SOME ACCOUNT
Of our late Brother John Christopher Wolff, who served the mission in Labrador for 33 years,
and departed this life in London, December 25,1814.
Periodical Accounts, 162-67

He was born November 26th, 1753, at Neukirch, near Bautzen, in Upper Lusatia. In his early youth he enjoyed the pastoral care of that indefatigable and anointed servant of God, the Rev. Mr. Reichell, well known in Germany, and throughout the Christian world, by his zealous and successful labours in the cause of God. After imparting to our late Brother, as well as to the other children in the parish, the most careful instruction, which, by the Lord's mercy, effected a real awakening of his soul, he confirmed him for the first enjoyment of the Lord's Supper.

 It pleased the Lord to preserve him from the snares and seductions of a wicked world; and, as he felt a great desire to join the church of the Brethren, and to live in one of their settlements, he was strengthened therein by the advice of his venerable pastor. The first place he applied for admission was that at Nisky; but he was afterwards removed to Herrnhut, and was received into the congregation in 1776.
 At Herrnhut he grew in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and was enabled to make a total surrender of himself with soul and body unto Him, who had loved him, and given Himself for him. Having offered himself as a candidate for the service among the heathen, his offer was /163/ accepted, from the knowledge the Brethren had of his sincerity, humility, and fitness for such a commission. He was appointed in 1781 to the service of the Mission in Labrador, and entered upon his labours with cheerfulness, and a heart truly devoted to the cause of the Redeemer, to whom he committed himself, entreating Him to grant unto him the necessary qualifications and gifts for the work assigned him: His first endeavour was to learn the Esquimaux language, which, especially to a person not accustomed to the study of languages, is a task of no small difficulty: but, by the blessing of the Lord upon his diligence, he soon was able to converse, and, by degrees, to testify in it of the love of Jesus to poor perishing sinners. As he himself lived in the fruition of this grace, it was his heart's delight to extol the mercy and power of his Saviour, and the efficacy of His atoning death for the salvation of lost men. He first resided at Nain, and then at Okkak, and assisted in the building of the new settlement at Hopedale.
 In 1791, he married at Nain, and thence went to Hopedale, where, with his wife, he laboured with unwearied diligence, being always ready for every good work. Both of them, however, became afflicted with various ailments of the rheumatic kind, which principally affected his wife, and caused him in 1799 to visit Europe, in hopes of relief.
 During his stay in London, both going to, and returning from Germany, his cheerfulness and devotedness of heart delighted and edified all who conversed with him. The late Right Hon. Charles Greville, who always approved himself a true friend to the Missions of the Brethren, hearing that there were Missionaries from Labrador in town, (the Brethren Wolff and Hasting), expressed a particular wish to see them at his house. The simple manners, unaffected piety, and interesting conversation of these dear servants of Jesus, gained for them so much esteem in the mind of this noble person, celebrated for every accomplishment that adorns a man of high rank and learning, that he often afterward expressed the great pleasure he had enjoyed in the recollection of their visit, and insisted upon their spending another afternoon with him on their return. On this occasion, Mr. Greville asking our late Brother, whether the wish he had expressed, soon to return to the barren coast of Labrador, /164/ and to a nature of such barbarous manners, was truly sincere, or only professed, from a principle of consistency, and not being willing to flinch from what he had once undertaken, though secretly wishing that he could with propriety have stayed in Europe, his answer was to this effect, in intelligible but broken English: "Sir, I do sincerely wish to return to Labrador; and that from a fervent love to the Esquimaux, and to my service among them. It is true, that when I had been eighteen years in that country, I felt a great desire to visit my relations and friends, and the Brethren's congregation in Europe. It was like the feeling of hunger I had this forenoon, while I was waiting for your late dinner: but now, since you have treated me so hospitably, my hunger is satisfied. I am thankful, but want no more, and am ready to go home. Thus my hunger after the enjoyment of my friend's company has been richly satisfied. For the kindness and love of my Brethren in all places where we have been, I feel thankful, and am refreshed by it. I am now ready to return to my work, and, if it pleases the Lord, to lay down my bones among those dear people, whom I love as my children."
 With such a mind and heart, he returned to his service, being first stationed at Hopedale, and then Okkak, where for some time he enjoyed a tolerable state of health and spirits. But soon the rheumatic pains returned, and his wife suffered so much by their violence, that she grew quite lame in her hands and arms, and unable to be active in her station. A singular accident, also, contributed to render our late Brother still infirm. He had been in an out-house to fetch some reindeer venison, and was carrying it towards the dwelling-house, when he was attacked by a number of dogs, whose hunger had made them bold. Being unprovided with a stick, by which, if ever so slender, these animals might easily be kept in order, he had no other means of defence but his hand, and in the scuffle fell down. This gave the dogs the victory, and while some of them began to bite his legs, their teeth penetrating through the skin boots even to the bone, others seized the venison, and ran away with it; on which those who had attacked his person, set off in pursuit. He was scarcely able to rise and creep into the house, and the wounds thus received, for /165/ a long time would not heal, the erysipelas and other disorders striking to the injured part.
 They were now obliged to request their dismission, to the great regret of their fellow-labourers, and already in 1812 obtained leave to return with the ship. But as great inconvenience would have attended their leaving Labrador at the time, and his knowledge of the language made his presence very desirable, they were both satisfied to remain at their post. The case was the same in 1813, when the difficulty would have been equally great, had they left the Mission. Notwithstanding, therefore, that they had both suffered much during the preceding year, they determined to trust in the Lord's help, and to hold out still longer. Their faith was not put to shame, and they recovered so far as to be able to assist in the labour with cheerfulness.
 At length, in 1814, they left Labrador, and arrived, October 25th, in London. Their wish to spend the winter in England was granted, and our late Brother appeared to have gained a considerable portion of his health by the voyage. But, whether ailing or in better health, his conversation was always distinguished by an uncommon degree of cheerful acquiescence in the Lord's will concerning his past a future course. He possessed a peculiar serenity of mind, and a spirit of love and kindness, which engaged the esteem and affection of all who knew him. Whenever he spoke of his service among the heathen, it was with unfeigned humility, but likewise with fervent gratitude to our Saviour, that He had vouchsafed to employ in His vineyard so poor and worthless an instrument as he deemed himself to be, giving him grace pleasantly to proceed in the work committed to him, and favouring him to see many Esquimaux turn from heathenish ways, and become living members of the church of Christ. When he entered upon that subject, his whole heart was alive, and no one could listen to him without regret, that a man of such grace and gifts for the work should be so soon rendered incapable of remaining in his station by bodily infirmity. His account of every circumstance connected both with the external and internal state of the Mission, and the manners and habits of the Esquimaux, was remarkably clear, instructive, and entertaining. Little did we suppose, /166/ that this good and faithful servant of Jesus would soon be called to enter into the joy of his Lord. He had been invited to attend a funeral on the 21st of December at Chelsea. The sharpness of the air affected him much, though he went and returned in a coach. In the burying-ground, he visited the tomb of his fellow-labourer the late Brother David Krgelstein, who departed at sea in the year 1794.
 In the following night he was seized with a shortness of breath, which was indeed troublesome, but not attended with any degree of pain. Means were applied, but in vain, and on the third day danger was apprehended. He remained uniformly cheerful and happy in the company of visiting friends. To a brother who asked him, whether he thought that this disorder might end in his departure out of this world, he gave the following answer: "No, I am not sure of that; but I am in the Lord's hand, let him do with me as He thinks best. I know, that I am a poor sinner, full of faults and wants, and need daily to be cleansed with the blood of Jesus, and to have my sins forgiven. But I also know assuredly, that He does forgive me, and that I am His child: nothing, therefore, can happen to me, but by His gracious will, and whatever does happen, will be best for me. I am quite easy about the result."
 On returning from the evening-service on Christmas-eve, several Brethren called to see him, with whom he spoke in his usual friendly manner, and appeared in general relieved in his breathing, insomuch that hopes were entertained of his recovery. During the night he grew more restless, though still pleasantly conversing with his wife and another Sister who watched with him, till about four o'clock, when he gradually seemed to lose his recollection. The minister being called, offered up a prayer at his bed-side, thanking the Lord for all the mercy bestowed upon this His faithful servant, and concluding with the words: "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for his eyes have seen Thy salvation." About nine o'clock in the morning, being Christmas-day, his redeemed soul took flight into the realms of endless bliss and glory. He was 61 years old, when he departed.
 We can with truth say of our dear departed Brother, that he was a man peculiarly prepared by the Lord and His Spirit /167/ for the work of a Missionary. He was blessed with a sound mind, and an experimental knowledge of the truths of the Gospel. His lively disposition was sanctified for the best of purposes. Cheerful, easy, and mild in temper, he never stood dismayed when difficulties presented themselves, but pressed forward in faith, trusting to the grace, love, and power of his God and Saviour. To this he added a willing heart, an amiable disposition, a readiness to serve, and a disinterested desire to promote the welfare of all mankind, but particularly that of the nation among whom he laboured in the gospel. He was therefore beloved and respected both by his fellow-labourers and the Esquimaux.
 May his example be followed by all, whom the Lord shall send forth into His harvest, that, like him, they may be prepared, whenever their Lord cometh, to meet Him with joy, and to obtain that crown of life which is laid up for all those who love His glorious appearing. C.I.L.
(Text made available by Dr. Hans Rollmann)