bullet George Nixdorf (1700-1785)

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Br. George Nixdorf  has wrote down the following of his life:  I was born Febr. 22, 1700 at Schaefer in the principality of Iauer in Silesia, and was the first child which the Revd. Mr. Schwedler baptized in Niederwiese.  My dear mother loved God and his holy word, and the passion hymns proved at all times in the year a refreshment to her.  She was a special friend of the Revd. Mr. Schwedler and frequented his preachings and other meetings very diligently and took me very often to him, when he then, as often as I came to him even still in my 12th year, fell down with me on his knees, prayed in my behalf laid the hand upon me and blessed me.  1708 was the very great and particular awakening of the children throughout Selesia, which I am not able to give a description of, it was something extraordinary, that in so many villages and towns the children small and great, came all at once upon the thought: Tomorrow on New Years Day we will begin a meeting of prayer in the open field, and this was done throughout the whole country, as if it had been published by an edict from the King.  The particular circumstances and wonderful occurrences, I shall never forget to all eternity.  It is a special grace to me, that I was present at it, and I reckon from that time that our Savr. has given me something into my heart, which indeed I did not understand, but since that time was many thousand times uneasy on account of my behaviour, tho' I endeavoured to suppress it by all manner of means, in order to enjoy the world rightly.  1716 I came to Goldberg to learn the malting and brewing business.  My master was a very pious and righteous man, who kept me very sharp, and left me no liberty to pursue hurtful things.

The years of my apprenticeship being ended, I travelled and for some years took a view of the world in various countries and principal towns, but the uneasiness of my heart pursued me every where.  I came at last to Breslau, and stayed there some years and wrought as journeyman.  I then came to Stotz not far from Frankstein, where I continued still single for some years, and became acquainted with some awakened people.  I often went to the pious Minister Haller in Sepliwade,  where I also met the first Moravian Brethren.  I begged if again once some Moravian Brn. came that way that they should visit me and in 1724 or 25 came our dr. Br. Christian David and old [Gotthard] Demuth to me in my brewing house.  I kept at the same time a tavern where it went every day very merry.   I took them alone into a private room, that they might not be in the hurry and noise.  Christian David asked me:  Whether I also would like to be saved?  I said:  This is a peculiar kind of a question dr. friends, who would not like to be saved? But in such a way of life and situation, as you see, that goes here, it is scarce possible to be saved, tho' one had ever so great a mind.  Demuth asked: Is it every day so with you?  I answered yes, I am a plagued man!  Then Christian David said: My dear good friend, when once you are in earnest about it to be saved, God will find ways and means to deliver you from this tumult, but at present you are not yet in earnest.  I felt that he spoke the truth, that it was not yet a true concern to me to renounce the world, and belong to Christ.  They then proceeded joyfully in their journey and I looked after them with tears.  I was a young man who was much liked, loved what was good, but wished also not to spoil it with the world.  Oh!  What a plagued life had I then.  The pious people withdrew themselves also from me, and trusted me no more.  But oh! With what patience has my dear Savr. born with me.  1728 I was married with my dear wife Susanna late Korn and I stayed with her still 1 year and 8 months there.  I then got a call to go to Breslau and in 1730 I moved thither with my wife and one child, and became master there.  I succeeded according to my wishes outwardly, but was at the same time continually uneasy; I got acquainted with the pious people, and we took much pains in the exercise of Godliness in our own strength, and were very conscious and legal, but when we had carried it to the highest pitch God sent Br. Zellich to us from Herrnhutt, who lodged 4 days with me, I was quite openhearted towards him, he told me, that we were upon wrong ways, and he declared the friend of sinners to me, who justifieth the ungodly, this was a gospel for me, and now I could draw breath, but soon after I got differences with the Pietists, who mistrusted me, because I spoke of free grace.  1737 the Brn. Lawatsch and Henry Nitschman paid us a visit, who preached to the gospel of Jesus death and suffering.  Soon after I visited the first time in Herrnhutt, and repeated it deligently, made also application for a Br. and Sr. to stay with us for some time, and we got Br. Münster and his wife who were still with me when the King of Prussia took Breslau.  My wife was present at the first Elders Festival in Herrnhutt, and stayed there 18 weeks on a visit, and went several times as a guest to the H. Comn. with the Congrn.  I then went to fetch her, and found her quite a different situation of heart, this gave me a very deep impression.  I intended to move immediately to the Congrn. But the Brn. would not receive me, but said, we should stay in Breslau till they drove us away.  It also did not last long.  Br. Seidliz came to Breslau; I desired him to keep us a meeting in the evening, to which he was directly willing and when it was known a great many people came to it.  Br. Seidliz said: It will now not last long before they will cast you out, and he was scarce gone when I was sumoned before the clergy and declared to be a seducer.  My masters were ordered to send me away as soon as they could, which they did not like they therefore endeavoured to persuade me to leave the Brn. for they wanted to keep me.  I told them, that I could not obey them herein, I neither could nor would leave the Brn.  Thus I was honorably dismissed, whereupon I obtained leave to move to Herrnhutt, where we arrived in June 1742.  We were soon received into the Congrn. and admitted to the H. Comn. Since that time I would always cleave to our Savr. as a poor sinner.  I thought to live and to die there, and we thanked our dr. Savr. with may tears, that he had brought us to his people.  The Congrn. gave me the flower [flour] and bread trade and we found a good livelihood by it.  June 10th 1743 we got a call to go to America, this was an unexpected proposal to me.  We considered it together and having once for all given ourselves up to live for our Savr. and his matter in the world, we could not decline it, and Aug. 20th we set out from Herrnhutt with many other Brn. & Srs.  Our little child of half a year old we took with us, and 2 children a little boy of 9 years and a girl of 6 years we left Herrnhut in the Oeconomica.  Dec. 8th 1743 we arrived save and well in Bethlehem with 120 Brn. and Srs.  Here we were soon received [as] Acolyths.  I became also hall servant which was particularly weighty and blessed to me.  My wife served in the Children's Oeconomy, and I for some years in the distillery.  1747 we got a call to Lancaster to keep school there.  Br. Nyberg who was minister there, received us with much joy; and presented us still the same day to his people who all rejoiced very much, that somebody from the Congrn. would take care of their children.  They had already prepared a house for it , and Apr. 1st 47 we begun the school with 65 children, but in a short time their number increased to 80.  6 weeks after I grew very sick, and the Br. Gottshalk who kept the school several months, till I was recovered.  The year following Br. Nyberg moved to Bethlehem, and Br. and Sr. Abraham Reinckes came to us as Labourers, with whom we lived a year in love and peace.  1749 we were called to Bethlehem for some time, where my wife should keep her lying in.  On our journey we found, that the waters had risen very much, and the middle creek was so high, that the horses had to swim, and in the middle of the creek my wife fell from her horse.  Br. Franz Thomas was with us, and we dragged her with great danger of our lives out of the water for dead, and having brought her into a warm room she soon came to herself again, and neither she nor her child received any hurt by it.  Within the space of a year we came again to Lancaster, and then for some years to Warwick, and from thence to Christians Spring, afterward to Swabara where a new meeting house was built, which we moved into and made preparations for a Synod to be kept there.  By the Synod we were sent the 3rd time to Lancaster, where we served that Congrn. With Br. Bader and Br. & Sr. Oerter.  We have been upon the whole 22 years and 4 month in Lancaster at different times.  1758, at a Synod in Libanon I was ordained a Deacon of the Brns. Church.  1778 Nov. 9th we had our marriage jubilee here in Bethlehem.  It was a great grace to me and my wife, that we could live here in the Congrn. House, where we amidst our great weakness, and in all kinds of weather could frequent the blessed meetings, for the benefit and blessing of our heart.  Upon consideration from what a large family I am descended, when more than 100 persons were nearly related to me, I am astonished on account of the grace, that our Savr. has chosen me out of it, and brought me to his Congregation, whereas I am one of the worst among them was also looked upon as such by them, and myself.  Thousand thousand thanks to thee dearest Lord forever  be, for what thou hast done on me poor wretch, and dost still daily.

Thus far our later Brother.

In his married state in which he has lived almost 57 years, in which he had 8 children of which 3 departed this life in their infancy, three sons have settled themselves partly in Germany, and partly here in this country, but are in no conexion with the Congrn.  One daughter Mar. Rosina has been married with Br. Lauderback in Risedorf, and the other Anne Johanna is in the Choir House here.  Wherever our late brother has been in our town and country congns, particularly in Lancaster where he has served the longest, his memory is in blessing.  Among us he has approved himself as a brother who  cleaved with all his pleasure and delight in it.  He therefore attended the meetings of the Congrn. Uninterruptedly as long as ever he could.  In his converse with others he was cordial and loving, and when he had missed it somewhere, he soon repented and begged for pardon.  Till in his advanced age he enjoyed an uncommon good state of health except his hearing which was much impaired in his latter years, and which caused no small uneasiness to him considering his great inclination to attend the meetings.  Only a few weeks before his departure he had to take to his bed, he complained about nothing but straitness in his breast, which also increased more and more.  He bore these difficulties with patience, and praised God till to his end for all the benefits he has shewed to him.  At last he desired much to depart and to be with Christ, received also the blessing of the Congrn. Hereto upon his desire.  He himself joined also in the singing very plainly.  Tho' he often testified contrary to expectation of other Brn. and Srs. that he should not yet go home, he said however the day before his departure: Now let us praise the Lord!  This day I shall go home.   But it lasted however till the next day on Michaelmas about 4 o'clock in the afternoon when he ceased to breathe quite unobservedly.  Aged 85 years and about 7 months.

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