bullet Elizabeth Lewis (1743-1831)

(View source documents/German transcription - 3 pages)

of she who blessedly passed away on December 20, 1831
Single Sister Elisabeth Lewis

She herself set down in writing the following about her course through this time:

     I was born on January 6, 1743, in London.  Already in my seventh year, my parents turned me over to the school that was then in Mile End, where I quickly settled in and was very happy.  I still remember some delightful feelings of the Savior ? when I had the childlike faith in him that he would grant me all that I asked of him.  In the eleventh year, my parents took me back to them.  After I came into the Great Girls Choir in 1756, I was taken into the Gemeine on July 16, 1757, and on my request received permission to move to the Single Sisters' House in London.  Early in 1758, I entered into a beneficial state of worry and confusion about myself ? I prayed much for mercy and forgiveness, often closing myself in a room alone and, on my face, begging the Savior to have mercy on me.  In May of that same year he came before my heart in friendship and gave me to feel so strongly the assurance that I was his and he mine that no doubts remained for me.  I was like newly born with joy and salvation.  He had lit a fire of true love for Him in my heart—every hour that I could spend alone together with my dear Savior granted me the greatest happiness—and it was for me as if I had Him in His martyrdom constantly before my eyes.  In this frame of mind I unexpectedly became a candidate for the enjoyment of the Holy Abendmahl, without having told anyone but Him of my longing for it—and I was a participant in this pleasure for the first time on January 1, 1759.  In that year, I was also taken into the Single Sisters Choir.  In 1761, I moved to the Choir house in Fulneck,  in order to come out of the noise of the world into a still place, because I hope to live undisturbed for Him.  On the evening before my departure for Fulneck, I made a covenant with the Savior to this end, which he faithful kept with me.  In the Sisters' House in Fulneck, I found what I had hoped for, and the faithful conversations-of-the-heart with the sisters in my room were of great use to me.  In the year 1764, I had the experience that the Savior guided me, on the sole-power of his mercy, to a deeper insight into my natural, ruinous state.  I felt myself to be the greatest sinner and often was very worried about it—and spoiled my own judgment for me—but even through this, I tied myself even closer to him.  Until the end of my life, I will never thank Him enough for what good He did to me—and how He, through the forgiveness of all my guilt and the washing of all my sins in His blood, saved me in this unforgettable time.  In eternity, I hope to praise Him rightly for this.  In 1765, I came to the Great Girls as Aufseherin, and held their societies for them.  The daily conversation with the Savior in Prayer-hours became for me an inexhaustible source of comfort and blessing.  In 1767, I came for several years to the Sisters' House in Herrnhut, where I learned the German language and experienced a very blessed time, until in 1771 I received a call as Choir Worker of the Single Sisters in Dublin.  I soon traveled there, after I was made an Acolyte by the Unity Elders Conference, which at that time was in Gross Hennersdorf.  From there [Dublin], I went in 1778 as Co-Pflegerin to Fulneck, and served there with the Savior's support until 1783 (excluding a short time when I was temporarily the Choir Worker in Bedford), when I received and took a call as Pflegerin of the Single Sisters' Choir in Bethlehem, whither I set out, and also in this new endeavor experienced the Savior's aid. 

 So far her own [writing].
     On November 12, 1783, the blessed Sister arrived here in Bethlehem, and the next day entered into her duties in place of the blessed Sr. Susanne Charlotte von Gersdorf, who traveled back to Europe with Br. Johannes von Watteville after the completion of his visitation in 1787.  She served the Choir with the greatest concern of the heart.  Her care—requesting the Savior to lead, and she teaching from her own blessed experience how good and blessed it is to dedicate one's whole life to Him, without exception, from youth on—was her joy and salvation.  She served and helped in outward matters just as gladly.  A special occasion for this occurred in 1792, when the Vorsteherin of the Sisters Choir, Sister Anne Dan.von Marschall, made a six-month visit to her parents in Salem, and whose duties in the meantime fell to [Elisabeth].  She enjoyed quite good health until around the end of the [seventeen-]nineties, when it appeared as if she was seized by a chest dropsy, which put her out of any condition to perform her duties longer.  This was difficult for her, as she would gladly have continued to serve the Savior, but she had to make up her mind now to ask for her removal, and this then followed in November 1798, when Sr. Margaret Tippet took her place.

     Soon after, her health improved, although she had a weakness in her chest until the end.  In later years, she often had to endure much rheumatic pain besides, particularly in the legs.  Regardless of this, it could never be said that she did not truly enjoy here thirty-three year Sabbath-eve,  because the quiet communion with the Man of Pain, which was already so dear to her in her early youth, remained her light, her joy, and her comfort, and daily refreshed her anew.  Beyond this, she took continual interest in the weal and woe of the Sisters' Choir and its individual members ? she supported it through her prayers and helpful work.  In particular, she had the greatest joy when she could support the charity Diacony among the poor.  In accordance with her advanced age, one certainly noticed a decrease in her bodily and mental strength, yet it was astonishing how she knew to keep herself upright.  When weather and the roads allowed it, particularly on festival days, she had herself taken into the church, because to her the communal blessing in the gathering went over everyone; often she also visited her friends in town.  During the last Elders' Fest, she had the pleasure of being able to attend the morning blessing and the Holy Abendmahl, but that was her last excursion in the town.  The quick passing of her long-time friend Sister Maria Gill, which happened on that very day, directed her mind more certainly than ever to her own nearing end.  About fourteen days earlier, she explained this herself to a friend in a very enlightening way: "I have," she said, "experienced an extremely comforting visit from my Savior—and could so trustingly lay my longing before his heart, that I would soon by home by Him.  I went so far as to ask Him, 'Will you not soon take me home to you?' ? and an indescribable feeling of comfort assured me—I will certainly not forget you or neglect you."  How soon this precious promise would be fulfilled.  She was seized by the current Influenza, and though the case did not seem to be of the most critical kind, her chest, which always suffered more or less from oppression, was soon so attacked that one had to notice that her end was near, although she herself said nothing about it.  When on the 19th of this month Br. and Sr. Gottlob Kummer of Nazareth, who were very dear to her, hurried here to see her one more time, she had the greatest joy.  They forgot the post on their return journey, and this was the reason that her dear friend Sr. Kummer could be present at her home-going, which happened so quickly at eight o'clock in the morning on the twentieth that the final blessing could not be given to her.  Quietly and gently, her dear soul was freed from the Cross' hard shackles, to look upon He whom she loved above all while here below.  Her age was seventeen days short of eighty-nine years.

Transcription & translation by Katherine E. Carté.

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