Are you a Christian?
JOURNAL - FROM FEBRUARY 1, 1738 TO AUGUST 12,1738.
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I here read prayers, and explained the Second Lesson to a few of those who were called Christians, but were indeed more savage in their behavior than the wildest Indians I have yet met with. Fri. 3 . — I came to Mr. Delamotte’s, at Blendon, where I expected a cold reception. But God had prepared the way before me: And I no sooner mentioned my name, than I was welcomed in such a manner, as constrained me to say, “Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not!
Blessed be ye of the Lord! Ye have shown more kindness in the latter end than in the beginning.”
In the evening I came once more to London, whence I had been absent two years and near four months.
Many reasons I have to bless God, though the design I went upon did not take effect, for my having been carried into that strange land, contrary to all my preceding resolutions. Hereby I trust He hath in some measure “humbled me and proved me, and shown me what was in my heart.”
Hereby I have been taught to “beware of men.” Hereby I am come to know assuredly, that if “in all our ways we acknowledge God,” he will, where reason fails, “direct our path,” by lot or by the other means which he knoweth. Hereby I am delivered from the fear of the sea, which I had both dreaded and abhorred from my youth.
Hereby God has given me to know many of his servants; particularly those of the Church of Hernhuth. Hereby my passage is opened to the writings of holy men in the German, Spanish, and Italian tongues. I hope too some good may come to others hereby. All in Georgia have heard the word of God. Some have believed, and began to run well. A few steps have been taken towards publishing the glad tidings both to the African and American Heathens. Many children have learned “how they ought to serve God,” and to be useful to their neighbor. And those whom it most concerns have an opportunity of knowing the true state of their infant colony, and laying a firmer foundation of peace and happiness to many generations. Sat. 4 . — I told my friends some of the reasons which a little hastened my return to England. They all agreed it would be proper to relate them to the Trustees of Georgia.
Accordingly, the next morning I waited on Mr. Oglethorpe, but had not time to speak on that head. In the afternoon I was desired to preach at St. John the Evangelist’s. I did so on those strong words, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” I was afterwards informed, many of the best in the parish were so offended, that I was not to preach there any more. Mon. 6 . — I visited many of my old friends, as well as most of my relations. I find the time is not yet come when I am to be “hated of all men.” O may I be prepared for that day! Tues . 7 . — (A day much to be remembered.) At the house of Mr. Weinantz, a Dutch merchant, I met Peter Bo, Schulius Richter, and Wensel Neiser, just then landed from Germany. Finding they had no acquaintance in England, I offered to procure them a lodging, and did so near Mr. Hutton’s, where I then was. And from this time I did not willingly lose any opportunity of conversing with them, while I stayed in London. Wed. 8 . — I went to Mr. Oglethorpe again, but had no opportunity of speaking as I designed. Afterwards I waited on the Board of Trustees, and gave them a short but plain account of the state of the colony: An account, I fear, not a little differing from those which they had frequently received before: And for which I have reason to believe some of them have not forgiven me to this day. Sun . 12 . — I preached at St. Andrew’s, Holborne, on, “Though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” O hard sayings Who can hear them? Here too, it seems, I am to preach no more. Wed. 15 . — I waited on the Trustees again, and gave them in writing the substance of what I had said at the last Board. Whatsoever farther questions they asked concerning the state of the province, I likewise answered to the best of my knowledge. Fri. 17 . — I set out for Oxford with Peter Bohler, where we were kindly received by Mr. Sarney, the only one now remaining here, of many who, at our embarking for America, were used to “take sweet counsel together,” and rejoice in “bearing the reproach of Christ.” Sat. 18 . — We went to Stanton-Harcourt, to Mr. Gambold, and found my old friend recovered from his mystic delusion, and convinced that St. Paul was a better writer than either Tauler or Jacob Behmen. — The next day I preached once more at the Castle (in Oxford) to a numerous and serious congregation.
All this time I conversed much with Peter Bohler, but I understood him not; and least of all when he said, Mi frater, mi frater, excoquenda est ista tua philosophia. “ My brother, my brother, that philosophy of yours must be purged away.” Mon. 20 . — I returned to London. On Tuesday I preached at Great St. Helen’s, on, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Wed . 22 . — I was with the Trustees again, to whom I then gave a short account (and afterwards delivered it to them in writing) of the reasons why I left Georgia. Sun. 26 . — I preached at six, at St. Lawrence’s; at ten, in St. Catherine Cree’s church; and in the afternoon, at St. John’s, Wapping. I believe it pleased God to bless the first sermon most, because it gave most offense; being indeed an open defiance of that mystery of iniquity which the world calls prudence; grounded on those words of St. Paul to the Galatians, “As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.” Mon. 27 . — I took coach for Salisbury, and had several opportunities of conversing seriously with my fellow-travelers. But endeavoring to mend the wisdom of God by the worldly wisdom of prefacing serious with light conversation, and afterwards following that advice of the Mystics, “ Leave them to themselves,” all I had said was written on the sand. “Lord, lay not this sin to” my “charge!” Tues. 28 . — I saw my mother once more. The next day I prepared for my journey to my brother at Tiverton. But on Thursday morning, March 2d, a message that my brother Charles was dying at Oxford, obliged me to set out for that place immediately. Calling at an odd house in the afternoon, I found several persons there who seemed well-wishers to religion, to whom I spake plainly; as I did in the evening, both to the servants and strangers at my inn.
With regard to my own behavior, I now renewed and wrote down my former resolutions. 1. To use absolute openness and unreserve, with all I should converse with. 2. To labor after continual seriousness, not willingly indulging myself in any the least levity of behavior, or in laughter, — no, not for a moment. 3. To speak no word which does not tend to the glory of God; in particular, not to talk of worldly things. Others may, nay, must. But what is that to thee? And, 4. To take no pleasure which does not tend to the glory of God; thanking God every moment for all I do take, and therefore rejecting every sort and degree of it, which I feel I cannot so thank him in and for . Sat. 4 . — I found my brother at Oxford, recovering from his pleurisy; and with him Peter Bohler; by whom (in the hand of the great God) I was, on Sunday, the 5th, clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of that faith whereby alone we are saved. f18 Immediately it struck into my mind, “Leave of preaching. How can you preach to others, who have not faith yourself?” I asked Bohler, whether he thought I should leave it is or not. He answered, “By no mean.” I asked, “But what can I preach?” He said, “Preach faith till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”
Accordingly, Monday , 6, I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person to whom I offered salvation by faith alone, was a prisoner under sentence of death. His name was Clifford. Peter Bohler had many times desired me to speak to him before. But I could not prevail on myself so to do; being still (as I had been many years) a zealous assertor of the impossibility of a death-bed repentance. Fri . 10 . — Peter Bohler returned to London. Tues. 14 . — I set out for Manchester, with Mr. Kinchin, Fellow of Corpus Christi, and Mr. Fox, late a prisoner in the city-prison. Between five and six we called at Chapel-on-the-Heath, where lived a poor man, sometime prisoner in the Castle of Oxford. He was not at home; but his wife came to us, to whom Mr. Kinchin spoke a few words, which so melted her heart, that she burst out into tears, and we went on rejoicing and praising God.
About eight, it being rainy and very dark, we lost our way; but before nine, came to Shipston, having rode over, I know not how, a narrow foot-bridge, which lay across a deep ditch near the town. After supper I read prayers to the people of the inn, and explained the Second Lesson; I hope not in vain.
The next day we dined at Birmingham, and, soon after we left it, were reproved for our negligence there, (in letting those who attended us go, without either exhortation or instruction,) by a severe shower of hail. At Hedgeford, about five, we endeavored to be more faithful; and all who heard seemed serious and affected.
In the evening we came to Stafford. The mistress of the house joined with us in family-prayer. The next morning, one of the servants appeared deeply affected, as did the ostler before we went. Soon after breakfast, stepping into the stable, I spake a few words to those who were there. A stranger who heard me said, “Sir, I wish I was to travel with you;” and when I went into the house, followed me, and began abruptly, “Sir, I believe you are a good man, and I come to tell you a little of my life.” The tears stood in his eyes all the time he spoke; and we hoped not a word which was said to him was lost.
At Newcastle, whither we came about ten, some to whom we spoke at our inn were very attentive; but a gay young woman waited on us, quite unconcerned However, we spoke on. When we went away, she fixed her eyes, and neither moved nor said one word, but appeared as much astonished as if she had seen one risen from the dead.
Coming to Holms-Chapel about three, we were surprised at being shown into a room, where a cloth and plates were laid. Soon after two men came in to dinner. Mr. Kinchin told them, if they pleased, that gentleman would ask a blessing for them. They stared, and, as it were, consented; but sat still while I did it, one of them with his hat on. We began to speak on turning to God, and went on, though they appeared utterly regardless.
After a while their countenances changed, and one of them stole off his hat, and laying it down behind him, said, all we said was true; but he had been a grievous sinner, and not considered it as he ought; but he was resolved, with God’s help, now to turn to Him in earnest. We exhorted him and his companion, who now likewise drank in every word, to cry mightily to God, that he would “send them help from his holy place.”
Being faint in the evening, I called at Altringham, and there lit upon a Quaker well skilled in, and therefore (as I soon found) sufficiently fond of, controversy. After an hour spent therein, (perhaps not in vain,) I addressed him to dispute as little as possible; but rather follow after holiness, and walk humbly with his God.
Late at night we reached Manchester. Friday, the 17th, we spent entirely with Mr. Clayton, by whom, and the rest of our friends here, we were much refreshed and strengthened. Mr. Hoole, the Rector of St. Ann’s church, being taken ill the next day, On Sunday, 19, Mr. Kinchin and I officiated at Salford chapel in the morning, by which means Mr. Clayton was at liberty to perform the service of St. Ann’s; and in the afternoon I preached there on those words of St. Paul, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.”
Early in the morning we left Manchester, taking with us Mr. Kinchin’s brother, for whom we came, to be entered at Oxford. We were fully determined to lose no opportunity of awakening, instructing, or exhorting, any whom we might meet with in our journey. At Knutsford, where we first stopped, all we spake to thankfully received the word of exhortation.
But at Talk-on-the-hill, where we dined, she with whom we were, was so much of a gentlewoman, that for near an hour our labor seemed to be in vain. However, we spoke on. Upon a sudden, she looked as one just awaked out of a sleep. Every word sunk into her heart. Nor have I seen so entire a change both in the eyes, face, and manner of speaking, of any one in so short a time.
About five, Mr. Kinchin riding by a man and woman double horsed, the man said, “Sir, you ought to thank God it is a fair day; for if it rained, you would be sadly dirty with your little horse.” Mr. Kinchin answered, “True: And we ought to thank God for our life, and health, and food, and raiment, and all things.” He then rode on, Mr. Fox following; the man said, “Sir, my mistress would be glad to have some more talk with that gentleman.” We stayed, and when they came up, began to search one anothers hearts. They came to us again in the evening, at our inn at Stone, where I explained both to them and many of their acquaintance who were come together, that great truth, — Godliness hath the promise both of this life, and of that which is to come. Tues. 21 . — Between nine and ten we came to Hedgeford. Just then, one was giving an account of a young woman, who had dropped down dead there the day before. This gave us a fair occasion to exhort all that were present, “so to number” their own “days,” that they might apply their “hearts unto wisdom.”
In the afternoon one overtook us, whom we soon found more inclined to speak than to hear. However, we spoke, and spared not. In the evening we overtook a young man, a Quaker, who afterwards came to us, to our inn at Henley, whither he sent for the rest of his family, to join with us in prayer: To which I added, as usual, the exposition of the Second Lesson.
An hour after, we were overtook by an elderly gentleman, who said he was going to enter his son at Oxford. We asked, “At what College?” He said, he did not know: Having no acquaintance there on whose recommendation he could depend. After some conversation, he expressed a deep sense of the good providence of God; and told us, he knew God had cast us in his way, in answer to his prayer. In the evening we reached Oxford, rejoicing in our having received so many fresh instances of that great truth, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” Thur. 23 . — I met Peter Bohler again who now amazed me more and more, by the account he gave of the fruits of living faith, — the holiness and happiness which he affirmed to attend it. The next morning I began the Greek Testament again, resolving to abide by “the law and the testimony;” and being confident, that God would hereby show me, whether this doctrine was of God. Sun. 26 . — I preached at Whitam, on “the new creature,” and went in the evening to a society in Oxford, where, (as my manner then was at all societies,) after using a Collect or two and the Lord’s Prayer, I expounded a chapter in the New Testament, and concluded with three or four more Collects and a psalm. Mon. 27 . — Mr. Kinchin went with me to the Castle, where, after reading prayers, and preaching on, “It is appointed unto men once to die,” we prayed with the condemned man, first in several forms of prayer, and then in such words as were given us in that hour. He kneeled down in much heaviness and confusion, having “no rest in” his “bones, by reason of” his “sins.” After a space he rose up, and eagerly said, “I am now ready to die.
I know Christ has taken away my Sins; and there is no more condemnation for me.” The same composed cheerfulness he showed, when he was carried to execution: And in his last moments he was the same, enjoying a perfect peace, in confidence that he was “accepted in the Beloved.” Sat . April 1. — Being at Mr. Fox’s society, my heart was so full that I could not confine myself to the forms of prayer which we were accustomed to use there. Neither do I purpose to be confined to them any more; but to pray indifferently, with a form or without, as I may find suitable to particular occasions. Sun. 2 . — Being Easter-Day , I preached in our College chapel, on, “The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” I preached in the afternoon, first at the Castle, and then at Carfax, on the same words. I see the promise; but it is afar off.
Believing it would be better for me to wait for the accomplishment of it in silence and retirement, on Monday , 3, I complied with Mr. Kinchin’s desire, and went to him at Dummer, in Hampshire. But I was not suffered to stay here long; being earnestly pressed to come up to London, if it were only for a few days. Thither, therefore, I returned, on Tuesday, 18th. Sat. 22 . — I met Peter Bohler once more. I had now no objection to what he said of the nature of faith; namely, that it is (to use the words of our Church) “a sure trust and confidence which a man hath in God, that through the merits of Christ his sins are forgiven, and he reconciled to the favor of God.” Neither could I deny either the happiness or holiness which he described, as fruits of this living faith. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God:” And, “He that believeth hath the witness in himself,” fully convinced me of the former: As, “Whatsoever is born of God, doth not commit sin;” and, “whosoever believeth is born of God,” did of the latter. But I could not comprehend what he spoke of an instantaneous work. I could not understand how this faith should be given in a moment: How a man could at once be thus turned from darkness to light, from sin and misery to righteousness and joy in the Holy Ghost. I searched the Scriptures again, touching this very thing, particularly the Acts of the Apostles: But, to my utter astonishment, found scarce any instances there of other than instantaneous conversions; scarce any so slow as that of St. Paul, who was three days in the pangs of the new birth. I had but one retreat left; namely, “Thus, I grant, God wrought in the first ages of Christianity; but the times are changed. What reason have I to believe he works in the same manner now?”
But on Sunday , 23, I was beat out of this retreat too, by the concurring evidence of several living witnesses; who testified, God had thus wrought in themselves; giving them in a moment such a faith in the blood of his Son, as translated them out of darkness into light, out of sin and fear into holiness and happiness. Here ended my disputing. I could now only cry out, “Lord, help thou my unbelief!”
I asked P. Bohler again, whether I ought not to refrain from teaching others. He said, “No; do not hide in the earth the talent God hath given you.” Accordingly, on Tuesday, 25, I spoke clearly and fully at Blendon to Mr. Delamotte’s family, of the nature and fruits of faith. Mr. Broughton and my brother were there. Mr. Broughton’s great objection was, he could never think that I had not faith, who had done and suffered such things.
On Wednesday, 26, the day fixed for my return to Oxford, I once more waited on the Trustees for Georgia: But, being straitened for time, was obliged to leave the papers for them, which I had designed to give into their own hands. One of these was the instrument whereby they had appointed me Minister of Savannah; which, having no more place in those parts, I thought it not right to keep any longer.
P. Bohler walked with me a few miles, and exhorted me not to stop short of the grace of God. At Gerard’s Cross I plainly declared to those whom God gave into my hands, the faith as it is in Jesus: As I did next day to a young man I overtook on the road, and in the evening to our friends at Oxford. A strange doctrine, which some, who did not care to contradict, yet knew not what to make of; but one or two, who were thoroughly bruised by sin, willingly heard, and received it gladly.
In the day or two following, I was much confirmed in the “truth that is after godliness,” by hearing the experiences of Mr. Hutchins, of Pembroke College, and Mrs. Fox: Two living witnesses that God can (at least, if he does not always) give that faith whereof cometh salvation in a moment, as lightning falling from heaven. Mon . May 1 . — The return of my brother’s illness obliged me again to hasten to London. In the evening I found him at James Hutton’s, better as to his health than I expected; but strongly averse from what he called “the new faith.”
This evening our little society began, which afterwards met in Fetter-Lane.
Our fundamental rules were as follow: — IN obedience to the command of God by St. James, and by the advice of Peter Bohler, it is agreed by us, 1. That we will meet together once a week to “confess our faults one to another, and pray one for another, that we may be healed.” 2. That the persons so meeting be divided into several bands, or little companies, none of them consisting of fewer than five, or more than ten persons. 3. That every one in order speak as freely, plainly, and concisely as he can, the real state of his heart, with his several temptations and deliverances, since the last time of meeting. 4. That all the bands have a conference at eight every Wednesday evening, begun and ended with singing and prayer. 5. That any who desire to be admitted into this society be asked, “What are your reasons for desiring this? Will you be entirely open; using no kind of reserve? Have you any objection to any of our orders?” (which may then be read.) 6. That when any new member is proposed, every one present speak clearly and freely whatever objection he has to him. 7. That those against whom no reasonable objection appears, be, in order for their trial, formed into one or more distinct bands, and some person agreed on to assist them. 8. That after two months’ trial, if no objection then appears, they may be admitted into the society. 9. That every fourth Saturday be observed as a day of general intercession. 10. That on the Sunday seven-night following be a general love-feast, from seven till ten in the evening. 11. That no particular member be allowed to act in any thing contrary to any order of the society: And that if any persons, after being thrice admonished, do not conform thereto, they be not any longer esteemed as members. Wed. 3 . — My brother had a long and particular conversation with Peter Bohler. And it now pleased God to open his eyes; so that he also saw clearly what was the nature of that one true living faith, whereby alone, “through grace, we are saved.” Thur. 4 . — Peter Bohler left London, in order to embark for Carolina. O what a work hath God begun, since his coming into England! Such an one as shall never come to an end, till heaven and earth pass away. Friday and Saturday I was at Blendon. They now “believed our report.” O may “the arm of the Lord” be speedily “revealed unto them!” Sun . 7 . — I preached at St. Lawrence’s in the morning; and afterwards at St. Katherine Cree’s church. I was enabled to speak strong words at both; and was, therefore, the less surprised at being informed, I was not to preach any more in either of those churches. Tues . 9 . — I preached at Great St. Helen’s, to a very numerous congregation, on, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” My heart was now so enlarged, to declare the love of God, to all that were oppressed by the devil, that I did not wonder in the least, when I was afterwards told, “Sir, you must preach here no more.” Wed. 10 . — Mr. Stonehouse, Vicar of Islington, was convinced of “the truth as it is in Jesus.” From this time till Saturday, 13, I was sorrowful and very heavy; being neither able to read, nor meditate, nor sing, nor pray, nor do any thing. Yet I was a little refreshed by Peter Bohler’s letter, which I insert in his own words: — CHARISSIME ET SUAVISSIME FRATER, INTENTISSIMO amore te diligo, multum tui recordans in itinere meo, optando et precando ut quamprimium viscera misericordiae crucifixi Jesu Christi, tui gratia jam ante sex mille annos commota, menti tuae appareant: Ut gustare et tunc videre possis, quam vehementer te Filius Dei amaverit et hucusque amet, et ut sic confidere possis in eo omni tempore, vitamque ejus in te et in carne tua sentire. Cave tibi a peccato incredulitatis, et si nondum vicisti illud, fac ut proximo die illud vincas, per sanguinem Jesu Christi.
Ne differ, quaeso, credere tuum in Jesum Christum; sed potius promissionum ejus quae pertinent ad miserandos peccatores, coram facie ejus benigna sic mentionem fac, ut non aliter possit quam praestare tibi, quod multis aliis praestitit. O quam multus, quam magnus, quam ineffabilis, quam inexhaustus, est illius amor! Ille certe jamjam paratus est ad auxilium; et nihil potest illum offendere nisi incredulitas nostra. Crede igitur. Fratrem tuum Carolum et Hall nomine meo saluta multum; et admonete vos invicem ad credendum, et tunc ad ambulandum coram facie Domini akribwv et ad pugnandum contra diabolum et mundum nomimwv , et ad crucifigendum et conculcandum peccatum omne sub pedibus nostris, quantum nobis datum est per gratiam secundi Adami, cujus sita excedit mortem prioris Adami, et cujus gratia antecellit corruptionem et damnationem prioris Adami.
Dominus tibi benedicat. Permane in fide, amore, doctrina, communione sanctorum; et breviter, in omni quod habemus in Novo Foedere. Ego sum et maneo, Tuus indignus Frater, PETRUS BOHLER In agris Southaptonianis, Die 8vo Maii, 1738. “ I LOVE you greatly, and think much of you in my journey, wishing and praying that the tender mercies of Jesus Christ the Crucified, whose bowels were moved towards you more than six thousand years ago, may be manifested to your soul: That you may taste and then see, how exceedingly the Son of God has loved you, and loves you still; and that so you may continually trust in Him, and feel his life in yourself. Beware of the sin of unbelief; and if you have not conquered it yet, see that you conquer it this very day, through the blood of Jesus Christ. Delay not, I beseech you, to believe in your Jesus Christ; but so put Him in mind of his promises to poor sinners, that He may not be able to refrain from doing for you, what He hath done for so many others. O how great, how inexpressible, how unexhausted is his love! Surely he is now ready to help; and nothing can offend Him but our unbelief. f19 “Believe, therefore. Greet in my name your brother Charles and Hall; and admonish one another to believe, and thee to walk circumspectly in the sight of God, to fight lawfully against the devil and the world, and to crucify and to tread all sin under your feet, as far as you are permitted through the grace of the Second Adam, whose life exceeds the death of the first Adam, and whose grace far surpasses the corruption and damnation of the first Adam.” —EDIT.] “The Lord bless you! Abide in faith, love, teaching, the communion of saints; and briefly, in all which we have in the New Testament. I am, “Your unworthy Brother, “PETER BOHLER Sun. 14 . — I preached in the morning at St. Ann’s, Aldersgate; and in the afternoon at the Savoy chapel, free salvation by faith in the blood of Christ. I was quickly apprised, that at St. Ann’s, likewise, I am to preach no more.
So true did I find the words of a friend, wrote to my brother about this time: — “I have seen upon this occasion, more than ever I could have imagined, how intolerable the doctrine of faith is to the mind of man; and how peculiarly intolerable to religious men. One may say the most unchristian things, even down to Deism; the most enthusiastic things, so they proceed but upon mental raptures, lights, and unions; the most severe things, even the whole rigor of ascetic mortification; and all this will be forgiven. But if you speak of faith in such a manner as makes Christ a Savior to the utmost, a most universal help and refuge; — in such a manner as takes away glorying, but adds happiness to wretched man; — as discovers a greater pollution in the best of us than we could before acknowledge, but brings a greater deliverance from it than we could before expect: If any one offers to talk at this rate, he shall be heard with the same abhorrence as if he was goring to rob mankind of their salvation, their Mediator, or their hopes of forgiveness. I am persuaded that a Mortanist or a Novatian, who from the height of his purity should look down with contempt upon poor sinners, and exclude them from all mercy, would not be thought such an overthrower of the Gospel, as he who should learn, from the Author of it, to be a friend of publicans and sinners, and to sit down upon the level with them, as soon as they begin to repent. “But this is not to be wondered at. For all religious people have such a quantity of righteousness, acquired by much painful exercise, and formed at last into current habits; which is their wealth, both for this world and the next. Now all other schemes of religion are either so complaisant as to tell them they are very rich, and have enough to triumph in; or else only a little rough, but friendly in the main, by telling them their riches are not yet sufficient, but by such arts of self-denial and mental refinement they may enlarge the stock. But the doctrine of faith is a downright robber. It takes away all this wealth, and only tells us it is deposited for us with somebody else, upon whose bounty we must live like mere beggars. Indeed, they that are truly beggars, vile and filthy sinners till very lately, may stoop to live in this dependent condition: It suits them well enough. But they who have long distinguished themselves from the herd of vicious wretches, or have even gone beyond moral men; for them to be told that they are either not so well, or but the same needy, impotent, insignificant vessels of mercy with the others: This is more shocking to reason than transubstantiation. For reason had rather resign its pretensions to judge what is bread or flesh, than have this honor wrested from it — to be the architect of virtue and righteousness. — But where am I running? My design was only to give you warning, that wherever you go, this ‘foolishness of preaching’ will alienate hearts from you, and open mouths against you.” Fri. 19 . — My brother had a second return of his pleurisy. A few of us spent Saturday night in prayer. The next day, being Whit-Sunday , after hearing Dr. Heylyn preach a truly Christian sermon, (on, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost:” “And so,” said he, “may all you be, if it is not your own fault,”) and assisting him at the holy communion, (his Curate being taken ill in the church,) I received the surprising news, that my brother had found rest to his soul. His bodily strength returned also from that hour. “Who is so great a God as our God?”
I preached at St. John’s, Wapping, at three, and at St. Bennett’s, Paul’s-Wharf, in the evening At these churches, like. wise, I am to preach no more. At St. Autholin’s I preached on the Thursday following. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I had continual sorrow and heaviness in my heart: Something of which I described, in the broken manner I was able, in the following letter to a friend: — “O why is it, that so great, so wise, so holy a God will use such an instrument as me! Lord, ‘let the dead bury their dead!’ But wilt thou send the dead to raise the dead? Yea, thou sendest whom thou wilt send, and showest mercy by whom thou wilt show mercy!
Amen! Be it then according to thy will! If thou speak the word, Judas shall cast out devils. “I feel what you say, (though not enough,) for I am under the same condemnation. I see that the whole law of God is holy, just, and good. I know every thought, every temper of my soul, ought to bear God’s image and superscription. But how am I fallen from the glory of God! I feel that ‘I am sold under sin.’ I know, that I too deserve nothing but wrath, being full of all abominations: And having no good thing in me, to atone for them, or to remove the wrath of God. All my works, my righteousness, my prayers, need an atonement for themselves. So that my mouth is stopped. I have nothing to plead. God is holy, I am unholy. God is a consuming fire: I am altogether a sinner, meet to be consumed. “Yet I hear a voice (and is it not the voice of God?) saying, ‘Believe, and thou shalt be saved. He that believeth is passed from death unto life. God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ “O let no one deceive us by vain words, as if we had already attained this faith! By its fruits we shall know. Do we already feel ‘peace with God,’ and ‘joy in the Holy Ghost?’ Does ‘his Spirit bear witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God?’ Alas, with mine He does not. Nor, I fear, with yours. O thou Savior of men, save us from trusting in anything but Thee!
What occurred on Wednesday, 24, I think best to relate at large, after premising what may make it the better understood. Let him that cannot receive it ask of the Father of lights, that He would give more light to him and me. 1. I believe, till I was about ten years old I had not sinned away that “washing of the Holy Ghost” which was given me in baptism; having been strictly educated and carefully taught, that I could only be saved “by universal obedience, by keeping all the commandments of God;” in the meaning of which I was diligently instructed. And those instructions, so far as they respected outward duties and sins, I gladly received, and often thought of. But all that was said to me of inward obedience, or holiness, I neither understood nor remembered. So that I was indeed as ignorant of the true meaning of the Law, as I was of the Gospel of Christ. 2. The next six or seven years were spent at school; where, outward restraints being removed, I was much more negligent than before, even of outward duties, and almost continually guilty of outward sins, which I knew to be such, though they were not scandalous in the eye of the world.
However, I still read the Scriptures, and said my prayers, morning and evening. And what I now hoped to be saved by, was, 1. Not being so bad as other people. 2. Having still a kindness for religion. And, 3. Reading the Bible, going to church, and saying my prayers. 3. Being removed to the University for five years, I still said my prayers both in public and in private, and read, with the Scriptures, several other books of religion, especially comments on the New Testament. Yet I had not all this while so much as a notion of inward holiness; nay, went on habitually, and, for the most part, very contentedly, in some or other known sin: Indeed, with some intermission and short struggles, especially before and after the holy communion, which I was obliged to receive thrice a year. I cannot well tell what I hoped to be saved by now, when I was continually sinning against that little light I had; unless by those transient fits of what many Divines taught me to call repentance. 4. When I was about twenty-two, my father pressed me to enter into holy orders. At the same time, the providence of God directing me to Kempis’s “Christian Pattern,” I began to see, that true religion was seated in the heart, and that God’s law extended to all our thoughts as well as words and actions. I was, however, very angry at Kempis, for being too strict; though I read him only in Dean Stanhope’s translation. Yet I had frequently much sensible comfort in reading him, such as I was an utter stranger to before: And meeting likewise with a religious friend, which I never had till now, I began to alter the whole form of my conversation, and to set in earnest upon a new life. I set apart an hour or two a day for religious retirement. I communicated every week. I watched against all sin, whether in word or deed. I began to aim at, and pray for, inward holiness.
So that now, “doing so much, and living so good a life,” I doubted not but I was a good Christian. 5. Removing soon after to another College, I executed a resolution which I was before convinced was of the utmost importance, — shaking off at once all my trifling acquaintance. I began to see more and more the value of time. I applied myself closer to study. I watched more carefully against actual sins; I advised others to be religious, according to that scheme of religion by which I modeled my own life. But meeting now with Mr. Law’s “Christian Perfection” and “Serious Call,” although I was much offended at many parts of both, yet they convinced me more than ever of the exceeding height and breadth and depth of the law of God. The light flowed in so mightily upon my soul, that every thing appeared in a new view. I cried to God for help, and resolved not to prolong the time of obeying Him as I had never done before. And by my continued endeavor to keep His whole law, inward and outward, to the utmost of my power, I was persuaded that I should be accepted of Him, and that I was even then in a state of salvation. 6. In 1730 I began visiting the prisons; assisting the poor and sick in town; and doing what other good I could, by my presence, or my little fortune, to the bodies and souls of all men. To this end I abridged myself of all superfluities, and many that are called necessaries of life. I soon became a by-word for so doing, and I rejoiced that my name was cast out as evil.
The next spring I began observing the Wednesday and Friday Fasts, commonly observed in the ancient Church; tasting no food till three in the afternoon. And now I knew not how to go any farther. I diligently strove against all sin. I omitted no sort of self-denial which I thought lawful: I carefully used, both in public and in private, all the means of grace at all opportunities. I omitted no occasion of doing good: I for that reason suffered evil. And all this I knew to he nothing, unless as it was directed toward inward holiness. Accordingly this, the image of God, was what I aimed at in all, by doing his will, not my own. Yet when, after continuing some years in this course, I apprehended myself to be near death, I could not find that all this gave me any comfort, or any assurance of acceptance with God. At this I was then not a little surprised; not imagining I had been all this time building on the sand, nor considering that “other foundation can no man lay, than that which is laid” by God, “even Christ Jesus.” 7. Soon after, a contemplative man convinced me still more than I was convinced before, that outward works are nothing, being alone; and in several conversations instructed me, how to pursue inward holiness, or a union of the soul with God. But even of his instructions (though I then received them as the words of God) I cannot but now observe, 1. That he spoke so incautiously against trusting in outward works, that he discouraged me from doing them at all. 2. That he recommended (as it were, to supply what was wanting in then) mental prayer, and the like exercises, as the most effectual means of purifying the soul, and uniting it with God.
Now these were, in truth, as much my own works as visiting the sick or clothing the naked; and the union with God thus pursued, was as really my own righteousness, as any I had before pursued under another name. 8. In this refined way of trusting to my own works and my own righteousness, (so zealously inculcated by the mystic writers,) I dragged on heavily, finding no comfort or help therein, till the time of my leaving England. On shipboard, however, I was again active in outward works; where it pleased God of his free mercy to give me twenty-six of the Moravian brethren for companions, who endeavored to show me “a more excellent way.” But I understood it not at first. I was too learned and too wise. So that it seemed foolishness unto me. And I continued preaching, and following after, and trusting in, that righteousness whereby no flesh can be justified. 9. All the time I was at Savannah I was thus beating the air. Being ignorant of the righteousness of Christ, which, by a living faith in Him, bringeth salvation “to every one that believeth,” I sought to establish my own righteousness; and so labored in the fire all my days. I was now properly “under the law;” I knew that “the law” of God was “spiritual; I consented to it that it was good.” Yea, “I delighted in it, after the inner man.” Yet was I “carnal, sold under sin.” Everyday was I constrained to cry out, “What I do, I allow not: For what I would, I do not; but what I hate, that I do. To will is “indeed” present with me: But how to perform that which is good, I find not. For the good which I would, I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. I find a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me:” Even “the law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,” and still “bringing me into captivity to the law of sin.” 10. In this vile, abject state of bondage to sin, I was indeed fighting continually, but not conquering. Before, I had willingly served sin; now it was unwillingly; but still I served it. I fell, and rose, and fell again.
Sometimes I was overcome, and in heaviness: Sometimes I overcame, and was in joy. For as in the former state I had some foretastes of the terrors of the law, so had I in this, of the comforts of the Gospel. During this whole struggle between nature and grace, which had now continued above ten years, I had many remarkable returns to prayer; especially when I was in trouble: I had many sensible comforts; which are indeed no other than short anticipations of the life of faith. But I was still “under the law,” not “under grace:” (The state most who are called Christians are content to live and die in:) For I was only striving with, not freed from, sin. Neither had I the witness of the Spirit with my spirit, and indeed could not; for I “sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” 11. In my return to England, January, 1738, being in imminent danger of death, and very uneasy on that account, I was strongly convinced that the cause of that uneasiness was unbelief; and that the gaining a true, living faith was the “one thing needful” for me. But still I fixed not this faith on its right object: I meant only faith in God, not faith in or through Christ.
Again, I knew not that I was wholly void of this faith; but only thought, I had not enough of it. So that when Peter Bohler, whom God prepared for me as soon as I came to London, affirmed of true faith in Christ, (which is but one,) that it had those two fruits inseparably attending it, “Dominion over sin, and constant Peace from a sense of forgiveness,” I was quite amazed, and looked upon it as a new Gospel. If this was so, it was clear I had not faith. But I was not willing to be convinced of this. Therefore, I disputed with all my might, and labored to prove that faith might be where these were not; especially where the sense of forgiveness was not: For all the Scriptures relating to this I had been long since taught to construe away; and to call all Presbyterians who spoke otherwise. Besides, I well saw, no one could, in the nature of things, have such a sense of forgiveness, and not feel it. But I felt it not. If then there was no faith without this, all my pretensions to faith dropped at once. 12. When I met Peter Bohler again, he consented to put the dispute upon the issue which I desired, namely, Scripture and experience. I first consulted the Scripture. But when I set aside the glosses of men, and simply considered the words of God, comparing them together, endeavoring to illustrate the obscure by the plainer passages; I found they all made against me, and was forced to retreat to my last hold, “that experience would never agree with the literal interpretation of those scriptures. Nor could I therefore allow it to be true, till I found some living witnesses of it.” He replied, he could show me such at any time; if I desired it, the next day. And accordingly, the next day he came again with three others, all of whom testified, of their own personal experience, that a true living faith in Christ is inseparable from a sense of pardon for all past, and freedom from all present, sins. They added with one mouth, that this faith was the gift, the free gift of God; and that he would surely bestow it upon every soul who earnestly and perseveringly sought it. I was now thoroughly convinced; and, by the grace of God, I resolved to seek it unto the end, 1. By absolutely renouncing all dependence, in whole or in part, upon my own works or righteousness; on which I had really grounded my hope of salvation though I knew it not, from my youth up. 2. By adding to the constant use of all the other means of grace, continual prayer for this very thing, justifying, saving faith, a full reliance on the blood of Christ shed for me; a trust in Him, as my Christ, as my sole justification, sanctification, and redemption. 13. I continued thus to seek it, (though with strange indifference, dullness, and coldness, and unusually frequent relapses into sin,) till Wednesday, May 24. I think it was about five this morning, that I opened my Testament on those words, Ta megista hmin kai timia epaggelmata dedwrhtai, ina genhsqe qeiav koinwnoi fusewv. “There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.” ( 2 Peter 1:4.) Just as I went out, I opened it again on those words, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s. The anthem was, “Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? For there is mercy with thee; therefore shalt thou be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord: For with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his sins.” 14. In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death. 15. I began to pray with all my might for those who had in a more especial manner despitefully used me and persecuted me. I then testified openly to all there, what I now first felt in my heart. But it was not long before the enemy suggested, “This cannot be faith; for where is thy joy?” Then was I taught, that peace and victory over sin are essential to faith in the Captain of our salvation: But that, as to the transports of joy that usually attend the beginning of it, especially in those who have mourned deeply, God sometimes giveth, sometimes with holdeth them, according to the counsels of his own will. 16. After my return home, I was much buffeted with temptations; but cried out, and they fled away. They returned again and again. I as often lifted up my eyes, and He “sent me help from his holy place.” And herein I found the difference between this and my former state chiefly consisted.
I was striving, yea, fighting with all my might under the law, as well as under grace. But then I was sometimes, if not often, conquered; now, I was always conqueror. 17. Thur . 25 . — The moment I awaked, “Jesus, Master,” was in my heart and in my mouth; and I found all my strength lay in keeping my eye fixed upon him, and my soul waiting on him continually. Being again at St. Paul’s in the afternoon, I could taste the good word of God in the anthem, which began, “My song shall be always of the loving kindness of the Lord:
With my mouth will I ever be showing forth thy truth from one generation to another.” Yet the enemy injected a fear, “If thou dost believe, why is there not a more sensible change?” I answered, (yet not I,) “That I know not. But this I know, I have ‘now peace with God.’ And I sin not today, and Jesus my Master has forbid me to take thought for the morrow.” 18. “But is not any sort of fear,” continued the tempter, “a proof that thou dost not believe?” I desired my Master to answer for me; and opened his Book upon those words of St. Paul, “Without were fightings, within were fears.” Then, inferred I, well may fears be within me; but I must go on, and tread them under my feet. Fri. 26 . — My soul continued in peace, but yet in heaviness because of manifold temptations. I asked Mr. Telchig, the Moravian, what to do. He said, “You must not fight with them, as you did before, but flee from them the moment they appear, and take shelter in the wounds of Jesus.” The same I learned also from the afternoon anthem, which was, “My soul truly waiteth still upon God: For of Him cometh my salvation; He verily is my strength and my salvation, He is my defense, so that I shall not greatly fall. O put your trust in Him always, ye people; pour out your hearts before Him; for God is our hope.” Sat. 27 . — Believing one reason of my want of joy was want of time for prayer, I resolved to do no business till I went to church in the morning, but to continue pouring out my heart before Him. And this day my spirit was enlarged; so that though I was now also assaulted by many temptations, I was more than conqueror, gaining more power thereby to trust and to rejoice in God my Savior. Sun. 28 . — I waked in peace, but not in joy. In the same even, quiet state I was till the evening, when I was roughly attacked in a large company as an enthusiast, a seducer, and a setter-forth of new doctrines. By the blessing of God, I was not moved to anger, but after a calm and short reply went away; though not with so tender a concern as was due to those who were seeking death in the error of their life.
This day I preached in the morning at St. George’s, Bloomsbury, on, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith;” and in the afternoon at the chapel in Long-Acre, on God’s justifying the ungodly; — the last time (I understand) I am to preach at either. “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Mon. 29 . — I set out for Dummer with Mr. Wolf, one of the first-fruits of Peter Bohler’s ministry in England. I was much strengthened by the grace of God in him: Yet was his state so far above mine, that I was often tempted to doubt whether we had one faith. But, without much reasoning about it, I holden here: “Though his be strong and mine weak, yet that God hath given some degree of faith even to me, I know by its fruits. For I have constant peace; — not one uneasy thought. And I have freedom from sin; — not one unholy desire.”
Yet on Wednesday did I grieve the Spirit of God, not only by not watching unto prayer, but likewise by speaking with sharpness instead of tender love, of one that was not sound in the faith. Immediately God hid his face, and I was troubled; and in this heaviness I continued till the next morning, June 1: When it pleased God, while I was exhorting another, to give comfort to my soul, and (after I had spent some time in prayer) to direct me to those gracious words, “Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.” Sat . June 3. — I was so strongly assaulted by one of my old enemies, that I had scarce strength to open my lips, or even to look up for help. But after I had prayed, faintly, as I could, the temptation vanished away. Sun. 4 . — Was indeed a feast-day. For from the time of my rising till past one in the afternoon, I was praying, reading the Scriptures, singing praise, or calling, sinners to repentance. All these days I scarce remember to have opened the Testament, but upon some great and precious promise. And I saw more than ever, that the Gospel is in truth but one great promise, from the beginning of it to the end. Tues. 6 . — I had still more comfort, and peace, and joy; on which I fear I began to presume: For in the evening I received a letter from Oxford which threw me into much perplexity. It was asserted therein, “That no doubting could consist with the least degree of true faith: That whoever at any time felt any doubt or fear, was not weak in faith, but had no faith at all: And that none hath any faith, till the law of the Spirit of life has made him wholly free from the law of sin and death.”
Begging of God to direct me, I opened my Testament on 1 Corinthians 3:1, etc., where St. Paul speaks of those whom he terms “babes in Christ,” who were “not able to bear strong meat,” nay (in a sense) “carnal;” to whom nevertheless he says, “Ye are God’s building, ye are the temple of God.” Surely then these men had some degree of faith; though, it is plain, their faith was but weak.
After some hours spent in the Scripture and prayer, I was much comforted. Yet I felt a kind of soreness in my heart, so that I found my wound was not fully healed. O God, save thou me, and all that are “weak in the faith,” from “doubtful disputations!” Wed. 7 . — I determined, if God should permit, to retire for a short time into Germany. I had fully proposed, before I left Georgia, so to do, if it should please God to bring me back to Europe. And I now clearly saw the time was come. My weak mind could not bear to be thus sawn asunder.
And I hoped the conversing with those holy men who were themselves living witnesses of the full power of faith, and yet able to bear with those that are weak, would be a means, under God, of so establishing my soul, that I might go on from faith to faith, and “from strength to strength.” Thur. 8 . — I went to Salisbury, to take leave of my mother. The next day I left Sarum, and on Saturday came to Stanton Harcourt. Having preached faith in Christ there on Sunday, 11, I went on to Oxford; and thence on Monday to London, where I found Mr. Ingham just setting out. We went on board the next day, Tuesday, 13, and fell down to Gravesend that night, About four in the afternoon on Wednesday, we lost sight of England. We reached the Mease at eight on Thursday morning, and in an hour and a half landed at Rotterdam.
We were eight in all; five English, and three Germans. Dr. Koker, a Physician of Rotterdam, was so kind, when we set forward in the afternoon, as to walk an hour with us on our way. I never before saw any such road as this. For many miles together, it is raised for some yards above the level, and paved with a small sort of brick, as smooth and clean as the Mall in St. James’s. The walnut-trees stand in even rows on either side; so that no walk in a gentleman’s garden is pleasanter. About seven we came to Goudart, where we were a little surprised at meeting with a treatment which is not heard of in England. Several inns utterly refused to entertain us; so that it was with difficulty we at last found one, where they did us the favor to take our money for some meat and drink, and the use of two or three bad beds. They pressed us much in the morning to see their church, but were displeased at our pulling off our hats when we went in; telling us, we must not do so; it was not the custom there. It is a large old building, of the Gothic kind, resembling some of our English cathedrals.
There is much history-painting in the windows, which, they told us, is greatly admired. About eight we left Goadart, and in a little more than six hours reached Ysselstein.
Here we were at Baron Wattevil’s, as at home. We found with him a few German brethren and sisters, and seven or eight of our English acquaintance, who had settled here some time before. They lodged just without the town, in three or four little houses, till one should be built that would contain them all. Saturday, 17, was their Intercession-day. In the morning, some of our English brethren desired me to administer the Lord’s Supper: The rest of the day we spent with all the brethren and sisters, in hearing the wonderful work which God is beginning to work over all the earth; and in making our requests known unto Him, and giving Him thanks for the mightiness of his kingdom.
At six in the morning we took boat. The beautiful gardens lie on both sides the river, for great part of the way to Amsterdam, whither we came about five in the evening. The exact neatness of all the buildings here, the nice cleanness of the streets, (which, we were informed, were all washed twice a week,) and the canals which run through all the main streets, with rows of trees on either side, make this the pleasantest city which I have ever seen. Here we were entertained, with truly Christian hospitality, by Mr. Decknatel, a Minister of the Mennonites, who suffered us to want nothing while we stayed here, which was till the Thursday following. Dr. Barkhausen, (a Physician, a Muscovite by nation,) who had been with Mr. Decknatel for some time, showed us likewise all possible kindness.
Remember them, O Lord, for good! Mon. 19 . — I was at one of the societies, which lasted an hour and a half.
About sixty persons were present. The singing was in Low-Dutch; (Mr. Decknatel having translated into Low-Dutch, part of the Hernhuth Hymn-book;) but the words were so very near the German, that any who understood the original, might understand the translation. The expounding was in High-Dutch. I was at another of the societies on Tuesday, where were present about the same number. On Wednesday, one of our company found a sheep that had been lost: His sister, who had lived here for some time with one whom she loved too well, as he did her. But they were now both resolved, by the grace of God, (which they accordingly executed without delay,) “to pluck out the right eye, and cast it from them.” Thur. 22 . — We took boat at eight in the evening, and, landing at four in the morning, walked on to Uutfass, which we left about two, having now another boy added to our number. A little before eight we came to Beurn, a small ill-built city, belonging to the Prince of Orange. Setting out early in the morning, we came to Nimwegen, the last town in Holland, about two in the afternoon; and, leaving it at four, came before eight to an inn, two hours short of Cleve. Sun. 25 . — After spending an hour in singing and prayer, we walked till near noon, before we could meet with any refreshment. The road would have appeared exceeding pleasant, being broad and straight, with tall trees on either side, had not weariness and rain prevented. We hoped to reach Reinberg in the evening, but could not; being obliged to stop two hours short of it, at a little house, where many good Lutherans were concluding the Lord’s day (as is usual among them) with fiddling and dancing! Mon. 26 . — We breakfasted at Reinberg; left it at half an hour past ten, and at four came to Urding. Being much tired, we rested here, so that it was near ten at night before we came to Neus. Having but a few hours’ walk from hence to Colen, we went thither easily, and came at five the next evening into the ugliest, dirtiest city I ever yet saw with my eyes. Wed. 28 . — We went to the cathedral, which is mere heaps upon heaps: a huge, mis-shapen thing, which has no more of symmetry than of neatness belonging to it. I was a little surprised to observe, that neither in this, nor in any other of the Romish churches where I have been, is there, properly speaking, any such thing as joint worship; but one prays at one shrine or altar, and another at another, without any regard to, or communication with, one another. As we came out of the church, a procession began on the other side of the church-yard. One of our company scrupling to pull off his hat, a zealous Catholic presently cried out, “Knock down the Lutheran dog.” But we prevented any contest, by retiring into the church.
Walking on the side of the Rhine in the afternoon, I saw, to my great surprise, (for I always thought before, no Romanist of any fashion believed anything of the story,) a fresh painting, done last year at the public expense, on the outside of the city-wall, “in memory of the bringing in the heads of the three kings,” says the Latin inscription, “through the gate adjoining;” which, indeed, in reverence, it seems, to them, has been stopped up ever since.
At four we took boat, when I could not but observe the decency of the Papists above us who are called Reformed. As soon as ever we were seated, (and so every morning after,) they all pulled off their hats, and each used by himself a short prayer for our prosperous journey. And this justice I must do to the very boatmen: (Who upon the Rhine are generally wicked even to a proverb:) I never heard one of them take the name of God in vain, or saw any one laugh when anything of religion was mentioned. So that I believe the glory of sporting with sacred things is peculiar to the English nation!
We were four nights on the water, by reason of the swiftness of the stream, up which the boat was drawn by horses. The high mountains on each side the river, rising almost perpendicular, and yet covered with vines to the very top, gave us many agreeable prospects; a religious house, or old castle, every now and then appearing on the brow of one of them. On Sunday evening, July 2, we came to Mentz; and Monday, the 3d, at half an hour past ten, to Frankfort.
Faint and weary as we were, we could have no admittance here, having brought no passes with us; which indeed we never imagined would have been required in a time of settled general peace. After waiting an hour at the gates, we procured a messenger, whom we sent to Mr. Bohler; (Peter Bohler’s father;) who immediately came, procured us entrance into the city, and entertained us in the most friendly manner. We set out early in the morning on Tuesday, the 4th, and about one came to Marienborne. But I was so ill, that, after talking a little with Count Zinzendorf, I was forced to lie down the rest of the day.
The family at Marienborne consists of about ninety persons, gathered out of many nations. They live for the present in a large house hired by the Count, which is capable of receiving a far greater number; but are building one about three English miles off, on the top of a fruitful hill. “O how pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” Thur. 6 . — The Count carried me with him to the Count of Solmes, where I observed with pleasure the German frugality. Three of the young Countesses (though grown up) were dressed in linen; the Count and his son in plain cloth. At dinner, the next day, a glass of wine and a glass of water were set by every one, and if either were emptied, a second. They all conversed freely and unaffectedly. At ten at night we took coach again, and in the morning reached Marienborne.
I lodged with one of the brethren at Eckershausen, an English mile from Marienborne, where I usually spent the day, chiefly in conversing with those who could speak either Latin or English; not being able, for want of more practice, to speak German readily. And here I continually met with what I sought for, viz., living proofs of the power of faith: Persons saved from inward as well as outward sin, by “the love of God shed abroad in their hearts;” and from all doubt and fear, by the abiding witness of “the Holy Ghost given unto them.” Sun. 9 . — The Count preached in the old castle at Runneberg, (about three English miles from Marienborne,) where is also a small company of those who seek the Lord Jesus in sincerity. Wednesday, 12, was one of the conferences for strangers; where one of Frankfort proposing the question, — Can a man be justified, and not know it? the Count spoke largely and scripturally upon it, to this effect: — 1. Justification is the forgiveness of sins. 2. The moment a man flies to Christ he is justified; 3. And has peace with God; but not always joy: 4. Nor perhaps may he know he is justified, till long after. 5. For the assurance of it is distinct from justification itself. 6. But others may know he is justified by his power over sin, by his seriousness, his love of the brethren, and his “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” which alone prove the spiritual life to be begun. 7. To be justified is the same thing, as to be born of God. (Not so.) 8. When a man is awakened, he is begotten of God, and his fear and sorrow, and sense of the wrath of God, are the pangs of the new birth.
I then recollected what Peter Bohler had often said upon this head, which was to this effect: — 1 When a man has living faith in Christ, then is he justified: 2. This is always given in a moment; 3. And in that moment he has peace with God; 4 Which he cannot have without knowing that he has it: 5. And being born of God, he sinneth not: 6. Which deliverance from sin he cannot have without knowing that he has it. Sat. 15 . — Was the Intercession-day, when many strangers were present from different parts. On Monday, 17, having stayed here ten days longer than I intended, (my first design being only to rest one or two days,) I proposed setting out for Hernhuth; but Mr. Ingham desiring me to stay a little longer, I stayed till Wednesday, 19, when Mr. Hauptman, (a native of Dresden,) Mr. Brown, and I set out together.
We breakfasted at Gehlenhausen, an old, unhandsome town, dined at Offenau, (where is a strange instance of moderation, — a church used every Sunday both by the Papists and the Lutherans alternately,) and, notwithstanding some sharp showers of rain, in the evening reached Steinau. Thursday, 20, we dined at Braunsal, and passing through Fulda in the afternoon, (where the Duke has a pleasant palace,) traveled through a delightful country of hills and vales; and in the evening came to Rickhersch. The next night, (after having had the most beautiful prospect which I think I ever saw, from the top of a high hill, commanding a vast extent of various land on every side,) we, with some difficulty, and many words, procured a poor accommodation at an inn in Markful. Saturday, 22, having passed through Eisenach in the morning, we came through a more level open country, to Saxe-Gotha in the afternoon, a neat and pleasant city, in which the Prince’s palace is indeed a fine building. We stopped an hour here with a friendly man, and in the evening came to Ditleben; and thence in the morning to Erfurt, where we were kindly entertained by Mr. Reinhart, to whom we were directed by some of the brethren at Marienborne. In the afternoon we came to Weymar, where we had more difficulty to get through the city than is usual, even in Germany:
Being not only detained a considerable time at the gate, but also carried before I know not what great man (I believe the Duke) in the Square; who after many other questions, asked, what we were going so far as Hernhuth for: I answered, “To see the place where the Christians live.” He looked hard, and let us go. Mon. 24 . — We came early to Jena, which lies at the bottom of several high, steep, barren hills. The students here are distinguished from the townsmen by their swords. They do not live together in Colleges, (nor indeed in any of the German Universities,) as we do in Oxford and Cambridge; but are scattered up and down the town, in lodging or boarding houses. Those of them to whom we were recommended, behaved as brethren indeed. O may brotherly kindness, and every good word and work, abound in them more and more!
Every mile is a large pillar, with the names of the neighboring towns, and their distances, inscribed. It were much to be wished, that the same care were taken in England, and indeed in all countries.
We left Jena early on Tuesday, reached Weisenfeltz in the evening, and Merseberg on Wednesday morning. Having a desire to see Halle, (two German miles off,) we set out after breakfast, and came thither at two in the afternoon. But we could not be admitted into the town, when we came.
The King of Prussia’s tall men, who kept the gates, sent us backward and forward, from one gate to another, for near two hours. I then thought of sending in a note to Professor Francke, the son of that August Herman Francke whose name is indeed as precious ointment. O may I follow him, as he did Christ! And ‘by manifestation of the truth, commend myself to every man’s conscience in the sight of God!” He was not in town.
However, we were at length admitted into the Orphan-house; that amazing proof, that “all things are” still “possible to him that believeth.” There is now a large yearly revenue for its support, beside what is continually brought in by the printing-office, the books sold there, and the apothecary’s shop, which is furnished with all sorts of medicines The building reaches backward from the front in two wings, for, I believe, a hundred and fifty yards. The lodging-chambers for the children, their dining-room, their chapel, and all the adjoining apartments, are so conveniently contrived, and so exactly clean, as I have never seen any before. Six hundred and fifty children, we were informed, are wholly maintained there; and three thousand, if I mistake not, taught. Surely, such a thing neither we nor our fathers have known, as this great thing which God has done here! Thur. 27 . — We returned to Merseberg, and at five in the evening came to the gates of Leipsig. After we had sent in our pass, and waited an hour and a half, we were suffered to go to a bad inn in the town. Fri. 28 . — We found out Mr. Merschall, and the other gentlemen of the University, to whom we were directed. They were not wanting in any good office while we stayed, and in the afternoon went with us an hour forward in our journey.
After a pleasant walk on Saturday, on Sunday. 30, about seven in the morning, we came to Meissen. In Meissen Castle, the German chinaware is made, which is full as dear as that imported from the Indies; and as finely shaped, and beautifully colored, as any I have ever seen. After breakfast we went to church. I was greatly surprised at all I saw there: At the costliness of apparel in many, and the gaudiness of it in more; at the huge fur-caps worn by the women, of the same shape with a Turkish turban; which generally had one or more ribands hanging down a great length behind. The Minister’s habit was adorned with gold and scarlet, and a vast cross both behind and before. Most of the congregation sat, (the men generally with their hats on, at the prayers as well as sermon,) and all of them stayed during the holy communion, though but very few received.
Alas, alas! what a Reformed country is this!
At two in the afternoon we came to Dresden, the chief city of Saxony.
Here also we were carried for above two hours from one Magistrate or Officer to another, with the usual impertinent solemnity, before we were suffered to go to our inn. I greatly wonder that common sense and common humanity (for these, doubtless, subsist in Germany as well as England) do not put an end to this senseless, inhuman usage of strangers, which we met with at almost every German city, though more particularly at Frankfort, Weimar, Halle, Leipsig, and Dresden. I know nothing that can reasonably be said in its defense, in a time of full peace, being a breach of all the common, even heathen laws of hospitality. If it be a custom, so much the worse; the more is the pity and the shame.
In the evening we saw the palace the late Elector was building when God called him away. The stone-work he had very near finished, and some of the apartments within. It is a beautiful and magnificent design; but all is now swiftly running to ruin. The new church on the outside resembles a theatre. It is eight-square, built of fine freestone. We were desired also to take notice of the great bridge which joins the new with the old town; of the large, brass crucifix upon it, generally admired for the workmanship; and of the late King Augustus’s statue on horseback, which is at a small distance from it. Alas! where will all these things appear, when the earth and the works thereof shall be burned up?
Between five and six the next evening, (having left Mr. Hauptman with his relations in Dresden,) we came to Neustadt; but could not procure any lodging in the city. After walking half an hour, we came to another little town, and found a sort of an inn there: But they told us plainly, we should have no lodging with them; for they did not like our looks.
About eight we were received at a little house in another village, where God gave us sweet rest. Tues . Aug. 1. — At three in the afternoon I came to Hernhuth, about thirty English miles from Dresden. It lies in Upper Lusatia, on the border of Bohemia, and contains about a hundred houses, built on a rising ground, with evergreen woods on two sides, gardens and corn-fields on the others, and high hills at a small distance. It has one long street, through which the great road from Zittau to Löbau goes. Fronting the middle of this street is the Orphan-house; in the lower part of which is the apothecary’s shop; in the upper, the chapel, capable of containing six or seven hundred people.
Another row of houses runs at a small distance from either end of the Orphan house, which accordingly divides the rest of the town (beside the long street) into two Squares. At the east end of it is the Count’s house; a small, plain building like the rest: Having a large garden behind it, well laid out, not for show, but for the use of the community.
We had a convenient lodging assigned us in the house appointed for strangers: And I had now abundant opportunity of observing whether what I had heard was enlarged by the relators, or was neither more nor less than the naked truth.
Then followed the expounding, closed by a second hymn: Prayer followed this; and then a few verses of a third hymn; which concluded the service. Wed . 2 . — At four in the afternoon was a love-feast of the married men, taking their food with gladness and singleness of heart, and with the voice of praise and thanksgiving. Thur. 3 , (And so everyday at eleven,) I was at the Bible Conference, wherein Mr. Müller, (late master of a great school in Zittau, till he left all to follow Christ,) and several others, read together, as usual, a portion of Scriptures in the original. At five was the conference for strangers, when several questions concerning justification were resolved. This evening Christian David came hither. O may God make him a messenger of glad tidings!
On Friday and Saturday (and so everyday in the following week) I had much conversation with the most experienced of the brethren, concerning the great work which God had wrought in their souls, purifying them by faith: And with Martin Döber, and the other Teachers and Elders of the Church, concerning the discipline used therein. Sun. 6 . — We went to church at Bertholsdorf, a Lutheran village about an English mile from Hernhuth. Two large candles stood lighted upon the altar: The Last Supper was painted behind it; the pulpit was placed over it; and over that, a brass image of Christ on the cross.
The Minister had on a sort of pudding-sleeve gown, which covered him all round. At nine began a long voluntary on the organ, closed with a hymn, which was sung by all the people sitting; in which posture, as is the German custom, they sung all that followed. Then the Minister walked up to the altar, bowed, sung these Latin words, “Gloria in excelsis Deo;” bowed again, and went away. This was followed by another hymn, sung, as before, to the organ, by all the people. Then the Minister went to the altar again, bowed, sung a prayer, read the Epistle, and went away. After a third hymn was sung, he went a third time to the altar, sung a versicle, (to which all the people sung a response,) read the third chapter to the Romans, and went away. The people having then sung the Creed in rhyme, he came and read the Gospel, all standing. Another hymn followed, which being ended, the Minister in the pulpit used a long extemporary prayer, and afterwards preached an hour and a quarter on a verse of the Gospel. Then he read a long intercession and general thanksgiving, which before twelve concluded the service.
After the Evening Service at Hernhuth was ended, all the unmarried men (as is their custom) walked quite round the town, singing praise with instruments of music; and then on a small hill, at a little distance from it, casting themselves into a ring, joined in prayer. Thence they returned into the great Square, and, a little after eleven, commended each other to God. Tues. 8 . — A child was buried. The burying ground (called by them Gottes Acker, that is, God’s ground) lies a few hundred yards out of the town, under the side of a little wood. There are distinct Squares in it for married men and unmarried; for married and unmarried women; for male and female children, and for widows. The corpse was carried from the chapel, the children walking first; next the orphan-father, (so they call him who has the chief care of the Orphan house,) with the Minister of Bertholsdorf; then four children bearing the corpse; and after them, Martin Döber and the father of the child. Then followed the men; and last of all the women and girls. They all sung as they went. Being come into the Square where the male children are buried, the men stood on two sides of it, the boys on the third, and the women and girls on the fourth. There they sung again:
After which the Minister used (I think read) a short prayer, and concluded with that blessing, “Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection I commit you.”
Seeing the father (a plain man, a tailor by trade) looking at the grave, I asked, “How do you find yourself?” He said, “Praised be the Lord, never better. He has taken the soul of my child to himself. I have seen, according to my desire, his body committed to holy ground. And I know that when it is raised again, both he and I shall be ever with the Lord” Several evenings this week I was with one or other of the private bands.
Four times also I enjoyed the blessing of hearing him preach, during the few days I spent here; and every time he chose the very subject which I should have desired, had I spoken to him before. Thrice he described the state of those who are “weak in faith,” who are justified, but have not yet a new, clean heart; who have received forgiveness through the blood of Christ, but have not received the constant indwelling of the Holy Ghost.
This state he explained once from, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven;” when he showed at large, from various Scriptures, that many are children of God and heirs of the promises, long before their hearts are softened by holy “mourning;” before they are comforted by the abiding witness of the Spirit, melting their souls into all gentleness and “meekness;” and much more, before they are renewed in all that “righteousness” which they “hungered and thirsted after;” before they are “pure in heart,” from all self-will and sin; and “merciful,” as their “Father which is in heaven is merciful.”
A second time he pointed out this state from those words, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, Jesus Christ our Lord. There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Hence also he at large both proved the existence, and showed the nature, of that intermediate state, which most experience between that bondage which is described in the seventh chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, and the full glorious liberty of the children of God described in the eighth, and in many other parts of Scripture.
This he yet again explained from the Scriptures which describe the state the Apostles were in, from our Lord’s death (and indeed for some time before) till the descent of the Holy Ghost at the day of Pentecost. They were then “clean,” as Christ himself had born them witness, “by the word which He had spoken unto them.” They then had faith, otherwise He could not have prayed for them, that their “faith” might not “fail.” Yet they had not, in the full sense, “new hearts;” neither had they received “the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
The fourth sermon which he preached, concerning the ground of faith, made such an impression upon me, that, when I went home, I could not but write down the substance of it, which was as follows: — “The word of reconciliation which the Apostles preached, as the foundation of all they taught, was, that we are reconciled to God, not by our own works, nor by our own righteousness, but wholly and solely by the blood of Christ. “But you will say, ‘Must I not grieve and mourn for my sins? Must I not humble myself before God? Is not this just and right? And must I not first do this, before I can expect God to be reconciled to me?’ I answer, It is just and right. You must be humbled before God. You must have a broken and contrite heart. But then observe, this is not your own work. Do you grieve that you are a sinner? This is the work of the Holy Ghost. Are you contrite? Are you humbled before God? Do you indeed mourn, and is your heart broken within you? All this worketh the self-same Spirit. “Observe again, this is not the foundation. It is not this by which you are justified. This is not the righteousness, this is no part of the righteousness, by which you are reconciled unto God. You grieve for your sins. You are deeply humble. Your heart is broken. Well; but all this is nothing to your justification. The remission of your sins is not owing to this cause, either in whole or in part. Your humiliation and contrition have no influence on that. Nay, observe farther, that it may hinder your justification; that is, if you build any thing upon it; if you think, ‘I must be so or so contrite. I must grieve more, before I can be justified.’ Understand this well. To think you must be more contrite, more humble, more grieved, more sensible of the weight of sin, before you can be justified, is to lay your contrition, your grief, your humiliation, for the foundation of your being justified; at least, for a part of the foundation. Therefore it hinders our justification; and a hindrance it is which must be removed before you can lay the right foundation. The right foundation is, not your contrition, (though that is not your own,) not your righteousness; nothing of your own; nothing that is wrought in you by the Holy Ghost; but it is something without you, viz., the righteousness and the blood of Christ. “For this is the word, ‘To him that believeth on God that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.’ See ye not, that the foundation is nothing in us? There is no connection between God and the ungodly. There is no tie to unite them. They are altogether separate from each other. They have nothing in common. There is nothing less or more in the ungodly, to join them to God. Works, righteousness, contrition? No; ungodliness only. This then do, if you will lay a right foundation. Go straight to Christ with all your ungodliness. Tell him, ‘Thou, whose eyes are as a flame of fire searching my heart, seest that I am unholy. I plead nothing else. I do not say, I am humble or contrite; but I am ungodly.
Therefore bring me to Him that justifieth the ungodly. Let thy blood be the propitiation for me. For there is nothing in me but ungodliness.’ “Here is a mystery. Here the wise men of the world are lost, are taken in their own craftiness. This the learned of the world cannot comprehend. It is foolishness unto them: Sin is the only thing which divides men from God. Sin (let him that heareth understand) is the only thing which unites them to God; that is, the only thing which moves the Lamb of God to have compassion upon, and, by his blood, to give them access to the Father. “This is the ‘word of reconciliation’ which we preach. This is the foundation which never can he moved. By faith we are built upon this foundation; and this faith also is the gift of God. It is his free gift, which He now and ever giveth to every one that is willing to receive it. And when they have received this gift of God, then their hearts will melt for sorrow that they have offended Him. But this gift of God lives in the heart, not in the head. The faith of the head, learned from men or books, is nothing worth. It brings neither remission of sins, nor peace with God. Labor then to believe with your whole heart. So shall you have redemption through the blood of Christ. So shall you be cleansed from all sin. So shall ye go on from strength to strength being renewed day by day in righteousness and all true holiness.” Sat. 12 . — Was the Intercession-day, when many strangers were present, some of whom came twenty or thirty miles. I would gladly have spent my life here; but my Master calling me to labor in another part of his vineyard, on Monday , 14, I was constrained to take my leave of this happy place; Martin Döber, and a few others of the brethren, walking with us about an hour. O when shallTHIS Christianity cover the earth, as the “waters cover the sea?”
To hear in what manner God “out of darkness commanded this light to shine,” must be agreeable to all those in every nation, who can testify from their own experience, “The gracious Lord hath so done his marvellous acts, that they ought to be had in remembrance.” I shall therefore here subjoin the substance of several conversations, which I had at Hernhuth, chiefly on this subject. And may many be incited hereby to give praise “unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever!”
It was on August 10, (old style,) that I had an opportunity of spending some hours withCHRISTIAN DAVID. He is a carpenter by trade, more than middle aged, though I believe not fifty yet. Most of his words I understood well; if at any time I did not, one of the brethren who went with me, explained them in Latin. The substance of what he spoke, I immediately after wrote down; which was as follows: — “When I was young, I was much troubled at hearing some affirm that the Pope was Antichrist. I read the Lutheran books writ against the Papists, and the Popish books writ against the Lutherans. I easily saw that the Papists were in the wrong; but not that the Lutherans were in the right. I could not understand what they meant by being justified by faith, by faith alone, by faith without works. Neither did I like their talking so much of Christ. Then I began to think, How can Christ be the Son of God? But the more I reasoned with myself upon it, the more confused I was, till at last I loathed the very name of Christ. I could not hear to mention it. I hated the sound of it; and would never willingly have either read or heard it. In this temper I left Moravia, and wandered through many countries, seeking rest, but finding none. “In these wanderings I fell among some Jews. Their objections against the New Testament threw me into fresh doubts. At last I set myself to read over the Old Testament, and see if the prophecies therein contained were fulfilled. I was soon convinced they were. And thus much I gained, — a fixed belief that Jesus was the Christ. “But soon after this a new doubt arose, Are the New Testament prophecies fulfilled? This I next set myself to examine. I read them carefully over, and could not but see every event answered the prediction; so that the more I compared the old with the other, the more fully I was convinced that ‘all Scripture was given by inspiration of God.’ “Yet still my soul was not in peace; nor indeed did I expect it, till I should have openly renounced the errors of Popery; which accordingly I did at Berlin. I now also led a very strict life. I read much, and prayed much. I did all I could to conquer sin; yet it proved not: I was still conquered by it.
Neither found I any more rest among the Lutherans, than I did before among the Papists. “At length, not knowing what to do, I listed myself a soldier. Now I thought I should have more time to pray and read, having with me a New Testament and a Hymn-book. But in one day both my books were stole.
This almost broke my heart. Finding also in this way of life all the inconveniences which I thought to avoid by it, after six months I returned to my trade, and followed it two years. Removing then to Gorlitz, in Saxony, I fell into a dangerous illness. I could not stir hand or foot for twenty weeks. Pastor Sleder came to me everyday. And from him it was that the Gospel of Christ came first with power to my soul. “Here I found the peace I had long sought in vain; for I was assured my sins were forgiven. Not indeed all at once, but by degrees; not in one moment, nor in one hour. For I could not immediately believe that I was forgiven, because of the mistake I was then in concerning forgiveness. I saw not then, that the first promise to the children of God is, ‘Sin shall no more reign over you;’ but thought I was to feel it in me no more from the time it was forgiven. Therefore, although I had the mastery over it, yet I often feared it was not forgiven, because it still stirred in me, and at some times thrust sore at me that I might fall: Because, though it did not reign, it did remain in me; and I was continually tempted, though not overcome.
This at that time threw me into many doubts; not understanding that the devil tempts, properly speaking, only those whom he perceives to be escaping from him. He need not tempt his own; for they ‘lie in the wicked one,’ (as St. John observes,) and do his will with greediness. But those whom Christ is setting free, he tempts day and night, to see if he can recover them to his kingdom. Neither saw I then, that the being justified, is widely different from he having the full assurance of faith. I remembered not, that our Lord told his Apostles before his death, ‘Ye are clean;’ whereas it was not till many days after it, that they were fully assured, by the Holy Ghost then received, of their reconciliation to God through his blood. The difference between these fruits of the Spirit was as yet hid from me; so that I was hardly and slowly convinced I had the one, because I had not the other. “When I was recovered from my illness, I resolved to return into Moravia, and preach Christ to my relations there. Thence I came back to Gorlitz, where I continued five years; and there was a great awakening both in the town and country round about. In this space I made two more journeys into Moravia, when more and more came to hear me, many of whom promised to come to me, wherever I was, when a door should be opened for them. “After my return from my third journey, Count Zinzendorf sent to Gorlitz, the Minister of Bertholedorf being dead, for Mr. Rothe, who was in a gentleman’s family there, to be Minister of that place. Mr. Rothe told him of me; and he writ to me to come to him; and when I came, said, ‘Let as many as will of your friends come hither; I will give them land to build on, and Christ will give them the rest.’ I went immediately into Moravia, and told them God had now found out a place for us. Ten of them followed me then; ten more the next year; one more in my following journey. The Papists were now alarmed, set a price upon my head, and leveled the house I had lodged in even with the ground. I made, however, eleven journeys thither in all, and conducted as many as desired it to this place; the way to which was now so well known, that many more came of themselves. “Eighteen years ago we built the first house. We chose to be bear the great road rather than at Bertholsdorf, (for the Count gave us our choice,) hoping we might thereby find opportunities of instructing some that traveled by us. In two years we were increased to a hundred and fifty; when I contracted an intimate acquaintance with a Calvinist, who after some time brought me over to his opinion touching election and reprobation: And by me were most of our brethren likewise brought over to the same opinions. About this time we were in great straits, where with many were much dejected. I endeavored to comfort them with the sense of God’s love towards them. But they answered, ‘Nay, it may be He hath no love towards us: It may be we are not of the election; but God hated us from eternity, and therefore He has suffered all these things to come upon us.’ “The Count observing this, desired me to go to a neighboring Minister, Pastor Steinmetz, and talk with him fully on that head, ‘Whether Christ died for all?’ I did so, and by him God fully convinced me of that important truth. And not long after, the Count desired we might all meet together, and consider these things thoroughly. We met, accordingly, at his house, and parted not for three days. We opened the Scriptures, and considered the account which is given therein of the whole economy of God with man, from the creation to the consummation of all things; and by the blessing of God we came all to one mind; particularly in that fundamental point, that ‘He willeth all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’ “Some time after, the Jesuits told the Emperor, that the Count was gathering together all the Moravians and Bohemians, forming them into one body, and making a new religion. Commissioners were immediately sent to Hernhuth, to examine the truth of this. The substance of the final answer returned through them to the Emperor was as follows: — AN EXTRACT OF THE PUBLIC INSTRUMENT SIGNED AT HERNHUTH, IN AUGUST, 1729. “‘1. WE believe the Church of the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren, from whom we are descended, to have been a holy and undefiled Church, as is owned by Luther and all other Protestant Divines; who own also that our doctrine agrees with theirs. But our discipline they have not. “‘2. But we do not rest upon the holiness of our ancestors; it being our continual care to show that we are passed from death unto life, by worshipping God in spirit and in truth. Nor do we account any man a brother, unless he has either preserved inviolate the covenant he made with God in baptism, or, it he has broken it been born again of God. “3. On the other side, whosoever they are who, being sprinkled by the blood of Christ, are sanctified through faith, we receive them as brethren, although in some points they may differ from us. Not that we can renounce or give up any doctrine of God, contained in Holy Writ; the least part of which is dearer unto us than thousands of gold and silver. “‘4. Discipline we judge to be necessary in the highest degree, for all those who have any knowledge of divine truth: And we can, therefore, in no wise forsake that which we have received from our forefathers.
Yet if it should ever be (which God forbid) that any of us should speak or act perverse things, we could only say, with St. John, They went forth from us , but were not of us: For if they had been of us , they would have continued, with us . “‘5. The public worship of God at Bertholsdorf, which we have hitherto frequented, we are the less able now to forsake, because we have there an assembly of true believers, a doctrine free from error, and a Pastor who, having labored much in the word, is worthy of double honor. Therefore, we have no cause to form any congregation, separate from this; especially seeing we both use that liberty which Christ hath purchased for us; and so often experience the power of the doctrine which is taught there, and agree with the Evangelical Protestants (that is, Lutherans) in all truths of importance. As for the controverted points, which require a subtle wit, we either are ignorant of them, or despise them. “‘6. The name of brethren and sisters we do not reject, as being agreeable both to Scripture and to Christian simplicity. But we do not approve of being called by the name of any man; as knowing we have one Father, even him which is in heaven.’ “In 1732, we were again required to give an account of ourselves. This was then done in the manner following: — “‘AN EXTRACT OF A LETTER WROTE BY THE CHURCH OF HERNHUTH, TO THE PRESIDENT OF UPPER LUSATIA, JAN. 24, 1732. “‘1. NONE can be ignorant of the religion of our ancestors, who have read the history of John Huss. Some of his followers endeavored to repel force by force. The rest, having better learned Christ, obtained leave of George Podibrad, King of Bohemia, to retire and live apart. Retiring, accordingly, in the year 1453, to a place on the borders of Silesia and Moravia, they lived in peace, till the time of Luther and Calvin, with both of whom, as with their followers, they maintained a friendly intercourse; especially when, by the providence of God, they were placed among those of either opinion. “‘2. In the year 1699, David Ernest Jablonsky, grandson to Amos Comenius, the last Bishop of the Moravians, was consecrated Bishop of the United Brethren in Moravia, Bohemia, and Poland, in a Synod regularly assembled. To him Count Zinzendorf signified, that several of the Moravian brethren, having escaped from the tyranny of the Papists, were so joined to the Lutherans, whose doctrine they approved, as nevertheless to retain their ancient discipline. His entire approbation of this, Bishop Jablonsky testified to the Count in several letters. “‘3. It must be acknowledged that many of our ancestors, about the beginning of the Reformation, from fear of man, did not openly confess the truth: And hence it was that the Romish Pastors bore with them; being little concerned what their private opinions were. But hence it also was, that continually using dissimulation, and not walking in simplicity, they were no longer fervent in spirit, as of old time, neither could they find any peace to their souls. “‘4. It was in the year 1715 that a soldier of the Emperor’s, lately discharged, came to Sehl, a village of which the Jesuits are lords, and began to talk with Augustin Neusser and his brother. He sharply reproved their hypocrisy, in pretending to be Romanists, and dissembling the true faith.
Yet they conferred with flesh and blood, till the year 1722, when at length they forsook all, and retired into Upper Lusatia. They left three brothers behind them, who were soon after cast into prison, and grievously persecuted by the Papists; so that as soon as ever a door was opened, they also left all, and followed their brothers into Lusatia. The same did many others soon after, as finding no safety either for body or soul in their own country; whence, about the same time, Michael and Martin Linner, and the Haberlands, were driven out, with their families, after having suffered the loss of all things, for not conforming to the Romish worship, and for receiving those they called heretics into their houses. “‘5. But the brethren at Kuhnewald were treated with still greater severity.
All their books were taken away; they were compelled, by the most exquisite torments, to conform to the Popish superstitions and idolatries; and, in the end, cast into, and kept in, the most loathsome prisons; whereby David Schneider, the Nitschmans, and many others, were constrained also to leave their country, and all that they had. These are the plain reasons of our leaving Moravia, of which your Excellency desired an account from us.’ “In the mean time we found a great remissness of behavior had crept in among us. And indeed the same was to be found in most of those round about us, whether Lutherans or Calvinists; so insisting on faith, as to forget, at least in practice, both holiness and good works. “Observing this terrible abuse of preaching Christ given for us , we began to insist more than ever on Christ living in us . All our exhortations and preaching turned on this: We spoke, we writ, of nothing else. Our constant inquiries were, —’Is Christ formed in you? Have you a new heart? Is your soul renewed in the image of God? Is the whole body of sin destroyed in you? Are you fully assured, beyond all doubt or fear, that you are a child of God? In what manner, and at what moment, did you receive that full assurance?’ If a man could not answer all these questions, we judged he had no true faith. Nor would we permit any to receive the Lord’s Supper among us till he could. “In this persuasion we were, when I went to Greenland, five years ago.
There I had a correspondence by letter with a Danish Minister on the head of justification. And it pleased God to show me by him, (though he was by no means a holy man, but openly guilty of gross sins,) that we had now leaned too much to this hand, and were run into another extreme:
That Christ in us, and Christ for he, ought, indeed, to be both insisted on; but first and principally Christ for us, as being the ground of all. I now clearly saw, we ought not to insist on any thing we feel any more than any thing we do, as if it were necessary previous to justification, or the remission of sins. I saw that least of all ought we so to insist on the full assurance of faith, or the destruction of the body of sin, and the extinction of all its motions, as to exclude those who had not attained this from the Lord’s table, or to deny that they had any faith at all. I plainly perceived, this full assurance was a distinct gift from justifying faith, and often not given till long after it; and that justification does not imply that sin should not stir in us, but only that it should not conquer. “And now first it was that I had that full assurance of my own reconciliation to God, through Christ. For many years I had had the forgiveness of my sins, and a measure of the peace of God; but I had not till now that witness of his Spirit, which shuts out all doubt and fear. In all my trials I had always a confidence in Christ, who had done so great things for me. But it was a confidence mixed with fear: I was afraid I had not done enough. There was always something dark in my soul till now. But now the clear light shined; and I saw that what I had hitherto so constantly insisted on, — the doing so much and feeling so much, the long repentance and preparation for believing, the bitter sorrow for sin, and that deep contrition of heart which is found in some, — were by no means essential to justification. Yea, that wherever the free grace of God is rightly preached, a sinner in the full career of his sins will probably receive it, and be justified by it, before one who insists on such previous preparation. “At my return to Hernhuth, I found it difficult at first to make my brethren sensible of this, or to persuade them not to insist on the assurance of faith, as a necessary qualification for receiving the Lord’s Supper. But from the time they were convinced, which is now three years since, we have all chiefly insisted on Christ given for us: This we urge as the principal thing, which if we rightly believe, Christ will surely be formed in us . And this preaching we have always found to be accompanied with power, and to have the blessing of God following it. By this, believers receive a steady purpose of heart, and a more unshaken resolution, to endure with a free and cheerful spirit whatsoever our Lord is pleased to lay upon them.”
The same day I was withMICHAEL LINNER, the eldest of the Church; the sum of whose conversation was this: — “The Church of Moravia was once a glorious Church. But it is now covered with thick darkness. It is about sixteen years ago that I began to seek for light. I had a New Testament, which I constantly read; upon which I often said to myself, ‘This says, I ought to be humble, and meek, and pure in heart. How comes it that I am not so?’ I went to the best men I knew, and asked, ‘Is not this the word of God? And if so, ought I not to be such as this requires, both in heart and life?’ They answered, ‘The first Christians were such; but it was impossible for us to be so perfect.’ This answer gave me no satisfaction. I knew God could not mock his creatures, by requiring of them what he saw it was impossible for them to perform. I asked others, but had still the same answer, which troubled me more and more. “About fourteen years ago, I was more than ever convinced that I was wholly different from what God required me to be. I consulted his word again and again; but it spoke nothing but condemnation; till at last I could not read, nor indeed do any thing else, having no hope and no spirit left in me. I had been in this state for several days, when, being musing by myself, these words came strongly into my mind, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, to the end that all who believe in him should not perish, but have ever lasting life.’ I thought, ‘All? Then I am one.
Then He is given for me. But I am a sinner. And he came to save sinners.’ Immediately my burden dropped off, and my heart was at rest. “But the full assurance of faith I had not yet; nor for the two years I continued in Moravia. When I was driven out thence by the Jesuits, I retired hither, and was soon after received into the Church. And here after some time it pleased our Lord to manifest himself more clearly to my soul, and give me that full sense of acceptance in him which excludes all doubt and fear. “Indeed the leading of the Spirit is different in different souls. His more usual method, I believe, is, to give, in one and the same moment, the forgiveness of sins, and a full assurance of that forgiveness. Yet in many He works as He did in me: Giving first the remission of sins, and, after some weeks or months or years, the full assurance of it.”
This great truth was farther confirmed to me the next day by the conversation I had withDAVID NITSCHMAN, one of the Teachers or Pastors of the Church; who expressed himself to this effect: — “In my childhood I was very serious; but as I grew up, was so careless, that at eighteen years old I had even forgot to read. When I found this, I was startled. I soon learned again, and then spent much time in reading and prayer. But I knew nothing of my heart till, about the age of twenty-six, I bought a Bible, and began to read the New Testament. The farther I read, the more I was condemned.
I found a law which I did not, could not, keep. I had a will to avoid all sin; but the power I had not. I continually strove; but was continually conquered. The thing which I would, I did not; but what I would not have done, that I did. In this bondage I was, when I fell into a fit of sickness; during my recovery from which, I felt a stronger desire than ever to avoid all sin. At the same time I felt the power. And sin no longer reigned over me. “But soon after I fell into grievous temptations, which made me very uneasy. For though I yielded not to them, yet they returned again, and again, as fast as they were conquered. Then it came into my mind, ‘I take all this pains to serve God. What, if there be no God? How do I know there is?’ And on this I mused more and more, till I said in my heart, ‘There is no God!’ “In this state I was when I came to Hernhuth, about fourteen years ago. And everyday for a full year, from morning to night, I groaned under this unbelief. Yet I prayed continually, unbelieving as I was; particularly one Sunday, when, being in the church of Bertholdsdorf, and quite weary of hearing so much of Him, whose very being I did not believe, I vehemently said, ‘O God, if thou be a God, thou must manifest thyself, or I cannot believe it.’ In walking home, I thought of an expression of Pastor Rothe’s, ‘Only suppose these things are so: Suppose there be a God.’ I said to myself, ‘Well, I will, I do suppose it.’ Immediately I felt a strange sweetness in my soul, which increased every moment till the next morning: And from that time, if all the men upon earth, and all the devils in hell, had joined in denying it, I could not have doubted the being of God, no, not for one moment. This first sweetness lasted for six weeks, without any intermission. “I then fell into doubts of another kind. I believed in God; but not in Christ. I opened my heart to Martin Döber. who used many arguments with me, but in vain. For above four years I found no rest, by reason of this unbelief; till one day, as I was sitting in my house, despairing of any relief, those words shot into me, ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.’ I thought, ‘Then God and Christ are one.’ Immediately my heart was filled with joy; and much more at the remembrance of these words which I now felt I did believe: ‘The Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ “Yet in a few days I was troubled again. I believed Christ was the Savior of the world: But I could not call him my Savior; neither did I believe he would save me. And one day, as I was walking across the Square, that text came strongly into my mind, ‘The unbelieving shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.’ I returned home, terrified beyond expression; and instantly began crying out to our Savior, telling him, I deserved no less than hell; and gave myself up, if it were his will, to suffer what I had deserved. In a moment I found a gleam of hope, that he would have mercy even on me. “But this in a short time vanished away, and my uneasiness returned again. Many endeavored to persuade me that I had, but I knew I had not, a right faith in Christ. For I had no confidence in Him; nor could I lay hold upon Him as my Savior. Indeed, reading one day in Arndt’s ‘True Christianity,’ that ‘if all the sins of all the men upon earth were joined in one man, the blood of Christ was sufficient to cleanse that man from all sin; ‘I felt for a time comfort and peace: But it was but for a time, and then I was overwhelmed as before with sadness and unbelief. And I was oppressed almost beyond my strength, when a year ago I went into this little wood. At first I was tempted to break out into impatience; but then I thought, Our Savior knows best; nor would he suffer this trouble to continue so long, if he did not see it was good for me. I delivered myself wholly into his hands, to dispose of me according to his good pleasure. In that hour I saw, that all who believe in Him are reconciled to God through his blood; and was assured, that I was thereby reconciled, and numbered among the children of God. And from that hour, I have had no doubt or fear, but all peace and joy in believing.”
Some of the circumstances of this uncommon relation were made more clear to me by the account I received in the afternoon from a student at Hernhuth,ALBINUS THEODORUS FEDER: — “I,” said he, “for three years fought against sin with all my might, by fasting and prayer, and all the other means of grace. But notwithstanding all my endeavors, I gained no ground; sin still prevailed over me; till at last, not knowing what to do farther, I was on the very brink of despair. Then it was, that, having no other refuge left, I fled to my Savior as one lost and undone, and that had no hope but in His power and free mercy. In that moment I found my heart at rest, in good hope that my sins were forgiven; of which I had a stronger assurance six weeks after, when I received the Lord’s Supper here. But I dare not affirm, I am a child of God; neither have I the seal of the Spirit. Yet I go on quietly doing my Savior’s will, taking shelter in his wounds, from all trouble and sin, and knowing He will perfect his work in his own time. “Martin Döber, when I described my state to him, said he had known very many believers who, if he asked the question, would not have dared to affirm, that they were the children of God. And he added, ‘It is very common for persons to receive remission of sins, or justification through faith in the blood of Christ, before they receive the full assurance of faith; which God many times withholds, till he has tried whether they will work together with him in the use of the first gift. Nor is there any need (continued he, Döber) to incite any one to seek that assurance by telling him, the faith he has is nothing. This will be more likely to drive him to despair, than to encourage him to press forward. His single business, who has received the first gift, is, credendo credere, et in credendo perseverare : (To believe on, and to hold fast that whereunto he hath attained:) To go on, doing his Lord’s will, according to the ability God hath already given; cheerfully and faithfully to use what he has received, without solicitude for the rest.’” In the conversation I afterwards had with Augustine Neusser, a knife-smith, (another of the Pastors or Teachers of the Church, about sixty years of age,) as also with his brothers, Wensel and Hantz Neusser, the nature of true faith and salvation was yet farther explained to me. AUGUSTINE NEUSSER spoke to this effect: — “By experience I know, that we cannot be justified through the blood of Christ, till we feel that all our righteousness and good works avail nothing towards our justification.
Therefore, what men call a good life, is frequently the greatest of all hindrances to their coming to Christ. For it will not let them see that they are lost, undone sinners; and if they see not this, they cannot come unto Him. “Thus it was with me. I led a good life from a child: And this was the great hindrance to my coming to Christ. For, abounding in good works, and diligently using all the means of grace, I persuaded myself for thirteen or fourteen years, that all was well, and I could not fail of salvation. And yet, I cannot say my soul was at rest, even till the time when God showed me clearly, that my heart was as corrupt, notwithstanding all my good works, as that of an adulterer or murderer. Then my self-dependence withered away. I wanted a Savior, and fled naked to Him. And in Him I found true rest to my soul; being fully assured that all my sins were forgiven. Yet I cannot tell the hour or day when I first received that full assurance. For it was not given me at first, neither at once; but grew up in me by degrees.
But from the time it was confirmed in me, I never lost it; having never since doubted, no, not for a moment.”
WhatWENSEL NEUSSER said was as follows: — “From a child I had many fits of seriousness, and was often uneasy at my sins: This uneasiness was much increased about fifteen years since by the preaching of Christian David. I thought the way to get ease was, to go and live among the Lutherans, whom I supposed to be all good Christians. But I soon found they, as well as the Papists, were carnal, worldly minded men, About thirteen years ago I came from among them to Hernhuth; but was still as uneasy as before: Which I do not wonder at now; (though I did then;) for all this time, though I saw clearly I could not be saved but by the death of Christ, yet I did not trust in that only for salvation; but depended on my own righteousness also, as the joint condition of my acceptance. “After I was settled here, seeing the great diversity of sects wherewith we were surrounded, I began to doubt whether any religion was true. For half a year these doubts perplexed me greatly; and I was often just on the point of casting off all religion, and returning to the world. ‘The fear of doing this threw me into a deeper concern than ever I had been in before. Nor could I find how to escape; for the more I struggled, the more I was entangled. I often reflected on my former course of life, as more desirable than this:
And one day, in the bitterness of my soul, besought our blessed Savior at least to restore me to that state which I was in before I left Moravia. In that moment He manifested himself to me, so that I could lay hold on him as any Savior, and showed me, it is only the blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin. This was ten years since; and from that hour I have not had one doubt of my acceptance. Yet I have not any transports of joy: Nor had I when He thus revealed himself unto me: Only I well remember, that manifestation of himself was like a cool, refreshing wind, to one that is fainting away with sultry heat. And ever since my soul has been sweetly at rest, desiring no other portion in earth or heaven.” “I was awakened,” saidHANTZ NEUSSER, “by my grandfather, when a child, and by him carefully instructed in the New Testament. I married young; and being from that time weak and sickly, was the more earnest to work out my salvation; and nineteen or twenty years ago, I had a strong confidence in our Savior, and was continually warning others against trusting in themselves, in their own righteousness or good works. Yet I was not free from it myself. I did not trust in Him only for acceptance with God. And hence it was, that not building on the right foundation, the blood and righteousness of Christ alone, I could not gain a full victory over my sins, but sometimes conquered them, and sometimes was conquered by them. And therefore I had not a full or constant peace, though I was commonly easy and hoping for mercy. Sixteen years ago (on Saturday next) I came to my brother Augustine at Hernhuth. There was then only one little house here. Here I continued eight years in much the same state, thinking I trusted in Christ alone; but indeed trusting partly in his, and partly in my own righteousness. I was walking one day in this little wood, when God discovered my heart to me. I saw I had till that hour trusted in my own righteousness, and, at the same time, that I had no righteousness at all; being altogether corrupt and abominable, and fit only for the fire of hell. At this sight I fell into bitter grief, and a horrible dread overwhelmed me; expecting nothing (as I saw I deserved nothing else) but to be swallowed up in a moment. In that moment I beholden the Lamb of God, taking away my sins. And from that time I have had redemption through his blood, and full assurance of it. I have that peace in Him which never fails, and which admits of no doubt or fear. Indeed I am but a little one in Christ; therefore I can receive as yet but little of Him. But from his fullness I have enough; and I praise Him, and am satisfied.”
In the three or four following days, I had an opportunity of talking with Zacharias Neusser, (cousin to Hantz,) David Schneider, Christoph.
Demuth, Arvid Grarlin, (now at Constantinople,) and several others of the most experienced brethren. I believe no preface is needful to the account they gave of Gods dealings with their souls; which, I doubt not, will stir up many, through his grace, to “glorify their Father which is in heaven.” “I was born,” saidZACHARIAS NEUSSER, “on the borders of Moravia; and was first awakened by my cousin Wensel, who soon after carried me to hear Mr. Steinmetz, a Lutheran Minister, about thirty English miles off. I was utterly astonished. The next week I went again: After which, going to him in private, I opened my heart, and told him all my doubts; those especially concerning Popery. He offered to receive me into communion with him, which I gladly accepted of; and in a short time after, I received the Lord’s Empire from his hands. While I was receiving, I felt Christ had died for me. I knew I was reconciled to God. And all the day I was overwhelmed with joy; having those words continually on my mind, ‘This day is salvation come to my house: I also am a son of Abraham.’ This joy I had continually for a year and a half, and my heart was full of love to Christ. “After this I had thoughts of leaving Moravia. I was convinced it could be better for my soul. Yet I would not do it, because I got more money here than I could elsewhere. When I rejected on this, I said to myself, ‘This is mere covetousness. But if I am covetous, I am not a child of God.’ Hence I fell into deep perplexity, nor could I find any way to escape out of it. In this slavery and misery I was for five years; at the end of which I fell sick.
In my sickness my heart was set at liberty, and peace returned to my soul.
I now prayed earnestly to God to restore my health, that I might leave Moravia. He did restore it, and I immediately removed to Hernhuth. After I had been here a quarter of a year, the Count preached one day upon the nature of sanctification. I found I had not experienced what he described, and was greatly terrified. I went to my cousin Wensel, who advised me to read over the third, fourth, and fifth chapters of the Epistle to the Romans.
I did so. I had read them an hundred times before, yet now they appeared quite new, and gave me such a sight of God’s justifying the ungodly, as I never had before. On Sunday I went to church at Bertholdsdorf; and while we were singing those words, Wir glauben auch in Jesum Christ, — ‘We believe also in Jesus Christ,’ — I clearly saw him as my Savior. I wanted immediately to be alone, and to pour out my heart before Him. My soul was filled with thankfulness; and with a still, soft, quiet joy, such as it is impossible to express. I had full assurance that ‘my Beloved’ was ‘mine, and I’ was ‘his;’ which has never ceased to this day. I see by a clear light what is pleasing to Him, and I do it continually in love. I receive daily from Him peace and joy; and I have nothing to do but to praise Him.”
The most material part ofDAVID SCHNEIDER’ S account was this: — “Both my father and mother feared God, and carefully instructed me in the Holy Scriptures. I was, from a child, earnestly desirous to follow their instructions, and more so after my father’s death.
Yet, as I grew up, many sins got the dominion over me; of which God began to give me a sense, by the preaching of Pastor Steinmetz; who, speaking one day of drunkenness, to which I was then addicted, I was so grieved and ashamed, that for several days I could not bear to look any one in the face. It pleased God afterwards to give me, though not all at once, a sense of my other both outward and inward sins. And before the time of my coming out of Moravia, I knew that my sins were forgiven. Yet I cannot fix on any particular time when I knew this first. For I did not clearly know it at once: God having always done every thing in my soul by degrees. “When I was about twenty-six, I was pressed in spirit to exhort and instruct my brethren. Accordingly, many of them met at my house, to read, pray, and sing psalms. They usually come about ten or eleven, and stayed till one or two in the morning. When Christian David came to us, we were much quickened and comforted, and our number greatly increased. We were undisturbed for two years. But then the Papists were informed of our meeting.
Immediately search was made. All our books were seized, and we were ordered to appear before the Consistory. I was examined many times; was imprisoned, released, and imprisoned again, five times in one year. At last I was adjudged to pay fifty-six dollars, and suffer a year’s imprisonment. But, upon a re-hearing, the sentence was changed, and I was ordered to be sent to the galleys.
Before this sentence was executed, I escaped out of prison, and came to Sorau in Silesia. Many of our brethren followed me; and here for near ten years I taught the children in the Orphan-house. I soon sent for my wife and children. But the Magistrates had just then ordered, that the wives and children of all those who had fled should be taken into safe custody. The night before this order was to be executed, she escaped, and came to Sorau. “Soon after, some of my brethren who had been there pressed me much to remove to Hernhuth: Christian David, in particular, by whose continued importunity I was at length brought to resolve upon it. But all my brethren at Sorau were still as strongly against it as I myself had formerly been. For a whole year I was struggling to break from them, or to persuade them to go too. And it cost me more pains to get from Sorau, than it had done to leave Moravia. “At length I broke loose, and came to Hernhuth, which was about three years ago. Finding I could scarce subsist my family here by hard labor, whereas at Sorau all things were provided for me, I grew very uneasy. The more uneasy I was, the more my brethren refrained from my company; so that in a short time I was left quite alone. Then I was in deep distress indeed. Sin revived, and almost got the mastery over me. I tried all ways, but found no help. In this miserable state I was about a year ago, when the brethren cast lots concerning me, and were thereby directed to admit me to the Lord’s table. And from that hour my soul received comfort, and I was more and more assured that I had an Advocate with the Father, and that I was fully reconciled to God by his blood.”
CHRISTOPH.DEMUTH spoke to this effect: — “My father was a pious man from his youth. He carefully instructed all his children. I was about fifteen when he died. A little before he died, having been all his life-time under the law, he received at once remission of sins, and the full witness of the Spirit. He called us to him, and said, ‘My dear children, let your whole trust be in the blood of Christ. Seek salvation in this, and in this alone, and He will show you the same mercy He has to me. Yea, and He will show it to many of your relations and acquaintance, when his time is come.’ “From this time till I was twenty-seven years old, I was more and more zealous in seeking Christ. I then removed into Silesia, and married. A year after I was much pressed in spirit to return and visit my brethren in Moravia. I did so. We had the New Testament, our Moravian Hymns, and two or three Lutheran books. We read, and sung, and prayed together, and were much strengthened. One day as we were together at my house, one knocked at the door. I opened it, and it was a Jesuit. He said, ‘My dear Demuth, I know you are a good man, and one that instructs and exhorts your friends. I must see what books you have.’ And going into the inner room, he found the Testament, and the rest together. He took them all away; nor did we dare to hinder him. The next day we were summoned before the Consistory, and, after a long examination, ordered to appear in the church before the congregation on the following Sunday. There they read a long Confession of Faith, and afterwards bid us say, ‘In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ We did so, though not knowing what they meant. They then told us, we had abjured the Lutheran errors, and called the blessed Trinity to witness, that we assented to that Confession of Faith. My heart sunk within me when I heard it. I went home, but could find no rest. I thought I had now denied my Savior, and could expect no more mercy from Him. I could not bear to stay in Moravia any longer, but immediately returned into Silesia. There I continued six years; but there too I was perpetually terrified with the thoughts of what I had done. I often inquired after my brethren whom I had left in Moravia.
Some of them I heard were thrown into prison, and others escaped to a little village in Lusatia called Hernhuth. I wished I could go to that place myself; and at last meeting with one who had the same desire, we agreed to go together. But our design being discovered, he was apprehended and thrown into prison. Expecting the same treatment, I earnestly prayed, that God would show me a token for good. Immediately my soul was filled with joy, and I was ready to go to prison or to death. “Two days passed, and no man asked me any question; when, doubting what I ought to do, I went into a neighboring wood, and, going into a little cave, fell on my face and prayed, ‘Lord, thou seest I am ready to do what thou wilt. If it be thy will I should be cast into prison, thy will be done. If it be thy will that I should leave my wife and children, I am ready. Only show me thy will.’ Immediately I heard a loud voice saying, Fort, fort, fort, ‘ Go on, go on.’ I rose joyful and satisfied; went home and told my wife, it was God’s will I should now leave her; but that I hoped to return in a short time, and take her and my children with me. I went out of the door; and in that moment was filled with peace, and joy, and comfort. “We had above two hundred miles to go, (thirty-five German,) and neither I, nor my friend who went with me, had one kreutzer. But God provided things convenient for us, so that in all the way we wanted nothing. “In this journey God gave me the full assurance that my sins were forgiven. This was twelve years ago; and ever since it has been confirmed more and more, by my receiving from Him everyday fresh supplies of strength and comfort. “By comparing my experience with that of others, you may perceive how different ways God leads different souls. But though a man should be led in a way different from that of all other men; yet, if his eye be at all times fixed on his Savior; if his constant aim be so do His will; if all his desires tend to Him; if in all trials he can draw strength from Him; if he fly to Him in all troubles, and in all temptations find salvation in His blood; in this there can be no delusion: And whosoever is thus minded, however or whenever it began, is surely reconciled to God through his Son.”\parARVID GRADIN, a Swede, born in Dalecarlia, spoke to this purpose: — “Before I was ten years old, I had a serious sense of religion, and great fervor in prayer. This was increased by my reading much in the New Testament; but the more I read, the more earnestly I cried out, ‘Either these things are not true, or we are not Christians.’ About sixteen my sense of religion began to decline, by my too great fondness for learning, especially the Oriental Tongues, wherein I was instructed by a private preceptor, who likewise did all that in him lay to instruct me in true Divinity. “At seventeen I went to the University of Upsal, and a year or two after was licensed to preach. But at twenty-two, meeting with Arndt’s ‘True Christianity,’ I found I myself was not a Christian. Immediately I left off preaching, and betook myself wholly to philosophy. This stifled all my convictions for some years; but when I was about twenty-seven, they revived, and continued the year after, when I was desired to be domestic Tutor to the children of the Secretary of State. I now felt I was ‘carnal, sold under sin,’ and continually struggled to burst the bonds, till (being about thirty-one years old) I was unawares entangled in much worldly business. This cooled me in my pursuit of holiness; yet for a year and a half my heart was never at peace. Being then in a bookseller’s shop, I saw the account of the Church at Hernhuth. I did not think there could be any such place, and asked the bookseller if that was a real account. His answer, ‘that it was no more than the plain truth,’ threw me into deep thought and fervent prayer, that God would bring me to that place. I went to the Secretary, and told him I did not design to stay at Upsal, having a desire to travel. He said, he had a desire his son should travel; and was glad of an opportunity to send him with me. I was grieved, but knew not how to refuse any thing to my patron and benefactor. Accordingly we left Upsal together, and, after a year spent in several parts of Germany, went through Holland into France, and so to Paris, where we spent another year. But I was more and more uneasy, till I could be disengaged from my charge, that I might retire to Hernhuth. In our return from France, my pupil’s elder brother returning from Italy met us at Leipsig. I immediately writ to his father, and, having obtained his consent, delivered him into his hands. “April 23, 1738, (N. S.,) I came hither. Here I was in another world. I desired nothing but to be cleansed inwardly and outwardly from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. I found all here laying the same foundation.
Therefore, though I did not think with them in all points of doctrine, I waived these, and singly pursued reconciliation with God through Christ. “On the 22d of May last. I could think of nothing but, ‘He that believeth hath everlasting life.’ But I was afraid of deceiving, myself, and continually prayed I might not build without a foundation. Yet I had a sweet, settled peace, and for five days this Scripture was always in my thoughts. On the 28th those words of our Lord were as strongly impressed upon me, ‘If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to them that ask him? ‘At the same time I was incessantly carried out to ask, that He would give me the witness of his Spirit. On the 29th I had what I asked of Him, namely, the plhroforia pistewv which is, “Requies in sanguine Christi. Firma fiducia in Deum, et persuasio de gratia divind; tranquillitas mentis summa, atque serenitas et pax; cum absentia omnis desiderii carnalis, et cessatione peccatorum etiam internorum. Verbo, cor quod antea instar maris turbulenti agitabatur, in summa fuit reguie, instar maris sereni et tranquilai. “‘Repose in the blood of Christ. A firm confidence in God, and persuasion of his favor; serene peace and steadfast tranquillity of mind, with a deliverance from every fleshly desire, and from every outward and inward sin. In a word, my heart, which before was tossed like a troubled sea, was still and quiet, and in a sweet calm.’” In the present discipline of the Church of Hernhuth, all which is alterable at the discretion of the superiors, may be observed, I. The officers of it.
The division of the people.
The conferences, lectures, and government of the children.
The order of divine service.
I. The officers are, 1. The Eldest of the whole Church; beside whom, there is an Eldest of every particular branch of it. There is also a distinct Eldest over the young men, and another over the boys; a female Eldest over the women in general, and another over the unmarried, and another over the girls. 2. The Teachers, who are four. 3. The Helpers (or Deacons). 4. The Overseers, (or Censors,) eleven in number at Hernhuth. 5. The Monitors, who are eleven likewise. 6. The Almoners, eleven also. 7. The Attenders on the sick, seven in number. Lastly, The Servants, or Deacons of the lowest order.
The people of Hernhuth are divided, 1. Into five male classes, viz., the little children, the middle children, the big children, the young men, and the married. The females are divided in the same manner. 2. Into eleven classes, according to the houses where they live: And in each class is an Helper, an Overseer, a Monitor, an Almoner, and a Servant. 3. Into about ninety bands, each of which meets twice at least, but most of them three times a week, to “confess their faults one to another, and pray for one another, that they may be healed.”
The Rulers of the Church, that is, the Elders, Teachers, Helpers, have a conference every week, purely concerning the state of souls, and another concerning the institution of youth. Beside which, they have one everyday, concerning outward things relating to the Church.
The Overseers, the Monitors, the Almoners, the Attenders on the sick, the Servants, the Schoolmasters, the young men, and the children, have likewise each a conference once a week, relating to their several offices and duties.
Once a week also is a conference for strangers; at which any person may be present, and propose any question or doubt which he desires to have resolved.
There is a Latin, French, and an English lecture everyday, as well as an historical and geographical one. On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, is the Hebrew lecture; the Greek on Tuesday and Thursday.
In the Orphan-house the larger children rise at five. (The smaller, between five and six.) After a little private prayer they work till seven. Then they are at school till eight, the hour of prayer; at nine, those who are capable of it learn Latin; at ten, French; at eleven they all walk; at twelve, they dine all together, and walk till one; at one, they work or learn writing; at three, arithmetic; at four, history; at five, they work; at six, sup and work; at seven, after a time spent in prayer, walk; at eight the smaller children go to bed, the larger to the public service. When this is ended, they work again till at ten they go to bed.
Every morning, at eight, is singing and exposition of Scripture; and commonly short prayer.
At eight in the evening, there is commonly only mental prayer, joined with the singing and expounding.
On Sunday morning the Service begins at six; at nine, the Public service at Bertholdsdorf; at one, the Eldest gives separate exhortations to all the members of the Church, divided into fourteen little classes for that purpose, spending about a quarter of an hour with each class; at four, begins the livening Service at Bertholdsdorf, closed by a conference in the church; at eight, is the usual Service; after which the young men, singing praises round the town, conclude the day.
On the first Saturday in the month the Lord’s Supper is administered.
From ten in the morning till two, the Eldest speaks with each communicant in private, concerning the state of his soul; at two, they dine, then wash one anothers feet; after which they sing and pray; about ten, they receive in silence without any ceremony, and continue in silence till they part at twelve.
On the second Saturday is the solemn prayer-day for the children: The third is the day of general intercession and thanksgiving; and on the fourth is the great monthly conference of all the superiors of the Church.
For the satisfaction of those who desire a more full account, I have added AN EXTRACT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH OF THE MORAVIAN BRETHREN AT HERNHUTH, LAID BEFORE THE THEOLOGICAL ORDER AT WIRTEMBERG, IN THE YEAR 1733. “1. They have a Senior, or Eldest, who is to assist the Church by his counsel and prayers, and to determine what shall be done in matters of importance. Of him is required, that he be well experienced in the things of God, and witnessed to by all for holiness of conversation. “2. They have Deacons, or Helpers, who are, in the private assemblies, to instruct; to take care that outward things be done decently and in order; and to see that every member of the Church grows in grace, and walks suitable to his holy calling. “3. The Pastor, or Teacher, is to be an Overseer of the whole flock, and every person therein; to baptize the children; diligently to form their minds, and bring them up ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord;’ when he finds in them a sincere love of the cross, then to receive them into the Church; to administer the Supper of the Lord; to join in marriage those who are already married to Christ; to reprove, admonish, quicken, comfort, as need requires; to declare the whole counsel of God; taking heed, at all times, to speak as the Oracles of God, and agreeably to the analogy of faith; to bury those who have died in the Lord, and to keep that safe which is committed to his charge, even the pure doctrine and apostolical discipline which we have received from our forefathers. “4. We have also another sort of deacons, who take care that nothing be wanting to the Orphan-house, the poor, the sick, and the strangers. Others again there are, who are peculiarly to take care of the sick; and others, of the poor. And two of these are entrusted with the public stock, and keep accounts of all that is received or expended. “5. There are women who perform each of the above-mentioned offices, among those of their own sex; for none of the men converse with them, beside the Eldest, the Teacher, and one, or sometimes two, of the Deacons. “6. Towards Magistrates, whether of a superior or inferior rank, we bear the greatest reverence. We cheerfully submit to their laws; and even when many of us have been spoiled of their goods, driven out of their houses, and every way oppressed by them, yet they resisted them not, neither opening their mouths, nor lifting up their hands, against them. In all things which do not immediately concern the inward, spiritual kingdom of Christ, we simply, and without contradicting, obey the higher powers. But with regard to conscience, the liberty of this we cannot suffer to be any way limited or infringed. And to this head we refer whatever directly or in itself tends to hinder the salvation of souls; or, whatsoever things Christ and his holy Apostles (who, we know, meddled not with outward worldly things) took charge of, and performed, as necessary for the Constituting and well-ordering of his church. In these things we acknowledge no head but Christ; and are determined, God being our helper, to give up, not only our goods, (as we did before,) but life itself, rather than this liberty which God hath given us. “ 7. As it behooves all Christians not to be slothful in business, but diligently to attend the works of their calling; there are persons chosen by the Church to superintend all those who are employed in outward business. And by this means also, many things are prevented which might otherwise be an occasion of offense. “8. We have also Censors and Monitors. In those, experience and perspicacity; in these, wisdom and modesty, are chiefly required. The Censors signify what they observe (and they observe the smallest things) either to the Deacons or Monitors. Some Monitors there are whom all know to be such; others who are secretly appointed; and who, if need require, may freely admonish, in the love of Christ, even the Rulers of the Church. “9. The Church is so divided, that first the husbands, then the wives, then the widows, then the maids, then the young men, then the boys, then the girls, and lastly the little children, are in so many distinct classes; each of which is daily visited, the married men by a married man, the wives by a wife, and so of the rest f26 . These larger are also (now) divided into near ninety smaller classes or bands, over each of which one presides who is of the greatest experience. All these Leaders meet the Senior every week, and lay open to him and to the Lord whatsoever hinders or furthers the work of God in the souls committed to their charge. “10. In the year 1727, four-and-twenty men, and as many women, agreed that each of them would spend an hour in everyday in praying to God for his blessing on his people: And for this purpose both the men and the women chose a place where any of their own sex, who were in distress, might be present with them. The same number of unmarried women, of unmarried men, of boys, and of girls, were afterwards, at their desire, added to them; who pour out their souls before God, not only for their own brethren, but also for other churches and persons, that have desired to be mentioned in their prayers. And this perpetual intercession has never ceased day or night, since its first beginning. “11. And as the members of the Church are divided according to their respective states and sexes, so they are also with regard to their proficiency in the knowledge of God. Some are dead, some quickened by the Spirit of God: Of these, some again are untractable, some diligent, some zealous, burning with their first love; some babes, and some young men. Those who are still dead, are visited everyday. And of the babes in Christ especial care is taken also; that they may be daily inspected, and assisted to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. “12. In the Orphan-house, about seventy children are brought up separate, according to their sex: Beside which, several experienced persons are appointed to consult with the parents, touching the education of the other children. In teaching them Christianity, we make use of Luther’s Catechism, and study the amending their wills as well as their understanding; finding by experience, that when their will is moved, they often learn more in a few hours, that otherwise in many months. Our little children we instruct chiefly by hymns; whereby we find the most important truths most successfully insinuated into their minds. “13. We highly reverence marriage, as greatly conducive to the kingdom of Christ. But neither our young men nor women enter into it till they assuredly know they are married to Christ. When any know it is the will of God that they should change their state, both the man and woman are placed, for a time, with some married persons, who instruct them how to behave, so that their married life may be pleasing to God. Then their design is laid before the whole Church, and after about fourteen days they are solemnly joined, though not otherwise habited than they are at other times. If they make any entertainment, (which is not always,) they invite only a few intimate friends, by whose faithful admonitions they may be the better prepared to bear their cross and fight the good fight of faith. If any woman is with child, not only especial mention is made of her in the public prayers, but she is also exhorted in private wholly to give herself up into the hands of her faithful Creator. As soon as a child is born, prayer is made for it; and if it may be, it is baptized in the presence of the whole Church. Before it is weaned, it is brought into the assembly on the Lord’s days. “14. Whoever, either of the male or female children, seek God with their whole heart, need not be much incited to come to the Lord’s Supper.
Before they receive, they are examined both in private by the Pastor, and also in public: And then, after an exhortation by the Senior, are by him, through laying on of hands, added to the Church and confirmed. The same method is used with those who renounce the Papal superstitions, or who are turned from the service of Satan to God; and that, if they desire it, although they are not young; yea, though they are well stricken in years. “15. Once or twice a month either at Bertholdsdorf, or, if it may be, at Hernhuth, all the Church receives the Lord’s Supper. It cannot be expressed how great the power of God is then present among us. A general confession of sins is made by one of the brethren in the name of all. Then a few solid questions are asked; which when they have answered, the Absolution, or Remission of Sins, is either pronounced to all in general, or confirmed to every particular person, by the laying on of hands. The Seniors first receive; then the rest in order, without any regard had to worldly dignity, in this, any more than in any other of the solemn offices of religion. After receiving, all the men (and so the women) meet together to renew their covenant with God, to seek his face, and exhort one another to the patience of hope and the labor of love. “16. They have a peculiar esteem for lots; and accordingly use them both in public and private, to decide points of importance, when the reasons brought on each side appear to be of equal weight. And they believe this to be then the only way of wholly setting aside their own will, of acquitting themselves of all blame, and clearly knowing what is the will of God. “17. At; eight in the morning, and in the evening, we meet to pray to and praise God, and to read and hear the holy Scriptures. The time we usually spend in sleep is from eleven at night till four in the morning. So that allowing three hours a day for taking the food both of our bodies and souls, there remain sixteen for work. And this space those who are in health spend therein, with all diligence and faithfulness. “18. Two men keep watch every night in the street; as do two women, in the women’s apartment; that they may pour out their souls for those that sleep; and by their hymns raise the hearts of any who are awake to God. “19. For the farther stirring up the gift which is in us, sometimes we have public, sometimes private, love-feasts: At which we take moderate refreshment, with gladness and singleness of heart, and the voice of praise and thanksgiving. “20. If any man among us, having been often admonished, and long forborn, persists in walking unworthy of his holy calling, he is no longer admitted to the Lord’s Supper. If he still continues in his fault, hating to be reformed, the last step is, publicly, and often in the midst of many prayers and tears, to cast him out of our congregation. But great is our joy if he then see the error of his ways, so that we may receive him among us again. “21. Most of our brethren and sisters have, in some part of their life, experienced holy mourning and sorrow of heart; and have afterwards been assured, that there was no more ‘condemnation for them, being passed from death unto life.’ They are, therefore, far from fearing to die, or desiring to live on earth; knowing that to them ‘to die is gain,’ and being confident that they are the care of Him whose are the ‘issues of life and death.’ Wherefore they depart as out of one chamber into another. And after the soul has left its habitation, their remains are deposited in the earth, appointed for that purpose. And the survivors are greatly comforted; and rejoice over them with a ‘joy the world knoweth not of.’”