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with a firmer reliance on the strong arm of the invisible One, who, is our light and leading-star, and if we walk ifl. light, will direct onr steps aright.
Diverse as the inner and outer condition of individuals may be, there are nevertheless certain fundamental features common to all; for we find ourselves sustaining a threefold relation—as members of families, as citizens of the state, and as members of the church of Christ.
I. It is quite natural for us to think first of our family relations, and whatever of a joyful or sorrowful nature we may have experienced in the past year. And in so doing, those, who see the Lord's directing hand in every circumstance of this earthly life, and with a childlike confidence trust in him, will both as individuals and as members of one family cirele have received the impression and be ready to acknowledge: "He has done all things well—to His name be praise and glory."
To go into details is not our object at this time,—we notice only such family occurrences in which the services of the Lord's servants were called into requisition, as at baptisms, weddings and funeral occasions.
There were baptized during the year 6 male and 3 female children; 8 persons were united in holy wedlock, and T were called home to enter into the joy of their Lord.
In a majority of eases these baptisms were performed within the family circle, to which a greater or smaller number of friends had been invited, and which afforded a fine opportunity to make the hearers attentive to that saying of the Lord's: "direct my children, the work of my hands, unto me."'
II. 'Until the period arrives, when we, like our sainted brethren and sisters shall obtain permission " to depart and be with Christ," —we have active duties to perform as faithful citizens of the State and members of the community in which we live. When in our ehuroh-litany we present unto the Sovereign of the Universe the petition that He would "guide and protect the magistrates of the land wherein we dwell and all that are put in authority, and grant us to lead under them a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty," we at the same time obligate ourselves as it were, to do by word and deed whatsoever we can, that we be not robbed of the treasure which we possess in the free institutions whLeh we have received from our fathers; that good order and peace may continue and be preserved amongst us.
So we all thankfully unite in expressions of gratitude to Grod that through another year peace has reigned throughout our borders, and commerce and manufactures have nojtonly not heen interrupted feu* are in a flourishing condition. It is only when the Lftiyd "giyetfe that we gather, wihen he opened his hand we are
$M with «oaA." Pa. 104, m- TW fa &mMu\ hwm sf fa past year has again taught us, and we were the more ready to make suitable acknowledgement on Thanksgiving Day.
No less thankful were we that during the continued dry season in the months of July and December, when we experienced a scar, city of water in our town, His protecting hand was over us and preserved us against devastation by fire.—
May the Lord teach us ever " to seek the peace and welfare of the places where we dwell," and may he more especially vouchsafe his Spirit to those dear brethren who were newly elected into the church-council in the last year; may they have the good of this community at heart, and make it a subject of earnest prayer before the Lord.
III. Our village is but small and contains but a limited number of houses, yet it compares favorably with many larger towns in the neatness of its dwellings, the cleanlines of its streets, and the good taste displayed in various ways by the citizens. But we must not lose sight of this, that the main object of our thus living together in a small community is more for the advancement of our spiritual than our temporal good.
May every one among us ask himself, as before the Searcher of hearts, do I really value, as I ought, the privilege of residing in a place where the word of life is preached in its purity, and do I faithfully make use of every opportunity which may serve to advance my growth in knowledge and in grace'! In what relation do I stand to the kingdom of God? Am I truly a member of it, or have I but the name that I live and yet am spiritually dead? Does my Christian profession evidence its sincerity by works of faith and labors of love? Do I really take, and decidedly manifest a lively interest in the church of Christ in general and the Brethren's Unity in particular?
However varying the answers may be which we must return to these queries, whether a cheerful yea, or a blushing nay,—we can nevertheless, thanks to the mercy of God, at the close of the year, make this acknowledgment, that as a congregation of the Lord's we have not lacked the means of edification and revival. With the exception of two Sabbaths, the house of God was always open on that day for those who hungered for the bread of life, and during the week the reading and the exposition of the sacred Word, prayer meetings etc. afforded opportunity for edification and for being built up in our most holy faith, as did likewise the great festivaldays of the Christian church and the memorial days of the Brethren's church and its respective choirs.
As it is the vocation of the Brethren's church not only exclusively to enjoy spiritual blessings granted by Christ our Savior, but to use the talent entrusted to us for the benefit of others not in our communion, so hath this congregation endeavored to do good in a threefold manner, first by receiving and educating in its midst the children of strangers, secondly by aiding our foreign missions, and thirdly by active co-operation in the home-mission work of the American branch of the Brethren's Unity.
"The blessing of the Lord had rested upon our female Seminary during the past year," remarks br. Frueauff, the principal of the institution; "and applications crowded in upon us to such a degree, that in October already we were necessitated to refuse taking any more pupils; yet the number under our charge rose to 117."
It was gratifying to learn, both from conversation and letters, that the peculiarities of the Brethren in the arrangement and management of these literary schools were not only highly approved, but even lauded by the patrons,—and how desirous parents, who are acquainted with the ways of the world, are, of putting their children to a place, where the healthful moral and religious influence is such as to allow them fondly to hope that lasting good impressions will be made upon the tender hearts of their children.
May we continue to consider it a chief work of ours to sow good seed into the hearts of the young people intrusted to our care, which shall hereafter evidence itself by a godly, righteous and sanctified life.
And may we as a congregation remember, that we should seek by word and deed to uphold these Institutions, as they add not a little to the support of our people. What was said in regard to the female institution, may with equal truth, be applied to the young men's Seminary in this place under the supervision of br. John Beck, which during the 39 years of its existence has so gained upon the confidence of a Christian public, as to rest upon a permanent foundation. Although many applications were declined, the number of scholars has been 78, which board in nine different families in the town.
It is a subject for thanksgiving, that our own children have a better opportunity to acquire scientific and useful knowledge in these Seminaries than can be the case in a common day-school.
For our younger children too the past year has been a memora ble one, inasmuch as they were provided with a handsome and well arranged schoolhouse by the Academy Board, which they occupied on the 5th of January with sr. Maria Wolle as their teacher.
In order that our children may from their earliest days become acquainted with the doctrines of salvation and lay up for themselves treasures which moths and rust do not corrupt, there has been kept, in addition to the weekly religious instruction imparted by the pastor, a Sunday school which numbers between 60 and 70 children. We also sought to keep alive an interest in both the foreign and home missionary operations of the Brethren's church by the preaching of missionary sermons, holding of prayer-meetings, and the communication of missionary intelligence.
Our Attention Was directed to home missions more particularly by the visit of br. Hauser from the West, and bf. Gunther froin New York, who, in the month of July last, was ordained a Deacon of the Brethren's church by bishop Wolle.
The home-mission society of this place was reorganized this year, on which occasion we unitedly resolved not only to send out a brother to preach, but to improve every opportunity in our dealings with the neighboring people around by religious conversation, to gain them for Christ and his kingdom.
The congregation at Litiz numbers at the close of the year 1853, 79 souls, whereof 246 live in the town, and 133 in the neighborpod, of which 218 are communicants—four less than at the close of the former year. Including the pupils in our schools, viz : 112 in the female Institution, and 78 in the young men's Seminary, the number of residents of the place is 436 persons.—
LEVIN T. REICEEL, January 1st, 1854. Pastor loci.
Bethlehem, March 25th, 1854.
As a regular subscriber to the "Moravian Church Miscellany" since its first appearance in 1850,1 have, of course, read its monthly numbers for the purpose of being instructed and edified in mateets of Christian Faith, and do not remember a single instance In which I laid it aside without having received some especial good from perusing its valued contents. But my object in taking this religious periodical, in preference to any other, was not that I might enjoy only those things in it, which I eould perhaps have found as well prepared and as plentifully provided in other publications of the Christian church: I took it, chiefly, because I regarded it as the Exponent of the Character and Spirit belonging to the Moravian Brethren, and I have therefore eagerly scrutinized its pages and studied their meaning, in the hope of obtaining illumination and direction respecting the Principles and Practices of Moravianism. I felt sure that in due time I would understand the subject, and Come to a full knowledge of what I yet lacked of being a true atod tried Moravian, according to the rule obtaining in the Northern Section of 4h* American Branch of thfe Brethren's Unity, Whose
e "Moravian Church ist Provincial Synod he strange as it may sound for me to say so, yet I do assure you, that after four years' patient seeking, I do not think that I am nearer the attainment of my wishes, all things continuing as they have done, than when 1 first commenced taking the "Miscellany." I am indebted to you and your correspondents for many interesting facts relative to the past and present History of the Moravian Church, of which, but for the "Miscellany," I should never perhaps have been informed. But I do complain, and I think, with reason, that for want of a distinction in the sounds of our American Moravian Trumpet, I have not known how to prepare myself to the battle. (I Corinth. 14. 7, 8.) Or, to change the figure, believe me, that ever- since the questions: "What are the Essential Characteristics of the Brethren's Church in America?" and "What is the peculiar mission of that church?" were propounded by the Ministers' Conference at Bethlehem in September 1852, in spite of the Unanimous Declarations, one-sided Communications, and single Letters, intending to throw light upon the Brethren's Church, this subject has assumed such a chameleon-like appearance in my eyes; and I have become so perplexed when comparing the opinions advanced by the writers for the "Miscellany," with the apparent practices of the Moravian Church, and both these things again with the past history of the Renewed Church of the United Brethren; that 1 have at last resolved to request the Editor of the "Miscellany," to put forth his guiding hand, and lead me out of the maze of difficulties into which I have been brought by the diverse and conflicting opinions of my brethren, some of whom n "Masters in Israel," and therefore ought to know the of which they speak. I do not doubt, that even here in ehem, once the Herrnhut of America, and which is still re(1 with respect, as containing the mother-congregation of our church on this continent, there are many simple souls like myself, that will be glad to get put of the clouds again, and find themselves once more safely standing on solid ground, with a good commonsense 1 bottom' beneath their feet.
If you will therefore be pleased to exercise your Editorial Authority, and rightly divide unto us the words of truth which have been spoken, or point out the errors which have been committed by these numerous writers upon the Brethren's church in general, and the American Branch thereof in particular, I promise you, for one, to receive your remarks with thankfulness, and to respect your sentiments as the voice of the church, until the church herself shall in synod confirm your views or dissent therefrom if she does not believe them correct. Yes, I am willing to "submit to the 1 will "kiss the rod," should it even threaten I" of the Moravian Church which was formed