Periodical Accounts

was born at Brinkenhof, in Livonia, September 29th, 1743. His father having been cast into prison at Petersburgh, in the year 1747 (of which a short account may be seen in the History of the Brethren, page 493), his mother carried him as an infant to Germany, and on the journey experienced in a variety of singular providences, the gracious interposition of God for her own and her child's safety. He was then educated at several schools established by the Brethren in Upper Lusatia. In an extensive account of the first part of his life, communicated to us by his widow, he takes notice that the sufferings of his parents was the occasion of his being treated with extraordinary kindness as a child, and owns, that this seeming preference had in the beginning a bad influence upon his mind, till by the light of the gospel, he was taught to know and confess himself a sinner before God. When the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, was pointed out unto him, he embraced the doctrine of all- sufficient atonement of Jesus Christ, and the merits of his sufferings and death, in fervent faith, and devoted himself a willing sacrifice to him, as the due reward for the travail of his soul. In the year 1773, he was attacked by a very severe fit of illness, so that the physicians pronounced him to be past recovery. He himself desired to depart and to be with Christ, and when he recovered, contrary to all expectation, he observes, "that he did not rightly know how to descend again into the concerns of this poor world, having already enjoyed the rapturous hopes of being translated into the preference of his God and Redeemer." By this illness his constitution received a great shock and was much weakened. Yet he felt more than ever a desire to spend the remainder of his days and strength in the service of the Lord, and first accepted a place as tutor to a worthy family in Livonia, but meeting there with some disagreeable circumstances, which in his account he very ingenuously confesses to have been occasioned by his own fault, he returned to Germany in 1777. He considers his return as a particular providence, and extols in very grateful terms the mercy and goodness of our Savior, whose covenant with him remained firm, in leading him thus back into a situation more calculated to preserve him from this evil world; for he had many very advantageous offers, which might have led him entirely astray, none of which he could find freedom to accept. In 1779 he received a call to labor in the Mission on the coast of Labrador, of which he accepted with expressions of great humility, and an heartfelt sense of his insufficiency.

He arrived August 22nd, 1780, at Nain, after a very dangerous passage, especially through the ice on the coast of Labrador. He observes, that though he had very often carefully examined both the bright and dark side of the situation of a Missionary; and, in prayer to the Lord, he received such comfort and courage, that he entered upon his journey with a cheerful mind, yet on seeing the coast of Labrador, and the appearance of the country, his heart misgave him for a moment, and he spent the first day mostly in tears. But on retiring to bed, oppressed with uncommon gloom, he turned in prayer to God, and besought him, that if it were his gracious will, that he should serve him in that country, he would mercifully and powerfully convince him of it in that very hour. "Upon which," says he, "I felt such an amazing display of his preference and peace, and such a change wrought within my sorrowful heart, that nothing but bodily sight seemed wanting to convince me, that with his own lips he spoke peace to my soul, and accepted of me as his servant. I am now so fully assured, that it is my Lord's will that I live in this country, that if the whole world would endeavour to persuade me to the contrary, they could not prevail." He served the Mission in Labrador thirteen years in faithfulness, made a good proficiency in the language, and was respected by the Esquimaux. He also assisted them and the European Brethren and Sisters with his medical knowledge, having in the early part in his life applied himself to the study of medicine. In the beginning he enjoyed a pretty good state of health, till of late years his strength began to fail. His wife was a kind and tender nurse to him, and after the attack of the rheumatism, which befel him in June 1793, as mentioned in the letter from Nain, she exerted great faithfulness and patience in attending him. It was hoped that a voyage to Europe, and the skill of European physicians, would, under the blessing of God, restore him to health; but it pleased the Lord to call him to eternal rest, as above described, on the 12th of January 1794, in the 50th year of his age.
(Text furnished by Dr. Hans Rollmann)