Friday, the 1st of January 1748. On this first day of the new year our merciful God has given us much blessing through His holy word and through prayers that were offered several times in public with the congregation, young and old, before His merciful throne. May He accept today’s prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings with pleasure and all others that will be brought before His merciful throne this year in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, for the sake of Christ’s merit and intercession. May He abundantly shower us ministers and our listeners as well as our dearest benefactors, close-by and far-away, with His blessing for the glorification of His great name, the expansion of His kingdom of mercy, and for their and our well-being and salvation! May He reward all our worthiest known and unknown benefactors everywhere for the many good deeds they have done again this past year in so many ways through heartfelt prayers, good counsel and alms, which we rightfully appreciate.
Further, may He make them able and willing, with God’s good hand leading them, to come to the help of our congregation in this difficult, distressing time by pleading to God, interceding with people, with good advice and deeds! And may He also give us peace and quiet in this country during these perilous times of war; and may He let it be, through the Holy Spirit, our most noble practice to get to know the name of our Lord as a strong and invincible fortress and, as upright people, to take refuge in it. In this way, we will be powerfully and miraculously protected! Should this be the last year of our pilgrimage on earth, may our beloved Immanuel, who has also been created by God to save us, deliver us from all evil through a blessed death and help us to enter His Heavenly Kingdom; Glory to Him from eternity to eternity. Amen!
Saturday, the 2nd of January. Last night, following the public prayer hour, I had the pleasure of receiving a short letter from a boy servant in our village, who since the time of his public confirmation, before taking his first Lord’s supper, has led an irreproachable and edifying life and already has felt the blessing and care of our Heavenly Father in a clearly visible and welcome manner.1 He lacked, it seems to me, time and paper: otherwise he surely would have revealed even more the present state of his soul. Meanwhile, what he wrote suffices. It will give me the opportunity to keep it in mind in my dealings with him as well as in preaching the word, because several among us are likely to be afflicted by his spiritual sickness.
Monday, the 4th of January. A pious woman told the sick B. that during the holidays we jointly sang several songs which pleased and edified those present. She mentioned with much sadness that, by misusing her voice in Augsburg for secular and shameful songs by day and night, she had greatly sinned against her Creator. She remembers these great sins and they weigh on her conscience almost as often as the moon shines; because that, in particular, was the time when such things and sins had taken place. She said that, in addition, God had to provide the light for such misbehavior. She added that the ministers were preaching themselves almost to death but that only a few worry about it: one should not ask where so much misfortune and distress is coming from.
Thursday, the 7th of January. Today, we unexpectedly had the dead body of a little seven-year-old boy, who is Schweiger’s eldest son. He did what several children, who are already dead, had done before him: that is, he secretly had eaten earth, ashes, clay, etc.;2 that made him very pale and sick, and he had now died unexpectedly with a great burning in his chest. If there is something that makes me very sad, it is that we have prematurely lost to death so many fine children because they ate such unnatural substances; and yet one does not know how to help. Had the dear members of our community kept all of their children from the early years after their arrival at Old and New Ebenezer, the eldest would already be thirteen to fourteen years old and hence great help to their worn-out parents who cannot find any servants here. This Schweiger has already had seven children in this country; only a three year-old son, also sickly, is left. May God take pity on this misery!
Saturday, the 9th of January. At the beginning of this new year, our dear God has shown a new miracle of His goodness and almightiness in the case of shoemaker Zodler3 and his journeyman; they have reason to thank Him for it with their hearts, mouths, and conduct for the rest of their lives. They both were at Purysburg; and, when they left in a small boat, they arranged it in such way that they would stay in the woods because of the deer and bears. Because it was dark and cold, they started burning a thick pine tree whose top had broken off but was still standing firmly, hoping that they might attract deer and bears. It seems that they had looked at the tree earlier and had found the tree to be stable; then they lay down, with their heads touching each other, and went to sleep. Within a very short time, the burning tree fell across the lower part of the journeyman’s body; and, since he was screaming wildly under this burden and the fire, the master woke up and, with a feeling of extraordinary strength, was able to push the heavy burning tree off the body of this poor man. The master’s hand was slightly injured by the fire, and he was so frightened that he became feverish; however, the journeyman was more seriously injured, and he spit blood. However, he is now on his way to recovery and his life seems to be out of danger. If the tree had fallen higher or lower, one of them, if not both, would have been dead. Thanks to God for His extraordinary mercy!
Monday, the 11th of January. Glaner’s dear wife, whose health continues to be weak, regretted with much sadness being unable to attend the public church service during the holy days. She said that in her healthy days she usually had not made good use of the opportunity for edification, and hence she had not given credit to God for such a blessing. However, she had to admit in praise of God that he had shown her soul much mercy in what she was told and read from the sermons and that there was hardly a word that had not been of benefit and use to her. She is bringing up an orphaned girl who lives with her; and she complains that she is secretly eating raw rice and grain, also wheat, and has lost a lot of strength because of it. However, after discovering this unusual behavior and keeping her away from it by much love, earnestness, and diligent supervision, she is regaining her strength and color.4
Glaner’s wife remembers that, some time ago, she, too, had such an inappropriate appetite and that her strength had markedly weakened. However, she fought it with fervent and constant prayers, and God soon delivered her from it. This experience of hers was completely in line with what I reminded my listeners of yesterday during the sermon. Based on the gospel, we spoke, on the first Sunday after Christ’s epiphany, about the God-pleasing behavior of the parents and the Jesus child, for all parents and children to follow. Our parents were particularly admonished to observe this point, the eagerness of their worries about the children. The very misery they see in their children is to lead them to Jesus, to believe in Him and pray. Before the sermon we had read the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Genesis, and on this topic I particularly stressed the two last verses. In it, it says that the Lord promises to be our healer and that He will spare us from unusual illnesses and distressing incidents. The Lord’s word through his Apostle that “the prayer of faith shall save the sick,” is far-reaching. “The prayer of the righteous can accomplish much if it is serious.”
Tuesday, the 12th of January. Our Jerusalem Church has not been in existence long; yet, when the thresholds were examined, they were found to be already half rotten, although they were one and one-half feet from the ground and resting on dug-in pinewood. The walls consist of thick rough-hewn and smoothed wood, six inches thick. Since there is reason to believe that they, too, will gradually be attacked by the rot, we have decided to cover them from the ground up to the windows with good thin boards. Above that, the rain cannot hit them so hard because of the overhanging roof. Then the outside walls will be painted with turpentine and the inside with good paint. The underside of the double overhang in front of the two church-doors, which are to keep out the rain, must be repaired in their entirety. That would prevent the collapse with a minimum of expenditures. It is also known in Pennsylvania that in America wood rots very easily. This is why our esteemed Pastor Muhlenberg had to decide to build the churches there with stone. However, we here, with our difficult beginnings, did not have the money to do likewise. We are also planning to protect our Zion Church on the plantations from the rot as soon as this is feasible.
Wednesday, the 13th of January. Kogler’s dear wife continues to be in a very distressing and inconsolable state, and none of the Evangelical ideas taken from the word of God have the effect we wholeheartedly wish for. It may be because the hour the Lord has chosen to console her soul has not yet come. Great efforts are being made to persuade her not to abandon the means of salvation, they being the word of God and prayer, because she believes that nothing will help her anymore and that she will only sin by doing so. She applies to herself those quotations and expressions in the sermons that refer to the conditions of the godless and hypocrites, and it is very difficult to tell her otherwise. We are visiting her as often as we can; we talk to her about God’s word and pray with and for her. May Jesus Christ, the dear Shepherd, who has come to seek and to redeem what is lost, take care of the timid little sheep and tell her, “Look unto me and be ye saved.”
Thursday, the 14th of January. A distinguished and learned German gentleman, who lives in Carolina, sent me yesterday the following letter by way of Savannah.5 I was all the more impressed by its contents since recently, following a specific circumstance in the available biblical history, I had to speak about the comforting teachings of eternal justification in accordance with what our theologians taught us in a pure and comforting way from God’s word and the symbolic books. The first portion of the letter relating to this matter reads,
I was told that your Worship has Dr. Lange’s book on universal mercy.6 Although I like this comforting teaching, it cannot help me with various difficulties. However, I believe that this book may give me complete satisfaction. For this reason, I am asking you to do me the favor of lending it to me for a while. I will not only return it to you with thanks but plan to use it to serve others.
Although I am a member of the Reformed Church, I do love the Lutherans (the lovers of peace) as much as the members of the Reformed Church. Because the Lutheran teaching about justification seems to me much more comforting, I am spreading it in our community as widely as possible. Therefore, I would like to have, against payment, Heinrich Schubart’s sermons about the Gospel and epistles.7 I wrote to Hamburg in this matter but have not received a reply.
In the postscript, he also requests some short edifying treatises by the late Professor /August Hermann/ Francke and other pious ministers, for which he is willing to pay or which he will return.
I have assembled the Book of Universal Mercy, some continuations of the reports from East India and a number of edifying treatises and will send them to him at the first opportunity.8 In my letter, I have offered to send him more if God’s word as reported in these books is well received in the souls of the readers and listeners. I no longer have Dr. Schubart’s books of sermons. I gave part of them to Pastor Muhlenberg,9 and others I lent to Savannah; when the man moved away, he took them along against my will. I also gave the book of prayers to a German congregation in Charleston at the request of their reader. We like to make the most of good books in this country.
Saturday, the 16th of January. The harnesses used for plowing the fields, which Mr. Whitefield purchased for us in Pennsylvania, have arrived in good condition.10 That has pleased our congregation greatly. We need more of them, and soon arrangements will be made with a man in our community to see whether he can make such things from hides sent from London. We need a saddler who can also make all kinds of harnesses as urgently as we need a plow and wheel-maker or a cart-maker.
The merchant in Savannah has purchased German scythes from Pennsylvania for our community; although they are very expensive, namely, 3, 4 and 6 pence, also one shilling apiece, they are very good. They had urged me for a long time to get the scythes for them from Germany, but I did not want to burden our benefactors with such matters.
Sunday, the 17th of January. We had a very mild winter. For several days it was as warm here as it is usually in March, and the peach trees have started budding. The water in the river is still very high, probably as a result of the melted snow since we have not had any rain for quite some time.11 With such good weather, God is giving us the peace we desire and much edification.
N.N. administered the rod to two men from Old Ebenezer for misbehavior that is quite customary in this country; and by doing so, he has put himself at the same level as the world. For that reason, I had to admonish him from God’s word and warn him of harm. Although he pretended not to hold it against me, I easily see from his behavior and words how angry and annoyed he was in his heart about this friendly chastisement. However, God was soon after him with the rod and properly reinforced the admonition I had given in accordance with the Scriptures. For he came down with a high fever, but by Saturday he had sufficiently recovered and was able to attend church yesterday. Thus our gracious God made him aware of his old and new sins with such emphasis that he became so frightened as to call for me to confess with much fear and tears his wretched and dangerous condition.
He had been, he said, unfaithful to God several times: feeling personally attacked in the sermons, he became enraged against me and my office, committed falsehood against me and other people, and burdened his conscience in many other ways. He thought he had sinned against the Holy Spirit and that, because of that, there was no longer any mercy for him. Several times he mentioned the words: “I truly fear that God’s mercy, which he has mocked at all times, will hang heavily upon him.” The two verses, “Thou hast ascended on high, etc., hast received gifts for men, yea for the rebellious, etc.” Also: “I will look to the poor, etc., and even to him who trembleth at my word,” have somewhat comforted his mind. Then in my prayer I presented his condition to our Lord Jesus Christ, our Healer and Savior, asking Him for mercy.
In this country there is a lot of confusion about money in trading and in our dealings: we see hardly any English gold and silver money (since the law prohibits in strict terms the export of such coins from England), and copper coins do not stay in this country for very long either, since the captains of vessels from New York and Pennsylvania buy them up because their value there is almost twice what it is here and in England. The trustees’ “sola bills,” or notes, are one pound Sterling, some also five pounds, which, however, disappear as soon as they get here. Because the gentlemen in Savannah do business only by going into debt and because they pay the people who are entitled to something for their work, crops, etc., with a written order or note, which the merchants accept instead of money, these issued orders or notes are paid with the trustees’ so-called “sola bills” and sent to London instead of drafts. Hence none of their money stays in this country.
General Oglethorpe has had struck some small coins for his regiment, such as one shilling, half and whole crowns at two shillings six pence, and five shillings, also printed and signed paper notes. However, these tore very easily and were gradually withdrawn from circulation so that they are hardly ever seen anymore. During this time of war much Spanish silver money, called pistrins or pieces of eight or Spanish thalers, is coming to Carolina and to this colony; but the fact that its value there is different from what it is here causes losses and obstacles in buying and selling. In our Georgia, the value of a pistrin is one shilling Sterling, but in Carolina it is two pence, that is, four kreutzers less; and it is the same way with the pieces of eight and other small Spanish silver coins.
Today I received a letter from a friend in Savannah informing me that the merchants in Savannah and Frederica will soon no longer accept the Spanish money at a value that is higher than in Carolina because the drafts are taken to Charleston and thereby much silver money—to be sure at the value prevailing there—is brought to this colony and, at the merchants’ loss, spent at the value prevailing here. We have no other money in our place except Spanish silver coins, and spending them here unexpectedly would cause a lot of harm in our poor community. Because, in one pound, they would lose forty pence or three shillings four pence, or almost one-and-a-half florins. If they wished to exchange their small, hard-earned reserves, that would be impossible because there is no other money in the country. Little or no paper money from Carolina gets here. Even if it were in circulation here, we would not be any better off because it does not always have the same value. Sometimes one pound Sterling there is equal in value to six, six-and-a-half, or seven-and-a-half, and sometimes even eight pounds. No matter whether its value goes down or up, it is always at the expense of the poor. I cannot understand why the money in a king’s country cannot have the same value, regardless of whether it is made of silver, paper, or leather.
Wednesday, the 20th of January. A woman, who is often sick and therefore unable to work, was treated somewhat harshly by her husband, who found it difficult to keep house because of ill health, and she had to do much work that went beyond her capacity. However, our merciful God heard her sighs; and on the Sunday after Christmas He addressed His word to her husband in such a way that he has been more gentle and friendly toward her since. The opening words that penetrated his heart particularly deeply at the time were taken from Phillipians 2:14,15, “Do all things without murmurings and disputing, etc.” Our listeners, adults and children alike, value the opening words very highly throughout the entire year; they learn them by heart and derive much benefit from them. Because of this, we are a bit more generous in interpreting and applying them than we usually are with exordia.
Friday, the 22nd of January. Last night, Balthasar Bacher’s wife succumbed after much struggle and peacefully entered the joy of her Lord. When I visited her yesterday morning, she was in great pain, which she was no longer able to express in words but only through pitiful sounds. Also, she no longer had the use of her hearing. One of her last words was for her husband to extinguish the light, since Jesus was now her light. Despite her pain, she never showed the slightest indication of impatience during the fifteen weeks of her illness, which, thanks to her Savior’s grace, seemed like hours. The time did not appear long to her because she always busied herself with her dearest Savior who meant everything to her. She did not complain about anything but her sins and that she had given her pastors reasons to sigh. Therefore she felt that she not only deserved this long and serious illness but also any punishment by God.
Worldly matters, including those concerning her husband and her two young children, were no longer in her heart, and her heart was entirely full of Jesus and His grace. Hence she did not want to hear and talk about anything else. Yes, that was probably the reason why, when she was completely out of herself, she did not mix into her very edifying words and prayers the slightest worldly or disorderly thoughts. No matter how weak she was, whenever good friends wanted to read, pray, and sing with her, she was not weak but very eager for the edification. She deplored with the greatest of regret the great blindness and wrong thoughts among many of her acquaintances in A.12 and was worried that she might encounter in Heaven few of those who stayed with such thoughts and false comfort. She would have liked it very much for her little sister to be with her in this loneliness. Her burial was held today with great blessing.
Sunday, the 24th of January. Last night, shortly before going to bed, (Psalms 127:2), I received an unexpected letter from Mr. Verelst in London, which I welcomed very much for several reasons: first, he wrote that Mr. Harris, a pious merchant from Savannah who is well-disposed toward us, had duly delivered my letters to him and the honorable Lord Trustees and, by doing so, caused much joy. He hoped to get the small box with our spun silk from the ship the day he was writing his letter to me. Second, this friend and benefactor acknowledges in fine language “that we and our flock are quite evidently under the protection and blessing of our Almighty God.” He wishes us everything good and (in his words) joyfully wants to be a tool to show us all kinds of friendship and acts of kindness to the best of his ability, etc.
Tuesday, the 26th of January. I am delighted that more and more congregation members are inclined every year to plant a good number of mulberry trees.13 They are also gaining more and more experience in speeding up their growth through necessary industry and caution. Other people in the country would deter them with words and examples if they would heed them. This they have done too frequently in previous years to their disadvantage; and, for that reason, they are now planting only what they should have planted, to their great advantage, a long time ago when every year they had all possible seeds and saplings furnished them. The mulberry trees that other people in this colony may have planted have been allowed to die or have been neglected, while those useful trees here, in town and on the plantations, grow and multiply year after year. This reminds me of the Holy Spirit’s noteworthy words: “David waxed stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker.” The noteworthy story of these two kings and their houses, to which these words refer, can teach us a great deal.
On the mill plantation we have the best land and the best opportunity to put in a large garden because we have there a lot of wooden planks which would rot or be burnt since they are not worth being carted off and hence are in very low demand even if we were to give them away for free. And, because fence posts made out of white oak and pine are available nearby, I have made arrangements to fence in one acre of land with the aforementioned planks, for which only wooden nails are needed. In this large garden we are now planting 126 young mulberry trees, each between four and eight feet high (this is how high they grow here in two years), in straight lines so we can plough between them. The garden, which is close to the mill, has been set up in a way that permits its gradual enlargement. The noise from the mills will keep the deer from damaging the young mulberry trees as they tend to do when the trees are a little farther away from the houses. Also, unlike the town, we have sufficient dung; and, since our soil is much richer than in and around town, I hope we will be able to produce in several years a good quantity of silk at the mill. These trees are planted primarily for widows, orphans, and frail and aged people. With God’s continued blessing, we want to build a spacious and clean house to make and spin silk. This will be done at low cost because, with the planks close by, we do not have to spend any money on hauling them. May our merciful God also crown with his blessing my plan and weak effort which is in His honor and for the good of our congregation!
Thursday, the 28th of January. We have some fine young men in our community who have come to us with their parents or have gradually moved here. Because some of them are too weak for farming or are not really interested in it, and because we are concerned that they may move elsewhere for good earnings and fall prey to disorderly people, I help them to learn a good craft through advising and admonishing them or through money. Some have already been placed with the sawmiller, cartwright, plowmaker, locksmith and shoemaker. Tools are very expensive here and often are not even available. If the Lord Trustees and our other benefactors could send them to me from Europe, then this might help to do more good among our young men. This would also benefit our congregation in that the young craftsmen would step into the shoes of the departing old workers. As mentioned earlier, we lack several needed craftsmen. Thomas Bichler, who has started to make Salzburg-type saddles and harnesses from treated sheepskins sent to us, works as a saddler in some fashion. He has done very well.
Friday, the 29th of January. Some Englishmen, who moved to our colony from Virginia and North and South Carolina and have settled at the Ogeechee River and travel back and forth, have started to buy from our people their supply of grains, beans, flour, rice and meat (although the latter in a small quantity) and to haul it off in their horse-drawn carts. This is new proof of God’s gracious providence for us and is considered a good omen that God will gradually permit beneficial trade among us. With God’s blessing, our mills earned more this winter than in all previous years combined. In the beginning, some people in the neighborhood did to our mills what they did when the orphanage was first set up: they ridiculed it and would not predict its continued existence. Whenever these same people come to the mill now, they behave quietly and honorably, are friendly, and admire the good installation and reinforcements.
Even strange impartial people, who know about those things, praise our accomplishments and are amazed at the rice which can be stamped so white and beautiful—large quantity within a short time, without extraordinary efforts by the miller. The miller is able to grind and, at the same time, stamp and sift the rice in the two mills that are in two special houses situated at a distance of about one hundred feet from each other. This is why a bushel of rice costs little, namely, only three pennies. Nobody among us knows about barley-stamping; for that reason it cost us a lot of effort without really leading to anything. I believe that, when the time comes that God resolves to give us a barley stamping mill as well, things will develop nicely and wonderfully, just as the pleasant experience we had in other instances. I am hoping for such gracious help, at the right time, in connection with the planned ditch a little more than one thousand feet long, which would channel a large quantity of water directly from the Savannah river to the mill river.
We hope to get the water for the mills at least two feet higher so that they can be operated, either fully or with only the lower millrace, for most of the year for the great benefit of those who live here and also for strangers. If the people from other places knew that throughout the year they would never come in vain to have their grain ground, they would also come to us from faraway places; as, some days ago, a boat loaded with grain came from a plantation at the Ogeechee river to the mill and, within a few hours, was able to leave again loaded with flour.14 Our help comes from the Lord who created Heaven and earth. On a recent Sunday the words of Zachariah 1:3 served us for edification: “Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will turn me to you, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
Saturday, the 30th of January. Some time ago, a young Indian was kindly received in my house, something he apparently considered an honor and an act of friendship. He therefore returned to my house yesterday with another six young Indians and a young woman. Except for the woman, they had decorated themselves in their own fashion as best as possible. They had painted their faces with vermilion and braided green twigs of from pine and spruce trees into their hair. They brought me a piece of beef as a gift and in return received rice, bread, and beer. One of them knew some English and said, “This man stayed with you at one time and has come to see you.” He then asked for brandy for everybody and, because he could not get that, for ten bottles of beer. Ultimately, he was satisfied with three bottles since we only boil some from syrup and Indian corn for our pressing needs. They promised to bring more meat, but I told them that this piece already sufficed. I would have preferred some bear oil for our sawmill, which has been rare for some time. They asked for permission to camp close to town and I allowed them to do so on the condition that they be careful with fire and not light any fence. We don’t like these guests in our community, and they come seldom because they do not get any rum or brandy here. When they are here, we like to show them every possible love, wishing that we could contribute something to save their souls. At this time, no efforts are being made in this country to assist these poor people in learning about the Christian religion.
Sunday, the 31st of January. The Christian preparation of Bacher’s late wife for a blessed end and her edifying behavior during her drawn-out illness have assured her of a blessed memory among some of our listeners, especially women; and I again got some special proof of that yesterday. Her husband as well has a healing impression of her last hours and intends to prepare himself to follow her through God’s spirit, by way of His word. He also hopes sincerely that our merciful God will bring his late wife’s aged parents and two sisters in Augsburg into the order of salvation since she lived in this world and left it for a better life. He wants to have a letter written to them: whether our wondrous God would bless the news of their daughter’s blessed end and prior true conversion in order to awaken and convert them. He has two children of minor age of whom our good Father in Heaven has taken care so that they will be raised by Christian people. The godparents will care for them to the best of their ability because he is poor and wants to earn some money as a carpenter journeyman in addition to farming his plantation.
Somewhere on our plantations the Indians got some brandy and got drunk from it. As a result they carried on last night, roaming about and screaming as drunken whites in Europe and in this colony, who claim to be Christians, usually do. Although they have not insulted anybody, we consider such heathen excesses terrible because, through God’s gracious care, we are used to the pleasant stillness of our solitude by day and by night. This morning some of the fellows visited us and, in their own way, politely said goodbye. It is quite possible that they left or set up their camp close to our plantations. The one who knew some English told me that they got drunk on peach brandy which they got on a plantation, pointing his hand towards it.15 He asked me for a written note that he would get more, but I turned him down. We will try to find out who gave them the brandy. Thank God, they didn’t disturb us this Sunday in our prayers!
Tuesday, the 1st of March. For important reasons concerning my work with the German population and the good of our community, I had to spend five days in Savannah. Although I left there today, I did not get beyond Abercorn because of the torrential river which makes it almost impossible above Savannah to distinguish between low and high tide.2 On the following Tuesday, at daybreak, we continued our trip on the two boats and arrived happy and healthy at the mills about noontime. We are always very glad to finish traveling and to again see our dear Ebenezer as a quiet Zoar.3 Our dear God has shown me many good deeds in Savannah, and among those I include the good physical and emotional strength I have despite my many travels and external discomfort, and the diligent and eager acceptance of God’s oft-repeated word which I felt this time among the Lutherans and Reformed on Sundays and workdays.4 However, a number of things, of which I became aware in the course of my work and which rank among the greater annoyances, saddened me a great deal and I discussed them with the Council.5
Sunday, the 6th of March. The young N. had already asked me before my most recent trip to come and see her soon; and yesterday I had the time and opportunity to do so. She told me how wondrously the Lord led her some time ago through much inward and outward suffering, and how He let her see afterwards that everything was well meant and for her salvation. Her anguish and internal anxiety, because of her sins and the anger she deserved for them, had at times been so great that she was unable to pray or find much comfort in God’s word. Her constant weak sighing consisted of the few words, “Think upon me, my God, for good!” Also, she kept thinking the beautiful words, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterwards receive me to glory.” and “We have been healed through His wounds.” Had she found in the Holy Scriptures the example of a soul who went to Jesus and was rejected by Him, she would have died in her misery. The teaching of His universal mercy provided her with great comfort in her temptations.6 God finally accepted her sighs, eased her conscience by assuring her of His mercy in Christ and freed her husband’s heart from the ropes of some harmful entanglements and, earlier than she expected, drew it towards Himself, so that also outwardly she feels great relief. She told me about some scruples, from which I freed her with God’s word. She values Christ, His word, and His cross very highly and talks from good experience.
Monday, the 7th of March. Fourteen years ago, about this time, our merciful God brought me, my late colleague, Gronau, and the first transport of Salzburgers safely across the ocean and to land. The three other transports followed us in the subsequent years. In grateful memory of God’s mighty and gracious guidance, as well as His protection and care for heart and soul, we usually hold a solemn memorial and thanksgiving in early spring of each year so as to remind the congregation in our sermons of God’s good deeds and of their duty and debt to God, our benefactors, and themselves. We also take the opportunity to encourage one another by singing and praying, to God’s glory. On Monday after Reminiscere Sunday we celebrated, to our great joy, this year’s memorial and thanksgiving in good and welcome outer peace and Christian unity. The weather was good and the public church service was well attended. The exordium of the morning sermon was from Job 25:5: “Until my end cometh, etc.” and the text of Psalm 125:4 and 5. In the afternoon, my dear colleague’s text was Psalm 9:10 and 11, and for the exordium Genesis 28:15. After the morning sermon we sang the beautiful song in its entirety in all voices, Hoffnung macht doch nicht zu Schanden, etc.
Tuesday, the 8th of March. Yesterday’s memorial and thanksgiving was a blessed festival for our dear listeners, as I heard today among other things. Specifically, our faithful God has once again awakened our sawmiller, Kogler, vigorously; and I wholeheartedly wish that for him, as with dear Job, it will become a true and lasting piety. Our morning text from Psalm 125 dealt with the happiness of believers and the unhappiness of nonbelievers, and the various very beautiful names, honorary titles, and descriptions of the believers in this psalm do not merely show us clearly who the true God-pleasing people are, but also how happy they are already on earth, and even more so up above. And it was of great comfort to us and our small group that the psalm reads, also to our benefit: first, they will not fall but remain in all eternity; second, our Lord takes care of his people; third, he makes joyful the good and pious hearts; fourth, peace is over Israel!
This last point reminds me in my meditations of a letter from dear Mr. S.U.,7 which he wrote us in late 1744 and in which he refers our congregation to the important words of Galatians 6:15 and 16 with his warmest admonitions, warnings, and appeals; and I read them this important passage again. God’s words, which were read in the morning and in the afternoon, reenergized and strengthened in our belief and hope those of use whose hearts are easily discouraged. We sang among others the following songs: Wunderlich ist Gottes Schicken, wunderbarlich ist sein Rath, etc. We have experienced that and will continue to experience it to our blessing if we persist in our belief and hope like Abraham, Job, David, and all pious people. We are very impressed by how God crowned Job’s true and consistent piety with spiritual and physical blessings contrary to what all men thought and hoped. God can boundlessly do anything we ask for or understand. That he has proven to us many times; why should we not trust Him in the future? The beautiful song that we sang in all its verses, Hoffnung macht doch nicht zu Schanden, etc., had an edifying effect on our dear listeners. Despite their poverty they have offered to collect money so that I can purchase a small organ, or positive,8 for our Jerusalem Church. Our good people do not know how expensive these instruments are, especially in this country, but I have promised to do everything possible without asking for their contribution since, although they have the best intentions, they have very little money.
Thursday, the 10th of March. We had a long winter this year. Parts of January were as warm as it is usually in the spring. This is why our field seeds such as rye, barley, and peas grew fast and, in many instances, the peach, mulberry and other fruit-bearing trees started budding. However, the severe and long-lasting frost in February not only killed the rye, peas, and barley that had come up, but also severely damaged the trees I mentioned, and we can expect few peaches this year. The young long branches of our mulberry trees, filled with sap by the long warm January, are entirely gone. On the good branches, the leaves are only now beginning to come out, and we are worried that we won’t have as much silk this year as last year.
Some of the young silkworms, I am told, came out several weeks ago, and more and more are coming out every day. Yet most are probably going to perish because, as we believe, there is not enough food for them, i.e., mulberry leaves. Whatever young orange trees we had in our community, they are all dead; and all of Col. Stephens’s and Mr. Whitefield’s big orange trees, which already had borne much fruit, not only froze to death but were split apart by the severe frost and very cold wind. Hardly any green is left in the gardens since we had the very hard frost; even the cabbage and turnips are completely gone. Likewise, the young grass in the woods is dead and the cold weather has thus far kept the new grass from growing. That is bad for those with cattle who had been unable to store enough hay; especially since they are also short of turnips and cabbage, which serve as fodder. We have never had such a winter.
Saturday, the 12th of March. With his feelings greatly moved, the sawmiller /Kogler/ told me that some days ago our merciful God protected his house from a great tragedy. His young daughter, together with her sister, had returned from school around noontime; and, because their usual way home from school to the mill is rather bad as a result of the rain, she went through the fields and across the little millbridge and fell into the canal which carries the water onto the sawmill wheel. To rescue her, and to our joy, God’s wondrous and wise care had seen to it that, a short time earlier, her father had been called for lunch; he immediately put down his work and left. At any other time, it probably would have taken quite a while for him to follow the call to come and eat. Now, although the mill is closed, the little tributary, which channels the water from the canal to the river after the mill has been closed down, was open, and it was in that very area that the little girl fell into the water. Had God not mercifully prevented it, as new evidence of His loving kindness, she could have been pulled with great force through the above-mentioned canal opening into the depth of the river, and nothing could have saved her, even if the wheel had missed her. The millmaster was in the process of sharpening his stones and hence had stopped the water wheel, and soon he heard the elder girl screaming. He ran out and rescued the child. The father, upon hearing the screaming from his house door, believed his little girl to be already dead. But, when he got her back alive, he was filled with indescribable joy, while the mother was so frightened that she fell sick. We thanked our merciful Father in Heaven on our knees in his house for rescuing the girl, and I told the two girls to repeat and reflect on the first verses of Psalm 103 and by doing so to follow dear David. We are planning to build a small bridge soon so that there will no longer be any need for these children to use this dangerous path.
Sunday, the 13th of March. Glaner’s dear wife is again confined to bed. She is getting weaker and weaker, and the time of her farewell isn’t far off. At night she had a dream in which she saw herself in great danger because of bad spirits; but, when she screamed, she experienced Jesus Christ’s mighty help in abundant and wondrous measure. She did not know how to give Her Savior sufficient praise.
Tuesday, the 15th of March. I will not say or write anything more about a certain matter but leave everything to our wise and faithful God who provides all help on earth. He has never been remiss in anything in His regime; nay, no matter what He does and lets happen, it ends well.9 My comfort now is in our Lord’s words from Psalm 132, upon which I am going to build my sermon on the Gospel on Laetare Sunday: “I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor with bread.”
Wednesday, the 16th of March. I was informed this morning that the eldest small daughter of Balthasar Bacher’s late wife is dangerously ill, and that made me go to Bacher’s plantation and pray with him over this child. I found him kneeling and weeping in front of the child’s bed and joined him in his prayers; and while we were praying the child died, sooner than anticipated. Her last word was that she wanted to be with her mother. During and after her mother’s burial on the twenty-second of January of this year, she said several times that, if her mother would wait in the churchyard just a little while, she would follow her soon; that has now happened this morning. Early this month she became four years of age. She had eaten almost from her very early childhood such harmful things as dirt, clay, coal , etc., as many other children do, and it was impossible to make her stop.10 Soon these children acquire the color of death and their face and other parts of their body become swollen; and because they hardly ever stop eating such unnatural food, no medicine helps. I would very much like to know the reason for this strange appetite among children and adults in this country. It is quite common for grown children and other persons to eat raw rice and Indian corn and then turn very pale and weak. Perhaps the reason is some kind of disease I do not know and fever. Some time ago, I asked our medico, Mr. Thilo, to report the casus and status11 of these dirt and rice eaters to the highly experienced Dr. and Prof. Junker,12 who is his teacher, and to ask for his advice.
Friday, the 18th of March. The honorable merchant in Savannah, Mr. Habersham, writes me that he received from his correspondent in London a letter dated the twenty-six of October of last year, in which he informs me that he received from his partner, Mr. Harris, a variety of goods on the ship Hopewell through Capt. Kitching. However, it seems that this ship, like another one before, was involved in an accident at sea or taken by the enemy. These young and righteous merchants, our sincere friends, have had twice the misfortune of losing on the way over the goods sent to them from London. Who knows what happened to the letters from our Fathers13 and friends. Since last August we haven’t heard anything from Europe except what Mr. Verelst wrote me in a short letter of the nineteenth of September of last year about the box of linen and the letter delivered by Mr. Harris, which I received the twenty-third of January of this year and answered soon. The merchant writes about the twofold loss of his goods as follows, “It seems it will be very hard for us to bear this loss and misfortune; yet God knows best what is best for us.”
Saturday, the 19th of March. Hanns Maurer’s wife is an upright Christian. She carried her long cross with great patience and recognized with humility and gratitude that these are the right ways in which her Savior wants to protect her, or better free her, from sin and to lead her to Christian sincerity. Not too long ago, as she told me today, she was exposed to serious temptation14 and saw herself without any hope for mercy and very close to hell’s abyss. Everything became a sin to her, and she was unable to pray or receive any comfort from God’s word. Her husband has little or no experience with Christianity and hence could only help by reading to her from a good book; but that, too, became a burden to her and almost unbearable. On the third day, our dear Lord gave her a light in the darkness by enabling her through Jesus Christ to take some faith in Him and comfort that her prayers would be heard. Under these painful circumstances she truly longed for me to instruct and comfort her; but she lives on the plantation and did not want to trouble me because of the long way. However, I did not like that.
Monday, the 21st of March. For lack of rain, it has been quite dry here for quite a while. But today our dear God has blessed us with very fruitful soaking rain that lasted until evening. He now plagues us very much with wolves and worms that cause a lot of harm in our gardens and fields. However, I do hope He does not do so in anger but grace and to our best. We now receive our instruction from the Bible story in 2 Chronicles 7 on how to behave in all trials and punishments according to God’s will. May God make us faithful! God’s words there sound very impressive and are worth being deliberated diligently at this time.as we are also now doing in our prayer sessions and weekly sermons. They read, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Tuesday, the 22nd of March. For quite some time I have been taking dear Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen’s impressive song on the three main articles of the Christian doctrine as the basis for teaching the catechism to some grown children on our plantations. I find it very convenient to instruct the children in the most important parts of Christian doctrine, quoad Credenda & Agenda,15 in an easy, understandable and enjoyable way. I started today with the third article and spent a very useful hour on the words “The Holy Spirit refreshes the heart, punishes sin, and causes remorse and pain,” by not only telling them, according to their instruction, much of what they must know about the person and function of the Holy Spirit, but also about the deep corruption of the human heart, what it is and how we can be helped to overcome it through God’s word in the Old and New Testament.
At the end of the lesson and prayer a boy stayed behind and told me, shaking and with tears, “Alas, I have committed a great sin, and I fear that God will no longer accept me in grace.” I asked what kind of sin it was and he answered that until now he had secretly eaten raw Indian corn and that, by doing so, he had greatly harmed his health. I explained to him that this sin was serious and damnable under the sixth commandment, that he had known and also had been told by me and his master that, by eating such things, he would harm his health and life.16 Still, I encouraged his weak soul with the comforting assurance in the gospel that Christ would not reject him because he deeply regretted this and his other sins and would not repeat them.
Wednesday, the 23rd of March. Some years ago the widow Granewetter developed a fever during her late husband’s first illness and such feebleness of her mind that she, as half-mad people tend to do, understood everything in a wrong and strange way and had all kinds of peculiar ideas. She now seems to be very close again to this sad paroxysm. She visited me yesterday, told me about her terrible and suspicious illusions and asked for my intercession and instruction and comfort from God’s word. Her heart is honest and she is seriously concerned about saving her own soul and the souls of her family. However, mentally and physically she is in such a bad state that she herself does not know how she is and what she should say about herself. I talked with her in her own way, also urged her to make use of the doctor and follow his advice, which she did at once. I told him of the widow’s condition as I saw it. I visited her again today, but didn’t find her any better. However, the fact that I did come to see her gave her some edification and comfort. I have asked her neighbors to treat her with love and kindness and to help her to the best of their ability.
Friday, the 25th of March. This evening our large boat, which had carried fifty bushels of Indian corn flour and meat to Savannah to be sold there, brought me a letter from our friend, Mr. Habersham. In it he tells me among other things that the Council there has issued a written order to all constables in the country to pick up and arrest all Negroes in this colony, who may number about four hundred.17 Because of the Spaniards’ inability, they felt very safe in this colony despite the ongoing war. But now they had to experience that two boats full of Spaniards, under the command of an Englishman or Irishman, had come to the plantations between Savannah and Frederica and heavily fired at some people. This unexpected horror may have forced the gentlemen to issue such an unexpected order to arrest the Negroes.
Saturday, the 26th of March. Our dear God seems to have blessed the blood-letting administered to Mrs. Granewetter, but most of it was probably accomplished through Christ’s and the intercession of the believers who knew about her condition. I found her today in good order and she remembered very well that her mind and head had not been all right. She does not suffer from any physical hardships, and we are also trying to help her in every possible way.
Sunday, the 27th of March. This year we have had cold weather for a long time, especially at night. As a result the leaves of our mulberry trees, all of which the frost had killed in February, could not quite come out. The people in our community are very eager to produce a lot of silk, which they need very urgently in their present poverty. However, in view of the lack of leaves, there probably is not much they can do. The severe frost last February destroyed many branches as well as young trees that had already been full of sap as a result of the warm weather. In addition to this punishment by God, there is another one, namely, an unbelievable number of caterpillar-type worms which do very great damage to our wheat, barley, and oats. They also eat down to the ground the Indian corn sprouts and whatever young plants we have in our gardens. It would be even worse except for the birds, particularly the starlings, which fly over the fields in large numbers and eat the worms. Also we see a lot of woodpeckers, which look like parrots and are also called parrots here,18 in the fields and gardens searching for food wherever they can find it. Our comfort is: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will, etc.”
The peach trees here are usually very hardy and not easily damaged by frost; but even they appear to have suffered quite a blow. The peach trees that bloom late and bear ripe fruit early, namely, as early as July, appear to be bearing some fruit after all. The remainder, on the other hand, have nothing but leaves. A woman from Salzburg thanked me in friendly words for the New Testament I gave to her young son. When he brought the dear book home, father and child enjoyed it very much, and, because the boy’s name is John, the father, with simplicity and an eager heart, opened the book in the mother’s presence at a page where there was a passage from Saint John, as a lasting reminder for both parents and children. When, on opening the book, the beautiful and comforting words: “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me,” etc., (John 11:25-26), were the first to catch their eyes, a quotation which mother and child soon joyfully learned by heart; and our dear God gives her great comfort and joy with these, our Savior’s dear words.
Wednesday, the 30th of March. Steiner’s wife is now confined to bed, and it seems that she will hardly ever be able to rise again from that bed. Her honest husband’s greatest worry in her healthy days was to save her soul, and this is now his primary concern. He complained that she does not quite wish to accept the comfort for poor sinners who are willing to repent because she is too much of a sinner. But it seems to me now that she is not only frightened by her sins and is learning to exaggerate them; but she is also beginning, through the effect of the Holy Spirit, to derive comfort and take joy in Jesus Christ and His dear merits. When I came to visit her today, she had the beautiful passage on her mind: “Can a woman forget her suckling child. . .yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, etc.” She has a pious husband and three well-behaved young sons.
Mr. Habersham, the merchant from Savannah, informed me that merchant Woodroffe, who was traveling from Savannah to London, and other passengers on Captain Cowie’s ship had fallen into the hands of the enemy on their way over, and that all our letters and diaries sent through him were lost. He had accepted for delivery several large parcels containing copies from April and May, original letters from July, August, and early September and an English and German diary, as well as a list of the earnings and expenditures of our community. The originals of the lost copies arrived safely with Mr. Harris; and the parcel from the tenth of October of last year, sent after Mr. Woodroffe’s departure, contains the copies of the currently lost original letters, except for the diaries in German and English, which had not been copied. Perhaps our dear Lord saw to it that the previously mentioned parcel arrived safely, which would give us great joy. We thought the other day that it has also been a long time since we received any letters from our Fathers and friends in Europe, but we are praying for them in hopes that our merciful God may keep them in good health and alive, to our benefit and that of His church.
Thursday, the 31st of March. Hanns Maurer’s wife sent for me and told me with tears in her eyes that her current sad condition is expressed in the hymn Immanuel, des Güte nicht zu zählen, etc. She sees and feels nothing but sin and unbelief and cannot accept anything from God’s word that would comfort her. She remembers many things from the past that cause her much trouble and worry and badly affect her poor sick body. Whether our merciful Lord will bless the words of encouragement I have taken from His word and the prayer I said with her (as I hope he will in His loving care) remains to be seen. She is an honest soul and carries her great cross with patience. In widow Granewetter’s case the paroxysm keeps changing; and, whenever she has a feverish heat, her mind is so feeble that she does not know what she is saying and doing. She never stays in bed and always says edifying things; however, at times she says things which indicate that she is not all right in her head. With her eldest son being only about four years old, she is carrying a heavy burden.
Friday, the 1st of April. The sick boy /Georg Adam Leinebacher/ who works for Brandner, asked his mistress several times to put in a word with me and help his sister /Salma/ who is a servant in an Englishman’s household in Savannah, to move to our village.1 When asked whether he wanted her to be with him in his sickness for only a few days, he replied that this wouldn’t be of any use to him; she is as ignorant as he is, he said; and the reason why he would like to see her in our parish was the good instruction which she, like him, could have here to save her soul and, if she were indeed to come here, he would be happy enough to give her his cow and calf. He is truly sorry for not having followed the religious instruction (as he called it) and was hopeful that his sister would apply it more faithfully. However, I can attest to his having been attentive and diligent at all times and ahead of other children in my catechism lessons, in school, on the plantations, and during my sermons. He willingly learned the catechism and the passages from the Bible and expanded his knowledge of God’s truth well.
Saturday, the 2nd of April. I found very few children in school on the plantations; some are sick and others have to help their family in the fields or with the silkworms. Because of the frozen branches, consistently cold nights, and the continuous dry weather since this spring, there has been a great shortage of good mulberry tree leaves to feed the silkworms, and the people have had a lot more trouble than usually with this otherwise pleasant and useful work to raise their worms to the point where the silk could be spun or processed. The Spanish type of mulberry trees and those growing naturally in the low and rich areas of the forest have not suffered any damage at all from the frost because they tend to bud later than the common white mulberry trees. They now serve their owners well. I was told at school about the epileptic seizures of Eischberger’s small son. Hence I visited him and found him to have recovered rather well. He is, like his late sister, a pious child and longs to be in the near future with Jesus Christ and his sister, whom he remembers frequently.
Sunday, the 3rd of April. A very pious Salzburger told me that, although our good Lord provides him meagerly with food for his body, he must work beyond his capacity year in and year out because he does not have a servant. This, he said, weakens his health and also has an harmful effect on his Christianity, since he is unable to pray, read, and repeat with his family as diligently as he would like to and is necessary. When he gets up at the brink of dawn, his tender children and sickly wife are still asleep so that he has to pray by himself, only briefly prays with them during breakfast and reads one page of the Treasure Chest.2 In the evening, after finishing work, he is so tired that he falls asleep as soon as he sits down. He is already fifty years of age and has worked hard in Salzburg and in the Empire. Since his children are still young and he cannot get any servants, he is worried that his life will soon be over. He said that unless God’s word, which he listens to and reads with diligence, gives him courage and strengthens him in his belief that there is hope where there is no hope, he would torture himself with worries and lose his strength even more. This distress makes him and others pray.
Monday, the 4th of April. The Salzburger Brandner’s sick serving boy asked me to visit him once more before his death. He said he would like to talk to me about his sister /Salma/, who is a servant to an Englishman in Savannah and whom he would like to have in our community because of the instruction we provide. This morning I found him physically weak but mentally alert and in good spirits. He said among other things that our dear Savior had heard his prayer and freed him from his sins and pains and that he therefore had slept very quietly last night. He said he knows that he had sinned a great deal; in particular, he had very often gone to instruction with an unwilling heart, and whenever he had learned something good there from the Holy Scriptures, Satan had taken it from him soon after. But he is quite sure that everything was forgiven to him and that he was in God’s grace; he is completely wrapped up in his dear Savior; his heart is filled with Him and, whenever he starts talking of Him, he does not know when to stop. He is fully devoted to His will whatever He might want to do with him, die or live; but he would like it best if he could soon be with Him. He also asked me whether he could attend tomorrow’s class; he would not be able to walk but somebody would carry him. His mistress told me that he loves God’s word immensely and talks about it until late into the night. He also recited in my presence the most beautiful passages from the Bible, with very pious gestures. This boy is by nature somewhat simple and he was very ignorant when he came to us.3 However, he was always very attentive in school and church, and studied the required passages in the Holy Scriptures with great eagerness and diligence. In time this provided him with a good knowledge of the Christian doctrine. This boy is a living example of what the Holy Spirit can do with His word in souls that do not resist Him wilfully and maliciously.
Tuesday, the 5th of April. Granwetter’s widow, thank God, has now completely recovered. She is well aware that she has not been in good health; still, she cannot remember her actual misunderstandings in both her words and work which sometimes were stronger and sometimes weaker. Neither is it necessary for us to tell her about it. Once, on a Sunday, while we were singing, she started talking and walking about in front of the pulpit with her two children; she believed, that very hour, the Day of Judgment had arrived and she was responsible for so many people being unprepared. However, the fever’s heat may have frightened her heart to such a degree that she left the church in a hurry before we had finished the song and the sermon had started. Several understanding people led her to the orphanage and took care of her. By afternoon the paroxysm had passed and she sat quite orderly at the church door, and after the service she went quietly home with our people. I have diligently visited her in her home, as my dear colleague has done to the extent that his very limited time permitted it. The neighbors as well have helped her day and night, as needed, to the best of their ability.
Thursday, the 7th of April. The young N., our N.’s wife, is developing under the cross through the Gospel into an honest dear soul who forgets what is behind her and reaches for what is ahead of her. God makes her remember, gradually and one after the other, all that was part of her past sinful life (because her feeble mind and weak body would be unable to endure it all at the same time), especially that, while in the Empire, she had handled in an unfaithful way God’s grace which she already had received in Salzburg,4 that she had demonstrated physical unfaithfulness towards her employers and conformed to the world. She would die in her misery unless our beloved Savior strengthened her with His word. She heard what we were singing, “When I am praying and singing in my need, my heart becomes of good cheer.”5 She asked for my comfort and intercession in very moving and oft-repeated words. She is now ineffably happy that Jesus is also drawing her husband with ropes of love towards Himself so as to make him a great comfort and useful tool in her weaknesses and temptations. Previously her suffering was twice as severe and manifold, since he could not accept her outward and inward cross or his own trials.
Friday, the 8th of April. Today we celebrated, as we do every year among ourselves, the commemoration of our dearest Savior’s death as the Day of Atonement of the New Testament; and seventy-two persons received the Holy Sacrament. Some Evangelical Lutheran people from Carolina were also here and attended the Holy Sacrament, and some of them are planning to stay here over the Easter holidays. May our Lord abundantly bless His holy word, which was preached to them yesterday and today, in them and in us all so that it may be, and stay with us, as an odor of life to life. Also, early this week a Lutheran man /Straube/ with his Reformed wife and six children moved to our community from Vernonburg near Savannah and rented locksmith Brückner’s plantation and house for a year. They arrived here in great poverty and, out of Christian compassion, are receiving from us some assistance for their first essentials. They make good promise, and the future will tell us whether they are honest and serious. Although the man has frequently attended our services in Savannah, he has not been, as our people know, a friend of us Ebenezers. Many hate us for no reason and because they are envious.
Sunday and Monday, the 10th and 11th of April. During these two days we celebrated Easter in good health, peace, and edification. On Easter Monday the pious serving boy /Georg Leinbacher/ of the righteous Salzburger, Brandner, died in peace. Among those he associated with, he left a blessed and uplifting memory. He deeply appreciated and was grateful for the spiritual and physical good he received from Brandner and his wife in his days of good health and of sickness, and would have liked to leave him his few possessions, had he wanted to accept them. But now his sister /Salma/, who works as a servant on a plantation near Savannah, is getting them, and I am going to write to her master to report to him her brother’s last words and will, since it had always been his heart’s desire that she come to our community because of the good instruction. She is thirteen years old and the deceased boy was twelve years old; their parents died in Spain where they arrived as prisoners.6
The only cause for the boy’s illness, which started a long time ago and gradually had grown worse, was probably the fact that he ate raw rice and Indian corn. He admitted the other day that he had learned it from the German people in Savannah and done it here up to his most recent serious illness and that afterwards his conscience had caused him great pain. It is very deplorable and causes me great sadness to see that many of our children lose their life at a tender age because they eat dirt, coal, rice, and corn. Some small and some older children, even some adults, have the color of death and earth on their faces which is caused by such unusual and unnatural eating habits. People who used to suffer from this strange appetite told me that the lust and yearning for raw corn, rice, etc., are bigger than in pregnant women and that it almost goes beyond natural strength to overcome them. You can see it in children who can hardly ever break such habits, once they have acquired them. Jesus, our Prince and Savior, have pity on us in this misery!
Tuesday, the 12th of April. Yesterday, after the forenoon service, had indicated that this forenoon, instead of the usual weekly sermon, we would inaugurate our new school on the plantations.7 Because the burial of the pious boy who died yesterday was taking place at the same time, my inauguration sermon about the gracious and very friendly behavior vis-a-vis the two disciples in yesterday’s gospel, was also a funeral sermon. It showed both adults and children that what our beloved Savior had done to the two disciples as their good Shepherd, He had also done to the dead school and serving boy, that in fact He would do the very same to anyone of us, if only we would follow in their footsteps, as the gospel teaches us and as we could see from the beautiful example of the boy. Also, we made the disciples’ prayer into our own prayer with regard to our new school: “Stay with us, our Lord, for evening is about to settle in,” etc. To His glory I can attest that He gave me a particularly strong feeling of His gracious presence during this solemn occasion. I have no doubt that He has also heard our joint prayer for our honorable benefactors who contributed their share to our school.
Wednesday, the 13th of April. Glaner’s sick wife is wholeheartedly longing for, and looking forward to, her approaching salvation from all evil. Although her confinement to bed has been long and hard, she is very content with the way God is guiding her; she does not complain about anything but is constantly full of praise for our Lord. She indicated several times what her funeral text should be, Psalm 102:18. “Our Lord turns to the prayer of the lonely ones and does not spurn their prayer.” These comforting words had already touched her heart and edified her several years ago when they were discussed in public. She was of the opinion that I had contributed something to her journey from Germany to Ebenezer and wanted to thank me for this good deed: because, in healthy and sick days, she always considered it a great blessing and thanked our Lord and the people for bringing her to this quiet place and so close to God’s word. She was sorry that she did not give enough thanks to her late brother, Veit Lemmenhofer, for his love, which made him call her by letter to Ebenezer. She and her pious husband know, of course, that God’s word and the gospel are offered purely and abundantly in many places in Germany, but they are also aware of the obstacles to being good and the temptation to being bad, which helps them in their heartfelt intercession.
Tuesday, the 14th of April. Early this year, at his request, I lent Dr. Lange’s treatise on universal grace8 to a Christian and learned gentleman in Carolina, who had been an official in his home country; and gave him some other edifying small treatises. Yesterday I received a letter of thanks from him, together with the treatise he had borrowed. He wants to buy it and other useful writings, if I can help him to do so. I would like to quote something from his letter. Among other things, he writes,
I could hardly read enough in the book on universal grace. The author treated the matter of universal grace very convincingly and clearly so that the only thing one can say is Amen: no book has pleased me more. There were still some difficult verses (in my mind) to which I had taken exception; however, now not the slightest doubt is left. Thus I now share completely his (Dr. Lange’s) view with respect to predestination and the doctrine of universal grace.9 To be sure, I had defended them in my home country and could hardly tolerate the dogma and still do not like it—namely, that one should not pray for all people since the clear verses of the Holy Scriptures distinctly teach us to do so.
Indeed, if there were such an unconditional predestination, as we are taught, it would in many instances be useless to pray. Because those who had been chosen would have no need for it; and, to the rejected, it would be of no use because the former would, of necessity, be blessed and the others could only be damned. It is true that this objectionable doctrine is being applied less and less, and there are clergymen among the Reformed, who take Christianity seriously, who know no limit to Jesus’s love and are well aware that Jesus would not have told us to love our enemies and to pray for them if He himself had not done so, etc.
After writing in his letter something about preachers who eagerly teach their religious beliefs without giving them much thought and who arouse the blind zeal of the common people, he talks about the experiences he had in his home country with his Reformed countrymen. He writes, for instance, that
somebody had told him and others during a Sunday meeting that the Lutherans, too, were in error with respect to justification; and, when asked what that error was, nobody dared answer. I then explained to them what the Reformed and Lutherans believe but did not say which of them was the Reformed doctrine. Then, when they, without exception, decided it was the Lutheran teaching, I told them that they themselves believed the errors for which they had criticized the Lutherans. At the same time, I referred them to Arndt’s Christianity, a blessed book which, together with others, is found in most Reformed homes. I now hope that the doctrine of universal grace will receive more and more credence. The worst is that some clergymen, in their blind religious zeal, are restraining the common people.
At his request, I sent him again some very edifying treatises and sermons, including four sermons by our dear Pastor Schubert,10 whom he likes very much. I informed him to his great joy that, some years ago, one of his fellow countrymen /Krüsy/ had become a member of our community, that he thoroughly enjoyed God’s truth as presented here, and that he prepared himself for a blessed death. On his deathbed he asked me to provide spiritual and physical care to his only son /Adrian/. He is a child of good hope.11
Saturday, the 16th of April. Our skilful Rottenberger fathered three children by his first wife who, however, do not give their father any joy, but cause him much grief. His youngest little girl is unable to walk or talk although she is already four years old; she seems to be quite foolish.12 The middle boy, seven years of age, was skillful by nature and very alert, but he ate such unnatural and awful stuff and could not be dissuaded from eating it that, gradually, he became very sick. Some days ago, just after his father had left for Savannah with a boat loaded with flour, he unexpectedly died. Complaints about children eating all kinds of unnatural substances continue to be heard: and the parents cannot possibly keep their children with them all the time. Also this would be harmful to their health and they would not be able to attend school. For that reason I have mentioned at various occasions this highly disturbing matter in my diary hoping that it might be used by our pious Fathers and friends for heartfelt intercession and perhaps serve them for discussion with experienced medical doctors and provide us good advice.13
Sunday, the 17th of April. Late last evening our big boat returned from Savannah and unexpectedly brought a package from Mr. Albinus addressed to me.14 Although it did not contain any letters from our dear Fathers, it was enough to please us thoroughly and to redound to the praise the Lord when we heard that, as Mr. Albinus reported, they are well and alive and that our merciful Father in Heaven keeps using them as His blessed tools to provide us, our homes, and our dear congregation with spiritual and physical help during this distressing time. I see this with joy and to God’s praise, from the list of monetary contributions sent to us from Augsburg and Halle and from the box containing a considerable supply of medicines and beautiful books. May He think upon them for our good and for Christ’s sake!
Mr. Albinus’ letter was dated August of last year. In it he reports that, at that time, none of last year’s letters and diaries from Ebenezer had arrived in London and he suspected that the package was lost at sea early last year. These are dangerous times; may God help us through them! He will certainly and willingly do so if we faithfully observe through His grace what we contemplate in our evening prayers and weekly sermons from the Second Book of Chronicles 7:14. They undoubtedly are important words; and it is highly worthwhile that we consider them, especially in these distressing times. In the package just received there was also the copy of a letter from Prussian archpriest Schumann to dearest Dr. Francke as well as some letters from several pious Salzburgers to ours, which I like wholeheartedly and which, I hope, will serve to our listeners’ great edification. On the day of His magnificent epiphany, our dear Savior will abundantly reward the dear archpriest for the spiritual and physical good he has done to the dear Salzburgers in his and our congregation, as these letters indicate again.15
Monday, the 18th of April. A good friend from Savannah wrote me that Major Horton had inquired about me during his visit last week to Savannah; and when he heard of my concern that he might not be entirely satisfied with me (although I did not know the reason for my error), he immediately sat down and wrote me a very friendly letter from Savannah.
Tuesday, the 19th of April. After a long wait our merciful God blessed us with a good rainfall that still came in time. This spring we have not yet had a thunderstorm although thunderstorms are quite common in this climate. If it had rained and if a thunderstorm had shaken the soil (this helps to enhance fertility),16 our big and small mulberry trees, which had been seriously affected by the late frost and the subsequent severe drought, would have grown more leaves. The dear members of our community could have produced a good deal of silk, for which they have shown considerable enthusiasm for quite some time. They used the few leaves they had very sparingly, and our merciful God (who is the source of all good in our physical life as well) blessed their industry in a way that amazes and pleases me. Also, this year we are going to produce more silk than we had reason to expect for the reasons mentioned earlier.
It is a great inconvenience and it discourages some people because they believe that they may not be permitted to keep their silk here but have to send it to Savannah for spinning. Most of them have only a few pounds. Also, the worms do not spin their cocoons at the same time: some do it earlier, others later, depending on when they leave their eggs and whether they receive good or bad care, including warm weather, food, etc. We hardly ever have the opportunity to go to Savannah; hence the worms bite their way through the cocoons, to the disadvantage of the poor people, before the latter have an opportunity to send them down there. Col. Stephens does not permit us to keep more than fifty pounds here in order to practice spinning.17 However, since the good people for lack of an opportunity to go to Savannah have already brought a larger quantity to my house and are planning to bring more, I believed it would be hard and against the Lord Trustees’ intent if I sent them away. Those who are able to wait are prepared to wait until the 22th of April when I or my dear colleague will travel to Savannah on official matters.
Three of our young women took delight in spinning the silk produced here, hoping that this would meet with our Lord Trustees’ pleasure, especially since they gained considerable experience through practicing during the past two years, particularly last year. I also saw to it that the walls and other things needed for spinning were improved so that such work can be done in a cleaner and more convenient way this year. The only thing is that the Lord Trustees have not written to the Council in Savannah; otherwise we undoubtedly would already have permission to spin our silk here. Neither would we have needed the cauldron and the machine they sent us at great expense. A friend from Savannah wrote me some days ago that, just recently, the Spanish capers had again captured two ships off the coast of Charleston, which had arrived from England, while the people stood at the shore watching.
Wednesday, the 20th of April. Although the often-mentioned late and very severe frost caused noticeable damage to our European agricultural crops,18 which— unlike those in Germany—are not covered by snow here, and although the long-lasting dry weather, great heat, and strong winds have greatly hampered their growth, our wheat and rye look well, to our amazement; and we hope that we will get some barley and peas as well. Last month the unusually large number of worms threatened to ruin our crops completely, but it pleased God (for, according to the Second Book of Chronicles 7:13, He commands the locusts to devour the land and, according to Verse 14, He promises to heal it) that a large number of starlings and other small birds came to the fields and gradually ate all the worms. Thanks be to God for His merciful regime!
Friday, the 22nd of April. To be sure, Glaner’s dear wife is very weak physically, yet she becomes very cheerful whenever somebody talks, reads, or sings to her from God’s word about her dearest Savior, whose sweet love she cannot praise enough. Christian friends visit her, and she considers that to be a dear good deed and she eagerly remembers their comforting words. She is dying with pleasure and with joy which, according to the Holy Scriptures, is like going to rest and a journey to peace. On hearing of my official trip to Savannah and afraid that she might pass away in the meantime, she bade me a warm-hearted goodbye, asked my forgiveness if ever she had offended me, and thanked for all good deeds.
Sunday, the 24th of April. This Sunday, Misericordia Domini, I performed my official duties with the Germans in Savannah and preached God’s word extensively on both Friday and Saturday evenings as well as on Sunday, and their attendance was good. Eighteen persons came to the Lord’s Supper. This time, since the English minister was not home, we had the church to ourselves and did not have to hurry with our church service as we must if the English attend church at 10 o’clock in the morning and at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. They are still in the process of building the English church; meanwhile, they and we make do with the courthouse or townhall, which lend themselves easily for church services.19
Monday, the 25th of April. We left Savannah in good and still weather last night and arrived safely at home about noon. Among other things, I brought back the welcome news that Col. Stephens, upon my repeated written requests, had given us permission to spin in our community the rest of the silk we produce here. This caused great joy among our women who make and spin silk. It not only prevents the inconvenience discussed earlier but it also increases (in addition to many other things) the benefit of not having to send any half-spun silk down to Savannah, to the disadvantage of our Lord Trustees and of those who produce it. For, until now, whenever a boat traveled down there, some people took off and sent away some silk which the worms had not yet completely spun. As a result the silkballs stayed light and soft. This time, we sent down one hundred and five pounds of silk in balls; the rest is going to be spun here through hard work, and a good start was already made last week. According to the ordinance issued by our Lord Trustees, the silk consists of fifteen to twenty threads, hence is strong yet soft.
The other pleasant news I brought back was for a pious Salzburger who, nearly 12 days ago, had been unlucky with thirty bushels of Indian corn he was supposed to carry from Savannah to Old Ebenezer. The evening before he had put that much in a big boat and then had left it safe in an otherwise secure location on the river bank near Savannah. He had found and left everything in good order at 10 o’clock at night. However, on his return at dawn, the broad and rigid boat had turned over and the entire corn had fallen into the water. Everybody thought he might have to pay for it; however, I heard from Col. Stephens, to whom he had sent a petition, that he will receive it as a gift.
The third good news I heard and read about and which concerned our small group was the favorable attitude of Col. Heron, the current commandant of Frederica, who requested in a letter to Col. Stephens that he inform me that, in these dangerous times when the Indians want to stir up new trouble, he is planning to send a corporal and six men from his regiment to our village. If I so desire, they will watch at night so that hostile Indians will not attack us. He will select and send people who will not cause us any trouble. The Cherokee Indians are making peace with the Creek Indians, and it looks as if they want to start something against the English. They recently killed an Indian trader, an Englishman who had dealt with the Indians, and in the case of another person, they took away all his belongings, leaving him almost naked and bare, and led him to God knows where.
After painting him with certain war-signs, they dispatched a boy to the governor of Carolina telling him that this is what the Cherokee Indians are sending him, which is the equivalent of a declaration of war. May God watch for and over us! The reason why the Indians are angry may very well be the miserable treatment some of them had to accept from the Carolinians. They all consider themselves gentlemen and are very haughty; if beaten, offended, etc., they seek revenge at the earliest opportunity. 2) Since many ships that are supposed to carry goods to Charleston get lost at sea, the Indians cannot be supplied with trade goods which they are accustomed to. They accept no reasons and do not believe that there is no merchandise for the Indians. 3) Currently they are very often cheated in their trade in terms of goods and weight. To them, the price of goods must neither increase nor fall but always remain the same. Otherwise they start trouble. To compensate themselves for their loss, the merchants who buy goods from Europe at high prices commit many forgeries and intrigues which other merchants betray to the Indians (because one person envies the next). 4) The primary reason is the local sins that are common among both the wealthy and the poor people.
The Cherokee Indians would not be able to inflict much damage on this and our neighboring colony, unless the Creek Indians, who live between the inhabitants of both colonies and the Cherokees, would make common cause with them. But Col. Stephens told me that the Cherokee Indians are also very restless and that they want to drive out the people who are settled on the Ogeechy River. They consider this and other land to be theirs, and they are planning on getting large gifts, for which that miserable man Bosomworth (erstwhile Anglican minister in Savannah and Frederica, who later married a half-Indian woman, became an Indian trader, and has been living among them for quite some time) is agitating. He is an irresponsible man; and there is concern that, unless stopped, he may eventually cause great tragedy.20
Old Thomas Bacher died on Saturday after a brief illness and was buried yesterday following the afternoon sermon. On his sickbead he was sincerely sorry that he had not observed his Christianity with the faithfulness and seriousness that God’s word demands and for which he had the opportunity. He hungered and thirsted for his Savior and probably was content as it is clearly promised in Matthew 5:6. He proved to be patient and Christian on his sickbed although he was unable to talk much because of his constant feverish heat and weak condition. He leaves behind a very pious and understanding widow who is a very well-liked midwife in our village. His two only daughters, well-mannered and of good hope, are well married to Christian and understanding Salzburgers.21
Tuesday, the 26th of April. The widow Granewetter did not suffer any damage from her latest heavy cross; rather she experienced great benefit and blessing. She had markedly grown by recognizing God and her nothingness and by believing in, and trusting, her dear Savior; and she is filled with religious joy and good hope although she has two small children (she just weaned the youngest) and a difficult household on her plantation. The latter is very fertile and well located, and her husband left it to her well-equipped. However, unless she can hire a farmworker, she will not be able to keep it in good condition for any length of time. The buildings as well as the fences are gradually deteriorating, and strong people are needed for farming. For that reason, she wanted me to write to dear Mr. S.U.22 in her behalf and to ask him whether it would be possible for her brother, Johann Georg Sturmer, could be sent to her, or, in case he is weak or has married, a pious, industrious, knowledgeable farmworker. She believes with certainty that God has not granted her such a good plantation in vain and that He will surely send her help in His time so that it can be cultivated and maintained. All our exhausted Salzburgers greatly need loyal servants; and for this reason I wrote some time ago to the Lord Trustees and Mr. S.U. May God give us peace and His blessing!
Wednesday, the 27th of April. An Englishman who lives at Mount Pleasant (between Old Ebenezer and Palachocolas) came with his wife and three Englishmen at about noon to our place to have his child, which was born on 22 February of this month, baptized. I did it gladly.
Thursday, the 28th of April. The pious Mrs. Thomas Bacher received a deep impression from her old husband’s departure from this world; and it is her sincere resolution to spend the short remaining period of her life in the service and praise of her Lord and thus preparing for a joyful and blessed departure. She is a quiet soul and knows how to apply her beloved solitude well. She has no worries about material things because she knows that the Lord is caring for her and has cared for her abundantly so far. She does not consider herself poor (which she actually is); and I had difficulty in persuading her to accept a small monetary gift, which our dear God sent this time from East Prussia. Some pious Salzburgers in the parish of the righteous and diligent Archpriest Schumann have sent some edifying letters to their kinsman Stephan Rottenberger and to others of their compatriots at our place; and they donated to the poor among their brothers and sisters here three Reichsthaler, or ten shillings one and ha’penny, from what the Lord has let fall to them. I passed this dear gift on to two sincerely pious widows and to a poor woman who is a true Israelite without guile.
Our merciful God is still continuing to look out for the needy condition of our Salzburger community in these difficult and dangerous times of war.23 This time, news has come from our worthy Mr. Albinus that in Halle and Augsburg a beautiful monetary blessing has flowed together to make good our lack. Also, some worthy benefactors have contributed something for the salary of Mr. Thilo, the instructor in my house.24 We are wishing and petitioning God for all divine blessing as a recompense for these as well as our worthy benefactors.
Sunday, the 1st of May. Our faithful and merciful God has given us much healing instruction and comfort at this difficult time and in our current trials from both today’s chapter of the Holy Scriptures, Dominica Jubilate, and the opening verse, Micah 7:8. Just as the entire seventh chapter of Micah can easily be applied to the current situation in this country (as it would be easy for me to prove, if necessary and appropriate), we look at the opening words and some other comforting verses in that chapter as if they were in the Bible primarily for our sake. We are, as it were, a thorn in the eye of those many people who rejoice in the serious adversities that were placed upon us according to God’s counsel and will, as did those during David’s times: See, see, we enjoy seeing that. We now must be humble and trust in God: “Rejoice not against me, mine enemy, that I fall, I shall arise,” etc., etc.
Notwithstanding all trials, our gracious and almighty God has given us His help and blessing in many instances so that we trust in our belief and say: “We will arise; the godless will see it and it will annoy him; he will gnash his teeth and forgive, because whatever the godless want, it is lost.” Some of the poor people in this country believe our Lord Trustees use our arrival as an excuse for not permitting Negroes or Moorish slaves; that is why they hate and envy us, and they can hardly bear anything good being written to our Lord Trustees about our community and people. They blame me for reporting nothing but good and wonderful things about Ebenezer in my letters to the Lord Trustees while withholding our shortcomings and difficult circumstances, although it is quite clear that in my diary or letters I forget neither the good deeds nor the trials.
Tuesday, the 3rd of May. Now not only can Steiner’s wife merely believe the gracious forgiveness of her sins, but our merciful Lord has also given her a sweet example of it in her heart. She found it difficult to free herself from her natural and distrustful character. She was not content with repenting: she always wanted to be aware of, and feel, her sins as she knew other people, who converted to God, had been aware of, and felt, them. She also considered her prayers to be too poor and inferior, especially since she was unable to express herself in words like other pious souls; and for that reason she believed that she and her prayers would please our dear God even less than they pleased her. Thinking of Christ’s great joy in calling all sinners to his side, in rejecting nobody, and in accepting graciously the most simple-minded prayer, even if it consisted of only a few words, has drawn her frail heart to our Lord Jesus Christ; and, through the Holy Spirit, it is filled with trust in His name. This morning our dear Lord granted her a sweet and peaceful sleep which she had to do without during her painful female illness. For that reason the verse “Remember that Jesus Christ . . . was raised from the dead,” etc., was very sweet and it stuck in her mind and she woke up with it to her joy. The illness has ravished her body very much.
Thursday, the 5th of May. Yesterday afternoon our dear God delivered Glaner’s dear wife earlier than she and her husband had expected. He had come to see me yesterday morning to tell me with tears in his eyes that she was having great pain and was growing increasingly weaker. Therefore he would let her go home if our Lord would take her to Him. He got some candles from the orphanage assuming that he would have to sit up with her for several more nights and burn the candles. She was content and happy to die and was buried with much blessing this afternoon. Many people, particularly women, from the plantations attended the burial; most probably because of the love and esteem they felt towards this dear soul whose body we interred today in its eternal resting place. For she was known in the entire congregation as an honest and reliable Christian.
Some time ago she had variously mentioned to me her burial text from Psalm 102:3,18; and I spoke about it with joy and blessing and to the great edification of my listeners. In doing so I have truthfully stressed the great treasure of grace which our gracious God put into our earthen vessel and which was amply demonstrated in her lifetime, in her suffering and death, to the glory of God and the edification of our fellowmen. She was a very humble woman, patient and tested by temptations, and also a devoted Christian who spent her long-time weaknesses and subsequent real illness by constant communication with God and by talking about and to her Savior, and by interceding for her fellowmen. Her body and soul now rest in peace.
Monday, the 9th of May. The hard work which our inhabitants displayed this year in manufacturing silk amazes and pleases me very much. Those with a Christian heart and enlightened eyes must recognize that our hard work met with God’s marked blessing, which makes it possible to produce much from little. Although, as mentioned earlier, very severe frost partly destroyed, or partly badly damaged, our mulberry trees, we had more silk this year than last. At that time we produced four hundred pounds, compared to this year’s fourhundred and thirty-seven pounds, apart from a small quantity from some trees which started later and whose harvest, therefore, is not yet available.
Somewhat more than one hundred and fifty pounds were sent to Savannah for spinning, but most of it is being spun here by three fine, skillful, and respectable women; and progress is good. The Trustees’ trees yielded only thirty-four pounds of silk. Our dear inhabitants are short of many things at this distressing time, and it is still another indication of God’s special concern that the silk is providing our community with some money once again. If only the price of linen and other things for making clothes were lower, our hard-working inhabitants would soon be able, with God’s blessing, to earn their food and simple livelihood, especially if some provision and preparation in this well-located country were made for trading so that industrious people would be able to earn some money outside of farming.
Thursday, the 12th of May. It pleases our dear God to put many a cross and sorrow on our honest Steiner and his wife. However, they do not complain; they pray more and praise God. She has been dangerously sick for many weeks, and he, too, is in poor health because of the heavy workload, for which there is nobody to help him. If only this pious, sensible, and industrious man were able to get a faithful servant, he and his household would be in good condition. His help lies with God who created heaven and earth.
Friday, the 13th of May. When Maurer’s sickly wife heard that we are going to celebrate Holy Communion on Ascension Day, she asked me to visit her to find out whether she, too, might approach this, our Lord’s, distinguished table. Although she wholeheartily wishes to do so, she considers herself completely unworthy of such a great favor because of a great wound that weighs on her conscience. So far her weakness has kept her from leaving the house and from going to church (something it would be hard for her not to do under normal circumstances). Should this weakness continue, Holy Communion will be administered to her in her home at the same time the congregation receives theirs.
Wednesday, the 18th of May. Ever since we started harvesting our crops, we have had rain, which has been very good for other crops. Although our wheat recovered after being severely damaged by caterpillars, most of it became infected by so-called mildew, so that even those who planted it late in the season will have a poor wheat crop. Rye, on the other hand, turned out well everywhere, except that the late frost made it very thin. The same happened to barley. I understand that the people in Purysburg and in other places grow some type of wheat that fails to turn out well every year. A man in our colony has a beautiful field of Sicilian wheat, which looks very nice. I have also noticed that our people do not yet know the proper time for planting: they usually sow wheat too late, and barley and peas too early. Because they have no hired hands, they are not in control of what they want to do and, therefore, cannot do it the way they want to do it.
Friday, the 20th of May. This morning Maurer’s sickly wife received Holy Communion at her home with heartfelt eagerness and true poverty of the spirit. I talked to her about the short verse: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,” which we covered yesterday in the exordium and which our dear Savior blessed in her and my soul. By using the rod of softness as well as the rod of woe on this soul, He is trying to draw her fully into Himself so that her spirit may become one with His. Hence she is truly happy with the good guidance she receives from her Shepherd and knows that her sins will be forgiven and that she has a merciful God in Heaven. Such souls, in whom our gracious Father in Heaven has attained His purpose, recognize the benefits He bestows upon them in this solitude despite all trials and tribulations, especially in a spiritual way, and they humbly praise Him for them.
The others as well are faithfully told of the good our merciful God has done for them and their children and of the benefits they enjoy which many others in America do not have, in order to protect them from ingratitude and disobedience and in order to give them no excuse on the day of judgment. With this in mind I read to my listeners a passage from a beautiful letter I received from Pastor Brunnholz and explained to them, on the basis of a sad example, the misfortune people suffer if they do not stay with their profession and disregard warnings. The passage was this: “Jacob Zübli gave up his school again last summer because he wanted to learn how to paint; but he died after being sick for only a few hours. Later his wife gave birth to a daughter: and, since I did not want to give her special consideration and my Germantown congregation was unable to support her, and since she was never very eager to work and I had chastised her for it, she is now becoming a Tumbler with her two children.”1
Saturday, the 21st of May. Mr. Mayer came back from Savannah with the news that there had been a big commotion yesterday on Ascension Day in Savannah and that all soldiers had been called together by the drum to take their arms. An Englishman’s wife with her children, Negroes, and a white family on their island below Savannah towards the ocean noticed two vessels full of Spaniards. Thereupon she fearfully ran into town and caused a commotion. The vessels left as a result of the fuss. Some Englishmen, who had been imprisoned and were returning from St. Augustine, stated that a very evil Englishman or Irishman, who had been jailed in Charleston, set fire to it and deserted to the Spaniards and wished to serve the Spaniards in St. Augustine as their leader to attack the most remote plantations in Carolina and Georgia. He was extremely well informed about the two colonies and their rivers and landing spots. The governor in St. Augustine is reported to be a good friend of the English and to have sent several gifts to Major Horton. I was also told that the Spanish would like to leave us alone, if only we would leave them alone: however, two experiences in a row have shown how misplaced it would be to trust the Spanish. Much is being said to make simple-minded people believe that it does not mean anything, although so many Negroes were brought to this colony at a time when England is engaged in a war with two potentates.2
Monday, the 23rd of May. The German family consisting of the father, the mother, and six unreared children, who moved from Vernonburg to our community approximately two months ago, behaves in a Christian-like manner among us; they love God’s word, the Holy Scriptures, and the good opportunity for edification.3 They also work hard on their land and, during the current barley, wheat, and rye harvest, for other people for wages. Nobody among us is as poor as these people were when they came to us; but they felt in a noticeable way God’s fatherly care for themselves and for their almost-naked children when they received many gifts of clothing and household utensils.
Tuesday, the 24th of May. A Salzburger told me that he received the certain news that his former neighbor and godfather, Ruprecht Zittrauer, had died in Charleston and had left behind a very poor widow with three children.4 He is godfather to the two eldest children and will try to get permission to raise and supervise these two children, away from their badly-behaved mother and her ruin. I will gladly assist in this matter in every possible way. This wretched man left Ebenezer because he was lazy and because his lazy wife talked him into it, and they moved about the country for a while. Then he worked in a small fortification south of Savannah. Finally he moved to Carolina and became a slave-driver. I do not know why he left here, but one thing is certain: in the end he became a soldier in Charleston and he died a miserable death there.
She was used to being idle and to go begging in the Dürrenberg area5 and, if permitted, would probably still do so in Charleston. Several disorderly people left Georgia for Carolina to beg there, which led our adversaries to claim that everybody in this colony would become a beggar unless our Lord Trustees permit Negroes. Poor Zittrauer was not only lazy but had also taken to drink, and his wife had faithfully helped him in doing so. People like them do not get ahead anywhere in the world. I pray to God that He let the sad news of Zittrauer’s decline serve our people and others as a warning against ingratitude and disobedience. We are indeed very fortunate!
Thursday, the 26th of May. Hanns Flerl’s wife, who takes her Christianity very seriously, had some unnecessary worries and doubts about her state of grace, from which God’s words freed her, in part, some days ago during our weekly sermon and, in part, today without my knowledge. They are good souls, who are seriously concerned about their salvation, always careful not to subject themselves to the the law and to seek there what they can only find in Christ, namely, peace of their souls.6 He keeps calling in the Holy Scriptures: “Hearken diligently unto me and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.” Even though they read good books which call for active Christianity, these souls must be diligently reminded lest they lose sight of the Gospel and Christianity, because it says in Hebrews 5, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (and not for Moses and the moralists); compare Matthew 17:15.7
Flerl’s wife also said that she knew about the struggle but not how to overcome it, which makes it necessary for us not only to completely subdue and extirpate our spiritual enemies, but also to feel a true aversion to their sense and will, and not to give in to their lures and temptations, as I explained to her from the example of the pious, chaste Joseph and from the verse in the Galatians 5:17.
During the conversation she also talked about the guidance with which God had provided her when they started to expel the Salzburgers. She was born in the state of Bavaria and brought up in ignorance by her seriously erring mother and some relatives. However, when God recognized that He could save her soul, He saw to it that among the twelve journeymen of a papal masterbuilder from Salzburg who worked on a church in Bavaria, there was a Lutheran journeyman, called “the Lutheran,” about whose religion strange things were said. Because he got room and board at the house of her cousin, for whom she worked, she was very much aware of his Christian behavior. And, since she noticed great peace, nonconformance to the world, and diligent prayer and intercession as well as sympathy and tears when he saw the bound Evangelical Salzburgers being led past him, she had the deep desire to talk to this man secretly about his and her religious faith.
One evening God arranged for her cousin to be busy with the soldiers who were accompanying the Salzburgers on their way across Bavaria, while the servants were in the tavern. She grasped this opportunity to make this knowledgeable man, who was experienced in Christianity, teach her the Evangelical truth for three hours; upon her request, he also sent her a good book, namely the Schaitberger, in a small well-secured barrel.8 In it, they eagerly read for three consecutive weeks at night about the Evangelical truth and her previous misunderstandings. Because the people concluded from her overall behavior, especially her absence from monthly confession, observance of brotherhood meetings, participation in pilgrimages, and telling a rosary, that she might have suspicious books, they waylaid her, took the book away from her, and threatened her with jail and death unless she stayed away from this heresy. At the priest’s instigation, her mother, in particular, behaved very badly.
Finally God gave her the courage to leave, although she knew neither the way nor the area. A woman potter, also a secret Lutheran, referred her to her very close kinswoman in Austria; but there she was advised in confidence that she was to go to Salzburg rather than to pretend, in violation of her conscience, because here they searched very much after Evangelical people and books. Since the journeyman bricklayer had given her instructions on how to get to the Goldeck jurisdiction and, there, to a Lutheran family, she traveled there without a passport, like a poor abandoned sheep, in the name of God, who was her leader and guide, and she was well received. However, because the Evangelical people were being expelled at that time, she was summoned to appear before the authorities and was threatened that, if she stayed with these Evangelical people, she would enjoy neither God’s care nor any favor from the people in the Empire, but would die a horrible death. Nevertheless, she said that she would go with them regardless of what might happen to her. She preferred all misery and even death itself to renouncing God, her Savior, and the Evangelical truth. She did not start with good days, but with misery and death, as the bricklayer had told her earlier while assuring her of God’s help.
Friday, the 27th of May. Our inhabitants are convinced that the Sicilian wheat mentioned earlier would do best in our climate, and they wanted very much to get seed. When I was about to write to the trader and planter who had brought such wheat from Portugal, he unexpectedly arrived in our community to look at our mills and to buy boards to be loaded on his ship to the West Indies. He promised me eight bushels of the beautiful wheat, which caused much joy among our people. This knowledgeable and wealthy merchant is having two windmills built for him in Carolina, namely, one grinding mill and one sawmill; but he is currently encountering many obstacles in building them. He wanted me to encourage the people in our community to plant European crops9 and to make silk and indigo as well as to prepare pitch and tar. On the other hand, he thought it might be better if they would stop planting Indian corn and beans, which require much work during the hottest season, yet yield little. One acre does not produce more than about 2 pounds Sterling, while one acre of indigo would bring between 10 and 12 pounds Sterling. In previous years I had offered seeds; but since I do not have a servant to test them myself and since one cannot hire dayworkers even for cash when they are most needed, nobody can be persuaded to get involved in something he has never seen.
It appeared recently that our inhabitants would have a bad wheat crop. However, after a fertile rain, the wheat has recovered so well that we now have reason to thank our Lord. Where it was planted too late, it was rust that caused the largest damage; but otherwise most people have had a good harvest of all European crops, with the exception of barley and peas, which were damaged too severely by the late frost. It is like a miracle that real iron rust forms on wheat, and sometimes on rye, destroying the stems to such an extent that no juice is able to rise to the ears. Barley, too, is at times affected by rust, but the grains are free from damage. I understand that this rust is due to heavy night dew; and, if two men are unable to shake it off with a long cord, it is as if the hot sun had boiled it and glued or baked it onto the stems. However, it is amazing that in some fields wheat and rye were seriously damaged, and in others little or none at all. However, the rust had also damaged some stems of the little Sicilian wheat planted here. It seems to me that early planting is the best way to preserve it. The indigo bushes or plants have no enemy at all, since, in contrast to corn and beans, neither deer, bears, squirrels, wildcats,10 nor worms feed on them. This is not to mention such other great advantages in storing and transporting the processed indigo.
Sunday, the 29th of May. Today our merciful God has given us another holy Whitsunday, which we will celebrate today and tomorrow as customary. It is very hot, but we have cool places of worship. Yesterday I felt the beginning of a fever, but it now seems to be over so that I and my dear colleague will be able to preach our Lord’s word unhindered.
Monday, the 30th of May. On this Whitmonday a corporal and seven common soldiers under his command came to our community. The commandant of Frederica, Col. Heron, sent them by water upon receiving my letter so that they can keep a watchful eye on the current dangerous movements of the Indians, who are said to have already committed all kinds of violence in the areas north of Savannah Town in Carolina.11 In response to the colonel’s offer to send us an eight-man guard, I wrote that, if he should consider it necessary for our preservation and protection, we would gratefully accept his care, especially since he assured me that he would select only people from his regiment who would not cause us any trouble. I know that God deals with people only through means, and we would tempt God if we would not make use of the means to protect us since they come from God, just as it would be some kind of false worship to trust in the means and not in God.
Who knows what benefit one or the other soldier will derive from coming to our place. Their instructions with regard to their behavior towards me and our community are very explicit, and they know that the colonel will severely punish any excess. His letter to me was written in a very friendly tone, and at the end it says, “We all here would be extreamly obliged to you, Sir, could you recommend to us a good clergyman. It is a terrible thing, that so many people, as we have here, should be without a spiritual Guide.” (Thus recognizes and writes a soldier, who is a colonel.) There are always complaints about Frederica and that it is so disorderly and godless there, but no thought has ever been given to provide the community with an honest minister. Some of them have caused more damage than good.12 Everybody respected and admired the late minister Driesler, although he was unable to serve them with his office because of his inadequate command of the English language.13
Tuesday, the 31st of May. We produced 464 pounds and several ounces of silk balls this year, that is, 64 pounds more than a year ago, although the late frost inflicted severe damage on the white mulberry trees and destroyed some of them completely. Most of it was again spun on our machine for practice, and everybody who sees it and is able to pass judgment praises the uniformity of its threads.
Tuesday, the 12th of July. I am shocked that the cabinet maker in Savannah who, on orders of the Council in Savannah, built for our village a very simple machine for silk spinning, said that his labor (without the iron structure) alone came to 3 pounds 10 shillings and that the rest would cost 1 pound. The Lord Trustees gave us a big cauldron to spin the silk and sent it to us eleven months ago. In her scorn of our silk produced and spun here this year, the new silk spinner in Savannah (an English widow) does no better than the Italian woman who was dismissed.1 This is why we will not send her any more silk from our place for spinning in the future. According to some knowledgeable men who looked at it, the silk spun this year in our community is better than last year’s which the Lord Trustees praised very highly in their secretary’s letter of the 10th of March.
At their request, I kept a diary in the English language for our Lord Trustees but, for special reasons, have not made any entries since last August.2 But now the Lord Trustees have given a clear indication of their pleasure and of the usefulness of the small information and observations contained in my English letters about how to improve this colony and how to meet their good intentions. And because I expect, with God’s blessing, some benefit for our community from doing so and because I am indebted to our Lord Trustees in many ways, I have decided in God’s name to continue the diary in English, although I have not made any entries for almost a year. Since it is short and does not require any elaborate words, it will not take much of my time; this is also what our friend in Savannah and my dear colleague have advised me to do. What dear Mr. Albinus wrote to me on the second of November was very comforting to me: “As for your fear that your well-meant suggestions might be printed, you can put your mind at ease. It will not happen for now; however, if one or the other matter must be published, our court chaplain will see to it that it will not hurt you or your office.”
Thursday, the 14th of July. Soon after returning home last night, I was told that a suspicious young man, who is trying to cross the Savannah River to Carolina, had secretly come to our community. My investigation showed him to be a Spaniard who had lived in Carolina and in this colony for several years and that his intentions were not good. I had him guarded by the soldiers over night in order to obtain more information from him this morning, and I also asked some men from Old Ebenezer to come here. But, since the soldiers believed him to be more honest than he really was, he escaped under an apparent pretext this morning, leaving behind his flintlock and a few other things. He seemed to be a desperate lad, sufficiently cunning, wicked, and daring to inflict damage wherever God permits him to do so. If he is not spying, he is planning to do, or has already done, something bad, as I detect from the dissolute way of his speech and today’s escape.
Friday, the 15th of July. Our dear friend, Mr. Habersham in Savannah, unexpectedly lost his gifted and beloved little daughter to death, which caused much grief to both parents and other friends. My visit, which was quite unexpected, and the comfort I provided were appreciated and useful. Within a few days the little girl had been healthy, sick, and dead. Red dysentery with high fever is making the rounds in Savannah, a disease that put an early end to the girl’s life.
This summer we had very heavy thunderstorms in the Savannah area, and some days ago tremendous lightning struck next to a mother and her four children in a way that the mother was like dead and ashen-faced and the children turned dumb and senseless from it. The mother reportedly feels a little better now. At that time our shoemaker Zettler, together with some other people from our community, had traveled to this area toward the ocean, partly for professional reasons and partly because of his health. And no sooner had they returned, when lightning struck. Prior to that Savannah had experienced a heavy rain storm that was so fierce that we believed our boat would go down in the ocean, but they did not know about this storm.
Saturday, the 16th of July. Yesterday in the late afternoon, Rottenberger’s deathly sick daughter sent me her greetings twice. Since I was busy with many other things and since I had not seen the evening coming, I did not get around to pay my planned visit. On visiting her today, I found her unconscious and in the throes of death. Yesterday, at the time of our evening prayer, she had undergone a tremendous change. Although she no longer was in command of her senses, she was praying the most beautiful verses, the Lord’s Prayer, etc., but no longer understood the questions we asked and what we told her. Our dear Savior has done much to her soul during this illness: she has become a completely different girl. God’s words and prayer were her constant solace. I prayed for her today and blessed her on leaving the world, and this is probably going to be soon.
In the late afternoon Rottenberger informed me that his daughter Susanna passed away gently and peacefully and that her Savior, whom she had loved dearly and for whose presence she had been waiting with joy, had taken her home. While she gravely sinned when she ate raw beans and, by doing so, damaged her health, she was sure of Christ’s forgiveness.3 Dr. Graham, who cares for the sick in and around Savannah, told me during a recent visit here that he knew of many children in Savannah, Vernonburg, and even in his homeland of Scotland who were eating dirt and all kinds of other unclean and harmful substances, and he expressed the view that worms were the cause of this unusual and unnatural appetite and that it would pass as soon as the worms disappeared.
Sunday, the 17th of July. After our afternoon service today, the little girl who died yesterday was buried with blessings and to our edification. Before carrying the body outside, we sang in the church: Meinen Jesum lass ich nicht, etc.; and, while it was being lowered in the cemetary: Alle Menschen müssen sterben, etc., two songs our dear God has blessed especially in her during her illness, since she had felt the desire to die, although previously she had not liked to hear about it. Since on the sixth Sunday after Trinity, in the morning as well as in the afternoon, the congregation had heard God’s word abundantly from the Holy Scriptures and from the regular epistle, as well as from the two exordium verses from Proverbs 11:18-21, and 1 John: 6,7,4 I briefly told the adults and children during the burial only two things about the late Susanna, 1) something they already knew, namely, that, like many other children, she had been foolish and naughty in her healthy days and that she had harmed her health and shortened her life by her unusual eating habits; and 2) something nobody knew, namely, that Jesus, our good Shepherd, looked for her long enough to find her, made her realize and feel her sins and also made her believe in His name, assured her of His forgiveness of her sins, and made her to eagerly look forward to an early and blessed end, and that she showed unmistakable signs, which I recently mentioned, of this. Most of it appears in several places of this diary. The tears my listeners showed that this simple sermon penetrated their heart.
Monday, the 18th of July. Our merciful God does not let us take care for our children in vain; but now and then He gives us with their souls some visible blessing, about which I reported on or the other detail yesterday and in the past. Yesterday, in the late afternoon, after sunset, a serving boy in our community, who has very wicked, worldly parents in Savannah, sent me the following note:
Greetings, dear Pastor! Please forgive me for writing again. I do not dare communicate with you verbally and probably would be unable to do so. Because as soon as I see you, my heart bleeds in my body so that I cannot express myself. I often wonder whether it would be possible that even I, a poor worm, could be saved and become one of God’s children; but my heart tells me that this is impossible; even if God took all people to Heaven, he would banish me to Hell. For without faith it is impossible to please God. Yes, God wants to give us faith, but one must pray for it. And one cannot pray because one’s prayer, and everything one does, is a sin. So who is going to take pity on me! I will be lost in all eternity unless God takes pity on me poor soul in time. I now hope and ask you to pray for me as well.
I asked him to see me at noon today. I instructed him from the Holy Scriptures, prayed with him and gave him, as a present, dear Bogatzky’s wonderful book, called the Paupers’ Book,5 which describes very well and clearly the Evangelical order of salvation and the privileges of forgiven sinners. I underlined for the frightened boy the points relating to Evangelical instruction, which also answered his letter, and marked the pertinent passages on the page with a nota bene so that he will read them soon and often. If he has more time, he will read the whole book. Not too long ago, on a trip to Savannah, I also used it to help an elderly Reformed widow who had listened to God’s word with blessing in our community several times. She told me of her doubts and temptations,6 which undoubtedly would have been so much greater, had she believed her church’s dogma of the absolutum decretum.7 I happened to have the booklet on me, which I lent to her.
Tuesday, the 19th of July. Among many other alms, our dear God gave us a pair of good shoes for an orphaned girl, which brought much happiness to a truly pious, industrious, and hopeful girl, who has neither father nor mother and helps our pious widow Zant, formerly Pilz, around the house. I hope that the dear unknown benefactress will achieve, through God’s blessing, the purpose for which she sent us the gift. She added a brief, very edifying note, which deserves to be copied by me here as a constant remembrance and for the edification of others:
Immanuel! May God live in all pious homes. And should there be sorrow and misery here and there, May God be our counsel and deed, which gives us peace. So, at all times it means “Here is Immanuel.”
“Dearly Beloved Souls! May Jesus be your shield and your all! This small gift, a pair of shoes, is for an orphaned girl whom I wish and ask to love Jesus and to pray to God that his dear Son be loved more ardently by my poor soul. May Jesus be your shield and your all, Amen.”
This gift with the inspiring note came from Hanover. And thus our wonderful God has blessed us from a number of other places with good deeds and written admonition to be patient in our sufferings and steadfast in good, trust in God, and praise of His name. Among them, in particular, are two women of high standing, whose name I am not at liberty to divulge, but whom I respect greatly as the apples of God’s eye. Their forceful letters to the congregation and to me have refreshed, strengthened, and encouraged me greatly and that is why I would like to quote something from them here:
Therefore, you dear people of Ebenezer, do not tire even though, outwardly, you may have to suffer a great deal and live through much hardship and sorrow. Because we know that, although the human body is wasting away, the soul is being rejuvenated day after day. For our hardship, which is temporary, etc. Oh, so be joyfully patient before our dear God because the Lord will not abandon His people, now or ever, etc.
I humbly thank our good God for giving me the opportunity through N. and N. to collect some little things (although it is much linen or cloth, and money, which we ask our dear God to take under His powerful protection during the journey!). So, accept with gratitude these little alms from our Lord, through whom we receive everything and whose grace and kindness will preserve everything. May our Lord let you enjoy it with His blessings and in peace, and may He continue to protect and shield you in the future!
May He bless your bodies and souls, here and in all eternity. May He show you on your bodies and souls what is meant by: ‘Blessed be the poor,’ etc. He provides shelter to strangers, He takes care of the orphans, fulfils widows’ prayers, etc. So let us now join in praising God: we will sing a thousand times our praise, glory, and gratitude, etc., to God, our Lord.
Another very dear, distinguished friend of our Ebenezer congregation, whose name I do not know, wrote on the 21st of November in a very edifying letter, sent from a place I do not know, that two years ago, in God’s strange ways, she received news from Ebenezer which our gracious God had blessed to edify her soul and which had turned her soul to Christian love and a favorable disposition towards me and my congregation. She humbly worships the wondrous love, wisdom and omnipotence of God who proved his magnificence in establishing and supporting the dear Ebenezers. She prays with all her heart that God’s grace may continue to be with us, that He may protect us from spiritual and bodily harm, strengthen and maintain the good in Jesus’s true disciples, and let us have a good odor among the heathens here that they, too, may come to recognize the truth. She then adds the following sincere wish:
May Jesus Christ, our true arch-shepherd, spread his wings of mercy over them, strengthen, fortify, and establish them so that together we may finally accomplish the goal of our faith, namely, to save our souls. I will not forget in my unworthy prayers to think of them before God; and, if there is anything that may contribute to their bodily welfare, I will gladly do it. But may Jesus fill you, my dear Sir, more and more with comfort and strength of soul and body. May He bless ever more your (and your colleague’s) dear work in time and eternity! God is faithful; what He promises He will do.
In conclusion it reads, “I commend you to Jehovah’s protection, in Jesus’s blood and wounds, which is the true fortress, and ask for your and your dearest congregation’s intercession.”
Wednesday, the 20th of June. The only reason why a shoemaker from Vernonburg near Savannah made the long trip to see me this morning was to ask me to lend him and his wife for some more time the late Arndt’s True Christianity,8 printed in large letters, i.e., the book for which their married daughter asked me for some time. I heard that her lifestyle was contrary to the Bible and this book: hence I preferred to lend it to somebody to whom it would be more useful. But, since the man had come such a long way for the book, I let his wife have the book with legible letters for a little more time, and I lent her daughter another one. We received some copies of Arndt’s Christianity from both Halle and Hanover, and they will serve some eager people well.
Our boat returned from Savannah with the sad news that the youngest daughter of our friend, Mr. Habersham, was buried last Monday, the 18th of the month. Hence, within an eight-day period, he had two deaths in his house. That, of course, caused him and his weak wife much grief. May God give them new courage and comfort! Although he does not have enough words to express his grief, he informs me that God has given him and his truly pious wife the grace to behave like Christians and to completely accept God’s will, which can only be good.
Thursday, the 21st of July. Bacher’s widow fell seriously sick at the end of last week; however, she is feeling better now. During her illness, our gracious God blessed the Scriptures of His son, the Savior of poor lost sinners, in such a beautiful way that she could consider herself nothing else but just and blessed in Him and felt in herself the foretaste of eternal life and a great longing for a blessed death. She looks upon her illness as a great blessing. She asked that I sing with her the beautiful and popular pilgrims’ song, So bin ich nun nicht mehr ein fremder Gast, etc., and I was pleased to do so.
Friday, the 22nd of July. /Stephan/ Rottenberger’s wife /Catharina/ exerted herself excessively during the late Susanna’s lengthy illness and caught a cold last night. As a result she came down with quite dangerous symptoms. While I was with her, she could neither see nor hear; but I prayed with those present for her and her husband, who so far has had nothing but grief. Apart from housekeeping work, which was too heavy, the young wife has had in the past all kinds of serious, although unnecessary problems of the mind which were more harmful to her body than the work. Also, so far the weather has been extremely unsettled: one moment it was hot, the next cool, then it was dry, then wet. Unless people do not take good care of themselves under these conditions, they will soon catch a fever or another illness. In this country women have much trouble with menstrual difficulties, and that is the reason why many have suffered very sad symptons and why they brought about their early death. This is actually a healthy country, but to stay healthy, one has to eat a good diet and be careful in view of the often rapidly changing weather.9
Saturday, the 23rd of July. Yesterday during my weekly sermon and evening prayer service I indicated that today we would distribute the alms we received fourteen days ago in good condition, while we would sing, pray, and read some letters. Towards this end, adults and children were invited to come to Jerusalem Church at two o’clock. After young and old had assembled in the church, as signaled, we sang the inspiring hymn, Sey Lob und Ehr dem höchsten Gut, etc., from which dear R.R Mrs. W. in St.10 recommended a number of verses for edification. I then read, with a clear voice and the necessary application, both the beautiful letter of our dear benefactress and what two others had lovingly written to me and the congregation (from which I had copied an excerpt in this diary some days ago); and finally I added an exceedingly inspiring hymn on the 107th Psalm, which a pious and learned R.R. in the charitable St. had composed about Ebenezer.11 We then knelt down, thanked our merciful Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, for all His past and current good deeds for the spirit and the flesh. We prayed for our known and unknown dear benefactors in Augsburg, Halle, Stuttgart, Hanover, and other towns inside and outside the German Empire. Also, we humbly told Him of our and the country’s needs, and then said a devout Amen.
After this religious exercise had ended, the grownups went to my house and received their alms with thanks. On the other hand the children who had not yet celebrated Holy Communion were led or carried to my colleague’s house to be edified by him from the words of Psalm 8:3 to God’s praise and to pray with him. Then everybody was handed a fine gift. We had 136 adults and 87 children, and all were pleased with their nice presents. In addition to their gifts, the small children also received edifying small books for themselves and their parents. Only Jacob Mohr was excluded from receiving a gift pending his recovery. He is a stranger12 and has not yet adapted to our ways, from which his soul and body could benefit. I told him that I would give him not only his present, but some more for good behavior as soon as he accepted an orderly profession and lived an orderly life in the best interest of his soul and body. He seemed to recognize that I meant well and therefore did not mind the procedure.
Our children will copy the previously mentioned, very inspiring song about the 107th Psalm many times over and it will be made so well known in the congregation that when, through God’s grace, the gifts collected in Stuttgart arrive here in good condition, we can sing it together in praise of God and for our joint edification. Above all, with God’s help it will be our main song for our annual memorial and thanksgiving festival. Also, it has a very cheerful and pleasing melody which we know very well from the first part of Freylinghausen’s Songbook,13 page 964, Der lieben Sonnen Licht und Pracht, etc. We are particularly impressed by the example of the highly respected Lady R.R. and a very dear distinguished benefactor in Hanover. They are not ashamed of the Ebenezer poor: not only have they given us many good things from their own belongings, but they have also commended us to others and gathered for us much blessing. Since they are not ashamed of Christ’s poor followers and actively prove their true belief through love, Christ, their leader, will not be ashamed of them either when they meet, but will say, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
A family of four was inadvertently forgotten during the distribution of gifts, but they will be included, God willing, in the future. In the meantime we did what we could. Another family, who think themselves superior to other people, have shown that they have a very low opinion of our public divine service and the meetings we had today in church, that is, they make themselves unworthy of this gift. For it says: Absens carens.14 Small children at their mothers’ breasts did not get any gifts this time. Similarly, my family and those of Mr. Lemke and Mr. Mayer, who participated in these gifts, were not included in the above-mentioned number; otherwise the number of our inhabitants would have been larger.
Sunday, the 24th of July. Today, in the late afternoon, we had much rain and thunder, and that is why we did not hold our public Sunday prayer hour in church. Last year God let us have, presumably from blessed Wernigerode,15 a number of small elongated songbooks with new selected hymns that were distributed among people who live in town and attend our regular evening prayer hours. But every family could get only one. We now received several more of these beautiful hymnbooks from dear Hanover, and now every husband, and probably also some children, has a book so that we can make better use of the inspiring songs in our evening prayer sessions. Ordinarily we use for our edification on Sundays and workdays the beautiful Freylinghausen hymn book, especially the extract.
Tuesday, the 26th of July. By taking effective medicines and with God’s blessing, Rottenberger’s wife has gradually become so much better that she is now able to get out of bed. Here again, God has abundantly done beyond what we prayed for or understand. I pray that she will accept God’s sparing and helping her for a true penitence.
Wednesday, the 27th of July. Some time ago I and the children in our plantation school contemplated the impressive song which court preacher Ziegenhagen composed about the three main Articles of the Christian dogma: “I believe in God, our Father, etc., means . . .” By so doing, I told them catechistically the truths of the entire Christian teachings in a simple and clear way and reinforced them on the basis of the added biblical verses. In our community we value repetition greatly, and that is why we assign only small homework in the church and in school and spend several weeks on one chapter, story, or song, etc. This time, they sent us among other beautiful tracts, a very small one, entitled: The Doctrine of Atonement and Forgiveness of Sins, in Short Phrases.16 Since we received several copies of this wonderful booklet, which is written in clear language for simple people, I can give a copy to each child who knows how to read so that it can memorize one sentence per week, together with the added biblical verse, and teach it to their small brothers and sisters by reciting it to them. Otherwise we do not think much of learning books and long questions by heart (except for Luther’s Catechism, biblical verses, powerful prayers, and songs): but it is easy to learn such a useful book.
Thursday, the 28th of July. This morning I received a letter, dated the 18th, from the scribe of Col. Heron, the commandant of Frederica. In it he informs me on behalf of the Colonel that:
1) according to information from Charleston, war with the Indians seems unavoidable. And, since he holds me and the well-being of our industrious people in high regard, he assures me that he will do everything possible to protect us from these savages. He says that, if I deem it necessary, he will send us an officer and soldiers (in addition to those we already have) for our protection because (as his letter states) he shares the feelings of all those who wish this colony well: it would be a pity if such industrious and useful people would be not be taken care of.
2) The commandant had been informed that a party of Spaniards was advancing to the St. Johns River (towards Frederica), and he marched there with part of his regiment to repel them.
3) He wants to know whether we received fine linen from Germany to be sold here.17 He assures me that, if our people want to bring it or any other surplus goods to the Frederica market, they can easily sell it there and get good money for it.
Sunday, the 31st of July. I was asked in a recent letter from Europe to report in my diary on the kind of, and changes in, our weather and to comment on any peculiar aspect of our climate and congregation so that the readers can make up their own minds, as it were, uno intuitu18 and compare our conditions with those in Germany. Since I feel obligated to thank our dear benefactors for their love by returning our love and services in every possible way, I will gladly comply with this request and add these points at the end of each month to the extent that my limited ability and insight permit me to do so and with the humble request to take my will for my deed and to excuse mistakes.
1) This second summer month, July, is usually one of the hottest. However, this year the weather has been as temperate and cool as it usually is in the fall. On the one hand, this is because of the morning, evening, and midnight winds and, on the other hand, of the nearly always overcast sky and frequent rainstorms, which are often accompanied by heavy thunder and lightning. However, the rain was so unevenly distributed that, while it was more than sufficient in town and enough for the grain and grass to grow in the surrounding plantations, the plantations farther out, from Zion Church to beyond the mills, from east towards south, had to do without. Nevertheless, they did have a long, thorough rainstorm on the 24th of July, i.e., five days before the full moon. Although it was cool during the day and at night and very pleasant for sleeping at night, our people on the plantations complained about the uncomfortable heat at night.
Often rainstorms cover half of the sky from morning till late afternoon, and from evening to early morning. The Indians, too, must have had a lot of rain in the northwest (where the Savannah river, like all big rivers in Georgia and in neighboring Carolina, originate and from where they flow into the ocean in a south-easterly direction) because this summer the Savannah river was higher than during the same time in previous years. At full moon (the 28th of July) and two days before it, we had dry weather and warm days. On the 28th of July, after sunset, the sky was covered with clouds, and at midnight we heard thundering towards the west. Gradually the thunderstorm and lightning moved toward us and stayed with us throughout the night. It did not rain and the moon was shining. The following evening we heard another thunderstorm farther north, but it did not come to us. The wind seems to blow in an easterly direction and the weather seems to stay dry; and that is very good for haymaking. I have not mentioned the frequency with which the winds changed this month and other interesting aspects of our weather; however, I will do so in the near future if, God willing, I have the opportunity. For that purpose, I am planning to install a painted iron weathercock on my roof overlooking all our tall mulberry trees. I wish I had a real thermometer; we have nothing like that here.
2) The swallows, which tend to arrive at our homes in early March, left early this month. Many nest under the roof and around the firewall of my home, and the people in our community have set up tall poles by their houses. To the top or tip of these poles they fasten a type of wild gourd whose skin gets very hard and which they use like pots to scoop water.19 In these pumpkins, the swallows build their nests and raise their young. They protect our young chickens, geese, and ducks from the many hawks.20 As soon as a hawk comes near, the swallows dive toward them and pursues them as far as possible. Late this month some swallows returned to settle again in our house; we have no idea where they have been meanwhile and where they will go.
3) A common complaint of our people is about the big and small woodpeckers, also known here as tree choppers because they use their sharp beeks for pecking worms from dead trees. Just about this time of the year our people are also very unhappy about the black starlings that frequently descend on our ripening Indian corn, forcing the shucks open, which firmly protect the big beautiful ears, permitting the rain to accumulate on them. The corn then begins to rot and is invaded by worms. Ravens and crows inflict the same damage. And so do bears and squirrels, of which we have many in both black and gray (the former in pine forests and the latter in oak forests): bears at night, squirrels during the day.21 However, deer feed on Indian bean leaves and pods; and on some plantations there is nothing people can do to get rid of them regardless of whether they try to frighten them off or to disperse them by planting strawmen and other types of scarecrows (terriculamentis). Others use drums, and they are more successful than the others.
4) This is about the time of the year when the Spaniards and Indians like to attack and wage war against white people (when the Indian corn matures), and that is what is happening again now. This is why we are usually worried about such things around this time of the year. Whenever we hear of an Indian war at any other time, we do not believe it. Invariably the Indians stick to this time: although I do not know why, it is easy to guess.
We have here (as in other English colonies in North America) large forests with all kinds of big, tall, and dense trees, such as two types of pines, Scots pines, many kinds of oaks, several types of walnut trees, beech trees (which, however, bear no fruit), cypresses, poplars, laurels, some kind of small chestnut trees, and wild cherries. The latter two do not grow into big trees and measure no more than six inches in diameter. We also have wild grapevines, an arm or a thigh thick, which climb their way up the highest trees. Many cedars grow along the coast and also in some places northwest of us along the Savannah river. With enough help, we could manufacture pitch, tar, turpentine, and potash, although the potash would be only for our own consumption, and we would not be able to send any of it to Europe; to do so would interfere with European trade of this commodity with Russia. The saying is, “The daughters,” i.e., the American colonies, “must do nothing to harm their mother,” i.e., the trade of Old England. The same applies to the manufacture of glass: it must not be sent to England, but must be consumed in America. We have here in abundance of clay (white and red); if only somebody would only start making pots, earthenware, and bricks. We have plenty of wood and water here. It is a shame that so much wood is cut on the plantations and then left rotting. We collect here the ashes of hard wood for making soap, and many people produce their own soap.22
6) An old Indian woman whom we have known for over fourteen years heard that my wife suffers from frequent fevers; and, because she likes her, she picked a black, soothing, strong-smelling root in the woods and brought it to her, instructing her to eat a small piece of it whenever she had fever and saying that this would make her sweat or sleep. We could not quite understand what she said. Thank God, we do not need such unknown things since we get very nice well-prepared medicines from England and Halle. Nevertheless, I wish the Indian woman had stayed over at our house until the next morning. She should have shown me the root with its leaves in the woods as well as some other roots and herbs that the Indians use for medicines. Some people make a great ado about their knowledge of herbs and roots, and that may be justified. There is no doubt that we have here in the woods a large number of plants which our wise and gracious Creator has given us to keep us humans healthy in this climate. I would very much like to collect something for our benefit and that of our friends, provided God gives us the time and strength to do so.
7) This month several crops our community likes, among them sugar melons and water melons, will be ripe for harvesting. Water melons are healthier than sugar melons; both often attain the astonishing weight of 12-18 pounds and taste very good. The water melons derive their name from their refreshing cooling water and their very many seeds, and they multiply almost by the millions since they also grow very well and abundantly in poor soil. At this time of the year, we usually also have many grapes and blueberries in the woods. However, the late frost has destroyed these and many other blossoms, and the few that did grow were eaten by the birds, which seem to lack sufficient other food this year. Our peaches will also ripen this month, although there will be very few this year for the stated reason. In general, peach trees, which bear fruit both early and late, produce them abundantly when they are hardly three or four years old. The old trees grow almost as big as a man; however, they only live for about 12 years; they get worms which destroy them. Our domestic vines are not doing too well, undoubtedly because we lack experience. That this is a vineland is indicated by the very many wild vines which produce an abundance of grapes. We also have ripe apples already. We do not have any pears and German plums here.
8) Because the Indians are planning to start war now, the common people want all of them destroyed so that they can live in peace; however, this is probably a sinful and not at all decent wish. Not to mention the fact that the Indians were the first and legitimate inhabitants and hence are the rightful owners of this land.23 Therefore, the great benefits which the inhabitants of this and our neighboring colony, Carolina, derive from trading and from the fact that they serve us as a protection against the French Indians should be sufficient reason for the English to do everything possible, following General Oglethorpe’s example, to satisfy and keep them. The reason is that, since their tribes live toward the west and north, between us and the French Indians, they help protect us and prevent them from coming closer to us and turn over their land to the French. However, the foremost benefit is our trade with them: because Georgia and Carolina alone (primarily the latter) sell them English goods worth several thousand of pounds a year, and, in return, many tons of deer and beaver skins are delivered to England, and that is of rather significant benefit to both trade and shipping. I wonder why no antlers are collected and shipped to Europe since there is such a great demand for them there for the manufacture of knives, pharmaceuticals, etc. If the English traders treated the Indians better, the Indians would behave better. In recognition of that, the Lord Trustees have drafted very good laws, but it would be highly desirable for them to be observed in a better way.
Monday, the 1st of August. The pious orphaned girl, whom a benefactress in Hanover had remembered with a particularly generous gift, was sick when I, while distributing the presents, read to the audience this unknown dear benefactress’s very edifying letter, which I have already mentioned in my diary on the 19th of July. Since then she visited here twice to have me read the letter to her, as I did again today. The letter not only says at the beginning: “Here is Immanuel,” but also at its end it says: “So at all times it is written ‘here is Immanuel’,” which I explained to the girl. I also sent to her pious mistress, the widow Zant, these comforting words, which apply to our dangerous time: “Make a decision, and nothing will come of it, because here is Immanuel”; and therefore she and her children must not be afraid on their lonely plantation. Since the letter had admonished the orphan girl to love our Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart, I gave her the following well-known beautiful words to take home, “Love Jesus, and Him alone, otherwise you will not be saved.”1 Her pious mistress is sending this verse to thank the dear benefactress: “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” But the orphan has asked me to tell her dear benefactors that she will include them in her prayers, and she has sent them the verse 1 John 5:3.
Tuesday, the 2nd of August. Last night, after finishing the important material about open and subtle idolatry, in accordance with the instructions in the Biblical story in 2 Chronicles 7:19-22, I began telling my dear audience something from our Fathers’ and benefactors’ beautiful letters which we received on the 9th day of last month; and I will do so again today. I could talk about the great blessing our merciful God has given us through them for His glory, our edification, and the enhancement of the good, as well as for our heartfelt intercession for them, if only I did not have to be brief in this diary.
The two short letters from our great and dearest Field Marshall Count von Seckendorf and our esteemed Senior Urlsperger were the first through which our gracious God gave us His great blessing and me new courage and religious joy. Almost all lines in their letters indicate that our dear benefactors are willing to assist us with advice and deeds in our continuing difficult tribulations, if God gives them the means to do so. I keep telling my listeners to look only to God in their misery and not to believe that the Lord Trustees and other well-to-do benefactors are able to help, provided they have the desire do so. As long as God says: “My hour has not yet come,” they cannot help, even if they get together by the thousands. It is also an error for the common people to assume that, if the wealthy and generous benefactors wished to help us, they could aid all the poor. They forget that wealthy people have large expenses. As one of the dear letters says at the end: Our comfort should be: God is alive!
Also of great comfort to my heart was what dear Senior Urlsperger wrote about his old servant, who had worked for him for 25 years, namely, that in a few years she would probably join the pious Salzburgers who have gone to eternal rest. I have recommended to my audience that, as requested and deserved, they intercede in their prayers for his only son,2 who moved last fall to the University of Tubingen; and I have no doubt that anybody with only the slightest bit of good in him would neglect doing so. May God enable us to make this and other deserved intercessions through His spirit!
Wednesday, the 3rd of August. For quite a number of years our congregation has held our noble benefector, Field Marshall Count von Seckendorf, in great esteem. Since our dear God has given us a beautiful blessing with his edifying, though short, letter, I told them that I could show them an engraving of this German Gideon and great benefactor of Ebenezer if they would like to see his image here on earth, until we meet face-to-face before God in Heaven. A significant number of them came today to have me or, in my absence, my wife show them the picture. They came before and after lunch and hence did not lose any time from work.
Our townspeople and some men from the plantations are busy cutting down the vast expanse of dense and tall underbrush surrounding the town so that harmful animals and pests as well as Indians and other bad people cannot hide there to harm us. They are not working for nothing: rather, everybody is paid one pound of gunpowder for a day’s work. Recently, somebody gave me a small barrel, which I will use, like everything else, to the best of our community.
Thursday, the 4th of August. A pious simple Salzburger3 is feeling very uncomfortable and is experiencing physical discomfort because he turned down another man’s request to be his child’s godfather. The man handled the matter in a way that is common in many places for people in Christian congregations, that is, they do not choose and ask the godparents until after the child is born and about to be baptized. Our Salzburgers ask the godparents of an unborn child quite some time before its birth to pray for the mother and the child and to prepare themselves for the religious ceremony in a Christian way. In the eyes of this pious Salzburger, a holy baptism and selecting godparents are a very important matter of which he considers himself unworthy, especially if it happens in such a hurry and he does not know how to read. I helped him to get rid of his fears and soothed his despair. Our people follow the laudable custom of baptizing their children as soon as possible after their birth. Which Christian would want to miss a single day, knowing from the Bible that this bath of rebirth will save his child? Becoming a child of our Heavenly Father, a bride of Jesus Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost, and an ally of our triune God is indeed an important matter. It surely is an unwarranted comfort some Christians cling to in their carelessness, namely, that Christian children who die before baptism cannot be damned. Although the lack of baptism in itself is no reason for condemnation, negligence on the part of the parents is.
Friday, the 5th of August. Once again our dear God has been very good to us by providing us with the time, strength, and means to stop up a small river above the milldam by sinking heavy posts, clay, and boards into the ground. As a result, not only do we get more water on the lower run in times of a severe drought, but the solid structure keeps the actual river from rushing through this particular spot and permits it to follow its usual course. This new structure is, of course, very costly; but our future mill earnings will make up for the expenditures. Some Frenchmen4 from Purysburg think so highly of our mills, especially the grinding mills, that they have offered to help us block off the small river that carries a very large volume of water so that they may benefit from the mill during most of the year. However, we do not accept work from outsiders, since our gracious Lord has given us so much, both through the mills and from Europe, that we are able to pay cash for these and other expenditures.
It gives us great joy to see that people from the outside (this week somebody from Port Royal in Carolina) are coming to our mill and then need not wait for their grains to be ground. They say that the people of Ebenezer do not know what they have in their mill. I hope our Almighty God will gradually give us the means to equip the mills in such a way that we can operate them throughout the year; it is quite possible that we can accomplish this by digging a long canal from the Savannah river to the mill river. The money they then could earn for the community, especially if we could operate the sawmill for the major part of the year! We trust in our Lord: He will help us.
Many people from Carolina are telling us that they expect a bad harvest in many places and that the price of grain will again be high this year because of the lack of rain. Our crops, including Indian corn, are growing better than in most of the past years. May we all recognize God’s great loving kindness, and may it lead us to penitence. I fear that many of us continue to be like those elsewhere, including those in our German Fatherland, about whom the dear field marshal wrote,
Many in our country pay no attention to God’s love, and hence sinning is on the increase and it becomes much more difficult to administer punishment. The number of those who fill the breach is very small; may God save them for us.
I have strongly emphasized this remarkable quotation visa-vis my dear audience. We have every reason to do so since we have had such abundant proof of God’s caring and comforting love during this long, dangerous, and difficult war.
Everything our great God does is wondrous, in particular His great kindness, patience, and forbearance (Romans 11:4), and He does uncountable good to even His worst enemies (Luke 6:35). Even the oft-repeated warnings in His words are a sign of His great kindness. The fact that He so often repeats His warnings to the hypocrits and godless not only shows how deeply corrupted the human heart is but it is also a sign of the never-ending grace and mercy with which He puts His just warnings into effect, so-to-speak lento gradu ad vindictam (Jeremiah 18:7,8).5 However, the longer the clouds and storms gather, the more violently they will hit us afterwards. Spiritually and physically, God has demonstrated His great love in numerous ways here and far away, but he has also warned verbaliter and realiter6 (through the example of the punished sinners in Scripture and in our times). But some among us are like Jeremiah’s listeners: they do not believe it and ignore it. However, thank God, there are also some like the men of Nineveh (Matthew 12:41): they did penance after Jonah’s sermon.
Saturday, the 6th of August. We received the upsetting news from Savannah that, according to a rumor in Savannah, all women and children from Frederica had fled to Darien, a community on the mainland settled by the Scots, because they were afraid of the Spaniards. However, nobody will give any credence to this rumor until we have confirmation. News from the Indian nation tells us that nobody up there knows anything about a war with the Indians, but that, on the contray, the white people there are leading quite peaceful lives. Still, some Indians roaming the country have caused trouble by forcing their way into the plantation of one of the inhabitants. While ignoring all protestations, they removed several times over not only what two men could carry away, but what two horses could cart away. This made me ask the officer of our soldiers to post a guard in that area of our plantations because I know that the Indians are afraid of the soldiers’ red coats.
Since I have again started keeping a diary for the Lord Trustees, I now have the opportunity to inform them of regrettable misfortunes and incidents like these and of what we have done about them, although they have not yet made any amends to our poor people for the damage the Indians inflicted upon them in past years, except for the medicines distributed to the entire congregation and, before that, a couple of millstones, oil, and paint for both churches, etc. Our Heavenly Father keeps imposing many different hardships and much physical suffering on our inhabitants, but we have to admit to His glory that He has never tried us beyond our endurance, but that He has shown us an early way out of all temptations, when we sometimes did not know what to do, so that we have been able to endure them well.
2. God’s wisdom has always seen to it that, in times of great suffering and temptation, our hearts were filled with God’s strong comfort either from His living word or the letters from our pious Fathers and friends. This is happening again at our regular meetings through their dear letters, which put our lack of belief to shame and evoke and strengthen our true belief. I would like to add some comforting words from a letter from two God-fearing benefactors and friends that was read yesterday and will be read again today so that we will remember them in the future:
The outflow of charities from that region to the East and West Indies may have to cease in most instances, something I regret wholeheartedly: However, God can see to it that new sources will open up in other places which result in even richer flows to those nearby and far away. Undoubtedly our Heavenly Father will see to it that His children, whose needs He knows well, do not want for anything but that they will continue to have an abundance of all good things in the future.
May you, together with your beloved congregation, who believe in God’s mercy, strongly believe in this. God be praised for everything He does for His people of Ebenezer. May He bless these dear people, and may He hold His hand over them, to give them His lasting grace and Fatherly protection! May He continue to bestow on them even more good. Yet the sum of His small deeds will add up to more than what the whole world can do without Him. And even if you do not see any sign in the future, believe Him.
It was our Savior himself who expressly forbade his disciples to worry or to wonder where this or that would come from, even if they failed to see before their eyes any ways and means of how they could help themselves, but that they, like the fowls of the air and the lilies of the field, should trust in their Father to graciously take care of them. Rather, since we see, through His blessings, something before our eyes and in our hands, we must not disgrace our Heavenly Father by not believing that, in His time, He will show us ways and means to ensure that what we need from time to time is available. He surely will see to that. Whatever decision our Lord, in His grace, has made for the people of Ebenezer, He will surely carry it out. Although we may face many kinds of difficult trials, and although our eyes may be much too dark to see through them, the end will be glorious. Now, oh Lord, we trust in Thy name; help us, and we will be helped. Amen!
Monday, the 8th of August. This morning, before daybreak, I traveled to Savannah to ask the president and members of the Council for a verbal response to several important issues because I have been unable to get it in writing. On the way there, we had several very strong rainshowers which, however, had no ill effect on my health or that of my co-travelers. At dinner time, the German population came together to listen to God’s word, which this time was about the first part of Chapter 10 of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and for which our dear Lord had given me much joy and strength. My honest prayer is often this: “When I speak as a minister, give my words the strength and effect without letting me feel any misgivings.” Ever since the Lord Trustees transferred Mr. Zuberbüller to Savannah to serve the English and Germans as their minister, I have not insisted on preaching God’s word during my stays in Savannah; yet I have done so whenever people asked me to preach, and that occurred very frequently.7
I received the good news that the Spaniards at the St. Wans or St. Johns River (the border between St. Augustine and the territory of this colony) retreated when the Col. and Capt. Heron advanced with his troops from Frederica.8 Therefore we are not worried about a large-scale Spanish attack on this colony. Rumors that all Frederica women and children fled to Darien to be safe proved to be unfounded. A vessel loaded with Spaniards had very daringly arrived at the Savannah river, and they pirated and took to St. Augustine a fully laden ship from Carolina that had attempted to sail in secret to either Frederica or, under a pretext, to St. Augustine. Peace with the Indians was restored when they fought an internal struggle among themselves.9 Thus it seems that our good Lord did not seek to ravage us with the rod of war or the sword; He seems to have other ways of punishing sinners, since wickedness is gaining the upper hand everywhere.
Wednesday, the 10th of August. On my way back I heard in Purysburg that Gebhart’s eldest son (whose father died two years ago near Palachocolas, and the mother and youngest brother some time ago in our community) died there and was buried today.10 For some time he lived here with his two married sisters and diligently attended our preparations for the Holy Sacrament, and he had grown in knowledge. Because he was physically sick (for which he himself, like many children, was probably responsible),11 his eldest sister had taken him to Purysburg to cure him through the baths there; however, eventually he died. I remember the father of these children with sadness. He and his wife did not recognize that it was God’s will and a great blessing that, as a result of General Oglethorpe’s assistance, three of his children—all female—had come to our community to work, be educated, supervised, and raised. He hated me and my late colleague for no reason at all and often cursed in such as terrible way that we were afraid he was cursing himself and everything he had.
Thursday, the 11th of August. On Monday, the wife of our cattlepen worker went to gather some wood in the forest not far from her home, and on the way there she got so lost that they could not find until the following day in the late afternoon. Many men from our community went searching for her, but she did not hear their shooting nor their calls because she was so scared and tired that she was no longer in control of her senses. Without God’s blessing for this search, she would have perished. Perhaps our wondrous God is using this disciplinary measure to truly convert her: while she always had good intentions, she never actually got down to doing something about them. Her hands and feet are in bad shape because, when she was lost, she had to make her way through much thorny undergrowth. During their mother’s two-day absence, her four small children got hardly any food and care.
Saturday, the 13th of August. It has been announced not only in this, but also our neighboring colony, that a number of beautiful books have arrived from Germany; and many people we know and we do not know are holding out their hands for them. They are particularly interested in bibles, hymn books, Arndt’s Books of True Christianity,12 and sermon books. But, because we know from experience that some people treat these uplifting books not the way these gifts would require it, we will be more circumspect and distribute these great books only to people we know, hoping that they will put them to good use.
Sunday, the 14th of August. On this 10th Sunday after Trinity, seventy people in our community took the Holy Sacrament, including four Germans of the Lutheran confession from the Purysburg area. Many illnesses and fevers are making the rounds in our congregation, but our merciful God has spared us two leaders of the congregation and given us steady health and full mental strength. May He make us deeply grateful for this grace and let us use all our strength to serve only Him! Each year we read on this Sunday the story of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the Jewish country; and I wish we had as many books about this story as we have households in our congregation so that every family could have one for use at home and in church.
Monday, the 15th of August. Bartholomäus Rieser, the old widower, became sick on Friday; and yesterday evening I was informed of his death. Because his illness and death were so sudden, I could not to talk with him at the end, but I heard from his eldest son that he had prepared himself well for a blessed death in the Christian faith and that he did not doubt that he would join at the place of eternal joy his pious wife who passed away in the Lord some years ago. He never could forget his former wife and and was unable to think of her without tears. For quite some time he lived with his son on Thomas Bacher’s plantation. And, because he had seen that the old Bacher’s serious and sudden illness would have made it impossible for him to prepare himself for a blessed death unless he had started early, this made a great impression on him and awakened him to the seriousness of Christianity. He loved God’s word greatly and read and listened to it diligently. The late Schaitberger’s Sendbriefe were, with God’s blessing, of very great spiritual benefit to him.13 When I heard of his illness on Saturday before Confession, I had the pithy saying read for him, “For God so loved the world,” etc. etc. His eldest son told me that he believed in it and benefitted from it. This afternoon he was buried in town, and our good Lord gave us much comfort with beautiful songs and the funeral sermon.
Wednesday, the 17th of August. I noticed that old Rieser’s unexpected death had a healing effect on our sawmiller Kogler. At the funeral we used the beautiful and inspiring example of shoemaker Gerlach from Naumburg as well as the first part of his own thoughts on his funeral text from Psalm 16:5-7. God willing, I am planning to continue with it at the next funeral. This rather uplifting treatise, together with a short excerpt from Chief Pastor Schamelto’s funeral sermon in Leipzig, appended at the end, was printed by Mr. Walter; and it was one of the books we received from Hanover. In his sermon, the Chief Pastor said of the pious shoemaker, “In him we had a man who can serve others as example of an active Christian and good citizen: somebody who combined knowledge with practice, the listening to sermons with actions, and his inner with his outward heartfelt prayer: somebody who had supreme trust in God, raised his children well, and had an edifying intercourse with God’s servants,” etc.
Friday, the 19th of August. The Lord be praised for permitting us to harvest our Indian corn and squash once again in peace! They turned out so well in our community that we could not have wished them to be any better; and the mill is close-by so that our inhabitants can make good use of their crop at an early date and utilize it in any way they like. Because of the harmful starlings, woodpeckers, and crows, some of the Indian corn dropped too early; and, as a result, the grains of many ears are mealy and not very ripe. The many squirrels force some people who have very fertile land to cut the corn they grow near oak forests before it has dried at the stems.
On some plantations, deer inflict very great damage on squash and beans (and probably potatoes as well),14 and some people harvest no beans at all and only a few squash. For that reason, some of the people do not plant any because they know from experience that they cannot protect anything from the deer (which come at night). Since they work very hard during the day, they do not have the strength to guard the fields at night as well. If they had farmhands and if the farmers did not have to do all the work themselves, a lot could be saved despite these destructive animals. With fall approaching, we hope the many snakes in our and other areas are going to disappear gradually. I have often heard that both old and young people were dangerously close to being bitten by them but that God protected them in His miraculous and self-evident way. Although people do not usually spare snakes they happen to see and since many are therefore killed each summer, some continue to live near homes, in stables and gardens, and many in the fields and woods.
It is typical for this country, in Georgia as well as in Carolina, that whenever a garden or field has not been cultivated for a year, tall shrubs and bushes such as fennel grow into dense thickets in which humans can easily hide. On land that has not been cultivated for several years (we have such areas around town because their owners have moved to their plantations) a large number of bushes have started to grow in addition to the afore-mentioned tall and thick weeds, and over time they have developed into young oak, walnut, and chestnut trees as well as into useless shrubs that make good breeding grounds for pests. We are short of people and therefore unable to cultivate this beautiful, well-located land. The grass in the woods is tall, and all kinds of bushes grow there. Nevertheless, people often have to go there because they lack the farmhands and means to guard their cattle and, without God’s protection, they are easily bitten by snakes. It really is true here: Latet anguis in herba.15
Saturday, the 20th of August. B. Bacher seems to be a Candidatus aeternitatis.16 He became ill soon after his wife’s blessed and edifying death. He later married the late Peter Reuter’s hard-working and pious widow, with whom he also had a very Christian and good marriage. Some time ago he became, through God’s grace, a completely different man; and his first wife’s good example and her memorable words and prayers keep touching his heart every day and in a blessed way. Last night, in particular, he all of a sudden fell again so weak that he seemed to be near death. In his fever and phantasies he talked about the beautiful town described in Revelations 21. He accepts all suffering from God’s hand, humbles himself under it, and is patient with all his heart. He has very little pain, but his limbs are so weak that he can hardly talk.
Monday, the 22nd of August. When the dog days and the summer come to an end, a number of people in our community suffer from cold fever; but now it does not seem as bad as during the first years. From the beginning, fever has been the most wide-spread illness among us, and it may be the cause of other dangerous afflictions from which many physically sick men and women suffer.17 It is almost impossible for them to work in the summer heat, and if they cool down too fast after they have been too much exposed to the heat, or if they drink a lot of cold spring water, they ruin their health completely. May God help us and may He apply the suggestions we have received, which benefit us, according to His wisdom and grace! With Him, nothing is impossible. It is particularly harmful to the health of our women, whether married or unmarried, to work alongside their husbands or relatives in the fields. It would be better if their men would plant so much flax that the women could spin it in the shade or weave some household linen or material out of cotton. However, most of them do not have spinning wheels, and in this country none are available for less than 15 shillings Sterling; also they do not have the money for it. This long-lasting war makes everything expensive and difficult.
Wednesday, the 24th of August. The day after tomorrow, my dear colleague Lemke will travel to Savannah to preach the word of our living God to the Germans there and to administer the Holy Sacrament to our Lutheran brethren. Through him, I am writing a friendly, but serious, letter to the Council president informing him of the concern he is causing me because the masters and mistresses do not permit their German servants, especially young people of both sexes who are so much in need of instruction, to attend our public church services, particularly since God, our Lord, has not only given holidays to the masters and mistresses, but also to their servants to strengthen their souls and rest their bodies.
The president and the most prominent councilman have two adult German girls on their plantations, who are both fatherless and motherless orphans and have been especially recommended to me by their kinsmen. Although I had asked some time ago that the girls be permitted to come to church so that I can talk with them to enhance their spiritual and physical welfare, nothing came off it. My letter may not be pleasant, although I wrote it in very humble terms. I cannot keep God’s truth from anybody. I am just amazed at people who claim that they bring in Negroes in order to turn them into Christians but do not allow their Christian servants to observe the means of grace and the Sunday once every two months. May God not allow me to fall into the temptation of wanting Negroes or of making the slighest contribution to bringing them here!
Thursday, the 25th of August. A certain incident in the story from 1 Kings 9, which we are currently reading in our weekly sermons and evening prayers, has made me warn my listeners seriously against the bad habit of many Christians, namely, of preferring to read the writings of human beings instead of the book of all books, the Holy Scriptures, and of enjoying the former more than the latter. It is appropriate to read other spiritual writings our dear God has given us as a great blessing, but under no circumstances must they be preferred over the Holy Scripture, since the latter is read and used primarily as a way to salvation: otherwise, reading other (in other respects very useful) books is of little benefit. This is because our Holy God cannot condone bad habits, and even the subtle contempt for His dear word. Since some of them had a guilty conscience, they were unhappy with my 1 new admonition and also sinned by using bad words.
In order to put them to shame and to reprimand those who are secretly talking against me, I expressed myself even more explicitly during the subsequent meeting when I not only referred them to the short instruction (at the beginning of our small Bibles) with the recommendation that they read the Holy Scripture for their true inspiration, but also read to them the following words by Luther, God’s blessed man, about John 4:39-42,
Oh, if only God would make disappear all my interpretations and those of all ministers, and if only every Christian would read the Holy Scripture for himself and nothing but God’s word! Those, who could do so without explanations and interpretations would not need my interpretations or those of other people and they would even view them as obstacles. Therefore, dear Christians, get with it, get with it! And let my interpretations and those of other ministers merely be a scaffolding for the right building, so that we ourselves comprehend, taste, and stay with God’s blessed true word, because only in them does God live in Zion.
To strengthen my own belief in the truth, I also read to my audience something on the same subject from the late Dr. Spener’s beautiful letter to a blind pious linen-weaver in Fraustadt, which is in the third part of his theological contemplations on page 829.18 It also contains concise and thorough instructions to him to read the Holy Scripture for his own benefit. In addition, I referred them to Prof. Dr. Francke’s very perceptive and instructive introduction to his folio German Bible printed in a special edition under this title and which is to stimulate and provide instruction on how to read the Holy Scripture, etc., daily, thoroughly, and consistently. This small book is in the hands of some of our audience and we are also lending it out to them. May God bless these testimonies of the truth as He has done with me in His great grace; so that they prefer God’s dear word to all, even the best, writings by men and make good use of it, as instructed, as a blessed means to salvation for their salvation!
After writing this, another word by Luther happens to come to mind, By reading in, and listening diligently to, the Bible, one will realize that nowhere else can one find comfort in patience. That is, whenever one needs it for one’s conscience and in times of death. There is no other book in Heaven and on earth that teaches and tells us how God’s son has triumphed for us over sin, death, and the Devil. And even golden books, golden wisdom, and golden ministers are nothing compared to the comfort this book provides, without which there cannot even be any patience.
Saturday, the 27th of August. A planter and merchant in the Purysburg area has written and informed me that several planters in his region would like to bring their European and local grains to our mill. However, they believe that the way via Purysburg is too far, and they have decided to build a bridge across an unpassable spot to the Savannah River, about six English miles or 1½ hours from us, and they have asked for our carpenter Kogler and some men from our community to help them. As much as I would like to improve communication between us and Purysburg and the areas there, it is beyond my ability. We have few good workers in Ebenezer; and, since they are without help, they are so busy on their plantations and houses, particularly at haymaking and harvesting time, that one cannot get anybody to do the necessary work.
The orphanage is in urgent need of repair, the Jerusalem Church should be repaired and painted; and, above and below the mill, the millrace must be cleared of fallen trees; yet we have to postpone it time and again. We are very glad that a certain, very urgent construction to improve and reinforce our mills, which I wanted to do for several years, was finally completed last week. Although it cost much money, namely, 27 pounds 11 shillings 6 d Sterling (in addition to the days of free work contributed by our inhabitants), we do not regret these expenditures because the construction is very important, necessary, and useful and has turned out well with God’s help.
Monday, the 29th of August. Yesterday, on the 12th Sunday after Trinity, it rained all day and I was surprised at the large number of people who came from the plantations to attend the sermon. I am afraid my dear colleague in Savannah had only a small audience. On Saturday, it also rained a lot, as it did today, so that he probably will not be able to leave Savannah. It seems to be the usual steady rain. At night, we had several heavy rainstorms which, however, were not accompanied by thunder. About this time of the year, thunderstorms tend to become less and less frequent. Over the last couple of months, we had much (although not too much) rain in and near our town; on the plantations, above and below the mill, we had less; and we had least in the area of our cowpen (three hours from here toward the south-southwest), so that our cattle suffered a great deal for lack of water. However, for the first time, we had so much rain last Friday and Saturday that we have water again in the watering places or lower areas. Yesterday and today, they must have had much rain there.
Tuesday, the 30th of August. My dear colleague returned this morning, happy and healthy. Because of the rain he had few listeners and communicants from the plantations near Savannah. Among other things, he brought the good news that, for all practical purposes, the Great Allies and France have made peace.19 The news was published in the Charleston newspapers and presumably had been brought here by some merchant vessels which, together with a war ship, had entered Charleston. We had promised our merciful God for a long time that we in our congregation would praise Him with a thanksgiving service for this peace for which we have asked and prayed, and we are going to do so, with His help, with willing and joyful hearts as soon as we get the confirmation that peace has been concluded.
The pious widow Bacher has sent me a message informing me of her illness and asking me to come and talk with her. I visited her this morning before school and the morning sermon. She is poor in spirit but rich in God and His grace. The hymn Hallelujah immer weiter, etc., has been blessed on her.
Wednesday, the 31st of August. Our blacksmith Leitner has a very well-situated plantation on the Savannah River, with one of the best landings in our entire region. However, he has a great deal of trouble with, and suffers great damage from, the Negroes and other boat-people who, because of their trade with the Indians, travel up and down the river. They not only beg him for all sorts of things, but they also steal in his fields at night and play all sorts of pranks on him; and he has complained to me about that. They have also burnt many hundred, or rather several thousand, barrel staves, partly wilfully and partly by being careless; and the spreading fire would have enveloped homes and fences, if the owner and his neighbor—contrary to habit—had not stayed home from the morning sermon that Sunday and extinguished the fire. Yesterday, I wrote to the master of the Negroes who caused a lot of damage last week; and I will also talk to the President about it in order to prevent further damage. It would require much complicated effort for us to receive restitution for the damage we have suffered. We have not yet been compensated for what the Indians stole or shot. God is holding His hand over us; otherwise we would have more damage and discomfort.
Thursday, the 1st of September. During these past late-summer months, even throughout the summer, our merciful God has been indescribably good to our souls and bodies, to our adults and children, ministers and listeners from near and far. Hence we felt obligated to praise and thank His holy name in songs and prayers during yesterday evening’s prayer hour; and I heard afterwards that this Christian exercise had been blessed. Before our prayer, I mentioned some good deeds, including the invaluable period of grace and the great goodness, patience, and forbearance God has shown us during that period; the continued tranquility in times of war; the means of salvation, and the desired opportunities for edification; good weather, and a rich crop, the mills and their strengthening and improvement; and now the good news which reached us again yesterday that there is peace with France. Although the long and costly war has made commercial goods expensive and this time to be a difficult one, the troubles in our community have not really been so bad as we have heard from the experiences and tales of people who came to the mill from other places.
Our wise and merciful God has protected, fed, and provided for us so wonderfully throughout this difficult period, although we were undeserving and unworthy of it: why should we not trust Him to do likewise after He gave us peace? May He give us faith and strengthen it! In the prayer hour in my house today God strengthened me with His wonderful promise in Joel 3:26. The Lord will live in Zion, which is also promised in Psalm 132, and there it also says: “I will abundantly bless their provision and satisfy her poor with bread.” Neither will they lack the clothing they need, which is part of our daily bread and specifically mentioned in Deuteronomy 10:18 and Matthew 6:31-33. Previous pious intercessions for us by God’s servants and children have always been a great blessing to us: may the Lord reward them for this good deed and permit us to keep enjoying it!
Friday, the 2nd of September. Our two best carpenters1 traveled with me and two other experienced men to the Uchee land beyond the Ebenezer River in order to look over the quality of the land there and a small river that might be suitable for the construction of a mill; especially since we hope to receive the entire district after peace has been concluded (as is likely to be done with Spain in due time), so that our brethren who come after us will eventually settle there and, with God’s word, make a living in its solitude. The location of the land is very good, high, and hence healthy, and it is superior to ours in every respect, except that it is farther up the Savannah River and its owners cannot get to Ebenezer except by boat. Before reaching the good land, about four or five miles English miles up the Ebenezer Creek, there is a very large cypress swamp or low area which gets flooded in times of high water. For that reason it is impossible to build a bridge there. Whatever cattle or other things one would want to take on land from there to our community would have to be taken via Old Ebenezer, and a sturdy bridge would have to be constructed across the river. This is how far the plantations would probably extend over time. However, water traffic is the most convenient and effective way of transportation here since boats can carry large cargoes.
It seems to me that I have never seen such a fertile, level, airy, and pleasant region, with plenty of water, as this one. There is also some kind of stone here that lends itself to building and liming. We particularly investigated whether it is really true what local people and strangers have repeatedly told us, namely, that they have here a beautiful, although small river, with plenty of water, where a profitable grist mill could be built for the benefit of new settlers. This no doubt is the case and it would cost little to construct such a useful installation, which would be a great blessing to our new population.
Sunday, the 4th of September. Sometimes, in His eagerness to save humans, our wonderful God wills for strangers from other places to come to us for business reasons, as it happened yesterday. And since we in our community talk every day after work in public about God’s word, sing and pray, those people who know German join us in our assemblies; and then it happens that His word moves their hearts and helps them reflect on it and take care of their immortal souls. This time I heard it from a woman stranger, whose heart was so greatly moved by what we discussed about the non-salvation of false Christians, and the salvation of true ones, that she praised God for His gracious guidance. I also lent her, to take home, our dear Count Henkel’s Last Hours,2 since we enjoy not only giving, but also lending, good books to other communities, in hopes that this will establish the Kingdom of God in our region.
Monday, the 5th of September. We have had much rain for two weeks, every day and sometimes at night; and at the moment our weather is quite like so-called April weather. However, we did not get too much rain in our community, although rain did keep some people from haymaking. We now have several sick people in our community, and this may be due to the changing weather: still, there is a high and hidden hand which directs everything; oh, may we center our hearts and eyes on this in all things, even the most insignificant ones, and recognize that nothing happens by chance or stems from natural causes! With this in mind, the fourth chapter of the Prophet Amos proved very beneficial to me in today’s prayer hour and evoked in me very necessary and comforting memories, also with respect to natural occurrences and incidents.
Last week, I met at our mill three Jews from Savannah, who brought wheat and Indian corn for grinding. One of them tends to ridicule things, and last summer he bad-mouthed the Indian corn meal we had brought to Savannah for sale, by scoffing at it and putting it down (claiming that, after two weeks, it would not be worth a pipe of tobacco); and he probably made other similar remarks (because he was envious and resentful of us); now they would be happy if they could get our flour for their basic needs, and they traveled far in order to buy a few bushels. They told us that they had never before been so badly off in Savannah, and our people would easily find buyers if they could bring corn and flour down to them. But now they do not have the time to do so.
Thursday, the 8th of September. Carpenter Balthasar Bacher was quite close to death about two weeks ago. He was unconscious for several days and his screaming and violent behavior showed that he was suffering great pain. He finally regained conciousness and thanked God from the bottom of his heart for granting him a reprieve. Although he is in control of all his physical capabilities, he continues to be weak and miserable; and it is likely that he will have a sudden death. He is still a young man; but it seems that, like other young people, he had neglected his health in earlier years when he was a journeyman carpenter and that, in time, his life became too hectic. He often complains about his journeyman travels, and how evilly he lived then.
We have very few carpenters. The few we have are not very good, except for Kogler and Rottenberger; they are very slow in their work and are so busy with farming and their household affairs that they have very little time to work as carpenters. Even the two aforementioned well-trained men are spending too much time on farming and raising cattle. Hence they are unable to help our community as carpenters when we need them. I would have liked to have the orphanage repaired and a room equipped for teaching during the winter, yet I cannot get anybody to do it. If there are any people in Germany who would like to come here in peacetime and increase our congregation, it would be good to have among them some skilled and industrious carpenters and a good cabinet-maker and turner. They would find enough work and income here, particularly if they wanted to manufacture houses from the timber and boards near the mill for the West Indies and do a variety of carpenter and turner jobs for them.
We often think that we are in urgent need of loyal servants. No doubt our Lord Trustees would show themselves as gracious and benevolent toward those who decided to come here, as they did vis-a-vis other servants from Germany, in that they would not only give them 50 acres of land free, which they could pick out for themselves, but also provide each family at the end of their service time with a cow and a calf, a pig for breeding, and various tools and farming implements, including cooking utensils. Perhaps they would also supply them with some food during the first year after completion of their service time. At the very least, every master among us would give his loyal and satisfactory servant enough food, of what God gives him, so that he could make a new start on his own land.
If only the servants were loyal, industrious, and honest and if only they really helped and eased the work of our worn-out people, we would gladly try to assist them with setting up their first household. Not only would I help them get a good 50-acre plantation for farming, in addition to the communal, very desirable cattle pasture, on the recently mentioned, very fertile land in our neighborhood (that land is to be set aside for the exclusive use of our hopefully loyal servants),3 but I also hope to persuade our Lord Trustees to build a grist mill on that land before they have completed their service years; in view of the excellent water conditions, that would not cost much. Over time, a sawmill could be added here; and the earnings could be used to benefit Ebenezer and its new inhabitants because we would always consider ourselves a community and prepare ourselves for blessed eternity by the same means of salvation and seek to enhance our common spiritual and physical best. People who are dissatisfied for no reason, useless opinionated people, and religious troublemakers do not fit in here since we live here as in 1 Corinthians 11:16 and Romans 14:13.
I would also like loyal servants to enjoy, on both their healthy and sick days, all possible spiritual and physical assistance from us ministers, our doctor and surgeon, and the upright members of our congregation. And, in addition, at the completion of their service, I would like to give each servant who wants to start his own household on the new land or at Ebenezer and its district, from our mill, 500 feet of the best boards and 20 bad, but still usable, boards (that may add up to about 300 feet), and they could only be picked up by such a man by water or by land. Also, for one year they should be free to use the mill or would not have to pay any mill money. This is a benefit which only our widows and orphans enjoy.
I cannot say much about other kinds of freedom: we already have more freedom than is good for some people. We have no communal work or forced labor here; neither do we have assessments, excise duties, tariffs, billeting, or other hardships: everybody enjoys freedom of conscience and other freedoms, for which we must be grateful to God. In a sense, our dear inhabitants have broken the ice; and, as the first to come, they endured very great hardships so that those after them would not suffer and bear one-tenth of them, and the willing and intelligent ones would do nothing in vain. They would learn from the mistakes of our people and receive from them good advice on how to make good use of this good, though strange, country and stay healthy, start their farming and cattle-raising, etc. Either we did not get such advice from anybody or we ourselves did not want to be, or could not be, convinced by it, since in the early days we had here many envious people, who did not like us us and were obvious enemies of the Lord Trustees, our benevolent authority.
Since our present inhabitants endured so much and want to be the tools of God’s gracious providence by giving other German fellow-countrymen every possible assistance in getting started on land that is more fertile and better situated than ours, there is probably nobody who would consider it unreasonable for those people to serve our worn-out inhabitants for about four years, while getting used to the land, the environment, and our way of life, and learning how to plant and do other work. In return, they would receive a small wage to buy their clothes and pay for their ship passage. No German finds such a good thing and comfort in any other colony in America; that is why it is a shame that so many poor people are moving to Pennsylvania each year, letting mean-spirited people in Holland and England malign our fertile, healthy country, which offers so much to people willing to work. God willing, I do not want to live and die in any other country and want to share the good things our gracious God has given me and others in this quiet corner with other dear people, particularly those in Europe suffering from moral constraints because of their religion and unable to make a living.
Nobody should be talked into moving here, and everybody must think of God’s will and his own strength, health, and age before undertaking such a long journey. It is easy for everybody to understand that this uncultivated land requires hard work. Because it is on the best land that the biggest oak trees, walnut trees, beech trees and other known and unknown deciduous trees grow; and, although free timber is available close-by, the building of houses, stables, and threshing floors requires much effort. Also, we have to fence in not only our yards, but also our fields as well, because otherwise our horses, cattle, and pigs, which are permitted to roam freely in the woods, would damage the crops.4 Our main routes are the big Savannah River (on which Ebenezer is situated and where the above-mentioned fertile land for those who come after us is) and several other easy-to-navigate rivers, which permit us to transport bigger loads in a cypress-tree barge or boat (which almost everybody can construct himself and for which we have here an abundance of cypress-trees) than in a cart, as they must do in Pennsylvania.
But there is one more thing I have to report. I remember only too well the story of the stubborn old Israelites in the desert, for which I also know many examples of our time here in this country: I am therefore afraid of dealing in wordly matters with people who want to come here either as free men or as servants. There are many mean-spirited, ungrateful, and disobedient Germans in this country, who, although they have received so much good, are envious of us and hate and malign us. They try to turn the new colonists who were sent here against us ministers so that we would fail in our teachings or could accomplish little; and that means everything to us. For these and other reasons, which I cannot mention now, a Christian, wise, and modest police commissary should accompany them and have plenipotentiary power to advise these people in legal matters and to serve as justiciar and administrator.
Well-to-do people who want to come here, pay for their own passage across the ocean, and settle here, would be well advised to bring their own servants, just as the Salzburgers did in Prussia. However, their servants in England would commit themselves contractually to work a certain number of years at a specific wage and resist any attempts by evil-spirited fellow-countrymen to change their minds, because, here, people who used to be serfs and led miserable lives in Germany want to play the role of masters and gentlemen very quickly.5 They are very disloyal in their work, annoy their masters and landlords, and incite others to do likewise. I believe many who were rebellious during their years of service have taken their weakness with them to their own land and household, and some have perished miserably or are not nearly as well off as during their service years with their Christian masters or the Lord Trustees and their authorized representatives in this country. Our loyal servants, on the other hand, tend to use the plow soon and, hence, do very useful work.
I am thinking of another plan that would very much help our inhabitants and their dedicated servants and could greatly enhance the utility of those among our well-situated areas that are a long distance from the Spaniards, French, Indians, and Negroes: but I am almost tired of making suggestions. This is because it is considered a great loss unless this colony is settled with Negroes instead of industrious German people of the Protestant faith. My idea now is this: experience has convinced not only the Lord Trustees, but all of us, that the production of silk is easy and very profitable work, which only takes six weeks of work and does not impinge on other major tasks. In good soil here white and Spanish mulberry trees grow well, fast, and very tall and broad.
Now, if, instead of paying for other useless expenses (because they do not know any better as a result of their absence), our Lord Trustees advanced a certain amount of money, e.g., in the beginning 12 or 14 pounds Sterling, for establishing a six-acre mulberry farm in a convenient and fertile area of our community, we could grow there at least 1,000 rather tall mulberry trees in three or four years. The costs of setting up such a garden would be largest during the first year because we would have to chop down the trees, destroy the underbrush, put up a high fence, and plant the trees. However, in our community, these expenses would not amount to much more than 12 pounds Sterling; in subsequent years we could plant corn and gourds among the young trees that would help them grow until, after four years, the trees themselves would be tall enough to produce silk. As long as the trees are small, much effort must be made, partly by plowing and partly by raking, to keep them free from fast-growing, very destructive (although as hay and fodder very useful) crabgrass; but this is no longer necessary once the tree roots and trunks have grown thick.
Also, at the proper time the Lord Trustees would have to contribute to the garden some heads of cattle for fertilizer at the proper time around the trees. For three years these mature mulberry trees could then be left, subject to some supervision, to the care of servants who completed their service, until such time as they themselves plant such trees on their new land. In this way making silk would provide them with some good help every year and it would be easier for them to set up a good household. It would also encourage the servants if they were told in advance that they may expect many kinds of help for getting started and honest payment for their loyalty.
These and similar incentives would be a more effective way of keeping people from leaving and moving to other colonies than giving them supplies, money, cattle, etc., which nearly exhausted the Lord Trustees’ resources and accomplished very little. During the first year, the proposed six-acre, 1,000 mulberry-tree garden would cost the Lord Trustees about 12 or 14 pounds Sterling in wages; in the following three years about 4 pounds a year; and after four years very little because the servants, who would get the leaves for silkmaking, would also have to maintain the fence around the garden. That would not take much trouble, since a so-called English fence lasts 10 years and requires little repair.
If the 1,000 grown trees were distributed among 50 servants, each of them would get 20 trees, with which he could easily produce at least 40 pounds of silk and, at its current price, expect 4 pounds sterling in earnings. What a nice help that would be for starting a household, and this would continue for three to four years until the trees on their own land are fully grown! After completing their service years, other loyal servants would then enjoy these and other good deeds. Carrying out this simpleminded, but well-meant idea and achieving its goal would require the following measures.
1) Somebody who enjoys these things and who genuinely looks out for the welfare of these people, as the Lord Trustees so laudably intended it, and who therefore would spare no efforts, should become these people’s legal counsel and superior. If they pay such a man well, he would take care of designing, maintaining, and properly utilizing the tree garden, in addition to the other things that are part and parcel of management and good order. They would have to try to keep such a man who has these qualities and who has proven himself loyal in his office, since frequent changes of superiors in this country have caused very great damage. I will not get involved in such a complicated undertaking, neither will my colleague; and nobody can hold that against us. However, we would be willing to advise and assist such a man as much as possible because we would like nothing better for us all than to have good housing and better food.
2) The current price of silk would have to remain unchanged and must not decline as a result of increased production, as it very well may do if we produce several thousand pounds in one spring. Apparently, as a rule, the price of goods that are grown or produced in large quantities gradually falls. If the people realize that, before being fully established, they may soon be discouraged. They have already been repeatedly discouraged by people in this land who told them that the Lord Trustees will not govern for more than twenty-one years and that this period will soon come to an end, and that then the production of silk and everything else will come to an end. If the people had enough trees nearby, if they were fully established, and if they were very skilled in manufacturing silk, a slight drop in the price of silk would not be so bad.
3) The silk must be made in buildings that are not only clean, but, depending on the type of weather, will also provide air and warmth for the worms. Manufacturing 2,000 to 3,000 pounds of silk, which 1,000 mulberry trees could produce, will require several buildings or large sheds, which, however, poor servants cannot afford in the beginning. They also would not need them since they would move to their own land and use these trees and the silk-producing facility for only a few years, and others would take their place. For that reason, it might be desirable for the Lord Trustees to divert some money or some heads of cattle from their Old Ebenezer cowpen or cattle ranch (which costs them 200 pounds Sterling a year) to the construction, near the large mulberry-tree garden, of some houses that could be used for many years. These houses could easily be equipped for silk spinning.
4) For such a large supply of silk, many silk-spinning women would be needed who could soon be found here, if they were rewarded for their efforts. A reliable man would have to be appointed unter the supervision of the legal advisor and superior to receive the silk from the people, to weigh it, and to take care of early payment. Since the people do not have to pay for the trees and leaves, we would insist that they sell only well-spun silk in hard balls and keep the bad silk for themselves.
5) Some money would also be needed during the first year to purchase young trees. We would plant only two-year-old trees, 6, 8 to 10 feet apart, and each would cost twopence; that would come to somewhat more than 8 pounds Sterling for 1,000 trees. Subsequently, enough young trees would be grown in the garden to be used by servants on their own land. They themselves could also easily do so on their master’s plantation during their service years, and they would do so if they saw that this is profitable. Although, in the beginning, this silk-producing plant would cost the Lord Trustees considerable money, it would not be lost like many other expenditures because, in my humble view, they would achieve their objective of settling the land earlier than otherwise. The money would stay in the community and the worn-out masters would have the opportunity to earn some additional money with their servants. That money could then be used for farminmg, cattle raising, and silk production on their own plantations. Certainly, help must come in time by this or other ways. Lord, may Thou bless Zion and build the walls of Jerusalem!
Saturday, the 10th of September. Some years ago, a young man, the son of a Reformed knitter who died in Purysburg, lived in our community.6 He could not be persuaded to lead an orderly life. While he had no serious vices and was not an idler, he was so thick-headed that he did many things in his work in his own way, in his trade, in moving about, etc., and he did not let anybody advise him. There was no way we could get him to study the catechism and Bible verses we emphasize on Sundays and the holy days and to attend instructions for the Holy Sacrament, although he goes to our public sermons and outwardly seems to be completely absorbed by them. He is the only one of this loose type of people in our community; otherwise, the country is full of fellows like him, who do, or do not do, whatever pleases them. No good can come of this. It is now my hope that this man will acquire more orderly habits, since he has signed a three-year contract with our blacksmith, according to English law, to learn the trade and is strong enough for such work. Now he will also be encouraged to attend our church services and practice hours on a regular basis. If he obeys and displays more discipline, I will give him a present.
Monday, the 12th of September. A pious widow was very glad that during her recent illness our dear Savior gave her the good sense to spend the rest of her short life quietly to His glory and in the service of her neighbors; and she inquired whether I would help her ask God to be steadfast in this and other good deeds. May God give us precious and important material for a blessed and enlightening conversation, which I hope He will also bless in her daughter, who has been reminded in friendly words not only of her earlier promise and vow, but also of her rebelliousness.
I have urged our sick Balthasar Bacher in serious and friendly words to spend his short period of grace with prayers and God’s word so that he may experience in his lifetime the benefits of conversion, the forgiveness of sins, or the state of grace. Some people are satisfied with acting seriously in accordance with the means of salvation, hoping that this will take them to Heaven, and they do not pray from the bottom of their hearts that God’s grace may be with them in their true conversion and renewal. The former belong to the “Oh Lord, oh Lord” sayers, and the latter are among those who do the will of our Heavenly Father and go to Heaven.
Tuesday, the 13th of September. Now our carpenter Rottenberger has lost all his children. His youngest, four years old, was buried today, and the two eldest children also died this year, one after the other. All three died because they had eaten raw Indian corn, beans, and other unnatural things, and they could not be stopped from doing so.7 He himself has also been sick for quite a while and does not take enough care of himself. I hope these tragedies will help him prepare for blessed eternity.
Monday, the 19th of September. A week ago God struck me with a painful illness, but in His mercy, which I do not deserve, he has already started to deliver me from it. I am humbly and deeply grateful for His eternal loyalty and goodness, and I have resolved to praise Him for the rest of my life for His grace. In this illness He has shown my soul once again His indescribable mercy through the Law and the Gospel and, with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, He has helped me resolve to make good and to do everything in my Christianity and office that I neglected in the past, often—unfortunately—under the pretext of well-sounding excuses. Oh, how our sins of omission can torment us on our sickbed! Praised be my Savior for not letting me violate the Law in my feelings of misery and with my troubled conscience, but always to permit me, unworthy one, to cling, with the help of the gospel to His forgiveness and grace like a tender child holding on to his mother’s breast. That did my aching and frail poor body much good.
Yesterday was the 15th Sunday after Trinity, and the possibility was strong that our congregation might not hear a sermon about the instructive, comforting, and so greatly needed gospel according to Matthew 6. The reason was that my dear and very industrious colleague also fell sick on Friday evening and was weak from vomiting and fever attacks on Saturday. However, our gracious Father in Heaven who can, and does, do beyond all bounds whatever we ask Him for or understand, made him recover quickly and become strong enough to preach in the morning and to teach the cathechism in the afternoon. Oh, if we would only recognize how good our Lord was when he gave us two ministers so that we never had to be without a public church service and instruction on Sundays or holidays. Neither did we ever miss a weekly sermon and prayer hour, nor school or other necessary official business when one of us was taken ill.
Tuesday, the 20th of September a Several sources brought us today the following sad news from Savannah:
1) that a yellow contagious fever is raging in Charleston, suddenly striking about 17 people a day. It makes them turn yellow, hemorrhage very violently, and die, and then they turn black like a moor. Mr. Harris and his wife had just arrived in Charleston from London, when she was stricken by the fever. However, she was quickly taken to a plantation between Charleston and Port Royal and treated. This is why he has not yet arrived in Savannah.
2) We were surprised that he did not have a letter for us from London. My consolation is that no evil can happen to our people, goods, and letters without our Heavenly Father’s will and permission. By these and other trials, our will is subordinated to His, the only good will.
3) In Savannah, they desperately waited for wheat flour and salt; although Mr. Habersham brought both from Charleston, it was only in small quantities, and it is very expensive, namely, 100 lbs. of flour cost 20 silver shillings and one bushel of salt costs 8 silver shillings, and each inhabitant may only have a few pounds to cover his most urgent needs. Oh, may these sad things cause the inhabitants of this land to show true penitence; yet most of them do not have the slightest inclination to do so: instead Jeremiah 5:3 occurs. We, too, are short of salt but, thank God, not flour and other healthy food; hence we have every reason to praise God for His goodness.
4) Mr. Habersham has asked me to come down to Savannah because he has much to tell me. Colonel Heron, who moved from Frederica to Savannah, has sent me his regards. Thus I would have had to discuss business matters with both him and Mr. Habersham. However, I did not dare make a trip to Savannah because of my present weak physical condition. So I put the necessary information on paper and sent the letter to the two gentlemen on our large boat, which left this afternoon to pick up the salt and some of the cauldrons Mr. Harris brought over with him.
Thursday, the 22nd of September. Last evening, a trading boat stopped here on its way to Savannah Town and brought us the news that another ship from England recently arrived off the coast of Charleston and that its captain confirmed that the sovereign rulers, who were waging that costly and bloody war, had made peace. May God see to it that we soon get a confirmation of this! It was reported that there was widespread smallpox on the incoming ship, that this was the reason why it was prohibited from landing in Charleston, and that it probably would not have wanted to do so anyway because of the extremely contagious fever that had claimed the lives of so many people in Charleston. Oh, sin is such an evil, and yet it is heeded so little! In our readings from the Holy Scripture we should emphatically point out the evils of sin and punishment.
Friday, the 23rd of September. Last evening our boat, which carried a big barrel of salt and nine distillation kettles or brandy-stills for our community, brought me a very friendly letter from Col. Heron, which is new proof of his truly favorable attitude towards me and our inhabitants. He is paying me the money for housing his soldiers, to which the Council in Savannah is unwilling to contribute and which I would otherwise lose; and he is purchasing more than 300 pieces of low-grade boards from our mill, although he does not really need them. He is giving our people all the old iron they find in the magazine there.8 He is concerned with getting new iron from Philadelphia so that our blacksmith and locksmith will not lack any, as they have done so far to the harm of their trade. He plans to visit us next winter and, in the meantime, offers all types of services. Since the soldiers who are here for our protection will be relieved shortly, the gentleman is taking care that they will be replaced by other good, quiet, and well-behaved soldiers.
Sunday, the 25th of September. On this 16th Sunday after Trinity, after recovering from my illness, I was able to resume my official duties by preaching and administering the Holy Sacrament (thank God for that!); our dear Savior has given me remarkable strength to accomplish this. A week ago, my dear colleague, who is not well either at the moment, was responsible for all official matters, and that continued throughout the week, because the doctor told me not to resume work prematurely until I had regained my strength.
Today we had much and very cold rain from the northeast; and, since the entire congregation had to assemble at Jerusalem Church in town for the Holy Sacrament because the service could not be held outdoors at the Zion Church, it must have been very difficult for women, children, and other frail people to come to church. Surely our dear Savior has rewarded them for their efforts with a blessing from the beautiful gospel and Holy Sacrament as He tends to do with people who come here with an eager heart. We also had three Evangelical-Lutheran people from Carolina here, who joined the congregation at the Lord’s table. This time we had altogether 62 communicants; some people were discouraged by the bad weather and some were sick. The sick will have the service at home, if they ask for it. I am glad that I can go back to the congregation and visit their sickly members.
Monday, the 26th of September. The lame orphan girl in my home9 had the great desire to attend public communion with the congregation. However, since she is now lame in both her legs and therefore unable to walk, she was blessed with this great good deed this morning. I familiarized her in her physical condition, which God has imposed on her without anybody’s fault, with the two verses in Luke 14:13,21. They made it clear to her that our gracious Savior also takes cripples and lame people like herself to His heart, that He takes care of them, and that He does not spurn them at His Sacrament; and that has awakened in her the feeling of trust, love, and obedience towards such a charitable Lord. She dearly loves Jesus Christ, His word, and Sacrament, and she is well satisfied with his guidance. She gets everything in our house she needs, and she has the time and opportunity to prepare herself for blessed eternity. Both inwardly and outwardly, Mr. Thilo and Mr. Mayer tried their best, but her condition became worse, rather than better.
Wednesday, the 25th10 of September. Balthasar Bacher has been sick for a long time; although he has no pain, he is unable to leave his bed. The widow /Gertraut/ Reuter, who married him when he was already sick, has taken on a considerable burden.11 May God graciously help her after this has served His purpose for her! As a widow, she did well with her household, better than before her marriage. However, since her remarriage she has lived in poverty and debt. I did not find him today like somebody who is preparing himself for the important change of time and eternity; hence I gave him serious encouragement from God’s word and showed him the way to save his soul.
After three consecutive days and nights of heavy rain, the Savannah River has risen very high and fast and is now expanding onto the low banks. Our inhabitants have planted much rice on the low-lying areas of the mill river, and they will have to cut and bring it home fast before it is covered by water. Mature rice is almost less sensitive to wetness than any other crop. The mills are already flooded because the mill river underneath the mills is full of water from the small tributaries flowing into it and because there is not enough time for the water to run off. Reportedly, in some places, the pine forests are reported to have more water than our people have ever seen. Also, we do not know whether the Savannah river has ever risen so high in such a short time.
The unexpected and sudden flooding is likely to kill a large number of cattle in the lowlands along the Savannah river in Carolina and in our colony, where cattle tend to graze wild all year round. The flood and flooding are the result of the rain in our vicinity. The water that has accumulated from the rain north of Savannah Town and in the mountains will not reach us down here until seven or eight days. In view of this problem and new danger for our mills, my heart says: In times of distress, think of His mercy. It is due to the Lord’s goodness that we are not lost; His mercy is boundless, it is new every morning.
Friday, the 30th of September. Yesterday afternoon we had a short visit from Dr. Graham and two officers from Frederica who inspected our mills, our plantations, and our facilities. After a few hours they returned to Abercorn. I got from them two letters—one from Monsieur Martyn, secretary to the Lord Trustees, and one from Monsieur Verelst—, which provide ample evidence of the Lord Trustees’ favorable disposition toward me and our congregation.12 They also indicate that our letters of January of this year arrived properly, and we are very glad about that. The Lord Trustees have now given Mr. Mayer the authority, written on parchment, to act as Conservator Pacis13 at Ebenezer, and the Salzburger Bichler has been appointed constable, for which he will be paid 5 pounds Sterling annually, compared to Mr. Mayer’s 20 pounds. They liked the silk we sent through Monsieur Harris, and each of the two young spinner-women will be paid 5 pounds Sterling a year. I hope they will like even better the 24 pounds of silk we sent the Lord Trustees in two small boxes. We hope we will get restitution for the lost boxes, notably from Halle. We plan to start trading barrel staves, shingles, etc. The wild and very harmful cattle in the large swamp near our cowpen are to be destroyed, and the Lord Trustees will try to send over servants from Germany.
Thursday, the 1st of December. In Savannah, they are very happy because they received a letter from Capt. Thomson in London which raises hopes that the Lord Trustees, at the request of our Council and Maj. Horton, will, under certain conditions, permit Negroes or Negro slaves in this colony. Even the poorest and lowest people are happy about this prospect and want it to happen soon. Time will tell whether the poor in this country will benefit as much from the import of Negroes as they believe.2
Friday, the 2nd of December. Since the 29th of November we have had very violent weather. At that time we heard far-away thunder; and this morning we had a big thunderstorm with lightning and much rain, which prevented us from holding our weekly sermon at the Zion Church as we usually do on Tuesdays and Fridays. Thank God, I returned to Ebenezer before this very wet and miserable weather started. The pestilential yellow fever is said to continue raging in Charleston.
Saturday, the 3rd of December. Yesterday’s thunderstorm and heavy rain were followed by rather cold weather. During the night we had strong gusty winds that moved in a westerly direction. Some time ago we had a lot of rain which prevented people from plowing and tilling the land. The soil here is very loose and light; it gets saturated easily, but dries up just as fast.
Balthasar Bacher continues to be so weak from his long illness that he cannot work. Hence I gave him some money from our dear God’s blessing so that he can hire some workers, and I also promised him to pay for part of his medical expenses if he continues to take effectice medication. Although he needed medicines in the past, he discontinued taking them for fear that he might get into debt.
I bought for our young schoolboys some colorful cotton caps in Savannah which they enjoyed very much. Several girls, whose parents are poor, will get some linen for shirts and scarfs. Praised be our Lord for once again giving us funds from Augsburg and Halle to share with the poor in our community! In addition, the good Lord bestowed on me the great grace of enabling me to pay off all debts I incurred for our community and facilities. It is wonderful what our devoted God and Father has done for us through dear Mr. von N. with regard to a very large debt we had to assume three years ago while we were building the mills.3 At the present time I do not dare put it down on paper until several people have given me permission to do so. Oh, how good our Lord is to us, now that we have lived through the war! I often think of our text for Thanksgiving on the 7th of November of this year, Jeremiah 32:38, etc. Everything is going to come true: no sigh of petition from our pious Fathers and friends can or will go unanswered.
Sunday, the 4th of December. We in our congregation have used the good news from the East Indies in dear Mr. Albinus’s letter to inspire one another to praise God and humbly intercede in our prayers for the important and blessed work of the missionaries at Trankebar, Cudulur, and Madras and for their expensive tools, and to draw inspiration from the example of the new converts whose number has now risen to about 100 souls in six months.4 Although the news we received about the Protestants in U.5 is sad indeed, it helps us to sincerely feel with them and pray for them and to gratefully acknowledge the precious freedom of conscience and religion we enjoy here so amply.
Monday, the 5th of December. A Reformed young man has served an 18-month apprenticeship with our shoemaker; today he moved away before completing his two-year apprenticeship, taking with him his stubborn and obstinate mind.6 He used to hear God’s word frequently on Sundays and during prayer meetings, and now he will have no excuse on that day.7 I have made a great effort to help both his spirit and body in all possible ways; still he continues to suspect that we do not like him as much as others because of his religion. To fill his stomach, he used to live in various places for a long time among ill-mannered people; and people like him almost never come to pursue an orderly life. In our place he had, to be sure, to stay within the bounds of respectability.
I very much enjoyed my visit today with the widow Granewetter. She had many examples to tell me of God’s concern for herself and her minor children, and she and her family praise the Lord for the many good things He lets her enjoy in our community. And others do likewise: this is not only indicates their simple Christian needs, but also reinforces my belief that God will continue to be among us with His grace and give us His blessing for our spiritual and physical welfare.
Wednesday, the 7th of December. In one of our most recent letters, our dear Mr. Albinus provided us with a short and penetrating explanation of Jesus Christ’s important words, John 12:20-33, including the main points of Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen’s last Good Friday sermon. We are now using it in our evening prayer meetings; and, to God’s glory, I can say that He has blessed it not only with my better understanding of this important discourse of Christ, but also with the edification of Christianity, as a pious woman in our congregation also told me yesterday.
Thursday, the 8th of December. Some time ago, Mr. Mayer took in a serving boy, who had been in the service of a Salzburger and, at that time, behaved so well at church, school, and work and who, before his confirmation, had given such good evidence of his Christian thinking that we hoped that, through the consistent use of the means of salvation, he would grow in his goodness and be able to help Mr. Mayer and his sickly wife. He is also sensible, skilful, and quite industrious. However, since then his spirit has deteriorated so much that he is now a big cross for these two dear people. We are urging him patiently to listen to God’s word, to pray, and to do all good exercises; he sees only good examples at home and outside, and I, too, am making every effort to encourage and chastize him; yet he is completely unresponsive and uses desperate language like somebody who faces the most difficult spiritual temptations. He does not accept any good advice that could help his soul; instead he is thoughtless and talks to his mistress in a rude and defiant manner. I believe the poor lad has been ruined by his bad mother and stepfather in Vernonburg, who let him come to their house some time ago and do not like him to live in our community.8
Friday, the 9th of December. All week, during our evening prayer hours, we have enjoyed dear Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen’s excellent, sincere, and inspiring thoughts on Jesus’s important talk, John 12:20-33, for which we must humbly worship and glorify the great name of our great, beloved Immanuel. I variously read in the East Indian reports9 about the blessing the missionaries have derived from their relationship with, as well as sermons and instruction from this experienced and trustworthy servant of Christ, and I wish they had mentioned some details about it in their diary in order to inspire in particular all Studiosi Theologiae,10 and preachers.
Pastor Muhlenberg, during his visit with us,11 and my current dear colleague told me some things from these collected instructive and comforting morsels. Should the planned meditation and its actual execution in his Good Friday sermons be printed (I wholeheartedly wish they would), God’s church would greatly benefit from it. Our dear God has aroused in my heart new admiration for His holy word, and particularly for the words of His son, our greatest prophet; and it has given me strength and pleasure to impress on my dear audience the Gospel’s truth. May He bless and support this chosen servant of His, and may He keep him for many years for the benefit of His church, our small group, and the blessed work of the missionaries! We also pray for this in our public and private prayers!
Saturday, the 10th of December. Last evening I had the pleasure of receiving some very nice letters from Europe, such as from Monsieur Verelst, Mr. Albinus, Prof. Francke, Mr. von Munch, and Councillor Waldbaum, which are full of praise of God and our dear friends. Glory to God and the Father of Jesus Christ, who again and again fills us unworthy people with joy; nearby through His holy word, sacrament, and concern for our welfare, and from afar through inspiring letters, news, and books! May He give us the wisdom and unchanging devotion to put everything to good use!
Sunday, the 11th of December. This evening, after our public Sunday prayer meeting, we had a violent thunderstorm and lightning, followed by very heavy rains that lasted way into the night. This winter, we have had more rain and warm weather than ever before; hence the soil, which by nature is loose and light, has become so soft and waterlogged that in some usually dry places, e.g., the soil in the pine forest, our horses sink deep into the ground, and frequently water collects two or three feet deep when we dig a hole. The consistency of our land, especially in the pine forest, is such that the soil is light or sometimes sandy on top, and that three or four feet down, there is nothing but clay so that it is difficult for the rain to penetrate. Digging wells is easy here, but it is impossible to keep our cellars dry, and those that were dug earlier must be filled again. Unless our dear God’s grace prevents it, our European seeds, including wheat and rye, will be damaged by the heavy rain which, in some fields, keeps the seed under water for one or two days. It is a consolation to us today that God, our Lord, is called Israel’s comfort and helper in case of need.
Monday, the 12th of December. Three days ago I got a letter from Savannah reporting the arrival from Frederica of a big boat that had come to get the Indian corn flour our people had been asked to bring down there as fast as possible. I am surprised they sent a boat to get flour since I reported earlier this month from Savannah that the water level of the river had risen fast and that I was afraid we would have to stop the mills, as we have had to do since. If we had the means, we could have arranged for one mill to keep operating in water as high as the current level. However, usually the high water does not last very long: either it rises so high that everything along the mill river in the lowlands is flooded, or it soon falls. Even if we were able to make changes in the mills, we would not have enough workers, since we hardly can get anybody for the most urgent work.
After the great concern Mr. Mayer’s serving boy had caused us with his desperate talk and rowdy behavior, our merciful God is once again beginning to give us joy.12 During our Friday evening prayer meeting He started to bless His holy word on him; and yesterday, Sunday, He started to convince him graciously that sinners must not despair, that everybody can be helped through Christ and His mercy, unless the person becomes wilfully stubborn and rejects the mercy offered to him. This morning Mrs. Mayer received private communion (because her illness and pain do not allow her to take communion with the congregation), when both she and he were informed of their boy’s marked improvement.
Tuesday, the 13th of December. The warm rainy weather continues; hence we have much water everywhere. May our merciful God let this rain be not a punishment, but a good deed or a Fatherly chastisement! The roads are so washed out that the English preacher in Savannah, who some time ago went to Augusta on business, was unable to return by land, but passed by our community by boat yesterday just as I was giving my weekly sermon at Zion Church. As yet no ways or country roads have been made in this colony; and what the first Salzburgers built between Abercorn and Old Ebenezer has long since disappeared. The servants of our Trustees in Old Ebenezer have done nothing to maintain any construction.
Thursday, the 15th of December. Yesterday, in the late afternoon, we had strong gusty winds from the west; they chased away the rain clouds and now we have once again dry, although cold weather.
During yesterday’s evening prayer hour we talked about two short letters from our dear benefactors, with which they sent some alms to dear Prof. Francke for our Salzburger congregation. We very much enjoyed reading and hearing them and they encouraged us to thank God to intercede for our benefactors who are suffering so many trials and to appreciate our still-bearable situation as well as to fear God. One letter said, “If they remain in fear of our Lord, the Salzburgers will not want for anything. I am sending them Psalm 67. May God bless us and may all the world fear Him. Oh, Jesus Christ, spread Thy Kingdom in ever greater splendor throughout the world, and let us hear much more of the welcome news that great harm has been inflicted on Satan and that Thy Kingdom is growing. Amen.”
Friday, the 16th of December. We have made several attempts to send to one of our noble benefactors in Germany some seeds as well as other plants and things. However, we heard in the past, and are now hearing again, that this was very costly to our dear benefactor and that he derived no benefit from them since the things in the box had gone bad by the time they arrived; which we regret very much. Last summer and fall we collected a large variety of flowers, herbs, and insects; but because we live 150 miles from Charleston, where the ships land and from where they set sail, it is difficult to send such things. I am afraid of the high expenses for shipping and postage; and if the herbs get ruined on the way over and the jars with the insects break, we will cause our benefactors needless expenses. Usually the ship captains store boxes like these in the humid and inaccessible places of the ship, while they and the passengers keep their things and amenities in the cabin.
As for sending seeds, again there is not much we can do. In most instances they arrive here in a spoiled condition, and this is probably how they will arrive over there. I was told that, unless they are kept way up in the ship during the voyage in an airy but not humid spot and now and then exposed to fresh air, they will suffocate on their trip across the ocean. If we could only get to the point where we develop some trade in Savannah and ships leave from there for London, it would be easier for us to serve our friends and benefactors with some curios and products of nature. However, it would less difficult to send a Herbarium vivum.13 It is easy to collect herbs and flowers.
Saturday, the 17th of December. Some days ago a young man asked me to visit him on the plantation he had just moved to, and I did so today. I found him and his wife working hard in the fields: they now want to have better housing than before and produce their own food. Some time ago I lent him some money to get started, which encouraged both him and his wife. I told her at our most recent prayer-hour that, if they continued to fear God, they would not want for anything good, and I referred her to the 67th, and him to the first, Psalm.
One of the German servants has asked my permission for himself and his wife to settle in our community. His reason is that, although he and some fellow-countrymen will get a plantation on the new land near our cowpen, that land has not yet been subdivided into plantations. The time for preparing the soil and for planting is almost over and he must not miss it because he is so poor. He has a countryman here who is willing to let him start on his plantation. I have referred him to the Savannah authorities because he would have to ask them for approval. For that purpose, I wrote a letter to the Council president informing him of the man’s request and of his stated reasons. He is going to take the letter down there personally. I am sorry for people who are like sheep without shepherds, and it is held against us that we take care of them. Wherever the Negro mind prevails, the poor are held in low esteem; however, some people do not recognize it and consider the importation of Negroes a beneficial, or at least innocent and harmless matter. My comfort is with the poor people: Thou art the Lord of this earth, the hope of the poor; Thou wilt not abandon Thy people in their sorrow and distress.
This evening I read to my dear audience some important and precious words from Mr. N.’s recent letter in which he, first, informs us confidentially of some worrisome matters concerning this country and then closes for our information and comfort with the following words, “We are looking to our Lord, the true Father of our house, who will advise and help us in His time. We are quiet. We are praying: Oh Lord, help Thy people. We are filled with hope. He will make everything right. May they carry this with them and put it before God in their prayers and be comforted by hope. Nothing can happen to us unless God has planned it and it is to our benefit.”
Monday, the 19th of December. Our soldiers keep asking me to put in a good word for them with their officers so that they may stay in our community. They love our place and its inhabitants and very much want to start planting so that they can have a better life with their wives and children on their soldiers’ pay. Our people speak highly of them, and whenever we need them as day workers, they do their work well. Their wives behave so orderly that they are not a burden on anybody: they like to work and attend our church sermons with their husbands although they do not understand the language, which they are gradually learning, however. I have lent them some inspiring English books, including Arndt’s True Christianity and the Little Garden of Paradise;14 and the corporal, who knows well how to read and otherwise is a skilful and honest man, will read to them from the books.
Some time ago we had an hour of edification twice a week on the plantations at Ebenezer Creek. But after the people there died, moved away, or took over other plantations in our district, we discontinued these meetings, thinking that the remaining three families would attend our regular prayer hours in town. However, because of their many evening chores, the inclement weather, and the long way, the men were rarely able to come, and their wives and children not at all; and this, they admitted, is causing them great spiritual harm. When I became aware of their great longing for edification, offered to resume, in God’s name, early next year these twice-a-week hours of instruction and inspiration, and to read to them from God’s word the same material I covered at the Jerusalem Church and, farther out, the Zion Church. May God give us His blessing for this undertaking!
I wrote today to dear Pastor Brunnholz in Philadelphia and gave him the good news that dear Mr. von N. from A.,15 our great benefactor, donated 5 pounds Sterling to the Evangelical people there to build the Germantown church, and I will send the money to him through a merchant in Savannah. May God bless our generous patron a thousand times for this and the many other good things he has contributed to the construction of Zion!
Tuesday, the 20th of December. A young man committed some sin against our dear God. Therefore he will not be admitted to the Holy Sacrament until he shows that he is truly sorry. He visited me today and told me about his troubled soul and willingly let me instruct and guide him in God’s ways and holy order, which is the only way to attain the forgiveness of sins and to achieve eternal salvation for Christ’s sake. I keep warning against the big misunderstanding, since some people consider the diligent use of the means of salvation to be the order of salvation itself and probably get lost in the process. They tend to believe that the diligent use of the means of salvation is part of their justification, which hence makes it hard for them to be converted.16
Thursday, the 22nd of December. This morning at 4 o’clock, Anna Kurz, a truly pious widow, passed away in my home, blessed in the Lord.17 Her death came earlier than expected. Four days ago she still felt well, but she was taken ill during our evening repetition hour. Once she lay down, she never got up again, and the medicines we gave her did her no good. She has left behind two pious step-daughters of minor age who are now in my house. Her own daughter died about two years ago in my house, content and blessed. The mother took the girl’s strange talk and her edifying end so much to heart that she began to prepare in earnest for death and Heaven and became very upright. Also to remind herself even more of her mortality and to evoke in herself a joy of death, she frequently went out to the graveyard, and this strengthened significantly her love for her Savior and her longing to soon be with Him and her pious daughter.
While she was frail in body and soul, she did her work very loyally, honestly, and willingly, so that our life together was pleasant. She served as an irreproachable and inspiring example to all people who came and left our house and displayed great love and gentleness towards our and other children. She said that among the best things our merciful God had done for her was that He saved her from the papacy and that she was led to Ebenezer where God was very good to her, her late husband, and her three children in both spiritual and physical terms. For that reason she very much wanted the members of her family she left behind in the Netherlands to come here as well.18 The word of God and praying meant everything to her, and she used them in her outside work and with God’s creatures.
Friday, the 23rd of December. The men in our congregation met yesterday in my house, and today in the Church of Zion on the plantations. Mr. Mayer and I told them of dear Mr. von N.’s wise and quite practicable proposals,19 and we explained and recommended them highly for implementation. As it is proper and customary among us, each meeting started out by asking God for His blessing, and closed with a prayer, intercession, and thanksgiving. I mentioned at the beginning what this generous benefactor (and others whose names are on God’s list) had done for us in the past, what he was doing now, and what he was willing to do in the future. This greatly reinforced my faith, and I now have reason to believe that our gracious God wants to help our congregation in our physical needs as well. He does so through supplies and intermediaries. However, He also wants us to do our share while we trust Him, and to adapt ourselves to the given order; because otherwise we would tempt Him. We then read the points our highly esteemed benefactor made in the recent letter on how our condition could be improved; and in each case we reminded them of, and underlined, the necessary details. They deal with:
1) starting and continuing the small volume of trade between here and Savannah, possibly expanding it soon to Frederica and Charleston as well, which so far have been of considerable benefit.
2) setting up a community treasury, to which the congegration members contribute, each at his own discretion, to thank God after the harvest has been brought in, when a blessing from God is sold, contracts are signed, distributions made, or after other signs of God’s blessing, etc.; we would also contribute to it from the benefactions we receive from Europe. Some of this money would be used for the poor to help them start or help them support their households, for paying some expenses for maintaining church and school buildings, and for starting a small trade to benefit the entire community; and profits from it would always be paid into the treasury.
3) laying out meadows, notably on our large and very fertile island. Those who want to band together and prepare them for planting fruit and growing meadows were assured of all possible assistance, as much as God will give us.
4) managing the wood in the forest. Nobody is permitted to cut firewood or building timber on other people’s plantations (although nobody may be living on them now). Rather, emphasis should be on planting young trees in cleared spaces.20 The congregation has asked us to put in a word for them with the Lord Trustees to get them some free wood or larger plantations, and we find this request quite reasonable. The area near town, where free or communal wood is available, is so small that everything would have been used up years ago if we had not taken wood from adjacent gardens and plantations, although nobody ever gave us the necessary permission to do so. From the very beginning, people have not been very careful with wood. Because here wood rots so much faster than in Germany, more building must be done (we have no stones, and they would be too expensive for us beginners anyway), and that requires wood.
On both sides of the town, there is only a 60 foot-wide lane left; and then the gardens start, for which everybody has two acres of land. The plantations start behind the gardens. There is no communal wood at all on the plantations. And since the landholders at the mill river have most of their land on the large island, and least on the high-lying lands where they live, and since trees in the pine forest grow not nearly as dense as in Germany, they use up their timber fast. The wood on the island is not very well suited for building because it comes mostly from oak, sweet gum, cypress, and walnut trees, and there are no pine trees.
5) continuing and improving our community cowpen. Three knowledgeable and gentle overseers have now been elected by a majority of votes to take charge of it and work for the best of the cowpen and the entire community, and they will consult with us frequently. They will also take care of upcoming business matters both as agents and middlemen. I am glad that most votes went to Kalcher, Leimberger, and Mr. Flerl, three pious and very intelligent men. They will hold that office for a period of six months.
6) making use of the opportunity we have close to town, to build, at little cost, a small mill which would profit our townspeople and out-of-towners greatly. It would also provide useful services whenever the other mills cannot operate because of either too much or too little water, except when we have a long-lasting drought. For a long time the people living in and around town have offered to help, without pay, with the milldam, provided I bear the other expenses for building the mill and for the carpenters, which I will gladly do in God’s name if it is really helps to further the welfare of our town, as we hope it will. As far as I know, there was not a single man of our community who did not attend this and yesterday’s meetings. It was held with much joy and I expect great benefit from it.
Saturday, the 25th of December. The locksmith Schrempff and Bischoff,21 who moved to Carolina some time ago, came to see us today to attend our church services over the holidays and to take the Holy Sacrament. They are planning to take land here again and eventually move here. Since they left, they have suffered more harm than benefit with regard to their physical wellbeing: Schrempff had made room for our locksmith Bruckner, who then took up his trade and, with God’s blessing, prospered and did well in his household affairs. He is a decent man who is devoted to serving his God and neighbors well.
Sunday, the 25th of December. We heard God’s word abundantly during these holidays and had good weather and very welcome peace outside. God graced our congregation with seriousness and loyal attendance of our sermons, catechization, repetition and prayer meetings. To us ministers he gave enough strength and pleasure to preach His word. On the second holiday we held the Holy Sacrament with 67 persons attending, among them four persons from Carolina and one from Abercorn. The young man used to live in our community some years ago, and later he was like a lost sheep; also, for no reason, he held a big grudge against me and our congregation. But for some time now he has permitted himself to be found again; and I have now heard that he is doing well. Our Lord will also grant new mercy to Mr. Mayer’s boy.22 On the first holiday, he asked me to examine him about God’s word to see whether he deserved to participate in the Holy Sacrament. When he learned from our verse of preparation in the First Book of Moses 3:15 and from the sermon we held on the first holiday that he was one of the penitent and eager-for-mercy souls, he attended in Christ’s name.
Our soldiers wished to celebrate their Christmas, or Bacchus feast, in their own wordly way, but they were easily kept from doing so when the innkeeper refused to serve them rum, brandy, or other strong brews. Before the festival, Kohleisen, who likes to drink too much, misbehaved and had to stay away from the Sacrament.
Tuesday, the 27th of December. I received from Savannah a small treatise in English, printed and published this year in Venice by David Aboab, a Venice-born Jewish convert to Christianity, under the title Grace and Truth, or a Short Account of God’s Guidance of David Aboab23 and it is very nice to read. In the first part of the treatise he talks, to God’s praise, about God’s wondrous guidance and his acceptance of the Protestant Christian religion. In the second part he seriously tries to convince the Jews, his blood brethren, that 1) the one Divine Being consists of three persons; 2) the Messiah has already come, as promised by God through the prophets, and that they are waiting in vain for another; 3) the Jewish Talmud is full of untruths and superstitions, and this is one of the main reasons why they are blind and superstitious. If God grants him a long enough life, he plans to show them clearly the wrong teachings, superstitions, slanders against God, and the Talmud’s ridiculous fables. It seems to me that this treatise demonstrates very clearly that this man, who may have great natural gifts, has not accepted the Christian religion with false intentions, but through the effect of the Holy Ghost, and through His word, and that he is a true convert to his Savior, for whose glory he works hard and will continue doing so.
I also read in a recent letter from our dear friend and benefactor, Mr. L., to Mr. Mayer a very nice story and information about an educated Jewish convert to Christianity; we hope to get some additional edifying details about it. Perhaps our wondrous and Almighty God will choose some capable tools from among their own midst to enlighten and convert His blind people of Israel. The persons he selects will no doubt be more successful with them than ministers of Christian blood, against whom they hold so much prejudice. How easy it is for our Lord, for whom nothing is impossible, to call on another Paul of the Jewish people at a time when that is least expected, and to endow him with talents to do the very important work of converting the stubborn and—because of the many problems with Christians—hardened Jews!
Wednesday, the 28th of December. When Schrempff and Bischoff said good-bye to me before returning to their families in Carolina, I read to them an important passage from dear Senior Urlsperger’s letter that applies to them because it deals with the harm people who move away from Ebenezer inflict on themselves. On the second holiday they also heard much about this in the introductory verse to the Acts of the Apostles 20:28 and in words about the great joy of being an Evangelical minister, which most people do not fully recognize and appreciate.
They say here that poor people in Carolina with perhaps one or two Negroes are anxiously awaiting permission to import Negroes; then they want to move in droves to this colony, so that this land will soon be full of people, mostly Negroes, like Virginia and Carolina.24
Yesterday an Englishman came to me saying that he had made the long way down from Savannah Town with his wife, children, and household belongings to move to new land on the Ogeechy River. He asked me to baptize his six-month-old child. But, since he is going to proceed to Ogeechy by water, I referred him with his child to the preacher in Savannah.
Thursday, the 29th of December. After the Christmas holidays we repeat in our prayer hours and weekly sermon the precious Evangelical truths that we publicly considered during the holidays. Repetition is very much needed by us and beneficial to us. Although it is primarily meant for the children to be catechized, the adults, as they themselves admit, also derive great benefit from these exercises. Since children are a very important part, even the core, of a Christian congregation, I like to gear my words not only to the adults, but also to the children. And, from the word of God, I frequently show the parents and masters their duty towards these lambs of Christ, whom He loves so dearly and whom He wants to see raised in the fear of the Lord, and there is plenty of opportunity for that. This church year my dear colleague will catechize from Luther’s beautiful catechism on Sunday afternoons; and he then will have a very good opportunity to introduce the adults and children to God’s way to eternity.
Friday, the 30th of December. Monsieur Habersham has given me 24 arias, or songs, in English, with extremely good and easy discants and general bass, which he got not too long ago from London, where they were printed in 1746 in large quarto, with the notes neatly engraved in copperplate. Maybe the famous Mr. Händel is the author of the composition. It is entitled Songs for the Great Holidays, and Other Occasions.25 It would be very easy to parody these lovely and moving melodies which can be sung or played on an instrument.26 My mentioning it here may help our friends. Also, I hope God will give me some pleasure in my fear of Him. With such beautiful, well-composed songs, our dear God has filled us and our children with inspiration and pleasure, as He did during the recent holy days. Glory to Him alone and at all times!