History of the Moravian Church
J. E. Hutton

Part 8 out of 9

of every month. At this meeting the topic of intercession was to
be, not the mere prosperity of the Brethren, but the cultivation of
good relations with other Churches and the extension of the Kingdom
of God throughout the world.

The next sign of progress was the wonderful revival in the
Pædagogium at Niesky {1841.}. For nine years that important
institution, where ministerial candidates were trained before they
entered the Theological Seminary, had been under the management of
Frederick Immanuel Kleinschmidt; and yet, despite his sternness and
piety, the boys had shown but a meagre spirit of religion. If
Kleinschmidt rebuked them, they hated him; if he tried to admonish
them privately, they told him fibs. There, at the very heart of the
young Church life, religion was openly despised; and the Pædagogium
had now become little better than an ordinary private school. If a
boy, for example, wished to read his Bible, he had to do so in
French, pretend that his purpose was simply to learn a new language,
and thus escape the mockery of his schoolmates. The case was
alarming. If piety was despised in the school of the prophets, what
pastors was Israel likely to have in the future?

The revival began very quietly. One boy, Prince Reuss, was summoned
home to be present at his father's death-bed; and when he returned
to the school a few days later found himself met by an amount of
sympathy which boys are not accustomed to show. A change of some
kind had taken place during his absence. The nightwatchman, Hager,
had been heard praying in his attic for the boys. A boy, in great
trouble with a trigonometrical problem which would not come right,
had solved the difficulty by linking work with prayer. The boys in
the "First Room"--i.e., the elder boys--made an agreement to speak
with one another openly before the Holy Communion.

At length, on November 13th, when the Brethren in the other
congregations were celebrating the centenary of the Headship of
Christ, there occurred, at the evening Communion at Niesky,
"something new, something unusual, something mightily surprising."
With shake of hand and without a word those elder boys made a
solemn covenant to serve Christ. Among them were two who, fifty
years later, were still famous Moravian preachers; and when they
recalled the events of that evening they could give no explanation
to each other. "It was," they said, in fond recollection, "something
unusual, but something great and holy, that overcame us and moved
us. It must have been the Spirit of Christ." For those boys that
wonderful Communion service had ever sacred associations; and Bishop
Wunderling, in telling the story, declared his own convictions. "The
Lord took possession of the house," he said, "bound all to one
another and to Himself, and over all was poured the spirit of love
and forgiveness, and a power from above was distributed from the
enjoyment of the Communion."

"What wonder was it," wrote one boy home, "that when we brothers
united to praise the Lord, He did not put to shame our longings and
our faith, but kindled others from our fire."

In this work the chief leaders were Kleinschmidt the headmaster,
Gustave Tietzen, Ferdinand Geller, and Ernest Reichel. At first, of
course, there was some danger that the boys would lose their
balance; but the masters, in true Moravian style, checked all signs
of fanaticism. It is hardly correct to call the movement a revival.
It is better to call it an awakening. It was fanned by historic
memories, was very similar to the first awakening at Herrnhut, and
soon led to very similar results. No groans, or tears, or morbid
fancies marred the scene. In the playground the games continued as
usual. On every hand were radiant faces, and groups in earnest
chat. No one ever asked, "Is so-and-so converted?" For those lads
the burning question was, "In what way can I be like Christ?" As
the boys retired to rest at night, they would ask the masters to
remember them in prayer, and the masters asked the same in return of
the boys. The rule of force was over. Before, old Kleinschmidt,
like our English Dr. Temple, had been feared as a "just beast." Now
he was the lovable father. At revivals in schools it has sometimes
happened that while the boys have looked more pious, they have not
always been more diligent and truthful; but at Niesky the boys now
became fine models of industry, honesty and good manners. They
confessed their faults to one another, gave each other friendly
warnings, formed unions for prayer, applied the Bible to daily life,
were conscientious in the class-room and in the playground; and
then, when these golden days were over, went out with tongues of
flame to spread the news through the Church. The real test of a
revival is its lasting effect on character. If it leads to selfish
dreaming, it is clay; if it leads to life-long sacrifice, it is
gold; and well the awakening at Niesky stood the test.

At the next General Synod all present could see that the Moravian
Church was now restored to full life, and the American deputies, who
had come to see her decently interrred, were amazed at her
hopefulness and vigour. At that Synod the signs of vigorous life
were many {1848.}. For the first time the Brethren opened their
meetings to the public, allowed reporters to be present, and had the
results of their proceedings printed and sold. For the first time
they now resolved that, instead of shutting themselves up in
settlements, they would try, where possible, to establish town and
country congregations. For the first time they now agreed that, in
the English and American congregations, new members might be
received without the sanction of the Lot. Meanwhile, the boys
awakened at Niesky were already in harness. Some had continued
their studies at Gnadenfeld, and were now powerful preachers. Some
had become teachers at Königsfeld, Kleinwelke, and Neuwied. Some
were preaching the Gospel in foreign lands. Along the Rhine, in
South and West Germany, in Metz and the Wartebruch, and in Russian
Poland, the Brethren opened new fields of Diaspora work; and away in
the broadening mission field the energy was greater than ever. In
Greenland a new station was founded at Friedrichstal; in Labrador,
at Hebron; in Surinam, at Bambey; in South Africa, at Siloh and
Goshen; on the Moskito Coast, at Bluefields; in Australia, at
Ebenezer; and in British India, near Tibet, at Kyelang.

And thus our narrative brings us down to 1857. We may pause to sum
up results. If a church is described as making progress, most
readers generally wish to know how many new congregations she has
founded, and how many members she has gained. But progress of that
kind was not what the Brethren desired; and during the period
covered by this chapter they founded only one new congregation.
They had still only seventeen congregations in Germany, in the
proper sense of that word; but, on the other hand, they had
fifty-nine Diaspora centres, and about one hundred and fifty
Diaspora workers. At the heart, therefore, of all their endeavours
we see the design, not to extend the Moravian Church, but to hold
true to the old ideals of Zinzendorf. In that sense, at least, they
had made good progress. They showed to the world a spirit of
brotherly union; they were on good terms with other Churches; they
made their schools and their Diaspora centres homes of Christian
influence; and, above all, like a diamond set in gold, there flashed
still with its ancient lustre the missionary spirit of the fathers.



Of all the problems raised by the history of the Brethren, the most
difficult to solve is the one we have now to face. In the days of
John Wesley, the Moravians in England were famous; in the days of
Robertson, of Brighton, they were almost unknown. For a hundred
years the Moravians in England played so obscure and modest a part
in our national life that our great historians, such as Green and
Lecky, do not even notice their existence, and the problem now
before us is, what caused this swift and mysterious decline?

As the companions of Zinzendorf--Boehler, Cennick, Rogers and
Okeley--passed one by one from the scenes of their labours, there
towered above the other English Brethren a figure of no small
grandeur. It was Benjamin La Trobe, once a famous preacher in
England. He sprang from a Huguenot family, and had first come
forward in Dublin. He had been among the first there to give a
welcome to John Cennick, had held to Cennick when others left him,
had helped to form a number of his hearers into the Dublin
congregation, and had been with Cennick on his romantic journey's
among the bogs and cockpits of Ulster. As the years rolled on, he
came more and more to the front. At Dublin he had met a teacher of
music named Worthington, and a few years later La Trobe and
Worthington were famous men at Fulneck. When Fulneck chapel was
being built, La Trobe stood upon the roof of a house to preach.
When the chapel was finished, La Trobe became Brethren's labourer,
and his friend Worthington played the organ. In those days Fulneck
Chapel was not large enough to hold the crowds that came, and La
Trobe had actually to stand upon the roof to harangue the vast
waiting throng. As Cennick had been before in Ireland, so La Trobe
was now in England. He was far above most preachers of his day. "He
enraptured his audience," says an old account, "by his resistless
eloquence. His language flowed like rippling streams, and his ideas
sparkled like diamonds. His taste was perfect, and his
illustrations were dazzling; and when he painted the blackness of
the human heart, when he depicted the matchless grace of Christ,
when he described the beauty of holiness, he spoke with an energy,
with a passion, with a dignified sweep of majestic power which
probed the heart, and pricked the conscience, and charmed the
troubled breast." It was he of whom it is so quaintly recorded in a
congregation diary: "Br. La Trobe spoke much on many things."

For twenty-one years this brilliant preacher was the chief manager
of the Brethren's work in England; and yet, though he was not a
German himself, his influence was entirely German in character
{1765-86.}. He was manager of the Brethren's English finances; he
was appointed to his office by the German U.E.C.; and thus, along
with James Hutton as Secretary, he acted as official representative
of the Directing Board in England.

In many ways his influence was all for good. He helped to restore
to vigorous life the "Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel"
(1768) remained its President till his death, and did much to
further its work in Labrador. He was a diligent writer and
translator. He wrote a "Succinct View of the Missions" of the
Brethren (1771), and thus brought the subject of foreign missions
before the Christian public; and in order to let inquirers know what
sort of people the Moravians really were, he translated and
published Spangenberg's "Idea of Faith," Spangenberg's "Concise
Account of the Present Constitution of the Unitas Fratrum," and
David Cranz's "History of the Brethren." The result was good. The
more people read these works by La Trobe, the more they respected
the Brethren. "In a variety of publications," said the London
Chronicle, "he removed every aspersion against the Brethren, and
firmly established their reputation." He was well known in higher
circles, was the friend of Dr. Johnson, and worked in union with
such well-known Evangelical leaders as Rowland Hill, William
Romaine, John Newton, Charles Wesley, Hannah More, Howell Harris,
and Bishop Porteous, the famous advocate of negro emancipation.
Above all, he cleansed the Brethren's reputation from the last
stains of the mud thrown by such men as Rimius and Frey. He was a
friend of the Bishop of Chester; he was a popular preacher in
Dissenting and Wesleyan Chapels; he addressed Howell Harris's
students at Trevecca; he explained the Brethren's doctrines and
customs to Lord Hillsborough, the First Commissioner of the Board of
Trade and Plantations; and thus by his pen, by his wisdom and by his
eloquence, he caused the Brethren to be honoured both by Anglicans
and by Dissenters. At this period James Hutton--now a deaf old
man--was a favourite at the Court of George III. No longer were the
Brethren denounced as immoral fanatics; no longer did John Wesley
feel it his duty to expose their errors. As John Wesley grew older
and wiser, he began to think more kindly of the Brethren. He
renewed his friendship with James Hutton, whom he had not seen for
twenty-five years (Dec. 21, 1771); he visited Bishop John Gambold in
London, and recorded the event in his Journal with the
characteristic remark, "Who but Count Zinzendorf could have
separated such friends as we are?" He called, along with his
brother Charles, on John de Watteville at Lindsey House; and, above
all, when Lord Lyttleton, in his book "Dialogues of the Dead,"
attacked the character of the Brethren, John Wesley himself spoke
out nobly in their defence. "Could his lordship," he wrote in his
Journal (August 30th, 1770), "show me in England many more sensible
men than Mr. Gambold and Mr. Okeley? And yet both of these were
called Moravians...What sensible Moravian, Methodist or
Hutchinsonian did he ever calmly converse with? What does he know
of them but from the caricatures drawn by Bishop Lavington or Bishop
Warburton? And did he ever give himself the trouble of reading the
answers to these warm, lively men? Why should a good-natured and a
thinking man thus condemn whole bodies by the lump?" But the
pleasantest proof of Wesley's good feeling was still to come. At
the age of eighty he went over to Holland, visited the Brethren's
beautiful settlement at Zeist, met there his old friend, Bishop
Anthony Seifferth, and asked to hear some Moravian music and
singing. The day was Wesley's birthday. As it happened, however,
to be "Children's Prayer-Day" as well, the minister, being busy with
many meetings, was not able to ask Wesley to dinner; and, therefore,
he invited him instead to come to the children's love-feast. John
Wesley went to the chapel, took part in the love-feast, and heard
the little children sing a "Birth-Day Ode" in his honour {June 28th,
1783.}. The old feud between Moravians and Methodists was over. It
ended in the children's song.145

One instance will show La Trobe's reputation in England {1777.}. At
that time there lived in London a famous preacher, Dr. Dodd; and
now, to the horror of all pious people, Dr. Dodd was accused and
convicted of embezzlement, and condemned to death. Never was London
more excited. A petition with twenty-three thousand signatures was
sent up in Dodd's behalf. Frantic plots were made to rescue the
criminal from prison. But Dodd, in his trouble, was in need of
spiritual aid; and the two men for whom he sent were John Wesley and
La Trobe. By Wesley he was visited thrice; by La Trobe, at his own
request, repeatedly; and La Trobe was the one who brought comfort to
his soul, stayed with him till the end, and afterwards wrote an
official account of his death.

And yet, on the other hand, the policy now pursued by La Trobe was
the very worst policy possible for the Moravians in England. For
that policy, however, we must lay the blame, not on the man, but on
the system under which he worked. As long as the Brethren's Church
in England was under the control of the U.E.C., it followed, as a
matter of course, that German ideas would be enforced on British
soil; and already, at the second General Synod, the Brethren had
resolved that the British work must be conducted on German lines.
Never did the Brethren make a greater blunder in tactics. In
Germany the system had a measure of success, and has flourished till
the present day; in England it was doomed to failure at the outset.
La Trobe gave the system a beautiful name. He called it the system
of "United Flocks." On paper it was lovely to behold; in practice
it was the direct road to consumption. In name it was English
enough; in nature it was Zinzendorf's Diaspora. At no period had
the Brethren a grander opportunity of extending their borders in
England than during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. In
Yorkshire, with Fulneck as a centre, they had four flourishing
congregations, societies in Bradford and Leeds, and preaching places
as far away as Doncaster and Kirby Lonsdale, in Westmoreland. In
Lancashire, with Fairfield as a centre, they were opening work in
Manchester and Chowbent. In Cheshire, with Dukinfield as a centre,
they had a number of societies on the "Cheshire Plan," including a
rising cause at Bullock-Smithy, near Stockport. In the Midlands,
with Ockbrook as a centre, they had preaching places in a dozen
surrounding villages. In Bedfordshire, with Bedford as a centre,
they had societies at Riseley, Northampton, Eydon, Culworth and
other places. In Wales, with Haverfordwest as a centre, they had
societies at Laughharne, Fishguard, Carmarthen and Carnarvon. In
Scotland, with Ayre146 as a centre, they had societies at Irvine and
Tarbolton, and preaching-places at Annan, Blackhall, Dumfries,
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kilsyth, Kilmarnock, Ladyburn, Prestwick,
Westtown, and twenty smaller places. In the West of England, with
Bristol and Tytherton as centres, they had preaching-places at
Apperley, in Gloucestershire; Fome and Bideford, in Somerset;
Plymouth and Exeter, in Devon; and many villages in Wiitshire. In
the North of Ireland, with Gracehill as a centre, they had
preaching-places at Drumargan, Billies, Arva (Cavan), and many other

For the Brethren, therefore, the critical question was, what to do
with the societies and preaching-places? There lay the secret of
success or failure; and there they committed their great strategic
blunder. They had two alternatives before them. The one was to
treat each society or preaching-place as the nucleus of a future
congregation; the other was to keep it as a mere society. And the
Brethren, in obedience to orders from Germany, chose the latter
course. At the Moravian congregations proper the strictest rules
were enforced; in most congregations there were Brethren's and
Sisters' Houses; and all full members of the Moravian Church had to
sign a document known as the "Brotherly Agreement." {1771.} In that
document the Brethren gave some remarkable pledges. They swore
fidelity to the Augsburg Confession. They promised to do all in
their power to help the Anglican Church, and to encourage all her
members to be loyal to her. They declared that they would never
proselytize from any other denomination. They promised that no
marriage should take place without the consent of the Elders; that
all children must be educated in one of the Brethren's schools; that
they would help to support the widows, old people and orphans; that
no member should set up in business without the consent of the
Elders; that they would never read any books of a harmful nature.
At each congregation these rules--and others too many to mention
here--were read in public once a year; each member had a printed
copy, and any member who broke the "Agreement" was liable to be
expelled. Thus the English Brethren signed their names to an
"Agreement" made in Germany, and expressing German ideals of
religious life. If it never became very popular, we need not
wonder. But this "Agreement" was not binding on the societies and
preaching-places. As the Brethren in Germany founded societies
without turning them into settlements, so the Brethren in England
conducted preaching-places without turning them into congregations
and without asking their hearers to become members of the Moravian
Church; and a strict rule was laid down that only such hearers as
had a "distinct call to the Brethren's Church" should be allowed to
join it. The distinct call came through the Lot. At nearly all the
societies and preaching-places, therefore, the bulk of the members
were flatly refused admission to the Moravian Church; they remained,
for the most part, members of the Church of England; and once a
quarter, with a Moravian minister at their head, they marched in
procession to the Communion in the parish church. For unselfishness
this policy was unmatched; but it nearly ruined the Moravian Church
in England. At three places--Woodford,147 Baildon and
Devonport--the Brethren turned societies into congregations; but
most of the others were sooner or later abandoned. In Yorkshire the
Brethren closed their chapel at Pudsey, and abandoned their
societies at Holbeck, Halifax, Wibsey and Doncaster. At Manchester
they gave up their chapel in Fetter Lane. In Cheshire they retreated
from Bullock Smithy; in the Midlands from Northampton; in London
from Chelsea; in Somerset from Bideford and Frome; in Devon from
Exeter and Plymouth; in Gloucestershire from Apperley; in Scotland
from Irvine, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dumfries and thirty or forty other
places;148 in Wales from Fishguard, Laugharn, Carmarthen and
Carnarvon; in Ireland from Arva, Billies, Drumargan, Ballymena,
Gloonen, Antrim, Dromore, Crosshill, Artrea, Armagh, and so on. And
the net result of this policy was that when Bishop Holmes, the
Brethren's Historian, published his "History of the Brethren"
(1825), he had to record the distressing fact that in England the
Moravians had only twenty congregations, in Ireland only six, and
that the total number of members was only four thousand eight
hundred and sixty-seven. The question is sometimes asked to-day:
How is it that the Moravian Church is so small? For that smallness
more reasons than one may be given; but one reason was certainly the
singular policy expounded in the present chapter.149



But our problem is not yet solved. As soon as the nineteenth
century opened, the Brethren began to look forward with hope to the
future; and their leading preachers still believed in the divine and
holy calling of the Moravian Church. Of those preachers the most
famous was Christian Frederick Ramftler. He was a typical Moravian
minister. He was a type in his character, in his doctrine, and in
his fortunes. He came of an old Moravian family, and had martyr's
blood in his veins. He was born at the Moravian settlement at Barby
(1780). At the age of six he attended a Good Friday service, and
was deeply impressed by the words, "He bowed his head and gave up
the ghost"; and although he could never name the date of his
conversion, he was able to say that his religion was based on the
love of Christ and on the obligation to love Christ in return. At
the age of seven he was sent to the Moravian school at Kleinwelke;
he then entered the Pædagogium at Barby, and completed his education
by studying theology at Niesky. At that place he was so anxious to
preach the Gospel that, as he had no opportunity of preaching in the
congregation, he determined to preach to the neighbouring Wends;
and, as he knew not a word of their language, he borrowed one of
their minister's sermons, learned it by heart, ascended the pulpit,
and delivered the discourse with such telling energy that the
delighted people exclaimed: "Oh, that this young man might always
preach to us instead of our sleepy parson." For that freak he was
gravely rebuked by the U.E.C., and he behaved with more discretion
in the future. For two years he served the Church as a
schoolmaster, first at Neusalz-on-the-Oder, and then at Uhyst; and
then, to his surprise, he received a call to England. For the
moment he was staggered. He consulted the Lot; the Lot gave
consent; and, therefore, to England he came. For six years he now
served as master in the Brethren's boarding-school at Fairfield; and
then, in due course, he was called as minister to the Brethren's
congregation at Bedford. As soon, however, as he accepted the call,
he was informed that he would have to marry; his wife was found for
him by the Church; the marriage turned out a happy one; and thus,
with her as an official helpmate, he commenced his ministerial
career (1810). At Bedford he joined with other ministers--such as
Legh Richmond and S. Hillyard--in founding Bible associations. At
Fulneck--where he was stationed twelve years--he was so beloved by
his congregation that one member actually said: "During seven years
your name has not once been omitted in our family prayers." At
Bristol he was noted for his missionary zeal, took an interest in
the conversion of the Jews, and often spoke at public meetings on
behalf of the Church Missionary Society; and in one year he
travelled a thousand miles on behalf of the "London Association in
aid of Moravian Missions." In manner he was rough and abrupt; at
heart he was gentle as a woman. He was a strict disciplinarian, a
keen questioner, and an unflinching demander of a Christian walk.
Not one jot or tittle would he allow his people to yield to the
loose ways of the world. In his sermons he dealt hard blows at
cant; and in his private conversation he generally managed to put
his finger upon the sore spot. One day a collier came to see him,
and complained, in a rather whining tone, that the path of his life
was dark.

"H'm," growled Ramftler, who hated sniffling, "is it darker than it
was in the coal-pit?"

The words proved the collier's salvation.

In all his habits Ramftler was strictly methodical. He always rose
before six; he always finished his writing by eleven; and he kept a
list of the texts from which he preached. As that list has been
preserved, we are able to form some notion of his style; and the
chief point to notice is that his preaching was almost entirely from
the New Testament. At times, of course, he gave his people
systematic lectures on the Patriarchs, the Prophets and the Psalms;
but, speaking, broadly, his favourite topic was the Passion History.
Above all, like most Moravian ministers, he was an adept in dealing
with children. At the close of the Sunday morning service, he came
down from the pulpit, took his seat at the Communion table, put the
children through their catechism, and then asked all who wished to
be Christians to come and take his hand.

At length, towards the close of his life, he was able to take some
part in pioneer work. Among his numerous friends at Bristol was a
certain Louis West.

"Have you never thought," said Ramftler, "of becoming a preacher of
the Gospel?"

"I believe," replied West, "I shall die a Moravian minister yet."

"Die as a minister!" snapped Ramftler. "You ought to live as one!"

The words soon came true. In response to an invitation from some
pious people, Ramftler paid a visit to Brockweir, a little village
on the Wye, a few miles above Tintern. The village was a hell on
earth. It was without a church, and possessed seven public-houses.
There was a field of labour for the Brethren. As soon as Ramftler
could collect the money, he had a small church erected, laid the
corner-stone himself, and had the pleasure of seeing West the first
minister of the new congregation.

And like Ramftler was many another of kindred blood. At Wyke, John
Steinhauer (1773-76), the children's friend, had a printing press,
wherewith he printed hymns and passages of Scripture in days when
children's books were almost unknown. At Fulneck the famous
teacher, Job Bradley, served for forty-five years (1765-1810),
devoted his life to the spiritual good of boys, and summed up the
passion of his life in the words he was often heard to sing:--

Saviour, Saviour, love the children;
Children, children, love the Saviour.

At Kimbolton, Bishop John King Martyn founded a new congregation.
At Kilwarlin, Basil Patras Zula revived a flagging cause. If the
Moravian Church was small in England, it was not because her
ministers were idle, or because they were lacking in moral and
spiritual power.

And yet, fine characters though they were, these men could do little
for Church extension. They were still tied down by the "Brotherly
Agreement." They aimed at quality rather than quantity. As long as
the Brethren's work in England remained under German management,
that "Brotherly Agreement" remained their charter of faith and
practice. For power and place they had not the slightest desire.
At their public service on Sunday mornings they systematically
joined in the prayer, "From the unhappy desire of becoming great,
preserve us, gracious Lord and God." As long as they were true to
the Agreement and the Bible, they do not appear to have cared very
much whether they increased in numbers or not. For them the only
thing that mattered was the cultivation of personal holiness. As
the preaching-places fell away they devoted their attention more and
more to the care of the individual. They had a deep reverence for
the authority of Scripture. No man could be a member of the
Moravian Church unless he promised to read his Bible and hold
regular family worship. "The Bible," ran one clause of the
Agreement, "shall be our constant study; we will read it daily in
our families, with prayer for the influence of the Holy Spirit of
God." If that duty was broken, the member was liable to expulsion.
And the same held good with the other clauses of the "Agreement."
We often read in the congregation diaries of members being struck
off the rolls for various sins. For cursing, for lying, for
slandering, for evil-speaking, for fraud, for deceit, for
drunkenness, for sabbath breaking, for gambling or any other
immorality--for all these offences the member, if he persisted in
his sin, was summarily expelled. In some of their ideals the
Brethren were like the Puritans; in others like the Quakers. They
were modest in dress, never played cards, and condemned theatres and
dancing as worldly follies. As they still entertained a horror of
war, they preferred not to serve as soldiers; and any Moravian could
obtain a certificate from the magistrates exempting him from
personal military service.150 At the same time, they were loyal to
Church and State, had a great love for the Church of England,
regarded that Church as the bulwark of Protestantism, detested
Popery, and sometimes spoke of the Pope as the Man of Sin. And yet,
sturdy Protestants though they were, they had a horror of religious
strife. "We will abstain from religious controversy," was another
clause in the Agreement; and, therefore, they never took any part in
the religious squabbles of the age. For example, the Brethren took
no part in the fight for Catholic emancipation. As they did not
regard themselves as Dissenters, they declined to join the rising
movement for the separation of Church and State; and yet, on the
other hand, they lived on good terms with all Evangelical
Christians, and willingly exchanged pulpits with Methodists and
Dissenters. At this period their chief doctrine was redemption
through the blood of Christ. I have noticed, in reading the memoirs
of the time, that although the authors differed in character, they
were all alike in their spiritual experiences. They all spoke of
themselves as "poor sinners"; they all condemned their own
self-righteousness; and they all traced what virtues they possessed
to the meritorious sufferings of the Redeemer. Thus the Brethren
stood for a Puritan standard, a Bible religion and a broad
Evangelical Faith. "Yon man," said Robert Burns's father in Ayr,
"prays to Christ as though he were God." But the best illustration
of the Brethren's attitude is the story of the poet himself. As
Robert and his brother Gilbert were on their way one Sunday morning
to the parish church at Tarbolton, they fell in with an old Moravian
named William Kirkland; and before long the poet and Kirkland began
discussing theology. Burns defended the New Lights, the Moravian
the Old Lights. At length Burns, finding his arguments of no avail,
exclaimed: "Oh, I suppose I've met with the Apostle Paul this

"No," retorted the Moravian Evangelical, "you have not met the
Apostle Paul; but I think I have met one of those wild beasts which
he says he fought with at Ephesus."

Meanwhile, the Brethren showed other signs of vigour. The first,
and one of the most influential, was their system of public school
education. At the General Synod in 1782 a resolution had been
passed that education should be a recognized branch of Church work;
and, therefore, following the example set in Germany, the English
Brethren now opened a number of public boarding-schools. In
1782-1785 they began to admit non-Moravians to the two schools
already established at Fulneck. In 1792 they opened girls' schools
at Dukinfield and Gomersal; in 1794 a girls' school at Wyke; in 1796
a girls' school at Fairfield; in 1798 a girls' school at Gracehill;
in 1799 a girls' school at Ockbrook; in 1801 a boys' school at
Fairfield, and a girls' school at Bedford; in 1805 a boys' school at
Gracehill; and, in 1813, a boys' school at Ockbrook. At these
schools the chief object of the Brethren was the formation of
Christian character. They were all established at settlements or at
flourishing congregations, and the pupils lived in the midst of
Moravian life. For some years the religion taught was unhealthy and
mawkish, and both boys and girls were far too strictly treated.
They were not allowed to play competitive games; they were under
the constant supervision of teachers; they had scarcely any exercise
but walks; and they were often rather encouraged in the notion that
it was desirable to die young. At one time the girls at Fulneck
complained that not one of their number had died for six months; and
one of the Fulneck records runs: "By occasion of the smallpox our
Saviour held a rich harvest among the children, many of whom
departed in a very blessed manner." As long as such morbid ideas as
these were taught, both boys and girls became rather maudlin
characters. The case of the boys at Fulneck illustrates the point.
They attended services every night in the week; they heard a great
deal of the physical sufferings of Christ; they were encouraged to
talk about their spiritual experiences; and yet they were often
found guilty of lying, of stealing, and of other more serious
offences. At first, too, a good many of the masters were unlearned
and ignorant men. They were drafted in from the Brethren's Houses;
they taught only the elementary subjects; they had narrow ideas of
life; and, instead of teaching the boys to be manly and fight their
own battles, they endeavoured rather to shield them from the world.
But as time went on this coddling system was modified. The
standard of education was raised; the masters were often learned men
preparing for the ministry; the laws against competitive games were
repealed; and the religious instruction became more sensible and
practical. If the parents desired it, their children, at a suitable
age, were prepared for confirmation, confirmed by the local Moravian
minister, and admitted to the Moravian Communion service. The
pupils came from all denominations. Sometimes even Catholics sent
their children, and allowed them to receive religious
instruction.151 But no attempt was ever made to make proselytes.
For many years these schools enjoyed a high reputation as centres
of high-class education and of strict moral discipline. At all
these schools the Brethren made much of music; and the music was all
of a solemn devotional character.

"The music taught," said Christian Ignatuis La Trobe, "is both vocal
and instrumental; the former is, however, confined to sacred
compositions, congregational, choral, and orchestral, the great
object being to turn this divine art to the best account for the
service and edification of the Church." At that time (about 1768)
the dormitory of Fulneck Boys' School was over the chapel; and La
Trobe tells us how he would keep himself awake at night to hear the
congregation sing one of the Liturgies to the Father, Son and
Spirit.152 Thus the Brethren, true to their old ideal, endeavoured
to teach the Christian religion without adding to the numbers of the
Moravian Church. It is hardly possible to over-estimate the
influence of these schools. In Ireland the schools at Gracehill
were famous. The pupils came from the highest ranks of society. At
one time it used to be said that the mere fact that a boy or girl
had been educated at Gracehill was a passport to the best society.
In Yorkshire the Brethren were educational pioneers. The most
famous pupil of the Brethren was Richard Oastler. At the age of
eight (1797) that great reformer--the Factory King--was sent by his
parents to Fulneck School; and years later, in an address to the
boys, he reminded them how great their privileges were. "Ah, boys,"
he said, "let me exhort you to value your privileges. I know that
the privileges of a Fulneck schoolboy are rare."

But the greatest influence exercised by the Brethren was in the
cause of foreign missions. For that blessing we may partly thank
Napoleon Buonaparte. As that eminent philanthropist scoured the
continent of Europe, he had no intention of aiding the missionary
cause; but one result of his exploits was that when Christian people
in England heard how grievously the German Brethren had suffered at
his hands their hearts were filled with sympathy and the desire to
help. At Edinburgh a number of gentlemen founded the "Edinburgh
Association in Aid of Moravian Missions"; at Glasgow others founded
the "Glasgow Auxiliary Society"; at Bristol and London some ladies
formed the "Ladies' Association" (1813); in Yorkshire the Brethren
themselves formed the "Yorkshire Society for the Spread of the
Gospel among the Heathen" (1827); at Sheffield James Montgomery, the
Moravian poet, appealed to the public through his paper, the Iris;
and the result was that in one year subscriptions to Moravian
Missions came in from the Church Missionary Society, and from other
missionary and Bible societies. In Scotland money was collected
annually at Edinburgh, Elgin, Dumfries, Horndean, Haddington,
Kincardine, Perth, Falkirk, Jedwater, Calton, Bridgetown, Denny,
Greenock, Stirling, Paisley, Anstruther, Inverkeithing, Aberdeen,
Lochwinnoch, Leith, Tranent, St. Ninian's, Brechin, Montrose; in
England at Bath, Bristol, Birmingham, Henley, Berwick, St. Neots,
Bedford, Northampton, Colchester, York, Cambridge; in Ireland at
Ballymena, Belfast, Carrickfergus, Lurgan, Cookstown, Dublin. As
the interest of Englishmen in Foreign Missions was still in its
infancy, a long list like this is remarkable. But the greatest
proof of the rising interest in missions was the foundation of the
"London Association in Aid of Moravian Missions" (1817). It was not
a Moravian Society. The founders were mostly Churchmen; but the
basis was undenominational, and membership was open to all who were
willing to subscribe. At first the amount raised by the Association
was a little over £1,000 a year; but as time went on the annual
income increased, and in recent years it has sometimes amounted to
£17,000. It is hard to mention a nobler instance of broad-minded
charity. For some years the secretary of this Association has
generally been an Anglican clergyman; he pleads for Moravian
Missions in parish churches; the annual sermon is preached in St.
Paul's Cathedral; and thus the Brethren are indebted to Anglican
friends for many thousands of pounds. Another proof of interest in
Moravian Missions was the publication of books on the subject by
non-Moravian writers. At Edinburgh an anonymous writer published
"The Moravians in Greenland" (1830) and "The Moravians in Labrador"
(1833). Thus the Brethren had quickened missionary enthusiasm in
every part of the United Kingdom.

At home, meanwhile, the Brethren moved more slowly. As they did not
wish to interfere with the Church of England, they purposely
confined their forward movement almost entirely to villages and
neglected country districts. In 1806 they built a chapel in the
little village of Priors Marston, near Woodford; in 1808 they
founded the congregation at Baildon, Yorkshire; in 1818 they began
holding services at Stow, near Bedford; in 1823 they founded the
congregation at Kimbolton; in 1827 they founded the congregation at
Pertenhall; in 1833 at Brockweir-on-the-Wye; in 1834 they started a
cause at Stratford-on-Avon, but abandoned it in 1839; in 1836 at
Salem, Oldham. In 1829 they founded the Society for Propagating the
Gospel in Ireland; in 1839 they began holding services at Tillbrook,
near Bedford; and in 1839 they endeavoured, though in vain, to
establish a new congregation at Horton, Bradford. In comparison
with the number of societies abandoned, the number of new
congregations was infinitesimal. The same tale is told by their
statistical returns. In 1824 they had 2,596 communicant members; in
1834, 2,698; in 1850, 2,838; and, in 1857, 2,978; and thus we have
the startling fact that, in spite of their efforts at church
extension, they had not gained four hundred members in thirty-three
years. For this slowness, however, the reasons were purely
mechanical; and all the obstacles sprang from the Brethren's
connection with Germany.

First, we have the persistent use of the Lot. For some years the
English Brethren adhered to the custom of enforcing its use in
marriages; and even when it was abolished in marriages they still
used it in applications for membership. No man could be a member of
the Moravian Church without the consent of the Lot; and this rule
was still enforced at the Provincial Synod held at Fairfield in
1847. Sometimes this rule worked out in a curious way. A man and
his wife applied for admission to the Church; the case of each was
put separately to the Lot; the one was accepted, the other was
rejected; and both were disgusted and pained.

Another barrier to progress was the system of ministerial education.
For a few years (1809-27) there existed at Fulneck a high-class
Theological Seminary; but it speedily sickened and died; and
henceforward all candidates for the ministry who desired a good
education were compelled to go to Germany. Thus the Brethren now
had two classes of ministers. If the candidate was not able to go
to Germany, he received but a poor education; and if, on the other
hand, he went to Germany, he stayed there so long--first as a
student, and then as a master--that when he returned to England, he
was full of German ideas of authority, and often spoke with a German
accent. And thus Englishmen naturally obtained the impression that
the Church was not only German in origin, but meant chiefly for

Another cruel barrier was the poverty of the ministers. They were
overworked and underpaid. They had generally five or six services
to hold every Sunday; they had several meetings during the week;
they were expected to interview every member at least once in two
months; they were entirely without lay assistants; their wives held
official positions, and were expected to share in the work; and yet,
despite his manifold duties, there was scarcely a minister in the
Province whose salary was enough to enable him to make ends meet.
At one time the salary of the minister in London was only £50 a
year; at Fulneck it was only 8s. a week; in other places it was
about the same. There was no proper sustentation fund; and the
result was that nearly all the ministers had to add to their incomes
in other ways. In most cases they kept little schools for the sons
and daughters of gentry in the country districts; but as they were
teaching five days a week, they could not possibly pay proper
attention to their ministerial duties. If the minister had been a
single man, he might easily have risen above his troubles; but as he
was compelled by church law to marry, his case was often a hard one;
and at the Provincial Synod held at Fulneck, the Brethren openly
confessed the fact that one of the chief hindrances to progress was
lack of time on the part of the ministers {1835.}.

Another barrier was the absolute power of officials and the limited
power of the laity. No Church can expect to make much progress
unless its institutions are in tune with the institutions of the
country. For good or for evil, England was growing democratic; and,
therefore, the Moravian Church should have been democratic too. But
in those days the Moravian Church was the reverse of democratic. In
theory each congregation had the power to elect its own committee;
in fact, no election was valid unless ratified by the Lot. In theory
each congregation had the power to send a deputy to the Provincial
Synod; in fact, only a few ever used the privilege. At the first
Provincial Synod of the nineteenth century (1824), only four
deputies were present; at the second (1835), only seven; at the
third (1847), only nine; at the fourth (1853), only twelve; at the
fifth (1856), only sixteen; and thus, when the deputies did appear,
they could always be easily outvoted by the ministers.

Another hindrance was the Brethren's peculiar conception of their
duty to their fellow-men in this country. In spite of their
enthusiasm for Foreign Missions, they had little enthusiasm for Home
Missions; and clinging still to the old Pietist notion of a "Church
within the Church," they had not yet opened their eyes to the fact
that godless Englishmen were quite as plentiful as godless Red
Indians or Hottentots. For proof let us turn to the "Pastoral
Letter" drawn up by commission of the Synod at Fulneck {1835.}. At
that Synod, the Brethren prepared a revised edition of the
"Brotherly Agreement"; and then, to enforce the principles of the
"Agreement," they commissioned the P.E.C.153 to address the whole
Church in a "Pastoral Letter." But neither in the Agreement nor in
the Letter did the Brethren recommend Home Mission work. They urged
their flocks to hold prayer meetings, to distribute tracts, to visit
the sick, to invite outsiders to the House of God; they warned them
against the corruption of business life; and they even besought them
not to meddle in politics or to wear party colours. In Ireland they
were not to join Orange Lodges; and in England they were not to join
trade unions. Thus the Brethren distinctly recommended their people
not to take too prominent a part in the social and political life of
the nation.

Again, twelve years later, at the next Synod, held at Fairfield
{1847.}, the Brethren issued another "Pastoral Letter." In this
letter the members of the P.E.C. complained that some were denying
the doctrine of eternal punishment, that the parents were neglecting
the religious education of their children, that the Bible was not
systematically read, that the "speaking" before the Holy Communion
was neglected, that the old custom of shaking hands at the close of
the Sacrament was dying out, that the members' contributions were
not regularly paid, and that private prayer meetings were not held
as of old; and, therefore, the Brethren pleaded earnestly for the
revival of all these good customs. And yet, even at this late
stage, there was no definite reference in the "Letter" to Home
Mission Work.

Another cause of paralysis was the lack of periodical literature.
We come here to an astounding fact. For one hundred and eight
years (1742-1850), the Moravians struggled on in England without
either an official or an unofficial Church magazine; and the only
periodical literature they possessed was the quarterly missionary
report, "Periodical Accounts." Thus the Church members had no means
of airing their opinions. If a member conceived some scheme of
reform, and wished to expound it in public, he had to wait till the
next Provincial Synod; and as only five Synods were held in fifty
years, his opportunity did not come very often. Further, the
Brethren were bound by a rule that no member should publish a book
or pamphlet dealing with Church affairs without the consent of the
U.E.C. or of a Synod.

At length, however, this muzzling order was repealed; and the first
Briton to speak his mind in print was an Irishman, John Carey. For
some time this man, after first reviving a dying cause at Cootehill,
in Co. Cavan, had been making vain endeavours to arouse the Irish
Moravians to a sense of their duty {1850.}; but all he had received
in return was official rebukes. He had tried to start a new cause
in Belfast; he had gathered together a hundred and fifty hearers; he
had rented a hall for worship in King Street; and then the Irish
Elders' Conference, in solemn assembly at Gracehill, strangled the
movement at its birth. Instead of encouraging and helping Carey,
they informed him that his work was irregular, forbade him to form a
Society, and even issued a notice in the Guardian disowning his
meetings. But Carey was not to be disheartened; and now, at his own
risk, he issued his monthly magazine, The Fraternal Messenger. The
magazine was a racy production. As John Carey held no official
position, he was able to aim his bullets wherever he pleased; and,
glowing with patriotic zeal, he first gave a concise epitome of the
"History of the Brethren," and then dealt with burning problems of
the day. If the magazine did nothing else, it at least caused men
to think. Among the contributors was Bishop Alexander Hassé. He
had visited certain places in Ireland--Arva, Billies, and
Drumargan--where once the Brethren had been strong; he gave an
account of these visits; and thus those who read the magazine could
not fail to see what glorious opportunities had been thrown away in
the past.

At the next Synod, held in Fulneck, all present could see that a new
influence was at work {1853.}. For the first time the Brethren
deliberately resolved that, in their efforts for the Kingdom of God,
they should "aim at the enlargement of the Brethren's Church." They
sanctioned the employment of lay preachers; they established the
Moravian Magazine, edited by John England; and they even encouraged
a modest attempt to rekindle the dying embers at such places as Arva
and Drumargan.

At the next Synod, held again at Fulneck, the Brethren showed a
still clearer conception of their duties {1856.}. The Synodal
sermon was preached by William Edwards. He was a member of the
Directing Board, and must have spoken with a sense of
responsibility; and in that sermon he deliberately declared that,
instead of following the German plan of concentrating their energy
on settlements, the Brethren ought to pay more attention to town and
country congregations. "It is here," he said, "that we lie most open
to the charge of omitting opportunities of usefulness." And the
members of the Synod were equally emphatic. They made arrangements
for a Training Institution; they rejected the principle, which had
ruled so long, of a "Church within the Church"; and, thirdly,--most
important point of all--they resolved that a society be formed,
called the Moravian Home Mission, and that the object of that
society should be, not only to evangelize in dark and neglected
districts, but also to establish, wherever possible, Moravian
congregations. The chief leader in this new movement was Charles E.
Sutcliffe. He had pleaded the cause of Home Missions for years; and
now he was made the general secretary of the new Home Mission

In one way, however, the conduct of the Brethren was surprising. As
we have now arrived at that point in our story when the Moravian
Church, no longer under the rule of the U.E.C., was to be divided
into three independent provinces, it is natural to ask what part the
British Moravians played in this Home Rule movement; what part they
played, i.e., in the agitation that each Province should have its
own property, hold its own Provincial Synods, and manage its own
local affairs. They played a very modest part, indeed! At this
Synod they passed three resolutions: first, that the British P.E.C.
should be empowered to summon a Provincial Synod with the consent of
the U.E.C.; second, that the Synod should be empowered to elect its
own P.E.C.; and third, that "any measure affecting our own province,
carried by a satisfactory majority, shall at once pass into law for
the province, with the sanction of the Unity's Elders' Conference,
without waiting for a General Synod." But in other respects the
British Moravians were in favour of the old constitution. They were
not the true leaders of the Home Rule movement. They made no demand
for a separation of property; they were still willing to bow to the
authority of the German Directing Board; they still declared their
belief in the use of the Lot in appointments to office; and the
agitation in favour of Home Rule came, not from Great Britain, but
from North America. To North America, therefore, we must now turn
our attention.



For nearly a century the Moravians in America had felt as
uncomfortable as David in Saul's armour; and the armour in this
particular instance was made of certain iron rules forged at the
General Synods held in Germany. As soon as Spangenberg had left his
American friends, the work was placed, for the time being, under the
able management of Bishop Seidal, Bishop Hehl, and Frederick William
von Marschall; and then, in due course, the American Brethren were
informed that a General Synod had been held at Marienborn (1764),
that certain Church principles had there been laid down, and that
henceforward their duty, as loyal Moravians, was to obey the laws
enacted at the General Synods, and also to submit, without asking
questions, to the ruling of the German Directing Board. The
Americans meekly obeyed. The system of Government adopted was
peculiar. At all costs, said the Brethren in Germany, the unity of
the Moravian Church must be maintained; and, therefore, in order to
maintain that unity the Directing Board, from time to time, sent
high officials across the Atlantic on visitations to America. In
1765 they sent old David Nitschmann; in 1770 they sent Christian
Gregor, John Lorentz, and Alexander von Schweinitz; in 1779 they
sent Bishop John Frederick Reichel; in 1783 they sent Bishop John de
Watteville; in 1806 they sent John Verbeck and John Charles
Forester; and thus they respectfully reminded the American Brethren
that although they lived some thousands of miles away, they were
still under the fatherly eye of the German Directing Board. For
this policy the German Brethren had a noble reason. As the
resolutions passed at the General Synods were nearly always
confirmed by the Lot, they could not help feeling that those
resolutions had some Divine authority; and, therefore, what God
called good in Germany must be equally good in America. For this
reason they enforced the settlement system in America just as
strictly as in Germany. Instead of aiming at church extension they
centralized the work round the four settlements of Bethlehem,
Nazareth, Salem and Lititz. There, in the settlements, they
enforced the Brotherly Agreement; there they insisted on the use of
the Lot; there they fostered diaconies, choirs, Brethren's Houses
and Sisters' Houses, and all the features of settlement life; and
there alone they endeavoured to cultivate the Moravian Quietist type
of gentle piety. Thus the Brethren in America were soon in a queer
position. As there was no State Church in America, and as,
therefore, no one could accuse them of being schismatics, they had
just as much right to push their cause as any other denomination;
and yet they were just as much restricted as if they had been
dangerous heretics. Around them lay an open country, with a fair
field and no favour; within their bosoms glowed a fine missionary
zeal; and behind them, far away at Herrnhut, sat the Directing
Board, with their hands upon the curbing rein.

If this system of government favoured unity, it also prevented
growth. It was opposed to American principles, and out of place on
American soil. What those American principles were we all know. At
that famous period in American history, when the War of Independence
broke out, and the Declaration of Independence was framed, nearly
all the people were resolute champions of democratic government.
They had revolted against the rule of King George III.; they stood
for the principle, "no taxation without representation"; they
erected democratic institutions in every State and County; they
believed in the rights of free speech and free assembly; and,
therefore, being democratic in politics, they naturally wished to be
democratic in religion. But the Moravians were on the horns of a
dilemma. As they were not supposed to meddle with politics, they
did not at first take definite sides in the war. They objected to
bearing arms; they objected to taking oaths; and, therefore, of
course, they objected also to swearing allegiance to the Test Act
(1777). But this attitude could not last for ever. As the war
continued, the American Moravians became genuine patriotic American
citizens. For some months the General Hospital of the American Army
was stationed at Bethlehem; at another time it was stationed at
Lititz; and some of the young Brethren joined the American Army, and
fought under General Washington's banner for the cause of
Independence. For this natural conduct they were, of course,
rebuked; and in some cases they were even expelled from the Church.

At this point, when national excitement was at its height, Bishop
Reichel arrived upon the scene from Germany, and soon instructed the
American Brethren how to manage their affairs {1779.}. He acted in
opposition to American ideals. Instead of summoning a Conference of
ministers and deputies, he summoned a Conference consisting of
ministers only; the American laymen had no chance of expressing
their opinions; and, therefore, acting under Reichel's influence,
the Conference passed the astounding resolution that "in no sense
shall the societies of awakened, affiliated as the fruit of the
former extensive itinerations, be regarded as preparatory to the
organisation of congregations, and that membership in these
societies does not at all carry with it communicant membership or
preparation for it." There lay the cause of the Brethren's failure
in America. In spite of its rather stilted language, we can easily
see in that sentence the form of an old familiar friend. It is
really our German friend the Diaspora, and our English friend the
system of United Flocks. For the next sixty-four years that one
sentence in italics was as great a barrier to progress in America as
the system of United Flocks in England. As long as that resolution
remained in force, the American Moravians had no fair chance of
extending; and all the congregations except the four settlements
were treated, not as hopeful centres of work, but as mere societies
and preaching-places. Thus again, precisely as in Great Britain,
did the Brethren clip their own wings; thus again did they sternly
refuse admission to hundreds of applicants for Church membership. A
few figures will make this clear. At Graceham the Brethren had 90
adherents, but only 60 members {1790.}; at Lancaster 258 adherents,
but only 72 members; at Philadelphia 138 adherents, but only 38
members; at Oldmanscreek 131 adherents, but only 37 members; at
Staten Island 100 adherents, but only 20 members; at Gnadenhütten 41
adherents, but only 31 members; at Emmaus 93 adherents, but only 51
members; at Schoeneck 78 adherents, but only 66 members; at Hebron
72 adherents, but only 24 members; at York 117 adherents, but only
38 members; and at Bethel 87 adherents, but only 23 members. If
these figures are dry, they are at least instructive; and the grand
point they prove is that the American Moravians, still dazzled by
Zinzendorf's "Church within the Church" idea, compelled hundreds who
longed to join their ranks as members to remain outside the Church.
In Germany this policy succeeded; in England, where a State Church
existed, it may have been excusable; but in America, where a State
Church was unknown, it was senseless and suicidal.

And yet the American Moravians did not live entirely in vain. Amid
the fury of American politics, they cultivated the three Moravian
fruits of piety, education and missionary zeal. At Bethlehem they
opened a Girls' School; and so popular did that school become that
one of the directors, Jacob Van Vleck, had to issue a circular,
stating that during the next eighteen months no more applications
from parents could be received. It was one of the finest
institutions in North America; and among the thousands of scholars
we find relatives of such famous American leaders as Washington,
Addison, Sumpter, Bayard, Livingstone and Roosevelt. At Nazareth
the Brethren had a school for boys, known as "Nazareth Hall." If
this school never served any other purpose, it certainly taught some
rising Americans the value of order and discipline. At meals the
boys had to sit in perfect silence; and when they wished to indicate
their wants, they did so, not by using their tongues, but by holding
up the hand or so many fingers. The school was divided into
"rooms"; each "room" contained only fifteen or eighteen pupils;
these pupils were under the constant supervision of a master; and
this master, who was generally a theological scholar, was the
companion and spiritual adviser of his charges. He joined in all
their games, heard them sing their hymns, and was with them when
they swam in the "Deep Hole" in the Bushkill River on Wednesday and
Saturday afternoons, when they gathered nuts in the forests, and
when they sledged in winter in the surrounding country.

For foreign missions these American Brethren were equally
enthusiastic. They established a missionary society known as the
"Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Brethren" (1787); they
had that society enrolled as a corporate body; they were granted by
Congress a tract of 4,000 acres in the Tuscawaras Valley; and they
conducted a splendid mission to the Indians in Georgia, New York,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Canada,
Kansas and Arkansas.

But work of this kind was not enough to satisfy the American
Brethren. As the population increased around them they could not
help feeling that they ought to do more in their native land; and
the yoke of German authority galled them more and more. In their
case there was some excuse for rebellious feelings. If there is
anything a genuine American detests, it is being compelled to obey
laws which he himself has not helped to make; and that was the very
position of the American Brethren. In theory they were able to
attend the General Synods; in fact, very few could undertake so long
a journey. At one Synod (1782) not a single American Brother was
present; and yet the decisions of the Synod were of full force in

At length the Americans took the first step in the direction of Home
Rule. For forty-eight years their Provincial Synods had been
attended by ministers only; but now by special permission of the
U.E.C., they summoned a Provincial Synod at Lititz consisting of
ministers and deputies {1817.}. At this Synod they framed a number
of petitions to be laid before the next General Synod in Germany.
They requested that the monthly "speaking" should be abolished;
that Brethren should be allowed to serve in the army; that the
American Provincial Helpers' Conference should be allowed to make
appointments without consulting the German U.E.C.; that the
congregations should be allowed to elect their own committees
without using the Lot; that all adult communicant members should be
entitled to a vote; that the use of the Lot should be abolished in
marriages, in applications for membership, and in the election of
deputies to the General Synod; and, finally, that at least one
member of the U.E.C. should know something about American affairs.
Thus did the Americans clear the way for Church reform. In Germany
they were regarded as dangerous radicals. They were accused of an
unwholesome desire for change. They designed, it was said, to pull
down everything old and set up something new. At the General Synod
(1818) most of their requests were refused; and the only point they
gained was that the Lot need not be used in marriages in town and
country congregations. At the very time when the Americans were
growing more radical, the Germans, as we have seen already, were
growing more conservative.154

But the American Brethren were not disheartened. In addition to
being leaders in the cause of reform, they now became the leaders in
the Home Mission movement; and here they were twenty years before
their British Brethren. In 1835, in North Carolina, they founded a
"Home Missionary Society"; in 1844 they abolished the settlement
system; in 1849 they founded a general "Home Missionary Society"; in
1850 they founded a monthly magazine, the Moravian Church
Miscellany; in 1855 they founded their weekly paper the Moravian,
and placed all their Home Mission work under a general Home Mission
Board. Meanwhile, they had established new congregations at Colored
Church, in North Carolina (1822; Hope, in Indiana (1830); Hopedale,
in Pennsylvania (1837); Canal Dover, in Ohio (1840); West Salem, in
Illinois 1844; Enon, in Indiana (1846); West Salem for Germans, in
Edwards County (1848); Green Bay, in Wisconsin (1850); Mount
Bethell, in Caroll County (1851); New York (1851); Ebenezer, in
Wisconsin (1853); Brooklyn (1854); Utica, in Oneida County (1854);
Watertown, in Wisconsin (1854); and Lake Mills, in Wisconsin (1856).
At the very time when the British Moravians were forming their
first Home Mission Society, the Americans had founded fourteen new
congregations; and thus they had become the pioneers in every
Moravian onward movement.

But their greatest contribution to progress is still to be
mentioned. Of all the Provincial Synods held in America, the most
important was that which met at Bethlehem on May 2nd, 1855. As
their Home Mission work had extended so rapidly they now felt more
keenly than ever how absurd it was the American work should still be
managed by a Directing Board in Germany; and, therefore, they now
laid down the proposal that American affairs should be managed by an
American Board, elected by an American Provincial Synod {1855.}. In
other words, the Americans demanded independence in all American
affairs. They wished, in future, to manage their own concerns; they
wished to make their own regulations at their own Provincial Synods;
they established an independent "Sustentation Fund," and desired to
have their own property; and therefore they requested the U.E.C. to
summon a General Synod at the first convenient opportunity to
consider their resolutions. Thus, step by step, the American
Moravians prepared the way for great changes. If these changes are
to be regarded as reforms, the American Moravians must have the
chief praise and glory. They were the pioneers in the Home Mission
movement; they were the staunchest advocates of democratic
government; they had long been the stoutest opponents of the Lot;
and now they led the way in the movement which ended in the
separation of the Provinces. In England their demand for Home Rule
awakened a partial response; in Germany it excited anger and alarm;
and now Moravians all over the world were waiting with some anxiety
to see what verdict would be passed by the next General Synod.155



As soon as the American demands became known in Germany, the German
Brethren were much disturbed in their minds; they feared that if
these demands were granted the unity of the Moravian Church would be
destroyed; and next year they met in a German Provincial Synod,
condemned the American proposals as unsound, and pathetically
requested the American Brethren to reconsider their position
{1856.}. And now, to make the excitement still keener, an anonymous
writer, who called himself "Forscher" (Inquirer), issued a pamphlet
hotly attacking some of the time-honoured institutions of the
Church. He called his pamphlet, "Die Brüderkirche: Was ist
Wahrheit?" i.e., The Truth about the Brethren's Church, and in his
endeavour to tell the truth he penned some stinging words. He
asserted that far too much stress had been laid on the "Chief
Eldership of Christ"; he denounced the abuse of the Lot; he declared
that the Brethren's settlements were too exclusive; he criticized
Zinzendorf's "Church within the Church" idea; he condemned the old
"Diacony" system as an unholy alliance of the secular and the
sacred; and thus he described as sources of evil the very customs
which many Germans regarded as precious treasures. As this man was
really John Henry Buchner, he was, of course, a German in blood; but
Buchner was then a missionary in Jamaica, and thus his attack, like
the American demands, came from across the Atlantic. No wonder the
German Brethren were excited. No wonder they felt that a crisis in
the Church had arrived. For all loyal Moravians the question now
was whether the Moravian Church could stand the strain; and, in
order to preserve the true spirit of unity, some Brethren at
Gnadenfeld prepared and issued an "Appeal for United Prayer." "At
this very time," they declared, "when the Church is favoured with an
unusual degree of outward prosperity, the enemy of souls is striving
to deal a blow at our spiritual union by sowing among us the seeds
of discord and confusion"; and therefore they besought their
Brethren--German, English and American alike--to banish all feelings
of irritation, and to join in prayer every Wednesday evening for the
unity and prosperity of the Brethren's Church.

At length, June 8th, 1857, the General Synod met at Herrnhut
{1857.}. In his opening sermon Bishop John Nitschmann struck the
right note. He reminded his Brethren of the rock from which they
were hewn; he appealed to the testimony of history; and he asserted
that the testimony of history was that the Moravian Church had been
created, not by man, but by God. "A word," he said, "never uttered
before at a Brethren's Synod has lately been heard among us--the
word 'separation.' Separation among Brethren! The very sound sends
a pang to the heart of every true Brother!" With that appeal
ringing in their ears, the Brethren addressed themselves to their
difficult task; a committee was formed to examine the American
proposals; the spirit of love triumphed over the spirit of discord;
and finally, after much discussion, the new constitution was framed.

If the unity of the Church was to be maintained, there must, of
course, still be one supreme authority; and, therefore the Brethren
now decided that henceforward the General Synod should be the
supreme legislative, and the U.E.C. the supreme administrative,
body. But the constitution of the General Synod was changed. It
was partly an official and partly an elected body. On the one hand,
there were still a number of ex-officio members; on the other a
large majority of elected deputies. Thus the General Synod was now
composed of: (1) Ex-officio members: i.e., the twelve members of the
U.E.C.; all Bishops of the Church; one member of the English and one
of the American P.E.C.; the Secretarius Unitatis Fratrum in Anglia;
the administrators of the Church's estates in Pennsylvania and North
Carolina; the Director of the Warden's Department; the Director of
the Missions Department; the Unity's Librarian. (2) Elected members:
i.e., nine deputies from each of the three Provinces, elected by the
Synods of these Provinces. As these twenty-seven deputies could be
either ministers or laymen, it is clear that the democratic
principle was now given some encouragement; but, on the other hand,
the number of officials was still nearly as great as the number of
deputies. The functions of the General Synod were defined as
follows: (a) To determine the doctrines of the Church, i.e., to
decide all questions which may arise upon this subject. (b) To
decide as to all essential points of Liturgy. (c) To prescribe the
fundamental rules of order and discipline. (d) To determine what is
required for membership in the Church. (e) To nominate and appoint
Bishops. (f) To manage the Church's Foreign Missions and Educational
Work. (g) To inspect the Church's general finances. (h) To elect the
U.E.C. (i) To form and constitute General Synods, to fix the time
and place of their meetings, and establish the basis of their
representation. (j) To settle everything concerning the interests of
the Moravian Church as a whole.

As the U.E.C. were elected by the General Synod, it was natural that
they should still possess a large share of administrative power; and
therefore they were now authorized to manage all concerns of a
general nature, to represent the Church in her dealings with the
State, and with other religious bodies, and to see that the
principles and regulations established by the General Synod were
carried out in every department of Church work. For the sake of
efficiency the U.E.C. were divided into three boards, the
Educational, Financial, and Missionary; they managed, in this way,
the schools in Germany, the general finances, and the whole of the
foreign missions; and meanwhile, for legal reasons, they also acted
as P.E.C. for the German Province of the Church. Thus the first
part of the problem was solved, and the unity of the Moravian Church
was maintained.

The next task was to satisfy the American demand for Home Rule. For
this purpose the Brethren now resolved that each Province of the
Church should have its own property; that each Province should hold
its own Provincial Synod; and that each of the three Provincial
Synods should have power to make laws, provided these laws did not
conflict with the laws laid down by a General Synod. As the U.E.C.
superintended the work in Germany, there was no further need for a
new arrangement there; but in Great Britain and North America the
Provincial Synod in each case was empowered to elect its own P.E.C.,
and the P.E.C., when duly elected, managed the affairs of the
Province. They had the control of all provincial property. They
appointed ministers to their several posts; they summoned Provincial
Synods when they thought needful; and thus each Province possessed
Home Rule in all local affairs.

For the next twenty-two years this constitution--so skilfully
drawn--remained unimpaired. At best, however, it was only a
compromise; and in 1879 an alteration was made {1879.}. As Mission
work was the only work in which the whole Church took part as such,
it was decided that only the Mission Department of the U.E.C. should
be elected by the General Synod; the two other departments, the
Educational and Financial, were to be nominated by the German
Provincial Synod; and in order that the British and American
Provinces should have a court of appeal, a new board, called the
Unity Department, was created. It consisted of six members, i.e.,
the four members of the Missions Department, one from the
Educational Department, and one from the Finance Department. At the
same time the U.E.C., divided still into its three departments,
remained the supreme Board of Management.

But this arrangement was obviously doomed to failure {1890.}. In
the first place it was so complex that few could understand it, and
only a person of subtle intellect could define the difference
between the functions of the U.E.C. and the functions of the Unity
Department; and, in the second place, it was quite unfair to the
German Brethren. In Germany the U.E.C. still acted as German
P.E.C.; of its twelve members four were elected, not by a German
Provincial Synod, but by the General Synod; and, therefore, the
Germans were ruled by a board of whom only eight members were
elected by the Germans themselves. At the next General Synod,
therefore (1889), the U.E.C. was divided into two departments:
first, the Foreign Mission Department, consisting of four members,
elected by the General Synod; second, the German P.E.C., consisting
of eight members, elected by the German Provincial Synod. Thus, at
last, thirty-two years after the British and American Provinces, did
the German Province attain Provincial independence.

But even this arrangement proved unsatisfactory. As we thread our
way through these constitutional changes, we can easily see where
the trouble lay. At each General Synod the problem was, how to
reconcile the unity of the Church with the rights of its respective
Provinces; and so far the problem had not been solved. The flaw in
the last arrangement is fairly obvious. If the U.E.C. was still the
supreme managing board, it was unfair to the Americans and Britons
that eight of its twelve members should be really the German P.E.C.,
elected by the German Provincial Synod.

The last change in the constitution was of British origin {1898.}.
At a Provincial Synod held in Mirfield, the British Moravians
sketched a plan whereby the U.E.C. and the Unity Department would
both cease to exist; and when the next General Synod met at
Herrnhut, this plan was practically carried into effect. At
present, therefore, the Moravian Church is constituted as follows
{1899.}: First, the supreme legislative body is still the General
Synod; second, the Church is divided into four Provinces, the
German, the British, the American North, and the American South;
third, each of these four Provinces holds its own Provincial Synods,
makes its own laws, and elects its own P.E.C.; fourth, the foreign
mission work is managed by a Mission Board, elected by the General
Synod; and last, the supreme U.E.C., no longer a body seated in
Germany and capable of holding frequent meetings, is now composed of
the Mission Board and the four governing boards of the four
independent Provinces. In one sense, the old U.E.C. is abolished;
in another, it still exists. It is abolished as a constantly active
Directing Board; it exists as the manager of certain Church
property,156 as the Church's representative in the eyes of the law,
and as the supreme court of appeal during the period between General
Synods. As some of the members of this composite board live
thousands of miles from each other, they are never able to meet all
together. And yet the Board is no mere fiction. In theory, its
seat is still at Berthelsdorf; and, in fact, it is still the supreme
administrative authority, and as such is empowered to see that the
principles laid down at a General Synod are carried out in every
branch of the Moravian Church.157

And yet, though the Moravian Church is still one united
ecclesiastical body, each Province is independent in the management
of its own affairs. For example, let us take the case of the
British Province. The legislative body is the Provincial Synod. It
is composed of, first, all ordained ministers of the Church in
active congregation service; second, the Advocatus Fratrum in Angliâ
and the Secretarius Fratrum in Angliâ; third, lay deputies elected
by the congregations. At a recent British Provincial Synod (1907)
the rule was laid down that every congregation possessing more than
one hundred and fifty members shall be entitled to send two deputies
to the Synod; and thus there is a tendency in the British Province
for the lay element to increase in power. In all local British
matters the power of the Provincial Synod is supreme. It has power
to settle the time and place of its own meetings, to supervise the
administration of finances, to establish new congregations, to
superintend all official Church publications, to nominate Bishops,
and to elect the Provincial Elders' Conference. As the U.E.C. act
in the name and by the authority of a General Synod, so the P.E.C.
act in the name and by the authority of a Provincial Synod. They
see to the execution of the laws of the Church, appoint and
superintend all ministers, pay official visits once in three years
to inspect the state of the congregations, examine candidates for
the ministry, administer the finances of the Province, and act as a
Court of Appeal in cases of dispute.

The same principles apply in individual congregations.

As each Province manages its own affairs subject to the general laws
of the Church, so each congregation manages its own affairs subject
to the general laws of the Province. As far as its own affairs are
concerned, each congregation is self-ruling. All members over
eighteen years who have paid their dues are entitled to a vote.
They are empowered to elect a deputy for the Provincial Synod; they
elect also, once in three years, the congregation committee; and the
committee, in co-operation with the minister, is expected to
maintain good conduct, honesty and propriety among the members of
the congregation, to administer due discipline and reproof, to
consider applications for membership, to keep in order the church,
Sunday-school, minister's house, and other congregation property,
and to be responsible for all temporal and financial concerns.

Thus the constitution of the Moravian Church may be described as
democratic. It is ruled by committees, conferences and synods; and
these committees, conferences and synods all consist, to a large
extent, of elected deputies. As the Moravians have Bishops, the
question may be asked, what special part the Bishops play in the
government of the Church? The reply may be given in the words of
the Moravians themselves. At the last General Synod the old
principle was reasserted, that "the office of a Bishop imparts in
and by itself no manner of claim to the control of the whole Church
or of any part of it; the administration of particular dioceses does
therefore not belong to the Bishops." Thus Moravian Bishops are far
from being prelates. They are authorized to ordain the presbyters
and deacons; they examine the spiritual condition of the ordinands;
and, above all, they are called to act as "intercessors in the
Church of God." But they have no more ruling power as such than any
other minister of the Church.

Finally, a word must be said about the use of the Lot. As long as
the Lot was used at all, it interfered to some extent with the
democratic principle; but during the last twenty or thirty years it
had gradually fallen into disuse, and in 1889 all reference to the
Lot was struck out of the Church regulations; and while the Brethren
still acknowledge the living Christ as the only Lord and Elder of
the Church, they seek His guidance, not in any mechanical way, but
through prayer, and reliance on the illumination of the Holy Spirit.


The Modern Moravians.



When the Brethren made their maiden speech in the Valley of Kunwald
four hundred and fifty years ago, they little thought that they were
founding a Church that would spread into every quarter of the
civilized globe. If this narrative, however, has been written to
any purpose, it has surely taught a lesson of great moral value; and
that lesson is that the smallest bodies sometimes accomplish the
greatest results. At no period have the Brethren been very strong
in numbers; and yet, at every stage of their story, we find them in
the forefront of the battle. Of all the Protestant Churches in
England, the Moravian Church is the oldest; and wherever the
Brethren have raised their standard, they have acted as pioneers.
They were Reformers sixty years before Martin Luther. They were
the first to adopt the principle that the Bible is the only standard
of faith and practice. They were among the first to issue a
translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into the
language of the people. They led the way, in the Protestant
movement, in the catechetical instruction of children. They
published the first Hymn Book known to history. They produced in
Comenius the great pioneer of modern education. They saved the
Pietist movement in Germany from an early grave; they prepared the
way for the English Evangelical Revival; and, above all, by example
rather than by precept, they aroused in the Protestant Churches of
Christendom that zeal for the cause of foreign missions which some
writers have described as the crowning glory of the nineteenth
century. And now we have only one further land to explore. As the
Moravians are still among the least of the tribes of Israel, it is
natural to ask why, despite their smallness, they maintain their
separate existence, what part they are playing in the world, what
share they are taking in the fight against the Canaanite, for what
principles they stand, what methods they employ, what attitude they
adopt towards other Churches, and what solution they offer of the
social and religious problems that confront us at the opening of the
twentieth century.

Section I.--MORAVIAN PRINCIPLES--If the Moravians have any
distinguishing principle at all, that principle is one which goes
back to the beginnings of their history. For some years they have
been accustomed to use as a motto the famous words of Rupertus
Meldenius: "In necessariis unitas; in non-necessariis libertas; in
utrisque caritas"--in essentials unity; in non-essentials liberty;
in both, charity. But the distinction between essentials and
non-essentials goes far behind Rupertus Meldenius. If he was the
first to pen the saying, he was certainly not the first to lay down
the principle. For four hundred and fifty years this distinction
between essentials and non-essentials has been a fundamental
principle of the Brethren. From whom, if from any one, they learned
it we do not know. It is found in no mediæval writer, and was
taught neither by Wycliffe nor by Hus. But the Brethren held it at
the outset, and hold it still. It is found in the works of Peter of
Chelcic;158 it was fully expounded by Gregory the Patriarch; it was
taught by the Bohemian Brethren in their catechisms; it is implied
in all Moravian teaching to-day. To Moravians this word
"essentials" has a definite meaning. At every stage in their
history we find that in their judgment the essentials on which all
Christians should agree to unite are certain spiritual truths. It
was so with the Bohemian Brethren; it is so with the modern
Moravians. In the early writings of Gregory the Patriarch, and in
the catechisms of the Bohemian Brethren, the "essentials" are such
things, and such things only, as faith, hope, love and the doctrines
taught in the Apostles' Creed; and the "non-essentials," on the
other hand, are such visible and concrete things as the church on
earth, the ministry, the sacraments, and the other means of grace.
In essentials they could allow no compromise; in non-essentials
they gladly agreed to differ. For essentials they often shed their
blood; but non-essentials they described as merely "useful" or

The modern Moravians hold very similar views. For them the only
"essentials" in religion are the fundamental truths of the Gospel as
revealed in Holy Scripture. In these days the question is sometimes
asked, What is the Moravian creed? The answer is, that they have no
creed, apart from Holy Scripture. For the creeds of other churches
they have the deepest respect. Thy have declared their adherence to
the Apostles' Creed. They confess that in the Augsburg Confession
the chief doctrines of Scripture are plainly and simply set forth;
they have never attacked the Westminster Confession or the Articles
of the Church of England; and yet they have never had a creed of
their own, and have always declined to bind the consciences of their
ministers and members by any creed whatever. Instead of binding men
by a creed, they are content with the broader language of Holy
Scripture. At the General Synod of 1857 they laid down the
principle that the "Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament
are, and shall remain, the only rule of our faith and practice"; and
that principle has been repeatedly reaffirmed. They revere the Holy
Scriptures as the Word of God; they acknowledge no other canon or
rule of doctrine; they regard every human system of doctrine as
imperfect; and, therefore, they stand to-day for the position that
Christians should agree to unite on a broad Scriptural basis. Thus
the Moravians claim to be an Union Church. At the Synod of 1744
they declared that they had room within their borders for three
leading tropuses, the Moravian, the Lutheran and the Reformed; and
now, within their own ranks, they allow great difference of opinion
on doctrinal questions.

Meanwhile, of course, they agree on certain points. If the reader
consults their own official statements--e.g., those laid down in the
"Moravian Church Book"--he will notice two features of importance.
First, he will observe that (speaking broadly) the Moravians are
Evangelicals; second, he will notice that they state their doctrines
in very general terms. In that volume it is stated that the
Brethren hold the doctrines of the Fall and the total depravity of
human nature, of the love of God the Father, of the real Godhead and
the real Humanity of Jesus Christ, of justification by faith, of the
Holy Ghost and the operations of His grace, of good works as the
fruit of faith, of the fellowship of all believers with Christ and
with each other, and, finally, of the second coming of Christ and
the resurrection of the dead to condemnation or to life. But none
of these doctrines are defined in dogmatic language, and none of
them are imposed as creeds. As long as a man holds true to the
broad principles of the Christian faith, he may, whether he is a
minister or a layman, think much as he pleases on many other vexed
questions. He may be either a Calvinist or an Arminian, either a
Higher Critic or a defender of plenary inspiration, and either High
Church or Methodistic in his tastes. He may have his own theory of
the Atonement, his own conception of the meaning of the Sacraments,
his own views on Apostolical Succession, and his own belief about
the infallibility of the Gospel records. In their judgment, the
main essential in a minister is not his orthodox adherence to a
creed, but his personal relationship to Jesus Christ. For this
reason they are not afraid to allow their candidates for the
ministry to sit at the feet of professors belonging to other
denominations. At their German Theological College in Gnadenfeld,
the professors systematically instruct the students in the most
advanced results of critical research; sometimes the students are
sent to German Universities; and the German quarterly
magazine--Religion und Geisteskultur--a periodical similar to our
English "Hibbert Journal," is edited by a Moravian theological
professor. At one time an alarming rumour arose that the Gnadenfeld
professors were leading the students astray; the case was tried at a
German Provincial Synod, and the professors proved their innocence
by showing that, although they held advanced views on critical
questions, they still taught the Moravian central doctrine of
redemption through Jesus Christ. In England a similar spirit of
liberty prevails. For some years the British Moravians have had
their own Theological College; it is situated at Fairfield, near
Manchester; and although the students attend lectures delivered by a
Moravian teacher, they receive the greater part of their education,
first at Manchester University, and then either at the Manchester
University Divinity School, or at the Free Church College in Glasgow
or Edinburgh, or at any other suitable home of learning. Thus do
the Moravians of the twentieth century tread in the footsteps of the
later Bohemian Brethren; and thus do they uphold the principle that
when the heart is right with Christ, the reasoning powers may be
allowed free play.

In all other "non-essentials" they are equally broad. As they have
never quarrelled with the Church of England, they rather resent
being called Dissenters; as they happen to possess Episcopal Orders,
they regard themselves as a true Episcopal Church; and yet, at the
same time, they live on good terms with all Evangelical Dissenters,
exchange pulpits with Nonconformist ministers, and admit to their
Communion service members of all Evangelical denominations. They
celebrate the Holy Communion once a month; they sing hymns
describing the bread and wine as the Body and Blood of Christ; and
yet they have no definite doctrine of the presence of Christ in the
Eucharist. They practise Infant Baptism; but they do not hold any
rigid view about Baptismal Regeneration. They practise
Confirmation;159 and yet they do not insist on confirmation as an
absolute condition, in all cases, of church membership. If the
candidate, for example, is advanced in years, and shrinks from the
ordeal of confirmation, he may be admitted to the Moravian Church by
reception; and members coming from other churches are admitted in
the same way. They practise episcopal ordination, but do not
condemn all other ordinations as invalid; and a minister of another
Protestant Church may be accepted as a Moravian minister without
being episcopally ordained. At the Sacraments, at weddings and at
ordinations, the Moravian minister generally wears a surplice; and
yet there is no reference to vestments in the regulations of the
Church. In some congregations they use the wafer at the Sacrament,
in others ordinary bread; and this fact alone is enough to show that
they have no ruling on the subject. Again, the Moravians observe
what is called the Church year. They observe, that is, the seasons
of Advent, Lent, Easter, Whitsuntide, and Trinity; and yet they do
not condemn as heretics those who differ from them on this point.
If there is any season specially sacred to Moravians, it is Holy
Week. To them it is generally known as Passion Week. On Palm Sunday
they sing a "Hosannah" composed by Christian Gregor; at other
services during the week they read the Passion History together,
from a Harmony of the Four Gospels; on the Wednesday evening there
is generally a "Confirmation"; on Maundy Thursday they celebrate the
Holy Communion; on Good Friday, where possible, they have a series
of special services; and on Easter Sunday they celebrate the
Resurrection by an early morning service, held in England about six
o'clock, but on the Continent at sunrise. Thus the Brethren are
like High Churchmen in some of their observances, and very unlike
them in their ecclesiastical principles. As the customs they
practise are hallowed by tradition, and have often been found
helpful to the spiritual life, they do not lightly toss them
overboard; but, on the other hand, they do not regard those customs
as "essential." In spiritual "essentials" they are one united body;
in "non-essentials," such as ceremony and orders, they gladly agree
to differ; and, small though they are in numbers, they believe that
here they stand for a noble principle, and that some day that
principle will be adopted by every branch of the militant Church of
Christ. According to Romanists the true bond of union among
Christians is obedience to the Pope as Head of the Church; according
to some Anglicans, the "Historic Episcopate"; according to
Moravians, a common loyalty to Scripture and a common faith in
Christ; and only the future can show which, if any, of these bases
of union will be accepted by the whole visible Church of Christ.
Meanwhile, the Brethren are spreading their principles in a variety
of ways.

Section II.--THE MORAVIANS IN GERMANY.--In Germany, and on the
Continent generally, they still adhere in the main to the ideal set
up by Zinzendorf. We may divide their work into five departments.

First, there is the ordinary pastoral work in the settlements and
congregations. In Germany the settlement system still flourishes.
Of the twenty-six Moravian congregations on the Continent, no fewer
than twelve are settlements. In most cases these settlements are
quiet little Moravian towns, inhabited almost exclusively by
Moravians; the Brethren's Houses and Sisters' Houses are still in
full working order; the very hotel is under direct church control;
and the settlements, therefore, are models of order, sobriety,
industry and piety. There the visitor will still find neither
poverty nor wealth; there, far from the madding crowd, the angel of
peace reigns supreme. We all know how Carlyle once visited
Herrnhut, and how deeply impressed he was. At all the settlements
and congregations the chief object of the Brethren is the
cultivation of personal piety and Christian fellowship. We can see
this from the number of services held. At the settlements there are
more services in a week than many a pious Briton would attend in a
month. In addition to the public worship on Sunday, there is a
meeting of some kind every week-night. One evening there will be a
Bible exposition; the next, reports of church work; the next, a
prayer meeting; the next a liturgy meeting; the next, another Bible
exposition; the next, an extract from the autobiography of some
famous Moravian; the next, a singing meeting. At these meetings the
chief thing that strikes an English visitor is the fact that no one
but the minister takes any prominent part. The minister gives the
Bible exposition; the minister reads the report or the
autobiography; the minister offers the prayer; and the only way in
which the people take part is by singing the liturgies and hymns.
Thus the German Moravians have nothing corresponding to the "prayer
meetings" held in England in Nonconformist churches. In some
congregations there are "prayer unions," in which laymen take part;
but these are of a private and unofficial character.

Meanwhile, a good many of the old stern rules are still strictly
enforced, and the Brethren are still cautious in welcoming new
recruits. If a person not born in a Moravian family desires to join
the Moravian Church, he has generally to exercise a considerable
amount of patience. He must first have lived some time in the
congregation; he must have a good knowledge of Moravian doctrines
and customs; he must then submit to an examination on the part of
the congregation-committee; he must then, if he passes, wait about
six months; his name is announced to the congregation, and all the
members know that he is on probation; and, therefore, when he is
finally admitted, he is a Moravian in the fullest sense of the term.
He becomes not only a member of the congregation, but a member of
his particular "choir." The choir system is still in force; for
each choir there are special services and special labourers; and
though the Single Brethren and Single Sisters are now allowed to
live in their own homes, the choir houses are still occupied, and
still serve a useful purpose.

Second, there is the "Inner Mission." In this way each congregation
cares for the poor and neglected living near at hand. There are
Bible and tract distributors, free day schools, Sunday schools, work
schools, technical schools, rescue homes, reformatories, orphanages
and young men's and young women's Christian associations. In spite
of the exclusiveness of settlement life, it is utterly untrue to say
that the members of the settlements live for themselves alone. They
form evangelistic societies; they take a special interest in
navvies, road menders, pedlars, railwaymen and others cut off from
regular church connection; they open lodging-houses and temperance
restaurants; and thus they endeavour to rescue the fallen, to fight
the drink evil, and to care for the bodies and souls of beggars and
tramps, of unemployed workmen, and of starving and ragged children.

Third, there is the work of Christian education. In every Moravian
congregation there are two kinds of day schools. For those children
who are not yet old enough to attend the elementary schools, the
Brethren provide an "Infant School"; and here, having a free hand,
they are able to instil the first principles of Christianity; and,
secondly, for the older children, they have what we should call
Voluntary Schools, manned by Moravian teachers, but under Government
inspection and control. At these schools the Brethren give Bible
teaching three hours a week; special services for the scholars are
held; and as the schools are open to the public, the scholars are
instructed to be loyal to whatever Church they happen to belong. In
England such broadness would be regarded as a miracle; to the German
Moravians it is second nature. In their boarding-schools they
pursue the same broad principle. At present they have nine girls'
schools and five boys' boarding-schools; the headmaster is always a
Moravian minister; the teachers in the boys' schools are generally
candidates for the ministry; and, although in consequence of
Government requirements the Brethren have now to devote most of
their energy to purely secular subjects, they are still permitted
and still endeavour to keep the religious influence to the fore.
For more advanced students they have a Pædagogium at Niesky; and
the classical education there corresponds to that imparted at our
Universities. At Gnadenfeld they have a Theological Seminary, open
to students from other churches.

Fourth, there is the Brethren's medical work, conducted by a
Diakonissen-Verband, or Nurses' Union. It was begun in 1866 by Dr.
Hermann Plitt. At Gnadenfeld the Brethren have a small hospital,
known as the Heinrichstift; at Emmaus, near Niesky, are the
headquarters of the Union; the work is managed by a special
committee, and is supported by Church funds; and on the average
about fifty nurses are employed in ministering to the poor in
twenty-five different places. Some act as managers of small
sick-houses; others are engaged in teaching poor children; and
others have gone to tend the lepers in Jerusalem and Surinam.

Fifth, there is the Brethren's Diaspora work, which now extends all
over Germany. There is nothing to be compared to this work in
England. It is not only peculiar to the Moravians, but peculiar to
the Moravians on the Continent; and the whole principle on which it
is based is one which the average clear-headed Briton finds it hard
to understand. If the Moravians in England held services in parish
churches--supposing such an arrangement possible--formed their
hearers into little societies, visited them in their homes, and then
urged them to become good members of the Anglican Church, their
conduct would probably arouse considerable amazement. And yet that
is exactly the kind of work done by the Moravians in Germany to-day.
In this work the Brethren in Germany make no attempt to extend
their own borders. The Moravians supply the men; the Moravians
supply the money; and the National Lutheran Church reaps the
benefit. Sometimes the Brethren preach in Lutheran Churches;
sometimes, by permission of the Lutheran authorities, they even
administer the Communion; and wherever they go they urge their
hearers to be true to the National Church. In England Zinzendorf's
"Church within the Church" idea has never found much favour; in
Germany it is valued both by Moravians and by Lutherans. At present
the Brethren have Diaspora centres in Austrian Silesia, in
Wartebruch, in Neumark, in Moravia, in Pomerania, in the Bavarian
Palatinate, in Würtemburg, along the Rhine from Karlsruhe to
Düsseldorf, in Switzerland, in Norway and Sweden, in Russian Poland,
and in the Baltic Provinces. We are not, of course, to imagine for
a moment that all ecclesiastical authorities on the Continent regard
this Diaspora work with favour. In spite of its unselfish purpose,
the Brethren have occasionally been suspected of sectarian motives.
At one time the Russian General Consistory forbade the Brethren's
Diaspora work in Livonia {1859.}; at another time the Russian
Government forbade the Brethren's work in Volhynia; and the result
of this intolerance was that some of the Brethren fled to South
America, and founded the colony of Brüderthal in Brazil (1885),
while others made their way to Canada, appealed for aid to the
American P.E.C., and thus founded in Alberta the congregations of
Brüderfeld and Brüderheim. Thus, even in recent years, persecution
has favoured the extension of the Moravian Church; but, generally
speaking, the Brethren pursue their Diaspora work in peace and
quietness. They have now about sixty or seventy stations; they
employ about 120 Diaspora workers, and minister thus to about 70,000
souls; and yet, during the last fifty years, they have founded only
six new congregations--Goldberg (1858), Hansdorf (1873), Breslau
(1892), and Locle and Montmirail in Switzerland (1873). Thus do the
German Moravians uphold the Pietist ideals of Zinzendorf.

Section III.--THE MORAVIANS IN GREAT BRITAIN.--For the last fifty
years the most striking feature about the British Moravians is the
fact that they have steadily become more British in all their ways,
and more practical and enthusiastic in their work in this country.
We can see it in every department of their work.

They began with the training of their ministers. As soon as the
British Moravians became independent, they opened their own
Theological Training Institution; and then step by step they allowed
their students to come more and more under English influences. At
first the home of the Training College was Fulneck; and, as long as
the students lived in that placid abode, they saw but little of the
outside world. But in 1874 the College was removed to Fairfield;
then the junior students began to attend lectures at the Owens
College; then (1886) they began to study for a degree in the
Victoria University; then (1890) the theological students were
allowed to study at Edinburgh or Glasgow; and the final result of
this broadening process is that the average modern Moravian minister
is as typical an Englishman as any one would care to meet. He has
English blood in his veins; he bears an English name; he has been
trained at an English University; he has learned his theology from
English or Scotch Professors; he has English practical ideas of
Christianity; and even when he has spent a few years in Germany--as
still happens in exceptional cases--he has no more foreign flavour
about him than the Lord Mayor of London.

Again, the influence of English ideas has affected their public
worship. At the Provincial Synods of 1878 and 1883, the Brethren
appointed Committees to revise their Hymn-book; and the result was
that when the next edition of the Hymn-book appeared (1886), it was
found to contain a large number of hymns by popular English writers.
And this, of course, involved another change. As these popular
English hymns were wedded to popular English tunes, those tunes had
perforce to be admitted into the next edition of the Tune-book
(1887); and thus the Moravians, like other Englishmen, began now to
sing hymns by Toplady, Charles Wesley, George Rawson and Henry
Francis Lyte to such well-known melodies as Sir Arthur Sullivan's
"Coena Domini," Sebastian Wesley's "Aurelia," and Hopkins's
"Ellers." But the change in this respect was only partial. In
music the Moravians have always maintained a high standard. With
them the popular type of tune was the chorale; and here they refused
to give way to popular clamour. At this period the objection was
raised by some that the old chorales were too difficult for
Englishmen to sing; but to this objection Peter La Trobe had given a
crushing answer.160 At St. Thomas, he said, Zinzendorf had heard
the negroes sing Luther's fine "Gelobet seiest"; at Gnadenthal, in
South Africa, Ignatius La Trobe had heard the Hottentots sing
Grummer's "Jesu, der du meine Seele"; in Antigua the negroes could
sing Hassler's "O Head so full of bruises"; and therefore, he said,
he naturally concluded that chorales which were not above the level
of Negroes and Hottentots could easily be sung, if they only tried,
by Englishmen, Scotchmen and Irishmen of the nineteenth century.
And yet, despite this official attitude, certain standard chorales
fell into disuse, and were replaced by flimsier English airs.

Another proof of the influence of English ideas is found in the
decline of peculiar Moravian customs. At present the British
congregations may be roughly divided into two classes. In some,
such as Fulneck, Fairfield, Ockbrook, Bristol, and other older
congregations, the old customs are retained; in others they are
quite unknown. In some we still find such things as Love-feasts,
the division into choirs, the regular choir festivals, the
observance of Moravian Memorial Days; in others, especially in those
only recently established, these things are absent; and the
consequence is that in the new congregations the visitor of to-day
will find but little of a specific Moravian stamp. At the morning
service he will hear the Moravian Litany; in the Hymn-book he will
find some hymns not found in other collections; but in other
respects he would see nothing specially distinctive.

Meanwhile, the Brethren have adopted new institutions. As the old
methods of church-work fell into disuse, new methods gradually took
their place; and here the Brethren followed the example of their
Anglican and Nonconformist friends. Instead of the special meetings
for Single Brethren and Single Sisters, we now find the Christian
Endeavour, and Men's and Women's Guilds; instead of the Boys'
Economy, the Boys' Brigade; instead of the Brethren's House, the
Men's Institute; instead of the Diacony, the weekly offering, the
sale of work, and the bazaar; and instead of the old Memorial Days,
the Harvest Festival and the Church and Sunday-school Anniversary.

But the most important change of all is the altered conception of
the Church's mission. At the Provincial Synod held in Bedford the
Brethren devoted much of their time to the Home Mission problem
{1863.}; and John England, who had been commissioned to write a
paper on "Our Aim and Calling," defined the Church's mission in the
words: "Such, then, I take to be our peculiar calling. As a Church
to preach Christ and Him crucified, every minister and every member.
As a Church to evangelize, every minister and every member." From
that moment those words were accepted as a kind of motto; and soon a
great change was seen in the character of the Home Mission Work. In
the first half of the nineteenth century nearly all the new causes
begun were in quiet country villages; in the second half, with two
exceptions, they were all in growing towns and populous districts.
In 1859 new work was commenced at Baltonsborough, in Somerset, and
Crook, in Durham; in 1862 at Priors Marston, Northamptonshire; in
1867 at Horton, Bradford; in 1869 at Westwood, in Oldham; in 1871 at
University Road, Belfast; in 1874 at Heckmondwike, Yorkshire; in
1888 at Wellfield, near Shipley; in 1890 at Perth Street, Belfast;
in 1896 at Queen's Park, Bedford; in 1899 at Openshaw, near
Manchester, and at Swindon, the home of the Great Western Railway
Works; in 1907 at Twerton, a growing suburb of Bath; and in 1908 in
Hornsey, London. Of the places in this list, all except
Baltonsborough and Priors Marston are in thickly populated
districts; and thus during the last fifty years the Moravians have
been brought more into touch with the British working man.

Meanwhile there has been a growing freedom of speech. The new
movement began in the College at Fairfield. For the first time in
the history of the British Province a number of radical Moravians
combined to express their opinions in print; and, led and inspired
by Maurice O'Connor, they now (1890) issued a breezy pamphlet,
entitled Defects of Modern Moravianism. In this pamphlet they were
both critical and constructive. Among other reforms, they
suggested: (a) That the Theological Students should be allowed to
study at some other Theological College; (b) that a Moravian
Educational Profession be created; (c) that all British Moravian
Boarding Schools be systematically inspected; (d) that the monthly
magazine, The Messenger, be improved, enlarged, and changed into a
weekly paper; (e) that in the future the energies of the Church be
concentrated on work in large towns and cities; (f) and that all
defects in the work of the Church be openly stated and discussed.

The success of the pamphlet was both immediate and lasting. Of all
the Provincial Synods held in England the most important in many
ways was that which met at Ockbrook a few months after the
publication of this pamphlet. It marks the beginning of a new and
brighter era in the history of the Moravian Church in England. For
thirty years the Brethren had been content to hold Provincial Synods
every four or five years {1890.}; but now, in accordance with a fine
suggestion brought forward at Bedford two years before, and ardently
supported by John Taylor, the Advocatus Fratrum in Angliâ, they
began the practice of holding Annual Synods. In the second place,
the Brethren altered the character of their official church
magazine. For twenty-seven years it had been a monthly of very
modest dimensions. It was known as The Messenger; it was founded at
the Bedford Synod (1863); and for some years it was well edited by
Bishop Sutcliffe. But now this magazine became a fortnightly, known
as The Moravian Messenger. As soon as the magazine changed its form
it increased both in influence and in circulation. It was less
official, and more democratic, in tone; it became the recognised
vehicle for the expression of public opinion; and its columns have
often been filled with articles of the most outspoken nature. And
thirdly, the Brethren now resolved that henceforth their Theological
Students should be allowed to study at some other Theological

But the influence of the pamphlet did not end here. At the Horton
Synod (1904) arrangements were made for the establishment of a
teaching profession, and at Baildon (1906) for the inspection of the
Boarding Schools; and thus nearly all the suggestions of the
pamphlet have now been carried out.

Finally, the various changes mentioned have all contributed, more or
less, to alter the tone of the Moravian pulpit. As long as the work
was mostly in country villages the preaching was naturally of the
Pietistic type. But the Moravian preachers of the present day are
more in touch with the problems of city life. They belong to a
democratic Church; they are brought into constant contact with the
working classes; they are interested in modern social problems; they
believe that at bottom all social problems are religious; and,
therefore, they not only foster such institutions as touch the daily
life of the masses, but also in their sermons speak out more freely
on the great questions of the day. In other words, the Moravian
Church in Great Britain is now as British as Britain herself.

Section IV.--THE MORAVIANS IN AMERICA.--In America the progress was
of a similar kind. As soon as the American Brethren had gained Home
Rule, they organized their forces in a masterly manner; arranged
that their Provincial Synod should meet once in three years; set
apart £5,000 for their Theological College at Bethlehem; and,
casting aside the Diaspora ideas of Zinzendorf, devoted their powers
to the systematic extension of their Home Mission work. It is well
to note the exact nature of their policy. With them Home Mission
work meant systematic Church extension. At each new Home Mission
station they generally placed a fully ordained minister; that
minister was granted the same privileges as the minister of any
other congregation; the new cause was encouraged to strive for self
support; and, as soon as possible, it was allowed to send a deputy
to the Synod. At Synod after Synod Church extension was the main
topic of discussion; and the discussion nearly always ended in some
practical proposal. For example, at the Synod of 1876 the Brethren
formed a Church Extension Board; and that Board was entrusted with
the task of raising £10,000 in the next three years. Again, in
1885, they resolved to build a new Theological College, elected a
Building Committee to collect the money, and raised the sum required
so rapidly that in 1892 they were able to open Comenius Hall at
Bethlehem, free of debt. Meanwhile the number of new congregations
was increasing with some rapidity. At the end of fifty years of
Home Rule the Moravians in North America had one hundred and two
congregations; and of these no fewer than sixty-four were
established since the separation of the Provinces. The moral is
obvious. As soon as the Americans obtained Home Rule they more than
doubled their speed; and in fifty years they founded more
congregations than they had founded during the previous century. In
1857 they began new work at Fry's Valley, in Ohio; in 1859 at Egg
Harbour City; in 1862 at South Bethlehem; in 1863 at Palmyra; in
1865 at Riverside; in 1866 at Elizabeth, Freedom, Gracehill, and
Bethany; in 1867 at Hebron and Kernersville; in 1869 at Northfield,
Philadelphia and Harmony; in 1870 at Mamre and Unionville; in 1871
at Philadelphia; in 1872 at Sturgeon Bay; in 1873 at Zoar and Gerah;
in 1874 at Berea; in 1877 at Philadelphia and East Salem; in 1880 at
Providence; in 1881 at Canaan and Goshen; in 1882 at Port
Washington, Oakland, and Elim; in 1886 at Hector and Windsor; in
1887 at Macedonia, Centre Ville, and Oakgrove; in 1888 at Grand
Rapids and London; in 1889 at Stapleton and Calvary; in 1890 at
Spring Grove and Clemmons; in 1891 at Bethel, Eden and Bethesda; in
1893 at Fulp and Wachovia Harbour; in 1894 at Moravia and Alpha; in
1895 at Bruederfeld and Bruederheim; in 1896 at Heimthal, Mayodon
and Christ Church; in 1898 at Willow Hill; in 1901 at New York; in
1902 at York; in 1904 at New Sarepta; and in 1905 at Strathcona.
For Moravians this was an exhilarating speed; and the list, though
forbidding in appearance, is highly instructive. In Germany Church
extension is almost unknown; in England it is still in its infancy;
in America it is practically an annual event; and thus there are now
more Moravians in America than in England and Germany combined. In
Germany the number of Moravians is about 8,000; in Great Britain
about 6,000; in North America about 20,000.

>From this fact a curious conclusion has been drawn. As the American
Moravians have spread so rapidly, the suspicion has arisen in
certain quarters that they are not so loyal as the Germans and
British to the best ideals of the Moravian Church; and one German
Moravian writer has asserted, in a standard work, that the American
congregations are lacking in cohesion, in brotherly character, and
in sympathy with true Moravian principles.161 But to this criticism
several answers may be given. In the first place, it is well to
note what we mean by Moravian ideals. If Moravian ideals are
Zinzendorf's ideals, the criticism is true. In Germany, the
Brethren still pursue Zinzendorf's policy; in England and America
that policy has been rejected. In Germany the Moravians still act
as a "Church within the Church"; in England and America such work
has been found impossible. But Zinzendorf's "Church within the
Church" idea is no Moravian "essential." It was never one of the
ideals of the Bohemian Brethren; it sprang, not from the Moravian
Church, but from German Pietism; and, therefore, if the American
Brethren reject it they cannot justly be accused of disloyalty to
original Moravian principles.

For those principles they are as zealous as any other Moravians.
They have a deep reverence for the past. At their Theological
Seminary in Bethlehem systematic instruction in Moravian history is
given; and the American Brethren have their own Historical Society.
For twenty years Bishop Edmund de Schweinitz lectured to the
students on Moravian history; and, finally, in his "History of the
Unitas Fratrum," he gave to the public the fullest account of the
Bohemian Brethren in the English language; and in recent years Dr.
Hamilton, his succesor, has narrated in detail the history of the
Renewed Church of the Brethren. Second, the Americans, when put to
the test, showed practical sympathy with German Brethren in
distress. As soon as the German refugees arrived from Volhynia, the
American Moravians took up their cause with enthusiasm, provided
them with ministers, helped them with money, and thus founded the
new Moravian congregations in Alberta. And third, the Americans
have their share of Missionary zeal. They have their own "Society
for Propagating the Gospel"; they have their own Missionary


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