Translations of Two Letters from Ebenezer to the SPCK, 1739
A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch, from the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer to their Benefactors in Europe.
WE, whose Names are underwritten, the Saltzburgers and all the Members of the Communion of Ebenezer in Georgia in America, present our mos t humble and most dutiful Respects, and good Wishes to all our kind Benefactors and Benefactresses in England and Germany, of all Ranks and Conditions whatsoever. To the Praise of Almighty God we often call to remembrance all the spiritual and temporal Kind- nesses and Favours which we have received from many Thousands of true Protestant Christians, since our going out from Saltzburg our native Place, and sojourning in Protestant Countries ; and therefore we think it our bounden Duty, as long as we live, humbly to implore our gracious Lord, in the Name of Jesus Christ, through the Assistance of the Holy Ghost, who has inclined their Hearts to Charity and good Will towards us, that He would be pleased according to his great Mercy to reward all their Works of Love with abundant Blessings in the Life that now is, and in that which is to come. The wonderful and all-wise Providence having open’d a Way for us to go to Georgia, a new Colony, begun in good measure for the Refuge and Support of persecuted and distressed Protestants ; and we, after a previous due Consideration of the Will of God, having gone thither with a full Inclination and Chearfulness of Mind: The Love and Benevolence- of our ever honoured Benefactors towards us despised People has not been altered in the least, but we have had the comfortable Experience of it ‘ in many Instances, as well at our Departure from ‘ Europe as also ever since at Ebenezer ; the Place, where, by God’s Assistance and Blessing, we have taken up our Abode. Before we left Germany we were provided with necessary Protestant Books, and such as we still wanted have been sent after us in such plenty, that we cannot sufficiently praise the ‘ Lord for those Blessings. Upon our Arrival in ‘ this Country, wherein we were quite Strangers, we found the want of Linnen and other Necessaries for the cloathing of our Bodies ; but God Almighty has beyond our Expectation so graciously order’d it, that from Year to Year, by the kind Contributions of several Benefactors, a good Stock thereof has been sent to us, which has filled our Hearts with Praise and Thanksgiving : And tho’ an uncultivated Country, in a new Climate, together with a Way of Living quite different from what we were accustomed to before, could not but occasion various ‘ Diseases and Distempers, as did likewise the Want of Shoes and other Necessities among our Poor ; yet the merciful God has inclined the Hearts of our worthy Benefactors, to make Remittances from time c to time for these Purposes into the Hands of our Ministers, and more particularly we have been sufficiently provided with excellent Medicines, which have often had their desired Effect. Besides the liberal Charities in Money given to the Third Transport, as also to some of the Second, who came from Lindau to Ebenezer, and since that, to the seven new Colonists ; the All-sufficient God has likewise continually blessed us with such Supplies, that we 1 have been able both to erect and support an Orphan- ‘ House or Hospital among us ; which has been very ‘ much to the spiritual and temporal Advantage of’ the whole Congregation ; and will continue to be so, if, as we wish and pray, the Fountain of God’s Mercy mall still flow upon us. We cannot also but esteem it to be a very acceptable Benefit, and worthy of our most sincere Thanks, that so many good and pious Persons in Europe go on to promote our Welfare with their earnest Prayers, Intercessions, good Wishes, Counsels and Christian Exhortations-, but above all we acknowledge, with the deepest Sense of Gratitude, that the Lord, according to his loving Kindness, has largely provided us with his holy Word and Sacraments, together with all things necessary for this Life, particularly with a plentiful Harvest last Year; as also that He has disposed the Honourable the Trustees of Georgia, and the Society for Promoting Cbristian Knowledge, together with other Benefactors in England, to favour and assist us in a singular and extraordinary Manner; for which the Name of the Giver of every good and perfect Gift be for ever praised by us and all our Posterity. In order, therefore, to shew our most worthy Benefactors the real Sense we have of the charitable Gifts and Kindnesses we have receiv’d from them, we think ourselves bound both in Duty and Gratitude to write this Letter in order to be published, wishing from the bottom of our Hearts, that the God of eternal Truth, the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth, (who is pleased with Sacrifices of Mercy) may abundantly reward all their Charities bestowed upon us, and so bless this their Seed that they may reap a plentiful Harvest of eternal Joy and Happiness in the Life to come, for our Lord and Saviour will not forget his gracious Promise : Matt. xxv. 34. 36. Then shall the King say unto them on his right band, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the World: for I was an hungry , and ye gave me Meat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I was ‘ a Stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and ye cloathed me, &c. but will fulfil it to the eternal Satisfaction and Comfort of all such as are not weary in well doing : As long as we live we shall not cease, by the ; Assistance of the Holy Spirit, humbly to implore, in our publick and private Prayers, our heavenly Father, that he would encompass them with his Favour as with a Shield ; and make good to them and their Children all his precious Promises, more; especially that in Psalm xli. I. 3. Blessed is be that considereth the Poor, the Lord will deliver him in the time of Trouble: the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and be shall be blessed upon the Earth ; and thou wilt not deliver him unto the Will of his Enemies, the Lord will strengthen him upon the Bed of Languishing; thou wilt make all his Bed in his Sickness. And as we do further humbly conceive, that it will not be unacceptable to such our Friends and Benefactors to be acquainted with our present Circumstances in this new Part of the World; we beg leave to inform them, to the Praise of the living God, who has done all Things well, that we at Ebenezer live in the happy and comfortable Enjoyment of a pure, and plentiful Instruction in the holy Gospel ; of many temporal Blessings ; of all Christian Liberty; of external Tranquility, and good Success in our Undertakings, and also in brotherly Love and Charity to one another: the Sense of which Mercies, even whilst it convinces us of our great Unworthiness, does at the same time make us wish, out of Love to our Brethren and Countrymen in Germany, that they also might be Partakers with us of these Blessings. Our new erected Town, Ebenezer, is situated so very conveniently on the River Savannah, as to be far enough removed from the noise of the World and worldly minded Men. The Land granted for our Plantations is very good, and has even this Year given us a full Proof of its Fertility, and what it is able, by the Blessing of God, to produce. Our Cattle increases; the keeping of Herdsmen to look after them is made easy to us, by their being for the most part maintained by Charity Money sent over from Europe to our Ministers. As to the blessed Effects of the Ministry of our loving Teachers, and what the most gracious God is pleased to do by them for our Souls, Eternity will make appear. The Eyes of many amongst us have been opened in this Wilderness, so that Ebenezer has been to several the Place of their spiritual Birth. Our Place of Divine Worship has been hitherto in a Hut, which in Winter and rainy Seasons is very inconvenient ; nor have we any Place for the Education of our Children ; but we trust God will also therein hear our Prayers, and by the charitable Contributions of well disposed Christians, enable us to build a Church and ‘ School-House. We have already signified these our Wants to some of our Friends in Europe; and may God Almighty so stir up the Hearts of some who « abound in the Blessings of this Life, that they may c give out of their Abundance, what will be sufficient towards railing so necessary and useful Edifices. We conclude this our Letter with commending you, our ever renowned Benefactors, to the everlasting Love of God the Father, to the tender Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the comfortable Fellowship of the Holy Ghost, now and for evermore; and at the same time assuring you of our constant and earnest Prayers for your true Happiness and Welfare, we remain, with the profoundest Respects,
Your most bumble, (and for so many spiritual and temporal Benefits, in Love and Gratitude) Most obliged Servants,
The Inhabitants of Ebenezer.
Ebenezer in Georgia, 26th Octob. 1739.
A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch from the Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer.
Dear and Honoured Benefactors and Friends in Christ our Lord,
We think it our Duty to accompany this Letter of our Congregation with a few Lines, as being, by your Will and Pleasure, intitled to a Share in the many Favours you have bestowed upon them; and, consequently, being obliged to unite with them in Praises and Thanksgivings to God for his Mercies, as well as in humble Intercessions for your Welfare and Happiness. We can assuredly testily of our Saltzburgers, that they have received all the Benefactions sent and distributed to them, with the greatest Humility and Thankfulness, express’d in the most obliging and respectful Terms -, and have made use of them agreeably to the Intent of the Givers, to the Glory of God, and the Relief of their own Necessities. As often as they join with us in Prayer (as we do not only every Day at Evening Prayer, but several times a Week besides, either in our own Houses of theirs when we go to visit them) the Benefactions received are always mentioned with Praise to God, and Wishes for his Blessing on all their Benefactors. They beg of God Almighty to give them Grace to apply all such Benefactions to the End? they are sent for, and that they may be led by this his Goodness towards them to Repentance and Holiness of Life. Altho it is too common for many to spend what is bestowed on them even in Charity in an irregular and sinful Manner, yet we cannot say. this of any one of our Saltzburgers; nay we should ourselves even on any Suspicion of this kind-, have rather kept back the Benefactions designed for such Persons till their Amendment should appear, than to allow a wrong Use of them; in doing which we hope that we act nothing contrary to the Will and Intention of our Benefactors. We can therefore assure all our Patrons and Friends upon our best Knowledge and Conscience, and we hope to their great Satisfaction, that they have not sown the Seed of their Charities upon a barren, but in a fertile Ground at Ebenezer, where it will blossom and bring forth Fruits unto everlasting Life: And since according to the Testimony of the Holy Spirit, this is the Portion of the Righteous, that it mall be well with them, and that they mall eat the Fruit of their Doings; we never mall cease to make our hearty Supplications before our most faithful and merciful Father in Heaven, that He may fulfil on them this and all his other precious Promises; that in return for what they h.ive given so liberally to the poor Saltzburgers, or rather lent unto the Lord, they may receive a thousand fold, through the Merit and Mediation of Jesus Christ. Part of the Charities in Money and other Gifts has been, according to the Pleasure of the Benefactors, a great help to both of us Ministers, in the first settling our Families; for which we humbly ‘ praise the Lord, and return them our most grateful Acknowledgments. The Lord grant unto them, that they may find Mercy of the Lord in ‘ that Day ; and as they have refreshed us so often, they may together with their worthy Families be refreshed in the Presence of the Lord for ever, yea that Goodness and Mercy may follow them all ‘ the Days of their Life.
These, dearest Benefactors, are the hearty Wishes and daily Prayers of Your very obliged humble Servants,
John Martin Boltzius, Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer. ISRAEL CHRISTIAN GRONAU, Catechist and Assistant to the Congregation of Saltzburgers at Ebenezer.
Ebenezer in Georgia, 26th Octob. 1739.
Source: Thomas, John 1740 No. IV. A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch, from the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer to their Benefactors in Europe. [and] No. V. A Translation of a Letter out of High Dutch] from the Minister of the Saltzburgers at Ebenezer. A Sermon Preach’d in the Parish-Church of Christ-Church, London; On Thursday May the 8th, 1740…To Which is Annexed, An Account of the Origin and Designs of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, Pp 51-57. M. Downing, London, England.