bulletBethlehem Diary
September 9, 1742

English Translation

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The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity, August 29/September 9.

The following took place in the congregation council:

1. The night watches this week are to be kept on Sunday, by the sisters; on Monday, by Daniel Oesterlein; on Tuesday, by Bro. Huber; on Wednesday, by Bro. Okely; on Thursday, by Bro. Matthias Seibold; on Friday, by Christian Frölich; on Saturday, by the Brandmüllers.

2. Regulation regarding individuals. This is to be as follows: Whoever holds an office in the Church must accept and be reconciled to accept the esteem and respect that go with it. For this is pleasing and churchly. For the offices must provide a representation of Christ. Specifically, the apostles decreed that the elders should be counted worthy of honor. Here all republican spirit must give way. Diener and Helfer must enjoy no personal priority! For this reason all personal esteem is to be completely eradicated in the Church; only the respect due to an office is to continue. Personal affection is no longer to be discernible, whether in actions or in comments. Rather, any evidence of personal esteem that may manifest itself following [the adoption of] this congregational regulation is to be dealt with by church discipline.

I Regarding our neighbors in the district, Bro. Ludwig proposed that they could be invited to come here to Bethlehem, be given a lovefeast, and be notified in the name of our community that as a community we did not wish to be bound by the duty commonly resting on neighbors in this locality. And in conversing with them, we could politely inform them that we do not recognize them to be any neighbors of ours.

4. Those liturgical practices concerning which one cannot be certain after all that they were not observed in the earliest churches and which for good reason had been given up for quite a while in our Church should, in so far as possible and practicable, be reintroduced and hallowed among us, since we now find ourselves in other circumstances. Because, when one adopts the separatists' customary principle of abstaining from everything which has become misused, that [value] is not preserved which normally was its aim. The so-called Lord's Prayer, Our Father, etc., belongs in this category. In future it is to be prayed each Monday, a chorale being appended to each phrase. We retain the opening formula as an act of condescension on our part; but we denote thereby the eternal Father, the person of Jesus Christ, through Whom honor is given to the Father.

The 5th item [on the agenda] was the congregation at Nazareth, which, however, was postponed to another time, due to the farreaching nature of the subject.

6. To organize the hourly intercession more completely, a proper list is to be made of all those stations and settlements, both here and in Europe, in which our teachers and messengers and fishers are located, and each is to be remembered by name before the Lamb.

7. The office of the hinge requires that the brother who holds it look after everything and bring troublesome factors within the congregation into mutual accord without their first having to be taken up publicly in the congregation council. He is the mainspring of the life of the congregation. This item was held over until some other time.

8. The diary has been too dry in the past; more attention is to be paid to spiritual matters.

9. The hymns contained in Appendix XI are to be distributed and copied so that they may become familiar to the congregation and be sung during the meetings.

10. A concordance of the hymns is to be prepared, and those stanzas that refer to common topics listed under rubrics; always in the Singstunden such a section is to be sung [selected] according to their topical arrangement so that the hymns in the hymnal may come into more frequent use.

11. In view of the human situation in which we live we must endeavor to conform to the manner of life followed by other people in the world. This was illustrated by examples.

12. It is very necessary for a house to be built to accommodate the non-Moravians [or strangers] who come to us for either quite a short or a longer time. There they can stay under the supervision of a brother or sister as long as they remain here, For the people who come to us are of various kinds, and it is not at all proper after all for everybody to go in and out of our Gernein Haus who is not connected or acquainted with us, nor is a member of the Church. It should have two good-sized rooms; normally one brother and sister should live in it, and one brother be appointed for a week at a time to act as its caretaker and see to the securing of food and other necessities.

13. Propriety ["prépon] decorum, or churchly behavior was deferred for consideration in a congregation council which would be devoted to it alone. Similarly

14. The education of children. Furthermore

15. the tolerating of wicked persons and practices. Should instances occur of people expressing and behaving themselves here in Bethlehem in an unrestrained and unruly manner, they should promptly be told that such things are absolutely not to be tolerated here and that such insolent behavior would be reported to the justice or in some other proper quarter. Should they not comply, however, they should be sent back the way they came. The 16th item concerned the justice. It is essential for us to know under whom we stand and whether anyone - or [specifically] who in this district has any say-so over us. This item was deferred for further discussion.

17. We should be acquainted with the constitution of the land and the local rights and laws so that we may know how we should judge and be guided in one situation or another. Therefore [a copy of] the Law Book of Pennsylvania is to be procured and Bro. G. Neisser is to familiarize himself with it so that under any given circumstances one may know what is customary here and how far one may or dare go.

From 10 to 12 o'clock the regular preaching service was held, conducted by Bro, Ludwig, who spoke on I John 5:18-20. And because the topic was a far-reaching one, he postponed further development of the text to the afternoon meeting.

From I to 2 o'clock the quarter-of-an-hour devotions of the Choirs were held. Andreas Frey, as the elder of the Single Brethren, conducted them with unction for the Single Brethren's Choir.

One of the children of our neighbor [the name is left blank] had died. A request was made for an address to be given at its funeral. Bro. Ludwig held it in our Saal on Wisdom [of Solomon] 4:10-14. He spoke of the three kinds of people who pass from this world.

1. Of those who pass on to eternal destruction;

2. Of those who pass on to their eternal bliss;

3. Of those regarding whom, following the example of the early church (as is to be seen from certain of its formulas of prayer which apply to such cases) one must suspend one's own judgment, committing them to Him Who is Lord of the dead and living.

Then, as promised, he continued in his discussion of the further development of the text of the morning's sermon.

At 7 o'clock the regular evening prayer service was held. Bro. Ludwig conducted it. He informed the congregation that in future one of those discourses of the Saviour which had furnished the watchwords in the year 1736 should daily be selected and discussed in the early service, chosen on the basis of its being as closely related as possible to the [doctrinal] text and watchword. With this in view be selected for this Gemeinstunde the words of Luke 15:10, and by them showed why there is more rejoicing among the angels over one gross sinner who changes his way than over ninety-nine pious people who had no need of any such change or conversion from such gross doings. It is namely for this reason: the activity and ministry rendered to them by the angels are much more likely to achieve their purpose with the former than with the latter; though their ministry be ever so faithful, they fail to attain it.


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