The first missionary of the BRETHREN'S CHURCH to the
ESQUIMAUX, on the coast of LABRADOR.
[Compiled in part from his own Manuscript.]
"In the year 1752, hearing, at Herrnhut, that Br. Erhardt, a Missionary, sent to the coast of Labrador, had been murdered by the Esquimaux, [Note 1: See Periodical Accounts Volume XVI, p. 5.] I felt for the first time a strong impulse to go and preach the Gospel to this very nation, and became certain, in my own mind, that I should go to Labrador. I agreed with a Brother of the name of Jeppe Nielsen, that, as soon as there appeared the least probability of our going, we would offer ourselves for that purpose. Meanwhile, in the year 1758, I received a call to go to Greenland, which I cheerfully accepted, in reliance upon our Saviour. Before my departure, I had a confidential conversation with the late Count Zinzendorf, in which I told him, that though I never felt a call to go to Greenland, but for these seven years past had earnestly desired to go to Labrador, yet I could consider this appointment as coming from the Lord, and would therefore go in His name, with a willing heart. I travelled in company of Br. Matthew Stach, and my own brother, Peter Haven, by way of Copenhagen, and arrived safe at Lichtenfels. In the year following, I was remarkably happy in my situation, learnt the Greenland language, felt great love for the people, and began to believe that it was my destination to spend my days in this country. But I had scarcely formed the resolution to make myself easy and happy in this land, than I was alarmed by a remarkable dream: I thought I heard somebody say to me, `This is not the place where you are to stay, for you shall preach the Gospel to a nation that has heard nothing of their Saviour.' I awoke, and being unwilling to quit this country, considered it as fancy and fell asleep again. But, to my surprise, I heard the same words repeated a second and a third time. On awakening, I wept exceedingly, and cried, `Ah, Lord! What am I? I am unfit for Thy work; but if this be Thy will, Thou must Thyself prepare the way.' I was again assured of my call to Labrador, but felt quite resigned to the will of God as to time and circumstances. In the year 1762, I obtained leave to pay /3/ a visit in Europe, and arrived, in January, 1763, in company of Br. David Crantz, [Note 2: The well- known author of the History of Greenland.] at Herrnhut, where I staid till 1764, and where my return to Greenland was again proposed to me. But, as I answered, that I did not wish to return without a direction by lot, having prayed the Lord to signify to me His will by this means, I received a negative, and on stating my objections in writing to my Brethren, they were satisfied that I acted uprightly before God. I then proposed, that I would first go to England, and enter into the service of the Hudson's Bay Company as a sailor or ship's carpenter, and thus watch for an opportunity to begin a Mission on the coast of Labrador, or at least to discover whether they were a part of the Greenland nation, and had the same language or not. On further consideration, this project appeared to me liable to great difficulties, and I began to feel much timidity as to the execution, on which I turned in prayer to the Lord, and opening the Scriptures, found immediately that text: `Do all that is in thine heart; behold, I am with thee according to thine heart.' I Sam. xiv. 7. This strengthened my drooping faith, and I devoted myself anew to God, entreating Him to grant me wisdom, grace, and power to execute my purpose. On considering my proposal, the Brethren advised me not to go to Hudson's Bay, but rather to seek to get to Labrador by way of Newfoundland.
"FEBRUARY 2nd, 1764, I was dismissed, with prayer and supplication, by the Bishops and Elders of the Church, and set out on foot for Holland, whence I arrived with much difficulty in London, not understanding the English language. After many fruitless attempts to attain the object proposed, I was at last recommended to the Governor of Newfoundland, Sir Hugh Palliser, who received me with great kindness, and even offered to carry me out on board his ship. This I declined, but begged for a recommendatory note to the Governor of St. John's, which he willingly provided for me; and I now went with the first ship to St. John's, where I lodged at the house of a merchant who shewed me all possible civility. I worked here at my trade, and expected patiently the arrival of the Governor. Meanwhile, many people, having heard of my intentions, came to see me, and several proposals were made to me, to establish myself and make my fortune in Newfoundland. As soon as the Governor arrived, he issued a proclamation concerning my voyage to the coast of Labrador, stating my views, and commanding that every assistance should be given me. In this proclamation it is said: `Hitherto the Esquimaux have been considered in no other light than as thieves and murderers, but as Mr. Haven had formed the laudable plan, not only of uniting these people with the English nation, but of instructing them in the Christian religion, I require, by virtue of the powers delegated to me, that all men, whomsoever it may concern, lend him all the assistance in their power,' &c. This proclamation was the foundation of all that liberty and protection which the Brethren have enjoyed ever since, under the British Government. Having soon found a ship bound to the north, I went on board, and proceeded with her to the north-coast, where, after many fruitless attempts to continue my voyage, I went on board an /4/ Irish fishing shallop, which was bound to the coast of Labrador. When we arrived on that coast, I saw the Esquimaux for the first time, rowing about in their KAYAKS, but none were permitted to approach us, being fired upon by our boat's crew. Having once landed, I found their huts, utensils, &c., made exactly in the Greenland fashion. But all my attempts to meet and converse with them were in vain; for it happened, that when I landed, not one Esquimaux appeared, and scarcely had I left the coast, when many arrived. The boat's crew, therefore, laughed at me, and the few who expressed sorrow at my disappointment advised me to return, refusing to lend me any further assistance: I was even told that a resolution was formed to kill all the Esquimaux. All this gave me the most pungent sorrow, and made me cry unto the Lord for help in this distressing situation, so heavy both for my mind and body. As I was once writing down my thoughts in my journal, the master entered my cabin, and seeing me in tears, asked me whether I was going to make a complaint to his owners. I answered, `No; but I mean to complain of you to God, that He may notice your wicked conduct on the present occasion, for you have taken His name in vain, and mocked his work,' &c. He was terrified, begged I would not do it, for he had offended God too much already, asked my pardon, and promised, that from henceforth he would do everything to promote my design. This he punctually performed, and brought me the next day to Quirpont. Here some people had arrived, who intended to destroy the Esquimaux, and were holding a council for that purpose. I went boldly to them, shewed them the Governor's proclamation, found it difficult to divert them from their evil designs, but succeeded at last.
"SEPTEMBER 4th, 1764, was the joyful day when I saw an Esquimaux arrive in the harbour. I ran to meet him, and called to him in the most friendly manner, addressing him in the Greenland language, which, to my inexpressible joy, he understood. I desired he would return and bring four of the chiefs of his tribe, which he willingly complied with. Meanwhile I dressed in my Greenland habit, and met them on their arrival on the beach, inviting them to come on shore. They cried, 'Here is an INNUIT (or countryman of ours).' I answered, `I am your countryman and friend.' They were surprised at my address, behaved very quietly, and I continued my conversation with them for a long time. At last they desired me to accompany them to an island, about an hour's row from the shore, adding, that there I should find their wives and children, who would receive me as a friend. This seemed at first a most hazardous undertaking, but conceiving it to be of essential service to our Saviour's cause, that I should venture my life amongst them, and endeavour to become better acquainted with their nation, I turned simply to Him, and said, `I will go with them in Thy name. If they kill me, my work on earth is done, and I shall live with Thee; but if they spare my life, I will firmly believe that it is Thy will that they should hear and believe Thy Gospel.' I went accordingly, and as soon as we arrived, there was a general shout, `Our friend is come!' They carried me ashore, and I was immediately so closely beset on all sides, that I could neither stir nor turn about. I endeavoured to make them place themselves in rows before me, which being done, I told them my view in coming to visit them - to make them acquainted with their God and Saviour; and promised, that, if they /5/ were willing to be taught, I would return next year with more of my brethren, build a house on their land, and speak to them every day of the way to life and happiness.
Having entered into much agreeable conversation with them, I returned in the same boat, and staid about a fortnight longer at Quirpont, where I had several opportunities of preaching to the boat's crew, being filled with joy and gratitude to God, who had thus mercifully heard my prayers and helped me.
"After our return to St. John's, which was attended with many hardships, I waited upon Sir Hugh Palliser, who received me with great kindness, and expressed his entire approbation of my proceedings. I returned to England in a frigate, and arrived, November 5th, with my brethren in London. Here, I entered into a negotiation with several gentlemen in office, relating to the proposed Mission on the coast of Labrador, and had several conferences with them, as also with Lord Hillsborough, who made several advantageous offers for the promotion of that cause.
"Having made another voyage to Newfoundland, I returned to Germany and spent four weeks at Herrnhut, where I gave a verbal account of my proceedings to the Brethren, to whom the direction of the affairs of our Missions was then committed. But hearing that an order of council was soon expected by our Brethren in London, to begin a Mission in Labrador, I hastened to England, where I found things not so far advanced as was expected. In 1767 I went to Zeist, in Holland, where I spent some time with much profit to my soul. But the Mission in Labrador remained the constant subject of my prayers and meditations, nor could I find freedom to accept of any appointment to other places, several of which were proposed to me, believing that God had not caused me to see such wonders of His mercy and preservation among the Esquimaux in vain.
"As the Brethren appointed to manage the affairs of the Unity were going to England this year, I asked and obtained leave to accompany them. On our arrival in London, several circumstances seemed to point out to me that the time was now come when the negotiations concerning Labrador might be renewed, and I therefore delivered a memorial to the Brethren, stating my reasons for thinking that an application to the English government would now be attended with success. I received for answer, that I had their permission to do what should appear most advisable to me in this business; and, having maturely considered my plan, and with prayer and supplication commended myself and the cause I was to serve unto the Lord, I waited upon Mr. Pownall, a gentleman in office, and delivered a petition, praying that a piece of land on the coast of Labrador might be given us, on which we might build a dwelling- house and church, and make a garden. This was well received, but the answer was somewhat delayed. Meanwhile the well-known Esquimaux woman, Mikak, was brought from Labrador to London. She rejoiced exceedingly to find in me one who could speak her language, and earnestly begged that I would return with her and help her poor countrymen, who were almost ruined, many of them having been shot in an affray which happened between them and the English. Her repeated applications were of great use in putting forward the business of the projected Mission, for she was noticed by many persons of rank and influence, and her request attended to. We now /6/ received the long-wished for grant from the Privy Council, by which the Brethren's Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel obtained permission from the king and his ministers, to make settlements on the coast of Labrador, and preach the Gospel to the Esquimaux.
"In the year 1769, I obtained leave to attend the general Synod of the Brethren's Church, held at Marienborn in Wetteravia. Here I experienced rich spiritual blessings, and was particularly led by the Holy Spirit to examine, whether my mind and temper were made conformable to the mind and will of my Saviour. I confessed my deficiency in this respect, and prayed him to deliver me from everything, that might either retard the completion of His work within me, or prove injurious to his cause, especially from the natural impetuosity and roughness of my disposition, which, as I was well aware, must give pain to those about me. The Synod resolved, that I should make another voyage to Labrador to examine the coast, and that in the year following a Mission should be established there. My heart and lips overflowed with praise and thanksgiving, that our Saviour had thus far helped us. In the year 1770, some brethren in London, who felt much interested in the Mission, purchased a vessel, with which they resolved to send us to the coast of Labrador, and to supply us annually with the necessaries of life, and, that they might be better able to support the undertaking, they agreed to commence some kind of traffic with the natives. With this vessel, Br. Drachart, (formerly a Missionary in Greenland), Br. Stephen Jensen, and I, set sail, to explore the coast and find a place fit to build on. We made the land at a place called Arnitok, an island about six miles from the spot where Nain now stands. Here we found twenty-nine boats full of Esquimaux, who began to behave with great insolence, and would not be quiet, till the report of our great guns frightened them into order. Having waited two days, we went on shore, met them in a friendly way, and preached the Gospel to them. After this, Br. Stephen Jensen and I went up and down the coast unmolested, seeking a proper spot for building, but in vain. We therefore set sail again, and ran into an harbour, upon the most eastern point of the main land near Nain. From hence, we passed by and between a number of islands and sunken rocks, and were mercifully protected from harm, though obliged to venture along this unknown coast, without charts, or pilots, or any guide whatever. I cannot describe the joy and gratitude we all felt, both for the temporal mercies and protecting care of God, which was every morning new, and particularly that He gave us favour in the sight of the Esquimaux, who willingly sold us their land, and earnestly begged us to return the next year and settle amongst them; as likewise that we had found a spot fit for a settlement, and hitherto met with everything according to our wishes. I had the best hopes, that His thoughts were thoughts of peace concerning this poor benighted nation, and that in His own time, He would glorify His saving name amongst them. We returned to London in autumn, and were employed during winter with building a house of framework, which now stands at Nain.
"APRIL 11th, 1771. - I was married at Chelsea to Mary Butterworth, of Fulneck, and in May, we again set sail for the coast of Labrador. I will not enumerate the many hardships and alarms necessarily experienced on a voyage along a rocky, unfrequented, and /7/ inhospitable coast, but only observe, that God sent his angels and brought us safe to land on the 9th of August, without the least accident, when we immediately found the spot pitched upon for the erection of our house at Nain. We had great trouble in putting it up, but the Esquimaux who visited us were so obedient and quiet, that we were not in the least disturbed by them. Many were the remarkable occurrences during the years 1771, 1772, and 1773, some of which gave me pain and trouble, but I cannot name them at all: the Lord maintained His work amidst all my mistakes, and in the last-mentioned year, the visit of Br. Layritz to this Mission, by commission of the Elders' Conference of the Unity, proved a great comfort to me and all my fellow- labourers.
"In the year 1774, I received a commission to go with the Brethren Brasen, Lister, and Lehman, to explore the coast to the north of Nain. Just as we were setting out, an uncommon horror and trembling seized me, so that, contrary to my former experience, I was exceedingly intimidated, and wished rather to stay at home.
"We had the misfortune to suffer shipwreck on our return. It had snowed the whole night, and was very cold. A brisk gale sprung up from the north-east, which inspired us with the hope that we should soon reach Nain. September 14th, towards four p.m., we all at once found ourselves in shoal water, which surprised us exceedingly, as we were in the usual channel between Nain and Navon, and more than a league from the nearest island. We tacked about immediately. Scarcely had we done this, when the vessel struck on a rocky bottom, which, as we afterwards learned, is dry at spring-tide. The boat was lowered immediately, in order to take the soundings round the ship, and, as we found deep water at the bows, we proposed casting an anchor forwards. There was too much sea, however, to allow us to row out with it; we therefore let down a small anchor to steady the boat during this operation. But no sooner was the large anchor on board the boat, than the sails got loose, and drove it before the wind; so that it took the men half an hour's hard rowing to get back to the sloop, and reach the rope which we threw out to them. After the anchor was cast, we endeavoured to wear the ship off, but finding that the anchor drove, and that we had now only four feet of water, we were obliged to desist, till the tide should turn, and commend ourselves meanwhile to the mercy of God. We had, however, but slender hope that the ship would hold out so long, as the waves broke over us incessantly, and we expected every moment to see her go to pieces. We secured the boat as well as we could, by means of three strong ropes two inches thick, and, in full resignation to the Lord's will, determined to stay in the sloop till morning, if possible. The wind roared furiously; every wave washed over us; and the foaming of the deep was rendered yet more terrible by the thick darkness of the night. Towards ten o'clock, the ship began to roll most violently, and to drive upon the cliffs in such a manner, that everything on board was turned upside down, and we could not but fear that the timbers would soon part. Shortly after ten, the rudder was carried away by a huge wave, which broke over the whole vessel, and covered us as with a winding-sheet. Our two sailors entreated us to take the boat, if we wished to save our lives. We represented to them the danger of braving so rough a sea in so small a boat; and that, supposing it could outlive that, it must inevitably perish in the breakers /8/ on the coast, which we could not avoid in the darkness. We begged them to stay by the ship as long as possible; perhaps we might maintain the post till daybreak, and, at all events, should it come to the worst, we had the boat to fly to. They appeared to give in to our arguments; but we were obliged to watch their motions, lest they should slip off with the boat. We waited in stillness what our dear Lord should appoint for us. "By two o'clock in the morning of the 15th, the sloop had shipped so much water, that the chests on which we sat began to float, and we were obliged to leave the cabin and go on to the upper deck, where a fearful scene presented itself. The middle deck was entirely under water, and the waves were rolling mountains high. All were now convinced that it was time to leave the vessel. But here we were met by a new difficulty. The sea was so rough, that, had we brought the boat alongside, it would inevitably have been stove in. We therefore drew it astern, and, climbing one by one down the anchor-shaft, jumped into it, and through the mercy of God, we all, nine in number, succeeded in reaching it. We now found that we had taken this step only just in time, for two of the three ropes by which the boat was moored had already given way, and the third held only by one strand, the others having parted, so that we should very soon have lost our boat. Our first business was to bale out the water which the boat had shipped in no small quantity. Our oars being useless in such a sea, we let the boat run before the wind, which it did with incredible celerity. We attempted in vain to get under the lee of different islands, as the breakers drove us off from the coast whenever we approached it. At length we thought we saw a prospect of finding harbourage between two islands, but we were interrupted again by rocks and breakers. The boat filled with water, which kept us constantly at work, and as there appeared to be no other resource left, we resolved in God's name to run the boat on shore, which was about twenty yards distant, but begirt with cliffs on which the waves were dashing furiously. We darted rapidly through them, when the boat struck on a sunken rock with such violence, that we were all thrown from our seats, and the boat instantly filled with water. The captain, John Hill, and the two sailors, threw themselves into the sea, and swam to land, which they gained in safety, and from whence they reached out an oar to assist the rest in landing. Br. Lister was the first who neared the shore, but he was driven back into the sea by the violence of the waves. On approaching the rocks a second time, he found a small ledge, by which he held on, till the oar was extended to him by his companions on the strand. I had been thrown out of the boat by the first shock, and resigned myself to the Lord's gracious hands to do with me what He pleased. After swallowing a large quantity of water, I was hurled back into the boat, and, as it drifted to the shore, I succeeded in grasping the friendly oar. At the same time, the Esquimaux pilot clung to my legs, and thus we were both drawn up the rocks together. Br. Brasen thrice gained the rocks, and twice caught hold of the oar, but he was so exhausted, and encumbered besides by his heavy garments, that he could make no effort to save himself, and finally sank. Br. Lehman was heard exclaiming, as the boat struck, `Dear Saviour, I commend my spirit into Thy hands!' We all thought that he had got /9/ on shore, but it pleased the Lord thus to take him to Himself. The rest of us who had reached dry land were rescued for the present from a watery grave, but we found ourselves on a bare rock, half dead with cold, in so dark a night, that we could not see a hand before us, - without shelter, without food, without boat, - in short, without the smallest gleam of hope that we should ever leave this fearful spot alive. We knew that no Esquimaux were likely to come this way, as they had all resolved to winter to the south of Nain. The cold was intense, so that we were obliged to keep ourselves warm by constant motion. When morning came, we sought for our boat, but in vain: a few fragments of it which had been washed on shore, was all that we could find, and we concluded that it had gone to pieces. We also met with a few blankets, some broken biscuits, and other articles, which we collected very carefully. At low water, we discovered the bodies of our two Brethren lying close together on the strand, but they were quite dead. They were safe from all trouble, and had Brethren surviving to bury their remains, while we had no other prospect than to pine away with hunger, and then leave our bodies to be entombed by birds and beasts of prey. About seven o'clock in the morning, we had the joy to see, first the prow and then the stern of our boat emerging from the water. But our joy was damped on dragging it to land, for the planks were torn off from both sides of the keel, and the few ribs left were in splinters. Happily, however, the prow, stern, and keel, were yet entire. We now set ourselves to repair the boat, impracticable as it seemed with such a lack of materials for the purpose. Yet we contrived to lash the blankets over the open spaces, sewing to them, in addition, all the seal-skins we could muster from our upper and nether garments, including even our boots. We spent three days in these miserable repairs, and, on the 18th, we launched our boat for Nain, which, by the help of an Esquimaux party that we met not far from the settlement, we succeeded in reaching the same evening.
"After our return to Nain, I was overwhelmed with sorrow, - spent days and nights in sighs and tears, - thought much of my past life, - cried to the Lord for help, and forgiveness of all my many failings, and renewed my vows to devote myself entirely to His service. In spring, 1775, I went with the Brethren Lister and Beck to explore the south coast, when we penetrated beyond Old Hopedale, and, after some research, found a spot near Arvertok better suited for the purpose of a Mission settlement than any hitherto discovered. When Br. Liebisch arrived this summer at Nain, he brought me a commission to begin the new settlement at Okkak, north of Nain. I felt not a little anxiety on this occasion, knowing the difficulties attending such a commission, but accepted of it in reliance upon our Saviour's help. Br. Stephen Jensen accompanied me, and we purchased the land from the Esquimaux, placed stones to mark the boundaries, and made a plan for the building. In 1776, the timber was cut and prepared at Nain, and the ship having arrived from England, it was put on board, and we sailed with it to the place of our destination. My wife had lain in but eight weeks, but she and our little infant son bore the voyage very well. We immediately went to work, and set up the house. I had the grace in all trying circumstances to cleave to my Saviour, of whose /10/ gracious assistance I had manifold experience. He was with us, and gave us success in our present enterprise.
"Having finished the building of our house, we moved into it, and at our first conference were so united, by the power of Jesus' grace, in brotherly love and harmony, that we made a covenant with each other, to offer soul and body to the Lord, to serve Him without fear, and bear each other's burdens with a cheerful heart: nor did we meet with the least interruption during this whole year, so that I justly count it the happiest of my whole life. I could preach the Gospel to the Esquimaux with a cheerful heart, and the Lord blessed my weak testimony of His death and love to sinners, so that several of them became concerned to obtain deliverance from sin and everlasting life, and most were sober and attentive hearers.
"In autumn, 1777, I was invited to visit Europe, which proved both to me and my wife a great refreshment. Though my wife was so ill at sea, that she never could leave her cabin, and we had three small children with us, two of our own and a son of our late Br. Brasen, whom I was obliged constantly to attend to, yet I remained cheerful, and the Lord helped me through in many remarkable instances. We arrived at Niesky, in Upper Lusatia, in January, 1778, and, both there and at Herrnhut, were received and treated with the most affectionate regard and love by the congregations. March 10th, our youngest son, Samuel Peter, departed this life by occasion of the small-pox, and soon after, having received the needful instructions from the Elders' Conference of the Unity, by whom we were earnestly commended in fervent prayer to the grace and protection of the Lord, we returned to Labrador by way of England. The American war raged at that time, and the seas swarmed with privateers; but we ventured upon God's help, and sailed without convoy. We saw no enemy, and met with no kind of disaster; but, when we came near the coast of Labrador, we discovered an ice- mountain of prodigious extent and height before us, and had scarce passed it in safety, before it fell to pieces with a tremendous crash, putting the surrounding sea into the most dreadful agitation and foam. Had this happened but a few minutes before, we must have perished in the immense ruin. Filled with thanks to God for our deliverance, we arrived safe at Nain, August 30th, and proceeded thence to Okkak, where we found twelve baptized, and candidates for baptism. I was much concerned, how to take proper care of these souls committed to our trust. During the following three years, which I spent at Okkak, our labour among the Esquimaux was attended with many vicissitudes; yet the preaching of the Gospel proved its power in the hearts of many, and in 1781, the number of baptized Esquimaux amounted to thirty-eight souls, which, with those who were considered as candidates for baptism, made a congregation of nearly fifty persons. In autumn, I was called to Nain to assist in the erection of the Mission-house destined for Arvertok, (now Hopedale), which was conveyed thither and set up in the year following. My heart rejoiced at the increase of the work of God in this country; and, when we began to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in these parts, it produced blessed fruits in the hearts of several Esquimaux. Some, indeed, opposed the truth with violence, but others came to /11/ ask, what they should do to be saved. During the winter, the awakening spread still further among the Esquimaux, which made all our trials and troubles appear easy to us, because we perceived that the Lord was with us and blessed us.
"But now both I and my wife began to feel the effects of age and hardships, and our strength seemed exhausted. The year 1783 was, amidst all bodily weakness, a period of blessing for our souls; and though we were quite resigned to the will of our Lord as to our future stay in this land, yet we thought it incumbent upon us to represent to our Brethren in Europe, that, in our present state of infirmity, we were not able to do the work committed unto us in the manner we wished, and therefore proposed to them to take our return into consideration. Meanwhile the Gospel was heard with uncommon attention by the people at Hopedale and its neighbourhood, and we were anxious lest the proper attention should not be paid to the awakened souls. They were exceedingly desirous to know more of their God and Saviour, and we prayed the Lord, that we might have grace to treat them with wisdom and profit. In 1784 we had seventeen candidates for baptism."
Thus far the written narrative of our late Brother is continued in his own handwriting:
He obtained his dismission in the same year, and arrived safe at Herrnhut, as his future place of rest. Though he possessed an extraordinary degree of activity, and his zeal for the service of our Saviour, in which he had experienced many trials and sufferings, was very great, yet he felt no uneasiness in his present situation, but seemed to enjoy true rest and peace in soul and body. He highly valued the privilege of living in a place, where he could daily converse with children of God, and frequently declared his gratitude in the most lively terms, for the love, regard, and active benevolence of the Brethren and Sisters. It was the delight of his heart to attend the daily meetings of the congregation, nor would he ever miss one of them as long as he was able. He also worked at his trade, and endeavoured to earn his own bread as long as his sight would permit.
In the year 1786 he had a stroke, which greatly weakened his nerves, and particularly his sight; yet he consented, in reliance upon the help of the Lord, to accompany some Sisters who were going in the year 1788 to Sarepta, in Asia, as far as Petersburg, from whence he returned safe in September. For the last six years of his life, he was quite blind. Trying as this situation was to a man of his vivacity of spirit, he never murmured, or ascribed it to the hardships he had suffered, but took it patiently, as out of the hand of the Lord, and, by His grace, shewed exemplary resignation and cheerfulness, to the great edification of all who visited him. His conversation was profitable even to persons of rank, who never failed to call upon him when they visited Herrnhut, and none who came hither with a view to profit for their souls neglected to converse with him; for it was plain that what he said proceeded from the experience of a heart living in constant communion with God, and rejoicing in his salvation. His manner was always undisguised, plain, and without any fear of man; but, whenever he was conscious of having given away in expression to the natural /12/ impetuosity of his temper, he acknowledged his fault with great concern and begged pardon for it. He grew at length quite helpless, and was the more thankful for the faithful care and nursing of his wife. His son was a continual object of his prayers, and he never failed daily to offer up prayer and supplication for all children of God everywhere, the church of the Brethren, and in particular for the Missions among the heathen, and especially that on the coast of Labrador. Last autumn, he grew considerably weaker, and was subject to frequent fits of faintings, oppression in the breast, and headaches; yet the Lord blessed the medical assistance he received so as frequently to remove the pain attending these maladies. He thought and spoke much of departing to the Lord, and his joy was great indeed, when he meditated on the promise given by our Saviour in His word, concerning the bliss of His redeemed ones, when, delivered from all the sorrows and vicissitudes of this earth, they shall flee him face to face. When the Sacrament was administered to him last Maundy Thursday, he said: "This will be my last on earth." On the 12th of April, he fully expected that he would be permitted to depart that day, but though disappointed as to the day, he was remarkably cheerful, and even in the night of the 15th rose out of bed to help himself to some refreshment. But early in the morning of the 16th, he began to shew symptoms of fast approaching dissolution, which was hastened by a fit of apoplexy about half after five o'clock, when his soul went over into everlasting bliss, having spent little short of twenty-two years in this vale of tears. Upon a slip of paper, found after his decease, were these words. "I wish the following were added to the narrative of my life: on such a day - Jens Haven, a poor sinner, who in his own judgment deserved eternal condemnation, fell happily asleep, relying upon the death and merits of Jesus."