« AnteriorContinuar »
have, however, not been pointed out by you in your communication. You will, perhaps, reply to this, that you have only objected to certain extra or wow-essential peculiarities of our Church, or at least, that her character of exclusiveness and of every thing belonging to this trait, is after all something nora-essential. In order to refute this assertion, I must once more recur to that part of your declaration, where you contend that this exclusiveness, this character of being a mere religious society, of not mingling with other religious denominations, and of not desiring to spread throughout Christendom as an independent Church, was only assumed by our forefathers, because external or political circumstances forced them to do so. This is however, contradicted by facts; our forefathers having, especially in America, the most urgent inducements to lay aside this character of exclusiveness. They met with so many difficulties to maintain it, that their efforts to do so must have rested upon another foundation than the mere power of habit. And what was this? It was the dictate of their hearts, the fruit of their faith, their convictions, the experience of their hearts. Inasmuch as, by the grace of God, they had appropriated to their souls not only the doctrine of the cross, but the crucified Savior himself,— as not only by their faith in the Savior, undisturbed by doubts, but by holding converse with Him as their Friend, their Physician, and the Bridegroom of their hearts, they had actually found and obtained the only true rest for their souls, the sanctification of body and spirit, and the strength for a new and eternal life, they desired, on the one hand, that those only might seek to join their communion who had made a similar experience in a similar manner, and on the other hand, they were fully persuaded, that He, who had himself foretold the coming of the time of a new covenant in which God would be worshipped neither in this mountain or in that, but in spirit and in truth, that He could be such a near Friend of our souls even in the most different denominations of Christendom. They knew full well, (and who that does not willingly close his eyes upon daily experience, does not know as well as they ?) that the striving or "desire of becoming great" is everywhere, and in the Church also, full of great danger. But they too were men, and they too were led astray by this unhappy desire, even to the very brink of destruction. Hence our forefathers declared in the Synod of 1769: "We must again return to the poverty of Jesus, and to the form of His cross! The kingdom of our dear Lord was not of this world! Would to God we could thoroughly apply these words of the Savior to what we are at the present time! But we have become not only a Church, and " a religion" (or religious confession,) but even a kind of state or state-body, and the desire to appear as such even abroad has alas! but too evidently shewn itself!" Thus we see, that this so-called character of exclusiveness proceeded from the inmost spirit of the Renewed Brethren's Church, and that it was most intimately connected with their faith and doctrine; so nul
has it been an essential and distinguishing feature of our Church, and, therefore, it is so exceedingly difficult to understand, what can remain of the Brethren's Church if entirely divested of these characteristic traits.
But I will cheerfully concede, that it is perhaps only owing to my imperfect judgment or short-sightedness, if I am unable to discern what external form our Brethren's Church will be able to retain, if deprived of her peculiarities in her constitution and doctrine, and I shall most cheerfully receive instruction in this respect. But no doubt whatever can exist, I presume, on this point, that in order to effect a change it will not suffice barely to assert the necessity of relinquishing this view as an erroneous one, that our Church has a character of exclusiveness, or a dread of extending her borders. Even if this character should be an undesirable or erroneous one, still it has hitherto been a fundamental one, which has not only proceeded from incidental circumstances, but is most intimately connected with our inward history, life and manner of religious conviction, and the removal of this foundation without having previously provided a substitute, would inevitably cause the overthrow of our whole Church.
And the practical object of this article is most urgently to ask you and all who may coincide with your views to ponder with us all the earnest character of our ecclesiastical day, so that we walk with humble reliance upon the Lord in the path on which His spirit will lead us. The most delightful fact in the whole history of our Brethren's Church and one worthy of the utmost veneration; is this very circumstance, that, although we were often brought to the very brink of ruin both in external and internal things, the Lord's strong and faithful arm of love was nevertheless never removed from us, but has always led us, if even on hidden, yet safe' paths, through darkness and night into the new light of day!
Your affectionate brother in the bonds of the Gospel,
Philip H. G<bpp.
Bethlehem, Nov. 24th, 1853.
GENERAL CHURCH INTELLIGENCE,
or WEEKLY LEAVES, communicated by the V. E. C. from the 11th of July to the 8th of October 1853. No. (29—40.)
1. A provincial Synod, attended by 36 ministers and 12 deputies, was held at Pulneek, from the 29th of June to the 12th of July, to deliberate upon the affairs of our congregations in Great Britain and Ireland. On the 3d of July the following ten Brethren were ordained Presbyters: William Waugh, Pertenhall; William Humberstone, Kimbolton; Godfrey Clemens, London; Joseph Hutton Willey, Principal of Fulneck Academy; Henry Hines, Cootehill; John Andrew Porter, Wyke; James Lang, Gomersal; Alexander Hasse, Principal of Gracehill Academy; John Millar, Salem; and Henry Okely Essex, Haverfordwest. The ordination service was conducted by Br. John Rogers. On the 5th of July Rr. George Wall Westerby was consecrated a Bishop of the United Brethren's Church by Br. Benjamin Seifferth, assisted by Br. John Rogers. On Sunday the 31st of July Br. John Carey, in Horton, was ordained a Deacon of the Brethren's Church by Br. G. W. Westerby.
2. The three Brethren, Christian Lewis Dehm, single brethren's laborer in Gnadenfrey, Gustavus Hentschel, single brethren's laborer in Gnadenberg, and Charles Frederick Eurelman, single brethren's laborer and warden's assistant in Gnadenfeld, were ordained Deacons of the Brethren's Church, on the 31st of July by br. Christian Conrad Ultsch.
Br. Edward Barth, teacher of the boys' school at Gnadenberg bas been called to a similar station in Lausanne; and br. Ernst Theodore Weiz, teacher in Kosnigsfeld has been called to the same office in the Paedagogium at Niesky. Of those brethren who lately finished their college eourse at Gnadenfeld, the following have received appointments as school teachers: Br. John Daniel Libbey at Ockbrook; br. John Alexander Boenhof at Gnadenberg; br. Charles Frederick Herman Reichel at Kosnigsfeld; br. Christian Theodore Hans at Ebersdorf; br. Frederick Eugene Reichel at Lausanne; br. Anthony Christian Lehman at S&repta; and br. Walter Badham at one of the English schools.
£. The brn. Pagell and Heide, who are on their way as missionaries to Chinese Mongolia, reached London on the 20th of July, after a tedious passage, occasioned by stormy weather and some damage to the machinery of the steamer on which they crossed the channel; and on the 31st of July they set out for Portsmouth, there to go aboard ship, in company with the missionary Rebsch, for the East Indies. During their stay in London they met with a friendly reception from the Directors of the various missionary societies in that city, and were supplied with letters of introduction to the missionaries at the different stations on their way.
4. Br. Taeger wrote from Lake Boga, under date of February, 7th, 1853 :—"Eight men and women of the Papu tribe visited us a short time since, to whom we had the privilege of feebly testifying of Christ. The women were particularly attentive to what we had to say." In another letter, dated April 25th, Br. Tasger writes, that Br. Spieseke had recovered from an attack of fever, but he himself was still suffering from the complaint in his eyes. They made use of every opportunity of intercourse with the natives for laying before them the word of truth. Their garden had afforded them abundant means of support.
The single brother Paul Hansen of Christiansfeld, who has been called to serve upon the mission in Australia, set sail for that country via England, in the beginning of September. A number of emigrants from the neighborhood of Herrnhut, who have settled in the vicinity of Adelaide in Australia, having requested us to supply them with a minister, as many of them were members of our congregations or societies,—Br. Christopher Samuel Daniel Schondorf, of G-nadenfeld, has accepted the proposal to take charge of them.
5. Br. and Sr. Luttringhauser, with the eleven children under their care for the schools in Kleinwelke, arrived in that congregation, all well, on the 25th of July; and on the 4th of August the D. E. C. had an interview with Br. Luttringhauser respecting the affairs of our mission in South Africa.
Br. and Sr. Breutel, after a stormy passage across the British channel, arrived in London on the 31st of July, from whence they sailed about the middle of August for the Cape of Good Hope. Br. Breutel writes by a ship which left St. Vincent, one of the Cape Verde Isles, on the 28th of August, that he had thus far had a prosperous voyage.
Br. Charles Nauhaus has been appointed Warden of Elim. A communication from Shiloh, dated May 3d, states that the rebelHottentots were gradually returning to that place again: the men after being tried by a court-martial, are mostly sentenced to hard labor for a number of years; and the women remain unprovided for by government. The missionaries are embarrassed by the return of these people, who are not only objects of hatred both to the English and to the Fingoos, but appear besides to have grown unfeeling and wild. Some, however, lament their declension with tears, as was manifest during the Passion-week, especially on Maundy Thursday, when they were not permitted to partake of the holy communion. They came and entreated that they might be permitted to attend the speaking, and were very thankful that their request was granted, for they now had an assurance, they said, that they should not lie forsaken.
Letters from Br. Koelbing at Genadendal, dated August 15th, and Br. Bonatz at Shiloh, of Aug. 2nd, state that our brethren and sisters at Enon and Shiloh, were well and enjoying the blessing of peace. A small band of Caffres, who had shown themselves in the neighborhood of the former settlement, had soon withdrawn, without committing any act of hostility. The long drought having been succeeded by rain, and field labor again rendered practicable, the male inhabitants of Enon could find employment with the farmers again. The former Tambookie inhabitants of Shiloh would gladly return thither, were it not for the strict prohibition of the Government. Leave has been granted only to a few Tambookies and Caffres, who surrendered before the close of the war. There is, however, no want of population, 500 Fingoos residing at Shiloh, besides 200 of the former Hottentot congregation, principally women and children. Great caution is observed in readmitting these Hottentots; they are required to sign an engagement to obey the civil authorities, and to comply with the regulations of the settlement. The restoration of the church, which had been half demolished during the war, was actively progressing.
Letters from Lichtenfels in Greenland, of June 4th, report that a good state of health was prevailing there. Seals were scarce, but the weather being mild, and fish abundant, the Greenlanders in that neighborhood suffered no want. Only at one of the outplaces in the Grsederfiorde a sensible dearth had been felt from New Year to the middle of March.
6. Br. and Sr. Caspar Kosgel, from Lichtenfels in Greenland, with four children for the schools in Europe, arrived at Copenhagen on the 8th of August.
We have received letters by opportunity of an English ship, from the Brn Eisner and Krath, dated Hopedale, August 12th. Our missionaries on that station were all well; but anxious on account of the unusually long delay in the arrival of the Harmony. Since then, letters written on board of that vessel in the English Channel, under date of Sept. 28th inform us, that she reached Hopedale in safety after a passage of 76 days, chiefly with adverse winds, on the 25th of August; and lett that port for the other three stations, with Br. Horlacher on board, who had been called to Hebron. But before they could reach Nain, they were caught by a furious northwester, which drove them so far back into the open sea, that they were obliged to give up the idea of making that station. Still the Captain hoped to be able to reach Okkak, but was prevented by fresh storms, in which the ship suffered considerable damage; so that at length they were obliged, much against the Captain's will, to abandon the attempt, and return to England. On the 4th of October, the Harmony reached in safety her customary moorings at Horsleydown. Our three northern settlements have thus been disappointed of the yearly stores sent out