History of the Moravian Church
J. E. Hutton

Part 7 out of 9

Moravians; and at length, when John de Watteville arrived upon the
scene, he found that for all intents and purposes the Pennsylvanian
Synod had become a Synod of the Moravian Church. He recognized the
facts of the case, abolished the "Congregation of the Spirit," and
laid the constitutional foundations of the Brethren's Church in
North America (1748). Thus Zinzendorf's scheme of union collapsed,
and the first American experiment was a failure.

Meanwhile, Bishop Spangenberg had been busy with the second. If
this man was inferior to Zinzendorf in genius he was far above him
as a practical politician. He now accomplished his
"Masterpiece."135 The task before him was twofold. He had to find
both men and money; and from the first he bravely resolved to do
without one penny of assistance from Germany. He called his plan
the "Economy," and an economical plan it certainly was. His great
principle was subdivision of labour. As the work in America was
mostly among poor people--some immigrants, others Red Indians--he
perceived that special measures must be taken to cover expenses;
and, therefore, he divided his army into two main bodies. The one
was the commissariat department; the other was the fighting line.
The one was engaged in manual labour; the other was preaching the
gospel. The one was stationed chiefly at Bethlehem; the other was
scattered in different parts of North America. About ten miles
north-west of Bethlehem the Brethren purchased a tract of land from
George Whitefield, gave it the name of Nazareth, and proposed to
build another settlement there. At first the two settlements were
practically worked as one. For eighteen years they bore between
them almost the whole financial burden of the Brethren's work in
North America. There, at the joint settlement of
Bethlehem-Nazareth, the "Economy" was established. There lay the
general "camp"; there stood the home of "the Pilgrim Band"; there
was built the "School of the Prophets"; there, to use Spangenberg's
vivid phrase, was the "Saviour's Armoury." The great purpose which
the Brethren set before them was to preach the Gospel in America
without making the American people pay. Instead of having their
preachers supported by contributions from their congregations, they
would support these preachers themselves. For this task the only
capital that Spangenberg possessed was two uncultivated tracts of
land, three roomy dwelling-houses, two or three outhouses and barns,
his own fertile genius, and a body of Brethren and Sisters willing
to work. His method of work was remarkable. In order, first, to
cut down the expenses of living, he asked his workers then and there
to surrender the comforts of family life. At Bethlehem stood two
large houses. In one lived all the Single Brethren; in the other
the families, all the husbands in one part, all the wives in
another, all the children (under guardians) in the third. At
Nazareth there was only one house; and there lived all the Single
Sisters. As the Sisters set off through the forest to their home in
Nazareth, they carried their spinning-wheels on their shoulders; and
two hours after their arrival in the house they were driving their
wheels with zeal. At Bethlehem the energy of all was amazing.
Bishop Spangenberg was commonly known as Brother Joseph; and
Brother Joseph, in a letter to Zinzendorf, explained the purpose of
his scheme. "As Paul," he said, "worked with his own hands, so as to
be able to preach the Gospel without pay, so we, according to our
ability, will do the same; and thus even a child of four will be
able, by plucking wool, to serve the Gospel."

For patient devotion and heroic self-sacrifice these humble toilers
at the Bethlehem-Nazareth "Economy" are unsurpassed in the history
of the Brethren's Church. They built their own houses; they made
their own clothes and boots; they tilled the soil and provided their
own meat, vegetables, bread, milk, and eggs; they sawed their own
wood, spun their own yarn, and wove their own cloth; and then,
selling at the regular market price what was not required for their
personal use, they spent the profits in the support of preachers,
teachers, and missionaries in various parts of North America. For a
motto they took the words: "In commune oramus, in commune laboramus,
in commune patimur, in commune gaudeamus"; i.e., together we pray,
together we labour, together we suffer, together we rejoice. The
motive, however, was not social, but religious. "It is nothing,"
said Spangenberg himself, "but love to the Lamb and His Church."
For this cause the ploughman tilled the soil, the women sewed, the
joiner sawed, the blacksmith plied his hammer; for this cause the
fond mothers, with tears in their eyes, handed over their children
to the care of guardians, so that they themselves might be free to
toil for the Master. Thus every trade was sanctified; and thus did
all, both old and young, spend all their powers for the Gospel's
sake. If there is any distinction between secular and sacred, that
distinction was unknown at Bethlehem and Nazareth. At Bethlehem the
Brethren accounted it an honour to chop wood for the Master's sake;
and the fireman, said Spangenberg, felt his post as important "as if
he were guarding the Ark of the Covenant." For the members of each
trade or calling a special series of services was arranged; and thus
every toiler was constantly reminded that he was working not for
himself but for God. The number of lovefeasts was enormous. At the
opening of the harvest season the farm labourers held an early
morning lovefeast; the discourse was partly on spiritual topics and
partly on rules of diet; then the sickles were handed out; and the
whole band, with hymns of praise on their lips, set off for the
harvest field. For days at a time the Single Brethren would be in
the forest felling trees; but before they set off they had a
lovefeast, and when they returned they had another. As soon as the
joiners had the oil-mill ready they celebrated the event in a
lovefeast. The spinners had a lovefeast once a week. The joiners,
the weavers, the cartwrights, the smiths, the hewers of wood, the
milkers of cows, the knitters, the sewers, the cooks, the
washerwomen--all had their special lovefeasts. At one time the
joyful discovery was made that a Brother had served a year in the
kitchen, and was ready to serve another; and thereupon the whole
settlement held a general lovefeast in his honour. For the mothers
a special meeting was held, at which an expert gave instructions on
the art of bringing up children; and at this meeting, while the
lecturer discoursed or occasional hymns were sung, the women were
busy with their hands. One made shoes, another tailored, another
ground powder for the chemist's shop, another copied invoices and
letters, another sliced turnips, another knitted socks. For each
calling special hymns were composed and sung. If these hymns had
been published in a volume we should have had a Working-man's
Hymnbook. Thus every man and woman at Bethlehem-Nazareth had
enlisted in the missionary army. Never, surely, in the history of
Protestant Christianity were the secular and the sacred more happily
wedded. "In our Economy," said Spangenberg, "the spiritual and
physical are as closely united as a man's body and soul; and each
has a marked effect upon the other." If a man lost his touch with
Christ it was noticed that he was careless in his work; but as long
as his heart was right with God his eye was clear and his hand
steady and firm. At the head of the whole concern stood
Spangenberg, a business man to the finger tips. If genius is a
capacity for taking pains, then Spangenberg was a genius of the
finest order. He drew up regulations dealing with every detail of
the business, and at his office he kept a strict account of every
penny expended, every yard of linen woven, every pound of butter
made, and every egg consumed. As long as Spangenberg was on the
spot the business arrangements were perfect; he was assisted by a
Board of Directors, known as the Aufseher Collegium; and so great
was the enterprise shown that before the close of his first period
of administration the Brethren had several farms and thirty-two
industries in full working order. It was this which impressed our
House of Commons, and enabled them, in the Act of 1749, to recognize
the Brethren "as a sober and industrious people." For that Act the
credit must be given, not to the airy dreams of Zinzendorf, but to
the solid labours of Spangenberg. At the time when the Bill was
under discussion the chief stress was laid, in both Houses, on the
results of Spangenberg's labours; and so deeply was Earl Granville
impressed that he offered the Brethren a hundred thousand acres in
North Carolina. At length, accompanied by five other Brethren,
Spangenberg himself set off to view the land, selected a site,
organized another "Economy," established two congregations, named
Bethabara and Bethany, and thus became the founder of the Southern
Province of the Brethren's Church in America.

But his greatest success was in the Northern Province. For many
years the Brethren at Bethlehem-Nazareth maintained nearly all the
preachers in North America. In Pennsylvania they had preachers at
Germantown, Philadelphia, Lancaster, York, Donegal, Heidelberg,
Lebanon, Lititz, Oley, Allemaengel, Emmaus, Salisbury, Falkner's
Swamp, the Trappe, Mahanatawny, Neshaminy, and Dansbury. In
Maryland they had a station at Graceham. In Jersey they had
stations at Maurice River, Racoon, Penn's Neck, Oldman's Creek,
Pawlin's Hill, Walpack, and Brunswick; in Rhode Island, at Newport;
in Maine, at Broadbay; in New York, at Canajoharie; and other
stations at Staten Island and Long Island. They opened fifteen
schools for poor children; they paid the travelling expenses of
missionaries to Surinam and the West Indies; they maintained a
number of missionaries to the Red Indians. Thus did Spangenberg, by
means of his "Economy," establish the Moravian Church in North
America. We must not misunderstand his motives. He never made his
system compulsory, and he never intended it to last. If any Brother
objected to working for the "Economy," and preferred to trade on his
own account, he was free to do so; and as soon as the "Economy" had
served its purpose it was abolished by Spangenberg himself (1762).
It is easy to object that his system interfered with family life.
It is easy to say that this Moravian Bishop had no right to split
families into sections, to herd the husbands in one abode and the
wives in another, to tear children from their mothers' arms and
place them under guardians. But Brother Joseph had his answer to
this objection. At Bethlehem, he declared, the members of the
"Economy" were as happy as birds in the sunshine; and, rejoicing in
their voluntary sacrifice, they vowed that they would rather die
than resign this chance of service. The whole arrangement was
voluntary. Not a man or woman was pressed into the service. If a
man joins the volunteers he is generally prepared, for the time
being, to forego the comforts of family life, and these gallant
toilers of the "Economy" were volunteers for God.

Another feature of Spangenberg's work was his loyalty as a British
citizen. As long as he was resident in a British Colony he
considered it his duty, German though he was, to stand by the
British flag; and while that famous war was raging which ended in
the brilliant capture of Quebec, and the conquest of Canada, Brother
Joseph and the Moravian Brethren upheld the British cause from first
to last. The Red Indians were nearly all on the side of France. As
the Brethren, therefore, preached to the Indians, they were at first
suspected of treachery, and were even accused of inciting the
Indians to rebellion; but Spangenberg proved their loyalty to the
hilt. At Gnadenhütten, on the Mahony River, the Brethren had
established a Mission Station {1755.}; and there, one night, as they
sat at supper, they heard the farm dogs set up a warning barking.

"It occurs to me," said Brother Senseman, "that the Congregation
House is still open; I will go and lock it; there may be stragglers
from the militia in the neighbourhood." And out he went.

At that moment, while Senseman was about his duty, the sound of
footsteps was heard; the Brethren opened the door; and there stood a
band of painted Indians, with rifles in their hands. The war-whoop
was raised. The first volley was fired. John Nitschmann fell dead
on the spot. As the firing continued, the Brethren and Sisters
endeavoured to take refuge in the attic; but before they could all
clamber up the stairs five others had fallen dead. The Indians set
fire to the building. The fate of the missionaries was sealed. As
the flames arose, one Brother managed to escape by a back door,
another let himself down from the window, another was captured,
scalped alive, and left to die; and the rest, huddled in the blazing
garret, were roasted to death.

"Dear Saviour, it is well," said Mrs. Senseman, as the cruel flames
lapped round her; "it is well! It is what I expected."

No longer could the Brethren's loyalty be doubted; and Spangenberg
acted, on behalf of the British, with the skill of a military
expert. As he went about in his regimentals his critics remarked
that he looked far more like an army officer than an apostle of the
Lord. For him the problem to solve was, how to keep the Indians at
bay; and he actually advised the British authorities to construct a
line of forts, pointed out the strategic importance of Gnadenhütten,
and offered the land for military purposes. At Bethlehem and the
other Brethren's settlements he had sentinels appointed and
barricades constructed; at all specially vulnerable points he had
blockhouses erected; and the result was that the Brethren's
settlements were among the safest places in the country. At
Bethlehem the Brethren sheltered six hundred fugitives. The plans
of Spangenberg were successful. Not a single settlement was
attacked. In spite of the war and the general unsettlement, the
business of the "Economy" went on as usual; the Brethren labouring
in the harvest field were protected by loyal Indians; and amid the
panic the Brethren founded another settlement at Lititz. Thus did
Spangenberg, in a difficult situation, act with consummate wisdom;
and thus did he set an example of loyalty for Moravian missionaries
to follow in days to come.

And yet, despite his wisdom and zeal, the Moravian Church at this
period did not spread rapidly in America. For this, Zinzendorf was
largely to blame. If the Count had been a good business man, and if
he had realized the importance of the American work, he would have
left the management of that work entirely in Spangenberg's hands.
But his treatment of Spangenberg was peculiar. At first he almost
ignored his existence, and broke his heart by not answering his
letters (1744-48); and then, when he found himself in trouble, and
affairs at Herrnhaag were coming to a crisis, he sent John de
Watteville in hot haste to Bethlehem, summoned Spangenberg home, and
kept him busy writing ponderous apologies. As soon as Spangenberg
had completed his task, and done his best to clear Zinzendorf's
character, he set off for Bethlehem again, and established the
Brethren's cause in North Carolina; but before he had been two years
at work the Count was in financial difficulties, and summoned him
home once more (1753). His last stay in America was his longest
(1754-1762). He was still there when Zinzendorf died. As soon as
Zinzendorf was laid in his grave the Brethren in Germany formed a
Board of Management; but, before long, they discovered that they
could not do without Spangenberg. He left America for ever. And
thus Brother Joseph was lost to America because he was indispensable
in Germany.

The second cause of failure was the system of management. For the
most part the men who took Spangenberg's place in America--such as
John de Watteville and John Nitschmann--were obsessed with
Zinzendorf's ideas about settlements; and, instead of turning the
numerous preaching places into independent congregations they
centralized the work round the four chief settlements of Bethlehem,
Nazareth, Lititz and Salem. We have seen how the settlement system
worked in England. It had precisely the same result in America.

The third cause of failure was financial complications. As long as
Spangenberg was on the spot he kept the American finances
independent; but when he left for the last time the American
Province was placed under the direct control of the General
Directing Board in Germany, the American and German finances were
mixed, the accounts became hopelessly confused, and American affairs
were mismanaged. It is obvious, on the face of it, that a Directing
Board with its seat in Germany was incapable of managing efficiently
a difficult work four thousand miles away; and yet that was the
system pursued for nearly a hundred years (1762-1857).

We come now to the brightest part of our American story--the work
among the Red Indians. At this period almost the whole of North
America was the home of numerous Indian tribes. Along the upper
valley of the Tennessee River, and among the grand hills of Georgia,
Alabama, and Western Alabama were the Cherokees. In Mississippi
were the Natchez; near the town of Augusta the Uchies; between the
Tennessee and the Ohio, the Mobilians; in Central Carolina, the
Catawbas; to the west of the Mississippi the Dahcotas; in New
England, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and the region stretching
to the great lakes, the Delawares; and finally, in New York,
Pennsylvania, and the region enclosed by Lakes Huron, Erie, and
Ontario, the Iroquois. Thus, the Brethren in America were
surrounded by Indian tribes; and to those Indian tribes they
undertook to preach the Gospel.

The first step was taken by Christian Henry Rauch. As soon as he
arrived in Pennsylvania he offered himself for the Indian Mission,
went to the Indian town of Shekomeko {1740.}, and began to preach
the Gospel in a manner which became famous in Moravian history.
First, at a Conference in Bethlehem, the story was told by Tschoop,
one of his earliest converts; and then it was officially quoted by
Spangenberg, as a typical example of the Brethren's method of
preaching. "Brethren," said Tschoop, "I have been a heathen, and
grown old among the heathen; therefore I know how the heathen think.
Once a preacher came and began to explain that there was a God. We
answered, 'Dost thou think us so ignorant as not to know that? Go
to the place whence thou camest!' Then, again, another preacher
came, and began to teach us, and to say, 'You must not steal, nor
lie, nor get drunk, and so forth.' We answered, 'Thou fool, dost
thou think that we do not know that? Learn first thyself, and then
teach the people to whom thou belongest to leave off these things.
For who steal, or lie, or who are more drunken than thine own
people?' And then we dismissed him."

But Rauch came with a very different message.

He told us of a Mighty One, the Lord of earth and sky,
Who left His glory in the Heavens, for men to bleed and die;
Who loved poor Indian sinners still, and longed to gain their love,
And be their Saviour here and in His Father's house above.

And when his tale was ended--"My friends," he gently said,
"I am weary with my journey, and would fain lay down my head;
So beside our spears and arrows he laid him down to rest,
And slept as sweetly as the babe upon its mother's breast.

Then we looked upon each other, and I whispered, "This is new;
Yes, we have heard glad tidings, and that sleeper knows them true;
He knows he has a Friend above, or would he slumber here,
With men of war around him, and the war-whoop in his ear.?"

So we told him on the morrow that he need not journey on,
But stay and tell us further of that loving, dying One;
And thus we heard of Jesus first, and felt the wondrous power,
Which makes His people willing, in His own accepted hour.

"Thus," added Tschoop, "through the grace of God an awakening took
place among us. I say, therefore, Brethren, preach Christ our
Saviour, and His sufferings and death, if you will have your words
to gain entrance among the heathen."

As soon, therefore, as Rauch had struck this note, the Brethren
boldly undertook the task of preaching to all the Red Indians in
North America. The Count himself set off to spy the land, and
undertook three dangerous missionary journeys. First, accompanied
by his daughter Benigna, and an escort of fourteen, he visited the
Long Valley beyond the Blue Mountains, met a delegation of the
League of the Iroquois, and received from them, in solemn style, a
fathom made of one hundred and sixty-eight strings of wampum
{1742.}. The fathom was a sign of goodwill. If a missionary could
only show the fathom he was sure of a kindly welcome. In his second
journey Zinzendorf went to Shekomeko, organised the first Indian
Mission Church, and baptized three converts as Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. In his third journey he visited the Wyoming Valley, and
interviewed the chiefs of the Shawanese and Mohicans. He was here
in deadly peril. As he sat one afternoon in his tent two hissing
adders darted across his body; and a few days later some suspicious
Indians plotted to take his life. But a government agent arrived on
the scene, and Zinzendorf's scalp was saved.

And now the Brethren began the campaign in earnest. At Bethlehem
Spangenberg had a Mission Conference and a Mission College. The
great hero of the work was David Zeisberger. He was, like most of
these early missionaries, a German. He was born at Zauchtenthal, in
Moravia; had come with his parents to Herrnhut; had followed them
later to Georgia; and was now a student at Spangenberg's College at
Bethlehem. For sixty-three years he lived among the Indians, and
his life was one continual series of thrilling adventures and
escapes. He became almost an Indian. He was admitted a member of
the Six Nations, received an Indian name, and became a member of an
Indian family. He was an Iroquois to the Iroquois, a Delaware to
the Delawares. He understood the hidden science of belts and
strings of wampum; he could unriddle their mysterious messages and
make speeches in their bombastic style; and he spoke in their speech
and thought in their thoughts, and lived their life in their
wigwams. He loved their majestic prairies, stretching beyond the
Blue Mountains. He loved their mighty rivers and their deep clear
lakes. Above all, he loved the red-brown Indians themselves. Full
well he knew what trials awaited him. If the reader has formed his
conception of the Indians from Fenimore Cooper's novels, he will
probably think that Zeisberger spent his life among a race of
gallant heroes. The reality was rather different. For the most
part the Indians of North America were the reverse of heroic. They
were bloodthirsty, drunken, lewd and treacherous. They spent their
time in hunting buffaloes, smoking pipes, lolling in the sun, and
scalping each other's heads. They wasted their nights in tipsy
revels and dances by the light of the moon. They cowered in terror
of evil spirits and vicious and angry gods. But Zeisberger never
feared and never despaired. As long as he had such a grand Gospel
to preach, he felt sure that he could make these savages sober,
pure, wise, kind and brave, and that God would ever shield him with
His wing. He has been called "The Apostle to the Indians." As the
missionaries of the early Christian Church came to our rude fathers
in England, and made us a Christian people, so Zeisberger desired to
be an Augustine to the Indians, and found a Christian Indian kingdom
stretching from Lake Michigan to the Ohio.

He began his work with the League of the Iroquois, commonly called
the Six Nations {1745.}. At Onondaga, their headquarters, where he
and Bishop Cammerhof had arranged to meet the Great Council, the
meeting had to be postponed till the members had recovered from a
state of intoxication. But Cammerhof addressed the chiefs, brought
out the soothing pipe of tobacco, watched it pass from mouth to
mouth, and received permission for two missionaries to come and
settle down. From there, still accompanied by Cammerhof, Zeisberger
went on to the Senecas. He was welcomed to a Pandemonium of
revelry. The whole village was drunk. As he lay in his tent he
could hear fiendish yells rend the air; he went out with a kettle,
to get some water for Cammerhof, and the savages knocked the kettle
out of his hand; and later, when the shades of evening fell, he had
to defend himself with his fists against a bevy of lascivious women,
whose long hair streamed in the night wind, and whose lips swelled
with passion. For Cammerhof the journey was too much; in the bloom
of youth he died (1751).

But Zeisberger had a frame of steel. Passing on from tribe to
tribe, he strode through darkling woods, through tangled thickets,
through miry sloughs, through swarms of mosquitoes; and anon, plying
his swift canoe, he sped through primeval forests, by flowers of the
tulip tree, through roaring rapids, round beetling bluffs, past
groups of mottled rattlesnakes that lay basking in the sun. At the
present time, in many Moravian manses, may be seen an engraving of a
picture by Schüssele, of Philadelphia, representing Zeisberger
preaching to the Indians. The incident occurred at Goschgoschünk,
on the Alleghany River (1767). In the picture the service is
represented as being held in the open air; in reality it was held in
the Council House. In the centre of the house was the watch-fire.
Around it squatted the Indians--the men on one side, the women on
the other; and among those men were murderers who had played their
part, twelve years before, in the massacre on the Mahony River. As
soon as Zeisberger rose to speak, every eye was fixed upon him; and
while he delivered his Gospel message, he knew that at any moment a
tomahawk might cleave his skull, and his scalp hang bleeding at the
murderer's girdle. "Never yet," he wrote, "did I see so clearly
painted on the faces of the Indians both the darkness of hell and
the world-subduing power of the Gospel."

As the years rolled on, this dauntless hero won completely the
confidence of these suspicious savages. He was known as "Friend of
the Indians," and was allowed to move among them at his ease. In
vain the sorcerers plotted against him. "Beware," they said to the
simple people, "of the man in the black coat." At times, in order
to bring down the vengeance of the spirits on Zeisberger's head,
they sat up through the night and gorged themselves with swine's
flesh; and, when this mode of enchantment failed, they baked
themselves in hot ovens till they became unconscious. Zeisberger
still went boldly on. Wherever the Indians were most debauched,
there was he in the midst of them. Both the Six Nations and the
Delawares passed laws that he was to be uninterrupted in his work.
Before him the haughtiest chieftains bowed in awe. At
Lavunakhannek, on the Alleghany River, he met the great Delaware
orator, Glikkikan, who had baffled Jesuits and statesmen, and had
prepared a complicated speech with which he meant to crush
Zeisberger for ever; but when the two men came face to face, the
orator fell an easy victim, forgot his carefully prepared oration,
murmured meekly: "I have nothing to say; I believe your words,"
submitted to Zeisberger like a child, and became one of his warmest
friends and supporters. In like manner Zeisberger won over White
Eyes, the famous Delaware captain; and, hand in hand, Zeisberger and
White Eyes worked for the same great cause. "I want my people," said
White Eyes, "now that peace is established in the country, to turn
their attention to peace in their hearts. I want them to embrace
that religion which is taught by the white teachers. We shall never
be happy until we are Christians."

It seemed as though that time were drawing nigh {1765-81.}.
Zeisberger was a splendid organizer. As soon as the "Indian War"
was over, he founded a number of Christian settlements, and taught
the Indians the arts of industry and peace. For the Iroquois he
founded the settlements of Friedenshütten (Tents of Peace), on the
Susquehanna, Goschgoschünk, on the Alleghany, and Lavunakhannek and
Friedenstadt (Town of Peace), on the Beaver River; and for the
Delawares he founded the settlements of Schönbrunn (Beautiful
Spring), Gnadenhütten (Tents of Grace), Lichtenau (Meadow of Light),
on the Tuscawaras, and Salem, on the Muskinghum. His settlements
were like diamonds flashing in the darkness. Instead of the
wildness of the desert were nut trees, plums, cherries, mulberries
and all manner of fruits; instead of scattered wigwams, orderly
streets of huts; instead of filth, neatness and cleanliness; instead
of drunken brawls and orgies, the voice of children at the village
school, and the voice of morning and evening prayer.

No longer were the Indians in these settlements wild hunters. They
were now steady business men. They conducted farms, cultivated
gardens, grew corn and sugar, made butter, and learned to manage
their local affairs as well as an English Urban District Council.
At the head of each settlement was a Governing Board, consisting of
the Missionaries and the native "helpers"; and all affairs of
special importance were referred to a general meeting of the
inhabitants. The system filled the minds of visitors with wonder.
"The Indians in Zeisberger's settlements," said Colonel Morgan, "are
an example to civilized whites."

No longer, further, were the Indians ignorant savages. Zeisberger
was a great linguist. He mastered the Delaware and Iroquois
languages. For the benefit of the converts in his setlements, and
with the assistance of Indian sachems, he prepared and had printed a
number of useful books: first (1776), "A Delaware Indian and English
Spelling-book," with an appendix containing the Lord's Prayer, the
Ten Commandments, some Scripture passages and a Litany; next (1803),
in the Delaware language, "A Collection of Hymns for the use of the
Christian Indians," translated from the English and German Moravian
Hymn-books, and including the Easter, Baptismal and Burial Litanies;
next, a volume of "Sermons to Children," translated from the German;
next, a translation of Spangenberg's "Bodily Care of Children";
next, "A Harmony of the Four Gospels," translated from the Harmony
prepared by Samuel Leiberkühn; and last, a grammatical treatise on
the Delaware conjugations. Of his services to philology, I need not
speak in detail. He prepared a lexicon, in seven volumes, of the
German and Onondaga languages, an Onondaga Grammar, a Delaware
Grammar, a German-Delaware Dictionary, and other works of a similar
nature. As these contributions to science were never published,
they may not seem of much importance; but his manuscripts have been
carefully preserved, some in the library of the Philosophical
Society at Philadelphia, others at Harvard University.

Thus did Zeisberger, explorer and scholar, devote his powers to the
physical, moral and spiritual improvement of the Indians. For some
years his success was brilliant; and when, on Easter Sunday morning,
his converts gathered for the early service, they presented a scene
unlike any other in the world. As the sun rose red beyond the great
Blue Mountains, as the morning mists broke gently away, as the
gemmed trees whispered with the breath of spring, the Indians
repeated in their lonely cemetery the same solemn Easter Litany that
the Brethren repeated at Herrnhut, Zeisberger read the Confession of
Faith, a trained choir led the responses, the Easter hymn swelled
out, and the final "Amen" rang over the plateau and aroused the
hosts of the woodland.

Away in the forest, how fair to the sight
Was the clear, placid lake as it sparkled in light,
And kissed with low murmur the green shady shore,
Whence a tribe had departed, whose traces it bore.
Where the lone Indian hastened, and wondering hushed
His awe as he trod o'er the mouldering dust!
How bright were the waters--how cheerful the song,
Which the wood-bird was chirping all the day long,
And how welcome the refuge those solitudes gave
To the pilgrims who toiled over mountain and wave;
Here they rested--here gushed forth, salvation to bring,
The fount of the Cross, by the "Beautiful Spring."

And yet the name of this wonderful man is almost unknown in England.
We are just coming to the reason. At the very time when his
influence was at its height the American War of Independence broke
out, and Zeisberger and his converts, as an Indian orator put it,
were between two exceeding mighty and wrathful gods, who stood
opposed with extended jaws. Each party wished the Indians to take
up arms on its side. But Zeisberger urged them to be neutral. When
the English sent the hatchet of war to the Delawares, the Delawares
politely sent it back. When a letter came to Zeisberger, requesting
him to arouse his converts, to put himself at their head, and to
bring the scalps of all the rebels he could slaughter, he threw the
sheet into the flames. For this policy he was suspected by both
sides. At one time he was accused before an English court of being
in league with the Americans. At another time he was accused by the
Americans of being in league with the English. At length the
thunderbolt fell. As the Christian Indians of Gnadenhütten were
engaged one day in tilling the soil, the American troops of Colonel
Williamson appeared upon the scene, asked for quarters, were
comfortably, lodged, and then, disarming the innocent victims,
accused them of having sided with the British. For that accusation
the only ground was that the Indians had shown hospitality to all
who demanded it; but this defence was not accepted, and Colonel
Williamson decided to put the whole congregation to death {March
28th, 1782.}. The log huts were turned into shambles; the settlers
were allowed a few minutes for prayer; then, in couples, they were
summoned to their doom; and in cold blood the soldiers, with
tomahawks, mallets, clubs, spears and scalping knives, began the
work of butchery. At the end of the performance ninety corpses lay
dabbled with blood on the ground. Among the victims were six
National Assistants, a lady who could speak English and German,
twenty-four other women, eleven boys and eleven girls. The
Blood-Bath of Gnadenhütten was a hideous crime. It shattered the
Indian Mission. The grand plans of Zeisberger collapsed in ruin.
As the war raged on, and white men encroached more and more on
Indian soil, he found himself and his converts driven by brute force
from one settlement after another. Already, before the war broke
out, this brutal process had commenced; and altogether it continued
for twenty years. In 1769 he had to abandon Goschgoschünk; in 1770,
Lavunakhannek; in 1772, Friedenshütten; in 1773, Friedenstadt; in
1780, Lichtenau; in 1781, Gnadenhütten, Salem and Schönbrunn; in
1782, Sandusky; in 1786, New Gnadenhütten; in 1787, Pilgerruh; in
1791, New Salem. As the old man drew near his end, he endeavoured
to stem the torrent of destruction by founding two new
settlements--Fairfield, in Canada, and Goshen, on the Tuscawaras;
but even these had to be abandoned a few years after his death.
Amid the Indians he had lived; amid the Indians, at Goshen, he lay
on his death-bed {1808.}. As the news of his approaching
dissolution spread, the chapel bell was tolled: his converts,
knowing the signal, entered the room; and then, uniting their voices
in song, they sang him home in triumphant hymns which he himself had
translated from the hymns of the Ancient Brethren's Church.



As Zinzendorf drew near to his end, he saw that his efforts in the
cause of Christ had not ended as he had hoped. His design was the
union of Christendom, his achievement the revival of the Church of
the Brethren. He had given the "Hidden Seed" a home at Herrnhut.
He had discovered the ancient laws of the Bohemian Brethren. He
had maintained, first, for the sake of the Missions, and, secondly,
for the sake of his Brethren, the Brethren's Episcopal Succession.
He had founded the Pilgrim Band at Marienborn, had begun the
Diaspora work in the Baltic Provinces, had gained for the Brethren
legal recognition in Germany, England and North America, and had
given the stimulus to the work of foreign missions. At the same
time, he had continually impressed his own religious ideas upon his
followers; and thus the Renewed Church of the Brethren was a Church
of a twofold nature. The past and the present were dove-tailed.
>From the Bohemian Brethren came the strict discipline, the
ministerial succession, and the martyr-spirit; from Zinzendorf the
idea of "Church within the Church," the stress laid on the great
doctrine of reconciliation through the blood of Christ, and the
fiery missionary enthusiasm. Without Zinzendorf the Bohemian
Brethren would probably have never returned to life; and without the
fibre of the Bohemian Brethren, German Pietism would have died a
natural death.

We must, however, keep clear of one misconception. Whatever else
the Renewed Church of the Brethren was, it did not spring from a
union of races. It was not a fusion of German and Czech elements.
As the first settlers at Herrnhut came from Moravia, it is natural
to regard them as Moravian Czechs; but the truth is that they were
Germans in blood, and spoke the German language. It was, therefore,
the German element of the old Brethren's Church that formed the
backbone of the Renewed Church. It was Germans, not Czechs, who
began the foreign missionary work; Germans who came to England, and
Germans who renewed the Brethren's Church in America. In due time
pure Czechs from Bohemia came and settled at Rixdorf and Niesky;
but, speaking broadly, the Renewed Church of the Brethren was
revived by German men with German ideas.

As the Church, therefore, was now established in the three provinces
of Germany, Great Britain and North America, one problem only still
awaited solution. The problem was the welding of the provinces.
That welding was brought about in a simple way. If the reader is
of a thoughtful turn of mind, he must have wondered more than once
where the Brethren found the money to carry on their enterprises.
They had relied chiefly on two sources of income: first,
Zinzendorf's estates; second, a number of business concerns known as
Diaconies. As long as these Diaconies prospered, the Brethren were
able to keep their heads above water; but the truth is, they had
been mismanaged. The Church was now on the verge of bankruptcy;
and, therefore, the Brethren held at Taubenheim the so-called
"Economical Conference." {1755.}

In the time of need came the deliverer, Frederick Köber. His five
measures proved the salvation of the Church. First, he separated
the property of Zinzendorf from the general property of the Church.
Secondly, he put this general property under the care of a "College
of Directors." Thirdly, he made an arrangement whereby this
"College" should pay off all debts in fixed yearly sums. Fourthly,
he proposed that all members of the Church should pay a fixed annual
sum to general Church funds. And fifthly, on the sound principle
that those who pay are entitled to a vote, he suggested that in
future all members of the Church should have the right to send
representatives to the General Directing Board or Conference. In
this way he drew the outlines of the Moravian Church Constitution.

Meanwhile, Count Zinzendorf's end was drawing near. The evening of
his life he spent at Herrnhut, for where more fitly could he die?

"It will be better," he said, "when I go home; the Conferences will
last for ever."

He employed his last days in revising the Text-book, which was to be
daily food for the Pilgrim Church {1760.}; and when he wrote down
the final words, "And the King turned His face about, and blessed
all the congregation of Israel," his last message to the Brethren
was delivered. As his illness--a violent catarrhal fever--gained
the mastery over him, he was cheered by the sight of the numerous
friends who gathered round him. His band of workers watched by his
couch in turn. On the last night about a hundred Brethren and
Sisters assembled in the death chamber. John de Watteville sat by
the bedside.

"Now, my dear friend," said the dying Count, "I am going to the
Saviour. I am ready. I bow to His will. He is satisfied with me.
If He does not want me here any more, I am ready to go to Him.
There is nothing to hinder me now."

He looked around upon his friends. "I cannot say," he said, "how
much I love you all. Who would have believed that the prayer of
Christ, 'That they may be one,' could have been so strikingly
fulfilled among us. I only asked for first-fruits among the
heathen, and thousands have been given me...Are we not as in Heaven?
Do we not live together like the angels? The Lord and His servants
understand one another...I am ready."

As the night wore on towards morning, the scene, says one who was
present, was noble, charming, liturgical. At ten o'clock, his
breathing grew feebler {May 9th, 1760.}; and John de Watteville
pronounced the Old Testament Benediction, "The Lord bless thee and
keep thee. The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious
unto thee. The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee
peace." As de Watteville spoke the last words of the blessing, the
Count lay back on his pillow and closed his eyes; and a few seconds
later he breathed no more.

At Herrnhut it is still the custom to announce the death of any
member of the congregation by a chorale played on trombones; and
when the trombones sounded that morning all knew that Zinzendorf's
earthly career had closed. The air was thick with mist. "It
seemed," said John Nitschmann, then minister at Herrnhut, "as though
nature herself were weeping." As the Count's body lay next day in
the coffin, arrayed in the robe he had worn so often when conducting
the Holy Communion, the whole congregation, choir by choir, came to
gaze for the last time upon his face. For a week after this the
coffin remained closed; but on the funeral day it was opened again,
and hundreds from the neighbouring towns and villages came crowding
into the chamber. At the funeral all the Sisters were dressed in
white; and the number of mourners was over four thousand. At this
time there were present in Herrnhut Moravian ministers from Holland,
England, Ireland, North America and Greenland; and these, along with
the German ministers, took turns as pall-bearers. The trombones
sounded. John Nitschmann, as precentor, started the hymn; the
procession to the Hutberg began. As the coffin was lowered into the
grave some verses were sung, and then John Nitschmann spoke the
words: "With tears we sow this seed in the earth; but He, in his own
good time, will bring it to life, and will gather in His harvest
with thanks and praise! Let all who wish for this say, 'Amen.'"

"Amen," responded the vast, weeping throng. The inscription on the
grave-stone is as follows: "Here lie the remains of that immortal
man of God, Nicholas Lewis, Count and Lord of Zinzendorf and
Pottendorf; who, through the grace of God and his own unwearied
service, became the honoured Ordinary of the Brethren's Church,
renewed in this eighteenth century. He was born at Dresden on May
26th, 1700, and entered into the joy of his Lord at Herrnhut on May
9th, 1760. He was appointed to bring forth fruit, and that his
fruit should remain."

Thus, in a halo of tearful glory, the Count-Bishop was laid to rest.
For many years the Brethren cherished his memory, not only with
affection, but with veneration; and even the sober Spangenberg
described him as "the great treasure of our times, a lovely diamond
in the ring on the hand of our Lord, a servant of the Lord without
an equal, a pillar in the house of the Lord, God's message to His
people." But history hardly justifies this generous eulogy; and
Spangenberg afterwards admitted himself that Zinzendorf had two
sides to his character. "It may seem a paradox," he wrote, "but it
really does seem a fact that a man cannot have great virtues without
also having great faults." The case of Zinzendorf is a case in
point. At a Synod held a few years later (1764), the Brethren
commissioned Spangenberg to write a "Life of Zinzendorf." As the
Count, however, had been far from perfect, they had to face the
serious question whether Spangenberg should be allowed to expose his
faults to public gaze. They consulted the Lot: the Lot said "No";
and, therefore, they solemnly warned Spangenberg that, in order to
avoid creating a false impression, he was "to leave out everything
which would not edify the public." The loyal Spangenberg obeyed.
His "Life of Zinzendorf" appeared in eight large volumes. He
desired, of course, to be honest; he was convinced, to use his own
words, that "an historian is responsible to God and men for the
truth"; and yet, though he told the truth, he did not tell the whole
truth. The result was lamentable. Instead of a life-like picture
of Zinzendorf, the reader had only a shaded portrait, in which both
the beauties and the defects were carefully toned down. The English
abridged edition was still more colourless.136 For a hundred years
the character of Zinzendorf lay hidden beneath a pile of pious
phrases, and only the recent researches of scholars have enabled us
to see him as he was. He was no mere commonplace Pietist. He was
no mere pious German nobleman, converted by looking at a picture.
His faults and his virtues stood out in glaring relief. His very
appearance told the dual tale. As he strolled the streets of Berlin
or London, the wayfarers instinctively moved to let him pass, and
all men admired his noble bearing, his lofty brow, his fiery dark
blue eye, and his firm set lips; and yet, on the other hand, they
could not fail to notice that he was untidy in his dress, that he
strode on, gazing at the stars, and that often, in his
absent-mindedness, he stumbled and staggered in his gait. In his
portraits we can read the same double story. In some the prevailing
tone is dignity; in others there is the faint suggestion of a smirk.
His faults were those often found in men of genius. He was nearly
always in a hurry, and was never in time for dinner. He was
unsystematic in his habits, and incompetent in money matters. He
was rather imperious in disposition, and sometimes overbearing in
his conduct. He was impatient at any opposition, and disposed to
treat with contempt the advice of others. For example, when the
financial crisis arose at Herrnhaag, Spangenberg advised him to
raise funds by weekly collections; but Zinzendorf brushed the advice
aside, and retorted, "It is my affair." He was rather
short-tempered, and would stamp his foot like an angry child if a
bench in the church was not placed exactly as he desired. He was
superstitious in his use of the Lot, and damaged the cause of the
Brethren immensely by teaching them to trust implicitly to its
guidance. He was reckless in his use of extravagant language; and
he forgot that public men should consider, not only what they mean
themselves, but also what impression their words are likely to make
upon others. He was not always strictly truthful; and in one of his
pamphlets he actually asserted that he himself was in no way
responsible for the scandals at Herrnhaag. For these reasons the
Count made many enemies. He was criticized severely, and sometimes
justly, by men of such exalted character as Bengel, the famous
German commentator, and honest John Wesley in England; he was
reviled by vulgar scribblers like Rimius; and thus, like his great
contemporary, Whitefield, he

Stood pilloried on Infamy's high stage,
And bore the pelting scorn of half an age;
The very butt of slander and the blot
For every dart that malice ever shot.

But serious though his failings were, they were far outshone by his
virtues. Of all the religious leaders of the eighteenth century, he
was the most original in genius and the most varied in talent; and,
therefore, he was the most misunderstood, the most fiercely hated,
the most foully libelled, the most shamefully attacked, and the most
fondly adored. In his love for Christ he was like St. Bernard, in
his mystic devotion like Madame Guyon; and Herder, the German poet,
described him as "a conqueror in the spiritual world." It was those
who knew him best who admired him most. By the world at large he
was despised, by orthodox critics abused, by the Brethren honoured,
by his intimate friends almost worshipped. According to many
orthodox Lutherans he was an atheist; but the Brethren commonly
called him "the Lord's disciple." He was abstemious in diet, cared
little for wine, and drank chiefly tea and lemonade. He was broad
and Catholic in his views, refused to speak of the Pope as
Antichrist, and referred to members of the Church of Rome as
"Brethren"; and, while he remained a Lutheran to the end, he had
friends in every branch of the Church of Christ. He had not a drop
of malice in his blood. He never learned the art of bearing a
grudge, and when he was reviled, he never reviled again. He was
free with his money, and could never refuse a beggar. He was a
thoughtful and suggestive theological writer, and holds a high place
in the history of dogma; and no thinker expounded more beautifully
than he the grand doctrine that the innermost nature of God is
revealed in all its glory to man in the Person of the suffering Man
Christ Jesus. He was a beautiful Christian poet; his hymns are
found to-day in every collection; his "Jesus, Thy blood and
righteousness" was translated into English by John Wesley; and his
noble "Jesus, still lead on!" is as popular in the cottage homes of
Germany as Newman's "Lead, kindly light" in England. Of the three
great qualities required in a poet, Zinzendorf, however, possessed
only two. He had the sensibility; he had the imagination; but he
rarely had the patience to take pains; and, therefore, nearly all
his poetry is lacking in finish and artistic beauty. He was an
earnest social reformer; he endeavoured, by means of his settlement
system, to solve the social problem; and his efforts to uplift the
working classes were praised by the famous German critic, Lessing.
The historian and theologian, Albrecht Ritschl, has accused him of
sectarian motives and of wilfully creating a split in the Lutheran
Church. The accusation is absolutely false. There is nothing more
attractive in the character of Zinzendorf than his unselfish
devotion to one grand ideal. On one occasion, after preaching at
Berlin, he met a young lieutenant. The lieutenant was in spiritual

"Let me ask you," said Zinzendorf, "one question: Are you alone in
your religious troubles, or do you share them with others?"

The lieutenant replied that some friends and he were accustomed to
pray together.

"That is right," said Zinzendorf. "I acknowledge no Christianity
without fellowship."

In those words he pointed to the loadstar of his life. For that
holy cause of Christian fellowship he spent every breath in his body
and every ducat in his possession. For that cause he laboured among
the peasants of Berthelsdorf, in the streets of Berlin, in the
smiling Wetterau, in the Baltic Provinces, on the shores of Lake
Geneva, in the wilds of Yorkshire, by the silver Thames, on West
Indian plantations, and in the wigwams of the Iroquois and the
Delaware. It is not always fair to judge of men by their conduct.
We must try, when possible, to find the ruling motive; and in
motive Zinzendorf was always unselfish. Sometimes he was guilty of
reckless driving; but his wagon was hitched to a star. No man did
more to revive the Moravian Church, and no man did more, by his very
ideals, to retard her later expansion. It is here that we can see
most clearly the contrast between Zinzendorf and John Wesley. In
genius Zinzendorf easily bore the palm; in practical wisdom the
Englishman far excelled him. The one was a poet, a dreamer, a
thinker, a mystic; the other a practical statesman, who added
nothing to religious thought, and yet uplifted millions of his
fellow men. At a Synod of the Brethren held at Herrnhut (1818),
John Albertini, the eloquent preacher, described the key-note of
Zinzendorf's life. "It was love to Christ," said Albertini, "that
glowed in the heart of the child; the same love that burned in the
young man; the same love that thrilled his middle-age; the same love
that inspired his every endeavour." In action faulty, in motive
pure; in judgment erring, in ideals divine; in policy wayward, in
purpose unselfish and true; such was Zinzendorf, the Renewer of the
Church of the Brethren.137


The Rule of the Germans.



As we enter on the closing stages of our journey, the character of
the landscape changes; and, leaving behind the wild land of romance
and adventure, we come out on the broad, high road of slow but
steady progress. The death of Zinzendorf was no crushing blow. At
first some enemies of the Brethren rejoiced, and one prophet
triumphantly remarked: "We shall now see an end of these Moravians."
But that time the prophet spoke without his mantle. Already the
Brethren were sufficiently strong to realize their calling in the
world. In Saxony they had established powerful congregations at
Herrnhut and Kleinwelke; in Silesia, at Niesky, Gnadenberg,
Gnadenfrei and Neusalz; in Central Germany, at Ebersdorf,
Neudietendorf and Barby; in North Germany, at Rixdorf and Berlin; in
West Germany, at Neuwied-on-the-Rhine; in Holland, at Zeist, near
Utrecht. At first sight this list does not look very impressive;
but we must, of course, bear in mind that most of these
congregations were powerful settlements, that each settlement was
engaged in Diaspora work, and that the branches of that work had
extended to Denmark, Switzerland and Norway. In Great Britain a
similar principle held good. In England the Brethren had
flourishing causes at Fulneck, Gomersal, Mirfield, Wyke, Ockbrook,
Bedford, Fetter Lane, Tytherton, Dukinfield, Leominster; in Ireland,
at Dublin, Gracehill, Gracefield, Ballinderry and Kilwarlin; and
around each of these congregations were numerous societies and
preaching places. In North America they had congregations at
Bethlehem, Emmaus, Graceham, Lancaster, Lititz, Nazareth, New Dorp,
New York, Philadelphia, Schoeneck and York (York Co.); and in
addition, a number of preaching places. In Greenland they had built
the settlements of New Herrnhut and Lichtenau. In the West Indies
they had established congregations in St. Thomas, St. Croix, St.
Jan, Jamaica and Antigua. In Berbice and Surinam they had three
main centres of work. Among the Red Indians Zeisberger was busily
engaged. As accurate statistics are not available, I am not able to
state exactly how many Moravians there were then in the world; but
we know that in the mission-field alone they had over a thousand
communicant members and seven thousand adherents under their special

As soon, then, as the leading Brethren in Herrnhut--such as John de
Watteville, Leonard Dober, David Nitschmann, the Syndic, Frederick
Köber, and others--had recovered from the shock occasioned by
Zinzendorf's death, they set about the difficult task of organizing
the work of the whole Moravian Church. First, they formed a
provisional Board of Directors, known as the Inner Council; next,
they despatched two messengers to America, to summon the practical
Spangenberg home to take his place on the board; and then, at the
earliest convenient opportunity, they summoned their colleagues to
Marienborn for the first General Representative Synod of the Renewed
Church of the Brethren. As the Count had left the affairs of the
Church in confusion, the task before the Brethren was enormous
{1764.}. They had their Church constitution to frame; they had
their finances to straighten out; they had their mission in the
world to define; they had, in a word, to bring order out of chaos;
and so difficult did they find the task that eleven years passed
away before it was accomplished to any satisfaction. For thirty
years they had been half blinded by the dazzling brilliance of
Zinzendorf; but now they began to see a little more clearly. As
long as Zinzendorf was in their midst, an orderly system of
government was impossible. It was now an absolute necessity. The
reign of one man was over; the period of constitutional government
began. At all costs, said the sensible Frederick Köber, the Count
must have no successor. For the first time the Synod was attended
by duly elected congregation deputies: those deputies came not only
from Germany, but from Great Britain, America and the mission-field;
and thus the voice of the Synod was the voice, not of one commanding
genius, but of the whole Moravian Church.

The first question to settle was the Church's Mission. For what
purpose did the Moravian Church exist? To that question the
Brethren gave a threefold answer. First, they said, they must
labour in the whole world; second, their fundamental doctrine must
be the doctrine of reconciliation through the merits of the life and
sufferings of Christ as set forth in the Holy Scriptures and in the
Augsburg Confession; and, third, in their settlements they would
continue to enforce that strict discipline--including the separation
of the sexes--without which the Gospel message would be a mockery.
Thus the world was their parish, the cross their message, the
system of discipline their method.

Secondly, the Brethren framed their constitution. Of all the laws
ever passed by the Brethren, those passed at the first General Synod
had, for nearly a hundred years (1764-1857), the greatest influence
on the progress of the Moravian Church. The keyword is
"centralization." If the Church was to be a united body, that
Church, held the Brethren, must have a central court of appeal, a
central administrative board, and a central legislative authority.
At this first Constitutional Synod, therefore, the Brethren laid
down the following principles of government: That all power to make
rules and regulations touching the faith and practice of the Church
should be vested in the General Synod; that this General Synod
should consist of all bishops and ministers of the Church and of
duly elected congregation deputies; that no deputy should be
considered duly elected unless his election had been confirmed by
the Lot; and that during an inter-synodal period the supreme
management of Church affairs should be in the hands of three
directing boards, which should all be elected by the Synod, and be
responsible to the next Synod. The first board was the Supreme
Board of Management. It was called the Directory, and consisted of
nine Brethren. The second was the Brethren's ministry of foreign
affairs. It was called the Board of Syndics, and managed the
Church's relations with governments. The third was the Brethren's
treasury. It was called the Unity's Warden's Board, and managed the
Church finances. For us English readers, however, the chief point
to notice is that, although these boards were elected by the General
Synod, and although, in theory, they were international in
character, in actual fact they consisted entirely of Germans; and,
therefore, we have the astounding situation that during the next
ninety-three years the whole work of the Moravian Church--in
Germany, in Holland, in Denmark, in Great Britain, in North America,
and in the rapidly extending mission-field--was managed by a board
or boards consisting of Germans and resident in Germany. There all
General Synods were held; there lay all supreme administrative and
legislative power.

Of local self-government there was practically none. It is true
that so-called "Provincial Synods" were held; but these Synods had
no power to make laws. At this period the Moravian Church was
divided, roughly, into the six Provinces of Upper Lusatia, Silesia,
Holland, England, Ireland, and America; and in each of these
Provinces Synods might be held. But a Provincial Synod was a Synod
only in name. "A Provincial Synod," ran the law, "is an assembly of
the ministers and deputies of the congregations of a whole province
or land who lay to heart the weal or woe of their congregations, and
lay the results of their conferences before the General Synod or the
Directory, which is constituted from one General Synod to another.
In other places and districts, indeed, that name does not suit; but
yet in every congregation and district a solemn conference of that
sort may every year be holden, and report be made out of it to the
Directory and General Synod."

In individual congregations the same principle applied. There, too,
self-government was almost unknown. At the head of each
congregation was a board known as the Elders' Conference; and that
Elders' Conference consisted, not of Brethren elected by the Church
members, but of the minister, the minister's wife, and the
choir-labourers, all appointed by the supreme Directing Board. It
is true that the members of the congregation had power to elect a
committee, but the powers of that committee were strictly limited.
It dealt with business matters only, and all members of the Elders'
Conference were ex officio members of the Committee. We can see,
then, what this curious system meant. It meant that a body of
Moravian members in London, Dublin or Philadelphia were under the
authority of a Conference appointed by a Directing Board of Germans
resident in Germany.

The next question to settle was finance; and here again the word
"centralization" must be our guide through the jungle. At that time
the finances had sunk so low that at this first General Synod most
of the ministers and deputies had to sleep on straw, and now the
great problem to settle was, how to deal with Zinzendorf's property.
As long as Zinzendorf was in the flesh he had generously used the
income from his estates for all sorts of Church purposes. But now
the situation was rather delicate. On the one hand, Zinzendorf's
landed property belonged by law to his heirs, i.e., his three
daughters, and his wife's nephew, Count Reuss; on the other hand, he
had verbally pledged it to the Brethren to help them out of their
financial troubles. The problem was solved by purchase. In
exchange for Zinzendorf's estates at Berthelsdorf and
Gross-Hennersdorf, the Brethren offered the heirs the sum of
£25,000. The heirs accepted the offer; the deeds of sale were
prepared; and thus Zinzendorf's landed property became the property
of the Moravian Church. We must not call this a smart business
transaction. When the Brethren purchased Zinzendorf's estates, they
purchased his debts as well; and those debts amounted now to over
£150,000. The one thing the Brethren gained was independence. They
were no longer under an obligation to the Zinzendorf family.

At the next General Synod, held again at Marienborn {1769.}, the
centralizing principle was still more emphatically enforced. As the
three separate boards of management had not worked very smoothly
together, the Brethren now abolished them, and resolved that
henceforth all supreme administrative authority should be vested in
one grand comprehensive board, to be known as the Unity's Elders'
Conference.138 The Conference was divided into three
departments--the College of Overseers, the College of Helpers, and
the College of Servants. It is hard for English readers to realize
what absolute powers this board possessed. The secret lies in the
Brethren's use of the Lot. Hitherto the use of the Lot had been
haphazard; henceforth it was a recognized principle of Church
government. At this Synod the Brethren laid down the law that all
elections,139 appointments and important decisions should be
ratified by the Lot. It was used, not only to confirm elections, but
often, though not always, to settle questions of Church policy. It
was often appealed to at Synods. If a difficult question came up
for discussion, the Brethren frequently consulted the Lot. The
method was to place three papers in a box, and then appoint someone
to draw one out. If the paper was positive, the resolution was
carried; if the paper was negative, the resolution was lost; if the
paper was blank, the resolution was laid on the table. The
weightiest matters were settled in this way. At one Synod the Lot
decided that George Waiblinger should be entrusted with the task of
preparing an "Exposition of Christian Doctrine"; and yet when
Waiblinger fulfilled his duty, the Brethren were not satisfied with
his work. At another Synod the Lot decided that Spangenberg should
not be entrusted with that task, and yet the Brethren were quite
convinced that Spangenberg was the best man for the purpose. But
perhaps the greatest effect of the Lot was the power and dignity
which it conferred on officials. No man could be a member of the
U.E.C. unless his election had been confirmed by the Lot; and when
that confirmation had been obtained, he felt that he had been
appointed, not only by his Brethren, but also by God. Thus the
U.E.C., appointed by the Lot, employed the Lot to settle the most
delicate questions. For example, no Moravian minister might marry
without the consent of the U.E.C. The U.E.C. submitted his choice to
the Lot; and if the Lot decided in the negative, he accepted the
decision as the voice of God. In the congregations the same practice
prevailed. All applications for church membership and all proposals
of marriage were submitted to the Local Elders' Conference; and in
each case the Conference arrived at its decision by consulting the
Lot. To some critics this practice appeared a symptom of lunacy. It
was not so regarded by the Brethren. It was their way of seeking
the guidance of God; and when they were challenged to justify their
conduct, they appealed to the example of the eleven Apostles as
recorded in Acts i. 26, and also to the promise of Christ,
"Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, I will do it."

At this Synod the financial problem came up afresh. The Brethren
tried a bold experiment. As the Church's debts could not be
extinguished in any other way, they determined to appeal to the
generosity of the members; and to this end they now resolved that
the property of the Church should be divided into as many sections
as there were congregations, that each congregation should have its
own property and bear its own burden, and that each
congregation-committee should supply the needs of its own minister.
Of course, money for general Church purposes would still be
required: but the Brethren trusted that this would come readily from
the pockets of loving members.

But love, though a beautiful silken bond, is sometimes apt to snap.
The new arrangement was violently opposed. What right, asked
grumblers, had the Synod to saddle individual congregations with the
debts of the whole Church? The local managers of diaconies proved
incompetent. At Neuwied one Brother lost £6,000 of Church money in
a lottery. The financial pressure became harder than ever. James
Skinner, a member of the London congregation, suggested that the
needful money should be raised by weekly subscriptions. In England
this proposal might have found favour; in Germany it was rejected
with contempt. The relief came from an unexpected quarter. At
Herrnhut the members were celebrating the congregation Jubilee
{1772.}; and twenty poor Single Sisters there, inspired with
patriotic zeal, concocted the following letter to the U.E.C.: "After
maturely weighing how we might be able, in proportion to our slender
means, to contribute something to lessen the debt on the
Unity--i.e., our own debt--we have cheerfully agreed to sacrifice
and dispose of all unnecessary articles, such as gold and silver
plate, watches, snuff-boxes, rings, trinkets and jewellery of every
kind for the purpose of establishing a Sinking Fund, on condition
that not only the congregation at Herrnhut, but all the members of
the Church everywhere, rich and poor, old and young, agree to this
proposal. But this agreement is not to be binding on those who can
contribute in other ways." The brave letter caused an immense
sensation. The spirit of generosity swept over the Church like a
freshening breeze. For very shame the other members felt compelled
to dive into their pockets; and the young men, not being possessed
of trinkets, offered free labour in their leisure hours. The good
folk at Herrnhut vied with each other in giving; and the Brethren at
Philadelphia vied with the Brethren at Herrnhut. The Sinking Fund
was established. In less than twelve months the Single Sisters at
Herrnhut raised £1,300; the total contributions at Herrnhut amounted
to £3,500; and in three years the Sinking Fund had a capital of
£25,000. Thus did twenty Single Sisters earn a high place on the
Moravian roll of honour. At the same time, the U.E.C. were able to
sell the three estates of Marienborn, Herrnhaag and Lindsey House;
and in these ways the debt on the Church was gradually wiped off.

The third constitutional Synod was held at Barby, on the Elbe, near
Magdeburg {1775.}. At this Synod the power of the U.E.C. was
strengthened. In order to prevent financial crises in future, the
Brethren now laid down the law that each congregation, though having
its own property, should contribute a fixed annual quota to the
general fund; that all managers of local diaconies should be
directly responsible to the U.E.C.; and that each congregation
should send in to the U.E.C. an annual financial statement. In this
way, therefore, all Church property was, directly or indirectly,
under the control of the U.E.C. The weakness of this arrangement is
manifest. As long as the U.E.C. was resident in Germany, and as
long as it consisted almost exclusively of Germans, it could not be
expected to understand financial questions arising in England and
America, or to fathom the mysteries of English and American law; and
yet this was the system in force for the next eighty-two years. It
is true that the Brethren devised a method to overcome this
difficulty. The method was the method of official visitations. At
certain periods a member of the U.E.C. would pay official
visitations to the chief congregations in Germany, England, America
and the Mission Field. For example, Bishop John Frederick Reichel
visited North America (1778-1781) and the East Indies; Bishop John
de Watteville (1778-1779) visited in England, Ireland, Scotland and
Wales; and John Henry Quandt (1798) visited Neuwied-on-the-Rhine.
In some ways the method was good, in others bad. it was good
because it fostered the unity of the Church, and emphasized its
broad international character. It was bad because it was cumbrous
and expensive, because it exalted too highly the official element,
and because it checked local independent growth.

Finally, at this third constitutional Synod, the Brethren struck a
clear note on doctrinal questions. The main doctrines of the Church
were defined as follows: (1) The doctrine of the universal depravity
of man; that there is no health in man, and that since the fall he
has no power whatever left to help himself. (2) The doctrine of the
Divinity of Christ; that God, the Creator of all things, was
manifest in the flesh, and reconciled us unto Himself; that He is
before all things, and that by Him all things consist. (3) The
doctrine of the atonement and the satisfaction made for us by Jesus
Christ; that He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for
our justification; and that by His merits alone we receive freely
the forgiveness of sin and sanctification in soul and body. (4) The
doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the operations of His grace; that it
is He who worketh in us conviction of sin, faith in Jesus, and
pureness of heart. (5) The doctrine of the fruits of faith; that
faith must evidence itself by willing obedience to the commandments
of God, from love and gratitude to Him. In those doctrines there was
nothing striking or peculiar. They were the orthodox Protestant
doctrines of the day; they were the doctrines of the Lutheran
Church, of the Church of England, and the Church of Scotland; and
they were, and are, all to be found in the Augsburg Confession, in
the Thirty-nine Articles, and in the Westminster Confession.

Such, then, were the methods and doctrines laid down by the three
constitutional Synods. In methods the Brethren were distinctive; in
doctrine they were "orthodox evangelical." We may now sum up the
results of this chapter. We have a semi-democratic Church
constitution. We have a governing board, consisting mostly of
Germans, and resident in Germany. We have the systematic use of the
Lot. We have a broad evangelical doctrinal standpoint. We are now
to see how these principles and methods worked out in Germany, Great
Britain and America.



If a man stands up for the old theology when new theology is in the
air, he is sure to be praised by some for his loyalty, and condemned
by others for his stupidity; and that was the fate of the Brethren
in Germany during the closing years of the eighteenth century. The
situation in Germany was swiftly changing. The whole country was in
a theological upheaval. As soon as the Brethren had framed their
constitution, they were summoned to the open field of battle. For
fifty years they had held their ground against a cold and lifeless
orthodoxy, and had, therefore, been regarded as heretics; and now,
as though by a sudden miracle, they became the boldest champions in
Germany of the orthodox Lutheran faith. Already a powerful enemy
had entered the field. The name of the enemy was Rationalism. As
we enter the last quarter of the eighteenth century, we hear the
sound of tramping armies and the first mutterings of a mighty storm.
The spirit of free inquiry spread like wildfire. In America it led
to the War of Independence; in England it led to Deism; in France it
led to open atheism and all the horrors of the French Revolution.
In Germany, however, its effect was rather different. If the
reader knows anything of Germany history, he will probably be aware
of the fact that Germany is a land of many famous universities, and
that these universities have always played a leading part in the
national life. It is so to-day; it was so in the eighteenth
century. In England a Professor may easily become a fossil; in
Germany he often guides the thought of the age. For some years that
scoffing writer, Voltaire, had been openly petted at the court of
Frederick the Great; his sceptical spirit was rapidly becoming
fashionable; and now the professors at the Lutheran Universities,
and many of the leading Lutheran preachers, were expounding certain
radical views, not only on such vexed questions as Biblical
inspiration and the credibility of the Gospel narratives, but even
on some of the orthodox doctrines set forth in the Augsburg
Confession. At Halle University, John Semler propounded new views
about the origin of the Bible; at Jena, Griesbach expounded textual
criticism; at Göttingen, Eichhorn was lecturing on Higher Criticism;
and the more the views of these scholars spread, the more the
average Church members feared that the old foundations were giving

Amid the alarm, the Brethren came to the rescue. It is needful to
state their position with some exactness. We must not regard them
as blind supporters of tradition, or as bigoted enemies of science
and research. In spite of their love of the Holy Scriptures, they
never entered into any controversy on mere questions of Biblical
criticism. They had no special theory of Biblical inspiration. At
this time the official Church theologian was Spangenberg. He was
appointed to the position by the U.E.C.; he was commissioned to
prepare an Exposition of Doctrine; and, therefore, the attitude
adopted by Spangenberg may be taken as the attitude of the Brethren.
But Spangenberg himself did not believe that the whole Bible was
inspired by God. "I cannot assert," he wrote in one passage, "that
every word in the Holy Scriptures has been inspired by the Holy
Ghost and given thus to the writers. For example, the speeches at
the end of the book of Job, ascribed there to God, are of such a
nature that they cannot possibly have proceeded from the Holy
Ghost." He believed, of course, in the public reading of Scripture;
but when the Brethren were planning a lectionary, he urged them to
make a distinction between the Old and New Testaments. "Otherwise,"
he declared, "the reading of the Old Testament may do more harm than
good." He objected to the public reading of Job and the Song of

But advanced views about the Bible were not the main feature of the
rationalistic movement. A large number of the German theologians
were teaching what we should call "New Theology." Instead of
adhering to the Augsburg Confession, a great many of the Lutheran
professors and preachers were attacking some of its leading
doctrines. First, they denied the doctrine of the Fall, whittled
away the total depravity of man, and asserted that God had created
men, not with a natural bias to sin, but perfectly free to choose
between good and evil. Secondly, they rejected the doctrine of
reconciliation through the meritorious sufferings of Christ.
Thirdly, they suggested that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity was
an offence to reason. Around these three doctrines the great battle
was fought. To the Brethren those doctrines were all fundamental,
all essential to salvation, and all precious parts of Christian
experience; and, therefore, they defended them against the
Rationalists, not on intellectual, but on moral and spiritual
grounds. The whole question at issue, in their judgment, was a
question of Christian experience. The case of Spangenberg will make
this clear. To understand Spangenberg is to understand his
Brethren. He defended the doctrine of total depravity, not merely
because he found it in the Scriptures, but because he was as certain
as a man can be that he had once been totally depraved himself; and
he defended the doctrine of reconciliation because, as he wrote to
that drinking old sinner, Professor Basedow, he had found all grace
and freedom from sin in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. He often
spoke of himself in contemptuous language; he called himself a mass
of sins, a disgusting creature, an offence to his own nostrils; and
he recorded his own experience when he said: "It has pleased Him to
make out of me--a revolting creature--a child of God, a temple of
the Holy Ghost, a member of the body of Christ, all heir of eternal
life." There we have Spangenberg's theology in a sentence; there
shines the Brethren's experimental religion. The doctrine of the
Trinity stood upon the same basis. In God the Father they had a
protector; in God the Son an ever present friend; in God the Holy
Ghost a spiritual guide; and, therefore, they defended the doctrine
of the Trinity, not because it was in the Augsburg Confession, but
because, in their judgment, it fitted their personal experience.

And yet the Brethren were not controversialists. Instead of arguing
with the rationalist preachers, they employed more pleasing methods
of their own.

The first method was the publication of useful literature. The most
striking book, and the most influential, was Spangenberg's Idea
Fidei Fratrum; i.e., Exposition of the Brethren's Doctrine {1778.}.
For many years this treatise was prized by the Brethren as a body
of sound divinity; and although it can no longer be regarded as a
text-book for theological students, it is still used and highly
valued at some of the Moravian Mission stations.140 From the first
the book sold well, and its influence in Germany was great. It was
translated into English, Danish, French, Swedish, Dutch, Bohemian
and Polish. Its strength was its loyalty to Holy Scripture; its
weakness its lack of original thought. If every difficult
theological question is to be solved by simply appealing to passages
of Scripture, it is obvious that little room is left for profound
and original reflection; and that, speaking broadly, was the method
adopted by Spangenberg in this volume. His object was twofold. On
the one hand, he wished to be true to the Augsburg Confession; on
the other hand, he would admit no doctrine that was not clearly
supported by Scripture. The book was almost entirely in Scriptural
language. The conventional phrases of theology were purposely
omitted. In spite of his adherence to the orthodox faith, the
writer never used such phrases as Trinity, Original Sin, Person, or
Sacrament. He deliberately abandoned the language of the creeds for
the freer language of Scripture. It was this that helped to make
the book so popular. The more fiercely the theological controversy
raged, the more ready was the average working pastor to flee from
the dust and din of battle by appealing to the testimony of the

"How evangelical! How purely Biblical!" wrote Spangenberg's friend,
Court Councillor Frederick Falke (June 10th, 1787). Christian David
Lenz, the Lutheran Superintendent at Riga, was charmed. "Nothing,"
he wrote, "has so convinced me of the purity of the Brethren's
evangelical teaching as your Idea Fidei Fratrum. It appeared just
when it was needed. In the midst of the universal corruption, the
Brethren are a pillar of the truth." The Danish Minister of
Religion, Adam Struensee, who had been a fellow-student with
Spangenberg at Jena, was eloquent in his praises. "A great
philosopher at our University," he wrote to Spangenberg, "complained
to me about our modern theologians; and then added: 'I am just
reading Spangenberg's Idea. It is certain that our successors will
have to recover their Christian theology from the Moravian
Brethren.'" But the keenest criticism was passed by Caspar Lavater.
His mixture of praise and blame was highly instructive. He
contrasted Spangenberg with Zinzendorf. In reading Zinzendorf, we
constantly need the lead pencil. One sentence we wish to cross out;
the next we wish to underline. In reading Spangenberg we do
neither. "In these recent works of the Brethren," said Lavater, "I
find much less to strike out as unscriptural, but also much less to
underline as deep, than in the soaring writings of Zinzendorf."

And thus the Brethren, under Spangenberg's guidance, entered on a
new phase. In originality they had lost; in sobriety they had
gained; and now they were honoured by the orthodox party in Germany
as trusted champions of the faith delivered once for all unto the

The same lesson was taught by the new edition of the Hymn-book
{1778.}. It was prepared by Christian Gregor. The first Hymn-book,
issued by the Renewed Church of the Brethren, appeared in 1735. It
consisted chiefly of Brethren's hymns, written mostly by Zinzendorf;
and during the next fifteen years it was steadily enlarged by the
addition of twelve appendices. But in two ways these appendices
were faulty. They were far too bulky, and they contained some
objectionable hymns. As soon, however, as the Brethren had
recovered from the errors of the Sifting-Time, Count Zinzendorf
published a revised Hymn-book in London (1753-4); and then, a little
later, an extract, entitled "Hymns of Sharon." But even these
editions were unsatisfactory. They contained too many hymns by
Brethren, too many relics of the Sifting-Time, and too few hymns by
writers of other Churches. But the edition published by Gregor was
a masterpiece. It contained the finest hymns of Christendom from
nearly every source. It was absolutely free from extravagant
language; and, therefore, it has not only been used by the Brethren
from that day to this, but is highly valued by Christians of other
Churches. In 1784 Christian Gregor brought out a volume of
"Chorales," where noble thoughts and stately music were wedded.

The next class of literature issued was historical. The more
fiercely the orthodox Gospel was attacked, the more zealously the
Brethren brought out books to show the effect of that Gospel on the
lives of men. In 1765, David Cranz, the historian, published his
"History of Greenland." He had been for fourteen months in
Greenland himself. He had studied his subject at first hand; he was
a careful, accurate, conscientious writer; his book soon appeared in
a second edition (1770), and was translated into English, Dutch,
Swedish and Danish; and whatever objections philosophers might raise
against the Gospel of reconciliation, David Cranz was able to show
that by the preaching of that Gospel the Brethren in Greenland had
taught the natives to be sober, industrious and pure. In 1777 the
Brethren published G. A. Oldendorp's elaborate "History of the
Mission in the Danish West Indies," and, in 1789, G. H. Loskiel's
"History of the Mission Among the North American Indians." In each
case the author had been on the spot himself; and in each case the
book was welcomed as a proof of the power of the Gospel.

The second method was correspondence and visitation. In spite of
their opposition to rationalistic doctrine the Brethren kept in
friendly touch with the leading rationalist preachers. Above all,
they kept in touch with the Universities. The leader of this good
work was Spangenberg. Where Zinzendorf had failed, Spangenberg
succeeded. It is a curious feature of Zinzendorf's life that while
he won the favour of kings and governments, he could rarely win the
favour of learned Churchmen. As long as Zinzendorf reigned supreme,
the Brethren were rather despised at the Universities; but now they
were treated with marked respect. At one time the U.E.C. suggested
that regular annual visits should be paid to the Universities of
Halle, Wittenberg and Leipzig; and in one year Bishop Layritz, a
member of the U.E.C., visited the Lutheran Universities of Halle,
Erlangen, Tübingen, Strasburg, Erfurt and Leipzig, and the Calvinist
Universities of Bern, Geneva and Basle. In response to a request
from Walch of Göttingen, Spangenberg wrote his "Brief Historical
Account of the Brethren" and his "Account of the Brethren's Work
Among the Heathen"; and, in response to a request from Köster of
Gieszen, he wrote a series of theological articles for that
scholar's "Encyclopædia." Meanwhile, he was in constant
correspondence with Schneider at Eisenach, Lenz at Riga, Reinhard at
Dresden, Roos at Anhausen, Tittman at Dresden, and other well-known
Lutheran preachers. For thirteen years (1771-1784) the seat of the
U.E.C. was Barby; and there they often received visits from leading
German scholars. At one time the notorious Professor Basedow
begged, almost with tears in his eyes, to be admitted to the
Moravian Church; but the Brethren could not admit a man, however
learned he might be, who sought consolation in drink and gambling.
On other occasions the Brethren were visited by Campe, the Minister
of Education; by Salzmann, the founder of Schnepfenthal; and by
Becker, the future editor of the German Times. But the most
distinguished visitor at Barby was Semler, the famous rationalist
Professor at Halle. "He spent many hours with us," said Spangenberg
{1773.}. "He expounded his views, and we heard him to the end. In
reply we told him our convictions, and then we parted in peace from
each other." When Semler published his "Abstract of Church
History," he sent a copy to Spangenberg; and Spangenberg returned
the compliment by sending him the latest volume of his "Life of
Zinzendorf." At these friendly meetings with learned men the
Brethren never argued. Their method was different. It was the
method of personal testimony. "It is, I imagine, no small thing,"
said Spangenberg, in a letter to Dr. J. G. Rosenmüller, "that a
people exists among us who can testify both by word and life that in
the sacrifice of Jesus they have found all grace and deliverance
from sin." And thus the Brethren replied to the Rationalists by
appealing to personal experience.

The third method was the education of the young. For its origin we
turn to the case of Susannah Kühnel. At the time of the great
revival in Herrnhut {1727.}, the children had not been neglected;
Susannah Kühnel, a girl of eleven, became the leader of a revival.
"We had then for our master," said Jacob Liebich, "an upright and
serious man, who had the good of his pupils much at heart." The
name of the master was Krumpe. "He never failed," continued Liebich,
"at the close of the school to pray with us, and to commend us to
the Lord Jesus and His Spirit during the time of our amusements. At
that time Susannah Kühnel was awakened, and frequently withdrew into
her father's garden, especially in the evenings, to ask the grace of
the Lord and to seek the salvation of her soul with strong crying
and tears. As this was next door to the house where we lived (there
was only a boarded partition between us), we could hear her prayers
as we were going to rest and as we lay upon our beds. We were so
much impressed that we could not fall asleep as carelessly as
formerly, and asked our teachers to go with us to pray. Instead of
going to sleep as usual, we went to the boundaries which separated
the fields, or among the bushes, to throw ourselves before the Lord
and beg Him to turn us to Himself. Our teachers often went with us,
and when we had done praying, and had to return, we went again, one
to this place and another to that, or in pairs, to cast ourselves
upon our knees and pray in secret." Amid the fervour occurred the
events of August 13th. The children at Herrnhut were stirred. For
three days Susannah Kühnel was so absorbed in thought and prayer
that she forgot to take her food; and then, on August 17th, having
passed through a severe spiritual struggle, she was able to say to
her father: "Now I am become a child of God; now I know how my
mother felt and feels." We are not to pass this story over as a
mere pious anecdote. It illustrates an important Moravian
principle. For the next forty-two years the Brethren practised the
system of training the children of Church members in separate
institutions; the children, therefore, were boarded and educated by
the Church and at the Church's expense;141 and the principle
underlying the system was that children from their earliest years
should receive systematic religious training. If the child, they
held, was properly trained and taught to love and obey Jesus Christ,
he would not need afterwards to be converted. He would be brought
up as a member of the Kingdom of God. As long as the Brethren could
find the money, they maintained this "Children's Economy." The date
of Susannah's conversion was remembered, and became the date of the
annual Children's Festival; and in every settlement and congregation
special meetings for children were regularly held. But the system
was found too expensive. At the Synod of 1769 it was abandoned. No
longer could the Brethren maintain and educate the children of all
their members; thencefoward they could maintain and educate only the
children of those in church service.

For the sons of ministers they established a Pædagogium; for the
daughters of ministers a Girls' School at Kleinwelke, in Saxony; and
for candidates for ministerial service a Theological Seminary,
situated first at Barby, then at Niesky, and finally at Gnadenfeld,
in Silesia. At the same time, the Brethren laid down the rule that
each congregation should have its own elementary day school. At
first these schools were meant for Moravians only; but before long
they were thrown open to the public. The principle of serving the
public steadily grew. It began in the elementary schools; it led to
the establishment of boarding-schools. The first step was taken in
Denmark. At Christiansfeld, in Schleswig-Holstein, the Brethren had
established a congregation by the special request of the Danish
Government; and there, in 1774, they opened two boarding-schools for
boys and girls. From that time the Brethren became more practical
in their methods. Instead of attempting the hopeless task of
providing free education, they now built a number of
boarding-schools; and at the Synod of 1782 they officially
recognized education as a definite part of their Church work. The
chief schools were those at Neuwied-on-the-Rhine; Gnadenfrei, in
Silesia; Ebersdorf, in Vogt-land; and Montmirail, in Switzerland.
The style of architecture adopted was the Mansard. As the standard
of education was high, the schools soon became famous; and as the
religion taught was broad, the pupils came from all Protestant
denominations. On this subject the well-known historian, Kurtz, has
almost told the truth. He informs us that during the dreary period
of Rationalism, the schools established by the Brethren were a
"sanctuary for the old Gospel, with its blessed promises and
glorious hopes." It would be better, however, to speak of these
schools as barracks. If we think of the Brethren as retiring
hermits, we shall entirely misunderstand their character. They
fought the Rationalists with their own weapons; they gave a splendid
classical, literary and scientific education; they enforced their
discipline on the sons of barons and nobles; they staffed their
schools with men of learning and piety; and these men, by taking a
personal interest in the religious life of their pupils, trained up
a band of fearless warriors for the holy cause of the Gospel. It
was this force of personal influence and example that made the
schools so famous; this that won the confidence of the public; and
this that caused the Brethren to be so widely trusted as defenders
of the faith and life of the Lutheran Church.

The fourth method employed by the Brethren was the Diaspora. Here
again, as in the public schools, the Brethren never attempted to
make proselytes. At the Synod of 1782, and again at a Conference of
Diaspora-workers, held at Herrnhut (1785), the Brethren emphatically
laid down the rule that no worker in the Diaspora should ever
attempt to win converts for the Moravian Church. The Diaspora work
was now at the height of its glory. In Lusatia the Brethren had
centres of work at Herrnhut, Niesky and Kleinwelke; in Silesia, at
Gnadenfrei, Gnadenberg, Gnadenfeld and Neusalz; in Pomerania, at
Rügen and Mecklenburg; in East Prussia, at Danzig, Königsberg and
Elbing; in Thuringia, at Neudietendorf; in the Palatinate and the
Wetterau; at Neuwied; in Brandenburg, at Berlin and Potsdam; in
Denmark, at Christiansfeld, Schleswig, Fühnen, and Copenhagen; in
Norway, at Christiana, Drammen and Bergen; in Sweden, at Stockholm
and Gothenburg; in Switzerland, at Basel, Bern, Zürich and
Montmirail; and finally, in Livonia and Esthonia, they employed
about a hundred preachers and ministered to about six thousand
souls. At this rate it would appear that the Moravians in Germany
were increasing by leaps and bounds; but in reality they were doing
nothing of the kind. At this time the Moravian influence was felt
in every part of Germany; and yet during this very period they
founded only the three congregations of Gnadenfeld, Gnadau, and

But the greatest proof of the Brethren's power was their influence
over Schleiermacher. Of all the religious leaders in Germany
Schleiermacher was the greatest since Luther; and Schleiermacher
learned his religion, both directly and indirectly, from the
Brethren. It is sometimes stated in lives of Schleiermacher that he
received his earliest religious impressions from his parents; but,
on the other hand, it should be remembered that both his parents, in
their turn, had come under Moravian influence. His father was a
Calvinistic army chaplain, who had made the acquaintance of Brethren
at Gnadenfrei (1778). He there adopted the Brethren's conception of
religion; he became a Moravian in everything but the name; his wife
passed through the same spiritual experience; he then settled down
as Calvinist pastor in the colony of Anhalt; and finally, for the
sake of his children, he visited the Brethren again at Gnadenfrei
(1783). His famous son was now a lad of fifteen; and here, among
the Brethren at Gnadenfrei, the young seeker first saw the heavenly
vision. "It was here," he said, "that I first became aware of man's
connection with a higher world. It was here that I developed that
mystic faculty which I regard as essential, and which has often
upheld and saved me amid the storms of doubt."

But Schleiermacher's father was not content. He had visited the
Brethren both at Herrnhut and Niesky; he admired the Moravian type
of teaching; and now he requested the U.E.C. to admit both his sons
as pupils to the Pædagogium at Niesky. But the U.E.C. objected.
The Pædagogium, they said, was meant for Moravian students only.
As the old man, however, would take no refusal, the question was
put to the Lot; the Lot gave consent; and to Niesky Schleiermacher
and his brother came. For two years, therefore, Schleiermacher
studied at the Brethren's Pædagogium at Niesky; and here he learned
some valuable lessons {1783-5.}. He learned the value of hard work;
he formed a friendship with Albertini, and plunged with him into a
passionate study of Greek and Latin literature; and he learned by
personal contact with bright young souls that religion, when based
on personal experience, is a thing of beauty and joy. Above all, he
learned from the Brethren the value of the historical Christ. The
great object of Schleiermacher's life was to reconcile science and
religion. He attempted for the Germans of the eighteenth century
what many theologians are attempting for us to-day. He endeavoured
to make a "lasting treaty between living Christian faith and the
spirit of free inquiry." He found that treaty existing already at
Niesky. As the solemn time of confirmation drew near, the young lad
was carried away by his feelings, and expected his spiritual
instructor to fan the flame. "But no!" says Schleiermacher, "he led
me back to the field of history. He urged me to inquire into the
facts and quietly think out conclusions for myself." Thus
Schleiermacher acquired at Niesky that scientific frame of mind, and
also that passionate devotion to Christ, which are seen in every
line he wrote.

>From Niesksy he passed to the Theological Seminary at Barby
{1785-87.}. But here the influence was of a different kind. Of the
three theological professors at Barby--Baumeister, Bossart, and
Thomas Moore--not one was intellectually fitted to deal with the
religious difficulties of young men. Instead of talking frankly
with the students about the burning problems of the day, they simply
lectured on the old orthodox lines, asserted that certain doctrines
were true, informed the young seekers that doubting was sinful, and
closed every door and window of the college against the entrance of
modern ideas. But modern ideas streamed in through the chinks.
Young Schleiermacher was now like a golden eagle in a cage. At
Niesky he had learned to think for himself; at Barby he was told
that thinking for himself was wrong. He called the doctrines taught
by the professors "stupid orthodoxy." He rejected, on intellectual
grounds, their doctrine of the eternal Godhead of Christ; and he
rejected on moral and spiritual grounds their doctrines of the total
depravity of man, of eternal punishment, and of the substitutionary
sufferings of Christ. He wrote a pathetic letter to his father. "I
cannot accept these doctrines," he said. He begged his father to
allow him to leave the college; the old man reluctantly granted the
request; and Schleiermacher, therefore, left the Brethren and
pursued his independent career.

And yet, though he differed from the Brethren in theology, he felt
himself at one with them in religion. In one sense, he remained a
Moravian to the end. He called himself a "Moravian of the higher
order"; and by that phrase he probably meant that he had the
Brethren's faith in Christ, but rejected their orthodox theology.
He read their monthly magazine, "Nachrichten." He maintained his
friendship with Bishop Albertini, and studied his sermons and poems.
He kept in touch with the Brethren at Berlin, where his sister,
Charlotte, lived in one of their establishments. He frequently
stayed at Gnadenfrei, Barby, and Ebersdorf. He chatted with
Albertini at Berthelsdorf. He described the Brethren's singing
meetings as models. "They make a deep religious impression," he
said, "which is often of greater value than many sermons." He loved
their celebration of Passion Week, their triumphant Easter Morning
service, and their beautiful Holy Communion. "There is no Communion
to compare with theirs," he said; and many a non-Moravian has said
the same. He admired the Moravian Church because she was free; and
in one of his later writings he declared that if that Church could
only be reformed according to the spirit of the age, she would be
one of the grandest Churches in the world. "In fundamentals," he
said, "the Brethren are right; it is only their Christology and
theology that are bad, and these are only externals. What a pity
they cannot separate the surface from the solid rock beneath." To
him the fundamental truth of theology was the revelation of God in
Jesus Christ; and that also was the fundamental element in the
teaching of Zinzendorf.142

Meanwhile the great leader of the Brethren had passed away from
earth. At the advanced age of eighty-eight, Bishop Spangenberg died
at Berthelsdorf {1792.}. In history Spangenberg has not received
his deserts. We have allowed him to be overshadowed by Zinzendorf.
In genius, he was Zinzendorf's inferior; in energy, his equal; in
practical wisdom, his superior. He had organized the first Moravian
congregation in England, i.e., the one at Fetter Lane; he
superintended the first campaign in Yorkshire; he led the vanguard
in North America; he defended the Brethren in many a pamphlet just
after the Sifting-Time; he gave their broad theology literary form;
and for thirty years, by his wisdom, his skill, and his patience, he
guided them through many a dangerous financial crisis. Amid all his
labours he was modest, urbane and cheerful. In appearance his
admirers called him apostolic. "He looked," said one, "as Peter must
have looked when he stood before Ananias, or John, when he said,
Little children, love each other."

"See there, Lavater," said another enthusiast, "that is what a
Christian looks like."

But the noblest testimony was given by Becker, the editor of the
German Times. In an article in that paper, Becker related how once
he had an interview with Spangenberg, and how Spangenberg recounted
some of his experiences during the War in North America. The face
of the Bishop was aglow. The great editor was struck with
amazement. At length he stepped nearer to the white-haired veteran,
and said:--

"Happy man! reveal to me your secret! What is it that makes you so
strong and calm? What light is this that illumines your soul? What
power is this that makes you so content? Tell me, and make me happy
for ever."

"For this," replied the simple Spangenberg, his eyes shining with
joy, "for this I must thank my Saviour."

There lay the secret of Spangenberg's power; and there the secret of
the services rendered by the Brethren when pious evangelicals in
Germany trembled at the onslaught of the new theologians. For these
services the Brethren have been both blamed and praised. According
to that eminent historian, Ritschl, such men as Spangenberg were the
bane of the Lutheran Church. According to Dorner, the evangelical
theologian, the Brethren helped to save the Protestant faith from
ruin. "When other Churches," says Dorner, "were sunk in sleep, when
darkness was almost everywhere, it was she, the humble priestess of
the sanctuary, who fed the sacred flame." Between two such doctors
of divinity who shall judge? But perhaps the philosopher, Kant,
will be able to help us. He was in the thick of the rationalist
movement; and he lived in the town of Königsberg, where the Brethren
had a Society. One day a student complained to Kant that his
philosophy did not bring peace to the heart.

"Peace!" replied the great philosopher, "peace of heart you will
never find in my lecture room. If you want peace, you must go to
that little Moravian Church over the way. That is the place to find



As the Rationalist movement spread in Germany, it had two distinct
effects upon the Brethren. The first was wholesome; the second was
morbid. At first it aroused them to a sense of their duty, and made
them gallant soldiers of the Cross; and then, towards the close of
the eighteenth century, it filled them with a horror of all changes
and reforms and of all independence in thought and action. The
chief cause of this sad change was the French Revolution. At first
sight it may seem that the French Revolution has little to do with
our story; and Carlyle does not discuss this part of his subject.
But no nation lives to itself; and Robespierre, Mirabeau and Marat
shook the civilized world. In England the French Revolution caused
a general panic. At first, of course, it produced a few
revolutionaries, of the stamp of Tom Paine; but, on the whole, its
general effect was to make our politicians afraid of changes, to
strengthen the forces of conservatism, and thus to block the path of
the social and political reformer. Its effect on the Brethren was
similar. As the news of its horrors spread through Europe, good
Christian people could not help feeling that all free thought led
straight to atheism, and all change to revolution and murder; and,
therefore, the leading Brethren in Germany opposed liberty because
they were afraid of license, and reform because they were afraid of

For the long period, therefore of eighteen years, the Moravian
Church in Germany remained at a standstill {1800-18.}. At Herrnhut
the Brethren met in a General Synod, and there the Conservatives won
a signal victory. Already the first shots in the battle had been
fired, and already the U.E.C. had taken stern measures. Instead of
facing the situation frankly, they first shut their own eyes and
then tried to make others as blind as themselves. At this Synod the
deputy for Herrnhut was a lawyer named Riegelmann; and, being
desirous to do his duty efficiently, he had asked for a copy of the
"Synodal Results" of 1764 and 1769. His request was moderate and
sensible. No deputy could possibly do his duty unless he knew the
existing laws of the Church. But his request was sternly refused.
He was informed that no private individual was entitled to a copy
of the "Results." Thus, at the opening of the nineteenth century, a
false note was struck; and the Synod deliberately prevented honest
inquiry. Of the members, all but two were church officials. For
all practical purposes the laymen were unrepresented. At the head
of the conservative party was Godfrey Cunow. In vain some English
ministers requested that the use of the Lot should no longer be
enforced in marriages. The arguments of Cunow prevailed. "Our
entire constitution demands," he said, "that in our settlements no
marriage shall be contracted without the Lot." But the Brethren laid
down a still more depressing principle. For some years the older
leaders had noticed, with feelings of mingled pain and horror, that
revolutionary ideas had found a home even in quiet Moravian
settlements; and in order to keep such ideas in check, the Synod now
adopted the principle that the true kernel of the Moravian Church
consisted, not of all the communicant members, but only of a
"Faithful Few." We can hardly call this encouraging. It tempted the
"Faithful Few" to be Pharisees, and banned the rest as black sheep.
And the Pastoral Letter, drawn up by the Synod, and addressed to
all the congregations, was still more disheartening. "It will be
better," ran one fatal sentence, "for us to decrease in numbers and
increase in piety than to be a large multitude, like a body without
a spirit." We call easily see what such a sentence means. It means
that the Brethren were afraid of new ideas, and resolved to stifle
them in their birth.

The new policy produced strange results. At the Theological
Seminary in Niesky the professors found themselves in a strange
position. If they taught the old theology of Spangenberg, they
would be untrue to their convictions; if they taught their
convictions, they would be untrue to the Church; and, therefore,
they solved the problem by teaching no theology at all. Instead of
lecturing on the Bible, they lectured now on philosophy; instead of
expounding the teaching of Christ and His Apostles, they expounded
the teaching of Kant, Fichte and Jacobi; and when the students
became ministers, they had little but philosophy to offer the
people. For ordinary people philosophy is as tasteless as the white
of an egg. As the preachers spoke far above the heads of the
people, they soon lost touch with their flocks; the hungry sheep
looked up, and were not fed; the sermons were tinkling brass and
clanging cymbal; and the ministers, instead of attending to their
pastoral duties, were hidden away in their studies in clouds of
philosophical and theological smoke, and employed their time
composing discourses, which neither they nor the people could
understand. Thus the shepherds lived in one world, and the
wandering sheep in another; and thus the bond of sympathy between
pastor and people was broken. For this reason the Moravian Church
in Germany began now to show signs of decay in moral and spiritual
power; and the only encouraging signs of progress were the
establishment of the new settlement of Königsfeld in the Black
Forest, the Diaspora work in the Baltic Provinces, officially
recognized by the Czar, the growth of the boarding-schools, and the
extension of foreign missions. In the boarding-schools the Brethren
were at their best. At most of them the pupils were prepared for
confirmation, and the children of Catholics were admitted. But the
life in the congregations was at a low ebb. No longer were the
Brethren's Houses homes of Christian fellowship; they were now
little better than lodging-houses, and the young men had become
sleepy, frivolous, and even in some cases licentious. For a short
time the U.E.C. tried to remedy this evil by enforcing stricter
rules; and when this vain proceeding failed, they thought of
abolishing Brethren's Houses altogether. At the services in Church
the Bible was little read, and the people were content to feed their
souls on the Hymn-book and the Catechism. The Diacony managers were
slothful in business, and the Diaconies ceased to pay. The
subscriptions to central funds dwindled. The fine property at Barby
was abandoned. The Diaspora work was curtailed.

Another cause of decay was the growing use of the Lot. For that
growth the obvious reason was that, when the Brethren saw men adrift
on every side, they felt that they themselves must have an anchor
that would hold. It was even used in the boarding-schools. No
pupil could be admitted to a school unless his application had been
confirmed by the Lot.144 No man could be a member of a Conference,
no election was valid, no law was carried, no important business
step was taken, without the consent of the Lot. For example, it was
by the decision of the Lot that the Brethren abandoned their cause
at Barby; and thus, afraid of intellectual progress, they submitted
affairs of importance to an external artificial authority. Again
and again the U.E.C. desired to summon a Synod; and again and again
the Lot rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile another destructive force was working. Napoleon
Buonaparte was scouring Europe, and the German settlements were
constantly invaded by soldiers. At Barby, Generals Murat and
Bernadotte were lodged in the castle, and entertained by the Warden.
At Gnadau the French made the chapel their headquarters, killed and
ate the live stock, ransacked the kitchens and cellars, cleared out
the stores, and made barricades of the casks, wheelbarrows and
carts. At Neudietendorf the Prussians lay like locusts. At
Ebersdorf, Napoleon lodged in the Brethren's House, and quartered
twenty or thirty of his men in every private dwelling. At
Kleinwelke, where Napoleon settled with the whole staff of the Grand
Army, the Single Sisters had to nurse two thousand wounded warriors;
and the pupils in the boarding-school had to be removed to Uhyst.
At Gnadenberg the settlement was almost ruined. The furniture was
smashed, the beds were cut up, the tools of the tradesmen were
spoiled, and the soldiers took possession of the Sisters' House.
But Napoleon afterwards visited the settlement, declared that he
knew the Brethren to be a quiet and peaceable people, and promised
to protect them in future. He did not, however, offer them any
compensation; his promise of protection was not fulfilled; and a few
months later his own soldiers gutted the place again. At Herrnhut,
on one occasion, when the French were there, the chapel was
illuminated, and a service was held to celebrate Napoleon's
birthday; and then a little later Blücher arrived on the scene, and
summoned the people to give thanks to God for a victory over the
French. At Niesky the whole settlement became a general infirmary.
Amid scenes such as this Church progress was impossible. The cost
in money was enormous. At Herrnhut alone the levies amounted to
£3,000; to this must be added the destruction of property and the
feeding of thousands of troops of both sides; and thus the
Brethren's expenses were increased by many thousands of pounds.

At length, however, at Waterloo Napoleon met his conqueror; the
great criminal was captured and sent to St. Helena; and then, while
he was playing chess and grumbling at the weather, the Brethren met
again at Herrnhut in another General Synod {1818.}. At this Synod
some curious regulations were made. For the purpose of cultivating
personal holiness, Bishop Cunow proposed that henceforward the
members of the Moravian Church should be divided into two classes.
In the first class he placed the ordinary members--i.e., those who
had been confirmed or who had been received from other Churches; and
all belonging to this class were allowed to attend Communion once a
quarter. His second class was a sacred "Inner Circle." It
consisted of those, and only those, who made a special religious
profession. No one could be admitted to this "Inner Circle" without
the sanction of the Lot; and none but those belonging to the
"Circle" could be members of the Congregation Council or Committee.
All members belonging to this class attended the Communion once a
month. For a wonder this strange resolution was carried, and
remained in force for seven years; and at bottom its ruling
principle was that only those elected by the Lot had any real share
in Church government. But the question of the Lot was still causing
trouble. Again there came a request from abroad--this time from
America--that it should no longer be enforced in marriages. For
seven years the question was keenly debated, and the radicals had to
fight very hard for victory. First the Synod passed a resolution
that the Lot need not be used for marriages except in the regular
settlements; then the members in the settlements grumbled, and were
granted the same privilege (1819), and only ministers and
missionaries were compelled to marry by Lot; then the ministers
begged for liberty, and received the same privilege as the laymen
(1825); and, finally, the missionaries found release (1836), and
thus the enforced use of the Lot in marriages passed out of Moravian

But the Brethren had better work on hand than to tinker with their
constitution. At the root of their troubles had been the neglect of
the Bible. In order, therefore, to restore the Bible to its proper
position in Church esteem, the Brethren now established the
Theological College at Gnadenfeld (1818). There John Plitt took the
training of the students in hand; there systematic lectures were
given on Exegesis, Dogmatics, Old Testament Introduction, Church
History, and Brethren's History; there, in a word, John Plitt
succeeded in training a band of ministers who combined a love for
the Bible with love for the Brethren's Church. At the same time,
the Synod appointed an "Educational Department" in the U.E.C.; the
boarding-schools were now more efficiently managed; and the number
of pupils ran up to thirteen hundred.

Amid this new life the sun rose on the morning of the 17th of June,
1722, a hundred years after Christian David had felled the first
tree at Herrnhut. The Brethren glanced at the past. The blood of
the martyrs seemed dancing in their veins. At Herrnhut the archives
of the Church had been stored; Frederick Kölbing had ransacked the
records; and only a few months before he had produced his book,
"Memorial Days of the Renewed Brethren's Church." From hand to hand
the volume passed, and was read with eager delight. The spirit of
patriotic zeal was revived. Never surely was there such a gathering
in Herrnhut as on that Centenary Day. From all the congregations in
Germany, from Denmark, from Sweden, from Holland, from Switzerland,
from England, the Brethren streamed to thank the Great Shepherd for
His never-failing kindnesses. There were Brethren and friends of
the Brethren, clergymen and laymen, poor peasants in simple garb
from the old homeland in Moravia, and high officials from the Court
of Saxony in purple and scarlet and gold. As the vast assembly
pressed into the Church, the trombones sounded forth, and the choir
sang the words of the Psalmist, so rich in historic associations:
"Here the sparrow hath found a home, and the swallow a nest for her
young, even thine altars, oh, Lord of Hosts!" It was a day of high
jubilation and a day of penitent mourning; a day of festive robes
and a day of sack-cloth and ashes. As the great throng, some
thousands in number, and arranged in choirs, four and four, stood
round the spot on the roadside where Christian David had raised his
axe, and where a new memorial-stone now stood, they rejoiced because
during those hundred years the seed had become a great tree, and
they mourned because the branches had begun to wither and the leaves
begun to fall. The chief speaker was John Baptist Albertini, the
old friend of Schleiermacher. Stern and clear was the message he
gave; deep and full was the note it sounded. "We have lost the old
love," he said; "let us repent. Let us take a warning from the
past; let us return unto the Lord." With faces abashed, with heads
bowed, with hearts renewed, with tears of sorrow and of joy in their
eyes, the Brethren went thoughtfully homewards.

At the next General Synod (1825), however, they made an alarming
discovery. In spite of the revival of Church enthusiasm, they found
that during the last seven years they had lost no fewer than one
thousand two hundred members; and, searching about to find the
cause, they found it in Bishop Cunow's "Inner Circle." It was time
to abolish that "Circle"; and abolished it therefore was.

At the next General Synod (1836), the Brethren took another step
forward. In order to encourage the general study of the Bible, they
arranged that in every congregation regular Bible readings should be
held; and, in order to deepen the interest in evangelistic work,
they decreed that a prayer meeting should be held the first Monday


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