bullet Josua (d. 1761)


(View source documents & German transcription)

He was born in Africa, in the Ybo Kingdom, in the province of Schomma, in the village of Umoque, where his father was a farmer.  As was customary there, on the eighth day he was circumcised.  In about his fourteenth year, he was taken prisoner of war and sold as a slave from one person to another, until he finally arrived in Guinea.  There he was sold to a white man from Jamaica, with whom he stayed for six years. 

This man, his master, went then to New York, and took John with him.  After two years in that city, John's master passed away, and, in 1743, John was bought by Brother Horsfield, who at that time lived on Long Island and needed him in his household business.  Through this opportunity, he came to know the Brethren. When, in 1749, Brother Horsfield moved to Bethlehem with his family, he brought [John] there with them, and John came to live in the Single Brethren's house.  One felt very quickly a blessed and merciful work of the Holy Ghost on his heart.  He asked longingly for holy baptism, which the blessed Brother Cammerhof bestowed on him on February 21, 1750.  In the same year, he also desired the holy Abend Mahl, and after that, he went about, to the joy of his Brethren, in a blessed and cheerful manner.  He lived for the most part in Christiansbrunn, where he was used for all kinds of farm work, and was the primary butcher for the Upper Places.  His occasionally coarse ways and arrogance kept him a few times from the taste of the Holy Sacraments. He found himself again quickly, however.  He was tender, crawled to Jesus' feet as a little worm and wept for forgiveness.  He came to know himself better through this experience, to better understand the work and insight of the Holy Ghost on his heart, and was able to get away from trusting always in himself.  In his last three years here in particular he went about in a beautiful, sinner-like, blessed, and holy manner; was grateful and thankful for all that he enjoyed in the Gemeine; faithful and obedient in what was commanded; and often thanked the Savior with tears for the blessed Lot that allowed him to be with His people and a member of the Gemeine. To remain with the Gemeine was his greatest desire.  For this reason he held Brother Horsfield especially dear, because it was through him that he came to know the Brethren and was brought to the Gemeine.

He was much attached to his nation, and often wished for the occasion to be able to show them something of the mercy and the holy peace that he had found in the Savior's wounds.  Therefore, he also loved Brother Andreas the Mohr dearly, and lived with him in a beautiful harmony.  In the month of March, when our boys were laid out with the pox, he also began to sicken and suspected that he might catch it and go to the Savior.  He pulled himself together again, however, and, after Holy Abend Mahl on 11 April, which he enjoyed for the last time with the Gemeine in Nazareth, he appeared to be wholly recovered and went about his regular work.  On April 26th he began to sicken again, and on the 28th, the pox were already visible.  His sickness was very fierce and aggressive, and because the pox were never fully ripe, he suffered a great deal.  He could speak very little, yet always he begged the Brethren who visited him to think on the Savior, and witnessed that he went to Him with pleasure.  And when he could not speak any more words, and he knew that his little hour was near, he longed for the Man of Suffering with raised hands, who was by him and took him home to Himself on May 10, at nine o'clock in the evening, with a beautiful liturgy and particularly with the words: Now the mouth [lips] will go pale in Jesus' arms and lap, etc. with the Blessing of his Choir. 

Transcription & translation by Katherine E. Carté.

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