Elizabeth Lewis (1743-1831)
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 heartevery hour that
I could spend alone together with my dear Savior granted me the greatest
happinessand 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 itand 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
itand spoiled my own judgment for mebut 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 meand 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].
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 Saviorand 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 meI 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.