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Schwenkfelders, from which they were of their excellent Catechism, Compendium unexpectedly relieved by Frederick, the of Christian Doctrine and Faith, and king of Prussia, making a conquest of all Hymn Book. The late Rev. C. Shultz Silesia, who immediately published an was much esteemed, as a sound divine, edict, in which he invited, by proclama- and a man of undoubted piety, by all sur. tion, in 1742, all the Schwenkselders to rounding denominations. And on account return to Silesia, who had emigrated, and of his devotedness and his eloquence, he promised them their estates, with tolera- was repeatedly called by the Reformed, tion and protection not only in Silesia, Moravians, Mennonites, and others, to but in all other parts of his dominions— preach to them the gospel of everlasting but none of those who had emigrated to salvation. His motto was “ Soli Deo Pennsylvania, ever returned. Still they Gloria, et Veritas vincet.” kept up an important correspondence with The present young candidates in the European friends, near half a century, up gospel ministry of the upper district, in to the time of the French Revolution. Berks county, are the Rev. Joshua Schultz
Having obtained permission from the and William Schultz. In the middle and crown of England to emigrate to Penn. lower districts, the Rev. B. and A. ucbsylvania, and their protection in Germany ner, and Rev. David Kriebel of Worcesbeing withdrawn, they left Berthelsdorf ter, Montgomery county.
Their pastors and Gorlitz in April, 1734, for Altona, in are chosen by casting lots; but alter beDenmark, where they arrived May 17th ; | ing chosen great attention is paid to their thence they sailed for America, and after education : they are instructed in all the a tedious and long voyage they arrived at necessary branches pertaining to the gos. Philadelphia the 22d Sept., 1734, and on pel ministry. the 5th of October of the same year, seve- They number at present about three ral other families arrived. They settled hundred families ; eight hundred memprincipally in Montgomery, Berks, Bucks bers; have five churches and schooland Lehigh counties, Pennsylvania, where houses. They form a respectable part of their grandchildren chiefly reside at pre- the German community of the counties sent, on the branches of the Skippack and above named. Some of them pursue Perkiomen rivulets, in the upper, middle, agriculture, some manufactures, others are and lower end of Montgomery, lower east engaged in commercial enterprise. Fy part of Berks, and south corner of Lehigh. their strict church discipline, they keep
On their first arrival in Pennsylvania their members orderly, and pure from the they held a “ festival in grateful memory contaminating influence of the corruptions of all mercies and divine favors, mani. so prevalent. They are a moral people ; fested towards them by the Father of mer. pious and highly esteemed by all who cies ;” on which occasion, Father Senior know them. They pay great attention to George Wise, their pastor, conducted the the education, the religious and moral solemnities. This commemorative festival training of their children. Many of them has since 1734 been annually observed by possess a respectable knowledge of the their descendants. Father Wise labored learned languages, Latin, &c. There is in sacred things but six years amongst scarce a family among them that does not them in Pennsylvania; he departed this possess a well. selected and neatly arlife in 1740. His successors were the ranged library, among which you find Rev. B. Hoffman, A. Wagner, G. Wieg. manuscript copies from their learned fore. ner, Christopher Shultz, sen., C. Kriebel, fathers of the size of Mell's or Erasmus C. Hoffman, G. Kriebel, Mr. Kriebel, Mr. Weichenhan's Postill, which they hold Shultz, B. Shultz, A. Shultz, and D. sacred on account of the purity of doctrine Shultz, assistants; I. Shultz, and last, the contained therein. Rev. C. Shultz, who died in March, 1843, in order fully to carry out their excel. aged 66 years. The latter was the grand lent arrangements, an election is held son of the Rev. Christopher Shultz, sen., among them annually, in May, either for of Hereford, who was distinguished as a elders, or trustees of schools, or overseers scholar, and writer; he was the author of their poor, and sometimes other officers.
They have not long since had their lite. I have been more appropriately mentioned rary and charity funds incorporated, en- before. There is an existing ordinance trusted to a number of trustees and others, among us not common with other Chrisconstituting a body corporate. Church tian denominations: the ordinance respects meetings are held, when young and old infants. As soon as a child is born, a attend, every Sunday forenoon, once in preacher or minister is called in to pray the upper, and once in the middle or for the happiness and prosperity of the lower district; and every other Sunday child, admonishing the parents to educate afternoon, catechetical instruction is held, their tender offspring; to bring them up indoctrinating the young and old in the in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, truths of the gospel. Their marriages according to the will of God. Parents and funerals are conducted as becomes generally bring their little ones into the Christians, upon strict temperance prin- house of worship, where the same serciples. At present, all teaching or preach- vice is performed ; praying, and singing ing is principally, if not wholly, con- some appropriate verses. We hold the ducted in the German language.
blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all We introduce here what might, perhaps,'sin.
THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST.
BY THE REV. WILLIAM HANBY, CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO.
This denomination took its rise in the ing the doctrines of the Reformation, he United States, about the year 1755, and virtually withdrew from his mother church, is distinguished from the Old United Breth. and commenced laboring for the conver. ren or Moravian Church, by the additional sion of souls in connexion with two Gerphrase of “In Christ.”
man divines by the name of Beohm and In 1752, William Otterbein, a distin. Geeting, who had also deeply engaged in guished German divine, came to America, the work of Reformation. In 1771, being at that time a minister of the Ger- Messrs. Asbury and Wright, came over man Reformed Church; he soon became from England, under the direction of the convinced, after his arrival in this country, Rev. J. Wesley, and commenced as coof the necessity of a deeper work of grace workers with these German brethren; and being wrought on his heart than he had so united were they at that time, in their ever, as yet, received. He accordingly labors of love, that one branch was called rested not, day nor night, until he found“ Methodist," and the other “German Me. the Lord precious to his soul, in the full thodist ;” though the German brethren, and free pardon of all his sins. He imme- at that time anticipated an organization of diately commenced preaching the doctrines their own. ' In 1784, at the request of the of a spiritual and holy life. After having Rev. F. Asbury, William Otterbein, asbeen persecuted for some years, for preach- sisted Dr. Coke, in his (Asbury's) ordina
In the mean time, the number of members continued to increase, and the preachers were obliged to appoint an annual conference, in order to unite themselves more closely, and labor more successfully in the vineyard of the Lord; for some were Presbyterians or German Reformed, some were Lutherans, others Mennonites, and some few Methodists. They accordingly appointed an annual conference, which convened in Maryland, in 1800. They there united themselves into a society which bears the name of "United Brethren in Christ," and elected William Otterbein and Martin Beohm, as superintendents or bishops; and agreed that each should act according to his own convictions as to the mode of baptism. The rapid increase of members and ministers was such, that the want of some general regulations, by which all should be governed, was deeply felt, for, as yet, they had no Discipline. It was resolved that a General Conference should be held to accomplish that object, in a manner not derogatory to the word of God. The members of this conference were to be elected from among the preachers, by a vote of the members throughout the whole society in general.
The conference was accordingly held in 1815, at Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania, and after mature deliberation, a Discipline was presented containing the doctrines and rules for the government of the
As William Otterbein was the principal instrument under God, in founding the Brethren Church, a few remarks in reference to this good man, may not be out of place here. He was born in Nassau Dillingburg, Germany, on the 6th day of 1813, in the 88th year of his age. He March, 1726, and died November 17th, resided 26 years in Germany, and 61 years in America; all of which latter term he labored in the ministry. He was considered a ripe scholar in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Philosophy, and Divinity. The following is a specimen of the exalted views entertained by Bishop Asbury, of this divine: "Is father Otterbein dead? Great and good man of God! An honor to his church and country; one of the greatest scholars and divines that ever came to America, or born in it. Alas, the chiefs of the Germans are gone to their rest and reward-taken from the evil to come." (Asbury's Letter, under date of November, 1813.)
The same reverend gentleman, in preaching the funeral sermon of Martin Beohm, in the same year, speaks thus of Otterbein: "Pre-eminent among these, is William Otterbein, who assisted in the ordination of your speaker, to the superinten. dency of the Methodist Episcopal Church. William Otterbein was regularly ordained to the ministry in the German Presbyterian Church. He is one of the best scholars and greatest divines in America. Why then is he not where he began?" (alluding to his having to leave his old church because of persecution.) "Alas for us," says the bishop, "the zealous are necessarily so, those whose cry has been, Put me into the priest's office, that I may eat a morsel of bread! Osterwald has observed, Hell is full of the skulls of unfaithful ministers!' Such was not Beohm, such is not Otterbein; and now, his sun of life is setting in brightness; behold, the saint of God leaning upon his staff waiting for the chariots of Israel."