I.N.I.A.1 Daily Reports Of the Year 1747
Sunday, the 18th of January 1747. Thomas Bichler, our constable, left for Frederica a few weeks ago in order to obtain money from Major Horton2 for our rangers, or town dragoons. Just today I received a letter from him, which he had written to me from Frederica on January 6th., in which he praises the Lord for his health, since more than twenty people had been buried there in the course of three weeks. The air in Frederica is otherwise quite healthy; however, most people who live there contract dangerous diseases as a punishment for their sinful ways and go to their deaths early as a result of their bestial conduct. Bichler himself used, among others, this expression: “I find myself incapable of reporting to Your Grace in what a deplorable state the souls here are. O, how boundless is the Goodness of the Lord in Ebenezer!”
Wednesday, the 21 of January. Kogler, our carpenter, reported to me yesterday that the waterlevel of the river has done down sufficiently to allow the first millrun to grind again. Recently we suffered flooding twice, but no serious damage was done to either the dam or the mills. The mill conduits to the first run and to the sawmill, however, were lifted up somewhat and will have to be fastened more securely from now on. I praise God for His protection and benevolent goodness, and I exhort others to do likewise. Because our merciful God continues to manifest and make visible His fatherly providence in our mills, I hope that He in good time will use the mills as a blessed means for increasing our income, by which our community’s widows, orphans, and others in need as well can be provided for as well as for establishing good institutions for the glory of God and the service of our fellow men.
May our all-powerful, wise, and loving God and Father, in His boundless mercy, continue to reward richly our known and unknown benefactors for their intercession for us as well as for their charitable gifts with spiritual blessing and earthly bounty. For the continuation of His purpose in Ebenezer those charitable gifts were put into the hands of His faithful servants, our most esteemed Fathers in Augsburg, Halle, London, and in other places and who continue, most lovingly, in their mission. May our Lord, for the sake of Christ, hear our humble sighs and prayers on their behalf. When I read again through the list of contributions of monies consigned to Ebenezer in the year 1745 from Halle, I was overjoyed once more, quite humbly, and moved to praise the Lord; and I felt duty-bound to pray again for our most honored benefactors. In my tribulations so far my motto has been: “O Lord! What shall be my consolation? I trust in Thee. Until this moment I have not been disappointed in my trust in the Lord. O God! Strenghten our faith so that we may behold Thy glory!”
Friday, the 23rd of January. On the occasion of the funeral of a deceased small child we made good use of the second part of the Scriptural Instruction for the Sick and the Dying,2a which deals with the main reason and the main purpose of diseases brought on us by God. The Lord granted me a great deal of edification and blessing from this; I hope the same for those few people who were also present. For the past thirteen years, the time we have been in Ebenezer, we have been plagued by various kinds of adversity, especially sickness and poverty. At all times, both in my public sermons, as well as in my visits to the healthy and the sick, I have been intent on de-emphasizing the minor subsidiary causes for distress and emphasizing the main cause of all troubles in order that God’s purpose may be fulfilled: adversity is rooted in original sin and worsened further by the peoples’ sinning.
The Lord also graced some of us with the insight that sickness (even if they did not realize this when they were healthy and fully benefitted from God’s mercy) leads not only to contrition, but also to humility and shamefaced confession, as well as to a hunger and thirst for God’s Grace in Christ, to a true change of heart and a mending of one’s ways. Some still praise God and thank him for sending them such sickness; they understand the meaning of this second contemplation: it is good that you are sick. The final purpose of sickness is that evil be turned into good and that what is good be better. Exactly this lesson I took to heart recently and shared with those listening to me by citing it in my introduction (Apocalypse 3: 19).
Saturday, the 24th of January. I hold our medical man, Mr. Thilo, in high esteem because of his skill in medical and in other matters.3 I hope wholeheartedly that our trustees will provide for him and his wife to some extent since he can not subsist on his income from such a small and poor community. If God would grant me some income from our sawmill and flourmill, I could then contribute what is necessary for his support as well as for that of Mr. /Ludwig/ Meyer, who is well liked by the whole community by virtue of his skill, industry, and good conduct.4 Meanwhile, we all have to be patient until the Lord provides us with His help, and not complain, but rather take the blame ourselves if we have to suffer deprivations and afflictions.
This week, in our evening prayer hour we were able to learn several things from Kings 8:29:30. For instance, we heard about king Solomon’s good resolution to attend divine service regularly and of offering humble prayers there according to the Hebrew; also, of his high hopes for the Israelites (v. 30) who, in his estimation, would likewise come to public services eagerly and apply themselves to prayer humbly and devoutly. This is the reason the temple (cum emphasi)5 is called a house of prayer. Since Solomon pleaded so extensively for the Israelites and for strangers and since everything set down in the Bible is to serve us as a lesson and as an example, have I taken this opportunity to impress upon my listeners their Christian duties, citing in support God’s express admonition by Paul (Timothy 2:1-3). I also have enumerated the reasons which ought to move us to private and public intercession on behalf of our dear benefactors.
Sunday, the 25th of January. Yesterday the sick Mrs. Glaner received Holy Communion in complete humbleness and joyful faith. She is an honest disciple of our Lord Christ, who is well content with His guidance in all things. A serving woman, one of the last Germans,6 who had fallen sick before Christmas, is in very pitiable condition. God has shown her His great mercy in leading her and her bastard child—whom she had brought with her from Germany—to our community. We not only took good care of her physical needs but also showed her the path of salvation and gave her ample opportunity to mend her ways and to let herself be saved from her great ignorance and superstition and from her rather evil habits. Because she had neglected it in her health, God granted her a long period of grace on her sickbed. She was instructed in the order of salvation.7 We showed her how much benefit she derived from it, we prayed with her, and we also comforted her and promised her to let her partake of Holy Communion, which she had asked for at the beginning of her sickness, if only she would herself be sufficiently prepared to receive it. She seemed to take my remonstrations to heart and denounced herself as a great sinner. She claimed to have asked God day and night for insight and remorse for her sins. However, she never confessed those sins she felt in her heart; and, on the contrary, showed her worldly thoughts all too greatly.
Since Thursday she had no longer been in complete possession of her reason; yesterday she fell into a kind of delirium and, while screaming, singing, cursing, and laughing, very much like drunken guests at a wedding, talked of many serious transgressions she may have committed at dances in Germany as well as on her trip. Shortly before her sickness she had been overheard saying that, if everybody who danced and enjoyed a good time were to be dammed, only a very few would find salvation. We can not do much more for her but to implore God that he may treat this pitiful soul with His Goodness, which is as boundless as He Himself. She is a terrible example of evil. Mr. Thilo treats her sickness with great diligence. Here, as otherwise, we see how inexplicable are His judgments and how inscrutable are His ways.
Tuesday, the 27th of January. As much as I am saddened by this woman and her pitiful state of body and soul, God has provided me with much joy regarding a young German who had served for eight years in Augusta and Savannah and whom I engaged in my service as a fieldhand three months ago. He wants to be here with us and wishes to be prepared for Holy Communion. He had been very ignorant and full of prejudice against salvation, pious conduct, and us here in Ebenezer, partly because of the gossip of Germans in Savannah. However, God has removed those prejudices one by one and given him instead a great love for His teaching as well as an eagerness for learning to read. He now sincerely regrets his sins and is beginning, humbly and fervently, to marvel at his own blindness and God’s plentiful patience and forbearance. He praises God for His kindness in leading him to blessed solitude, and he does his work with the word of God and prayer, just as is written in Colossians 3:22-23. A friend of his who had served with him and who had completed his indenture at the same time came likewise to us for the purpose of instruction. I have high expectations for him, too, and I hope that our servant will influence him for the better.
Thursday, the 29th of January. God has brought sickness to my house, too, and we implore Him to fulfill His purpose with such punishment. In addition to the aforementioned serving woman, who still lingers on in her pitiful condition and often fills the house with her terrible screaming and singing, our devout childrens’ nurse, who has been with us for several years and who has always been sickly, is suffering again from her epileptic seizures brought on by the great heat. She too, talks, prays, and sings, but properly and pleasantly, without screaming so that one can well see her heart’s treasure of goodness. The Saviour is foremost in her thoughts and she can not praise Him enough: she also enumerates her own shortcomings emphatically, as well as those she has noticed in others, and she admonishes her friends to penitence in a truly evangelic way. During the continuing sickness of the serving woman and of this devout maid just mentioned, we have taken into our house a pious widow, Mrs. Kurtz, whose devout daughter is also in a weak and pitiful condition due to a wasting fever and is receiving necessary care in our house.8 She is a sweet, obedient child who dearly loves Jesus. Mr. Thilo does not have much hope for her recovery; she however, is not afraid of dying. We had to take this good widow into our house because we need her help with the patients and the daily chores.
The sad condition of our serving woman has caused my dear wife’s relapse into a state of very dangerous and highly painful hysteria. She is suffering day and night and, as a consequence, she cannot properly take care of our four children and the aforementioned patients, nor can she run the household with her usual joy. The fieldhand I mentioned two days ago is very useful to us in our present circumstances although it is not easy for me to provide for so many people in these hard times. We have to purchase all food, except milk and butter. But God in Heaven knows what we need: to Him we commend our fate, in Him we trust, He will make all well. My domestic affairs do not at all impede my service; and God’s goodness blesses what He gives to me for my daily needs and for my health. I am experiencing the effatum of Christ in all its richness (Matthew 4:4).9
Friday, the 30th of January. At noon yesterday five Englishmen, some from Old-Ebenezer and some from Fort Argyle on the Ogeechee River, arrived here and asked me to baptize a three month old boy. I could not refuse, especially since both parents, the child, and a man who had been asked to be a witness to the baptism had made the long journey from Fort Argyle in bad weather. A man and his wife from Old-Ebenezer had been chosen as the other two witnesses. I will notify the English preacher in Savannah of this baptism and will let him know the name of the child, the parents, and the witnesses so that he may enter all this in his baptismal records. I will also ask him whether he has any objections to my procedure so that in the future, if and when I am expected to act again on behalf of Englishmen, I can act accordingly. The previous preachers in Savannah, Mr. John Wesley and Christopher Orton, allowed only teachers ordained by an English bishop to perform such baptisms.10 Therefore, in the past, I have refrained from overstepping the bounds of my own office and have gladly left them to their opinions and ways of running their office.
Today, at noon, as I held my usual weekly service at the plantations, our serving woman, of whom this diary has had to tell some sad things, died. She had been out of her mind for the past eight days; and, even when it seemed that she was capable of understanding mundane affairs, was it nevertheless impossible to instruct her in spiritual matters, and it became hopeless to get a single good word out of her. Lately nothing could be done for her spiritually but to commend her as a miserable object in soul and body to the boundless goodness of God in Christ. Our childrens’ nurse has recovered from her sickness; I trust that God in His eternal mercy will not let that pitiful spectacle of the serving woman and the manifold disquiet and discomfort she caused, especially towards the end, harm anyone’s health in my house. Rather, we hope that those sad things we heard and witnessed will better our souls.
Saturday, the 31 of January. A Frenchman from Purysburg11 sent me upon my request a good number of white mulberry trees. In a note he inquired whether it was true that no one with blacks was allowed to come to our mills by boat and whether our rangers were empowered to intercept them. This is obvious slander by those envious of us in Purysburg and Savannah. It certainly never occurred to us to ever hinder anyone to come to our settlement or to our mills with their blacks or Negro slaves.12 Mean people like to fabricate tales about us, especially such which portray us as being responsible for others’ not being able to bring blacks in. The constable of our rangers, Bichler, has returned from Frederica, where he had to stay for almost two months in order to get the money for himself and his men, which he properly received. However, he brought nothing back for me in return for the lumber, a horse, and other things which Major Horton obtained from us.
I have to be patient therefore in my present tribulations until God gives me counsel. Today in my reading from the Scriptures I found strength from Samuel 2:5-10: David went and prospered, and the Lord God of Sabboth was with him. God wishes to teach me likewise through this experience that it is good to trust in the Lord and that one should not put one’s trust in people, even be they princes. Tomorrow, God willing, we will think on the important proverb Isaiah 41:10 in the introductory verses for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany. “Fear thou not, I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God.” My our merciful Savior bless me with these precious words in my present trials. We have indeed a great and loving Savior who commands the seas and the storms and who is all-powerful in heaven and on earth and who has promised to be with us to the end of the world. May He strengthen our faith so we may behold His glory which He pleases to reveal to us in times of need and tribulations.
Sunday, the 1st of February. Mrs. Driesler returned to me our chalice, which we lent to her late husband several years ago for use in his small congregation.1 At the same time she sent me a very kind letter in which she mentions her lingering illness and the lack of charity as well as the heartless conduct of the people in Frederica. She also tells of a great fire which destroyed many soldiers’ quarters and some other houses. She is asking me to send her some medicine for her sickly condition; however, we are short of medicines ourselves. She is living in the house of her granddaughter who married some time ago a good Reformed man, a grocer who is prospering and has a good reputation.
Wednesday, the 4th of February. Mrs. Kalcher, who was close to death before Christmas, has recovered enough to be able to do light chores and once again to attend public service (one of her most favorite activities).2 However, she is still subject to sudden onsets of faintness, even in church; and then she must be conducted home. Yesterday God saved her dear husband from a great calamity, which might have cost him his life. The same happened to me, too, for which undeserved goodness I humbly praise Him. He punishes us with measure.
Thursday, the 5th of February. A German servant in Savannah wrote me a very fine letter from which I can easily judge his good state of mind, even though he is known to me already as a well-meaning person. He wishes to obtain Arnd’s True Christianity3; he assures me that he wishes to peruse it for his own and his wife’s salvation, and he asks my help in this. I wish to give him my one and only copy rather than have him lack the book. Perhaps God will grant us several copies soon.
Saturday, the 7th of February. Today our rangers started to receive their backpay. They were paid for two years, which amounts to 132 pounds Sterling. Their constable, Thomas Bichler, obtained this money from Frederica for one year, seven months, and 24 days; and in the very near future the rangers are to be paid. We started and finished the distribution of money by praying and praising God, as is proper, since we must regard the money in these hard times as a gift of God. In this sad time of war God is not only giving us peace: He is also letting us benefit richly in spiritual and secular matters. We have no billeting of troops and no war taxes; and our rangers, or town dragoons, get their pay to their own benefit as well as to that of the community and without any hardship to the community. In that way money which is much needed comes regularly into our settlement. We can indeed say with dear David in Psalms 31: “I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities.” One of these men gave me 10 shillings Sterling of the bounty bestowed upon him by the Lord so that I might refresh some of the poor among us so that they too, like him, be encouraged to praise the Lord.
Monday, the 9th of February. We strongly feel the loss caused us by a hypocritical man without any conscience within our community and in Charleston:4 Because of him my dear colleague, constable Bichler, had to spend a considerable sum of money in Charlestown as well as on his trip there and back. Up to now I have been unable to lessen the loss to our community; since the woodwork done here and the good boards cannot be sold except for a few thousand shingles and barrel staves which were sent to Charlestown by a merchant in Savannah who was to pay for them but has not yet done so. This sad happening is a great punishment for us; may God in His Goodness let it redound to our own good.
In our prayer meetings and weekly sermons we hear now, from the beautiful prayers of King Solomon, about God’s wise and gracious intentions when He sends us various trials in answer to our sins and when He impresses upon his people that they may repent their sins and turn to God, acknowledge His name, pray to Him privately and in meetings, and let themselves be guided onto the right path. He would then hear their prayers in heaven, be merciful with the sinners, lessen their well-deserved common and special tribulations and let them benefit again from His Goodness. Such is His fatherly way, according to Jeremiah 18: 7-8. It is a great consolation that God is willing to hear our prayers in our need and accepts our penitence, provided it is not a legalistic and hypocritical penitence;5 Habakkuk 4 v.2: “In times of misery thou showest thy goodness.” Tobias 3 v. 14: “When thou art angered thou still showest mercy and forgiveness and in misery thou forgivest the sins of those who call upon thee.” Thus, sinners who are ready to repent acknowledge the Lord’s name according to the instruction of His word and from their own experience as well as that of others for the awakening and strengthening of their faith. They also learn that all things, even physical punishment and tribulations, are in their own best interest. Praised be the Lord every single day!
Tuesday, the 10th of February. Yesterday afternoon Mrs. Kohleis sent her only daughter, six years old, from her plantation to the orphanage, on an errand for Mrs. Kalcher. On her way home she missed the right road to the bridge and got lost in the woods. That night, rangers were sent out immediately to look for her; next morning they were joined by more who were dispatched from the plantations and from town to search for her on foot and on horseback. In the afternoon, she was finally found in the little pineforest. Neither the intense night frost nor the many wolves which roam these forests had done her any harm. She is alive and healthy and slept through the night without any special fears or anxieties. While in prayer, I remembered Matthew 18:14.
Wednesday, the 11th of February. Bruckner is a Christian-minded and obliging man from Salzburg. Since his conversion to God he has been making himself useful like Onesimus, and he runs his household well. Although he has recovered from his dangerous illness, he is not yet quite well and is unable to do heavy work. He has planted a great number of mulberry trees and is planning to produce silk, if God preserves his life. He is well content with His ways even in the face of misery and sorrow. A Frenchman in Purysburg, from whom I have purchased young mulberry trees, brought me three different kinds of silkworm seeds this morning. From these, reportedly, one can harvest silk from three to four times, until August; the last cycle, however, is said to yield only small balls because the mulberry leaves turn harder and harder during the summer and no longer provide the worms with enough nourishment. From the experiment which has been planned in our settlement for this year, we will be able to decide whether or not such repeated cycles of silk production are practical and profitable. In the course of summer cool rooms are necessary, and most people lack such.
Thursday, the 12th of February. Much joy and praise of God has arisen in our community since the lost girl was found. A devout woman told me that, while in prayer, she found much joy in thinking that our merciful and all-powerful God would protect this child in the woods from cold, wolves, and other harm just as easily as He protected Daniel in the lions’ den. The child’s mother gets much pleasure from her little girl. Among other things, she taught her the following verse: “My Friend is mine, and I am His, who dwells among the roses.” Now the child always calls Lord Jesus her friend and prays to Him on her knees. One time she said unexpectedly to her mother: “My Friend has been to see me, and He has told me that He wanted to give the heavens to me and His whole treasure of bliss.” These words she had heard from her father on the way to church the previous day. The mother feels the manifold effects of the Holy Spirit’s grace in this little child much to her joy and the praise of the Lord. This devout woman is visited by God with various sorrows, difficulties in her household, and physical weaknesses. She prays that her Heavenly Father continue to cleanse her and make known to her the innermost recesses of her evil heart, and fullfil His good purpose. I told her that God sends tribulations to His children also in order to prevent and prohibit them from lapses into sin, excesses, etc., since He knows their hearts better than they do themselves. However, she feels that they could serve God better and lead a Christian life more easily if they were not so sick, infirm, poor, etc. Surely our wise and merciful God would not hinder them by such sorrows if He did not foresee the opposite. Therefore we must be content with His ways.
Some start to doubt their penitence and the forgiveness of sins because of His punishments. Because they do not innocently believe in the gospel but adhere to the rules of the Old Testament, they divest themselves of the great comfort which is granted so generously in Holy Scripture to all those who bear the cross.6 Precisely such matters were addressed in yesterday’s evening prayer, occasioned by the mention of the plagues detailed in Solomon’s prayer. For the non-believers these plagues were a punishment for their sins; for the believers, however, they were fatherly chastisement. Their prayers and supplications rise upwards and press beyond the clouds and the heavens and enter into the presence of God’s glory, where their Intercessor and Champion has gone to comfort them. How powerful is a penitent and faithful prayer!
Friday, the 13th of February. Yesterday evening I learned to my sorrow that not only all sorts of evil people in Savannah and Frederica, but even our N. are slandering me in an irresponsible manner and have interpreted the way I dispatch my duties which have been assigned to me by my superiors and which I assumed out of love for our community most maliciously and unkindly. May God forgive them and especially poor N.! If my enemies had knowledge of any misconduct or abominable deed of mine they would certainly not hesitate to make it public joyfully; but they lack such proof and therefore slander me because I take care of our community and its every single member and attend to their spiritual and material needs and do not willingly let them be subjected to violence or injustice.
The bitterness against me stems mainly from the fact that I and my community are regarded as being responsible that others may not bring blacks into the country. In this, however, they are quite wrong. As far as N. is concerned, who is friendly to my face and who indeed has reason to be grateful to me, the root of his animosity and slander lies in his own domineering nature, which I attempted to curb. In fulfilling my office, as well as my conscience and the wish of our dear Fathers, I could allow no one who may have wanted to establish himself as the master, to rule my dear Salzburgers wilfully and tyrannically. Therefore I had to check this N.’s thirst for power, which, however, I did at all times with love and Christian arguments, and all sorts of services. My enemies are often all too eager to despise and slander my spiritual office; therefore I have been turning over in mind for some considerable time the idea of appointing, as soon as possible and in God’s name, somebody more suitable than I for dealing with official affairs and matters for the authorities.
God will continue to hold His hand over us and see to it that no harm comes to our honest Salzburgers. I, on the other hand, will be even more able to see to my spiritual duties, which, through the goodness of God, is my greatest pleasure. On the other hand, such a neglect of one of the duties of my office fills my conscience with considerable anxiety. At the moment I am reading again the Watchman’s Voice by the late Grossgebauer, and in it I find many a passage for my humiliation.7
Saturday, the 14th of February. Since the new moon two weeks ago a great number of white and Spanish mulberry trees have been planted in the town and at the plantations. Our rangers were a great help. In the course of three years the trees usually grow to a size where the leaves can be used for feeding the worms. The Spanish variety has quite large, delicate leaves; and those trees grow much faster than the others. People are also planting all sorts of useful trees along both sides of streets, which are 60 feet wide; likewise in public places outside the town, on the banks of the Savannah River, and right in the middle of town, which will be both pleasant and useful in time. May God bless this work!
Sunday, the 15th of February. Although it rained all day today, we received a good deal of goodness and blessing. Similar to the rain outside, there is a spiritual rain through which God lets us partake of His good treasure by preaching His Word; and He has given us much edification from that. After our late morning sermon Veit Lechner’s little daughter, to whom his wife had given birth last night, was baptized publicly.
It was also announced that three weeks from tomorrow, God willing, our yearly memorial and thanksgiving service would be celebrated and at the same time Holy Communion would be given to those who would register for it and behave with the necessary dignity.8
Monday, the 16th of February. Yesterday, old Mr. /Theobald/ Kieffer from Purysburg was here, and he told me that his oldest son, Jacob, who had been suffering from consumption for a long time, had died on the 5th.9 Towards the end, on his own and on his father’s plantation near Purysburg, he had to endure much suffering from his ravaged body; among other things he had said to his family: If he were to convert only now to God, it would be difficult because of the great pain. He was afraid of his own feelings and that maybe he could offend his Savior by being impatient, but no sign of impatience could be detected in him. Finally he asked to be read to: “Jesus, my refuge” and “My Savior is alive”, etc. He commended his soul to God, bid farewell to his family, and died in peace.
Tuesday, the 17th of February. Mrs. /Elisabeth Catharina/ Zettler is awakened to a new sincerity in Christianity by the death of her brother, /Jacob/ Kieffer. A year ago, then still in her old house, God had already shown her His goodness on the occasion of the dangerous illness of her husband; she has, however, not practiced faithfully and steadfastly the three little words (which are difficult for some), namely, praying, being on guard, and struggling.10 Therefore she had to endure several pangs of conscience and lost almost all joy in prayer to God. She herself was recently again close to death’s door and eternity; and, because of her severe doubts concerning her soul’s state, her troubled conscience had pained her more and deeper than her sickness. Her late brother, when he was here last, had spent several weeks in her house; then she could tell many beautiful things of his genuine remorse over his ill-spent wild youth, his great patience in the face of his suffering, of his complete resignation to the will of our Heavenly Father, and of his confident prayers. She praises God that He has led her and her family to believe in the Gospel.
Wednesday, the 18th of February. It is always a great joy to me when I hear our Salzburgers extol the great blessing of emigrating from their papist fatherland and praise our wonderful, all-powerful, wise and merciful God, as a pious man and woman did in my room today at noon. Though we are living in very hard and trying times and although several among us are more destitute than ever before in previous years, pious people consider it a special act of God’s goodness that they are living here in blessed solitude where they can be prepared for eternity without interference from anyone (except if they wish it).
Some who emigrated have heard only little of God’s truth; yet it took root like a good seed. Nevertheless the Word turned into veritable spikes and nails for them and wounded their very hearts so that they had to leave their fatherland and were utterly confused. Now they marvel at God’s great power, which worked wonders in their hearts occasionally through a single, often only half-heard verse from Holy Scripture. At times they themselves compare quite cleverly the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt to their own from their earthly unenlightened fatherland: and God our Lord has revealed His glory in the latter as well as the former case.
Thursday, the 19th of February. I am not willing to spend more money cutting lumber before the ample supply in Abercorn, at the mill, and in town has been sold. However, since several Salzburgers are now adding land to their plantations close to the mill and since the beautiful trees on these lands are being donated to the mill, I do not wish to let those trees just rot but rather have them brought to the mill and cut. At present our mill is used by those people in our community who are bringing their own lumber to the mill and having it cut there: For this service they pay a good price to the man running the sawmill and also get their building lumber inexpensively. Kogler, the man who runs the sawmill and who also does all sorts of cabinet work, wants to cut lumber from white and red wood and make various things to sell from it. We have all sorts of nice trees in our neighborhood which yield delicate and attractive wood; However, they grow commonly in low-lying areas and are so far away from the mill that they can not be transported to the mill without great expense, therefore this is not a sound business proposition until a sale is fairly certain.
Friday, the 20th of February. Yesterday evening, I got word from Savannah that Mr. Whitefield, who has returned to Bethesda from his stay in Charleston, is making ready for his trip into the northern colonies, from which he expects to return in a little over a year. He has made good connections there among people of various walks of life according to newspapers from Pennsylvania and Carolina.
I visited N.N. on his plantation and found him in ill humor although he has reason enough to be grateful to our Lord for the manifold spiritual and physical benefactions he has received in this country. He has a good number of cattle and plenty of wheat and rice, which he has been able to sell at a good price. If she11 were of one mind with him, then he would probably leave this colony soon, but certainly without improving himself by such a move. He is a worldly-minded person; and the worries about food and the trouble caused by that prevent him from listening to God’s word, which he hears only very infrequently. Yesterday in our evening prayer hour we used Solomon, who was not only a great king but also like his father David, a godly ruler, as an example; and we demonstrated how Christian parents and superiors must care properly for their children’s and subordinates’ salvation. They have to make a beginning in themselves and must achieve in themselves a genuine love and fear of God; then they will be able to guide those entrusted to them, for whom our Lord Jesus paid so dearly, not only by beneficial admonitions but also by setting a good example, diligent supervision, and zealous intercession.
Sunday, the 22nd. of February. Rottenberger, a very sensible man who is skilled in all sorts of things, has been ailing for some time; he thinks his lungs might be affected and that he might not be with us for much longer. A short time ago he remarried, and God gave him and his three young children a pious and virtuous helper, who was raised in our community to do good; and he has established himself well on his plantation close to town. We need him very much since, next to the sawmiller Kogler, he is the most skilled man. People like him are well off in this country, better than in any place in Germany, where there is a surplus of craftsmen and good workers. This Rottenberger is otherwise a good-natured and orderly man; However, in his days of full health he does not exhibit the seriousness in his own Christianity and that of his family that is necessary for finding bliss in God’s word. Therefore, God will have to come to his aid with a bitter cup. I hope he will never forget the death of his first wife, who was saved like a brand from the fire. If I remember correctly, he mentioned this himself in a letter to his good brother in Krausendorf in Prussia.12
Monday, the 23rd. of February. A poor, old Englishman visited me today. He has a plantation in Abercorn and wishes to build a small house there, but he can not afford it. Because he shows us much loving hospitality day and night whenever we come to Abercorn from Savannah, and since he also is in charge of the lumber stored there, we will give him as a present twenty boards as well as twenty-five finished, and twenty-five unfinished slabs for outside planking.13 He will receive the boards in Abercorn; but he has to fetch the slabs from the sawmill here; and today he started to get them. Some time ago we stopped finishing the slabs with axes. Rather, the outermost bark is sawed off the tree trunks; and what is sawed off next are very useful slabs, which can be sold inexpensively. Our sawmill, in many ways, is of great benefit both to the people living in our community and to people from other places, even if we have so far not fully profited from this benefit.
Tuesday, the 24th of February. Up to now there has been a bell on my house under a little roof, which, however, has caused a great deal of trouble and expense because it had been difficult to replace the broken rope. Today two strong posts were built next to one another and the bell was fastened to them; that is now very convenient and practical. The posts are thirty feet high, and a small roof will be built above the bell. God be praised for the benefit we derive from this bell, may He grant us another one in His time at Zion Church!
Wednesday, the 25th of February. This morning I visited Mrs. Lochner,13a who had just been delivered of a child. In the presence of her husband and Mrs. Lackner I repeated the most important passages from God’s word, which we had heard in our latest prayer meetings and on Sunday in our sermon. Mr. Lochner, whose body and soul are growing stronger and stronger, gave me the opportunity for that. This man knows well how to bear his poverty and various tribulations; he praises God’s goodness and benefactions for which he is ever grateful. I told him something about our Lord Jesus’ precious words: “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”
Thursday, the 26th of February. The old tailor, N.14 and his wife do not have a good marriage at all, which is primarily the fault of that strong-willed and quarrelsome woman. According to them, they have moved here from Purysburg for the sake of God’s word and in order to be prepared for eternity in their old age. They attend public service and our daily prayer meetings regularly, but they do not make any progress beyond what they hear. Through their own fault they belong to those who are mentioned in Hebrews 4:2: “The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” It was explained to them and to others in simple and clear terms, not only on Sexagesima Sunday, in the prayer meeting on the above mentioned introductory verse, but also in the prayer meetings of yesterday and the days before, using Solomon’s prayer 1 Kings 8:41 ff. as an example of how they must receive God’s word and public service, if God’s purpose towards salvation shall be fulfilled as is written in Acts 26:18. They must indeed not be lacking in proper attention (Acts 10:33) or proper meditation and contemplation (Luke 11:19, 51) or frequent prayers before, during, and after comtemplating the divine word.
If faithful listeners pray to our all-knowing and merciful Father devoutly and in the privacy of their own closet, then God will reward them for it publicly, both at public services in church and in their daily work and occupations among men so that they may not be robbed of the treasures gathered by them but rather that they may offer edification to their fellow men in word and deed. In Solomon’s prayer, chapter 1, we learn that strangers or heathens will hear of God’s mighty name; they will let themselves be lured by it to public service at Jerusalem. They will be brought to true recognition of God and they will fervently pray to the Lord and apply the granting of their prayers towards a genuine fear of God for their own as well as for their families’ salvation. Therefore, for our listeners and others who can avail themselves readily of the means of salvation, it is most irresponsible if they do not attain a true and living recognition of God and Jesus Christ as well as filial love and fear of God.
Saturday, the 28th of February. Last year we received in the shipment from Augsburg, among other things, so many copies of Christian Guide for God-pleasing Confession and Holy Communion,15 revised and edited by the late Ambrosius Wirth, that we could afford to give a copy to each head of a household and to each unmarried adult. This beautiful and well bound book was distributed to our congregation on Good Friday, and now we always refer to it among ourselves as the beautiful book which was distributed on Good Friday. Through it, and especially through the thorough examinations of conscience concerning the Ten Commandments and the rules for life according to the Ten Commandments, God gives our listeners much benefit, which they acknowledge frequently. At that time we also received God’s Sacred Heart and a True Christian’s Life by Pastor Starke.16 This book is also valued highly by me and by those to whom I could give a copy, and it is blessed richly by God for my and my family’s edification.
The worthy man who produced this very useful book announced in its introduction the printing of a second volume, called Sources of Consolation for Souls in Distress and Fear of their Salvation,17 which I also would like to have. If our dear God in heaven would bring it about that I could get several copies of both volumes then I would be able to do much good in our community and in this colony by distributing them.
Monday, the 2nd of March. One of the patients in our house, the orphaned daughter of the widow Anna Kurtz,1 has for a long time now wished for the Savior and her own blessed end. Her desire to die increases as her strength diminishes. When she heard that I was going to Savannah, she cried, for she values my company. She also requested that I write a note to dear pastor Mühlenberg, in whose company she herself, her mother, her late stepfather, and two stepsisters, had come overseas, in order to thank him for the love he showed them and his support, as well as to show him the condition of her heart with the following words:
My heart’s already left this world
Heaven is its house of joy;
My body wants to be redeemed
Of sins, distress, and pain.
It cries out in this worldly desert:
Jesus, Jesus! How I await you, how anxious am I, poor soul;
Come, come, have mercy on me.2
Thursday, the 5th of March. Mrs. Kurtz’ daughter had to endure many pains in my absence, but she also received much refreshment of her soul, especially on Monday evening when our Lord Jesus richly presented her with heavenly joy of which she spoke so eloquently that others were greatly edified and moved. When I visited her after my return from Savannah I imparted these beautiful words to her “I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” She said, this was true for her and that she had seen Him already in her faith. I asked her whether she was not afraid of being denied heaven because of original sin and the sins committed by her. She answered completely composed: No, because all was forgiven. She likes to hear of nothing better than of Christ and death, and she hopes soon to be with her dear Savior, as is her greatest wish.
Saturday, the 7th of March. A friend in Savannah wrote to Philadelphia and New York for twelve bushels of flax seed, which, however, will arrive too late. Otherwise, the people here would plant flax this spring. Last year worms damaged the flax plants when they were quite young; and because of this we have only few seeds. We are all being tested in manifold ways, but our dear God still shows us His good protection. His goodness reaches as far as the heavens, and His truth as far as the clouds.
Sunday, March 8. Our dear Lord has shown most kindly His mercy to quite a few women in our community so that they excel their husbands and outshine them. Indeed, a few have to put up with being humiliated and subjected to indignities by their husbands. This, however, has not impeded their righteous nature even though, under these circumstances, they are deprived of beneficial formal expression of their faith and proper Christian spiritual support. It is therefore a great joy for them when we come to visit, talk of God’s word, and pray with them. God’s word becomes very sweet, clear, and real to them despite their outward and inward misery; and their previous life of sin before and during marriage is held up to them earnestly in order to humble them and guide them to accept fatherly chastisement willingly. Despite all shortcomings, their hearts lie only in Jesus and His dear deeds; and their minds see through all that is dark and muddled into the perfect calm which is promised and ready for God’s people. Some arrived already this evening from their faraway plantations and, on their knees, took part in today’s prayer service in which we sought to prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s memorial and thanksgiving celebration.
Monday, March 9. This day was devoted to the solemn observance of our yearly memorial and thanksgiving celebration: and for that purpose the entire congregation had come together in the Jerusalem Church in order to take part properly in public prayer, song, and the preaching of God’s word. Sixty-four people went to Holy Communion in a Christian and edifying manner. I preached on our Lord Jesus’ dear and consoling words about the love of our Father in Heaven for His children here on earth: Luke 12: 32: “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” As introductory verse I had chosen John 16: 27: “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.”
My dear colleague had as his introductory verses Psalms 103: 17-18: “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him, and His righteousness unto children’s children. To such as keep His covenant, and to those that remember His commandments to do them.” As his text he had chosen Psalms 26: 6-7: “Blessed be the Lord, because He hath heard the voice of my supplication. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise Him.” He explained these verses and preached on God’s gracious protection of His church.
Usually, in our memorial and thanksgiving celebration we like to remind our listeners, adults and children, generally and specifically, as much as possible of the spiritual and material benefits which our Lord God has showered on us so richly right from the beginning in this country of our pilgrimage. We like to remind them so that, like David, they, together with us, may praise, in song our all-powerful and all-merciful God, who confers on us all benefits. To some extent, this has happened today already in our sermons; but it was planned especially for today’s repetition hour when I had sufficient time to go into this matter in depth. In this I was greatly aided by the beautiful and edifying introduction of Part Two of the Ebenezer reports, which have God’s Georgia as its topic: 1 Corinthians 3: 9; I read almost half of it aloud, along with various proper comments and explanations; and I plan to continue with this in future evening prayer meetings.
The same subject will also be my dear task in my next weekly sermon in our Zion Church. This is also God’s expressed wish and command according to Psalms 78: 4, that we should make known to our children God’s glory, His power and the wonders He hath wrought. May our all-merciful God richly bless everything which was read, sung, and preached. May He also be pleased by our public and private thanksgiving for His many benefits which we received in the past and present as well as by our eager and dutiful prayers on behalf of our dear and esteemed Fathers, benefactors, and friends. May He be pleased for the sake of Christ, in whose name we have acted! In our case, just as in the case of God’s ancient Israel, benefits and tribulations go hand in hand and we exhort each other: Give praise and honor to the name of your God, for He will come to your aid! Amen. Ebenezer: So far the Lord has helped us, Halleluiah.3
Wednesday, March 11. Sick Mrs. Glaner is improving steadily. On her sickbed she is filled with praise for the Lord and His mercy past and present. Much to her benefit, she remembers the edifying cases of devout dying persons in Salzburg and takes them as her example. Two pious widows, Mrs. Zant and Mrs. Graniwetter, are her neighbors to the left and the right of her house; both received much spiritual and material benefit from the righteous Glaner and his devout wife.
The sick young girl in my house is growing weaker by the day, and her desire for her Savior and her own blessed death through Him is growing stronger. She admonishes her mother gently and cleverly; it is easily seen that she is quite competent to distinguish falsehood from truth, and nature from grace. She prays to the Lord on behalf of her two sisters, who just now are preparing themselves for Holy Communion in order that He may well receive and enlighten them. She dearly desires Holy Communion, which was given to her this morning after praying, reaffirming her baptismal promise, and administering the last rights.
Thursday, March 12. Zedler,4 the shoemaker, and his wife have had to endure a great many tribulations lately; not only in that they had to suffer through their own ill health but also through the sicknesses of their two children as well. They also were subjected to lack of food. However, they are accepting their situation in a proper Christian manner. I happened to have with me the profound and edifying Meditation on the Providence of God over Men of which a good number of copies were sent to us a few months ago from Memmingen via Augsburg.5 I read from it a passage dealing with the topic of our conversation with both husband and wife and afterwards presented my copy to them as a gift.
A few days ago I impressed upon my listeners, among other things, this important verse: “That He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them,” etc. See Romans 14: 7-9. The fall and actual arch-sin, which is mostly not even recognized as such, lies in that man neglects his Creator, Savior, His God who blesses all and makes himself a God which can result in nothing but misery and chaos. If, through God’s grace, man succeeds in abandoning his willfullness and learns to put his trust completely in our all-wise and all-merciful God, then he will become His child and servant and will be easily content (though not without a struggle) with whatever our Father and Lord allots to him.
Friday, March 13. In the winter of 1745 all children in our area developed a very hard and persistent cough which now once again is affecting our children and which is on the increase.6 Both times the cough started in Savannah and then spread to our district. Otherwise the Lord has mercifully saved us from dangerous and contageous diseases in this country. May he continue to give us His fatherly protection! I got word from Savannah that the Council members unexpectedly received Sola Bills7 in the amount of 500 pound Sterling from the Lord Trustees and indeed at such a time when money and other necessities were greatly lacking. These Sola Bills were found in a ship which had been captured by the Spanish and transported to St. Augustine some time ago. There, the mere pieces of paper, which can only be validated by signatures in Savannah, were worthless and about to be thrown away or burned. An English prisoner, however, bought them all for one duplone ransom and brought them to Charleston after he himself was ransomed off and released. This, too, shows God’s merciful care for our country.
Today, at 3 o’clock in the morning, the 15 year old daughter of Mrs. Kurtz took her leave of everyone in the house and died, although after a difficult agony, in joy and with her heart well content.8 Her life and death is an edifying example for all who knew her: and I consider it a privilege that she was sick in my house and died here. I hope that her frequent and faithful prayers may benefit me and my household. For the edification of us all I made public some details of her blessed life and sickness, as well as of her death filled with faith and hope, both in the school at the plantations and in my weekly sermon at our Zion Church.
Saturday, March 14. Mrs. Zimmerebner, whom the esteemed Senior Urlsperger may still remember by the name of Margaretha Berenberg is, by God’s grace, in a quite different frame of mind from the one she was in before and after her journey here. She recognizes that God showed her a great kindness through her marriage to the righteous Zimmerebner, a hardworking and dedicated miller, who is a blessed tool for her soul’s unburdening and rebirth by word and example. She told me, among other things, that recently he had said these words to her: “My dear wife, nothing would give me more joy, not an entire kingdom, or even the whole world, but to find that next time when Holy Communion is held, you should show signs of proving yourself to be worthy to receive this sacrament.”
Another pious woman, who lives in Zimmerebner’s neighborhood and who is to give birth shortly, told me tearfully that God gave her so many children and that she was so unsuited to raise them properly to His glory. I quoted two Bible verses to her: “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward!” and further: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men”. In Germany she had not learned to read; and, although she would have liked to learn how after she was married, sickness, various duties, and having children prevented it, which she greatly regrets. I told her how she could and should apply the time she spent with her small children and her domestic chores very usefully to God’s praise for her children’s benefit and her own soul’s salvation even in her husband’s absence. Some of the people here who have quite small children are tested more severely than others at this time, by having to care for them and clothe them and by other things: However, God always helps them mercifully through their difficulties.
Sunday, March 15. Quite unexpectedly I received a letter today from Mr. Whitefield, which he had written six days ago, in Bethesda, the orphanage in Savannah, when he went there from Carolina for a few days. Soon after that he returned again to Charleston, where he will spend fourteen days; and then he will travel on into the northern colonies. He shows in many kind words his earnest love for Ebenezer; he promises to get for us such things as I would ask of him from either Pennsylvania or New England. He regrets not having been able to talk to me again before his departure, for which, however, I am not to blame. He had already left Savannah and Bethesda before I learned that he had returned from Carolina. The last time I came to see him, in Bethesda at his invitation, he promised me two or three work horses and some harness for our poor farmers. Now, however, he informs me that one of his best horses took a fall and that he will need the others on his plantation in Carolina for plowing; therefore he can not help us in this matter at the moment.
He finds that he cannot get enough farm work done at the orphanage with white laborers for sufficiently maintaining the orphans and the people who were hired to keep things in order. Because Negroes are not permitted in this colony, friends in Charleston advised him to buy a plantation in Carolina and to work it with Negroes or black slaves. Several rich people, who had been won over by Mr. Whitefield’s sermons, contributed money. He hopes that not only Bethesda, but also Ebenezer, will profit from this plantation in time; and he asks that we give thanks to the Lord of Lords, who shows to us daily that His grace is everlasting. He is sorry for me that I have so many problems and so much unrest through all sorts of affairs, which are part of my duties, and he adds: “What is there to say? We have to undergo so many tribulations before we may enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, dear Sir, be of good cheer! A single glance at our Christ’s countenance will end all misery and pain. One day will make up for many.”
At all times he thinks very highly of our esteemed Fathers in London and Germany. On their behalf, he made the following request of me: “When you write home, I would be grateful if you would give my most sincere respects to Professor Frank, Mr. Urlsperger, and Mr. Ziegenhagen. I pray God that He may grant their souls abounding grace, mercy, and peace.” Since my letters to these servants of God were sent off yesterday and the day before, I cannot accede at this time to Mr. Whitefield’s request. However, I wanted to include it in this diary, which is even more important.
Monday, March 16. The two good men who were in charge of the rafting of a large number of boards to Savannah last Wednesday returned before daybreak yesterday. God helped them to complete their task successfully and they delivered the boards properly to the yard of the honest merchant Mr. Habersham for sale. They say that rafting the boards downstream was easy, but bringing them up the steep hill or bank at Savannah was very difficult. I don’t know yet how our Lord, who is all-powerful, will bring it about that an easier way of handling such boards be found.9 If something could be constructed it would cause more expense even if the Council in Savannah would give its permission. We always aim to progress modestly; and we pray and believe firmly in what is written: “For that He is strong in power; not one faileth.” Yesterday evening a pious Salzburger told me something about how his prayers were answered and about God’s merciful watch over him; and he added: “My Father in Heaven provides advice and assistance in all things.”
Tuesday, March 17. Today, in our Zion Church I finished my reading and explanation of the very beautiful introduction to the second part of the Ebenezer reports. In it, we and our children are reminded in this time of our memorial and thanksgiving celebration of God’s mighty works among the Salzburgers in general and within our Salzburger community in particular. We are reminded not only clearly and expressly to praise our great and merciful God, but also of the strengthening of our faith in these hard times and of our intercession for our known and unknown benefactors in Europe. Again, I impressed upon my listeners the important words from the 78th Psalm, vs. 3-4 and vs. 6-8.
Wednesday, March 18. Most of our widows try to continue to live on their husband’s plantations as well as they can. They have a few cows, and they sow some wheat, rye, and barley; now they are busy planting Indian corn, beans, and squash, in which I aid them as much as possible by hiring workers to do their plowing and other chores. Those laborers receive either lumber from the mill or cash for their food. If wishing helped any, I would wish for each widow one hundred white well-grown mulberry trees surrounding their homes on the plantations, just as at the orphanage and my house. But only widow /Anna Christina/ Müller in town and widow /Sibilla/ Zant on her plantation have a number of such useful trees.
Several other widows either have none or only very small mulberry trees, which they regret now that it is too late. What trees they had were destroyed by crabgrass, which is very damaging to trees and all good greenery. Last February, for the benefit of widows and orphans, I had one hundred fifty young mulberry trees planted in a straight row and so far apart that it is possible to plow in between them and destroy the crabgrass and other harmful weeds. By doing this, the growth of these trees can be assured easily. Maybe others will imitate this method, which would benefit them and their descendants.
Friday, March 20. Mrs. /Maria/ Lemmenhoffer has been a widow for more than a year now. She was ailing frequently; however, she has felt our Heavenly Father’s care for her spiritual and material needs keenly. Like other pious widows among us, she is a true devotee of God’s word both in meetings and at home, she prays often and loves quiet and solitude. She derives much benefit from the Holy Bible, the blessed Arndt’s sermons on Christ’s passion, and the blessed Wirth’s book on confession and Holy Communion,10 in the latter especially from the sections on examining one’s conscience and the rules for proper living according to the Ten Commandments.
The passage dealing with first duty according to the First Commandment she rereads often and is greatly impressed by it, much to her benefit. The wording is as follows: “Fear thy all-seeing God as thy loving heavenly Father, who is powerfully present at all places and judges without respect of persons, each according to his own works. His eyes are brighter than the sun and see everything that men do and peers even into the secret corners. And remember that He carefully examines and knows all thy thoughts, along with thy speech, deeds, and doings and will one day call you to account.”
Saturday, March 21. God is providing us with a very pleasant spring and good weather for growing. A few days ago night-frosts stopped; during the days, so far, the temperatures have been mild, nor was there any lack of warm rain for making our fields properly fertile. Our European crops, such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and peas are doing very well; from these we expect, with God’s blessing, a good harvest in a few months. The white mulberry trees are fully in leaf. However, the Spanish variety which has quite large but also delicate leaves, is just now starting to foliate, and this shows that both kinds of mulberry trees are necessary if one wants to make a success of silk production. In some cases the silk worms emerged already eight, ten, or twelve days ago from the seeds; they would not have any suitable feed if people had no proper white mulberry trees but only the Spanish variety.
This Spanish variety, however, is very useful because of their large leaves, which in size almost equal wild-growing mulberry trees, when during the last fourteen days the worms require large amounts of leaves day and night. These can be quickly collected from the Spanish variety and last long. The Spanish variety is also popular because it is fast-growing and grows taller and wider and has better tasting, larger black berries than the white variety. But they are hard to come by, because only a few of the berries contain viable seeds. During February many branches of this variety were planted in fertile and moist soil and many of them sprouted leaves. Experience will show whether or not they will take root and therefore can be propagated by cuttings like the white mulberry trees. Last year I had branches of Spanish mulberry trees grafted onto the ordinary variety, but they all died.
Sunday, March 22. When I visited Mrs. N. yesterday afternoon on her plantation I found her with her book, passing her time pleasantly with reading and praying in her husband’s absence; the husband regards this as a neglect of her household duties. Since God started the work of conversion in her, she likes to spend a good deal of time on spiritual exercises. Because of this, however, she has to suffer somewhat from her worldly-minded husband. I told her that she could show her Christianity also in obedience towards her husband and in attending conscientiously to her household chores; she could think of God while working; then her husband would be convinced most effectively that her Christianity was no threat to his homelife, but rather an advantage. I also told her something of the pious maiden in the midst of popery of whom the blessed Mr. Scriver tells in his Soul Treasure11. Her hard service did not allow for any special outward spiritual exercises, rather, while working physically, she thought of her dear Savior constantly and thanked him most heartily for His great love.
Monday, March 23. Because we do not have any schoolhouses yet in town or on the plantations we keep school during summers partly in our churches, and partly in Mr. Lemke’s and my house. In winter we move from the Jerusalem Church into the orphanage and on the plantations into the houses of Steiner and Brandner, both from Salzburg. There, as well as in other places, the children enjoy the warmth. In my mind I am ready, with God’s help, to put an end to this moving back and forth of the school. We now have boards, lumber, and shingles and from the Society I hope to receive soon the fifteen pounds Sterling which certain dear benefactors outside Germany have donated to us. With this money a spacious schoolhouse, with two rooms, shall be built in town, as soon as I can get the men to start construction.
Our dear God will, in His good time, take care also of the school needed on the plantations. Although this sizable contribution was originally intended for another useful building, since it did not arrive before the spring and a solution was found in the other matter, we will go ahead and build our schoolhouse with it as planned.
Tuesday, March 24. Widow /Christina/ Müller’s youngest daughter /Maria Magdalena/ caused her mother great sadness by her disobedience. She told me of it in tears. I remonstrated with the daughter in her mother’s presence and instructed her on the sin of disobedience. I quoted the third chapter Sirach to her; and God’s grace allowed her to recognize her sin and to repent and she asked forgiveness of me and her mother. Later I learned that she was prostrate and showed several signs of remorse. She is among the children of whom I have high hopes that they, after the present generation is gone, will live piously in Ebenezer. Her mother, who earnestly and seriously employs all means of Salvation, instructs her well in all that is good in Christianity and in the proper running of a household. The daughter is kept in strict discipline, which she will appreciate as a great benefit only later, once she has reached maturity and full reason.
Wednesday, March 25. During this time of the Passion we do not concern ourselves with texts from the Old Testament, but with the text of all texts, the gospel according to John. We study, section by section, the description of the bitter Passion and death of our most dearly beloved Savior and Christ who blesses us all. Our sermons Sunday mornings are also on this same topic; and, instead of the usual concluding and introductory verses, the regular gospel is used for our edification. Our merciful God grants me to feel His gracious aid most richly in this and He blesses my heart with this dear Gospel of man’s reconciliation; and I hope He will bless other hearts, too, so that they may clearly recognize their sins and His anger earned by such sinning as well as the precious reconciliation and redemption through Christ. May they learn to accept willingly the order of grace and salvation, in which sinners receive reconciliation, through the effects of the Holy Spirit’s grace.
Thursday, March 26. Schäffler’s three year old son, whom he begot in his marriage to the late widow Ernst, lay sick for a long time and has now died. God has sent much misery to Schäffler so far, but he recognizes that God has his best interest at heart.12 At the funeral service we made good use of the fourth contemplation contained in the beautiful book by Senior Urlsperger for the sick and dying, which deals with being a good patient.13 God allowed me to derive much benefit from this. It is a topic which is not only extremely timely just now during the Passion but also applies to the various sufferings and tribulations to which our community is subjected. A pious woman, who finds much edification and spiritual nourishment in this book, said to me recently that there were so many important thoughts contained in its observations, prayers, and songs that she wished all members of our community were familiar with this book.
Friday, March 27. This spring several men from our community tried again, on foot and on horseback, to bring back to our herd some cattle which ran off a few years ago into the lowlands behind Abercorn, which are densely overgrown with cane. As in previous attempts, they were completely unsuccessful again. These cattle, which ran wild, have increased in number significantly during the past thirteen years; and not only the Lord Trustees, but also our community and others who live in this colony and the district from Savannah to Mount Pleasant and who have lost some heads for some years can lay a claim to these unbranded cows, steers, and calves. Our people are harmed most by this because, when their cattle wander off into this area, it is either impossible or very difficult to bring them back again. The Lord Trustees and other rich people who own large herds do not feel the loss as keenly as we do. Others probably shoot a few head, which, however, is against the wishes of the authorities and against one’s conscience, and which none of our people would do. Others own very good horses for rounding up their cattle; and we lack these also.
Monday, March 30. Old /Theobald/ Kieffer in Purysburg, who had lived with his family here in Ebenezer for some time, bought three Negroes, or black male slaves, motivated by desires mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:9. He had to incur debts for this purchase and suffered great loss from it, serving our people as a warning. One of the slaves drowned himself, another one died, and the third ran away in winter and the cold and wet afflicted his legs to such an extent that they will have to be amputated. Finally, he sold him for the price of a cow, but it also died. Because this Kiefer is so old and in such great need, his son, who is quite well-to-do and who is still living here, lent him some money in order to buy another Negro together with a woman; they work both on the plantation in Purysburg and also on his plantation across from us in Carolina.
These Negroes begot a boy; and father and son desire that I baptize the child, which they adopted and intend to raise as their own in a true Christian manner. The Negro, as father, would like to see this happen also. On the condition that old Kieffer and his son give their promise that the child would not change hands and that they would see to it that the child was raised as a Christian, I could not and wished not refuse Holy Baptism to the child. Since, however such a practice is somewhat unusual in our community, I instructed my listeners in our repetition hour yesterday; namely, that one may not deny baptism, the means to rebirth and the right to enter Christ’s kingdom of grace to heathens or children of other disbelievers, when they come into the power of Christians and remain in such. I proved this by quoting Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” And further: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”
I offered more proof from Genesis 17, where God commands that even purchased servants and their children be made part of the Holy Sacrament of Circumcision, and thus of God’s covenant. I also mentioned what we were told by Saint Augustine how several pious and noble ladies bought small children from heathens and disbelievers in order to lead them toward our Lord Christ through Holy Baptism in their tender youth.
Just now we have frequent mention in Christ’s Passion of how our dear and precious Savior had suffered from Jews and heathens and thus had assumed mankind’s sins. He reconciled the whole world with God and earned for everyone God’s kingdom and all treasures of grace: and in accordance with His kindness and wisdom He granted God’s all-encompassing grace and love and His own all-encompassing benefaction not only to adults, but also to children through special means of grace, for example, Holy Baptism, which He Himself ordained. He calls out on the cross, breathlessly: “Look unto me and be saved all ends of the earth.”
This morning, at the Jerusalem Church, the Act of Baptism was celebrated solemnly. Our schoolchildren, and some other people were present, as well as the father of the child, at his own request. We proceeded, as we usually do among ourselves at children’s baptismal ceremonies, according to the edifying ritual prescribed by the London German Chapel.14 Only this exception was made that the child was referred to as heathen child when it was mentioned during the baptismal readings and prayers. Likewise the baptismal witnesses, who, as proxies for the child, abjure the devil, all his works, and his nature and confirm as representatives of the child its belief in God and the Holy Trinity and its desire to be baptised in this faith, were addressed as follows:
This child shall not only at the present time but also later, when it has gained in years and reason, be guided towards the Lord through proper instruction; and, because its heathen parents are incapable of doing so, this charitable and Christian duty will devolve upon you as its Christian baptismal witnesses. Therefore, I ask you before God whether or not you are willing, as long as you shall live and as much as possible before your own departure from this world, to see to it that this child, who is now to be baptized as you have asked, shall be raised in a Christian manner and shall be instructed from God’s word to lead, by God’s grace, such a life as is warranted by Holy Baptism. If this is your expressed will, answer clearly ‘Yes’.
The baptismal witnesses were: Old Kieffer, his son, and Maria Kieffer, young Kieffer’s wife. They agreed joyfully to aid this child on its path to eternal salvation inasmuch as God would grant them sufficient grace and wisdom. I prayed to God in church yesterday, and today before the baptism in Kieffer’s house, that He may fulfill in this child what He had said in the parabel of the leaven regarding the nature of God’s kingdom and its increase, which progressed secretely, unnoticed and often by humble tools, not unlike a discarded piece of leaven. Matthew 13:33. On this occasion I remembered the blessed Mr. Aaron in East India, whom God also turned into a blessed tool among his people.15 There the following occurred to me: “Despise it not, for there is a blessing in it.”
Friday, April 3. Kogler from the sawmill told me that three Englishmen from Savannah arrived two days ago in order to have some work done at the mills and also to take a look at them at the same time. A short while ago they moved into this colony from Virginia, and their plantations are on the Ogeechy River. One of them is quite a skilled builder who is familiar with the construction of mills, and he commented on our mills and his knowledgeable and Christian opinion of them was highly complimentary. The same man mentioned that C**s,1 together with another drifter, Fr. B*ck, and a German shoemaker, had shown up at his place in Virginia and that the three of them had traveled on to Pennsylvania. He had pretended to own several thousand acres of land near Savannah Town, for which he wanted German settlers. That was the reason, he said, that he was on his way to Germany via Pennsylvania. He had also told this man many good things about Ebenezer and our mills. May God cause this poor man to repent before His terrible judgment overtakes him.
Saturday, April 4. A wheatfield was shown to me on the land of the Salzburger Gschwandel; this wheat is the best that has been planted here so far. It is quite high, the stalks are strong, and the plants are starting to come into ear. Wheat on other fields by comparison is hardly more than one foot above the ground. Other crops look promising, also. Our people plant wheat and rye usually shortly before Christmas or a few days or weeks thereafter; because we don’t get any snow here they are afraid that, if they did their sowing any earlier, the seeds and seedlings could be killed by one of the major frosts, which we do get.
Another consideration against sowing and planting during late fall was that their wheat might blossom and come into ear too early the following spring, when hard night frosts might damage or destroy the plants. Now, however, Gschwandel’s wheat showed these fears to be unfounded. He sowed it at the end of August and, although it seemed that the extreme cold during the winter had destroyed it, the following spring showed that only its leaves were damaged superficially, but not the roots; to the contrary, it made the plants stronger in the spring. The ears did not sprout too early either; this is happening just now after all danger of frost has passed. One of the Salzburgers said to me: “In two matters are we to be punished: first that we refused to plant our wheat as General Oglethorpe had instructed us regarding the time of sowing; namely, at the end of August or the beginning of September (because he quoted from the Columella2 that our wheat had to have duos soles, or two suns); and second, that we did not plant mulberry trees as he instructed and encouraged us. Now we can see the loss.
Sunday, April 5. After her husband’s blessed departure from this world, widow Graniwetter has had to endure various hardships on her plantation, which, generally speaking, is otherwise in good order. Her two children are still small, a circumstance which makes fieldwork and regular attendance of public service difficult for her. This causes her considerable conflict and sadness. One of her hired help, a young boy who otherwise is a good worker, has been suffering from problems with his feet for the past two weeks. I am greatly troubled by her difficulties, as well as by those of other widows; and I hope that our all-powerful and merciful God will be mindful also of this beautiful promise of Christ: “If the poor man cries out unto me I shall hear him, for I am merciful.”
Tuesday, April 7. I visited widow Graniwetter’s hired lad on his sickbed. I quoted the little verse: “Call upon me in the day of trouble” and reminded him of his earlier misdeeds, lies, and other sins, which he will have to recognize and regret sincerely and for which he will have to ask our dear God’s forgiveness in Christ’s name. He will have to strengthen his faith if help for body and soul shall be forth coming. I also showed him how he could confide in God, simply, as others have done, confess the miseries of his body and soul, and await help patiently.
Widow Graniwetter told me that, in her tribulations, our dear Lord reminded her often and, seemingly directly from heaven, of the remarkable words which she recalled in her heart during sicknesses while fully aware of her sins: “I shall not forsake thee as long as ye remain faithful in your love unto me”. She strives to understand this fully and asked me to guide her in her efforts to fulfill this duty of loving her Lord. She arrived at this conclusion: Since God has not deserted her so far in the tribulations of her soul and her conscience, which are much more severe than physical miseries, He would not desert her now in her present physical trouble and sadness. Some time ago, on the way to church, I had reminded her of this, and she had asked God to give her a sign in church and to instruct her in the meaning of these words, which were in her thoughts constantly, so that she could fulfill her duty in loving her Lord. To her great joy and edification, this has happened indeed, for in church we sang the song: Sey getreu in deinem Leiden, etc.3
Friday, April 10. This morning, at three o’clock, I left Savannah and arrived at Ebenezer healthy and happy at noon. On Wednesday, shortly before I left on this trip, I felt a fever coming on: however, our dear God let it take a benevolent course. In Savannah a short letter from Mr. Verelst was waiting for me. In it he notifies me that some time ago a large and a small chest arrived for us from Germany; both chests had been sent on to the governor in South Carolina. The chests were brought here by Kiefer’s boat and delivered to me. There was no letter included, only a shipping notice. Our merciful God be thanked also for this blessing, which He sent to us in these lean times when clothing and other things become more and more expensive. However, I would have treasured a letter from our dear Fathers in Europe or from our esteemed friend, Mr. Albinus.
Saturday, April 11. The skillful and hard-working N. fell suddenly dangerously ill; and because Mr. /Ludwig/ Meyer, whom he usually consults, felt poorly himself, he was moved from his plantation to the orphanage. God affects this man’s conscience deeply with sicknesses; he humbles himself before God, weeps and cries out to Christ for help. As several times before, he has the best intentions for the future: afterwards, however, he usually slides back into indolence and lack of faith. May God strengthen his heart this time right properly!4
Sunday, April 12. Yesterday afternoon the two chests were brought into my house; and, since the lid of the smaller chest was broken in many places, I had it unpacked as soon as possible. It contained books which were given to our community probably by several benefactors from Switzerland. We plan to use those books in accordance with the praiseworthy intentions with which they were given if our dear God grants us sufficient wisdom and strength. Since our community is not lacking in good books, we will joyfully share this beautiful gift with other good people in this country, as we have done in the past. The aforementioned chest contained two kinds of books: namely, Part One of the catechistic Childrens’ Bible by Pastor Abraham Kyburz, and a spiritual Flower Garden by an anonymous author.5 There were thirty copies of the former and ninety-four of the latter.
It seems that a few books, before they reached our hands, had been pulled out by unkind people. There were two boy’s shirts, made of strong handwoven linen, at the side of the chest to fill up the space. There was no inventory included; also, this chest of books was never mentioned in any of our letters from Europe. May God be praised for His goodness, through which He remembers us and blesses us. May He bless also our known and unknown benefactors abundantly!
Monday, April 13. We count, and most justifiably so, the large chest from Augsburg, which was unpacked today, among the blessings which our dear Savior earned for us on the Cross and which He bestowed on us so unexpectedly. It contained not only uncut white linen, bed, and table linen, a large and a small pillow, childrens’ clothing, black and striped uncut linen and other useful things, but also beautiful books and treatises; we have much occasion to praise God for these gifts and to pray for our dear known and unknown benefactors, especially in these lean times.
The large chest and the one we unpacked yesterday had not been mentioned by anyone; we did hope that the chest from Halle, which was sent to Mr. Lemke and which, a year ago, was in the possession of dear Senior Urlsperger would be the first to reach us. We are still waiting for it; and we pray God that He may send us this chest as safely and as undamaged as He sent us these two chests. The Schauer’s balm contained in the second chest and that which was sent in the chest from Augsburg is likewise a very pleasant gift.6 God be praised for everything!
Tuesday, April 14. From Christ’s Passion, John 19:23, we learned and were thereby instructed and consoled in these times of need that our dear Savior and Christ, who blesses us all, knew how those feel who are very poor and suffer the lack of clothes. Our Savior suffered and was tempted and, as a merciful highpriest, He can help those who are tempted so that they may follow His example and be patient, be content with what God sends them, be calm at His wishes, and put their trust in God despite of all they lack. Hebrews 2:13. In His greatest poverty He did not forget His dear, poor mother, a widow, but took care of her most lovingly, and directly through the services of His disciple, who loved Him and who was loved by Him. He is still steadfast, just, pious, and faithful into all eternity; and, while He is on the throne of joy, just as when He suffered disgrace, He is a loving friend to those who sin (as well as to widows and poor people).
He proved this again, as often in the past, at the beginning of this years’s Passion Week because He awakened John and blessed loving people in Europe, especially in our dear Augsburg, people who, through His grace, come as His willing tools to the aid of our poor, especially of our widows and orphans, by sending their kind gifts in the aforementioned chests to us. In this sermon, I still remembered what we had read in church on Sunday, in sequence, from 1 Timothy 4 on the subject of Christian widows, about their good qualities, and about how to take care of them. I reread these lines aloud again on this occasion, and I commented upon the text for my listeners’ benefit. It is a remarkable word of the Lord: Psalm 3, “Honor widows that are widows in deed.”7 They have prayed and hoped with me so far: now they will be full of joy together with us and they will be encouraged in the praise of God and in heartfelt intercession. Those among us whose hearts are filled with goodness will be joyous on account of our Lord’s merciful care; and they will commend their own beloved ones to such a kind Lord in life and after death.
Wednesday, April 15. The esteemed Mr. Johann Brunnholz, whom we regard very highly, gave me much joy again by writing a short, but very lively, letter which was dated February the 24th. In it he mentions several letters which I had written to him in the past; from one of those he learned of the damage done to by the devious C**s with his cunning tricks and under the cover of God’s name. He consoles me heartily, quoting Romans 8:28 and Psalms 37:39-40. He also gives us the pleasant news that from the last few letters from Europe, they again recognize the love of our Lord of the Harvest, for Pennsylvania, namely, that two righteous men, Mr. Thomson and Mr. Handschuh, who had been a laborer in Salfeld,8 would be sent to aid His servants.
Dear Mr. Brunnholz is severely troubled by the heavy debts which he incurred through the construction of the two new churches in Philadelphia and Germantown. I know from experience how one feels who is in debt for the sake of his community. The construction of our mills, in which matter I was guided by the Lord Himself, after all, has put me deeply in debt. However, things will work out, even though so far neither I nor any other friends have been able to make the expected profits from the sawmill. The Lord’s word keeps reminding me: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.”. But it takes patience, too.
Thursday, April 16. In both Jerusalem Church and Zion Church we held our annual sermon on Holy Communion, as is customary among us on this so-called Maunday Thursday. In the afternoon we had the pleasant task of sorting through the charitable gifts which had arrived so that tomorrow, as soon as possible, they can be distributed in an orderly fashion and without undue haste to our widows and orphans, poor people, our schoolmaster, and several people who have assisted our community, as well as to some widows in the neighborhood. May God strengthen our faith by this latest demonstration of His fatherly care; may He lead us all to repentance and may He reward our dear benefactors in Augsburg and elsewhere in this pilgrimage richly for this and other kindnesses.
Good Friday, April 17. God be praised! Today, as in every year, we celebrated with many blessings this day of the suffering and the death of our great Highpriest, solemnly as a day of reconciliation of the New Testament. At the same time, Holy Communion was given to sixty people. In my opinion, not all of the children who had been preparing themselves for Holy Communion were as ready as they should be in theory and practice, to receive Holy Communion: Therefore, I had to postpone their confirmation and admission to the Lord’s Table. Just as last year, when our dear God granted us the joy of being able to distribute the edifying book by the blessed Ambrosius Wirth for Confession and Holy Communion to our entire community, so this year also we could partake of a similar joy.9
About thirty-nine people, our widows, orphans, and other dear persons, who had proved helpful to our community, received the charitable gifts which had arrived here at the beginning of Easter Week, namely, shirts, aprons, material for jackets and trousers, kelsch, bed linens, covers, childrens’ clothing, headwear, tablecloths, etc.; and therefore we distributed those items with joy and praise of God after our afternoon services. All members of our community, old and young, received edifying books and treatises, among those also two well-bound Erfurt Bibles. Just as the two dear men, Joseph and Nicodemus, as we heard this afternoon in the description of Christ’s burial, had wrapped the bare, holy body of Jesus out of love and faith for the Lord, our dear known and unknown benefactors did the same today for the destitute members of our community. May He let them hear these words of grace from His transfigured mouth: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Under these circumstances, I find the 8th verse of the instructive song about Christ’s burial especially impressive and blessed: Als Gottes Lamm und Löwe entschlagen und verschieden, and we benefit greatly from its example of Joseph and Nicodemus. Christ shall be honored now that He lies dead; we shall embalm and wrap Him and His poor limbs; and likewise, we shall clothe the naked and come to the aid of those who are forsaken.
Saturday, April 18. We have had no rain during the past few weeks: today, however, our merciful God refreshed our soil with it. Even in this we are strengthened in our hope that He will grant us various kinds of fruits of the field and a blessed harvest. May He allow us to accept His gifts and kindnesses with a humble, grateful, and obedient heart. May He never let us forget the dear price which our Lord Christ paid for our misuse of the gifts of God, which He gave to us for the purpose of our refreshment and daily sustenance; a fact which we pondered especially in yesterday’s reading of the Passion.
Sunday and Monday, April 19 and 20. God showed us much grace in these two days; we celebrated Holy Easter with reading, singing, praying, and the public preaching of the Divine Word on the victorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. At the conclusion of the festival all of us together praised our merciful God in the name of Jesus Christ in a public prayer hour; and we gave thanks for the great kindness which allowed us to enjoy the celebration in peace, solitude, good order, and pleasant weather.
Tuesday, April 21. Several people here are busy making silk, and the weather is very pleasant. So far we have not had any hot days: it is still tolerably warm during the days and tolerably cool at night. If it had been too hot during the time when the worms are about to start forming cocoons then there would not have been enough fresh air in the houses and rooms of our people; in other years the worms turned yellow and many died, very much to the disadvantage of the people. Today we sent our first silk to Savannah: I was told and shown this blessing, namely thirty-six pounds.
Wednesday, April 22. Our dear Mr. /Ludwig/ Meyer is suffering from various physical weaknesses; and, since his dear wife is also sick most of the time, he has a heavy cross to bear. May our merciful God strengthen him further. So far he was blessed and he has served our community in many cases very conscientiously with his beautiful gift and experience in the medical and surgical arts. He also used to instruct the children in our school each day for two hours; but now he thinks it necessary to stop the work at the school because his weak body would not be able to stand up any longer to such rigorous work. We and our community are indeed in need of his health and prolonged life; therefore we are quite willing to release him from his duties at the school as he requests. We wish most heartily for him to receive our Lord’s blessing for his soul and body for now and all eternity and to recompense him for his work and his love for our children and other people. May God send us a well suited person for the position of schoolmaster in town for our children’s benefit and also to help us with our various official duties.
Friday, April 24. The pious Mrs. N. had, for quite some time now, much to suffer from her husband, who was given to drinking. Today, however, she came to me at the Zion Church and thanked me formally for my efforts to stop this vice as well as the various unpleasantness resulting from it, in which matter God gave me his blessing. Her husband was a musician in Salzburg and he was a hard-drinking man in Germany, too, so that drinking became a habit with him. I expressed my joy concerning this outward change and gave him to understand that, if he would continue to conduct his life in an orderly manner and if I received sufficient proof of his change for the better, that I would be happy to contribute something to his food supplies and for his household.
Saturday, April 25. Yesterday afternoon our dear Father in heaven brought us a great joy. Major Horton not only wrote to me most kindly after a long period of silence and that is earnestly starting payment for his four hundred boards, barley, and other things he received from Ebenezer, but he also sent me a package of letters which had arrived for me from London. Mr. Verelst wrote me very kindly and assured me of his good will and assistance in our affairs as well as those of the Lord Trustees. Dear Mr. von N.10 received the silk which was sent off last summer, together with a small box of souvenirs. I was somewhat shocked, however, to learn that he had to pay the extra postage for the latter. In the future, I will have to arrange the sending of our packages better. The letters from our most esteemed Senior Urlsperger, dear Mr. Albinus, and Mr. von Reck pleased us especially; we have to praise our merciful God for those most heartily and humbly. Also, a noble personage wrote to me in such an edifying and loving manner that I consider myself quite unworthy of such a favor. Praised be the Lord for His eternal goodness which he shows to our Ebenezer and which can be seen readily from the manifold gifts of love which have accumulated in the keeping of dear Senior Urlsperger.
Mrs. Balthasar Bacher met me yesterday on the road between the plantations and town and thanked me for the blessing which God had sent her yesterday through His words in the Zion Church. She gave her best wishes to me, God’s poor and most mortal tool. I pointed out to her, however, that all praise for the spiritual and physical benefactions which we derive through one of God’s tools belongs to God alone. She is well content despite her poverty and various tribulations; she considers herself quite unworthy even of minor blessings because of her previous life of sin, especially her disobedience towards her parents. She wishes only that the Lord may continue to provide for her soul. She also said that, since we blessed her home with God’s word, she could feel the Lord’s grace keenly.
Sunday, April 26. The worthy Mr. N. did us a favor, among other things, in that he reported to us the sad, but important, news of the oppressed circumstances of the Protestants in N. and N. The matter was brought before His Majesty, the King of N. and the Prince of N.; and it seems, to the advantage of our persecuted brethren in faith. Yesterday, in our evening prayer hour, we benefited from this news, with God’s grace; namely, first, in letting us know the spirit of persecution better and better; and, all of us, praise God with our hearts, with words, and with our conduct, for saving and protecting us from it, and, second, in letting us realize how much better off we are than our oppressed brethren in faith, since we live with God’s Holy word, the Holy Sacraments, and well-ordered services in both churches. Both of our schools are well established, we live in total religious freedom, and we can act freely and according to our conscience. We can be well content with what God provided for us, and we remember what some of us once promised our dear God that we would be glad to live in extreme poverty if only we could live with God’s pure word.
Third, we realize what great blessing it is that we Salzburgers had the freedom to emigrate, which others are not permitted to do, although they would have wished to leave, as we have heard several years ago; fourth, because of these sad tidings, we will most heartily and lastingly intercede for our oppressed and persecuted Evangelical Church. Also, we should be reminded not to misuse the priceless jewel of religious freedom and the freedom of conscience, as the ancient Israelites misused their manna and other great blessings, and in doing so be punished severely. Also, it is very important that we are not affected here by various schisms and disputes within our religion.
Monday, April 27. The captain of the fort or stronghold Mount Pleasant sent his Indian serf to me with a letter in which he asks for wheels made by our wheelwright. Frequently I have to waste time with such minor requests from other places, and such letters of unimportant content have to be answered, too. I can not afford to be short with strangers’ requests because such people could easily turn into enemies of our community. But, if those people do not get what they want exactly as they want it, then I am involved in unpleasantness. I try to deal with everybody, present or not, lovingly and with friendliness; and I disregard complaints. Our few craftsmen, such as shoemakers, wheelwrights, coopers, etc. can hardly keep up with the needs of our own community, let alone requests from others. After all, in addition to their craft, they also have to be farmers and tend to their fields and stock. There are too few craftsmen and farmers in our colony, and too many in Pennsylvania.
Tuesday, April 28. A very strong and very cold wind came on with the new moon, and it dried out even more the dessicated soil. If it were not so late in the spring, then this wind would bring us, as has happened in previous years, a severe frost, which would have damaged the young plants in our fields and gardens and the leaves of our mulberry trees. God knows what is best for us! This shall always be our motto: “Whatever God wishes, that shall be my pleasure.”11
Wednesday, April 29. The people in Germany are told quite clearly, before they are admitted as colonists for Georgia, that farming and raising stock are the foremost occupations in Ebenezer. A few, after living here for a while and after accepting support from the Lord Trustees and our community, become unwilling to continue with the work to which they are not much used: so they sell their plantation and their animals and other things they have gained here and use this money to finance their move to Pennsylvania, which shows how ungrateful these people are and how they disregard God, His blessings, His care and His provisions.12
It should be made a rule that only farmers and craftsmen could come here. It drained the financial resources of the Lord Trustees significantly that, when this colony was founded and for a few years following, Englishmen and Frenchmen, who were either bad craftsmen, bad merchants, drifters, or ignorant of farming and also lacking the will, strength, or ability to work hard, were sent here, supplied for several years with food, and aided in building up their herds and establishing their farms. Those people accepted support willingly enough, but worked little or not at all in return. As a result, they finally fell into poverty and gave this area a bad reputation by leaving or writing letters of complaint. Also, the finances of the Lord Trustees were such that it became impossible to aid those of the emigrants who worked steadily and hard.
Soon, some arrived who planned to establish plantations such as they existed in the Carolinas and wanted to work their land either with laborers whom they had brought with them or employed here, but paying them the same amount of money as was paid to Negroes. The workers, however, either died, or ran away, or were set free; and such settlers got poorer instead of richer. They came to the conclusion that the land could not be worked except with Negroes; but it never had been the intention of the Lord Trustees that this border colony should be turned into an opportunity for such plantation owners, but rather a refuge for poor, hard-working people who would eat their bread by the sweat of their brow.13 Colonies do exist in America within the English territory where Negroes are allowed, and so our area could well be spared this. It is also a great shame that our community has lost all the children who were born here in the beginning and who would be by now twelve or thirteen years old and could be of some help to their parents in many ways, all died.14
Thursday, April 30. Bruckner, a Salzburger, has been suffering for several years now from various physical afflictions. However, since both he and his wife fear God in their heart, they learned the truth of the saying: “They who fear the Lord shall not want any good thing.” Although the husband is not able to do any hard work at all, they nevertheless do not complain of their poverty, rather, they praise the Lord for blessing their household. Today I gave them some advice on how to improve their diet and certain other things, which they took as a sign that God had heard their prayers, since they had asked His advice in just these things and had been content to leave matters in His care. It is quite to their advantage that, a few years ago, they planted white mulberry trees. Making silk is an easy and pleasant work for them, which this time is going to bring them at least two pounds Sterling profit. On one of the roads at the plantations I met a young girl who was carrying a little box to town on her head. It contained twelve pounds silk, and she herself had done most of the necessary work.
Friday, May 1. Today Public Court was held in Savannah, as is customary every quarter. Since Col. Stephens wanted me to come for various reasons, I made the trip in our large boat, in God’s name. I shall stay here through Sunday to preach and to hold Holy Communion for the German people of our faith here, if God will give me the necessary grace and strength. I had to take our large boat this time in order to make it easier and less expensive for our people to bring their silk to town. Last week thirty-six pounds were sent; then another one hundred-seventy-two pounds raw silk, which had been cleaned carefully of the woolly fibers which the worms produce at first, were transported in my boat to Savannah so that the Lord Trustees could dispose of it. May God be praised for this great blessing! How pleased the Lord Trustees, our kind authority in this country, would be, if all cultivated land and plantations had made a start in silk production, which proves to be so useful.
Many Germans live around Savannah, especially in two places: Acton and Vernonburg. But I did not hear that they planted mulberry trees or intended to start manufacturing silk. At the moment, the Lord Trustees pay for one pound raw silk: (which is two ounces less in weight than the German pound);1 a woman by herself or an older girl could, if there were enough trees nearby, easily process forty to fifty pounds raw silk; which, after all, is a sizable profit. However, most people are too lazy to do it! It is a pity that we do not have more mulberry trees in Ebenezer.
Saturday, May 2. Today, I traveled with a guide to visit German settlers on the White Bluff, called Vernonburg.2 There, the people from Vernonburg, others from neighboring districts, and even some men and women, feeble from sickness, gathered, willing and eager to listen to the words of grace which I preached on a short, but very important text: “Peace be with you.” God gave His blessing to these souls, who were as hungry for God’s grace as dried out earth is for a refreshing shower of rain. I noticed this both during my sermon from their tears as well as later from their own testimony. In Savannah I prepared some of the people who live here and others from near-by plantations for Holy Communion and confession, using as text the 23rd Psalm. To my joy I heard that the older population, for whom I had carried out my office for several years, abandoned their old prejudice and dislike of me, as if I had been too hard on them in my preaching, and feel now all the more love for me.
Sunday, May 3. Many Germans are physically weak and will not be able to come to town in order to listen to my preaching and to take part in Holy Communion: They have asked me, therefore, to give my sermon and to hold Holy Communion in the village Acton, which lies between Savannah and Vernonburg. I was most willing to oblige them and travelled there in the morning with a guide, as soon as was possible; several Germans from town had arrived there, also. I chose the beginning verses of the 23rd Psalm for my introduction: “The Lord is my shepherd.” For my text I used the beautiful gospel passages: John 10-12 ff. about Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, and I made good use of this welcome opportunity to preach on the goodness which flows into us poor sinners through Christ’s threefold office of intercession and through which we are drawn towards Him, so that each and everyone can say from his own experience: “Lord! It is good to be here.” It was, however, not easy to give a sermon in the assembly house we were in, a former barn, and it was not really a proper place for holding Holy Communion; however, our dear God gave me the strength to conduct the services in good order and to the edification of everyone present.
A young preacher, Mr. Zübli, was also there; he and his family showed me much loving care.3 He held a sermon and prayer meeting one hour after our services had concluded. I was asked for good books several times by Reformed people and members of our faith; I gave them some, and I plan to send some more in the near future. Some items they wanted, I do not have, for instance, Bibles, Arndt’s Christianity, or the Treasure Chest.4 God clearly blessed them in what good books I had given to them as presents in previous years and which they had exchanged among each other.
In the evening the people from town gathered for a prayer hour; we made good use of the beautiful song: Ihr armen Sunder kommt zu Hause etc., which impresses upon us who we are, who Christ is, and which is the right path to Him and salvation.
Monday, May 4. Already on Friday, I had taken care, to the best advantage of our community, of the matters that required conferring with the President and other members of the Council.5 Therefore I was able to leave Savannah early this morning, around nine o’clock. Wind and water were fine, and I reached home healthy and happy under God’s guidance, together with Mr. /Ludwig/ Meyer, via Habercorn (or, as it is actually pronounced by the English, Abercorn).6 My dear colleague, his family, and mine, we all, to our mutual delight, are healthy; and our community’s affairs are in good order.
Mr. Verelst’s last letter to President Col. Stephens had the pleasant effect that he and other council members were quite willing, 1) to deliver to our people who arrived with the last transport all pigs and chickens or poultry that we have not yet received; 2) to reimburse one of my friends in Savannah for the money I had borrowed from him for last year’s silk; 3) Also, they promised to pay as soon as possible for this year’s silk. I requested their assistance also in another matter and found them willing and helpful. They plan to continue with the construction of their church this year; and they intend to buy from our sawmill the boards necessary for the inside panelling, the flooring, and for their pews. No firm order was placed, however.
Wednesday, May 6. We have not had any rain for quite some time now, the soil is therefore rather dried out. In some of the fields the wheat is starting to turn rusty; the same thing happened two years ago, and it is doing considerable damage to our poor farmers. However, plenty of rain must have fallen elsewhere, because water level of the river first rose quickly, and then fell again quickly. Clouds formed several times and thunder could be heard, but it did not rain here. The Lord will give us all in His good time; and, since we turn to Him in our need, He will no doubt give to us what is good and beneficial. The weather is fine for the barley harvest though; our barley is now being cut and brought in. The miller told me that last week and this week he milled new barley for Eigel, who had run out of flour for baking bread, and that the flour had been of very good quality.
Thursday, May 7. This morning our miraculous and merciful God consoled me in my distress, namely, that I wish I could aid our poor, hard-working, and pious people with advice and assistance, but can not. I took heart unexpectedly upon reading from Schinmeier’s Treasure Chest7 and I became quite hopeful again that, after enduring our tribulations, all will be well with us here in Ebenezer. The dear words which gave me such blessing are contained in the aforementioned booklet, namely, in Part One, p. 150; Matthew 7:7-8: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
It would not be surprising, and it should well be, that a Christian pray to God and not forsake Him, since He so graciously listens and speaks to us without interruption and says, “Ask, see, knock,” Oh, if we were only so diligent in praying (at least with sighs from the heart as God is in inciting, alluring, commanding, promising, and compelling us to prayer. Alas, we are too lazy and ungrateful. May God forgive us and strengthen our faith, Amen!
The wheat of some of our farmers, which was planted before Christmas, is turning rusty, and the wheat grains are staying small; our people call that “mildew.” Gschwandel’s wheat, however, which, as I mentioned earlier, was planted early in the fall, stands better than any other wheat crop in our area has ever done before. All the ears were full of grain before the great heat and drought set in; now it will be ready for harvesting soon. This is beginning to convince our farmers that the wheat is not being ruined by either the soil, climate, weather, or (as they think) by poisonous dew, but mostly by untimely planting and the lack of proper care for the fields.
The same is true, I think, of our fields of Indian corn, which were planted by plow in the little pine forest and which are weeded regularly; it stands very well while other fields on very rich clay soil, which were planted by hoe because of the numerous branches and roots, are almost completely dried out. This obvious experience, which we could observe now over several years, will shame those who used to say bad things about the pine forest and sinned thereby. A few farmers got some Veesen or spelt and planted them with their wheat. They have not yet come into ear and probably will also have to be planted in the fall, which, however, will not be possible this year. Our Fathers, friends, and benefactors have to be informed about everything here so that they may use this knowledge to their advantage before God and men. Therefore I see no reason not to include these things in my diary.
Friday, May 8. This afternoon several of our people were paid again thirteen pounds, nine shillings, and one and one-half pence for silk which they had sent to Savannah; altogether one hundred-thirty-four pounds and nine ounces. This money also was distributed under prayers and the praise of God. Two young girls have been very busy since yesterday in spinning some of the silk in order to gain more practice and experience in this useful skill; the machine which was put up on our farm last year is well suited for this task. This year, compared to last year, the spinning of the silk is being accomplished much quicker and more successfully; the person who tried it first last year is getting especially good at it.
Saturday, May 9. By coincidence I learned that certain married couples and neighbors are not at peace with each other; therefore their prayers, Christianity, and daily progress in their households suffer. God does not bless disorder; and sin, where it is rampant, is (not only is going to, but really already is) in a very real sense people’s undoing. We had a hearty talk; I pointed out to them that outward manifestations of sinning are signs of an evil inward attitude and explained to them the necessity of a genuine change of heart. I also made some suggestions as to how they should behave towards each other, according to God’s will and the command of His Word, if they should partake of the three beautiful things, which please God and people well: Sirach 25:1-2. They took it all well.
Tuesday, May 12. A German good-for-nothing from Vernonburg, who had taken service in the fortress at Savannah Town, abandoning his wife and children, came to me. He told me of his bad luck and of his miraculous salvation by God. According to him, he had obtained permission to visit his family and got lost in the woods for a few days. Finally, an Indian gave him a boat, in which he intended to come here: however, dangerous currents in the river brought him to a spot where several accidents had happened in the past; he was caught in the thick branches of a tree, which jutted out of the water, and had to spend eight days there, unable to either reach the bank or to free his boat, living off a few pieces of biscuit. He would have perished if God had not arranged it for some men from our community to come along there yesterday in order to collect honey from certain trees; they freed him with great effort and danger to them all and brought him here. He left today and joined a party going down to Savannah. This man was at first Catholic, then half Reformed; then he joined the Herrnhuters. Finally he turned towards our church, used the means of salvation diligently, and led an orderly life. Afterwards he went to Charleston together with a German shoemaker and enlisted in the army for three years.
Wednesday, May 13. It still pleases God Almighty to keep the heavens shut and closed so that rain can not fall. Thunder could be heard in the distance A few times and clouds formed so that we hoped for rain; but the wind drove the clouds away again each time. We implore our merciful God in this time of great drought to water our furrows, to wet our plowed land, to make it soft with rain, and to bless our plants. Our dear people will have a poor wheat harvest this year. Because of the ongoing drought, just as two years ago, the stalks turned rusty, and the wheat grains themselves stayed very small. We don’t know yet how our rye and other European crops will turn out. The barley stands well: but people did not plant as much of it as last year. People were worried that what had happened earlier might repeat itself; namely, that late frosts killed most of their barley.
This spring plenty of Indian corn was planted by plow; in these fields the plows are also used to cultivate the soil and to keep it free from weeds; the ground is well suited for this and only one horse is necessary for such work. Indian corn, as well as beans and squash, usually grow very well; nor is as much time for harvesting and thrashing needed as is for European crops. For these reasons our people will most likely start to prefer these crops; especially since they realize that planting and weeding by plow is much easier, quicker, and more advantageous than using the hoe, which our people used mainly in the beginning. It must have rained heavily at other places, because the water level of our river, which was quite low, is starting to rise again.
Thursday, May 14. An English woman in our neighborhood asked to have her daughter instructed in reading and other things and wanted to board her with us for that reason. The good people have no idea how busy we are; for that reason I cannot instruct even my own children in English and other things as thoroughly as I might wish. We could use an English schoolmaster with a talent for teaching and a Christian heart: so that by and by all our people and our youngsters could learn the English language well. If anything here has to be written in English, and there are many such trifling matters, people come to me with it; the same happens when something written in English arrives here or if Englishmen come to us; this increases my duties a great deal. But I do not complain about this, because our dear God gives us strength and aids us in all things.
My dear colleague, who assists me willingly in many things, will be in charge of the mills from now on, managing them and doing the accounts. This eases my workload somewhat. Things do work out by people working together, after all. If only our dear God could send us a righteous schoolmaster who likes children and who could instruct them well and also keep the right balance between school and work. If the children have to spend too much time going to school, they cannot help their parents with their work as is necessary, and this would cause problems, since people here have no servants. They have other opportunities also, to obtain a sound foundation in their Christianity, namely, through sermons and reading their catechism, as well as weekly preachings and prayer hours, in which a good deal of catechism is taught. We have in our public meetings our sheep and our lambs always before us. The older children also receive more instruction while they are preparing themselves for Holy Communion.
Friday, May 15. After the weekly sermon in Zion Church young /Georg/ Meyer’s wife had someone ask me to come and see her in order to talk about her present spiritual condition, which she did under many tears. It pleases our dear Savior to bow her down mightily under His cross; this, however, as she knows from experience, is for her own good, for her soul’s salvation. A short time ago He assured her through His word and spirit anew and most emphatically of His precious grace and the hope for everlasting life; but at the same time He wanted to prepare her for more grief and tribulations.
At my previous visit I had left her with the beautiful words: “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer.” Psalms 40. Our dear God blessed these words for her and consoled her; for that reason I had to go over them again. Her mistakes are making her wise. Another young woman told me also that the cross of her marriage is more beneficial to her than the previous good days.
Our dear God has given me not only the strength and the time, but also the means to write a few long, but hopefully not useless, letters to the esteemed Mr. von N. and to a few others of our dear known and unknown benefactors in Europe: I put them together into a package with letters to S. U.8 and Doctor Francke, as well as a letter to Mr. Verelst. I also included in this package a little box containing white and yellow spun silk, so that Mr. Harris can send all this to London.
Sunday, May 17. This morning, as well as last Thursday, God refreshed our soil with such rain as we had been wishing for. Our people are working with eagerness and devotion for themselves and their neighbors; and it is a great joy for me and a source of praise for God when I see how they work not in vain, so it seems, but rather thrive under God’s blessing. The rain did not deter them from coming to our public services, in which our loving God granted us much edification.
A young woman from Salzburg, who loves our Lord Jesus with all her heart, was rather hard on her young neighbors after learning that something was amiss in their household. Although she meant well and tried to move them to seeing and acknowledging their wrong and to repent before God, she set in her words and gestures no good example either for these young people, who had come to her in a neighborly and right Christian frame of mind, or for their parents, either. I could not condone her behavior, because it is against the example and blessed teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ, who praises those who are peaceful and those who make peace with others and who admonishes His apostles as follows: “Keep peace with all men”; also, this exhortation applies: “Let your light so shine before men,” etc.
What the blessed Friend of Man said in seriousness and friendliness to the two, who got carried away although they also thought they had the right on their side, is written down in Luke 9:55–56 in order to instruct us. After these dear people realized their mistake, there were many tears and much praying; and our dear Father in heaven answered their prayers so that all ended for the best and in Christian peace between her and the two aforementioned neighbors, as she reported to me yesterday with great joy and praise of God. She learned her lesson also from the blessed Luther’s exegesis of today’s epistle James 1:19-21.
Tuesday, May 19. This year God gave his special blessing to silkmaking, and therefore our people have been encouraged to devote their time to this useful enterprise. Today the last batch silk was delivered for spinning and I wrote down the entire amount we made: Four hundred and thirty pounds. We sold three hundred and sixty-six pounds and seven ounces to the Lord Trustees’ silk filature in Savannah for thirty-six pounds twelve shillings and ten and one-half pence Sterling. We kept sixty-three pounds and nine ounces here for spinning, and we will soon finish with it. The silk which was spun by two young women here is of varying quality because it had been intended to experiment with different methods of spinning in order to gain more experience. However, the quality of the silk balls which people received towards the end of the silkmaking was not the best, at least not as good as the first balls we made. Therefore, spinning off those proved more difficult; but, in our opinion, our spun silk turned out quite well and we hope that the Lord Trustees, to whom it will be sent, will be pleased. Also, as I had requested several times in the past, I hope that they will indicate to us blemishes in this silk and advise us as to improving the quality.
Some silk strands consist of eight to ten threads, some however of four threads, and we shall see which will be preferred. Out of lack of experience as well as of better opportunity, our people produced some doubled silk: two or even three worms were spun in one ball, which does not give them any profit but causes loss for our buyers. Because this kind of silk is not only coarse and impure, it is also difficult to spin and takes probably twice as much time to do as pure silk would take. Our spinning women have to gain experience in this also, and this silk as well was sent to the Lord Trustees for their evaluation. Silk worms are almost like sheep in that everything about them is useful.
In addition to the silk, very fine wool can be made from the material with which they cover their ball-shaped cocoons, and what is left after the spinning of that as the most coarse and of least quality can also be used instead of flax. The dead worms left in the containers are high grade chicken and duck feed, and there is plenty of them. Even the withered leaves and stalks left over from the worm’s feed, together with their droppings, supplies us with an excellent fertilizer for our gardens. During the last fourteen days alone, when the worms consume a great quantity of leaves day and night, this amounts to several large baskets and bags for people who make about fifty or sixty pounds of silk.
Last year the worms were killed by baking them in ovens, because they could not be spun off in time; this year however, those silkballs, where the worms were made to bite through, were placed on slate roofs at noon and left there for about three hours. After they were taken down they were put in empty barrels and covered very tightly, so that the worms suffocated quickly, even when they were protected by thick, double-layered silkballs. This is a much safer method to kill the worms and leave the silk undamaged than by baking the silkballs in ovens, as is done in Savannah. This area is in every respect extremely suitable for silkmaking, and our people regret it now that they did not all follow the repeated advice to plant mulberry trees. This is probably true for a few other things, too. What people were not used to seeing done and doing in their native country, they did not want to trouble themselves with here, which was their loss.
Wednesday, May 20. Some time ago a shipment of charitable gifts arrived from Halle for us, and we had the pleasure of experiencing our heavenly Father’s merciful care for us in this time of need and to praise humbly His goodness, which we do not deserve at all. Our loving Father in heaven gave us such joy through these gifts of love which he sent into the hands of Senior Urlsperger. We took heart and were consoled and strengthened not only because of these considerable gifts for our community’s different needs, but also because of the heartfelt and moving good wishes and the encouragement which were sent along at the same time. We shall use everything according to our most esteemed benefactors’ wishes and suggestions; for which task I pray to God for wisdom. May He accept our poor thanksgiving for this recent and special demonstration of His fatherly care in the name of Christ; may He answer our prayers for our esteemed known and unknown benefactors and reward them richly in this life and the next for all their gifts which they shower on Ebenezer.
Our most esteemed benefactors do not ask to receive any gratitude for their abundant gifts of love. Therefore they send their gifts to Augsburg and Halle without mentioning their names, which, however are well known to God. Nevertheless, frequently I wished, when I received their gifts, to thank them through a public letter of thanksgiving in my name and that of our community and to express to them, simply, and with an open heart, our wishes to God for His invaluable goodness on their behalf, as we are in the habit of doing. I was however unable to express myself to them properly, and not because of a lack of means but rather out of lack of ability and enterprise. Now, however, I have attempted it, and I intend to include in this package a simple, but well-meaning letter of gratitude and to send it to all of our most esteemed known and unknown benefactors in Europe, may our Lord bless them in His unending goodness!
Thursday, May 21. I went through the thorough and edifying Compendium of the Entire Christian Dogma, using the method of questions and answers, with the children on the plantations who are preparing themselves for Holy Communion.9 Our dear God assisted me insofar that I was able to finish at the beginning of this week. Our merciful God strengthened me in body and spirit for this task, which is so dear and useful to me and which I carry out for the older children and a few apprentices every Tuesday and Friday two hours before my weekly sermon. I have much cause to praise the Lord for His goodness, which I do not deserve at all.
The older children understood well the theoretical and practical truths of God’s word, after being taught the aforementioned material; and God allowed me to observe some of the fruits of my labor, both while I was teaching and later from the behavior of some of the children. They are all willing enough; their lives are well ordered, and they use the means of salvation eagerly both publicly and privately.
One of the boys, who had come up from Savannah,10 gave me much joy by his eagerness, attention, careful rereading, his prayers and pious conduct, as well as his affection for God fearing people and his eagerness in seeking their company. At holy Whitsuntide I hope to admit those children to confirmation and Holy Communion. A few gifted children from town will attend, too; these come to my house four times a week for instruction to prepare themselves and are also taught the aforementioned material. For the time being I will review all articles of faith with the children on the plantations summarily. In town, however, between now and Whitsuntide, with God’s help, I will continue to preach as much as possible on the blessings of grace, the means of grace, and the order of grace.
Friday, May 22. At the beginning of this week I wrote a letter to the Council in Savannah. In it, I asked for the speedy payment for our silk, for the surveying of the fertile land located on the Mill River towards Abercorn and across the Ebenezer River which was donated to us, and for the culling of a herd of wild cattle in a low-lying area. Also, in Mr. Lemke’s name, I inquired whether or not it was true that Germans had to serve longer than the three years stipulated in their contracts? Our esteemed friend, Mr. Albinus, wanted to know that because German servants, through Mr. Driessler, had complained about their contracts being broken. A friend to whom I had sent my letter so that he could deliver it personally wrote to me that the Members of the Council were meeting in Savannah, and that, if I came quickly, they could answer my letter right away. Therefore I traveled there immediately but found yesterday that they no longer were together for their meeting.
The President, Col. Stephens, had written a letter to me and sent it via Old-Ebenezer, so that I received it only on my way back. In it he writes that he presented my letter to the Council and that the Members wanted to discuss the various points raised in it before Captain Thomson left; however, since they could not discuss the details of my letter in my absence, they requested me to come to a meeting on Monday. After I delivered to my friend in Savannah the little box with our spun silk, together with the letters to Mr. Verelst, I and my Salzburger companion prepared to travel back and we arrived this morning around 8 o’clock at Zion Church, so that I can still teach school today, hold the usual weekly sermon, and baptize a child, which was born to Mrs. Hässler this morning.
On my way down I had been in some danger in the small boat (since taking the larger boat is more expensive and I do not wish to burden our community), for a strong wind was blowing towards us and night had fallen. Normally this wide stretch of the river is dangerous even without such difficulties. However, God aided us and, by combining our efforts, we reached the other side without mishap and were able to praise God’s protecting and blessing goodness. Because of the wind and the dark we did not want to proceed any further, and for a while we could not find a proper spot for landing the boat or finding a convenient shelter for the night. Finally, we reached a house where I bedded down on the hard floor and my companion stayed in the boat until daybreak. I slept on the floor with all my clothes on, with part of a chair and my traveling hat for a pillow, and, under my Savior’s wings of grace I slept so soundly and well as the emigrant Jacob on his journey, Genesis 28.
Saturday, May 23. From morning to sundown the heat is great; and, because it did not rain as much around Savannah as it did here, their crops are said to have almost completely dried up. Praised be the Lord that He aided us insofar that we were able to harvest already two crops: 1. our silk, which brought our people forty-six pounds Sterling in cash, which I paid out to them already from an advance made to me by a merchant; 2. our European crops, namely, barley, peas, rye, and wheat; this bounty from God is just now being harvested, although on some fields the cutting makes only slow headway because the farmers lack help with the work. We hope to harvest Indian corn, beans, rice, potatoes, and squash at the beginning of fall; towards winter the beets will be dug up.
This country has many advantages over others; it is to be hoped that it will be settled with Christian people who will eat their bread in the fear of God and by the sweat of their brow. There are many malcontents in this country and a few even in our settlement; may God make them repent, before His judgment and severe punishments overtake them.11 We work faithfully and by God’s grace with such people among us: however, some remain lazy and indifferent, despite the use of the means of salvation, Revelation 3:16.
At the moment, we are still contemplating the eighth chapter from 1 Kings and we learned in our last prayer sessions as well as in our weekly sermon from vv. 46-51 that God finds it necessary to work various kinds of judgment even for those who, according to their outward confession, are part of His people and members of the true church. Among those, the spiritual judgments are the most dangerous, because they are the most difficult to recognize. 2)12 That the cause for such judgments and of perdition is none other than sin itself, which arouses the wrath of God and finally moves His justice and truth to fulfill His fulmination. Sin is the downfall of people.
How little, however, do those who are careless and deem themselves safe among us also recognize sin in its ugliness and perniciousness: even though we try hard to remain aware of it by being mindful of instructive Biblical verses, noteworthy examples, and especially of the mirror of Christ’s inward and outward suffering. We remember those expressly in order to convince people and instill in them a beneficial awe, remorse, and shame; and we seek refuge in Christ, our sole Helper. In these times of need, if people here suffer from sicknesses, poverty, and lack of physical nourishment, then they complain about the hard times, and they are not content either with this country, or the authorities, or with themselves.
However, these people do not better their circumstances by such behavior; rather, they fall deeper into sin and invite God’s punishments. Therefore, 3) we show them further from the cited work what God’s intention is in sending them punishments, judgments, and tribulations; namely, a. that they may accept these as the bitter fruits of their sins; b. that they may mend their ways, Jeremiah 1:3; c. that they seek forgiveness for their sins from the blood of the Intercessor by humble prayers; d. that they ask humbly for a lessening, and even averting of their punishments; e. that they remind our dear God humbly of the convenant of grace entered into at Holy Baptism, and try to live according to it and to remember gratefully His great deeds which He worked for the sake of our salvation and protection, to His praise, to the strengthening of our faith, and for the faithful hope that He will not forsake us in our present plight.
O! May our dear listeners follow this and similar guidance from our living God’s true word: how easy it would be then for our merciful God, who prefers life and goodness, to free us from all punishments and tribulations and to give us His manifold blessings, since we have so many dear intercessors and willing benefactors in England, Germany, and outside of Germany. Some people among us, because of their unrepenting hearts and their restless minds, which crave change, desire to move to other places, which, they are told, are easier for the flesh than Ebenezer. Some men (like S. S.), could not even find themselves better provided for at other places; yet they seek change nevertheless. My eyes, however, are directed towards the Lord in all things.
Sunday, May 24. Today I received a letter from Mrs. Driessler from Frederica, which contained, among other things, these words: “Our Germans are moving away one by one, because we have no pastor here. O! You won’t believe what a pity it is; on Sundays we don’t even have a prayer meeting, not to mention a sermon, neither in English nor in German.”13
Monday, May 25. Major Horton recently increased the monthly pay of our seven rangers, or town militia, from fifteen to thirty shillings Sterling: and I suspected that they would, from now on, have to spend more hours on duty and that therefore their fieldwork would suffer. To my great joy however, he wrote to me that he would not change the arrangements made by General Oglethorpe: so that their fieldwork and the running of their farms will not be hindered any worse than before. The difference is only that, from now on, each man has to maintain his own horse, saddle, and musket. In previous years they had gotten horses and equipment from Frederica, but they had not been well supplied, and they rather prefer to have their own horses. God be praised for this new manifestation of His fatherly care for our community! I regard this advantageous solution a merciful answer to the prayers of the faithful men and women among us. It just now came to my attention that they commended this change, which had taken place, to God’s merciful ways, even at the risk of damage to their own households. That the rangers consist of members of our community, is very useful for them, me, and our entire settlement.
Tuesday, May 26. Since I was asked by the Members of the Council to appear before them yesterday afternoon in order to discuss certain necessary details, I traveled yesterday morning via Abercorn to Savannah; and, after we had concluded our business, I returned early this morning at daybreak from Savannah so that I arrived back home again at 12 o’clock noon. Some people in Savannah are unwilling to accept the fact that on some occasions I spend only a few hours, or, as few hours as necessary, there. This is interpreted by some people, who do not know any better, as misanthrophy or dislike of Englishmen. People who are better informed, however, who have sufficient insight into my affairs and duties assess the situation differently. I can not burden even my friends there with a prolonged stay: otherwise it would be very expensive to stay in Savannah, which my income does not permit.
The President and the other Members of the Council resolved the following in response to my letter: 1. That the money for the silk we delivered and which was spun here should be paid to me now; this comes to 43 pounds Sterling. Our poor attempts to improve our silk manufacture, with God’s blessing, and my own inadequate suggestions to the Lord Trustees, led to this good result, that not only our people, but also others, will receive cash payments for their silk. 2. Our people received permission to kill off gradually the wild cattle which roam the lowlands around Abercorn and our cowpen; especially wild bulls or bullocks shall be attended to first. 3. The land across Ebenezer Creek can not be surveyed before peace is declared. Another very fertile piece of land along the Mill River towards Abercorn is under consideration; the Council is not yet certain whether it should be turned into a plantation for the benefit of the entire community, or for that of a preacher and schoolmaster in Ebenezer, or for me and my family. 4. Concerning the question whether the Germans who arrived last will be held to the contract they signed in London and will be required to serve three and not four years, I was advised to write to London myself and explain this matter. I am insisting, modestly but seriously, that the chest sent from Halle, which was addressed as per shipping notice to N. N., who has not undertaken anything in this matter, will be sent on to us. I shall see now whether or not some progress will be made in this matter: thereafter I will report the state of affairs in a letter to England.
Wednesday, May 27. This month we did not have a shoolmaster for the school in town, since Mr. Meyer had to stop his work there. My dear colleague, Mr. Lemke, took over all duties at the school during this time and I was unable to assist him in this, as much as I wanted to, because of my many obligations within and without our community. Now we thought of /Georg/ the brother of the surgeon, Mr. Meyer. He has the ability to be a schoolmaster in Ebenezer, and he will become even more suitable if he puts into action what I told him today regarding two verses: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” etc., likewise, “If any of you lack wisdom,” etc. He is willing to take on the schoolmaster’s job for the period of half a year so that we may be able to judge whether or not is well suited to teach the children. May God give us His blessing!
Thursday, May 28. Today we commemorated the Ascension of Christ, our Mediator and our Savior; and the entire community assembled at Jerusalem Church for that purpose. In town, the weather was dry, but on their way back it rained; however, nobody, whose soul benefited from today’s preaching of God’s word and who, like us, waited for a fruitful downpour eagerly after the long drought, will complain about that. God be thanked for His spiritual and material blessings!
Friday, May 29. I am rather looking forward to a profitable trade in boards until we can also do business with other kinds of wood products, such as barrel staves, hoops, shingles, etc. Although all of our dear people here have enough to eat, some lack clothes for themselves and their children. All clothing, from shoes to hats, is so expensive here that our dear friends will hardly be able to believe it and a poor man has a hard time of it buying even a few shirts which, even if made of the poorest quality and coarsest linen, cost over four shillings Sterling, that is almost two Reichsthaler. If they all could work their fields with horses, instead using hoes only, then they would have more time to earn some money in other ways. As it is, however, many lack horses (although they have plows, or could get them from me) and any opportunity to earn money: therefore their lack of clothes is even getting worse. As much as I would dearly like to help people improve their situation, I am not in a position to do so, since I am still in debt because of the mills and the congregation. Our people regret it now that they planted neither mulberry trees nor flax; both of which would ease their lot.
Last winter I ordered about ten to twelve bushels of flax seed from New York and Pennsylvania; but it was only a few weeks ago that one barrelfull arrived in Savannah, which cannot be sown this summer. What seeds of flax and hemp we did have and sowed stand very well in our gardens, although we were without rain for a long time this spring. We could weave more linen, cotton, and wool, but we have so few people here, and there is so much other work to do. People always complain about too few doing the spinning. However, since during the summer the noon hour and during the fall, winter, and spring some time in the mornings and evenings could be used for such work, even if it were only one hour each day, I do not understand why every householder, if he had some spun yarn, could not have some material woven each year. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also,” etc.
Saturday, May 30. As soon as Mr. Thilo moved into his new house, his wife gave birth to a healthy and beautiful little girl.
Sunday, May 31. Yesterday our miraculous Lord took quite unexpectedly Ruprecht Eischberger’s older, ten-year old daughter to Him through temporal death. We, who knew her, were saddened by this, but also filled with joy because she died in Christ and her soul is now in God’s hand. She had a pious heart, and she did not bear the other schoolchildren’s disobedience but admonished them with deeds and words. Her favorite occupations were praying, contemplating God’s Word, and singing. She enjoyed going to school and to church, and she learned with great eagerness the introductory verses for both Zion Church and Jerusalem Church. She considered her ministers to be servants of God, showed them affection, and prayed for them regularly.14 Whoever could hear her, how naively, lovingly, and trustingly she used her own words to speak to God, her Father, in Christ’s name, was edified. She helped her infirm parents in running the household to the best of her ability and aided them also in spiritual matters right up to the end, which came swiftly after only twelve hours. On Friday she was still at school and in church: towards evening she felt a chill, then a great heat and stinging sensation, which tired her out quickly; and, suffering thus, she died in the same paroxysm. Her eyes were directed upwards, toward heaven; during all this; and at the very beginning of her attack she said to her two little siblings, who had misbehaved: “Be quiet, I shall go to my heavenly Father soon.” She almost always had an ailing body and never had a healthy color.
Monday, June 1. Schoolmaster Kocher is well blessed with a good harvest, and another is ripening in his field. Because he did not have enough room in his old quarters, he had a comfortable little clapboard house built, which was dedicated today with God’s Word, song, and prayer, as he had requested. I spoke on the consoling words 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and demonstrated in a simple way: 1) what God is to us fallen sinners; 2) how He behaves towards His servants and children; 3) how they ought to behave towards God and each other. These beautiful words fitted in well with both the contents of yesterday’s gospel passage Exaudi Sunday and also with our present time of being tested and of suffering.
A saddened widow confided in me her wish that I may assist her in a certain matter with her neighbors, who are otherwise quite pious and kind. I did so this afternoon willingly and with good success. Before I left her, I recommended to her to turn to God and prayer in all her affairs and difficult circumstances. I assured her, quoting God’s word, that God would send her His counsel and assistance shortly; she ran back into her small room and brought me a torn, printed piece of paper, which she showed me with joy and said she had found it today, on her way back from my house, lying in the road, and when she looked at it, she found God’s consoling words on both pages: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” and her faith was strengthened greatly, because it also said: “The Lord hath said,” etc.
Tuesday, June 2. Last week, young /Georg/ Mayer attended a meeting to be instructed and to learn the method of teaching, which we introduced here. Yesterday he started work in the school in town. He was introduced to the children, together with the necessary remarks, and a communal prayer was sent to God to ask for his success in tending school. May God bless this new undertaking to His glory and to the chilren’s benefit!
Wednesday, June 3. Recently, Mrs. N.’s dangerous paroxysms, which she sees as the signs of her impending death, have recurred. She is preparing herself well for her blessed journey and praises our heavenly Father tearfully, and with all her heart, so that He may guide her, knowing that her days of well-being and health will not be as useful. She is of good cheer and holds her most beloved Savior in the highest esteem. The faith in His name is her formost care and endeavor. Her previous sins, which are of a certain kind, weigh heavily on her; and she has to fight hard, protected by prayer and gospel, so as not to fall again into legalism and fearfulness.1 Her love for God’s word, Holy Communion, and prayer is so great that I would be hard pressed to think of another such example. She brings much benefit to her household, her godchildren and to the entire community (I don’t want to mention others) by her prayers: therefore I regard it as a blessing from God that she is still alive and among us. Her prayers are quite childlike, compelling, and edifying.
In the last chest from Augsburg, in addition to the aforementioned three shirts for three orphaned sisters living in Frederica, there arrived also three shirts for an Englishman, who gave lodging to a Salzburger. I wanted to set these aside, until instructions would arrive from our most esteemed Senior Urlsperger, since I had written to him recently in this matter. However, I gave them to three poor Salzburgers, as I was moved and compelled by compassionate love and pity for them; two are true Christians, and the third is a hard-working and goodhearted man, who well deserves compassion. I can assure our dear benefactors that this their gift for the praise of the Lord and for the comfort of Christ’s poor limbs, was used (also, even if one of the men is not a true Christian, his wife and his two small children are; and the husband can become a true Christian yet through God’s goodness, which may lead him to penitence). These men surely will intercede most heartily for their benefactors and the other pious members of their household will meet this obligation likewise.
Thursday, June 4. Recently, a German of our confession wrote a letter from Charleston to my dear colleague, Mr. Lemke. In it, he is asked to come and hold Holy Communion. Nine months ago he had gone there and performed his office to the best of his ability and without any complaint. However, due to the cunning, meanness, and fraud of K**,2 this journey cost him so much money, that he will feel its effect for a long time in his household accounts, unless our dear Lord sends some little money above and beyond his salary his way in order to make up for the loss. At the moment, I myself am not in a position to assist him and give him more money than his share of the sum which our dear Lord sent into Senior Urlsperger’s hands for the both of us, in accordance with the instructions accompanying the received consignment. The aforementioned man requests also a Bible, Arndt’s True Christianity, and a songbook. In this, however, we cannot oblige him any more than any of the others who wish the same. Our older children who are to be confirmed in the near future lack also Bibles and songbooks.
Sunday and Monday, June 7 and June 8 were the Holy Whitsunday Celebration. On the first day of the Holy Whitsunday Celebration, Holy Communion was held with seventy-eight people, among them eleven children: namely, six boys and five girls. They are being allowed to the Lord’s Table for the first time now after thorough preparation, public examination, renewal of the convenant of baptism, and the act of confirmation. Our dear God gave His blessing to this important step, which adults and children took before His countenance; and He caused much good in them, as is clearly visible from various external signs and indications: for this we must praise His goodness.
In examining the children, I made allowances for our present circumstances, and elaborated on an important article of faith, which is unknown to many Christians: namely the nature and office of the Holy Ghost. As a model for my instruction I used the beautiful Compendium Theologicum3 by the late Pastor Freylinghausen, a work on which I also rely in my preparation hours both for teaching as well as for recognizing the truth leading to blessedness in God. We are living in a country where all sorts of sects and hawkers of strange beliefs thrive, and some places are full of them. For this reason we take great care to instruct our children, especially the older ones, thoroughly, simply, and naively, in the entire Christian dogma.
We guide our pupils patiently so that they themselves may recognize the existence of divine truth, either theoretically or practically. This enables them to to base their faith not merely on human teachings but on God’s true word, and they will not come to believe this or that just because they were so taught by their parents, schoolmasters, or teachers. Most of our children benefitted well from this kind of instruction and gave me much joy through their Christian conduct, in school and otherwise. I hope that, by His word, the Holy Ghost laid a sound foundation of true Christianity in them. I hope further that they will demonstrate this in the future by reaping the rewards of blessedness in God and praising God, by edifying their community, and by redeeming themselves.
Those present were cautioned in a friendly manner not to judge a child whom they may have known before, prematurely; by doing so, a great many people fall in error or at least upset themselves and, in this manner deprive themselves of the blessing of their edification.
Shortly before confession, a pious man sent me a note as follows:
“Friendly greetings to Your Worship. I can not express my feelings because of the two children. My heart is heavy. May the Lord grant us His assistance; I will not stand in the way, because I might be afflicted with culpable ignorance. May the Lord bless you, and strengthen the children with His Spirit.”
The youngest girl4 has the reputation of being well brought up and conducting herself in a proper Christian manner. She has a thorough knowledge of our Christian teachings and has edified many with her fine answers in Church. Neither is her older sister lacking in knowledge. Her conduct, however, was not in keeping with Christ’s teaching. She improved considerably after going into service with a Christian woman from Salzburg and she now shows much good will and promise. If I had refused to accept her for Confirmation and denied her taking part in Holy Communion, then more damage than good would have been done. Also, our next Confirmation for children is a full year away (since many are still very young) and she would have had to wait a long time to partake of Holy Communion.
In addition to the aforementioned cautioning of the listeners against premature judgments, I reminded all to lead those children towards goodness by watching them, guiding them, praying for them, and admonishing them both with words and with a good example as well as by protecting them from all such company which could damage them. Quite a few of the forty-one children whom I confirmed during the past thirteen years here would have been the better for it if they had not kept bad company. Counting this year’s six boys and five girls, fifty-two children have been prepared thoroughly for Holy Communion and were confirmed publicly.
As I usually enter in my diary the names and background of our children who, after Confirmation, were admitted to Holy Communion for the first time, I will continue doing so this time. It is but a small task for me and might be of some use after all.
1. Johann Georg Heinrich, twenty years of age, from the Duchy of Wurttemberg. His father was a righteous man and died in our settlement. God granted him his wish: namely that all his children be brought to Ebenezer (which he thought to be a great benefaction), including this young man who had served several years at Fort Augusta and after that with our Col. Stephens. His four fine, Christian sisters live here also.
2. Johann Christoph Krämer, an orphan from the Palatinate, twenty-one years of age. His parents died in Savannah a few years ago. His sister, who had married a local man, died in child birth. He was, like young Heinrich, not very knowledgeable. However, God worked His ways in both of them. They were in service with the same master.
3. Adrian Krüsy, eighteen years of age, a young man of fine natural talents and good promise. His father was from Switzerland but died recently. He had charged me with the spiritual and physical care of this one dear son whom he managed to get to us (his wife and other children are still living in Appenzell). He is apprenticed to our skillful master-builder, Kogler.
4. Johann Adam Treutlen, fourteen years of age, the son of a widow in Vernonburg. He arrived together with the last German people and is in service here. He is a pious and good-natured child, and applied himself to Christian teaching with thoroughness and joy in his heart. It was difficult to get him here, because of his mother; but, once he did join us, he liked it all the better.5
5. Johann Georg Schneider, twenty years of age, the oldest son of our aforementioned cowherd. He has a good nature; however, his parents are not taking as good care of him as they should as far as spiritual matters are concerned.
6. Georg Kocher, fifteen years of age, the son of our schoolmaster on the plantations, who was confirmed with great emotion and received Holy Communion.
7. Gertrud Klocker, sixteen years of age, and
8. Eva Klocker, fourteen years of age, both orphans and children of quite pious parents who died a few years ago. Their brother, Paul Klocker, died some time ago, at the age of four, also a pious child. Both girls are good workers and quite knowledgeable in domestic matters. They are in service with two families from Salzburg.
9. Gertraud Kurtz, seventeen years of age, and
10. Eleonora Kurtz, fourteen years of age, both orphans, the children of a righteous widow, who is living in my house, and a pious man from Salzburg,6 who died a few years ago at his plantation and who was survived by three girls. The oldest of these died a few months ago in my house, filled with consolation and hope for life eternal. She left her two sisters, who are good-natured and love Jesus dearly, and also her mother, well-blessed.
11. Katharina Dorothea Arnsdorf, fourteen years of age, a fine young girl. Her stepfather, mother, and three siblings are living here.
Mrs. N., whom I surprised a few days ago in the middle of a quarrel with her husband and in an angry frame of mind, came to me on the first of the holidays, shortly before our repetition hour. She assured me, in many emotional words and quite tearfully, of her remorse at what had happened. She was among the first children who had been taught and confirmed here. Being reminded of this and of her own faithlessness and her sliding back into sin on the occasion of the children’s confirmation, she claimed that she had been unable to attend church this morning because of grief, disquiet, and tears. She is truly reconciled with her husband and has asked his forgiveness for her mistakes; and she prays to God in all seriousness that He may not act according to her sins, that He may not banish her from His countenance, but that He may give her salutary penitence to better herself. She regained some faith and the hope that even her thirsty soul could be blessed with grace and consolation from the two precious evangelical verses which Mr. Lemke had chosen for his introductory verses and text on the first holiday in the afternoon: Revelations 21: 6 and John 7: 37-38.
Tuesday, June 9. Major Horton, the commanding officer in Frederica, arrived in Savannah, travelling on land via Fort Argyle. From there he wrote a friendly letter to me, as he usually does, in which he assures me of his affection, of his willingness to be of service to me, and of his efforts to locate our chest from Halle which was not delivered to us. He also sent a letter of credit for sixty-one pounds ten shillings Sterling in payment for some boards he got from us, a horse, barley, horsebells, and a boat. Although I myself will receive for our community’s fund only twenty-six pounds and a few shillings of this sum (with which I will be able to pay off some debts), I am pleased that several members of our community will be getting some money, of which we are usually short. Only recently, widow Driessler praised the Major’s good will and assistance; now he wrote to me on her behalf as follows: “I have written to Dr. Burton and asked him to see to it that our regimental chaplain try to obtain an annual pension for Mrs. Driessler, our late chaplain’s widow, from either the Society, or the Lord Trustees of this colony, or from what source he thinks best.” I hope that she will secure such a pension.
The president and the other members of the council replied to my letter which I had sent to them before the holidays, that they are willing to pay, upon my request, to the fourth transport the money for the still outstanding pigs and chickens. That means fourteen shillings Sterling for each family, which is a great blessing for the poor. Our friend, Mr. Habersham, writes me that a certain captain, who is sailing to to the West Indies in a small craft, bought four thousand feet of the boards we have in storage in Savannah. He (Mr. Habersham) intends to countersign for the payment; otherwise I would not have agreed to the deal, which I made sure to mention in my recent letter to him. God be praised for those beautiful manifestations of His paternal care for us in these hard times! Also, He will surely hold His hand over us in this dangerous matter: namely, the Indians up in the countryside, who normally are our friends, are engaged in a very dangerous war among themselves. Allegedly, they also threatened to drive those people off their plantations at the Ogeechy River, who settled higher than the tidal mark.7 Our Savannah River was not mentioned. Major Horton is trying hard to pacify them, and he will have to use force if he does not succeed.
Wednesday, June 10. The children who were allowed to take Holy Communion on the first day of the Holy Whitsunday Celebration still come to me for instruction each week: those in town for four hours and those on the plantations for two hours. I review some of the material, which we covered already, and I also teach what is still left in the Compendium,8 and also teach what still has to be explained.
Friday, June 12. I paid a visit to Ruprecht Eischberger, who is ailing, and his wife. Both parents are still filled with grief over the severe loss they suffered by the death of their pious and good-natured child, who was a great help to the sickly parents not only in spiritual matters with prayer, intercession, reading aloud, quoting God’s word, giving a beautiful example of a most dear love for Christ, patience and sweet disposition, as well as of an abhorrence of all evil, but also in material things, working in the house and kitchen, attending to matters outside the house and helping raise two young siblings.
When her mother fell ill during the wheat harvest, she brought her the necessary medicine quickly, and after that she knelt down in a corner and prayed to God simply and with heartfelt emotion for His blessing, imploring Him to heal her mother, whom she could not bear to lose, and added: “O my dear Heavenly Father! If it be Thy will to take one of us, let it be me, for we need our mother more,” etc. At the wheat harvest she also had expressed her disapproval of such people who complained of mildew or rust, which damaged much wheat. She said: it all came from God, and people ought to be content; we were not worthy of what God gave us and we should thank Him most heartily, etc. The two younger children, four and seven years old, feel their dear sister’s parting as well and grieve for her; the youngest9 used to say: “I miss Katharina so much, if I am pious and work hard, I will come to her.”
Saturday, June 13. N. has made considerable progress with regards to his constant anger in his present marriage. Last week he also promised me to make an effort to improve his conduct and not give me cause for sadness any more, but his good intentions were of only brief duration. Yesterday evening he got angry at something (I do not know what) and made his wife suffer for it although she had nothing to do with it. Then he fell ill suddenly, complaining of pains in his side and coughing hard. He became afraid of dying then and sent for me urgently. When I arrived, he was ashamed of his ill temper, regretted it much, and cried about it. He prays God He may not yet take him from this world and cast him into the perdition which he so richly deserves for his poor conduct in the past and present as well as because of his latest unworthy taking of Holy Communion. I hope it will be possible for him to be saved like a firebrand plucked from the burning, since he does not try to defend himself by blaming others but rather feels that his evil ways burden his conscience and prays to Christ eagerly. However, the contrary is true in the case of poor N., and I am filled with sadness.
Monday, June 15. Included in our shipment of the charitable gifts from Augsburg is half a guilder, sent by the Salzburger Madleitner for his fellow countryman in Ebenezer. The name of the recipient was not mentioned, but I found out soon that it was George Glaner from Memmingen and I sent the money to him immediately.10 He told me the secret of why this Madleitner did not mention the name of his fellow countryman and why he had sent such a small gift so far. Rumors were spread in N. that the reports they received from Ebenezer were not true. If, however, the half guilder of the anonymous fellow countryman were to reach the right hands, then he (Glaner) should write back, report truthfully his own circumstances, and mention the gift. In this way, he (Madleitner) would be assured that the letter was genuine and written by no other than Glaner.11
Glaner told me that God had blessed him richly especially in this year both spiritually and physically and he would report back with pleasure. He also intended to write as follows: “Even if the cost for the journey back to Germany from Ebenezer were not to exceed the value of the gift he had received he would have no desire to leave.” This Glaner is living comfortably on his well-run plantation, although God burdened him with a cross: his wife has been very sickly for some time and came close to death several times. Also, he has two widows as neighbors and spends considerable time on their behalf; their cattle gave him quite some trouble and he had to neglect some of his own work. I will gladly try to reward him for this as much as God allows me to.
Wednesday, June 17. There was such an unexpected and unusual storm on our plantations, as we never before had experienced: wind, rain, and hail. It lasted for half an hour. In town there was a little rain, but no wind. This storm did great damage to our Indian corn which stood well in bloom. On one poor man’s plantation below the mill so many stalks were torn off that a large wagon could have been filled with them. Many trees were uprooted and some people were afraid for their houses. In some places, the ground was covered with an inch (the thickness of a thumb) of hail. No injuries of people or animals were reported, though. Our miraculous Lord visits us in many a way; may He let all turn out for the best!
Thursday, June 18. Mr. Habersham, a merchant in Savannah, wrote to me that he intended to go to Charleston and, if possible, wanted to discuss a few things with me. He also informed me (Major Horton had written me the same thing) that the king had given orders to dismiss all additional troops which, up to now, had served in the border fortifications and on reconnaisance boats either as soldiers or as rangers, which had caused a great deal of expense to the king. The regiment stationed in Frederica is to be increased in numbers and will supply the regular soldiers which are to man the border fortifications. The nineteen thousand pounds Sterling, which used to go to the additional troops annually, will be used, it is expected, to improve the conditions of this colony. This change also has the advantage that young men have no longer an opportunity to live a loose life at the fortifications, or on the reconnaisance boats. Rather, they will earn their living in a better way by useful work. Maybe it will be easier from now on to find fieldhands for hire.12 Those who wish to become soldiers in Frederica have to contract their services for seven years, and they have to be content with a daily pay of six pence. In addition to that they are obligated to work in the fields to contribute to their rations. These conditions will be to the liking of only a few.
Friday, June 19. Tonight I returned from my journey in good health and I thank God for His merciful assistance. I received the money for the fourth transport, which Col. Stephens had paid out to me for the pigs and poultry donated by the Lord Trustees. Each family will receive fourteen shillings Sterling, which is another sign of God’s paternal care for us. If only all were to use this money for the purpose of awakening and strengthening their faith!
Saturday, June 20. On my return journey from Savannah I called on Joseph Watson, the Englishman. I borrowed his diary from him, which he had offered to lend me earlier. In it, he describes his expedition of 1741 to the Cherokee Indians in great detail and reports some strange things about the topography of the countryside, the Indian way of life, Cherokee customs and superstitions, as well as his own business with them, for example, his preaching and baptizing. His handwriting is hard to read and I had to make many guesses as to the meaning. Also, I do not trust the author’s professed reactions, and therefore I am less inclined now to take the time and the trouble to translate the diary than I had been some time ago before I got to see what it was like. He is a Manichean, or comes very close to their evil doctrine, and adheres to dangerous teachings. Among the Indians along the Mississippi he met a man called Christian Priber from Upper Saxony, a man with a degree in jurisprudence and he describes in his beliefs, conduct, ethics, and dress as being of such a kind that he is despised by even the Indians for it.13
Sunday, June 21. Recently we had much rain and several severe thunderstorms, which, however, our merciful Lord, as always, let pass without harming us. During today’s evening prayer meeting it started to rain heavily, under thunder and lightening, and the rain continued long into the night. We hear that there has been very little rain in Carolina for the past four or five months.
Tuesday, June 23. This morning, on the plantations, I finished reviewing the entire Christian dogma as presented in the late Pastor Freylinghausen’s Compendium.14 I heartily praise the Lord, who has given me strength and His assistance so far. A boy who is in service with a Salzburger thanked me, with tears, for the instruction he had received. God’s word, which this young boy accepted eagerly and repeated frequently, did much good in him. If he cherishes what he has received, he might prove to be a useful tool for the glory of God in the future and be of service to his fellow men. He has fine talents and would be suited for studying, if he were free to do so and if he had the opportunity. However, God has need of faithful and clever people in everyday life also.15
Thursday, June 25. This month we had much rain, especially during the past eight days. In spite of that, the waterlevel in our river and at the mill is low. This indicates that in the mountains, in Creek and Cherokee territory, only a little rain fell, otherwise we would soon see the effects on the Savannah River. But more water is to be expected; and, in order to be prepared, I am having the waterway of the first millrun repaired by our carpenters. Its bottom has rotted away and then the boards which form the canal or waterway fell apart. All wood on or above the ground rots very quickly here. A few days ago I observed some damage on our Jerusalem Church which is built of planed lumber and which had been well and carefully joined. If I had been able to obtain oil paint, I could have had both churches painted and then the rain and humidity would have done less damage.
Sunday, June 27. Our rangers, or town soldiers, have been very useful to me, on instructions from General Oglethorpe. I was able to rely on their services on behalf of our community, in transporting my letters; and, when traveling to Savannah I did not need to trouble our people. Since they will be dismissed, together with other additional troops, I am forced to hire a servant who will take care of such business until the Lord Trustees undertake to lessen my burden and make some changes. I do not wish to impose on any members of our community, since they have enough troubles of their own. Most of them do not have servants and they have their hands more than full with taking care of their fields and household chores. Before our rangers were stationed here, we had all sorts of difficulties with vagrants and riff-raff living in our woods. At night they came out and stole things and probably shot some pigs. Afterwards, we were not distrurbed by either Negroes nor other runaways.
I believe that God will protect us in the future even if it may seem that we are unable to take protective measures ourselves. In our evening prayer hour we hear from 1 Kings 8:56 that Solomon counts peace among the most noble divine benefactions for which we must praise our dear Lord even if we have to suffer from various other tribulations. This great benefaction which we received here in our community without fail during these dangerous times of war has not been appreciated properly by all, and now we have been reminded of this our duty. In the English diary of Captain Watson, which I mentioned recently, I read that the Cherokees threatened to attack Ebenezer because General Oglethorpe did not compensate them to their satisfaction for their help at St. Augustine and for their dead. But God did not allow that. It was and still is said: “The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing shall he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Oh Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.”
Sunday, June 28. Our merciful God blessed us with much goodness again this last Sunday and we praise Him humbly for it. Reading the second article of faith fitted in beautifully with the text of today’s gospel for the second Sunday after Trinity. We contemplated the examples of divine mercy, of human meanness, and of divine retribution. This was also the topic of our introductory verses Psalms 81:11-13.
Monday, June 29. N. has been punished by God. She is extremely weak after giving birth. This, however, is for the best as far as her soul is concerned. She is good-tempered, enjoys God’s Word and the quiet. She would, hopefully, make good progress in her Christianity if only she had a faithful helper for this in her husband. He is not a spiritually minded man and quite far from a righteous life in Christ. In this man’s neigborhood there are some other such unequally minded couples. The wife is very pious, and Maria confided in me some good things, too. But she suffers greatly from her husband, who is hard, angry, and stubborn. Now and then she comes to see me and asks me for instruction and consolation. Usually she returns home with a lighter heart. A true Christian must not be complacent in the face of outward and inward sufferings, but must, before all, praise God. He should know that nothing happens by accident but rather that all comes from His beloved hands and is intended to serve us best. The most severe cross we have to bear makes us most like our Lord Jesus.
Tuesday, June 30. Because of the money for the milling and other things which are being sold and bought here, we are in constant need of small coins. The shopkeepers in Savannah need the few English half pence, the Spanish three and six pence for making change and therefore hold on to them. We lack small coin, and Spanish shillings and pieces of eight are mostly circulated. Our small bills for one, two, four, and six pence had the disadvantage that shopkeepers and other people in Savannah and Purysburg accepted and circulated them also. This led to the result that those, too, became scarce here. Some were torn, and we finally were forced to withdraw them again. Now necessity gave us the idea that instead of bills only checks from the mill account, in our saw-miller’s name, Kogler, may be used, and only in Ebenezer. We hope that this will solve many difficulties.
Wednesday, July 1. Ruprecht Kalcher, a Salzburger, denying his own needs and out of a true love of God and our children, served as the father of our orphanage with great faithfulness from the very beginning, and he was unable to start a plantation for himself and his children. The one he had drawn by lot went to two other hard-working men, namely, the late Graniwetter and Bartholomäus Rieser’s son. Now God has given him a plantation quite near town. He can use a plow on it right away, because the people who live on the plantations donated their gardens north of town to him. These gardens were planted before the plantations got started, but then the people on the plantations did not need them any more since they had cleared enough land on their plantations. So the gardens were neglected and the land went to waste. These gardens will now be converted into a plantation and Kalcher will be the new owner.
I myself was present when the people from the plantations were asked for the land, and I was glad to see that no persuasion was necessary (Kalcher, in keeping with the Tenth Commandment and observing God’s will, would not have accepted the land otherwise), but they gave him their gardens quite willingly and they wish him well in his new undertaking. There are more unused gardens near town. Bushes and trees grow wild there and I wish that their owners would also be that willing to convert them into a plantation. I also wanted a change regarding the building plots in town. Each consists of only one eighth of an acre and is ninety feet long and sixty feet wide. That is a small piece of land. If a house that is not too small is to be built on it, and further a kitchen, a cellar and a well house, a stable for animals and a chicken coop, then there is hardly any room left to plant a house garden or to raise some fruit trees. Mulberry trees thrive best around the houses, and this is also convenient for taking care of the silkworms. For these reasons I was of the opinion that all building plots should be of a larger size. I may direct this request to the Lord Trustees, since all members of our community are unanimous in this matter. There is still time to make the necessary changes easily.
Thursday, July 2. This year, those of the farmers in our settlement who own horses and plows are not only working their fields easily but also accomplishing a great deal with little effort. This makes the poor wish for horses very much. As long as they have only hoes for field tools, their health is being eroded and they become poorer and poorer and have to go into debt. This does some considerable damage to their Christianity. They begged of me urgently that I should help them find horses or mares at low prices, as I have done in the past for others. I would gladly do so if only I could. However, since the purchase of some horses could do so much good in our community, I will have to attempt to borrow some money. Yesterday, I had to write an important letter to our Court Preacher, Ziegenhagen, in which I brought up this point.
Today I am going to write to Pennsylvania again to our friends there, requesting some spelt and Feesen1. Our farmers prefer these because they think that it should not be threshed during the summer heat and also that the kernels inside the husks do not get damaged as easily as wheat. Threshing is made difficult and unpleasant not only because of other work for our Indian corn, beans, and potatoes, but also by the great heat in June and July. Still, it has to be undertaken immediately after the harvest or otherwise the kernels will be damaged by worms or small flies. Afterwards, wheat stored in barrels or sacks stacked one on top of another (and probably also in the silos) gets hot and everyone hurries to the mill as fast as they can. We can see this now; people from Purysburg, Frenchmen, and Germans, who have finished threshing their European wheat, are coming to our mill by boat. Since our people need very little threshing, they can be accomodated quickly. If one only knew how to preserve European grains, such as wheat and rye, either in the straw or the kernels themselves a little longer!
It amazes me to think of the wagons and oxen at threshing time among the Jews and other peoples. It seems they threshed their wheat and other kinds of grain immediately after the harvest. Did they do this, like us, out of necessity, or for other reasons? I do not know. It occurs to me that I read about the late Master Seinler in Halle, that he invented a machine for threshing which could do the work of five men. I think, however, if this machine were of advantage, that the orphanage in Halle would use it in their threshing. However, I have neither heard nor read about anything like that happening. Last winter, one of our farmers sowed some spelts together with his regular wheat, but nothing came of it because it was too late in the year.
Friday, July 3. Widow Graniwetter, probably due to the hard work she did in the fields with the hoe, has fallen dangerously ill. When I visited her yesterday she was quite peaceful and content on her sickbed. She praised the goodness of the Lord, who had given her the gift of peace of mind and body. She regards this as a sample of eternal peace which she dearly desires. She is not worried on account of her two small children; she believes that God will take care of them, just as He has of all the other orphans here as well as of three orphans from Abercorn. They will stay with two Christian families and will be better taken care of regarding their soul and body than by their own parents, who had lived in ignorance and quarreled often. If it pleases our dear God to send us more means, then we will bring about even better conditions for assisting widows and orphans among us.
The misery of many children in this country saddens me greatly. However, I can do nothing to save them, since I cannot do all I wish even for my own community. But even the poorest among us have cause to praise God for His mercy. Mr. Mayer had gone to Savannah for some time. When he returned he brought the sad news that a fine and honorable German man who had been in service with Mr. Thilo’s in-law had lost his life unexpectedly in the river, with his wife and other people, among them Mr. Mayer, on the enbankment looking on. He wanted to save a pig which had fallen out of a boat, fell out of his own boat, and could not be saved. His body was not recovered. Probably a large crocodile, which was only a few feet away from the drowned man, dragged his body into the deep. His name was Jakob Weissenbacher and he is said to have been a skillful and hard-working tailor.2
Monday, July 6. This year people in Carolina feared for their harvests because their was no rain for a long time. Indian corn, which usually costs more or less one shilling Sterling in Carolina, rose to two shillings and ten pence. I did hear, however, that in some places, where the rain did fall in time, the crops (grain, beans, and rice among them) are recovering quickly. One man, whose plantation lies at the Ogeechy River told me that, due to the lack of rain so far, he does not expect his harvest to sell for more than five shillings. Therefore, we have special cause to thank our dear Lord for His benefaction of the good weather. Our fields and gardens are in such a fine condition as one might wish. I think that this year so much Indian corn has been planted here as never before. God has given plows to several of our farmers, which is a great blessing in many ways in this hot but fertile country.
Tuesday, July 7. Today, soon after we left for Savannah, there was a great thunderstorm. The strong rain got us wet almost to the skin. There are not many places on the way to Savannah either by land or by water where one might find shelter from the rain or an opportunity to dry off, one has to be patient almost until Savannah. One sits in an open boat where the rainwater collects quickly, and gets one’s head wet from above and one’s feet from below, especially since the local boats are such tubs. If it pleased God to improve our situation here, then I would like to be able to make my frequent journeys on behalf of our community in a little more comfort. I am somewhat afraid in boats which rock so much, especially at night. At times there are trees, branches, and pieces of wood in the river, and even the parts of the river which are wider are dangerous in the wind. However, I can not change these things, because it would mean a larger expense to take a larger boat with a larger crew. I myself can not afford it, and neither can I burden the poor members of our community to man a larger boat without pay, although my trips are on their behalf.
Wednesday, July 8. So far, God has given me sufficient health and strength. I do not attend to the duties of my office only, but see to many other tasks, although they are necessary also. Because of this, I have been in a quandry in the past on several occasions. My desire to learn one of the Indian language is still strong. Who knows what good it might do one day? At the beginning of this month I wrote a letter outlining various improvements for our area and community, and how a Christian man trained in the law or a merchant could contribute further. However, this time I did not get an opportunity to sent this letter to Charleston.
Thursday, July 9. After I had taken care of the business I had with the members of the City Council on behalf of our community, I started on my journey back again this morning. Bichler, our constable, had a court case pending involving someone in Savannah, and some of his witnesses were from Ebenezer. They did me the favor, for a small sum, to take a large, wide boat to Abercorn in which, at high tide, the thick boards which were left over will be brought to the mill. From these boards our saw-miller is to build sturdy millraces or channels to the first mill gear and to the rice press. He also wants to make a little dam in the small rivulet above the millrace, where the water threatens to erode the island. I hope that these two projects will not be too expensive and very useful. We had a buyer for the thick boards, but he offered as little money for them as if we had been forced to sell. One matter could not be settled at this time in the council. It concerns some land which was donated to us by the Lord Trustees, and that means that I have to make the trip again Tuesday in two weeks, or on July 18. Yesterday evening I held an edification hour or evening prayer for the German people in Savannah on Job 1:21. “Naked came I from the womb,” etc. At the beginning of my sermon I explained, using verse 8, how, in even these poor times, people have to be in order to repeat the words of this holy man in truth, and despite their lack, suffering, and tribulations. See also 1 Timothy 6:6-8.
Friday, July 10. From Charleston the sad news reached Savannah that the French in the East Indies had taken Fort St. George or Madras away from the English. How I and other honest people here wish that this were not true! May God come to their aid, as He has come to ours in the past, and assist them with His wisdom, strength, and mercy. May His work there, even in times of such great tribulations, endure and even prosper! May He let us use wisely the time of rest and peace for as long as we may enjoy it, following the example of the dear souls in Judea, Samaria, and Galilee, Acts 9:31. Besides the bad news, I received good news also. Mr. Verelst wrote to me from London, dated March sixth of this year, that four iron stoves were sent to him from Germany, and he had sent them on to Charleston in four wooden crates. He would have included various other items which he had received for us, if the ship had had the space to transport them. He also renews our hopes for the large chest from Halle, on which he will be able to report with certainty when the next boat arrives. At that time he will learn the contents of the chest from the Court Chaplain, Mr. Ziegenhagen, and will have the chest opened. It is said to be in storage in the customs house and the address is no longer legible.
Saturday, July 11. An old man, seventy years of age, who heads the Anabaptist community in Charleston as their teacher, took a rest in my house today during the heat of noon. Then he continued his journey via Old Ebenezer to a plantation on the Ogeechy River, where he knows a man who is an adherent of his sect, and who had promised to do his best to cure his impaired hearing. He complained of the many Arians, Socinians, and Deists in Charleston and various other places in Carolina.3 His own son-in-law, a well-trained medical doctor and justice of the peace in Charleston, is a Socinian. The German people who seek diversions in Carolina now and then for the pleasures of the flesh are to be pitied greatly for their own sake and that of their children. Usually they end up asots4 or fall into the hands of swindlers. Some time ago I thought about the Salzburger Ruprecht Zittrauer and his downfall. I was told he had become an overseer of Negroes or black slaves on a plantation in Carolina, and his two children are growing up in ignorance and meanness. His wife, Anna, had received a great deal of help and support from the poorhouse at Augsburg. However, neither he nor she was willing to learn something here, and the few prayers and the little they did remember from their catechism they probably have forgotten by now. May God have mercy on them!
Monday, July 13. Last winter and again this summer, a man from Carolina visited various parts of our colony. He can not find enough words to praise the advantages which the people of this area have over others in the way of pasture land for cattle and horses, and therefore in breeding them. If it were possible, he would bring a herd of cattle for breeding into our colony and put a family in charge of them. Throngs of people from other colonies would come to us if only it were legal to keep Negroes and if they were not so afraid of Spaniards and Indians in this time of war. It surprises me that these people are so frightened by three kinds of enemies, namely Spaniards, Frenchmen, and Indians and still would bring in a fourth, that is, Negroes or black slaves, into the area.
Wednesday, July 15. Susanna Ernst, the orphaned girl in service with our schoolmaster in town, Mayer, has been as white as a sheet since her last dangerous illness. Now the reason for her sickness may have come to light. Secretely she was eating salt, raw wheat, and raw, uncooked rice, and probably other things hard to digest.5 On the other hand, she showed no interest in cooked and healthy meals. After I was informed of this disorder I spoke to her in the presence of the schoolmaster and his wife and talked to her lovingly and seriously, using both promises and threats, about the fifth and sixth commandments.6 Then I prayed to our merciful God for His blessing of what I said to her. I reminded her of the serious saying: “Whoever inflicts harm on himself is rightly called an arch villain.” Some time ago I heard in Savannah that some grown people in Vernonburg also ate all sorts of strange things, such as sand and clay, and damaged their health considerably. The children in this country do these things frequently, complaints on that are common. Some of them have died already, as I have noted in this diary.
Thursday, July 16. Widow Graniwetter has been content for some time now in her situation as a widow, which God settled on her. She is blessed in that she no longer entertains anxious or worrisome thoughts which plagued her earlier. She perceives blessing in all things and does not fret over her two small children, who are very young but healthy and fine, and her love for them makes things easy. God has sent a persistent sickness to pious Mrs. Glaner, the sister of the late Veit Lemmenhofer. She is blessed with His mercy in this and she is looking forward to going to heaven more and more. Shortly after I visited her in her house, she brought me her songbook which contains the beautiful wedding song of the faithful: Gott Lob! ein Schritt zur Ewigkeit ist abermal vollendet etc. It has become her own, special song and we had an edifying conversation on it.
Saturday, July 18. For some years now, our carpenters had so much work to do on their plantations, at the mills, and in the private houses, that they could not find the time to finish our Zion Church. Recently they got together and put in the ceiling or second storey flooring there. Windows and doors were made, and for each door a little projecting roof to protect the interior of the church and the beautiful doors themselves from rain. All that is left to do is make the benches or chairs for the men, women, and children, as we have them in the Jerusalem Church. The window panes have to be set into the frames which are already finished. We do not have sufficient money for all of this right now, however. The benches we have at the moment will have to do for a little longer, and the panes will be put in before the start of winter, God willing.
Sunday, July 19. I am seriously concerned to hear from various members of our congregation, when I go to visit them, that some very young and some older children, ranging from three to thirteen years of age, persist in eating strange things, such as sand, earth, linen, coal, leaves, paper, etc. and can not be persuaded to stop this practice. Their parents offer them healthy and well-cooked meals, and good-tasting fresh fruit is available, for instance, various kinds of peaches and melons. Mr. Rottenberger has three children who are endangering their health in this sad manner. I can not give any other advice to the parents than to recommend the strictest supervision of their children, stern discipline, and prayers for the Lord’s help in expelling the demon of these unusual cravings who would do damage to our settlement by depriving us of our young. Mr. Landfelder’s little girl ate not only unripened fruit but even tobacco and is now dangerously ill from it. I have never heard of anything like this in Germany. May God have mercy on us and in His goodness avert further injury from us!
Monday, July 20. A pious woman from Salzburg, who has to make the trip from her plantation to town every day so that Mr. Mayer can treat her hand, stops at my house frequently. We find her company, her blessed conduct, words, and works very edifying. She, like the pious Job, fears God in her own fashion. She avoids all evil and accepts everything, good or bad, alike, from the hand of her Heavenly Father. Today, in my living room, she expressed some fine and edifying thoughts regarding her injured hand and the blessings and tribulations sent by the Lord. It became clear that she had realized her own nothingness as well as God’s dear grace in Christ and His fatherly care of His children. As always, she praised God. She is more than grateful for the blessing of her timely expulsion from her wordly and dark fatherland (namely, at a time when she was ready for such an important change), and also for the blessing of the gospel and other means of grace. Her greatest concerns in this world are that her own soul be saved and that her children, genuinely faithful, be lead to Christ. Her heart is full of God’s promises and, even though she can not read, she quotes the important introductory verses which we studied recently very well and uses this knowledge to her advantage.
Tuesday, July 21. I had asked a friend of mine who was going on a trip from Savannah to Charleston to inquire at the post office there whether any letters for me had arrived. Yesterday evening, I am glad to say, I received a package of letters from him which he had found in the post office and we were all filled with joy at that. We had thought that these letters were lost, because letters which we had received in September and October of last year mentioned letters by our dear Senior Urlsperger and Mr. Albinus, which had been mailed to us in July and August. Praised be God, who let them arrive here in good condition! I have no doubt that He wanted us to derive His blessing from these letters! This week, in preparation for holding Holy Communion, we have to study some verses of King Solomon’s prayer, 1 Kings 8. Afterwards, with the assistance of the Holy Ghost, I intend to read these two letters from dear Senior Urlsperger and Mr. Albinus for my own benefit and that of our community. They contain a great deal of thought for prayers, the praise of God, and for the realization of God’s miraculous ways, where He accompanies His servants and children. Mr. Albinus wrote us also something of God’s work the in East India and he included a brief notice, printed in Tranquebar, reporting on the progress of the missions in Cudulur and Madras.7 May God crown this work with His blessing and watch over His faithful servants there like a father.
Wednesday, July 22. This summer will yield large harvests because we had plenty of rain, thunderstorms, and cool winds. The grain in the fields stands tall; and we hope also for a rich harvest of Indian corn, beans, pumkins, rice, and potatoes. During the spring, the corn was plagued by many worms, and it seemed as if they would devour it all. Then, however, God sent us rain and the worms disappeared gradually. Recently I was told that more people would plant rice if I were to see to it that a new building be added to the mill so that the rice could easily be hulled and prepared for the press. We have an opportunity to buy the necessary machine, and it would not be too costly. However, I can not undertake any additional construction work until the sawmill and other mills return more profit than they do at the moment in these poor times with hardly any money around. Our rice press is very useful; however, our people here do not quite know how to thrash their barley. In Germany it is being done properly and maybe God will send us someone who knows how to do that and who can assist us.
Because the weather so far was so good, everything seems to be growing very well. We have several varieties of peaches, which are much bigger, have a better color, and taste much better than the peaches grown in Germany. We have an over-abundance of them, and some are being dried, some are fermented into brandy, some go to the pigs, and some are left to rot. Peach trees of all varieties grow wild here, like willows or thorny bushes. They are not cultivated, fertilized, pruned or kept weed-free. Trees bear fruit in their third year already. If our people had distillation boilers, they would know how to use the many peaches. Fruit dried in the sun or in ovens does not keep well in the summer and quickly gets full of worms. On the other hand, I did hear that some very hard-working people manage to keep them for almost an entire year. Sugar melons and watermelons are good fruits, also. We have figs and apples, too; and, since people can see how well these crops do, they are starting to cultivate more of these trees. This is a blessed country.
Thursday, July 23. I hear that our pious people here, after waiting for so long, are eagerly looking forward to have selections read from Your Worship’s letters which arrived recently, and to be edified.7a They know that Your Worship and your dear wife are in good health and that our dear God protected her and your daughters from great sadness. For me and for them this is cause for great joy and humble praise of God. People also ask for news of the other dear benefactors of the Salzburgers who resides in the generous city of Augsburg. Their charitable gifts still appear great and wonderful to our pious Salzburgers. However, I have no news which I can share with our people. Our Senior writes of one great benefactor in Germany: “It is true, Mr. ** does much good, and you will see that he intends to continue doing much good in the future.”
Friday, July 24. Some of our people would like to have cotton seed, which grows in East India. Yesterday I wrote to a friend of mine in Charleston in this matter. About ten years ago we got some seed and saw that in one summer young trees grew many branches and reached a height of probably eight feet.8 All froze in the winter because they were not covered. The local cotton is delicate and white, and the plants grow easily and abundantly. There is the drawback, however, that the seeds are lodged firmly in the lint and it is difficult and cumbersome to pick them out. Cleaning the lint of the seeds is much easier with the variety from East India.9
In past years, our fig trees usually froze and died. Now we cover them with straw in the winter and they survive without damage. Sometimes fruit is set and grows under the straw and ripens very early. When the trees are several years old then they are hardy enough and need no longer be covered. Some bear fruit even as small bushes during their first year, others in the third and fourth year, when they have grown into large trees. The fruits are large and very tasty. Orange trees would probably grow here also, as in Charleston and Frederica, if we took good care of them in the winter. Only one man among us, Hanns Flerl, knows enough about trees and successful grafting methods. My own vineyard died because we do not have anyone here who knows how to tend one. I think anything would thrive here, if we only had the necessary time, means, and knowledge. We have not enough workers, no good fieldhands at all, their wages per day and year are very high, and my own income small. Therefore I can not start an orchard or garden to get other people interested, although I have wanted to for a long time.
Saturday, July 25. Some time ago, Held and his wife left for Carolina so he could support himself better as a weaver there than here as a farmer. His wife has returned to visit her sisters and to go to Holy Communion. She reports that her husband does not receive any money for his work there either (cash is as rare in Carolina as in Georgia) but he gets good value in trade so that he can live comfortably. His good work will probably come to an end as soon as the two Negroes or black slaves have learned weaving from him and become able to weave themselves. This is happening throughout Carolina; Negroes are taught every skill and are then used in all sorts of enterprises. This is the reason that white people have such a hard time earning their bread except if they become overseers of Negroes or keep slaves themselves.
Sunday, July 26. Today we celebrated Holy Communion with sixty-two persons. I preached on the gospel for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity on various sins against the sixth commandment. Naturally, with love and empathy, I mentioned our children, who endanger their health by eating things which are obviously bad for them and who shorten their lives in this manner. I admonished parents and people, for whom such children work, lovingly and seriously of their obligations and reminded them to do their duty, spiritually and physically, so that this kind of manslaughter not be on their heads. Every woman who comes to church is taught this lesson, before God and our community: “God will reward you mercifully for the faithfulness with which you raise your children. If, however, you let them stray, then God will demand their blood from you on Judgment Day.” If the parents, after being so instructed, do not neglect their children but raise them carefully, correct them in kindness, teach them Christian conduct, and pray with them frequently and regularly, then they will not lack the spiritual and physical blessing they need for raising their children in a Christian manner.
Wednesday, July 29. Several letters from Philadelphia arrived via Frederica. The news is that Mr. Whitefield is dangerously ill, and Mrs. Whitefield reports further that several Herrnhuters or so-called Moravian Brothers from Philadelphia were headed for Georgia. Whatever their intentions may be will soon become apparent after their arrival here. I am surprised that I did not receive any replies to my numerous letters to our dear brothers, the Lutheran ministers in Pennsylvania.
Thursday, July 30. This year we can not complain about too much heat during the dog days. Several days now it was as cool after sundown as is usual for the fall. People who work up a sweat during the day and get chilled in the evenings and during the night can easily contract all sorts of sickness and diseases.
Young Mrs. Lackner is a very pious, patient, and well-content young mother in her lying-in and she probably dignifies her physical condition at all times with God’s word and prayer. While I was at her house in order to talk and pray with her, Mrs. Glaner, sickly but honest, came for a visit, just as is written in Luke 1 of Mary and Elizabeth. As is the custom among our neighbors, she had brought along a token of kindness. Mrs. Glaner, since she has no children of her own, is raising a little orphaned girl lovingly, seriously, and properly. I, as well as others who know this, are filled with joy at that and are guided by her example as a wise, careful, and hard-working mother and guardian who labors lovingly and seriously.
Friday, July 31. Yesterday, in our evening prayer hour, for the praise of God and our own edification, I started to read aloud dear Senior Urlsperger’s letter which I had received last week. Tonight I continued, or rather repeated and explained again, what I had read yesterday. The various points which our Senior made in the first part of his letter to the esteemed Court Chaplain Ziegenhagen are very important to us; namely his and his family’s tribulations as well as other physical and spiritual matters. I was able to use this material for all sorts of beneficial and necessary comments. Today I was kept from holding my weekly sermon in the Zion Church by a downpour and another adversity. Otherwise I would have read aloud this letter there also, as I had promised to do. I will do it, God willing, next week.
Sunday, August 2. On this first Sunday of the last month of summer we remembered publicly the many spiritual and physical benefactions which God our Lord showered on us this year so richly, although we did not deserve it, from near and afar. He gave us these blessings in this desert, just as He did to the many people in the desert as is set down in today’s gospel Mark 8:1 ff. Today, in our regular evening prayer hour, we thanked Him for it on our knees. Today’s Sunday gospel gave me a good opportunity to explain His good counsel to the poor and His rich consolation for them, a well-suited subject matter for our poor community in these hard times. As introductory verses we contemplated the beautiful and edifying words Tobit 4:22 “Do not be afraid,” etc. From this, our dear people here may learn how they can be full of hope despite their poverty and their many worries, as everything will turn out well. See also 1 Timothy 4:8. We are often reminded of the Israelites in the desert on their way to Canaan to whom God sent not only many spiritual and physical blessings but also several salutary tribulations. However, God our Lord failed to fulfill His purpose in many; they were striken down in the desert and it was their own doing that their escape from Egypt was of no avail, but, rather, caused a greater judgment. May this be a warning to us, Hebrews 4:11.
Monday, August 3. Almost every day we have rain for several hours, and this is a disadvantage for our people in making hay, which is needed in large quantities as fodder for their cattle and the horses which are kept on the farms for plowing and riding. Hay is made, weather permitting, once during the summer and then again in the fall, partly on the fertile island on the other side of the Mill River, partly on the fields for barley, rye, and wheat. Some of the hay is stored in barns or other outbildings, part is put around wooden poles, arranged in a pyramidal shape, and left in the fields throughout the winter. Portions for fodder are removed then as needed. Raising stock, either horses or cattle, is easy and very useful in this country. If only we went about it in a more sensible way, many of our farmers would be much better off.
Every year, many calves are sold in Savannah; people say that they are forced to sell in order to buy shoes or other clothing or to get some money to pay the doctors’ bills, etc. Other people in other settlements do not sell their calves but wait patiently for them to grow into adult cattle. An ox fetches from two pounds Sterling up to possibly two pounds and ten shillings. Those who raise their calves can expect a good herd of cattle in a few years. One of the main reasons for selling the calves is that people need the milk for their families and for making butter as well as for obtaining lard. Our Salzburgers, as was the custom in their fatherland, are used to butter and lard but not to eating the meat.
Our cowpen assists people’s efforts in many ways, but each quarter I have to contribute a great deal, if things should not come to a halt. The annual salary for our cowherds is twenty-five pounds Sterling, but not everybody pitches in and some refuse to help carry this burden. That means too large a sum would be required from each contributor, if I did not help out with some pennies and share God’s blessing. If our dear people followed the good advice which they received yesterday from God’s word, then God’s merciful guidance would ease their difficulties. May God show the intractable among us the error of their ways before the measure of their sins is full.
Tuesday, August 4. Steiner, an honest man, has various problems in his household and is burdened with several tribulations. His formost concern, however, is his soul’s salvation; and for that reason he considers his being tired and sleepy in church a serious obstacle and nuisance. He fights it as much as he can and uses all sorts of methods, even things, but he is not succeeding to his satisfaction. He dearly loves the Divine word and he suffers greatly from his sleepiness. I offered him instruction and consolation from God’s word and warned him not to let either the realization or the thoughts of his shortcomings make him desperate or despondent and be diverted from Christ, the Savior of poor sinners. The more he recognizes his faults inwardly and outwardly, as well as his complete helplessness, the more he should humble himself and remember and cherish the great benefaction, namely that God gave us such a powerful Savior who blesses us all and use this knowledge to strengthen his own faith. It is said: “Fear not, just believe.”
I have no doubt that God sent him this plight just as He sent to the Apostle Paul the thorn in his side, and that He has not removed this tribulation yet for a good purpose. It is also said: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” His wife tells me that, although he has to fight his sleepiness in church, he remembers and repeats to her and the children a great deal from my weekly sermons and our Sunday services. The prayers in his home are held properly, and regularly and are quite edifying. He keeps our community’s distilling kettle on his farm and works many hours, often well into the night, making brandy for people who bring him peaches. His honest neighbor, Brandner, helps him in this. We have an incredible quantity of the best and most juicy peaches here. Many are used for making brandy, others are dried in the sun and in ovens, others are fed to the pigs, but probably half goes to waste. In such wet weather as we have at the moment, they rot quickly. Peach trees grow wild here, like willows, and need not be cultivated, in even the poorest soil. The pretty and fine-tasting water melons grow well also; yesterday I was shown one which weighed fourteen pounds.
Wednesday, August 5. Mrs. Kalcher dearly loves the Divine word which she reads often and with enthusiasm. She also listens to it and repeats it and prays a great deal. Her children benefit from her eagerness, and she teaches them in a pleasant manner the beautiful and pithy verses which we have examined publicly in the exordium since the church year 1743. She repeats them with the children frequently, and they are setting a good example for adults and other children by their skillful reciting of such verses. Even her youngest daughter, at the age of three, likes to learn and quickly memorizes both short and long verses and repeats them all day long in singsong. When I visited yesterday, she sang “Teach me thy way, o Lord, that I may walk in thy truth,” and I was impressed anew by these words.
I do this in all my preaching: Each time, I choose as my introduction an important verse which contains the main topic of the sermon I have planned. I explain the various lines in a simple manner and demonstrate their literal meaning in words which can be easily understood; then I apply the divine truth contained in the verse to whatever listeners I have. Although this goes beyond the limits of the usual exordium, I disregard this fact because so far our dear God has blessed my methods of teaching and has let the people benefit from it. Usually, our listeners are waiting eagerly for those introductory verses on Sundays and holy days which they themselves selected in church, made a drawing of, learned themselves and taught their children. Therefore, there is probably not one family living in Ebenezer in which the children are not encouraged by their parents or the people for whom they work to learn such introductory verses. By doing this, they collect a great treasure of the divine word in the easiest manner possible.
Friday, August 7. Mr. Kocher, our schoolteacher, is a weaver by profession; and in Germany he used to make both coarse and fine linen. Our dear God has assisted him in putting together a new loom and, little by little (because every beginning is difficult), he managed to assemble the tools needed for weaving, partly by making them himself and partly by having them made. The money which I pay him for teaching our children has helped him both in getting his equipment as well as in building his new little house. Yesterday he sent word to me through his son that he has begun to weave and that he is making good progress in his work. He got some spun flax and wool yarn from Mr. Whitefield’s orphanage in order to weave some wool and linen cloth for winter clothing. I hope to obtain more flax from Pennsylvania and sheep’s wool from Carolina: and, since we have our own modest supply of both here in Ebenezer, I hope that this hard-working and clever Mr. Kocher will, in time, get even more work to do.
Saturday, August 8. We have finished the reading of Senior Urlsperger’s letter and were reminded not only of the various tribulations which had befallen us but also of God’s powerful care for us, and this will benefit those who fear the Lord. God sends us, rather than others, so much goodness at times, that, when we consider this fact and compare our situation with that of others, we are overwhelmed with surprise and exclaim: “Our Lord is God, our Lord is God, praised be the Lord!” He could easily remove our present tribulations, as He has done with other difficulties in the past; and He could make everything well if only all of us would accept His order and let Him fulfill the purpose of His Divine benefactions and tribulations.
I have taken care to memorize the following edifying verses well: “Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat . . .” etc. “It shall be well with thee.” Also: “He giveth his beloved sleep.” However, I have to bear witness, lovingly and seriously, that those few among us who followed their call and were sent to Ebenezer at great expense and who are so well taken care of here both spiritually and physically and who daily enjoy more benefactions from the Lord’s hand through the service of His tools both near and from afar commit a serious sin if they move away from here and, for the sake of their own comfort, turn their back on the church, schools, ministers, and benefactors.
Our dear listeners are led diligently to the strange and instructive story of the Israelites. From it they can early recognize God’s conduct towards them and their own conduct towards God and His blessings and tribulations. They also see what punishments and judgments are the consequences not only of major sins, but also of a lack of faith, complaints, impatience, misuse or belittling of divine benefactions, the hurting of His servants, or the desires for the fleshpots of Egypt. How often are we reminded, in the writings of the New Testament, of the story of the Israelites? It is God’s will that we make use of it in order to be instructed regarding our own circumstances and be consoled and warned. The example of the Israelites applies to us in a very special manner.
Sunday, August 9. The German people of our faith in Savannah asked that one of us two would preach to them this Sunday and hold Holy Communion. Because I have had to travel to Savannah so frequently in the past, my dear colleague, Mr. Lemke, went. Already Friday afternoon he started out in order to have more time to preach God’s will and counsel to those who wished to take Holy Communion and to talk to them in private, if the opportunity arose. I myself was strengthened again by our merciful Lord so that I was able to preach here in the late morning, repeat my sermon in the afternoon, and hold our public prayer hour in the evening. I spoke on the gospel for the Eighth Sunday after Trinity, dealing with Christians and proper Christian conduct toward false teachers. For my introductory verse I had chosen 1 John 4:1. Our listeners were dutifully admonished to encourage their children not only towards genuine piety but also to make frequent use of our community’s good opportunities to be thoroughly instructed in the articles of faith of the Lutheran religion, in God’s word and the symbolic writings of our Lutheran church, in a country where all sorts of dangerous sects and heretics abound. Some of our people are somewhat tardy in this respect, and today I put great emphasis on the dangers threatening their own as well as their children’s souls.
Tuesday, August 11. I like to visit our widows and orphans as often as I can and to console them with words from the Holy Bible. Our dear God has shown me His blessing in this. Mrs. Graniwetter has two small children; and, since it is virtually impossible to find good fieldhands, women servants, or nurses, she has a hard time running her household. But in all her adversities she finds strength in the Lord our God and she is convinced that God, who created and sustains heaven, earth, and all things, will take care of her children, too. Since she accepted her call and came to Ebenezer, she has been constantly reminded of the verse: “We must pass through much tribulation into the kingdom of heaven.” At that time she had said to her late husband, “We must not expect an easy time but rather be prepared for a great deal of hardship which will befall us in Ebenezer. However, let it be, we shall enter into God’s kingdom eventually.” Now, she thinks often of those words and they are a great blessing for her.
Wednesday, August 12. At the orphanage I was shown some quinces of a remarkable size. About twenty of them had grown in Mr. Mayer’s garden on a smallish tree which was only three or four years old. When they are ripe they can be peeled and eaten fresh, and they do not pucker one’s mouth as do quinces grown in Germany. They taste almost like pears. My own are not ripe yet and will not be as big as Mr. Mayer’s. I have no other explanation for this than that his and mine are of a different variety. In this country it is possible to grow a nice orchard in a few years; almost all kinds of trees bear fruit in their fourth year. I have heard that apple trees in Germany must be several years old before they bear fruit. Here, however, apple trees shoot up from their seeds all by themselves and grow wild; and, if they are grafted carefully and cultivated, then they will bear very good apples within three years. But the trees do not get as old as in Germany and do not grow as big and tall.
Now, more often than in the past when many were content to have only peach trees, which need no care at all, some of our people are starting orchards. My own vineyard, which has been very promising for the past few years, died off almost completely this summer. The people who did the annual pruning and tying of the vines for me insisted on doing it the way it is customary in Germany which, however, as General Oglethorpe told me, is not practical in this country. The vines should be trained up to a height of seven or eight feet and tied to stakes or poles, forming little rows and arches. Otherwise, the grapes hang too low and the heat reflected from the soil ruins the fruit.
Thursday, August 13. Mrs. Müller, a widow, is well content in her situation. She thanks God gratefully for all the blessings, both spiritual and physical, which He has granted to her in our community. She does good works frequently, as the needs of her fellow men occur. There are a few ungrateful and discontent men and women in our settlement, but many others deem themselves unworthy of all the good things which our dear God has sent them and pray regularly for the dear benefactors who have helped them and wish them God’s blessing. A few days ago, a pious woman was reminded of God’s miraculous ways which she had encountered in Augsburg. She wished with all her heart that our merciful God may allot many more years to our esteemed Senior Urlsperger, despite his advanced age, and that He may reward him a thousand times for his fatherly love and good deeds. Some among us do not thrive, and this is their own fault, for they remain in their unenlightened condition in spite of God’s blessings. They and their families, and probably their friends and acquaintances as well, live against God’s word, giving way to their human urges. This is the reason that God and His blessing is not with them.
Friday, August 14. Up to now we waited every day for the letters from Philadelphia. Yesterday I received a letter from a lieutenant in Port Royal in which he writes that he had some letters from our friends in Philadelphia for me, but that they had been taken from him, together with some of his things, by the Spaniards near Charleston. This person, Peter Grung,1 arrived with the second transport and settled at first in Old Ebenezer, then joined Mr. Weissiger2 and moved to Pennsylvania in the hopes of becoming a tradesman there. As a soldier he served at Carthagena,3 with the rank of ensign, and was recently promoted to lieutenant. I wrote back and admonished him lovingly not to neglect his soul in his dangerous profession. As a sign of my love for his soul I sent him the beautiful little book Dogma of the Beginning of Christian Life.4 I also included a letter to Pastor Brunnholz, which he promised me to forward.
Saturday, August 15. Our dear God sends me much edification and spiritual enjoyment while I am rereading the symbolic writings of our Lutheran Church. Indeed, God’s grace must be admired humbly and praised highly; His grace with which the faithful adherents of Evangelical truth and through their work, many thousands of people are blessed.
Sunday, August 16. Zittrauer, the carpenter, told me that God had shown great mercy to his wife, who was in considerable danger during childbirth. We must praise our dear God (as I have done, as well as the father of the child, and the godparents before Holy Baptism was held in my house); for, in His goodness He averted the danger and misery to which many a mother and her child were close at the time of birth. Oh! How many spiritual and physical benefactions does our merciful God shower on us here! We discovered this again today while examining the gospel for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity. We learned about the damnable misuse of God’s goodness and patience, and for my introductory verse I had chosen Ecclesiastes 8:11, “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily.”
Monday, August 17. For the past few weeks there was hardly a day without rain. Despite this, our fields look good, but the people who are making hay are inconvenienced greatly by the unreliable weather. But Christians say: “I accept it as He giveth it.”
Wednesday, August 19. The elderly German widow who moved here five months ago with her two sons and one daughter seems to have abandoned her considerable prejudice against me and our way of holding church services. While she was in good health she listened to God’s word eagerly; now she is dangerously ill, and although she did not summon me to her house, she does not dislike it when I visit her and talk with her about God’s word. Despite her learning, she is quite blind where God’s counsel regarding human blessedness is concerned. However, she is content and consoled and therefore I have to be very careful with her, if I do not wish to make her angry at me again, which would lessen her opportunity for enlightenment. Before she came to settle here, someone had given her the beautiful book Scriptural Instruction for the Sick and Dying.5 She likes it to be read to her and praises it as a very edifying book. Her two daughters, who are married to local men and who have developed a thorough spiritual insight as well as a genuine fear of God, offer her Christian consolation frequently. With God’s merciful assistance, if she continues to trust me, I will at least succeed in preventing her from sending her two younger sons, ages eleven and fourteen, to a blind and mean man in N. but rather get her to allow them to stay on here with us and be raised towards spiritual and physical goodness after her death. That is also her daughter’s serious wish.
Thursday, August 20. Yesterday, around noon, we were overjoyed to receive several packets of letters from our Fathers, benefactors, and friends in London and Germany. They were dated partly from the end of last year and partly from the beginning of this year and so, once again, our merciful Father in heaven sent us renewed proof of His special care for us and our dear listeners in these poor times; He strengthens our faith and we praise His great and magnificent name. God awakened not only the hearts of the Lords Trustees anew but also those of several other dear benefactors in Germany, to aid us in our present poverty with advice and assistance. May they help us endure the damage done to us by that aforementioned deceitful and fraudulent person (it happened just a year ago), with love and kindness.6 May our merciful God be a rich Rewarder for that now and in eternity!
The day before yesterday, in our weekly sermon and prayer hour, we examined the following beautiful words (concerning the eager and generous sacrifices of Solomon in 1 Kings 8:63): “He who hath mercy on the poor honoreth the Lord: He will (there is not the least doubt of that) compensate him with good.”7 Therefore, the gifts which our most esteemed benefactors send to us as true agents of Christ for our churches, schools, and our community in Ebenezer will not be lost to them, but are being lent to the Lord who, when He pleases, will reward them with His goodness. For this we thank Him kindly.
May the Lord be also praised especially for inclining the most praisworthy Corpus Evangelicorum in Regensburg8 to pity and mercy toward our Ebenezer congretation. And for letting such a considerable help come to us from there in this expensive and miserable time of war. May He also be praised for His assistance in physical matters which, this time, is being sent to us through the hands of our dear Senior Urlsperger and Doctor Francke from the Lord Trustees, from several new dear benefactors who do not reside in Germany, from the most praiseworthy Society, and from other most dear friends. May He be praised and may He keep them in health! May He bless them eternally!
Friday, August 21. Pious Mrs. Glaner is still sickly, but she can leave her house now and she runs her household as well as can be expected. Her dearest task is to go to church, and nothing in this world gives her more joy than our Savior and His Holy words which sustain her daily in her pilgrimage. The memory of her late brother, Veit Lemmenhofer, and his partaking of the eternal joy in heaven, as well as a feeling of her own misery, make her sigh and desire a blessed parting from this world. She showed me her material blessings, her wheat, rye, barley, and wheat flour. She praised the Lord eagerly and proclaimed her own unworthiness. She also confided in me that it makes her very sad and causes her much pain when she hears that someone wishes to leave our settlement, this quiet and blessed island, where God talks to us with so much kindness and provides for us so well in spiritual and physical matters. She was happy to learn that Senior Urlsperger celebrated his sixty-third birthday yesterday, and she praised God together with me. Yesterday, publicly and privately, we asked our merciful God and Father in Heaven (and we have more than a thousand reasons for doing so) that He may bless His faithful servant both spiritually and physically and reward him for all the fatherly love he has shown to us so far. May God strengthen his body and soul and add many more years to his life, to honor him and his Lutheran Church in Augsburg and other places both near and far, as well as for the benefit of both his and our families. May God grant us this for the sake of Christ!
Today, in the Zion Church, we finished the very important, edifying, and blessed eighth chapter from the first Book of Kings and examined verses sixty-three through sixty-six. From them, we derived much blessing, sent to us, once again, by our merciful God. I will elaborate on this somewhat.
We learned, 1. that, at the dedication of the temple and throughout the entire year, an amazing number of sacrifices were offered to the Lord. Despite this, the people did not lack food because the service of God does not detract from physical nourishment. The more the faithful and honest servants of God worship Him, the more blessings may be expected to flow from His grace. “He giveth his beloved sleep.” Our listeners have to remember this well if they do not want to let the temptation gain a foothold, that time spent in public and private service is a loss of time, 2. In the New Testament we hear of only two kinds of sacrifices. The first one is unique. It is the complete sacrifice for reconciliation, offered by Jesus Christ on the altar of the Cross, when He cried out: “It is finished.” The second kind is offered to our dear Lord daily by true Christians, namely spiritual priests. Indeed, it is not the Papist mass, which violates Holy Scriptures, but rather a faith-filled giving of thanks, as is written in Romans 12:1-2. The center and nature of proper evangelical Christianity are contained in these two principles: namely, that a sinner who repents and hungers for grace reaches out, through his faith, to the dear sacrifice of reconciliation and makes it his own.
This leads to the forgiving of his sins, to peace with God, and, surely, to the giving of thanks. It is said: “I would give thee a thousand worlds to compensate you for true love.”9 Where the latter is lacking, the former must needs be absent. 3. Among the reasons for offering so many precious sacrifices (because, all together, they were sacrifices of great value) to the Lord at the time of the temple dedication and then throughout the year the foremost was that these sacrifices should foreshadow the preciousness of the sacrifice offered by Jesus Christ. These are the words contained in the second article of our beautiful catechism, and in 1 Peter 1:18-19, and again in 1 Corinthians 6:20.
If all people were to offer all the world’s, or even a thousand worlds’, pure sacrificial animals to mighty God, and if all people and angels were sacrificed also, it would be nothing compared to the most precious gift which God sent to us in His son. How could this gift be anything less than everything to us? Perhaps someone among us who gave to God twenty-two-thousand oxen and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep (which is the number of Solomon’s sacrifices) might say that God loved him dearly. However, how allencompassing must His love be which made Him sacrifice His Son for our sake, His Son, the Lord of Glory! Oh! how despicable is our damnable lack of faith which nests in everybody’s heart, and which manifests itself in misery and sadness.
How great is the love of our Heavenly Father for us, He who gave to us His Son and, with Him, all things: His gospel, teachings, churches, schools, food, and now also so many benefactions from England and Germany! He sends us misery and tribulations to show to us what is hidden in our hearts. Do we value the supreme gift over material wealth? If all of us were to accept this supreme gift then He would give us lesser ones, too, in abundance and to our advantage. The last verses of chapter three, “They blessed the king” was explained as follows to our listeners: Solomon was a great benefactor to his people; he blessed them, prayed for them, prepared beautiful services for God, and worked hard to improve their spiritual and physical well-being. They recognized what he did for them; they blessed him and wished him well. They enjoyed the blessings God had sent to them, to the royal house of their benefactor, and to the entire community. In this we should imitate them, especially since we are in a similar situation now.
We have the most praiseworthy Corpus Evangelicorum; and our Fathers, benefactors, and friends in England and Germany have contributed as much as possible, and probably frequently to their own disadvantage, to our spiritual and physical well-being, to our churches, schools, mills, and to other matters in our community. This is demonstrated once again by new gifts arriving from the Lord Trustees, the most esteemed Corpus Evangelicorum, and other benefactors in Germany and other countries. When goodness is shown to an entire community then each of its members should be happy, praise God, and bless their benefactors, as is written also in Job 31:20. Those on the other hand who show themselves to be ungrateful and rebellious shall not prosper. Our dear Senior Riesch, from Lindau, wrote a very beautiful letter to Mr. Brandner, a Salzburger (whom he had helped to obtain a share of his inheritance), in which he mentions that he has become old and feeble since the Salzburgers left. In part, this is also true for our esteemed Senior Urlsperger. It is not a small sin if these reverend fathers are saddened and disappointed by people’s obstinacy, their lack of faith, bad conduct, or by their leaving our community. These people will not prosper, as our dear Senior Urlsperger himself called to our attention, quoting Hebrews 13:17.
Saturday, August 22. Doctor /Ludwig/ Mayer’s brother /Georg/ has been our schoolmaster in town for the past three months now. He fulfills his duties so properly and with such eagerness that we are well satisfied with his services. This position is a great blessing for him, since he does not have a strong constitution, and his wife, like him, is sickly also, and they would not have been able to earn their livelihood by farming. Indeed, he derived much spiritual benefit from this sign of God’s care for him; it is quite apparent when I speak with him. Some months ago, Doctor Mayer was tempted to move to Pennsylvania; however, as a true Christian, he did not consider his own advantage only. He has tested the will of our Heavenly Father and was able to recognize from various examples of His merciful goodness that he should not move away but rather stay here and use his talents in the best interest of our dear community, which is his calling. In this way he will earn his livelihood. He and his dear wife have no children and their needs are few. I hope that our merciful God will bring it about that he will become a helper to me in taking care of our community’s everyday matters.
Our foremost problem is that my dear listeners had to work very hard up to now and I wish it may be possible for them to earn their bread in an easier way; we might be able to improve upon our methods of farming, of breeding animals, increase our silk making, and start some people in trade. Then they could lead quiet, happy, and honest lives, and be blessed in God. God’s word could be preached frequently and the Holy Sacraments taken. I myself have no talent for practical matters although, through God’s goodness, I do not lack the will or the desire to improve things in our community. Therefore, I would be very grateful to my Lord if He would bless my humble suggestions which I sent to the esteemed Court chaplain recently. I am not asking to do less work myself nor do I seek to live a comfortable life (which would not be as good for my health as my work in the service of the Lord and our community); rather, I want our dear people to have an able man to lead and to guide them, since that would be in their best interest.
I always believe that God will arrange things for a beneficial outcome! We can see this just now from the very special demonstration of His fatherly care for us through the Lord Trustees, the most esteemed Corpus Evangelicorum, and other dear benefactors in Germany and other countries, who elected to remain anonymous although they contributed greatly to our spiritual and physical well-being in Ebenezer. However, they are well known to the Lord who uses them as dear instruments of His fatherly care, and as angels on earth for His goodness. It is a great joy for us to mention their most esteemed persons, their houses, and offices to the Lord in our daily poor prayers. I also have to remember one of the well-known songs of our blessed confessors: “Reason cannot comprehend it. She says (when tribulations seem to get the upper hand), ‘Everything is not lost’; yet the cross has reborne those who need thy help” and, especially, also: “Help us not to vacillate; reason is fighting against faith, she will not grieve about the future, when Thou Thyself will comfort.”10
Tuesday, August 25. Our rich harvest is a beautiful sign of God’s care for us. May He also, for the sake of Christ, hear our poor prayers for a long wished-for and permanent peace between England, France, and Spain! Then we would have more reason to hope that our dear, worn out people could get reliable servants from Germany. If that will not be possible, and they have to continue without help, then the hard work will bring them to their graves prematurely.
Thursday, August 27. In my present poor circumstances I rely on God’s dear word as well as on the edifying letters from our fathers and friends which we are reading publicly, to our community’s benefit, great consolation, and comfort. I was touched especially by one short letter which a little schoolgirl had written to me, and in which she dedicates to me the words from Isaiah 49:23.
Saturday, August 29. Hanns Flerl and his wife are deeply devout people; and their blessed, quiet, and humble way of life is edifying for everybody in our community. I consider especially their frequent prayers and intercession a great benefaction for me and the entire community. But to them applies the saying: “Whom I love I chasten and scourge”, etc.
This week, God has sent to them another hard and very painful cross to bear. Recently, helping to make hay, the wife, who was in the last stages of her pregnancy, worked too hard and very sad consequences followed. The child in her died and the mother was close to death. She had already taken leave of her dear husband and would gladly have passed on, since, filled with faith, she had recognized her Savior who blesses us all. God however, who hears our prayers, strengthened her quite visibly after some of our excellent Schauers’s balm was rubbed on her. Now she seems to be out of danger again. I myself witnessed signs of God’s swift and merciful granting of our prayers. I will report to our most esteemed Senior Urlsperger the details of this, which are highly significant.