REPORT ON GERMAN MISSIONS, LOUISVILLE, KY - 1854
A Short review of the German Mission in the city of Louisville and its vicinity, from 5th of December, 1853, to October 1st 1854, by J. Weller, Missionary.
BELOVED BRETHREN IN CHRIST OUR LORD: - Through the wonderful guidance of God and your calling, I began my work as a missionary in this fie1d in December last. With a burdened heart I commenced my operations. I knew the field of labor mnst be a very dfficult one. I knew I must meet indifference, superstition, and bigotry from one class of countrymen, and open infidelity from the other. The emigration from Germany since 1848, differs very much from previous emigration. They are either chained to a dead church and its forms, or they are those who having discerned the deception of priestcraft, have turned away to a vain philosophy, rejecting all revealed religion. To preach the gospe1 of Jesus Christ in its original purity and simplicity to such a people must necessarily he attended with more than ordinary opposition and greater obstacles than usual. But feeling as the Apostles,"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth," I have been patient and persevering.
At first I visited the Germans in their houses, gave away more than one thousand tracts, with many Bibles and Testaments; he1d with them prayer-meetings, and often preached. On the 30th of March last， a little Church of five members was organized, and I was ordained their pastor; since then five more have been added. We have from eight to twenty-two visitors in our congregation every service. We have organized a Sabbath-school. Two of our brethren give their attention to the distribution of tracts every Sabbath afternoon.
Although the flock is a small one, and what I have accomplished little, yet be not discouraged: I am not. Though only one sinner turns truly to God, it is not to be lightly esteemed. We have now three little bands of disciples - one in Louisville, one in New Albany, and a third in Clark county, Indiana, not yet organized into a Church, but soon will be, I hope. All these German brethren are men who contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints; every brother is priest at the altar of God; all live in peace and harmony with each other.
New Albany I visited at the request of some eight brethren residing there; for the first time, the 2d of April. On the 23d of the same month they were regularly organized as a German Baptist Church. I contlnue to vislt this Church as often as opportunity permits. The members do not fail to assemble themselves together whether they have preaching or not. The number of hearers are from twenty to twenty-eight. Two have been added to this little Church by baptism, a Jewish Rabbi and his wife. When he found the way of salvation he could not consent to any human
form of doctrine, hence could not be a Pedobaptist; and finding that we hold the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice, he united with our Church. This brother is a very talented and learned man. He spoke at his baptism, and much joy was among the brethren: many tears were shed by the by-standers. May not this brother make an able workman in the vineyard of our common Lord!
I was invited to preach at Charlestown, by a German brother, Charles Sohall. I made my first visit the 24th of June, when the brother called his German neighbors together, of all classes and sects. From twenty to twenty-eight attend regularly. They have commenced a weekly meeting among themselves, and I hope they will soon become a Baptist Church. Is not this encouraging? An interest at three points; and from a fourth, Sellersburg, Indiana, a call, "Come and help us!" Many Germans are now watching to see if this work will be sustained. It depends， brethren on you. In the discharge of your duty remember this benighted people. Remember them in their struggles with Popery and infidelity, not only with your prayers, but by your means. Don't let this little mission go down. And as Brother Kopf has lately united with us, we recommend him as one capable of being an able workman in this little mission. We hope you will obtain all the help possible, for it is truly needed. A place of worship is much wanted.
LOUISVILLE - Sermons, 116; baptisms, two; by letter, four; dead, one; total, ten.
NEW ALBANY - Sermons， eighteen; baptisms， two; total， ten.
SYLVAN GROVE - Sermons six.
The following is a communication from the German Baptist Church, Louisville, to the General Association:
BELOVED BRETHREN: - We esteem it our privilege and duty to lay before your body now in session, a statement as to our condition and prospects. It is our unspeakable joy to inform you that the Lord, through his appointed means, is doing a good and progressive work of love and grace among many of the German households of faith. The Lord, by the preaching of the word and assisting power of the Holy Spirit， is calling many to conversion and repentance in our midst. The Church, too, reflecting the image of her Head, is aiding in this great work, so that we feel many sha11 be added to her communion of such as shall be saved. Hy [sic- By] laboring constantly in word and doctrine, and by praying fervently and unitedly that God's truth may be made effective in those who hear, already are sinners, yes, German sinners, being convicted, repenting, seeking and finding peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The work goes on encouragingly as Brother Weller's report does also show.
2. Stíll there are many obstacles in the way of promoting the cause of Christ in our midst - obstacles, however, which we believe God will, in his providence, and by His Spirit, ultimately remove.
The German character has undergone a great change. The former emigrants were those brought up in priestly traditions, inconsistent, indeed, with the truth, but still believers in God and Jesus Christ. And when you, beloved Americans, received them into your embrace, and welcomed them to the truth, many were induced to forsake their superstitions, and were disposed by Divine direction to build upon the Rock Christ Jesus. The present emigration coming to your shores, are without faith entirely. They are disciples rather of Paine, Rousseau, or Voltaire. They are completely infidel. Yet Jesus would have even these out-door characters saved: for such he pleads; and he has stirred you and us up to work together in meekness, love, and holiness of heart, that they may be saved.
Thanks be unto God, the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has annointed us with the unction of tho Holy Spirit. May he continue in the self-same Spirit to infiuenco your heads, and to move our German heads, that we may lend to each other the hand of help in advancing the cause of our blessed Redeemer among the benighted Germans. Paul had to encounter Alexander, the copper-smith, but we poor Germans have many Alexanders to withstand, since Satan and his coadjutors have appeared so mightily among our population. Yet we will unite in praising Jehovah Jesus, for halleluah, he is the Almighty.
We beseech you, brethren, in your own prosperity, Oh! help us, that our German Zion, too, may bloom and blossom as the rose.
Not even a house have we where we may congregate our believers - nothing to bestow to relieve the temporal necessities of those who may embrace the true religion. Come, brethren, we beg you in Christ's stead, help us, and we will help you.
CASPER O. KOCHE,
Clerk of German Baptist Church, Louisville
[From Minutes of Kentucky Baptist Anniversaries, 1854, pp. 7-9; via SBTS Archives, Adam Winters, Archivist. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall]
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