. With God’s blessing and despite the bad weather, I returned home healthier than I had departed. It would have caused me sorrow and unrest if I had stayed at home because of the continuing rain, since I observed that people gathered for edification in as large numbers as usual and would have had to return without hearing the word of God because of my absence. I believe the listeners receive a good impression and useful admonition not to think of their own comfort in spiritual things when they observe the same in their teachers and pastors. God help us to be edifying for our listeners by word and example.
After a detailed repetition of our last sermon, we reflected especially upon the point in the story where it is told that David did not follow his own plan and will with regard to the building of the temple, but revealed his good ideas to the Prophet Nathan for examination, despite the fact that he himself was a wise king and also a prophet. At this time we remembered the saying in James 3:17: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable . . .” see John 2:45, and we admonished ourselves against obstinacy in physical and especially spiritual things, as a source of much evil.
The 21st of January. [Last Saturday Mrs. Helffenstein told me that a Salzburger had asked her for her daughter, who lives in the orphanage together with three other children of hers. She is willing to let her take care of his small children for a certain time, if I will agree. When I had given my permission, she said that it seemed to her, and she had also heard, that Mrs. Kalcher does not like the girl and quoted word and deeds as proof for it. She is a blanda Mater,24 and therefore I had to tell her curtly of her girl’s obvious naughtiness and also that she needs discipline very badly. I could not believe the words and the attitude of Mrs. Kalcher towards her and tried to argue her out of it. I also asked her not to believe anything the children say because that could do much harm.
As God ordained, at a certain occasion this week Mrs. Kalcher told me that the Helffenstein girl is now behaving well and that she likes her; she found her on her knees at a secret place praying heartily, so that she went away without being seen or heard by the girl, etc. There was no need to grieve Mrs. Kalcher with Mrs. Helffenstein’s statement, but I went right away to her and informed her what Mrs. Kalcher had said about her girl even though she had not known what we talked about last Saturday. With Kalcher and his wife it is as with other upright workers in the vineyard of our Lord and elsewhere; they seem sometimes too mild, and sometimes too severe for other people. But it is always easier to cast blame than to make things better.]
The married couple N. [Rothenberger] have the earnest intent to devote themselves to the Lord with soul and body. They realize not only the highest necessity, but also the blissfulness of true Christianity, so they clearly indicated by their fine expressions. They feel the grace of God powerfully and pleasingly in their souls and are ashamed that they have let God call and tempt them for so long in vain. In this they perceive the deep fall and the great corruption of the human heart. The woman told me that on New Year’s Day she remembered the strong awakening that the Lord had presented to her last year in the sermon on New Year’s Day. She has, however, lived all year without coming to a real conversion, which she regrets very much. May God help both of them to come now from their many convictions and good intentions to seriousness, struggle, and victory, whereto I have aroused them both by my exhortation and prayer. Since they told me that they had been spoken to kindly today by Mrs. Schweighoffer, who always talks unaffectedly and edifyingly from the great treasure of her heart and says no useless things, I remembered that they could learn from her, as a living example, what true Christianity means. Thereupon he said: “Ah, what kind of a woman is she? Now I understand better what her former melancholy meant, which I perceived while she was living next to us, and from what it came . . . etc.”
I pointed out to both of them from Psalms 119: 28, 32, 50 and Isaiah 28:14, 17 that Christianity begins at this point: everybody must recognize his sins and feel a lamentation, pain, fear, etc. However, it must not stop here, but one must come to the experience: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee for ever and ever, even if they are ever so many and ever so great.” That is more than all kingdoms and empires, as will be proved in the hour of death and before the judgment seat of Christ. And, since God has often moved their conscience and let them feel repentence for their sins and since they, in spite of it, are allowing themselves to be caught and drawn back by the dangerous nets of Satan through their carelessness and certainty, I admonished them to steadfastness and truth by citing the little verse: “Look at me, I have had trouble and labor for a short time . . . etc.” Sirach 51.
The 22nd of January. Yesterday and last night it rained all the time. The water in the creek has risen so much that the nearest way through the Gruber’s plantation cannot be passed with dry feet, even though the way lies rather high. Because of the uninterrupted rain we have been unable to hold the prayer hour for two evenings; meanwhile the diligent listeners have probably taken advantage of the glorious 119th Psalm, which we have discussed while contemplating the story of David’s use of his recreation time, 2 Samuel 7:1,2, cf. Deuteronomy 12:9-11. I must confess that this psalm has never been so edifying, dear, and valuable to me as this time, when I run through it together with my people in small portions and use it in my prayer. From it one sees what a holy savior dear David found in the word of God, and how he would rather have suffered than to have it taken away from him. God be praised! Through the story many psalms have already become known, cherished, and dear to us.
[It seems that we will not have Spielbigler and his old mother with us much longer in Ebenezer. They are selling their belongings secretly and will move away soon. They have not come to my public worship for a long time, probably to spite us, but surely to their own greatest harm. Oh, the poor people! I fear we will have to witness both spiritual and physical judgments on them, just as before. In people’s opinion it seems impossible to improve their souls because, if anyone tells them that they do not please God in their present condition and therefore need to be converted, he will not be their friend anymore, be it minister or parishioner. Michael Rieser, their neighbor, is of one mind with them. Since he has returned from work at Mr. White-field’s plantation, he has not shown up at our meetings on Sundays and at prayer meetings.25 He is like Simon the magician, full of bitter gall, combined with injustice.]
I had to warn N. [the tailor Christ] against the frivolous company of some other young men, with whom he got entangled. At first he was angry about that and pointed at others, who had done more evil than himself. I reminded him of the verse that was explained with examples the other day: “Let the righteous smite me” . . . etc. Likewise, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure. ...” He was appeased by this, and opened his mind to me about the story of his lapse. Last Sunday morning somebody had visited him to demand a still incomplete tailoring job and a certain debt from him; and, since he did not have the money, he had to run around to borrow it. Therefore his mind was distracted and unable to listen to the word of God: because he did not pick himself up by prayer and struggle, he slipped down even farther in the evening together with others.
Late at night God ordained that he should hear a girl of the community earnestly and continuously praying in the distance; and this moved his conscience and he was awakened to a good new resolution. In the morning, however, he allowed his attention to be distracted and discouraged by the babble of a person visiting him and by his own confused domestic situation. Because he felt bored in the evening and not inclined to read or pray, he went out and met other young people, who spoke and acted not badly, to be sure, but also not edifyingly, although the mother of one of them admonished them to sing and pray. Hereupon I heard many things, especially how he should carry on his struggle (the necessity of which in Christianity has been told to him) against the inducements to all sins, both inward and outward, and also against the opportunities thereto.
Satan tries many methods on people who wish to escape, or have escaped him already, sometimes also simple and seemingly innocent things, to do them harm. This he can observe not only in himself and the said circumstances, but also in the annoying and disagreeable things that have occurred between N. [Rheinländer] and his mother, who does not wish such gatherings to harm him. Since Mrs. Rheinländer herself had informed me today, I told him something about it.
[Poor Johann Christ once made up his mind to board at Hans Floerl’s, and I had thought that he was all right there; however, his unsteady nature has prevented him from being so. Now he is again very eager to be taken back into the orphanage, since otherwise he will be unable to manage and will also suffer harm to his health and Christianity. However, during this time of trial, which the orphanage is also suffering, I have directed him to wait and pray. I gave him reason to hope that, if only God would give me the means to shelter somebody else at the orphanage, he would be the first one. He himself should heartily pray to God for such means.]
The 23rd of January. The upper river that flows to the plantations has risen so high that I had to lead the horse by the bridle through the water; and I myself had to go across the well preserved bridge. But something untoward could have happened to me, if God in His fatherly grace had not prevented it. We too, who have to travel back and forth in our office, can apply the splendid promise of the 91st Psalm to ourselves: “For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in thy ways ...” etc. I thought to myself that it is an insufficiently known blessing of God that after man’s fall He still left him aliquale imperium over26 His creation and impressed a fear of men upon His creatures and also left them enough understanding to use their best and most convenient means to save themselves or to carry their point. For, if the horse had wished to use the force that it had, and if a certain thought had not occurred to me to keep it in order, I could have easily come to grief. Afterwards I rode with a happy and God-praising heart to the mill, and from there to our meeting place.
The high and strong water does no damage to the dike, and we can even grind a little. If, as mentioned recently, the millrace or run, which is approximately four feet wide and one foot high, were elevated one foot higher (for which boards are to be sawn), we could let more water flow in to drive the mill-wheel, even if the current in the river is not strong because of lower water.
Steiner, who usually shoots a small cannon as signal for starting the meeting, did it this time with a long oak log, in the middle of which he had drilled a hole that he filled up with gunpowder. By this the tree was split very straight with a great detonation, as could hardly be done with an axe. He wishes to make stakes for a fence out of the tree.
A woman, bent and depressed by the sins of her youth, told me that she often cogitates on the examples of sinners in the Holy Scriptures, but she cannot find any one person who has committed as many atrocities as she herself, etc. I assured her from the word of God that if her sins were even more numerous and greater than they are, our Lord Jesus, God’s and Mary’s son, has done enough and has also paid all her debts and undergone punishment for them. Our reconciled God now demands nothing from a sinner but to come to him like a desolate, miserable, ragged beggar, yet eager for help, in the name of, i.e. through the merits, command, and promise of Christ, and to confess his sins, to long for grace, and to accept it from the gospel. God, I said, will look for nothing else in the justification than the absolute merit of Christ and the anguish of the sinner. It is said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, I will ...” etc. And since she referred to the example of the sinful woman in Luke 7, of whom it is said: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much”, I showed her that her love was not the cause of remission but a splendid fruit from it.
In justification, which can happen only through belief in the redemption through Christ, God would consider it already as a sign of love to His Son if only the poor sinner is longing, sighing, and moaning for the Savior, just as a worthless beggar stretches his trembling and pleading hands towards his salvation. If the sinner is reprieved, it is said: “I would give you yet a thousand worlds, to repay the true love.” With regard to the aforementioned point, I told her that divine wisdom and grace are hidden by the fact that He has not disclosed all the sins of other penitents or let them be revealed so that everybody will consider himself the greatest sinner and take a place on the lowest bench. This is of good use, I said, whereas much harm would be done by the thought that there are more sinners than yourself or even bigger ones than you are.
We also remembered the late Simon Steiner, who at his end had a hard fight. From this example, of which I held back the particulars, I confirm what was said before, namely, that God let him well feel the right great sins that he had committed from youth on and that he considered greater than those of anybody in our congregation. Since this woman was worried that God, as has been threatened, will make her descendants suffer for the sins of her youth, I relieved her of this needless sorrow and assured her of the contrary from the conclusion of the Decalogue, i.e. since she and her husband surrender to our Lord at discretion, God will bless not only them, but also their seed. God lets one be much distressed in noticing the bad conduct of his children and seeing, as if in a mirror, how one behaved during his own childhood and youth. If, however, one prays for the children, gives them a constant example of godly behavior, and uses the means necessary for their education, then the Lord will lead them on the right way to our joy.
I tried to encourage her spirit, which was depressed about many other things too; and the dear God gave His blessing. She does not regard any sin or impurity as insignificant; rather every worldly desire, laziness, etc. costs her much struggle and many tears. She also complained that in atonement she has not yet experienced what is written in the 6th Psalm, etc.; but I pointed out to her the 32nd and 51st Psalms, warned her against affected atonement, and instructed her to follow only the guidance of the Lord. There will come, I said, a time when she will also experience what the 6th Psalm means (if the Lord finds it beneficial for her); for I think it deals more with the great religious temptations of Christ and His followers than with the first atonement. It also troubles her that she deceived us with her dissimulation at Old Ebenezer so that we imagined her capable of more than was actually possible for her. Oh, how great she finds the patience and forebearance of God!
The 24th of January. After the rainfall we had pleasant weather yesterday and the day before; but a strong wind came up yesterday from the north-west, which brought us almost as violent a freeze last night as we had some weeks ago. The wind drove the river water with great violence towards the sea; and therefore we hope that it will soon fall again so that the mill will not have to stop working.
Since Wednesday, our boat is being rowed to Savannah by people from Old Ebenezer, who will have an uncomfortable journey because of the rain and strong wind, but they will not mind that if only they are successful in Savannah. As long as the storehouse manager, Monsieur Jones, has been in Frederica, they have been in need and short of provisions; and they would be even worse off if they had not received a few things in their need from our community. The Englishman in charge of them takes no care of them. Those people who are working for us are much too ungrateful for all the good they have here. Nobody can complain about lack of provisions or heavy slavish work.
Mrs. Rauner returned a few weeks ago from Savannah, where she had boasted of earning so much money, yet she does not yearn to go back; so Ebenezer must have advantages over other places even for bad people. She has given away her three children, the oldest girl to a Swiss near Savannah, the youngest to Pletter on the plantations, and the boy to the overseer of the Lord Trustees’ cattle at Old Ebenezer at five pounds Sterling for a period of four years, where he will have to search for straying cattle in the woods and learn to handle them. [The whole family is restless and bad; and, since the children, when they were together, have caused many inconveniences in the community, it is very good that we are getting rid of them.] The mother wants to earn her living by field work, knitting, and spinning, and whatever work she can get.
The 25th of January. In dealing with some people my dear colleague has observed a few points that he has communicated to me in writing and that consist of the following: Recently [I wished to visit Mrs. Gruber, but I did not meet her at home since she was working at the orphanage threshing flour. I went there, and when Mrs. Gruber went home I had an opportunity to talk to N. [Hertzog], who was working for the orphanage. He revealed to me the condition of his heart and confessed that he could imagine nothing else but to be condemned. He used severe expressions about it. But I asked him cordially not to think that way, for it is written: “As I live, saith the Lord ...” etc. God has presented us His only begotten Son, John 3. He shall come to Him, God has waited for him a long time already, yea, He has started to show mercy upon him. He should just use the means of salvation correctly.
[Today] the 23rd of January [I was going to see Mrs. Floerl, but she was not alone. Mrs. Schweighoffer was praying together with her; and, therefore, I went to Mrs. Gruber. There I met some children, among whom was Catharina Holtzer; and I took the opportunity to talk with her as a sick girl. Mrs. Gruber interjected and held up to her the example of Magdalena Haberfehner, who formerly visited her often, now, however, she is out of this world, and so is her own Peter too. Meanwhile Hertzog came through and, when he saw me in the hut], after a while, when I was visiting others, he came and thanked me for having come to him recently. It seemed to him that his state of mind was better this time; he said he feels that he should not come to Christ before he is thus and thus. I answered that that was self-justification: he should merely come to Him with all his sins and place himself under His care, then He would help him. Moreover, God had just revealed his perdition to him so that he would entirely despair of himself and surrender to Him bare and naked and confess his anxiety to Him in simple terms. He responded: “I think I am unworthy to creep into the wounds of our Lord Jesus!” I answered: “But He wishes you to, and it would be false humility if we were kept back from Him by our unworthiness. He is pleased when we come to Him.”
When N. [Hertzog] was leaving, Mrs. Gruber told him that he should simply tell his sorrow to the dear God. When he was gone, she told me that the other day, when I visited him, she went to him once again and admonished him to pray eagerly and to keep up his courage even if it should last two years. She had thought then of Simon Reiter, who fought so hard in his atonement struggle that he lost his bodily strength; but when the dear Lord helped him to break through,27 he gained weight again. Then she asked me to pray, which I did. After the prayer she said: “Today, Friday, is our day of reconciliation. Oh, what a blessed prayer meeting we had yesterday! Praise and thanks to God!” It is especially pleasant and edifying to listen to her. She wants to be a real Mary (that is her name) and not only to listen to the word of God but also to keep it in her heart. She also admonished the Holtzer girl to eager prayer, she should walk alone to pray at least once a day, otherwise she could not expect help. She is in her simplicity, although she cannot read, a very edifying person [preacher, and her speeches are sometimes of greater value than those of a minister.]
When I came home, I told my helpmeet something about it, and she also marvelled at her blissful frame of mind and her joy in talking to others for their salvation. She also told me that the other day, when I was preaching at the plantations, she stayed in our room because of her fever and, when Kieffer’s oldest daughter came to visit us from Purysburg, she could speak many words of comfort to her. This is even more admirable, because Mrs. Gruber has a low status in the world, whereas the former has quite another attitude. [When I came home at that time, I could not perceive that she had taken it amiss.] One can see in this person what the grace of God can do even in people who cannot read, if only they turn back and become children again. Then they are useful tools to the glory of God and the good of their neighbors. Such simple souls get blessings from the sermon and other good opportunities, while others, who do not want to be simple souls, sometimes get nothing, even though they know much, and therefore cannot do much in the world for the glory of God. All that was very edifying to me, and therefore I have put it down in writing.
The 26th of January. After the severe freeze we have had mild weather again since last night. However, because a heavy westerly wind has come up, this nice weather will probably not last for long. [Our small boat, which was taken to Savannah by people from Old Ebenezer last Wednesday, has not returned yet. Because of the high water and the strong wind that is blowing down the river, it will, without doubt, have a hard and slow passage.] We and the pious listeners in our parish are waiting with great longing for good messages from our friends and benefactors in Europe, as we can notice not only from their conversations but also from some expressions in their prayers.
I was told that old N. [Kieffer] declared to his wife that he cannot understand how people could say that an unconverted person cannot do any good (i.e. what means good according to the judgment of Holy Scriptures and before God), whereupon his wife answered that he surely believes from the Bible that the prayers of the unconverted and godless people are an abomination unto God, so how much more then are their works? But, since he does not want to learn from her, she has sent him to me with the argument that I like such discussions and would set him on the right way. A few days ago I had to castigate something that happened in his house, whereupon he became very angry in my absence; yet the middle28 son reminded his father that he himself had asked me several times to inform him clearly if I noticed anything incorrect in him or his family, and now he was taking it amiss, etc., whereby the father calmed down and considered it in his mind. The poor man indeed wants to go to heaven, and uses the means of salvation rather accurately and earnestly. However, it has to be shown often from the word of God that no selfmade or legalistic effort suffices for salvation (as also yesterday was remembered in the example of the young man in Matthew 19:20, 24), but rather the heart must be changed, and through the gospel a man must be made into a rich earth (Hebrews: 6:7-8), a good tree, and a living branch of the vine of Christ, if something really good should come of it for the glory of God and the service to his fellow men. The old man dislikes such a theory and grumbles against it.
Yesterday, Septuagesima Sunday, we contemplated Matthew 20:1 ff. about the kindliness and friendliness of the Lord in repaying the good deeds of believers, where we had to distinguish between truly good and seemingly good works so that nobody among us would experience, like many people of all classes on the day of general judgment, when, to their great amazement, the words out of the mouth of the Impartial Judge do not say: “Come here,” but: “Go away! Depart, thou evil-doer!”, although they had been of the opinion that they had never done anything evil but rather much good and, especially for that reason, would be called blessed after their death and at their burial. In this connection not only the good and deep roots of real Christianity were represented but also its loveliness. Thus the person who does not reject the dearly merited and so abundantly offered grace will change from a good-for-nothing to one like Onesimus, who is useful to God and man and may hope for all the good in this world and in eternity from his gracious and friendly God.
The 27th of January. Mr. Thilo accompanied me to the plantations, since he had to bleed some persons in Ruprecht Steiner’s house, where the divine service was conducted. The water is so high on both paths leading to the plantations that one has to wade through up to the knees, and this would be bad for bleeding. Therefore the people were happy and thankful that he had ridden out to them with me. God gave us much edification from His word, which, as I hope, was also a rich reward for his trouble. Perhaps God will bless our entreaty for him to the Lord Trustees and the praiseworthy Society so that he too will be remunerated materially for his trouble.
Our boat returned today from Savannah, and I received a letter from an attendant of the storehouse asking our clockmaker /Friedrich Wilhelm Müller/for six striking clocks for General Oglethorpe in Frederica. At the same time we were informed that nobody knows how soon Mr. Jones will return from Frederica to Savannah, although we and some others are awaiting his return with ardent desire. Further, we do not hear any reports of a newly arrived ship, by which we expect good news from friends and benefactors in Europe.
[Rumors are passing around in Savannah, the certainty of which must first be confirmed, that the Roman Emperor29 has passed away, that many thousands of Spaniards have been blown up by powder mines at Gibraltar, that twenty Spanish ships were demolished by a storm, that the harbor and city of Havana were taken by the Englishmen through a stratagem,30 and that the garrison of St. Augustine is suffering extreme privation because their provisions are cut off.]
The 28th of January. Already the day before yesterday I was looking for an opportunity to talk to M.R. [Michael Rieser], but he was working at a job he could not interrupt, so I soon went away with the intention of coming to see him some other time. Today I found him in his hut, so I spoke to him in the presence of his wife about his dangerous spiritual condition. As long as he has been here he has not talked to me a single time about how his heart and soul feel; and I warned him that this was a bad sign. He had not attended the prayer meeting yesterday or during last week, as he himself had to confess, excusing himself because of a slight indisposition. In the meantime I took the opportunity to show him what had been preached from the gospel both during the last prayer meeting and last Sunday, namely, that God demands from us a real conversion and change of heart if we wish to be saved. Since many people do not wish to carry through this most important spiritual work but betray themselves by an unfounded hope (which they call the best by saying: “We must hope for the best”), then on the day of judgment they will hear the words: “I have not yet recognized thee, depart,” etc.
Since, however, this foundation of Christianity is the most important thing, I asked him not to deceive himself, but to examine himself according to the word of God as to whether he has experienced a real conversion. Because he answered, rather confusedly, neither yes nor no, I told him that, if I compared his state of mind with the word of God, I would have to say he has not yet had the blessed change of heart that God, by His word, demands without exception and that if he had died thus during his last illness he would not have done well by it. From his words I could very well know and hear that he cannot grasp my meaning. That results from his blindness, I said, for his situation is described in Acts 26:18. Therefore, I advised him not to consider himself wise, but to ask God to open his eyes. Then he would see that he is still lying in darkness and in the power of Satan and, consequently, in a wretched condition. His diligent reading and praying (of which he is very proud) would not help him if he did not achieve the mentioned state. At the same time I asked him not to withdraw from hearing the word of God. Reading is certainly good, but hearing (when one has the chance) is even better; and, I fear, with his reading it will be as with the Eunuch from Ethiopia, Acts 8, who did not understand what he was reading until Philip showed him the way. I also repeated to him the verse Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
During this certainly friendly but salt-savored exhortation he behaved quite indifferently and promised me halfheartedly to comply with my admonitions. He found fault with many things in our flock and, when I demanded some details, he partly blushed with shame and partly told stuff and nonsense that spoke more against him than for him. He denied that he curses much; yet his wife contradicted him, although she otherwise dreads him like fire. He has a rather horrible fury and rage, the cause of which he puts on other people. [It does not seem that he will move away, like Spielbigler.] He hates to hear some people say, to the praise of God, that the Lord has shown much mercy on their Christianity as they have not found at other places and that they are beginning to understand the word of God better than before. Then R. [Rieser] said that he had traveled a lot through the world and had met better Christian people now and then than he has met here.
[He wished there were a civil authority here, then it would be better in the community. On my questioning he did not want to say anything else. He may perhaps think he would be able to use the civil authority better than us as a tool for his terrible rage and revenge.] The poor man does not know what he is talking about; [for, if a civil authority were here, he would have to suffer much more because of his obvious disobedience, scolding, cursing, and withdrawal from communal work.]
The oldest son of N. [Mrs. Reinländer] recently received a good testimony from her, as his mother; it seems that he is beginning to reflect and pray and wishes to convert to God, whereas last week she noticed that not even a serious start had been made, for he had behaved toward her with such rude disobedience and used such rough words and gestures that I was shocked when she asked me to come to her. He did not wait for me; but he had gone both times I came to their home for his sake. I left with his mother for him the earnest order of God in Deuteronomy 21:18 ff. as well as some verses such as Proverbs 30:17 and Sirach 3:18, which gradually caused him to realize his sin, repent it, deplore it, and apologize for it. Today I was again there, but did not find him at home this time either. Meanwhile I told the mother again that, if his atonement is of the right kind, he will demand to be punished by her hand and it will also be her duty to insist upon it, otherwise God will punish her and him. Some parents only punish when zeal and indignation strike their hearts, whereas, when they and their children are soothed, everything is all right again. He has complained that others have seduced him, but I could prove to his mother that this was merely an empty excuse and extenuation of the sin. Meanwhile I learned something about another family, which I will turn to advantage in giving them necessary admonitions.
The 29th of January. Last night during our choral hour we had a special spiritual pleasure and rich edification from the two newly learned songs: Ich armes Menschen-Kind etc . . . and O Jesu, du bist mein . . . etc. The text is incomparably beautiful and the melody also very pleasant, as one especially notices when it is sung in four voices. Soon we will learn the edifying song: Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr . . . etc., which also has a very impressive composition. Our listeners never tire of visiting this hour; and everything is even more edifying because at the end everybody prays on his knees, praises God, and intercedes for the whole church militant. Praise be to God, who gives us much delight, of which R. [Rieser], who was mentioned yesterday, and some others deprive themselves. The last words of the song: Ich armes Menschen-Kind, which runs as follows: “Triumph, triumph, all my enemies have vanished. I have found Christ, I am a blessed child,” reminded me of how I felt in, Halle among the school-boys of the German school31 at the Orphanage when they all, even the little A-B-C pupils, gathered together in the big hall for edification every week and sang this song with childish simplicity and merry voices. At a certain time before the scheduled public administration of the sacraments the late Professor Freylinghausen would assign this song in the Orphanage schools to be learned by heart by repeated singing.
[Last night very stormy weather arose with rain and strong wind; and, after the rain had settled in the northwest, a rather searing cold returned. In particular, the violent stormwind lasted all day long and also tore down various garden fences. The water in the river has risen to its highest level so that the mill has had to stop working.]
Of the children who were sent to our school from Purysburg and taken away home again, one came back last week and another one this week; and we hear that after the winter is over some more who were with us earlier will come back again.
[Friday, the 30th of January. My dear colleague informed me that on Wednesday evening our herdsman had seen an Englishman from Old Ebenezer together with his wife come out of schoolmaster Ortmann’s house and go home drunk. Since I myself knew that this man had been drunk, I talked today to the schoolmaster’s wife about it in order to find out whether a disorder of this type had happened at their place or elsewhere. They pretended that the man had fetched some rum from the Frenchman in Carolina and must have become drunk either there or on his way. He had committed, as far as they could see, no excesses in their house. However, they could not deny that he had mixed no water in his rum and then made a drink in the English manner.
[Ortmann disculpated himself entirely and tried to minimize the whole affair as much as possible. I told him for one that it is very vexing if such disorderly people like them remain in one’s house for many hours and also eat and drink there. Moreover, those who see them drunk can only think that they found the opportunity for such disorder at his place, which is very shocking for a schoolmaster. I warned him to be more careful next time, especially since this is already the second time I have heard about such disorder in his present house. The man is almost 60 years old and would have reason to prepare himself earnestly for eternity. He also pretends to be very good; and there is no getting at him to convince him that he is very badly in need of the first atonement. Her salvation also has a poor foundation, yet, despite all challenges and good resolutions, she is still thoughtless and frivolous and loves her old company. In the past they have taken it amiss when I could not be content with their conversation and frivolous behavior with the Englishmen who lodged at their place; and, since they like to burden us with strange people, we must use every possible forebearance this time too. However, if they should not comply with the present friendly admonitions but continue with disorder and annoyance, we will have to insist to a higher authority that the position of schoolmaster be taken away from him.
[Saturday, the 31st of January. Because I have not seen Michael Rieser at the prayer meeting since my last admonition, I sent to him today once more to discover his mind and intentions, which, to be sure, he had revealed a little the other day, but not completely. Today he proved to be a real gainsayer, who dared to pervert the clearest and most important verses and to interpret them according to his own sensuality to the comfort of the Old Adam. He made it clear that he does not like our congregation at Ebenezer and that, instead of edification, feels much offense, e.g. because some people boast of being faithful and God’s children, for which pride (as he called it) about the difference between pious and godless people, whereas all poor sinners are equal together. He has never heard, he said, of such a difference in other sermons, though he has travelled around a lot in the world and has heard many other preachers.
[Further, he feels offended that we do not hear confession and even repel some people from Holy Communion. This was unheard of; at other places a person must have done something special to be treated like this. Yes, it more often happens that people are driven by force to Holy Communion or else driven out of the country. One also did not hear at other places that, when people have done wrong, their evil deed is punished in public, but people are summoned, . . . etc. Here people are urged to quote and confess sins of the past (which is a false statement; but he is referring to the following: I asked him shortly after his arrival at Ebenezer whether it was true that he had started his marriage in a disorderly manner, which people among us certainly affirm, yet he denied this).
[He said many more rough and unbecoming things, and took offense at matters, speeches, and persons that others find edifying. I tried to free him from his errors and prejudices partly from Holy Scriptures and partly from the Catechism but especially from the doctrine of the keys, confession, and absolution; but he imagined himself much too clever and therefore all efforts were in vain. Since he was a wrong judge of such matters, I quoted him the verse several times: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him ...” etc.; and, since he contradicted, he had to hear this verse too several times: 2 Timothy 2:25-26: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God . . .,” likewise, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” I also told him that, even if I had not known him before, I would have become acquainted with him sufficiently now from his words and behavior. If he remained like this and rejected our frequent advice to let himself be convinced of his blindness and wretched condition by the means of salvation, and if he would not make real atonement, I would not allow him to go to the Lord’s Table; and, since he does not care, God would find him as a scorner of His laws. Upon departing I left him the verse Proverbs 13:21: “Evil pursueth sinners; but to the righteous good shall be repaid.” This verse finally forced him to say that I should not further trouble myself about him and need not care for his soul, he could do that himself and I should not come to him again. Upon these words his wife was very much astonished, and I warned her not to follow in his footsteps. She stands in slavish fear of him. I heard from this Rieser that Franaz Hernberger, who recently moved to Pennsylvania,32 told him improper things about me, whereby he misinterpreted my completely innocent actions and even imputed lies and false assertions to me. I was astonished that Hernberger could have become familiar with this man, since he had avoided contact with the really pious people among us and considered himself far better than they. He acted very ungratefully and unscrupulously toward me. May our Lord not put it to his account.]
Sunday, the 1st of February. Simon Reiter came to me from his plantation early in the morning to inform me that, with the help of God, his wife had borne a healthy little daughter last night, whom he wants to have baptized tomorrow. Up until now his wife has always been sick with quartan fever and has also been miserable and frail for other reasons too; but, even though the circumstances of birth looked very critical, our dear God helped her to his great surprise and to the strengthening of his religion. He is one who prays eagerly; and, therefore, after his report, I quoted him the verse: “O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee all flesh shall come.” He, Simon Reiter, himself has been afflicted with the quartan fever for a long time already; and by this he is impeded very much in his daily chores, which he carries out very loyally. How heartily we wish that an efficacious medicine were at hand to help him and some other people to overcome this lasting and difficult fever. [It seems that Mr. Thilo himself does not believe in the adequacy of the medicaments he brought along with him. Therefore he is very economical with them and scarcely hands over any medication but rather counsels sweat and patience. He himself has been suffering with it already for a long time. His wife got rid of it; however, she has had other bodily complaints since that time.]
That the wonderful medicaments sent to us as a gift from the Halle apothecary’s shop are a very great benefaction to us and have good effect on the quartan fever, I know not only from the example of my dear colleague, but also from a man from the orphanage; but they have to be used carefully according to Dr. Richter’s instructions, and the right diet has to be observed. The fever-cake,1 of which I have formerly reported one and another thing, is still located at the old place in sick people; and Mr. Thilo has no inclination to make another attempt to remove it, since the medicine used on my wife did not have the intended effect. However, because of certain circumstances she had to discontinue using the medicine ex ipsius consilio;2 and therefore she had only half a cure. We hope to receive some medications shortly, especially for this purpose, from Professor Juncker of Halle, as Dr. Francke has assured us in one of his last letters.
The bridges we have to cross in going from the plantations to town are deep under water. Therefore last Friday after the edification hour we agreed that a certain man should take the men, women, and children who want to go to church back and forth by boat, and this was done today. Yesterday a man complained that the water he had to pass through was up to his waist, so now he feels pains in the abdominal region. Anyone who does not know that the river water sometimes rises so high will not believe that bridges placed so high would become useless.
Monday, the 2nd of February. This morning some men traveled to Savannah to take calves down there; and I used the occasion to write a letter to the storehouse attendant wherein I asked him to inform me as soon as Monsieur Jones3 returned from General Oglethorpe, since I intended to travel to him as soon as possible according to God’s will in order to get General Oglethorpe’s answer to my last letter and also the money he promised to bring along with him for the harvest of 1739,4 of which our dear people stand in much need now. If letters from Europe should have arrived (for which we are waiting every day with great desire), I asked him to keep them there until we fetch them, since I do not trust these men to preserve them safely enough. [We are eager to receive a trustworthy report whether our letters and diaries sent during the last few years and longer have arrived safely or whether some of them might have been lost because of the present insecure shipping, for we and the community greatly desire our friends and benefactors to learn about the circumstances of our life from time to time.] As soon as Monsieur Jones returns to Savannah and one of us goes to him, we are again planning to take some letters and the diary for this year along for delivery. Our latest writings have been recommended not only to people but also to our Lord himself, who commands everywhere over land and sea and is in minimis saepe maximus,5 by our prayer to His fatherly hands; so we believe and hope that He will lead them safely to their destination and that He also will rejoice us with good answers from Europe after our patient expectation and quiet waiting under our present ordeal, especially at the orphanage.
Because I was bled today, my dear colleague undertook the journey to the plantations in the rainy weather in order to baptize the little child who was born yesterday; and therefore school was suspended for one day. The rain started at night and lasted all day long, for which reason the water of the river will surely rise even higher.
Zettler, who, since his move from Purysburg, has started making shoes for the community, [complained today that his unscrupulous master is injuring his reputation at Purysburg especially by saying that he has stolen leather from him, whereas there is no proof of it. Since he heard the explanation of the eighth commandment yesterday, he assured me that, if he were conscious of the slightest faithlessness, he would gladly confess and make good for it.] He is practicing his profession in Sanftleben’s lodgings at the plantations, and it seems that he is all right now. Also, more than before, he esteems the benefit of being at our place in quietness with good people and with the word of God. At the same time he realizes that we were always well disposed towards him in bodily and spiritual things, and he also humbly apologized for his former rudeness toward me. God sometimes lets people fall through their own fault into some confusion and disorder for the purpose of making them reflective and meditative.
Tuesday, the 3rd of February. Spielbigler informed us that he had gone to Savannah to see Colonel Stephens in order to get permission to go to Charleston together with his mother for one year, where he wants to earn some money. He was, however, sent to me; and I should decide as I think it proper. He referred to a witness in Savannah who will assure me of the truth of his statement. He is leaving his cattle here and also wants to keep his house lot, since he claims to wish to come back sometime. I will not keep him back, and it would be better if he moved away completely, because he and his mother do not conform to any order.
[Last night the wind was very violent, an afterwards it became rather cold. The thievish fellow who is lurking in our region still incommodates us often during the night and cannot be caught in spite of all pains taken. Today some men have again searched all over the place where his secret hiding place is suspected, but they could not find any track of him. He is no Negro slave, as was supposed for a long time, but a white man of small stature, since he was observed a few times by some people.]
It was agreed upon that the church building was to start around Maria Candlemas, but the carpenters have found some major obstacles so that they cannot start this week and probably not next week either, although they very much wish to. Anyone who knows how much work the people have to do for themselves and others readily has patience, which I will also have to practice, although I spare no pains in reminding and encouraging them. Some of them do not have a real kitchen for their wives and children, not to speak of a bed room; for they were prevented from building them by other even more necessary work.
N.N. [Michael Rieser] has travelled to Savannah. Perhaps he, like Spielbigler, is looking for some other place that he might like more than Ebenezer. I visited his wife in order to find out whether she approves her husband’s bad speeches and behavior. She realizes his many sins, yet she does not make much of them but rather excuses them. She is certainly more honest6 than he is but inexperienced in the ways of Christianity. Recently I taught her that by nature all mankind is lost in the ways of depravity and therefore all are equal before God and the Last Judgment, but by His mercy a difference can and must be found in God’s order when somebody converts to atonement and to a religious faith that not only comprehends Christ and His divine salvation but also cleanses and changes his heart and changes the person to a good tree of God. I admonished her to experience this holy matter and said she would thus be enabled to pray for her husband and his conversion and to convince him without a word but only by her way of living. Since he cannot stand any opposition from her or anybody else, she will have to choose the right time for talking to him about his change for the better, but will have to take care not to agree with him and take part in his sins, because one must obey God more than men.
Wednesday, the 4th of February. Last night I heard from young K. [Kieffer]7 that his wife was restless again. Something heavy is oppressing on her conscience, but she does not wish to admit it. Therefore I was asked to talk to her today after the preparation for Holy Communion, which she also attends, and ask for the reason of her restlessness. However, today she herself stayed behind after the lesson; and, after I had persuaded her lovingly, she told me her heart’s sorrow. [She had promised with hand and mouth and oath (as she expressed it) to marry a Reformed tailor journeyman with whom she had sinned contra sextum.8 Up to now she has always denied to the young Kieffer, her present husband, as well as to me that she had been connected with him, and this now troubles her very much; she cannot believe that God will forgive her this sin.] As this matter (she confessed to me) was not a trifling thing, I could not depreciate it; yet I had to show her the improbity of her behavior according to God’s word. However, I also told her that she will find God’s grace, because He has ordained that she has repented her sins through the word of God in our parish, because even prostitutes and publicans can reach the kingdom of heaven if they do true atonement. She should just pray to God that He disclose her perdition better, because the abscess must first be pressed open before it can be cured. I asked her of another matter, concerning something of which she is suspected, suggesting that she will never find her peace with tricks and falsity, but she refused that. She realizes that if she had stayed in N. [Carolina] [and married the tailor] she would have never repented her sins, but would have gone deeper and deeper into them. She has come to us quite ignorant; also the verse: “This is a faithful way of saying; and worthy of all acceptation,” likewise, “I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart” she could not recite. May God give her, her husband, and others who are connected with her, the wisdom to treat her in the right way, as I will also give her husband some directions. It seems that the dear Lord is moving the Kieffer family, awakening them from their place of security and leading them to the gravity of Christianity [since they have come closer to us]. They are very eager in visiting the prayer meeting and other good arrangements, and we can observe that they hear the word of God with the right application. I was much impressed when I was told that a [grown up] son of Kieffer spent all the time between the prayer meeting and singing lesson praying on his knees to God. May God give them constancy in vigil, prayer, and struggle; otherwise, like others who have made a good beginning, they will gradually be corrupted, even before the time of blossoming and true fruition.
[Things are not going well for the shoemaker Adde on whom God has worked eagerly to convince him of his perdition and bring him to good resolutions. As long as he has been married to his wife, he has sinned through disputes, quarrels, and beatings which he, it is true, has recognized as sins and promised to correct; but, notwithstanding our many beseeching admonitions, he was again induced to the same offenses by which he was prevented again yesterday from visiting the prayer hour, which, by God’s blessing, would have been as beneficial to him as to other people. When I came to see him today, the first thing I wanted to hear was whether they had led their married state like Christians since my last visit. However, they did not say a word until finally they had to confess. They live in such horrible confusion that they have not only made a mess of all that is good, but have also irritated their children with hard and angry words. Therefore they are deeply in fault and could not be rescued from their disorder by my advice today. They have often felt the heavy hand of God because of their sins, and it will be even harder if they will not do atonement. If they do not follow good advice soon and make use of God’s grace better, then I am afraid nothing will come of their Christianity and that they will fare like Spielbigler and Michael Rieser so that our parish and all that is good will be but an oven of pain to them.]
Thursday, the 5th of February. A small Popish book, called “Güldenes Mess-Büchlein,9 was sent to me in order to draw it out of sight of children and other people to prevent it from harming them. At the same time God was praised for having given us the light of His gospel, which is a very dear benefaction of our Lord in comparison with the darkness of Popery. Although there are many superstitious and idolatrous things in the little book, I also found several very glorious prayers to Christ, the mediator, showing that the wisdom of God may have ordained that, in times of want, fearful consciences may find some crumb even in Popery.
The old N. [Rieser]10 has been busy in building for some time; and therefore I was unable to talk to him alone. Today I found him singing some songs that were printed separately and distributed to the Salzburgers, so I entered into a conversation with him. God is still working on him heavily as he demonstrated emphatically by his words and tears. God’s inconceivably great love (which he called “frightfully great”), which endures from eternity to eternity among people who fear him, seemed marvelous to him. But, since up to now there has been no shame in his heart for his unthankfulness against this everlasting love and also no evangelical contrition and real counter-love, I admonished him to feel them, for, because of his age, it was high time for him to prepare earnestly for eternity.
His wife also approached and reminded him to ask me the things he cannot accommodate to, i.e. that an unconverted human being can do no spiritual good. From that he inferred that such a person could therefore not pray and convert to God. This is truly impossible through the power of nature, but it is possible through God’s grace and its acceptance. I explained this theory to him with the example of his frivolous children, on whom he will not perceive any spiritual good until their hearts are moved and they receive a powerful emotion. If they let all this work on themselves, it will soon be revealed even openly; and, if they would grasp the proffered hand of God, they would eventually be pulled out of their perdition and become good fruit-bearing trees.
Friday, the 6th of February. Christian Riedelsperger, who has worked very satisfactorily at the orphanage for nine months, is now returning to his own household. He would be willing to stay there for a longer period of time if I only could make it possible for some other pious man in harmony with Mr. Kalcher to be taken into the orphanage and thus lessen the work. However, I can go only as far as God gives me the means. It is better for the planting and other things belonging to the household to be left undone and for children and grownups to have to manage with the utmost necessities of life than to contract many debts. We trust God to send us help at the right time. So I take it as a good omen that Mr. Kalcher is still strong in his faith and cheerful in spite of all needs and trials and full of hope that God will draw all of the children to Him. This morning, to strengthen his faith, he remembered the song: Befiehl du deine Wege . . . etc., which the Honorable Senior Urlsperger had sung at the departure of the second transport from Augsburg. It reads at the end: “He will see it through.”
At our last singing lesson we learned the song: Nicht so traurig, nicht so sehr . . . where in stanza II it is said emphatically: “God is full of love for you and is loyal in His heart. When you wish, He tests to see how your wish may be. It if it is good, He grants it, if it is bad. He answers ‘No.’”
The miller asked me to inform people in town that we can grind again at the mill now that the water is going down a little bit. Although the river had risen to the highest level, the mill was not under water. Before the dam was erected, the land where the mill is now situated was always flooded by the extremely high water which now is being driven back into a small affluent. I was told that the mill could always grind if the channel or millrace were only one foot higher and consequently could hold more water. The planks for it are already sawn; as soon as it is possible to him, Kogler will raise the channel to the necessary height. At present he and some others are busy building a few houses at the plantations, since the woodwork for them was prepared long ago. The remaining houses, for which wood and other materials are also ready, will probably not be built this winter, because shortly after this the start of the church-building should be made.
[Saturday, the 7th of February. The shoemaker Adde and the young Rheinländer have quarreled about an external matter; so I let them come to me to decide their case. After my urgent request both of them gave in and soon came to peace. When people have external quarrels, it reveals, as in Corinthians 6, whether a beginning has been made in Christianity. Commandments, words, and works easily show the bottom of their hearts.
[The shoemaker promised me that the dissension with his wife is finished; but I admonished him to do atonement and showed him how to behave to his wife as a father of a family and husband, even if she should exceed the barriers of her duty. May God convert both of them, then they will become better.
[Through Old Ebenezer and Savannah a rumor has come to our community which I am trying to discredit among our people. I believe it a sin against the 9th commandment to believe and repeat things that are only known ex rumore vulgi11 and to the prejudice of our neighbors, especially if they concern superiors and benefactors. This babble concerns General Oglethorpe and Mr. [Thomas] Jones, as if they have gotten orders to leave their positions to others and return to London. Some reasons are being asserted which are only a surmise and are probably taken from the journal of Mr. Stewart, which has become known.
[It was said os in parede12 that Michael Rieser today had a painful accident, whereby he, as usual, got sinfully enraged and used bad language. It was his fault more than his wife’s that she, while grinding corn together with him, knocked one of his teeth to pieces with the shaft of the iron mill and hurt his mouth. Now she will probably have to suffer again for that! If he would only let it serve to his good and believe that it did not happen by chance. He does not want (according to his self-willed expression) to give the Salzburgers the pleasure of grinding on the newly built mill, but contents himself with the hand-mill in town. He was unwilling to work at building the mill and gave poor excuses when I asked him for his help. Because he obstinately excluded himself from the work, he now excludes himself from the benefits too. Spielbigler does the same. Every sin brings a sin with it already down here, even if the blind do not realize it.]
Sunday, the 8th of February. Last evening my dear colleague started to contemplate the Passion story from St. Luke instead of the catechism; and he will go through the same lesson today at the plantations when he holds public worship for the edification of his listeners. May God place His rich blessings on it as He has always done.
Two points of the gospel for Esto mihi Sunday were discussed in town: the importance and usefulness of the passion of our Lord; and we prefaced the exordium with the excellent verse from Isaiah 43: “Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins,” which are most lovely and friendly words of our Lord Jesus.
Monday, the 9th of February. After the last wind and rain we have again had a heavy frost by day and night, and everybody who has lived here during the past winters is amazed that the coldness is so very severe and long lasting this time. Yesterday the weather became milder with some rain in the evening and this morning it was still raining strongly, whereupon a warm and lovely spring weather set in. The weather changes often in this country.
After the house prayer hour the tailor Christ stayed behind to announce that he intends to go to the Lord’s Table next Sunday. He is most anxious to be restored to his old condition (as he puts it), i.e. to be accepted again into the orphanage for board and tailor work, since he cannot earn as much alone as he needs for his living. [He is sickly and has not learned his profession correctly, which is either his own or his master’s fault.] As much as we wish to help the poor man and advise him in his physical and mental circumstances, which are sometimes quite confused, we are not always able to do so. This I told him already the other day. Again today I had to direct him to prayer and patience; and I promised him that his request will be realized as soon as our Lord sends us some relief for the orphanage. [We are trying to do him good -- in spite of the fact that he more than once has forfeited the benefit of the orphanage.]
We have childlike confidence in the Almighty Father, reconciled by Christ, that He will send us some physical blessings from Europe soon so that we can pay both the people who worked at the indispensable construction of some parts of the orphanage and also other debts, because the orphanage helps to bear the burdens of the community and tries to make it easy for the poor as much as possible. For example, besides the clothing for the herdsmen on the plantations, the orphanage pays 5 pound Sterling a year to the herdsman in town, the rest being provided by the community. Some time ago we also bought a convenient, well-built cottage for the schoolmaster Ortmann, for which we are in debt for 2 pound Sterling. For Mr. Thilo all sorts of things were constructed in his new dwelling; and another hut for him will be placed nearby, because the parlor is too small for him. All this will amount to a few pounds too.
Christian Riedelsperger has worked faithfully at the orphanage for nine months and has proved himself as in Colossians 3:22-23. In return we would like to repay him something, if our Lord Christ presents us with some gifts (v. 24) especially because he has used up his own clothing and neglected his own household.
Tuesday, the 10th of February. During the prayer hour last night the renegade thief /Nicholas Carpenter/ who is said to be not a Negro slave, but a white person of short stature) caused trouble again in my dear colleague’s courtyard while we were at the prayer hour and only a girl was at home taking care of his child. He acted as if he belonged in the house, paid no attention to the girl’s words, and even threatened her with shooting. [The guard went to the prayer hour only yesterday, the evening before they had lain in wait for him.]
During the night from Saturday to Sunday this wicked man did much damage on Ruprecht Steiner’s plantation. He stole twelve old hens from the barn and also tried to break into the calf stall to take the calf from the cow, but the stall was too solidly built and therefore he only tore away the outside shingles. From Steiner’s neighbor, Brandner, he stole a little eight week old pig from the sty and wounded another the same night. In doing so he lost a new fox skin and a very ugly kerchief. People on the plantations now earnestly wish to see to it that he is caught and sent away, because they fear that after stealing there comes murder, as we have seen in the case of the two people hanged in Savannah.13
Mrs. N. [Bacher] is earnestly practicing her Christianity and wants nothing more than to win her husband too so that she can serve our Lord Christ together with him in the same spirit and be a model for their children. Because I find that she is still too timid to win her husband and, in trying, becomes uneasy and loses her right joy of spirit, I told her that a friendly persuasion and encouragement are good and necessary. However, it should not have the least appearance of arrogated authority, but should derive only from true humility, cordial love, and piety. Especially, she should bear in mind the rules St. Peter gave through the Holy Spirit to the pious women 1 Peter 3:1-2. Furthermore, she should pray for him eagerly, which, together with her good example, will have more influence than many words; because obstinate men usually do not like to accept something from women if they are admonished or reminded.
Yesterday they moved to their newly built hut, so this pious woman wants me to consecrate it with the word of God, prayers, and a hymn of praise, whenever I can come. In any event, I had planned to spend tomorrow on the plantations with people who want to go to the Lord’s Table. Therefore I promised to visit her first of all in the morning, for which purpose Mrs. Bacher will invite some other grace-hungry women. The husband is an eager hearer of the word of God and walks a long way to hear it although his legs are weak. He also realizes that he is still in want of true Christianity and continuous eager prayer. He is industrious in his profession and peaceable with his neighbors, but not yet a real Christian. Concern for his stomach and love for earthly things are his strongest snares. I hope however he will be won sometime by the abounding grace of God.
Some time ago Mrs. N. [Leimberger] was also badly off with her husband and suffered a lot; but it seems to me that after she learned more about her duties from the Haus-Tafel14 and treated her husband in the right way, not only the former animosity and opposition has come to an end but a real beginning in Christianity has been started and Christian harmony has begun between the two of them.
Wednesday, the 11th of February. [During this week several letters have been written, such as to the Praiseworthy Society,15 to Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen, to the Honorable Senior Urlsperger, and to Doctor Francke. These, together with the diary from the 9th of January up to this date, were packed together and sent with today’s boat for Savannah to Colonel Stephens for dispatch. May God soon vouchsafe us a gratifying message from our friends and benefactors in Europe to our encouragement and His praise!]
This morning we had a heavy rain, which prevented me from keeping yesterday’s promise to go to Bacher’s plantation and consecrate their new home with prayer and the word of God. Besides my bodily weakness, another obstacle occurred; and my staying at home was of some use, so that I could recognize God’s fatherly direction even in these humble circumstances.
[In the afternoon our boat, loaded with calves, left for Savannah. My dear colleague has accompanied it in order to deliver our packet safely at the right place and to take care of other necessary things.]
N.N. [old Kieffer] and his wife [who came up from Purysburg] registered for Holy Communion, which will be held next Sunday. The man recognizes his former way and regrets his blindness in having thought himself a good Christian for so long, even though he had not yet made the first steps to it, that is to say, a real conversion to God. He told me many things I need to know; and, since he sinned against a person [in the community] some time ago by an unkind judgment, he now recognizes and regrets it very much. He is still in some confusion because of his children and household. May God help him out of his trouble, so that the work that has begun will not be destroyed.
Zettler also visited me and wished to go to Holy Communion. It seems to me that his confession of his former blindness and wickedness and of his good endeavors to turn toward God is honest. I advised him to wait awhile for Holy Communion: during this passion time he has a very good opportunity to prepare even better and to learn his catechism, which he has almost forgotten [at his master’s in Purysburg. Sanftleben and the members of his family are also going to Holy Communion about Easter; and, since he lives in his house, they can encourage each other to find a solid foundation of real Christianity.] He was very satisfied with this advice because he realizes that waiting is better for him than thoughtless precipitation.
Thursday, the 12th of February. Some time ago N. [Leitner] committed an excess in drinking, together with the ill-behaved Spielbigler, against which he was warned energetically from the word of God. He did not take the chastisement in good part at that time, but now he is beginning to recognize his former sins and is making an earnest resolution to start a new life. I advised him to pray diligently and get acquainted with a real Christian man in his neighborhood if his new resolution is not to fade away; because beginners in Christianity need instruction and guidance much more than in normal life.
From the confessions of some pious people I learned that the dear God has blessed the sermon about the words of the story in 2 Samuel 7:14, which was repeated yesterday to appease their afflicted souls. From the private discussions with such true souls, who want some certainty concerning their Christianity and salvation, we become aware of the fact that, because of their feeling of spiritual distress, some of them do not wish to accept the consolation of the gospel, which is truly made for the poor, suffering, wretched, and burdened people, and some lose all courage because they notice new debilities and transgressions. Therefore, we familiarized them with the fatherly heart of God in Christ from the parallel passage, Psalms 89:30-31, which deals with the seed of Messiah and his children, and also from Psalms 103:13 ff., and showed them that the reconciled Father not only forgives and covers up all past and present sins for the penitent sinners who consider and detest it as their greatest cross and abominable horror. He also forgives and covers inducements to sin, ascending lusts, etc. forever and ever merely for the sake of the merits and overpayments of Christ. He also remits all penalties due to them with the reservation to punish outwardly and inwardly according to His wisdom, Romans 8:1.
If a penitent person humbly and believingly grasps this gospel, as the hand of a beggar grasps a gift, and adopts the gracious word of God despite his feelings, he will also receive the power of resisting the assaults of sin better and better, and finally of overcoming them; because we have justification and strength in our Lord. I then felt it proper to familiarize the parish with the heartfelt penitential prayer our blessed Luther pronounced every night before going to bed. In his confession before God he used to acknowledge “that he belonged in the infernal fires with body and soul, both inwardly and outwardly, wherever he might walk or stand. There was nothing good in him, not a hair on his head, and he belonged totally in the abyss of hell. Therefore he was relying entirely on Christ alone, etc.” I would like to have the useful book Lutherus redivivus,16 which I would turn to advantage through the help of the Holy Spirit.
The two young K. [Kieffers] visited me last night to announce their desire to go to Holy Communion together with their parents. God is leading them back in their spirit to the past years, so that they recognize their many youthful sins, deny their imagined piety, and seek for a better justification in Christ. One of them mentioned his sins against the 8th commandment, which impressed his heart on Sunday a week ago. He is [still working and living at his father’s place and therefore] not in the position to free himself from the Ablatum17 by restitution. For the instruction of people who are in the same position as he is, we recently reminded them of something pertinent in the story of David, namely that God took the good will to build a beautiful house for the Ark of the Covenant for the deed.
At that time he could not attend the prayer meeting, so I now told him that while restitution is absolutely necessary as the inevitable result of atonement and as a sign of sincere enmity against the sin, if a penitent sinner does not have the means to repay at present, he should have the desire to do so as soon as the dear God gives him the means; because faith must also work through love anyway and must flow to one’s neighbor in good deeds but without seeking reparation of the sin or personal merit. In the meantime a person who has done damage to others should pray for them heartily that the almighty and wise God may repay it in his place with spiritual and earthly goods. God will surely do so, because He has sent us His Son, and why should He not give us everything with Him (even what we have recently taken from our neighbor).
This morning I traveled [to Bacher and from there to some other] plantations, and I find the following worthy of note: 1) Some men and women from the neighborhood came together to consecrate Bacher’s new home, to hear the word of God, and to pray and to sing. As a text I chose that part of the passion sermon recently dealt with which is found in Luke 22:10-12 and interpreted the three wonderful divine attributes of our meritorious Savior to them for instruction and consolation, i.e. His omniscience, omnipotence, and kindness. His all-seeing eye is turned towards even the most trifling acts of mankind, such as, here, the carrying of the water jug. This should teach us always to walk before His countenance and in fear of Him and to turn the eyes of our mind and soul upon Him always and in all our actions; because this would be a good preservation against all excesses and would, so to speak, sweeten all our works and our toilsome life. Just as He showed His omnipotence and heart-guiding power to His disciples, animal owners,18 and cheering multitudes in Matthew 21:1 ff., He also showed them in the householder whose heart He inclined to empty the hall, which had already been prepared for serving the Easter lamb, despite the severe commands of his superiors (John 9:22. Cf. 11:57).
We also remembered how gloriously and powerfully our Lord led the hearts of many people in Europe to do much good to the Salzburgers during their emigration and to prepare the necessary shelters for them. May He show Himself first as merciful and powerful in caring for His people and even more in converting their hearts, etc. As a sign of our Lord Jesus’ kindness we can see His actual entrance into the house of His presumably secret follower, which has brought him, like Zacheus, salvation and grace even though he had so many weaknesses, which were surely much greater than those of our Lord’s disciples. As it would have been shameful and harmful to refuse the desire of our Lord to enter and send Him away like the Samaritans, Luke 9:52-53, so too it would be eternally harmful and shameful for us and everybody else and to the inhabitants of this new dwelling, not to open door and gate for Him when He knocks. He readily entered that man’s house uninvited; how much more willing He will be at our prayer.
2) Mrs. Krause was also present and stayed behind together with her sister, Mrs. Kornberger, to complain to me of her spiritual suffering. Some time ago a pious woman told her one must, and also can, obtain a certainty of one’s state of grace. At that time she has not paid much attention to these words, but afterwards she remembered and struggled in that direction. However, she does not feel any better since the last use of Holy Communion, but lazy and discouraged, etc. Her sister standing beside her remembered that some time ago she had had much trouble because of her husband, her domestic situation, and her own fault and had lost all confidence and hope that it could and would get better, and she also lost much weight during that time, etc. Through private conversations she has been encouraged not to fret so much but to cast her grief upon the Lord, which she has done every time she has suffered a new pain. After this everything changed with her, and she regained her old strength. I was able to apply this to Mrs. Krause’s benefit.
3) Other pious women regretted not having known that we had gathered at Mr. Bacher’s plantation; they thought it had happened yesterday. I found three of them together in a hut and learned that they were discussing what had been preached about the story of David.
4) The carpenters were busy building a house for Brandner; and they are determined to start with the church construction next week in the name of God. We are still pondering how we can arrange the construction most suitably without making any debts. If we should receive letters from Europe before the laying of the foundation in order to know whether our dear God will send us a contribution for the church construction from there, we would be able to act accordingly. May God lead all hearts, so that the construction of the church will be good, agreeable, and well pleasing to Him.
5) I had suspected, and somebody else confirmed this presumption, that a certain man does not want to come into close contact with me because of an error which he committed and which is known to me and that he therefore plans to stay away from Holy Communion this time. However, I talked to him before the edification hour and accomplished much by the grace of God so that he attended the consecration of the house, recognized his fault sincerely, and promised to be more careful in the future and to go to Holy Communion in the name of God.
Friday, the 13th of February. This week and also today it was raining heavily, therefore the journey to the plantations for celebrating the edification hour was rather difficult. But many people assembled and our Lord honored us with His merciful presence and much revival of our hearts. We heard the end of the very noteworthy Chapter 7 of 2 Samuel. Before the lesson I visited N. [the Schmidts] in their hut at their request; and I had much spiritual refreshment from the blessed condition I saw in this married couple. The man had previously had a great burden with his wife, but since her conversion to God his joy is now even greater. Already yesterday I had a very good testimony about her from an experienced Christian woman. It is of great value that the enlightened souls keep together and strengthen each other with prayer and the word of God, even if they live at a rather great distance from each other.
My dear colleague returned home this afternoon, but the boat itself was rowed up the shortest way to the mill river and left there. It is said with certainty in Savannah that several ships, among them Captain Thomson’s, have suffered shipwreck in the Channel, therefore we are less surprised that we have not received any messages from Europe for a long time. It will work out to our best by the help of God.
Since there is a great lack of shirts and other things necessary for the housekeeping at the orphanage, we had to borrow a piece of Osnabrück linen in Savannah, which is very expensive like everything else. Our letters and diaries will be sent away next week by Colonel Stephens. Some women fled a few months ago to Pennsylvania and New York from fear of the Spaniards, but now they have returned because the cold there during this winter was said to be excessively great.
I received a letter from a member of the municipal council in Savannah reporting that Nicholas Carpenter, who was sent from England six years ago to serve me as a small boy but was returned to General Oglethorpe, has run away together with another servant.19 Without doubt this is the thief who has caused us so much trouble so far. From childhood on he has done some petty larcenies, in Frederica too; and he knows all the hiding places in this vicinity. It is likely that another fellow is together with him, because one boy alone could not carry away so many hens and a little pig, as happened some days ago on the plantations.
[Mr. Habersham, who now works as the manager at Mr. Whitefield’s orphanage, wrote to me asking for four barrels of cornmeal. He wants to talk to me, but does not answer my last letter, wherein I referred to some aid for our orphanage promised to me by Mr. Whitefield. The flour sent to General Oglethorpe on his demand as a sample from our mill has, to my surprise, remained in the storehouse in Savannah until now because of a lack of convenient means of transportation to Frederica, and has only now been sent away. But my letter he must have received a long time ago.]
Saturday, the 14th of February. [The old Swiss carpenter /Krüsy/ has experienced some unpleasantness with Mrs. Ortmann, which I tried to settle. It is difficult to convince these people of their injustice when they are inconvenienced by the judgment I made. He has lived for six months in her old hut but is now moving out, so I hope that there will be external peace again. It is mostly her fault, and such a discord would never have developed if she had acted according to the directions given her and her husband long ago. She worries about things which should not be settled by her but by her husband. For some time I have been troubled about the schoolmaster and afraid that he would contract debts through his business operations;20 and, unfortunately, it has indeed already happened, for his wife conducts her household in such a way and buys all sorts of clothes as if they had enough money for everything. He hopes he will be able to pay back his debts by the beginning of May when he gets his half-year’s salary. I cannot see, however, what they will live on after that.]
Some time ago Brückner started suffering from epileptic attacks and cannot be cured, although he takes some medicine according to Mr. Thilo’s prescription and is being bled frequently. Since these symptoms, his heart has become much mellower and he is now earnestly contemplating the Kingdom of God, wherein his wife is keeping him true company. They are both very poor, and we have been planning a long time already to help him with some money toward buying his locksmith’s tools, the purchase of which was very hard for him. But up to now we do not have the necessary means.
Sunday, the 15th of February. Yesterday and this morning we had a wet and cold weather as on preceding days; but at the time of our morning worship it cleared up and we enjoyed the most beautiful spring weather all day long. Today fifty-one persons went to Holy Communion who were edified and refreshed by the word of God yesterday as well as today. Last night several people from the plantations attended the prayer hour [in which a very edifying example was read and discussed according to the listeners’ circumstances.]
[Ernst claimed that he is now coming to a better understanding of his sins, also of the ones he committed in Germany, and that he feels very uneasy in his conscience. I don’t trust him because he has often deceived me by false promises. But I would wish from my heart that all his many and terrible sins will be revealed and repented here in this world to his true conversion rather than there in eternity before the tribunal of God. He and his wife are still very blind and ignorant, they have neglected the opportunity for even a literal recognition. If he will not be more diligent in using and hearing the word of God, I have but little hope for a change to the better.]
Monday, the 16th of February. A man asked my advice on some external matters this morning and told me on that occasion that the dear word of God means more to him every day. He was sorry only at being unable to use it nearly as much as he wishes; he can remember only too little of what he has heard and read. I told him that, while reading and listening, he should pay attention to what the Holy Spirit urges at his heart. He should keep this in mind and pray. For the verse, lesson, and comfort he receives in such a time in his heart through the power of the Holy Spirit is the lesson he should learn; little by little he will understand more. If one stretches one’s mind too far and (as eager souls do) tries to remember everything one has read and heard and is still unable to because of his weakness, then one becomes full of fear and, in addition, loses the especially desired blessing. If he, therefore, reads one or several chapters of the Bible, he should remember one or another verse or a special divine truth which impresses him at the time or fits his present condition. I told him the parable of rich food: if one eats too much of it, one prevents digestion and even does harm to one’s health. The Holy Scriptures are like a beautiful garden, full of lovely flowers of all kinds; but, if one tried to hold them all or most of them together at one time and wished to take delight in them, one would be overloaded.
During this year we have reminded people several times in public that listeners who have the opportunity to hear much good from the word of God on Sundays should be sparing and careful in reading other good books, since they would probably get acquainted with too many and even with the kind of religious materials that have not been explained to them at that time in the sermons. This would cause them to forget the already inculcated and accepted divine truths. Servants of the word of God take their materials and sermons out of the hand of the Principals; therefore they and their listeners may believe that whatever is preached to them in the name of our Lord is the material most suitable for them. During the service and the catechisation they are always led into the Bible, which they always bring with them into church, and they get the opportunity to read it again and meditate about it. Good books and the regular use of them are also of value.
Tuesday, the 17th of February. A girl, who is among those being prepared for the Lord’s Table, asked me to lend her Arndt’s Christianity. She attested with tears that the Spirit of God is laboring strongly and lovingly at her heart to convert her to our Lord Jesus, which is also her earnest desire. I admonished her to enter into prayer and conversation with another girl, for whom I also have good hope, so that the Lord Himself can soon bring her to the point of being accepted for the high favor of Holy Communion at Easter. May God give her and others the sense of those Christian virgins who have concluded a covenant with Jesus, their soul-bridegroom, “so that, when she has to do worldly or domestic duties in obedience to her parents or else be together with people and talk to them, every move of her heart and every pulse and beat of her veins should take the place of a sigh and desire for Him as a sign of her love and faithfulness to Him, because she would not wish to live other than in Him, before Him, by Him and on His account.”
For the sake of exercise I went home by foot in the presently very beautiful spring weather through most of the plantations; and, while listening to a man telling me about the power of the divine word in his heart, I stepped over a snake, which the man walking behind me saw and killed. I thought of the word that Satan quoted in a garbled manner in the recent gospel: “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up . . . ,” etc.21
[A woman by the roadside requested my permission for her and her husband to attend Holy Communion next time. They have been repelled a few times for good reasons. But I will see, when I go to them and they come to me, how far they have come with their preparations.]
When I came home two maidservants from Old Ebenezer brought me a letter from Savannah asking me to help them and their master at Old Ebenezer to get sixteen bushels of corn in the community. I answered that the people are not selling corn any more, since what is left is being used by ourselves and the orphanage. But if the Englishman at Old Ebenezer would help us get back our horse, which ran away three years ago and is now with an Englishman at Palachocolas, and if he would bring it back to us, I would present him with six bushels of corn. This year corn is very scarce all over, which may result from the campaign in the spring. Many people, masters and servants, were deterred from planting at that time by their military service.
Today our good God has given us much edification from His word, and especially from the gospel, both at the plantations and in town. We have started to contemplate some points of the introduction to the story in 2 Samuel 2:8. May He change us to empty vessels, so that He can fill them up with His spirit and grace and prepare them for all good works. The reason that many people do not realize the right essence of Christianity results not only from abuse but also from a wrong understanding of the gospel. We can observe that even persons of our parish let themselves be hindered from the application of the gospel by all sorts of vain and nonessential things, pretending to be careful and cautious; therefore they remain under the law and live in anxiety.22
Wednesday, the 18th of February. N. of N. [Kieffer of Purysburg] has stayed with his sons at their plantation in our neighborhood for the sake of edification; and today he and his wife traveled home again. From his words and deeds one can well see that God has sent him much good from His word and that he is earnestly endeavoring to become certain of his salvation in the divine order of God. He has borrowed a book from us for his own and his family’s edification, the reading of which has already been of use to him here. He wishes for one of us to preach the gospel of Christ to the people of N. [Purysburg] and hopes that it will be of some use to them. He recognizes that Satan has built his empire in that region not only in the terrible sinfulness there but also in ignorance; and he considers himself to be an example of the latter. I will see how the dear God will ordain the matter.
I was very much delighted to hear that a pregnant person, who seems to be subjected to many critical conditions, is making good use of the words that I, as she says, told somebody else some time ago during her hard birth pains: “If, however, it turns out that you remain true to Him, He will release you; when you least expect it, He will free your heart from such a heavy burden. ...”23 By these lovely words I was quite unexpectedly reminded of the fatherly grace of our good God, which He has also shown to my house, Hallelujah!
I visited Mrs. Floerl and Mrs. Gruber and was greatly refreshed with them, especially when I noticed that our dear God is blessing them splendidly with His gospel. They well recognize their unworthiness and complain about it, but they hope through their prayers and their whole Christianity for the pure mercy of their heavenly Father and the perfect merit of Christ. Some points of their confession were very impressive to me; however, I have some scruples against writing them down. On these and other souls we learn what we sing: “God will not forsake the soul, He loves it far too much.”24 I am also pleased that they perceive the favor and grace of God in other religious women, and every one of them thinks of the other as being better than herself. They also edify each other with cordial and (which pleased me very much) thorough exhortations and instructions and advance each other in good, of which I learned some particulars.
Thursday, the 19th of February. I was very impressed that a woman sitting at a cradle was knitting stockings and at the same time reading in the New Testament, which was placed in front of her, in order to learn the verses. Christianity produces diligent and respectable people, who discharge their Christian and professional duties, even if nobody urges them to do so.
This morning the carpenter Kogler visited me and informed me that he and some other men want to start preparing timber for the church building today in the name of God. Since I know that they like to pray while laboring and wish for one of us to pray together with them, I went with them into the forest where the board sawyers had started working already yesterday. We praised our dear God for all the plentiful blessings He has given us so abundantly so far, in which He has fulfilled in us and our families the text of our last Commemoration and Thanksgiving service: “He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in seven there shall be no evil touch thee. ...” He has been overwhelming us with spiritual and physical benefits more than other people in this country; among these is the fact that he recently sent us 60 ь Sterling, with which we are now building an evangelical Church of Grace for His glory and for our edification (in which the poor people will hear the gospel of Christ and the precious grace of God that is offered to the penitents free and without charge). We also asked Him for His blessing on this important work so that the whole construction may be made in the fear of God, in Christian harmony, and without harm to the workers. As a reminder I told the workers the precious words of David that had been inculcated during the last Bible story: “For the word of the right; and all his works are done in truth.” Oh, how much good do we still have to expect from the loving, almighty, and true God, if we fear Him with all our heart.
Since people are still in the first stage of equipping their plantations and households, they badly need some help for clothing and other vital necessities. They have worked a long time at the mill with much diligence, ruination of their clothes, and neglect of their own houses. Therefore it will do them good to receive some cash money for the church construction, because they will have to wait for the payment of the mill costs until God grants something. Because of my own house and the orphanage I still owe some money to several people, which I am unable to pay at the present time. They will gladly lend it to me longer, since they are now getting some payment. We have always hoped for a word from Europe whether our dear God may have inclined some benefactors to a voluntary contribution for the construction of a solid church. We know that the esteemed Senior Urlsperger has wished to notify all the friends of the Salzburgers in writing of our desire for a house of God and our own inability to pay for it and thus give them an opportunity to turn to good account here in America whatever they can spare from their temporal means without suffering. But, since no messages have arrived yet concerning the building of the church, we presently plan to continue construction only as far as God gives us the means for it. It is not our business to cause any new debts, and we have no promise; also there is no necessity for it.
Knowledgeable men have recently let me know their opinion, which they have meanwhile tested and considered even better. They suggest that we first build a spacious house either of thick wood or boards, which shall be equipped with a lower and upper floor as well as with sufficient chairs and benches for men and women. Its construction should be so calculated and arranged that it would not exceed the sum which we have on hand, i.e. some 60 ь Sterling. This house should be placed on the spot near the church, where the place for the school-building is now destined; and later on, if a real big church can be built, according to the will and given blessing of God, we could use it for the schoolmaster and the school, for which provision will have to be made in time as much as for the church. This way we would have these advantages: 1) we would not incur new debts; 2) the men would not be away from their housework for too long a time to the harm of their farming; for, if they leave the planting undone and do not grow enough crops, the damage will be too great; 3) we get a church soon and I can use my own house again; because, up to now, especially in autumn and winter, I have not had a study because of the cold.
On the other hand, in case the church should be built high and large according to the suggestion of Mr. N. [Whitefield] and the first intention of our carpenters, one would have to lay a firm foundation of stones. These would have to be carried at great expense from other points or quarried in the Savannah River, and therefore we should have to postpone it until summertime, when the water is warm and low. Now they are making the thresholds. In the meantime God will help them make up their minds whether this provisional church should be built from boards or from thick wood like my house. The latter they like most, if only the present costs would cover it. If it is used as our school some day, it will be easy to make a partition out of thick boards in order to get two rooms and two chambers for living and for holding school. I hope that nobody will mind our circumspection. The planned church will be spacious enough not only for the present listeners but also for some more people.
Friday, the 20th of February. At last night’s prayer meeting we heard from the story of 2 Samuel 2:8 that God, our Lord, abundantly recompensed his servant David for all the many hardships, troubles, and toil he had with the enemies of God and His people on all sides of the land of Canaan, by sending back to him much of the spoil [from the battle] such as gold, silver, metal, and other things. These goods David returned to the Lord and consecrated for the use of the temple that was to be built in time to come. In this way he gave his son Solomon not only peace and quiet but also supplies for building the large temple of the Lord, not only for the good of the Jews, but also as a prefiguration for other nations (Isaiah 60:10-11) and Revelations 21:24). Since the building of our long desired church was started yesterday with prayer and in the name of God, this circumstance in the story reminded us that God, in His wonderful grace, had sent us a good stock of money and hardware collected from all sorts of people unknown to us through the service of our dear Senior Urlsperger and Mr. N. [Whitefield]. All these gifts now enable us to build a solid church.
God has given us peace until now and not allowed the enemies, whose arrogance and wrath are greater than their power, as in the case of the Moabites in Isaiah 16:6, to disturb us in the least. Therefore we could take the start of the church construction as a good sign that He will guard us in the future. For me it is very striking that God has given us not only the first mill, but also the first church in this country, since in Savannah and Frederica people have no church and must manage in other houses. Also nothing has come of the intended church at Palachocolas in General Oglethorpe’s barony, although the money was available.
Just as our dear David contributed, from cordial love for God and in humility and under many tribulations (see 1 Chronicles 23:14) toward the building of the temple (which he himself could not build), so we, who cannot help with money or labor, are reminded to do our duty by heartily praising our benevolent Father for the blessings of money and hardware we have received and by praying for the known and unknown benefactors and the dear workers on the building and asking God to give them a clear heart and eye, also sense and strength, to start the building to His glory and to the benefit of many people, even to those in the neighborhood who are now against us because of envy and malice and who lie and slander us from want of judgment. It is very edifying to read how the Jewish people behaved during the preparation of the temple building (1 Chronicles 30). Time was too short, otherwise I would have read something to the listeners about the first Christians, from whose example our workers and all members of our parish could learn how one can praise our dear and holy God and pray to Him not only during meetings but also in solitude while working. With the help of God I will read this to the parish this evening.
The introduction to the prayer book of the German Chapel in London reads as follows: “There was nothing more common among the early Christians than the singing of David’s psalms, so much so that, before the spirit of the world inundated everything, one could occasionally hear everyone singing, the farmer at his plow, the helmsman and mariner at their wheel and oar, the digger at his clod of earth, the weaver at his loom, and the woman at her spinning wheel. In fact, the children themselves, even before they could speak, tried to sing something for their nurses and tried to express, as best they could, the tender feeling which they received from the force of that world and which they had imbibed with their mothers’ milk.” The author of this adds that people in the past had a very great love for such religious songs, whereas now most people, and even the clergy, have an aversion against them. Yes, they even feel an aversion!
The workmen are now fully determined to build the house, which is to serve as a convenient church for as many years as God wills, not from boards but from thick wood like my own house. They hope to cover the construction entirely with the money on hand and not only to build the house completely but also to prepare solid benches and chairs as in Germany for men, women, and children. Walls out of boards, as one sees them in Savannah, are not very durable; they split from heat and rain, while coldness and warmth penetrate easily. Nevertheless, the whole building would cost even more than if we do it our way, as one can see from the example of the orphanage.
The whole house is to be 45 feet in length, 30 feet broad, and 12 feet high from floor to ceiling or upper floor. Inside, the walls will be smoothly planed, outside they will remain as smooth as they can be chopped with a broad-axe. According to the advice and example of General Oglethorpe we plan to paint the outside walls with turpentine so that the rain will damage them less. Since no rooms or chambers are being built, but only four walls, the carpenters have obligated themselves to deliver the four walls up to the roof for 21 ь Sterling, which seems little to reasonable people in comparison with the building costs we have had before. I am glad that we will get such a well protected and spacious house for our church, which can serve the parish instead of a church for many years. Should God send us money for a bigger and better church, the present building would be as good a schoolhouse as we could ever wish for, in which a partition of strong boards can be built easily and with small cost. All knowledgeable people of the parish approve of this kind of construction, and we hope that our friends and benefactors in Europe and in this country will like it too. Hallelujah!
Saturday, the 21st of February. The water in the river is rising higher than in the last several years, so most of the Salzburgers’ land near the mill-river is being flooded and at the same time richly manured and fertilized by the mud which the Savannah River carries with it. Kieffer, however, who has built his plantation on low land, runs a great risk of suffering much damage from the water. Yesterday before the edification hour I was at the mill where they are grinding without stopping, despite the high water, now that the millrace up to the mill wheel has been raised one foot so that more water can be let in to drive away the backflow which impedes the wheel.
The Englishman at Old Ebenezer, who takes care of the Lord Trustees’ cattle, writes to me in a letter that on Thursday night a thief came into his cowpen and secretly slaughtered a tame cow and carried away all the meat, except the head, skin, and intestines. He rode out this morning with several men from Abercorn to search all over the forest. We also notice somebody roving about our place at night, but we cannot surprise him in the very act and catch him. Since more men are in town now because of the building, they are seriously trying to catch him.
Sunday, the 22nd of February. The dear Lord has again given us much edification today from His word as well as from the common prayer hour, which is held in the evening and in which we pray about the word of God we have heard and accepted. We eagerly present our planned church building to God and I feel that He is leading us to various and useful views, for in this important construction nothing shall be done according to men’s advice and will but according to the Lord’s intention. Before the prayer we sang the lovely song: Das leben unsers Königs siegt . . . which, besides the text, also has a beautiful musical composition. Since the evenings are short now, our singing lessons are being discontinued. We have learned enough new songs now, and it is good not to overload ourselves but to sing them often together with other people of the parish and thus make them known to the public.
Kieffer of Purysburg has sent his two grownup daughters and his [Reformed]25 son-in-law up to us to give them the opportunity to take earnest care of their salvation. I notice that the father, now that his own eyes have opened, bestows more care upon the salvation of his family than he has done before.
Monday, the 23rd of February. Last night, Mrs. N [Leimberger] suddenly became so sick that she did not show the least sign of life anymore; but after some time she regained her consciousness. She is one of the good natured souls, and we hope that she will yet convert to God even more thoroughly and will find forgiveness in the blood of the Lamb for all her sins, which are also known to the public.
I held the edification hour this morning at the plantations about the last chapter of 2 Samuel 8,26 since I will travel to Savannah tomorrow with the help of God. A boat loaded with calves and cornmeal is leaving for Savannah, so I will not burden the community. Mr. Habersham wrote to me the other day that he wishes to talk to me. Maybe he will give me, for the orphanage, what Mr. N. [Whitefield] announced in a letter before his departure from England. Because we now need everything urgently at the orphanage, I do not want to neglect anything on my part. I will also write to Mr. /Thomas/ Jones at Frederica and ask him to procure from General Oglethorpe the long promised corn subsidy, as well as the building costs for the cornmill, which would be of great value to the Salzburgers in their present need for clothing and other necessities. I will also ask him to remember our orphanage to General Oglethorpe. May our Lord, however, do as He pleases!
Tuesday, the 24th of February. My dear colleague (Mr. Boltzius) traveled to Savannah this morning as announced. May our Lord Jesus accompany and strengthen him in soul and body and let him accomplish much for His glory and for the best of our community, and may He soon delight us, according to His will, with goods news from our Fathers and friends.
Last Sunday, Steiner told me, to the praise of God, that the Lord has now given him assurance that He loves and has accepted him. For some time he was in doubt and did not know how he stood, but the contemplation of the passion story has caused him to understand in his soul that he should no longer doubt the grace and love of God. Praised be the Lord for that! May He give us such grace that the contemplation of the passion story shall be of great blessing this time too, that those who sleep will be awakened to earnest work on their salvation, those who mourn will be truly comforted, and those who believe will be strengthened in their faith so that Christ Crucified alone will be great in our parish.
Wednesday, the 25th of February. In school God sends me much pleasure and refreshment. I would not have believed that so many wonderful and beautiful things are included in the Catechism as, by the grace of God, I have realized for the past year since receiving the commentary of Horbius to the words of Luther’s Catechism.27 With this our dear Lord has sent a great blessing to my soul; and I believe He will also have mercy on the poor children. This much I can see, that their hearts are being moved by the sermons and Catechism. I hope that a good seed will fall in many a heart, which may perhaps grow up in a short time, strike roots, and bear fruit. I gladly blame myself that it has looked bad up to now with the children; but the Lord will have mercy upon me, yea, He is helping me already and will also help me in the future.
Thursday, the 26th of February. In the afternoon after school I took the opportunity to talk with two women. One of them always has good ideas about herself, is able to speak clearly and claims much good, but she does not know herself. Therefore I admonished her that, if she wants to be helped, she must be cured by our Lord Jesus and ask Him to have mercy on her and accept her soul as He thinks best for her. The Lord knows all people from outside and inside, and whoever enters His cure will never be deceived. The other woman, although she cannot read and is a very simple person, could not cease praising the goodness of God; but she was very depressed because of her faults and weakness. God does grant her grace; but, before she really notices it, it all vanishes again; and this destroys all her courage. I admonished this woman to have more confidence in our Lord Jesus, who gladly has much patience with His weak children and does not reject them because of their errors. He wishes neither to break the bruised reed nor to put out the glowing wick until He holds His victorious judgment. May the Lord bless all admonitions by His spirit. Amen!
Friday, the 27th of February. Today I held the prayer hour at the plantations about what followed in the sequence of stories in the New Testament. It was the one in which the Lord Jesus prophesies to his followers His passion, death, and resurrection for the second time, likewise, what follows in Matthew 17:24 ff. From this our dear God granted me and, without doubt, also the others, much edification. May our Lord Jesus make us better understand this mystery and let it be the main business in our life to study it.
Steiner marvels and is delighted that our dear Lord has led him out of darkness to His light. He was much edified by the verse that was taken from Psalms 34:6-7 the other day as an exordium. He wishes more and more to become a true exile. The word of God and, among others, the Psalms are becoming dearer to him every day. I showed him the verse: “Thy loving kindess is better than life.” Thereupon he made the remark that it is written in Psalms 119: “Thy law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver,” but here David says: “Thy loving kindness is better than life,” which means even more, because life means more than gold and silver.
Saturday, the 28th of February. In today’s prayer meeting at my house only three women were present, among them Mrs. N. [Schweighoffer], who edified [and shamed] me very much by her prayer. One can well call her a real jewel of our parish. She can pray to our Lord Jesus so humbly and simply and with such childlike confidence that He cannot help being delighted with her childlike simplicity and grants her supplication. Such simplicity seems to be folly to the world, but wisdom to God and His children. I cannot really describe how cordial and humble her prayer was. From her appearance one cannot really expect it, but inside she bears the treasure all the deeper in her heart, which becomes evident now and then when she does not expect it. How heartily she prayed for the orphanage and its superiors and for a heart obedient to them so that she will not make life difficult for them. Although she is not young any more and has reached a certain age, she is willing to be subject to others even if they are younger.
From the Kalchers, I know, however, that they highly esteem this widow, and from this we can see that our humble Jesus puts His grace in such souls. If one wants to know what humility of heart one learns in the school of Jesus, one can observe it in this widow as a living example.
Sunday, the 1st of March. On Thursday afternoon the wind had turned to north-east and thereupon we got a rather cold weather with rain, which hindered me (Boltzius) on my return journey. I was longing very much to be at home today -- Sunday -- but because of wind and rain we could not start from Savannah before yesterday noon; and since night overtook us between Abercorn and our plantations, so that in darkness and rain we could hardly see each other in the boat, we were forced to go ashore last night. The three rowers had not provided themselves with axes, clothes, or blankets, because they had not expected such rough weather; and therefore they and I suffered a lot during the cold rainy night. However, God helped us through this without harm to our health; and this morning we rowed up to the mill in 2 hours. After I had dried and warmed myself at the fire, I traveled the rest of the way to Ebenezer, where, by the help of God, I arrived after 12 o’clock in good health and found everything in good order at home and in the community.
[Most people from the plantations have been prevented from coming to town and to church by the lasting cold, rainy weather, and bad roads. Therefore I would have liked to tell them something from the word of God at the plantations, if only we could have traveled earlier from our shelter in the woods to the mill.]
Mr. [Thomas] Jones was not in Savannah; therefore, I had to send the letter which I had written to him with regard to the community by a special opportunity to Frederica. A letter from General Oglethorpe was being held in the storehouse, very kindly answering my letter of January 3rd of this year. It reads word for word (translated from English) as follows:1 “I am very glad of the Progress your People have made and particularly, that they have got the Mill built, but I fear much, its standing upon a branch of the Savannah may expose it to be carried away by the Floods.2 I approve very much of a Mill, with respect to the Stones you mention to lye at Savannah I think it would be very right that you should have them, though we wanted them here, yet as I see the endeavours of your Congregation, that they are ready for them, I should therefore prefer your having them. I will also represent the Matter of the money that you have laid out, to the Trustees, for the reimbursement of the same.
“I sent up money for Horses and Orders to Col. Stephens to get them for the Rangers for your Place, and hope you have received the Horses before now. You have sent me word of a barrel of Indian meal which I have not yet received. I should be very glad to know at what price the meal would come, for we should be glad of Indian meal to make cheap bread. With respect to the Clothes for bolting, I really know not what kinds they are, but will speak to Mr. Jones to get them when he goes up to Savannah. I wish you all Prosperity and am Rev. Sir your obedient humble Servant J. Oglethorpe.”
[Some points he has not answered; and he will not be willing to give us what we have asked for, since he himself does not want to contribute anything for the costs of the mill, but recommends it to the Lord Trustees. I wish he would be willing to let the Salzburgers receive the long-ago promised corn-shilling, whereby the poor would be refreshed and enabled to buy a few necessary clothes.]
I showed this letter to Colonel Stephens, who put the blame for our not having received General Oglethorpe’s promised horses on Mr. N [Thomas Jones]. He wrote to him as well as to General Oglethorpe; and we will see, how it will end. With money matters there are always difficulty in this country; and it would not be desirable for our community to live by the money and so-called generosity of rich people. [I am really tired of reminding, admonishing, and traveling, since we can gain only a little but draw on us even more the indignation of people who are not very well disposed towards us.] God has been our best Helper up to now and will be also in the future.
[Concerning Captain Thomson we hear everywhere that while he has lost his ship and cargo, he himself and all his crew and passengers have been saved. Since this happened while they were still in the Channel, they surely must have reports about it in London; and, in case there should have been something on this ship for us, they should send us a message soon.] We are longing for good news from our friends and benefactors in Europe. In Savannah the population is shrinking more and more; there is no profit to be made; and provisions, clothes, and all merchandise are extremely expensive, therefore they cannot subsist. On Wednesday at noon I traveled to Bethesda or to the orphanage, where I arrived on foot in about three hours; but I had to speed up because it is a long, although rather good, road. Bridges have been built with great expense across most of the wet ground, the costs of which were borne by the orphanage alone. The orphanage consists of simple walls made of boards, is 60 feet long and 40 wide and has many rooms and chambers. The costs have already been very high and it is not yet half finished. Several small wooden houses for domestic tasks are almost completed, also a very big kitchen garden is being laid out. The region is not the best one, and the land is mostly unproductive; also the water is not as good as in Savannah. The children here, girls and boys altogether, number over forty, who are all -- as I hear -- very well provided for with food, clothing, and information.
I was welcomed very kindly by Mr. Habersham, who is responsible for the management, by the orphanage preacher, Mr. Barber, and others. They like our melodies very much, so I had to write the notes to some of them under English verses, which was a great joy to them;3 the pleasure in the music had such an effect that Mr. Habersham granted us a barrel of flour and a small piece of white linen for our orphanage, whereas he had previously thought it impossible to give us anything, because of the orphanage’s many debts (which, as he said, amount to about 1,000 ь Sterling), although I reminded him of the letter of Mr. N. [Whitefield], wherein he had promised me some goods.
[Everybody living at the orphanage, especially the principals, are fully convinced of the selection of men to salvation ex absoluto decreto,4 so that they at once start to talk about it. They claim to find much comfort and refreshment in this theory that serves the Roman heresy (secus sentientes roman.);5 yes, they would even say that they cannot look upon a person as converted who does not believe it. I showed my pity for them and told them of our dogma, sufficiently well founded in Holy Scriptures, of the everlasting, impartial love of God in Jesus Christ to all mankind and held up to them some evident verses of 1 John 2:1-2, 1 Timothy 2:10, Matthew 23:37, Romans 5, Psalms 17-19, which they answered in a shallow manner. Since they pray that God may convert all the children entrusted to them and lead them to salvation, I asked them whether they believe that God would like to have those children saved.
[Their answer was that they did not know, but it was their duty to make such intercession. However, I showed them: 1. that they, with their theory, do not have any joy in praying for the salvation of all men. 2. If they would do it and wished for all men to be helped, then their love would have to be greater than the love of God, who nevertheless effects this impartial and general love in them. 3. Their prayer was against the will and command of God: God has, according to their opinion, decided from eternity, by virtue of His sovereignty and great power, to let only a few be saved and these alone and no others to be redeemed by Christ. How could they now pray (without acting against the will of God), that God show mercy to all?
[I have never believed that Reformed people go so far in their theory and that so many errors succeed each other, as I have understood this time from these people’s conversation and from a booklet, printed in Boston a short time ago and communicated to me. I thanked God from all my heart that He has let me be born in the true Evangelical religion and brought up under the leadership of honest Evangelical teachers, also that He has led me to these people today, by whose discourses, arguments, and the way they twist the meaning of the Holy Scriptures I was even more convinced of our holy doctrinal theology.
[The orphanage preacher told me that Mr. White-field had previously talked the same as I do now but had begun to see his way after he had grown in the grace of God. When I returned to Savannah, an honest servant in the storehouse told me that, from a few arguments he heard from me some time ago, he is convinced that the conduct of war generally and in itself is not a sinful matter against Christian doctrine, as Mr. Whitefield had claimed a year ago. Mr. Whitefield is now also of another opinion, he said, and people in his orphanage also talk differently about it now. So they fall from one extreme into another. I believe and also say that, if one day Mr. Whitefield were convinced of the universale meritum6 of Christ, all people would respect his opinon. Because the preacher /Barber/ is a Presbyterian, all ceremonies and forms used in the English Church during public worship are abolished. They told me with certainty that Mr. Stewart, the most intimate friend of Mr. Whitefield (from whose diary we reported something some time ago), came off so badly during a riot of the mob in Wales that he died.
[In Savannah the German people asked me to visit them soon, since they had a great desire for Holy Communion. They would very much agree to my holding back those people who live in an unchristian way, but there were, they said, some people who deserved to receive it. However, their language is such that we cannot see any beginning of a conversion in them. I will consult with my dear colleague in our prayers as to what we can do about it. We do not hesitate at the difficulty of the journey, if only we can do something good for the salvation of people. I was asked to baptize a few children; but, since Mr. Norris is in Savannah again and is celebrating the divine services, I refused to do so, because the above mentioned preacher is our opponent and would consider it as an interference with his ecclesiastical duty if we baptized a child there (although procreated by German parents). However, I was told by the midwife that this man was not worthy of baptizing a child, since he behaved very badly at Frederica with a German maid and took her with him to Savannah; in six weeks she will be brought to childbed.7 He wants to keep it very secret and has his helpers in Savannah; and he would have carried the person off to another place if Mr. /Thomas/ Jones had not already prevented it by a letter. She is a Reformed woman and had been suggested to a pious Salzburger as a wife by the slovenly shoemaker /Reck/ of Purysburg. However, since I had observed much weakness and frivolity in her, I advised against the marriage. Now everybody can see that my opinion was not wrong. May God continue to keep away from our place all such persons who do not wish to lead a Christian life!]
Nobody in Savannah has any news of how things are in England and Germany with regard to war and peace. Also, no one knows what is happening at sea between the Englishmen and the Spaniards. Before my journey we read the following words from Psalms 60 to strengthen our faith: “Through God we shall do valiantly; for He it is that shall tread down our enemies.”
Monday, the 2nd of March. At the prayer meeting in my home we are still benefiting from the gifts of the three main articles of the Christian religion which are presented from a separate booklet and confirmed by verses from the Scriptures. This is a fine way for us to awaken each other to the praise of God for all the good things He has given to us with His merciful hand from childhood on, for we usually do not realize all these special benefits.
[Mrs. Ortmann stayed behind after the prayer meeting and requested that a house be built for her and her husband, since they have to suffer much cold and inconvenience in their present dwelling. This desire came as a great surprise to me, because everybody knows that Kogler’s house is one of the best in our community and that we had given it to them because we hoped that they would now have patience until God sends us something for a proper school house. So I had to admonish her to wait.]
We visited the carpenters and found them in good health. They work in a very good harmony and accomplish so much work every day that everbody who sees it must marvel at their industry and zeal. They work in two parties and have different tasks. Six are cutting the timber for the walls and three are cutting the wood for the roof above the walls. Four men are sawing the boards for two floors; and during my absence they have already sawed a good stock of boards. If the water would subside from the region where the cypress trees grow, some of the men would split cypress shingles, which are much more durable than other shingles. The water is much higher than it has been during the last four or five years.
Tuesday, the 3rd of March. On Sunday night the sky cleared, and yesterday we had cold air but sunshine all day long. Today, however, it again rained very much, and therefore I had a rather uncomfortable trip home from the plantations. But by God’s fatherly care neither this one nor the last very uncomfortable journey from Savannah and the cold, wet, and dark night in the woods have hurt my health. I heard from some pious people that they had prayed to God for me [diligently] while supposing me on my trip home, which was very helpful to me by making all hardships easier and by shortening the night.
[Since the carpenters were prevented from doing their work on this rainy day, some of them have helped with threshing rice at the orphanage, because they see that Kalcher has no male helpers and there is no money available to hire anybody.]
Wednesday, the 4th of March. Yesterday evening the weather changed again and the air became clear; but at night a very heavy storm came up that lasted nearly all day long and presumably has done much damage to the peach blossoms. During night and day it was almost as cold as in the middle of winter with very hard frost. [I had to talk to Mrs. Helffenstein, and therefore I visited her in her lodgings. She thought I knew about some recent bad conduct of her boys, so she started making excuses. She turns her back on them most of the time and encourages their naughtiness by her weakness. Only her eldest son is living with her, the other three boys are being provided for at the orphanage; and I would rather like it if she would have less to do with them, because she just has unnecessary problems and the children suffer harm.]
Because the anniversary of the first transport’s arrival at this colony seven years ago after a troublesome and dangerous sea journey will soon be celebrated, our mind is already directed towards the imminent performance of our commemoration and thanksgiving day. May God prepare our hearts so that we will praise Him with ardent minds, for He has proved the truth of His word, upon which we reflected a year ago upon this occasion, in spite of all dangerous war troubles: “He shall deliver thee in six troubles. Yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.” Perhaps our wise and gracious God will bestow upon us satisfactory news from Europe for this feast, and some blessing for the orphanage and for the poor members of the community, whereby old and young people will be even more encouraged to the praise of His name. A short time ago I read from Isaiah 1:19-20 the following words: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, etc.” and today I remembered the nice verse Hosea 11:3, “I taught Ephraim to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.” I hope God will give me something from these beautiful proverbs to my own edification so that afterwards they will also be of use to my listeners.
Thursday, the 5th of March. [We still have some difficulties with the town’s cowherd. He is faithless and answers with evil words if people remind him of his duty; also, he is never content with the payment he gets for his work. Instead of clothes and provisions he now receives 10 pounds Sterling a year; and his wife is in nobody’s service so that, if she wants to work, she can plant as much corn and other things for herself and her husband as they would need for their household during the year (if they don’t breed too many pigs and chickens). He prefers to shoot while he is cattle tending and is said to carry home various animals. Because he will soon have earned 5 pounds Sterling, he is talking about redeeming himself, but I cannot agree to this but must refer him to the Lord Trustees and their agents in Savannah.8 Up to now the herdsmen at the plantations and at town have cost us very much, and they have been paid from the money God has sent us for the orphanage. Since it has now pleased God to let the orphanage suffer much need, the community will not blame us if we go no further in providing for the herdsmen than we are able to through divine Providence.]
Besides his present small dwelling Mr. Thilo desires a new bigger and more solid hut in order t store away his things and to treat his patients. Since the community has furnished him with some necessities after the last harvest and has also provided him with as much wood as he needs, I cannot expect them to build him the desired hut. Therefore we previously decided to repair the old hut which is already standing in his courtyard and to furnish it with new thresholds; but, because it is not [proper and] convenient to him, I have bought Bischoff’s hut for 24 Shillings, which is quite new and stands opposite Mr. Thilo’s lot; and I have promised to pay him within a year from the money which God will, I hope, send us. A carpenter has assured me that this solidly built hut, as it now stands with thresholds, walls, and roof, can be easily moved on rollers by some skilled men to the desired place without any damage.
Friday, the 6th of March. Before the edification hour Lemmenhofer informed me that our dear God had released his wife of the fruit of her womb and granted them a healthy little daughter, whom he would like to have baptized today. I stayed at the plantations until he fetched his godfathers from town, which took until three o’clock. In the meantime I visited several people, to whom I did not have much to say, because I had previously explained to them all about 2 Samuel 9, rather I wished to hear how they apply those things that God offers them by His word, and whether they lead a good or a bad life. And I had much joy and edification from their testimony about the grace of God they were experiencing in their hearts. One of them told me that in his home country he had been in great danger of being kept from accepting the Evangelical religion, partly because of his kinsmen and partly because of some obviously deceitful matters, in which there was no truth and strength of Christianity; but God had given him strength to tear himself from everything and break through.9 At that time he had been as if in darkness; and, when he now remembers it, he cannot but marvel at the grace of God that he alone among all his kinsmen has experienced for the recognition of the truth. I also heard that, while working together, the Salzburgers often remember the former darkness of their spiritual condition and praise God for their release from their spiritual Egypt and Babel.
Some people intend to have a letter written to Prussia in order to find out who of their families are still alive and how things are going with them: on the other hand they wish to inform them of the mercy our Lord has shown to our community in earthly and spiritual goods. They wish that the messages they have received from their countrymen in Prussia had been more detailed and had described not only the names of the Salzburgers, but also the jurisdictions or districts as well as the mines and farms where they had lived before their emigration; then they would know exactly whether things that are being reported deal with their own families or other people who have the same name and fatherland. They plan to write in this way.
Another Salzburger whom I visited said: Not until now was he able to thank God from all his heart for bringing him to Ebenezer, because now He has fulfilled His merciful intention to make him a real Christian through His holy word. He did not understand the gospel for a long time, he said, and did not believe it until he was cleared from his many errors and debilities. He had wished to be free of all his sins so that he would not feel guilty any more; and, because he could not accomplish this, he had not been content with himself but very restless. He added that he noted that mental laziness is the reason the self-willed human being wishes to be a Christian and attain salvation without a continual ardent struggle against inherent sin. He remembers that some time ago he wished to marry a Reformed woman near Savannah under the condition that she would conform to our divine service. Therefore he prayed earnestly that only the will of God would happen, and now he often thanks God for not having agreed to this intended marriage, but sent him a lawful spouse with whom he can serve God in one spirit and mind. They are both very content.
Mrs. Lemmenhofer suffered much while giving birth to her child, and this may have been largely the fault of the unskilled midwife, Mrs. Gr. [Grimmiger]. While her great physical weakness was still lasting, she told me that, during her utmost misery, her husband read a few quotations from the Bible out of Schaitberger,10 i.e., “Neither is there salvation in any other . . . etc.,” whereby our dear God helped her very much. When her child was baptized I told her, her husband, and other persons present the contents of the short pleasing passage of 2 Samuel 9 and showed them that our loving God has shown even greater mercy to their newly baptized child than the charitable David had done to the lame, poor, and miserable Mephiboseth. For the application of this pleasing history means to us that all of us may realize by the example of Mephiboseth partly who we were in Adam and Eve, partly who we had become through the fall of man, and who we now can become through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shows His mercy upon us and sends us, who are only unworthy and miserable creatures, the emissaries of his love -- one after the other. We may and can again back our lost heritage, we can be accepted again as the children and at the table and under the very best communion with the King of all kings, if only we desist from our animosity and sensuality (2 Corinthians 5:20), humble ourselves before our Lord, and follow the acts of grace which He is showing to us constantly. I recommended in public and also to these people the wonderful song for singing and reading: Sey hochgelobt, barmhertz’ger Gott . . . etc. Here the important matter that is preached is presented very emphatically and effectively.
Saturday, the 7th of March. The Englishman /Barker/ at Old Ebenezer, who is in charge of the Lord Trustee’s cattle, came to me today and informed me that he found some of the Salzburgers’ cattle far away in the woods and that he has driven them to his home, for which the people shall pay one and a half bushels of corn for each (which is as much as 3 sh. Sterl.). He is in need of corn and could not find a better way to get it without payment than to drive our community’s cattle, which we have purposely driven into the woods, to Old Ebenezer and let himself be paid for this unsolicited and unneeded work. We have asked him to let the cattle go; if our people want to get them back, they will search for them themselves, especially since they hope to get the promised horses soon, as we understood from General Oglethorpe’s last letter. [One has many inconveniences with unconscientious neighbors.
[The carpenters had to stop working yesterday and today because it was raining and thundering; the rain this time is very warm and we now hope for fair and warm spring weather.]
The strong and lasting winter has made the pasturage in the woods very scarce. Therefore, the cattle of some of the people who could not feed them became very weak; and, moreover, two cows got stuck and perished in the morass through the negligence of the herdsmen, which means a great loss to poor Brückner and Krause. The withered grass in the woods is completely burned down, so now we can hope for new young grass soon if only the warm weather will last for a few more days and nights.
Mr. Thilo is now suffering from a double quartan fever, which is preventing him from visiting the evening prayer meeting. I would have wished him to be able to attend it today, because we have contemplated a certain part of the passion story, as we usually do every second Saturday. Our dear God would without doubt have conferred His blessings upon him. Oh, what a treasure we have with the passion story of our Savior, but unfortunately it is only too little perceived and esteemed! Since my return from Savannah I have conferred with him several times about the method of Dr. Ploss of Augsburg and of the English medical men, who used to cure the febres intermittentes with an emetic and the Cortice Peruv.11 I would welcome his making an experiment with the people, who are eagerly asking for it, particularly since there are examples at hand that no harm is being done with it, rather the fever is being cured safely. However, because he wants to proceed with caution, he will reflect upon it again. He told me that Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen as well as a celebrated German physician in London had recommended this method to him multis verbis;12 he, however, always had many objections against it.
Sunday, the 8th of March. Today we have announced to the parish here and at the plantations that our commemoration and thanksgiving festival will be held next Saturday and that everybody should eagerly pray to our Lord to send much grace for the celebration and rich blessings from above for ourselves and our families. We have good reason to remember with thanks the mercy of God, which has kept and embraced us all year long, and to invoke His further protection and benediction for our spiritual and worldly affairs. If the planting season were not so near, we could hope that our church would be finished in a short time. In that case we would have postponed our commemoration and thanksgiving service until the time that the church was consecrated with the word of God, prayer, and thanksgiving; but, as it looks now, the church will hardly be finished before Whitsuntide, especially since the work is often interrupted by the present rainy weather and water is still covering the low regions where the cypress trees grow from which the shingles are to be made.
Monday, the 9th of March. [Last Saturday we received news via the Englishman /Barker/ of Old Ebenezer that Mr. /Thomas/ Jones left Frederica more than eight days ago. He should have been in Savannah by now; but two men came up from there who claim they know nothing about his arrival. I hope that he has already received the last letter I sent him from Savannah, wherein I again reminded him of the corn-shilling for our community and some other necessary things and asked him to recommend our community’s welfare to General Oglethorpe.
[Hans Maurer’s wife had a dangerous and painful sore on the inside of her throat all winter long, for which Mr. Thilo gave her some doses of purge pills and the prescription to gargle with sage water and to wait for a sweat; but nothing has helped up to now. The sore is now said to be very dangerous and to be spreading further and further; and therefore her husband, who is sawing boards for the church building, is handicapped in his labor.] Her soul is in such a fine condition that her frame of mind will continue to conduce to her benefit as it happens to everyone who loves God. I had her husband recite to her the verse that was very refreshing and comforting to me yesterday in the exordium, Psalms 40:18: “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me.”
This evening the Honorable Senior Urlsperger’s beautiful preface to the third Continuation13 came to my hand, which, for different reasons, made me and my family very much ashamed indeed. On the other hand we were again admonished to fervent praise of God for His fatherly care and for my and the community’s circumstances as well as for a heartfelt and eager intercession for our known and unknown benefactors. This was even more impressive to me because in today’s prayer hour we heard from 2 Samuel 10 about the example of David who showed mercy and thus wished to prove his thankfulness. We learned from this that a Christian should be thankful even to heathens and disbelievers if they have done good to him. How much more should we be obliged to fulfill our duty towards our kindly disposed Christian benefactors who, with deeds and intercessions, have done and still do much good to us in spiritual and physical matters! And, because we are not able to repay in any other way, we can still heartily and eagerly pray for them and their families, as we have done during our commemoration and thanksgiving festival and will also do in the future.
Last week the present trials at the orphanage touched my feelings very much and almost made me faint hearted; but the true Savior strengthened my belief again when I meditated about yesterday’s gospel for mid-Lent Sunday; and today the Lord gave me a new strength of belief from the aforementioned preface. Be He praised! The grace of our Lord is really marvelous, since we have gained so many dear benefactors both in Germany and at other places who support Ebenezer in all possible ways, even though most of them are not known to us face to face.
In this we are faring almost the same as the poor nobleman in the Netherlands to whom a certain generous archduke, out of pure sympathy for him and his poor condition, would send various dishes of food every day by an unknown servant tecto nomine,14 whereby the poor man was much astonished the first day, even more so after the first week, and most of all thereafter, because he received the undeserved benefit until his death. Since he never came to know his benefactor, he regretted very much having to die ungrateful, etc. Through God’s grace we will eagerly pray for our known and unknown benefactors and hope to meet them before the throne of God in eternity. There we will thank them for having shipped their gifts to us across the ocean and we will be only too glad to hear the mouth of our true Savior apply to them what he says in Matthew 25:34-36.
Tuesday, the 10th of March. It rained all day long today, therefore it is difficult to pass certain places on the way to the plantations. In spite of this the listeners gather diligently to hear the word of the Lord about the story of 2 Samuel 10. We heard that David, the servant of the Lord, like other children of God, had several sorts of external and internal anxieties, to which he could resign himself since he accepted them all as coming from the hand of the heavenly Father and since he was also familiar with the Messiah, as the real resting place and refuge in religious faith. Our wise God also lets us suffer various troubles of life so that we will flee into the clefts and crevasses of our Savior, who said: “In the world ye have peace, in the world ye shall have tribulation.”
This new war anxiety (which is mentioned above) arose from bad advisers. What evil can be done by them, is to be seen from 2 Chronicles 22 [Psalms 4, and Kings XII]; and that people still have to suffer much misfortune, our Salzburgers can well remember from their homeland. It would have been very unwholesome for their souls if they had been kept back from emigration by the advice and plausible remonstrations of their relatives and countrymen. I cited the example of my deceased mother-in-law,15 who could be held back neither by her husband nor father nor friend and peacefully ended her pilgrimage at Old Ebenezer. A man who had previously rendered her and her family a good service by reading and encouraging, later proved to be a bad adviser when he was to turn his back on his belongings. He told her that one could join in Popish things outwardly yet remain Evangelical in one’s heart at the same time. She should stay home because of her little children, whom one would not let go with her etc. . . even the Lord did not cast off St. Peter because of his denial, etc. Our listeners indeed escaped this adviser, to be sure, but there are still others holding some people back from true conversion, etc. [We also encouraged each other through the example of grateful David to thankfulness to our dear benefactors, as was done last night at the prayer meeting in town.]
A pious Salzburger remained behind and praised God for the many good things that He has given to him this year, including a blessed harvest. He was so joyous that he seemed to have no shortage whatsoever, though one could see his poverty from his torn clothes. Oh, how much we would like to give some physical gifts to the poor but very cheerful listeners, who also are thankful to God and other people, if only the Lord would send us the means for it! I am thinking of the dear words of God: 2 Corinthians 9-8: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you,” etc.
The carpenters finished the wooden construction for the four walls of the church today and received their promised pay, i.e., for the thirteen beams: 19 sh. 3d. and for the remaining lumber 7 pounds Sterling. Before they went home they unpacked the hardware which Mr. W. [Whitefield] brought from the collection in London. It consists of two beautiful door locks, fittings for doors and windows, bolts, and many small and big nails. God be praised for this benefit too and crown the benefactors with His grace like a shield! Now the carpenters wish to repair their fences, till their fields, and do the necessary things in their households. After that the construction will be continued in the name of God.
Wednesday, the 11th of March. Today we had the opportunity to travel down the mill river for recreation, as I had wished to do for a long time, in order to see how the river looks on which the Salzburgers’ plantations are situated one after the other, and through which the community has many advantages, especially in the mill. It is a real pleasure to travel down the river, especially since one can better realize the industriousness of the Salzburgers and their establishments on the plantations. As soon as more land on both sides is cleared of trees, bushes, and reeds, it will be a very pleasing view. Although the water is now at the highest level, the mill is grinding as much as the community needs for its provision. Before the mill was constructed, we reckoned with the fact that it would have to stop working several times during the year at a very high water level; but now, to our astonishment, we have learned otherwise. God be praised! The millwheel stands deep under the backed-up water (because the water above and below the dam is on almost the same level), and yet it is strongly whirled round by the water that is flowing down with great force from the mill dam and is driving back the backed-up water.
The miller showed us rice flour that he ground from the smallest rice (which is called “Negro-rice” and costs only half the money). It is as white as snow and looks better than wheat flour. He is using it in his household the same way as wheat flour. The orphanage had him grind unstamped rice, the flour of which is not as white as from the aforementioned but is also very beautiful and as good as good flour. How much this experience will encourage our dear people to plant rice; the hardest work will be to stamp it as white as it must be for sale. If they but get such good flour from unstamped rice, they will not need wheat-flour, which now costs 15 sh. Sterling for 100 pounds. [We do not yet notice that other people in the country wish to use our mill, and therefore our community is sufficiently and plentifully served with the one stone we have (for this one 10 bushels can be ground every day, not counting the night).] Should God send us some means, the other stone would be installed in the mill and arranged in such a way that we could grind even at lowest water in the dryest summer weather. Or the other stone would be installed into a machine, such as is well known in Germany, for stamping the rice and making it suitable for sale. God will give us everything at the right time. Be He praised for the great benefit of the mill!
[While at the mill we received word that Captain Thomson has certainly arrived somewhere in Georgia; and so we hope to learn soon whether he has brought letters for us (which we hardly doubt). A short time ago a report came to Savannah that he had had an accident in the Channel and lost ship and life. When I was in Savannah last time it was said that his ship and everything on it were lost but that he himself and some other people on board the ship had been saved.]
Thursday, the 12th of March. At yesterday’s prayer hour I encouraged a woman whom I know to live in great poverty to have enduring confidence in the help of God; everything will turn out well, I said, and many poor people will be comforted also physically in due time. She, however, considered her poverty to be wealth and abundance, because the spiritual profit she receives from the cross surpasses all physical poverty and want. It would not be a good omen, she said, if God let us remain without the sign of the cross, by which He honors His children (Hebrews 12). I remembered what I had heard about a patriarch who was visited by a certain sickness every year and who, when it failed to appear one year, asked God: “Why is it, my Father, that Thou hast not visited me this year?”
Another woman also learned much last night about the fatherly care of our dear God for our parish in order to awaken a Christian preparation for our commemoration and thanksgiving festival; and she was distressed that she had struggled greatly against the call of the heavenly Father to move to Ebenezer; He had to force her to do so for her own good with the effect that she is now persuaded not to choose for herself anymore or follow her own heart but only to be simply obedient to the guidance and leadership of God, for thus one will not be misguided.
The same person told me how much she had suffered in her conscience during her illness, that her heart was more attached to her husband than to our Lord Christ, her soul-friend and bridegroom. When she was praying to Christ in her anxiety, which must have been very great, physically and mentally, it appeared to her that somebody was clearly whispering into her ear: go to your husband, what do you want from me? etc. But the Lord Jesus had again shown His mercy upon her, she said, and she became quite aware of His grace, so that she would have died with pleasure at that time; but now she is often deeply grieved for having not truly kept the dear treasure after becoming healthy again. [At that time she was longing very much for Holy Communion but could not attend for various reasons. However, it was a boundless consolation to her to be told that a faithful soul can enjoy Christ every moment with all that He is and has. Therefore, at every drink of water she very emphatically felt as if the Lord Jesus was offering her His blood of reconciliation, and thereof she had even more hearty and heavenly comfort than at the time she really went to Holy Communion.]
H.F. [Hans Floerl] is a reasonable, intelligent, and careful Christian, to whom God has granted various gifts for being useful to his neighbors in spiritual and material times. Up to now he has always lived near his town in his poor hut; but, since it is becoming dilapidated, he is under the necessity of moving to his brother on their common plantation, which is situated near the influx of the mill-river where, already last autumn, he and his brother prepared a respectable piece of land for planting. For a long time we have considered using this man as our schoolmaster, especially since we will eventually have to give school lessons at the plantations, where the number of children has increased. But we did not wish to hurry about it and decide something without sufficient knowledge of God’s providence and direction; now this matter has again come to my mind very firmly and I have new hopes of putting some of the lambs under his charge. [With the schoolmaster Ortmann teaching in town, we have to be patient until God Himself makes a change; he indeed shows in his way every possible effort with the small children and advances them in reading; but, since he cannot keep right order, various confusions arise so that the good that has been planted in their tender hearts in the catechism hour is choked again.]
On my inquiry about two girls, Mrs. Kalcher told me that the work done on their souls in the preparation hours and otherwise was not in vain, rather they prove eager in their private prayer and lead such a humble and quiet life that the pious persons at the orphanage have all reason to praise God for this. I intend to let these girls attend the Lord’s Table as soon as possible, especially because they have a methodical knowledge about all articles of Christian religion and are able to give a thorough account of their belief. They are already kept at different kinds of female work at the orphanage, yet after confirmation it will be even better, since then they will not be allowed to go to school any more but will have to be satisfied with other good opportunities for edification on Sundays and workdays.
Since N. [Catherina Holtzer] was again received at the orphanage upon her request, she has not only become healthier but has proved that the Holy Spirit has set a good basis of Christianity into her heart, whereas in the past she was no good at all. [She moved through her own obstinacy from the orphanage and brought some honest persons in great confusion by her lies and slander. Afterwards, by God’s grace, she recognized what benefits she had forfeited by her bad behavior, ingratitude, and moving out. Then she felt repentance, tears poured down, and she begged and waited until she was again accepted at the orphanage with the consent of her master. She is slow in her work and awkward by nature, but we readily have patience with her.]
Friday, the 13th of March. For some time E. [Ernst] has had several bodily misfortunes and the greatest poverty in his house. He came to me and showed me his hand, in which he has a hidden injury so he cannot use it and suffers much pain. He received a small glass of Schauer Balm together with the reminder not to regard these and similar torments as happening by chance; he should remember his sins, committed in Germany and here, and the terrible curses which he has sputtered for their palliation; and for all that he has not done atonement. If he further disregards the admonition that God has often given him through several misfortunes, I said, and if he does not do true atonement, much more harm will happen to him.16 For God is a holy and just God, who will punish all unrepented and unforgiven sins here and in eternity. He realizes that he has deserved these and still more suffering, also that God has not yet treated him according to his sins, otherwise he would, e.g., have slashed his foot in a recent accident. His conscience is disturbed very much by his former sins and he has resolved to convert to God. I admonished him to pray and ask God to let him recognize the horror of his heart and the corruption of his soul through the punitive power of the Holy Spirit. I advised him to get acquainted with his neighbor and talk to him sometimes about the state of his soul, for this would be good training for further progress.
Last Tuesday at the meeting on the plantations I tried to stir up the listeners, as I had done before in town, to gratitude to God and men for so many spiritual and physical benefits by citing the example of the grateful David who had thanked God, his Lord, with a song for every benefit and was also thankful to other people. Because the memory and recognition of the received benefits must precede gratitude, I promised to read something today from which they would not only realize what benefits our loving God has already shown to us, but what kindness and mercy are ready for us in His storehouse and are all but on their way to us. Both may and can arouse us to heartfelt joy and cordial praise of God for His mercy. Before starting to read I urged upon them the verse: “How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings,” etc. This we have plentifully experienced here in spiritual and physical things, in the previous times as well as during this year.
I reminded them that we have duly celebrated a commemoration and thanksgiving feast every year to the honor of God and the edification of us all; for, according to His grace and wisdom, the Lord has shown special and exceptionally great benefits to our congregation every year. E.g., in the first year of our pilgrimage at Old Ebenezer, namely 1734, He sent us many afflictions but also much comfort from the Psalms of David and supported us so that, by the help of His strength, we have overcome the greatest difficulties. This is a joyous recollection to those of us who are still alive and experienced the difficulties at that time.
At the beginning of 1735 God enlarged our community with the second transport, to which God had granted many excellent benefits at sea, so that all, except the Salzburger Glantz, arrived out our place hale and hearty. Some people who got sick later on have met with the dear grace of God on their sick and deathbed so plentifully that they have been and still are a remarkable example for me and others as often as I read again about their contented and peaceful end in the first Continuation in the printed reports from Ebenezer. At Old Ebenezer both transports had to suffer many afflictions (which we should not have missed because otherwise we would have missed a real matter of importance), therefore we were driven to more and better prayer. Although the barren land did not bear enough for our living, our good God bestowed so many vital necessities upon all of us through the care of the Lord Trustees and the generous Society that everybody has eaten his bread with joy and praise of God and the diligent and blessed consideration of His word and the holy sacraments.
Finally, at the beginning of the third year, namely 1736, our prayers and sighs found God’s hearing, and He directed the hearts of the Lord Trustees, especially to General Oglethorpe, to give us permission to move to the Red Bluff and to build our huts and fences there, like a small flock. God also sent the third transport to us at that time, which the Lord had rescued from danger and privation. To be sure, the community wished at that time to get land on the other side of Ebenezer Creek, but now we see that it was a great advantage that we met with a serious refusal. Because now we know from experience that there we would have found no good land, little pasturage, and big inconveniences and harm, also evil neighbors, of which everyone of us is convinced.