Chronicle of the Trinity First Evangelical-Lutheran Church - Pages 40 - 45

Footnotes

1. Friedrich Wilhelm III could have chosen no better time than the 25th of June, 1830, the third [centennial] secular celebration of the Augsburg Confession to lay the keystone to the work of the Union through the general introduction of the agenda in his lands. See The Newest Adversaries of the Lutheran Church in Prussia, by C. Ehrenstroem and E. Kellner, Page 167. Return to Text

2. See Dr. Scheibel's Newest History and Current Condition of the Lutheran Church. On page 288 is found the following:
"The acknowledged great ailments of the church ended soon after the beginning of Kaiser Wilhelm IV's reign starting June 7, 1840. At one time nearly 8 million Lutherans were in Prussia with more than 7000 clergy. After 1830 and especially after 1832 and again in 1834 there were somewhere around 8000 church members and 19 clergymen known to be in the churches of their fathers." Return to Text

3.There is still in existence a text by Mr. Chr. Bierosch about that period's persecution of the true Lutherans in Silesia. It was written on March 18, 1838 in Juliusburg. The text gave insight into the conditions of the time and contains the complaints of the oppressed Lutherans and shows the loyalty to conscience and love of the faithful in that it also incorporates circulars meant to bring comfort to them and prepare them for emigration. Mr. Bierosch was the chairman of the emigrating Silesian congregation. A copy of this extant text will certainly be useful reading to the current members of our congregation. We will give the over 50-year-old text here:

          "Juliusburg, March 18, 1838

"May the grace and peace of God and our Savior Jesus Church be with us!

"In the name of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, beloved brothers! and especially in Him as our exalted Savior, esteemed teachers, to whom I wish to send these lines that I may give to all Christian friends and brothers in Breslau something upon which to reflect.

"Towards the end of last year there was a meeting of the committee of our congregation at which there was a decree from the High


Ministry, which was presented as a petition by our deputies in Berlin to His Majesty, whereby we gave reports of other congregations along with a request by our beloved pastor. Guided by the grace of the Trinity what else could we do? We turned in heartfelt prayer to the Lord, our God and the Savior, Jesus Christ, that He would guide our hearts and minds through His Holy Spirit and would lead us according to His Holy Will. We considered the many needs of our congregation and finally decided that the Lord had shown us the way to the English Australia Company as a means of deliverance from our current prison. With praise and respect for His Will and strengthened by the living teachings of His Holy Word given to our faith, we saw this as succor and a means of salvation from His Holy Hand, and seeking His further guidance through the ardent prayers of our entire congregation, we expected that if this is His Holy Will, then He would also incline the hearts of our superiors, who were impassive two years ago. Such being the case it was consequently decided to issue a letter to the High Ministry, whereby we again stated the tenets of our faith and our knowledge and we humbly prayed for the assistance and for the release of our imprisoned clergymen and teachers. When our pleas were not heeded, though it was difficult to ask, we prayed that we might be allowed to freely emigrate with all our people and all our hard-earned belongings. I informed the beloved Pastor Huschke of this decision at the beginning of this year. The first part of the request was well received but the second request was refuted for it placed a hindrance in the current efforts towards trying to establish tolerance. Afterwards I spoke with the other committee members of our congregation about it and the uncertain hope for tolerance could not change the decision reached through the guidance of God. A letter was sent on the 9th of March to the High Ministry, for which we have yet to receive a reply.

"Several brethren in Breslau have scolded not just me but the other brothers of our community for what they consider our mistake. Were it truly the case that they were our brethren, they would have given us brotherly advice and guidance from the Word of God rather than such hard-hearted


and loveless reproval, further oppressing and diminishing our feeble spirit, so laden under the yoke of our persecution. But where else does the Lord fortify the metal but in the heat of the furnace as in Luziene? If only they had to face the harsh punishment of covering the district 3 to 4 times a week, traveling 2¼ miles in each direction and 4½ miles back in severe winter weather, and still having to earn their livelihood. I have heard from afar that in Breslau the blame has been ascribed to me as if I were the cause for their synod's becoming so open to prosecution and punishment. Indeed it has been said that they have not adapted themselves with the times but rather have held their service to God static in one time frame. That is not so. I am not the primal cause but rather it is God's Word, which led them not to rely on the synod and if I had advised them at the beginning of their persecution to separate from the synod they would have discovered that it was not so easy and such was indeed the case since they came back soon after because separation meant being deprived of great blessings, of which I myself must bear witness, having enjoyed the rich blessing of their many gatherings as much in the church services as in the hours of catechism.

"Secondly considering the times they are not to blame for holding their divine services in the night at 1 o'clock or 3 o'clock and mornings at 9, 7 and 5 o'clock, for which they were hunted down. I must excuse them and they me for we had this in common. A year ago we came to the forest together to fortify ourselves in our almighty faith; I especially found the third Sunday after Easter remarkable where they held morning church service in a corner of the forest, were hunted down, and 53 people were charged. They met me in the afternoon in yet another corner of the forest, adults and children coming from all sides of the woods like sheep when they are chased by a dog. There were about 70 souls at the gathering and we verily felt the living word of our Savior, as He said then to His first companions on a similar evangelic Sunday: You will cry and howl, but the world will rejoice; it was the day and the time in which they would sell half their clothes and earthly goods in order to perform their service to God, and for this the world rejoiced. Although I was never seen at a church service there, I dare not go back for on the 12th of March I was arrested by the village authorities and transported back to Trebnitz to the local magistrate.


I was caught at a meeting of about 30 people who were busy signing a power of attorney. On the following day 46 people were supposed to appear before the local magistrate. Their case was handled jointly but I had been arrested on a warrant. I couldn't lie to the magistrate about having composed the power of attorney, so I was transported to the Oelsner magistrate for financial investigation. He was willing to let me go provided I'm never caught in his district again. If I am it'll be a long time before I can leave. When I reflect back on my own privation in comparison with those feeble souls who had to wander the pilgrim streets without a hand to guide them, and especially the beloved children. Oh, the poor children! In the schools they have been cast off as battle offerings of the princes of this world, scarcely having time to learn the saving doctrine of our catechism or empowered to grasp it in their minds. Their hearts are not opened, they have no idea of the importance of it, they are unreceptive without guidance. Should we put such plants in our church garden? Won't they wither in the heat of persecution, fall and die. It's not just the magistrates but the police and other dehumanized men who are herding them into the united school. In Hollunder there was a 13 year-old girl of Lutheran parents who received her instruction at a united school; similarly there was a 14 year-old girl in Bartkerey. Both were subjected to corporal punishment by their United Church priests. There was a fatherless orphan confirmed in our church in Kurzwitz last summer. She was 8 months past her 14th year. Daily she was led into the school in a similar manner and when she hesitated she was hit with a cane. A rope was put in her pocket and she was led around like a dog. The mother was threatened that if she remained disobedient to the law she could take her belongings to a different place and take her child with her. In Ufeschüss and Kainowe there are 2 fathers now in prison. Because they had their children confirmed January 16th of the previous year they were fined the usual penalty, 5 Reich Dollars which accrued interest each month. In Luziene 2 fathers similarly had their children confirmed at the same time.


They were brought up before the United Church Superintendent for examination. I can say no more about it until I receive further information. Two widows from there were sent from one judge to another with their children. Oh, you should see, my friends, how the prince of darkness is besieging the children so he can take them and hold them in his realm. Should we not learn from the children, should the empires of our earthly princes not be built by them? Should we so complacently offer our children, who have been accepted through baptism into the realm of Christ, back to Moloch. Should we allow them to return to the realm of Satan, that realm which they have renounced? It is the heart-wrenching, deplorable circumstance of our church and as often as I think about it my heart swims in tears. I see under such circumstances that as a whole we would physically and spiritually destroy our children if the Lord does not save us from this intellectual Sodom. For some time I have found in myself an unspeakable dispair bound together with a compulsion to react as if I were in a strange land but should hasten back to my home. When I reflect on this I find there is no other reason for it than the sad state of our church. It's as if I'm hearing the archangel say to Lot: Hurry and save your soul. Many brothers and sisters in faith have communicated the same to me and it seems as though the Lord is revealing His Holy Will and sanctioning our decision. And yet we receive no answers to our written appeals concerning such treatment. It angers our governing authorities even more when we produce evidence of the truth and they turn them back to us and declare them falsehoods. On the third Sunday of Advent a policeman found me with my brothers in faith in church service at 6 in the morning. He came after the reading of the Epistle, interrupted me, and wrote us all up. Those assembled did not obey his order to disperse and I continued the church service. Three quarters of an hour later the policeman returned with 4 men. They broke open the door with an ax and angrily threw everybody out during the reading of the lesson. All tire in such long-contested, hard trials of faith. What can one do? Above all else hope in the Lord, who promised to save His chosen people during the day and night in which they cry to Him. But has He also promised us He would save our fatherland from the hands of our foes? Did He not deliver Lot out of Sodom,


the Israelites out of Egypt and the first Christians out of Jerusalem? Now others are saying what I expressed earlier: If it is the Lord's Will, they will chase us out; it's as if the Lord is not inclined towards opening the hearts of our superiors even a little but rather He wants us to seek Him out and ask Him how He is going to lead us. Can we not see the cause of this in the faithless service given to Him? Perhaps we must prove ourselves as the children of light who became worthy in the Gospel. We must prove ourselves as loyal as the children of darkness have shown in their worship of their lord. Indeed the world will not only despise and persecute us as though we were dirt, they will look upon us as through we are no longer educated men who should be wiped from the face of the earth or cast into the desert. Oh, to know the Will of our true and loving Lord and Savior and not to be able to do anything about it! This is the yoke of Satan, which one should desire to shake off today rather than tomorrow. Whoever loves me, the Lord said, will keep my word. If we wish to obey His Word, for His Sake we must be willing to be deprived of our worldly possessions. Haven't they made it physically difficult or impossible for us to nourish ourselves on the Word of God and at the same time pitted our obedience to that Word against the law of our earthly superiors in a dishonorable manner? Should we not flee such leadership as soon as the Lord shows us a way whereby we can divest ourselves from this authority? And is our church not in its current circumstance like the childhood of our Lord, when they made an attempt on his life? Through God's Almighty Power He was warned and saved from His enemies, but it was only through flight that he was able to survive. Is our Leader now to be preserved and saved through the Will of God by flight; so it seems to us for we may call upon our members through His Grace and Mercy and submit to His Will, following his example and finding something remarkable as the circumstances seem to fulfill in Revelation 12 where the earth assisted the woman.

"I have hereby given testimony often of our intentions and the basis for our emigration, so we can make our confession undisturbed by our earthly circumstances and wait for the further gathering of the army.

"Now I beg of you, dear and beloved teachers, particularly as servants of God and preservers of his spiritual household,


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