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1753 appeared to be involved in inextricable confusion. BankAge 50 ruptcy was imminent; disgrace was great. Peter Bohler, at the time, was the minister in London, and did his utmost to calm the troubled waters. Scandals of all kinds were rife; and even Bohler himself was not exempt from the general censure, a fact which led him, in March, 1753, to refuse to join with the Brethren in the holy communion, and which probably had something to do with his leaving London for America in the month of June ensuing.1

In the midst of all this, a terrible onslaught was made upon the Moravians, and upon Zinzendorf in particular, by Henry Rimius, "Aulic Counsellor to his late majesty the King of Prussia," in an octavo pamphlet of 177 pages, dedicated to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and entitled, "A Candid Narrative of the Rise and Progress of the Herrnhuthers, commonly called Moravians, or Unitas Fratrum." In one place, he charges Zinzendorf with flagrant falsehood. He states, that in his book, "Natural Reflections," the count asserts that "he had been examined by the Theological Faculty at Copenhagen." Upon inquiry, this was found to be an absolute untruth, and had been positively contradicted by a public act of the said faculty, signed with their corporate seal.

Wesley read Rimius's narrative as soon as it was published, and wrote: "It informed me of nothing new. I still think several of the inconsiderable members of that community are upright; but I fear their governors wax worse and worse, having their conscience scared as with a hot iron."

Whitefield, in a letter dated March 21, 1753, observed:"What is happening to the Moravians is no more than I have long expected, and spoken of to many friends. Their scheme is so antichristian in almost every respect, that I am amazed the eyes of the English Brethren have not long since been opened."

Whitefield tried to open them. He published a pamphlet, entitled, "An Expostulatory Letter, addressed to Nicholas Lewis, Count Zinzendorf, and Lord Advocate of the Unitas Fratrum." The letter, dated April 24, 1753, in whole or in

1 James Hutton's Memoirs.

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part, was reprinted in the magazines and newspapers of that period, and produced a great sensation.

Zinzendorf and his friends are charged with "misguiding many honest hearted Christians; with distressing, if not ruining, numerous families; and with introducing a whole farrago of superstitions, not to say idolatrous fopperies, into the English nation." The Unitas Fratrum are accused of "walking round the graves of their deceased friends on Easter day, attended with hautboys, trumpets, french horns, and violins." Zinzendorf had suffered incense to be "burnt for him, in order to perfume the room before he made his entrance among the brethren"; and had allowed a picture to be exhibited in a lovefeast, "representing him handing a gentleman and lady up to the side of Jesus Christ." It was alleged, that the married women were "ordered to wear blue knots; the single women, pink; those that were just marriageable, pink and white; widows that were past childbearing, white; and those that were not so, blue and white." Hannah Nitschmann, the general eldress of the Fetter Lane congregation, wore "the episcopal knot," and might be seen sitting at the head of a table, surrounded with eldresses and deaconesses, covered with artificial flowers, and bearing a small altar on which stood a cross composed of glittering stones, and environed with wax tapers. On Hannah's birthday, the floor of one of the rooms in the house of the single brethren was covered with sand and moss, amid which a star was made of coloured pebbles. Upon the star was placed a gilded dove, spouting water from its mouth. The room was curiously decked with moss and shells; and here Zinzendorf, Hannah Nitschmann, Peter Bohler, and other labourers sat, in high dignity, beneath an alcove made of pasteboard. Upon a table was an altar covered with shells, and, on each side of the altar, a bloody heart emitting flames. The place was illuminated with wax candles; and musicians were fixed in an adjacent room, while Zinzendorf and his company performed their devotions, and regaled themselves with sweetmeats, coffee, tea, and wine.

Zinzendorf is said to be over head and ears in debt; and many of the English Brethren, by signing bonds for more. than they had means to pay, had exposed themselves to bankruptcy and prison. Peter Bohler, to comfort one of the


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creditors, William Bell, had sent for him to his house in Age 50 Neville's Alley, Fetter Lane; where an artificial mountain had been erected in the hall, which, upon the singing of a particular verse, was made to fall flat down, and then behind it appeared a representation of Mr. Bell and the blessed Saviour embracing each other, while the clouds above were raining money most gloriously. Mr. Freeman and Mr. Grace had found bills drawn in their names, unknown to them, to the amount of £48,000; and Mr. Rhodes had been prevailed upon to sell his estate, of above £400 per annum, to meet the necessities of the Unitas Fratrum; and, to avoid further payments, for which he had made himself responsible by signing bonds, had fled to France, leaving behind him a destitute mother, who since had died.1

Such is the substance of Whitefield's letter, What were its effects? Wesley writes:

"July, 1753.—I found the town much alarmed with Mr. Rimius's narrative, and Mr. Whitefield's letter to Count Zinzendorf. It seems, indeed, that God is hastening to bring to light those hidden works of darkness. Mr. Whitefield showed me the letters he had lately received from the count, P. Bohler, and James Hutton. I was amazed. Either furious anger or settled contempt breathed in every one of them. Were they ashamed after all the abominations they had committed? No; they were not ashamed: they turned the tables upon Mr. Whitefield. The count blustered, like himself, and roundly averred, he could say something if he would. J James Hutton said flat, 'You have more than diabolical impudence; I believe the devil himself has not so much.'"

Wesley has not recorded the sentiments of his old friend Peter Bohler; but Whitefield states, that Bohler availed himself of the pulpit to declare, that his letter "was all a lie." It so happens, however, that, since then, the letters of the count, of Bohler, and of Hutton have been published. Zinzendorf says: "As yet, I owe not a farthing of the £40,000 you are pleased to tell me of;" and concludes thus: "As your heart is not prepared to love me, nor your understanding to listen to my reasons" (which he declines to give) "I wish you well. sir, and am your loving friend, LOUIS."

Peter Bohler, in his letter of May 4, begins: "Sir, I pity

1 Whitefield's Works, vol. iv., p. 253.

2 Ibid. vol. iii., p. 14.

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you very much, that you suffer yourself to be so much im- 1753 posed upon, and to print your impositions so inconsiderately. Age 50 You have now attempted a second time to ruin my character." He then denies, that he was the inventor of the artificial mount, but does not affirm that it was not employed. He concludes as follows: "Dear Mr. Whitefield, when the secret intentions of man, together with all his unjust deeds, will be judged, how glad would you be then, not to have treated our society in general, and, in particular, that venerable person against whom your letter is chiefly levelled, and poor I, in so injurious, yea, I may say, impudent and wicked a manner. PETER BOHLER."

Hutton's letter eulogizes the count in the highest terms. "When he awakes in the morning, he is all sweetness, calmness, tender harmoniousness with those about him; and, all the day long, he is busied in doing and contriving the kindest offices for mankind." He is "usefully employed constantly eighteen hours in twenty-four, and very frequently more; and is a man of no expense at all upon his person, so that any one receiving £50 a year to find him in all necessaries, to his satisfaction, would certainly be no loser by the bargain." And yet, "many bulls of Bashan round about, as brute beasts without understanding, roared madly against him; and, by daubings and grotesque paintings, described him as a Mahommed, a Cæsar, an impostor, a Don Quixote, a devil, the beast, the man of sin, the whore, the antichrist."

It is right to add, that Thomas Rhodes, whose case Whitefield had quoted, says, in a letter dated October 21, 1733: "what Mr. Whitefield has written concerning the United. Brethren and me, is, the greatest part, entire falsities, and the remainder are truths set in a false light." He admits, however, the sale of his estate.

Far from pleasant is the task of raking into dunghills such as this; but history cannot afford to forget unpleasant facts. Whitefield's letter, perhaps, was obtrusive, and officious, and, to some extent, incorrect; but there can be no doubt, that its leading allegations were founded upon truth.

Happily for himself, Wesley was not an actor in this humbling fracas; and yet, before the year was ended, he was involved within its meshes. In October, he spent four days at


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Bedford, where a Moravian congregation had been founded in 1744, and where, in 1747, "the chief labourer" startled some of the Brethren by announcing: "My brethren, we have received new orders. In London, Yorkshire, and all other places, nò person is to go out of the town without the leave of the chief labourer. So it must be here. Observe, no one must go out of town, no not a mile, without leave from me." In 1750, they built a chapel ; squabbles followed; and Wesley, apparently by request, went, at the time above stated, to visit them. He writes: "I met the little society, just escaped with the skin of their teeth. From the account which each of these gave, it appeared clear to a demonstration—(1) That their elders usurped a more absolute authority over the conscience, than the Bishop of Rome himself does. (2) That, to gain and secure this, they used a continued train of guile, fraud, and falsehood of every kind. (3) That they scrape their votaries to the bone as to their worldly substance, leaving little to any, to some nothing, or less than nothing. (4) That still they are so infatuated as to believe, that theirs is the only true church upon earth."

But leaving the Moravians, let us track Wesley's footsteps during the year 1753.

The first two months were spent in London. He visited "the Marshalsea prison, a nursery of all manner of wickedness." "O shame to man," he writes, "that there should be such a picture of hell upon earth! And shame to those who bear the name of Christ, that there should need any prison at all in Christendom."

He visited many of the sick and poor, and writes: "Who could see such scenes unmoved? There are none such in a pagan country. If any of the Indians in Georgia were sick, those that were near them gave them whatever they wanted. Oh who will convert the English into honest heathen? I found some in their cells underground; others in their garrets, half starved both with cold and hunger; but I found not one of them unemployed, who was able to crawl about the So wickedly, devilishly false is that common objection, 'They are poor, only because they are idle.' If you saw these things with your own eyes, could you lay out money in ornaments and superfluities?"


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